Hello! Welcome to week one of Quilt Your Stash 2016! I’m looking forward to this journey of getting and keeping organized and of using and sewing and quilting the fabrics I have in my stash.
During the summer of 2014 I spent a little time really trying to get organized
and wrote a series of blog posts tracking my steps and progress. You can find the first post in that series here (this post actually contains links to all of the posts in the series in one convenient place). While I was really happy with the series and all of the ideas I was able to share that summer, I was thinking about organization over the past couple of months and realized that it might be more effective to have weekly tasks and reminders which I will do with my Quilt Your Stash 2016 series. Each week I’ll post some organizing tips and/or some ways to really start using your stash this year!
Let’s get started! For the first week we have three tasks. I did them over the weekend and am already motivated by the fact that these were so helpful:
- First, clean off all of your sewing/quilting work surfaces. For me this meant cleaning off my cutting table, my sewing machine table, and my ironing board. These are the places where clutter accumulates first. Try not to get distracted by fabric and projects you find while doing this task! If you don’t have a designated place for some of your sewing tasks make a concentrated effort to keep the surfaces you use extra clean: I did all of my cutting and sewing for over 15 years on our dining room table–not ideal, but you can make it work.
- Second, make a list of works in progress. You can use any method you’d like for this–use what works best for you. I find it’s really helpful when I have a paper list I can keep in my sewing room. I’m also going to keep a spreadsheet on my computer as well. For a terrific free download, AllPeopleQuilt has this handy form for tracking 12 projects. I think the most helpful part of this list is noting the status of the project today. I also added my goal for the year below each work in progress on the list. I don’t plan to finish all of these projects–for some of them I’d just like to make some good progress.
- Third, make a list of projects you’d like to start this year. This was the most fun: there are always so many possibilities. I try to narrow this list to just a half-dozen projects since I know more will get added to this list as the year goes on. Hopefully you’ll also be able to use fabrics on hand for some of the projects on this list.
Here are a few of my works in progress and some of my thoughts on why they haven’t been “progressing” as quickly as I originally thought they would:
first, my Tessie Flowers quilt. I started this about two years ago and have never really made much progress. But I still love this project. I decided the reason I hadn’t made much progress was that my blocks were tucked away in a drawer. So I put them in one of my new project bags and hung the bag on a hook in my sewing room. Now that this fun project is in plain sight, I believe I’ll get going on it again. Another step I’m going to take for this project is to prep some of the applique’ pieces and have them ready to go.
My Bonnie & Camille half-square triangle quilt is even older than the flowers project above. I have 17 blocks now (mostly because I turned over 11 to my Bee mates this October). If you are involved in a quilting bee…this is a great way to get a project finished up you’ve been working on for a while…turn it over to your friends! I’m still waiting for 2 blocks to come back from Bee members and also have 6 more to make myself. I took the step of laying out two blocks and putting them on my sewing table the other day. I’m hoping to finish this quilt in the next month or so!
I’ve been working on these log cabin and pineapple blocks just since last year and hope to finish the log cabin quilt and just make progress on the pineapples. I’m going to work on these as soon as my half-square triangle quilt is finished. The secret to working on these is to have strips ready to use. So I’m also going to spend a Saturday afternoon working on preparing strips for these.
I’m hoping to finish my scrappy string quilt and just make progress on my Fig Tree strings. The key to making these blocks is the same as for the blocks above: having strips ready to go!
Finally (for today) are my hexie flowers. I’ve been working on these for a while. And you know, this is one of those projects I’m happy to work on over several years. I do have quite a few flowers now and want to start putting them together with low-volume hexagons. I decided this project needs a project bag and will be making one soon so I can grab this and go when I need a bit of hand-work to take along.
I hope some of these tips will help you get going on your sewing and quilting goals for the new year! Please stop by every Tuesday for more ideas! And if you have any to share each week, please leave them in the comment section.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
We moved just before Thanksgiving, so I've devoted a lot of time cleaning and organizing my new sewing room and it's contents, making the very lists you have suggested. Also I took the time to weed out things I don't need: odd notions, fabric I don't actually love, UFO's that I will never finish up because I just can't bear to look at them, etc. (most items were donated to a quilting charity so someone will benefit from them) Letting things go felt really great, and It is WONDERFUL to have a designated place for things I kept.
You hit the nail on the head with the comment about those darling flower blocks–get them out where you can see them! I've got a couple projects like this and have done the same thing.
Thank you for this series and all the encouragement here. I'll be eagerly watching for your posts all year! Here's to a colorful and productive 2016!!
Heather Jergensen says
Great ideas, Sherri! Thank you! I'm starting the APQ UFO project this year as well, and finally got my entire stash organized. In that process, it IS hard to not get distracted. It was also fun to go back through and find scraps from past quilts. It was like reaching back in time and into a relationship with the person for whom I made the quilt. Love the Blog!
Tracey Holzer says
I am loving your vision for the new year, Sherri and I plan on using up my bucket of leftover fabric strips either in a string quilt or a paper pieced teensy pineapple quilt that a friend got me hooked on a few years ago. Now I have to decide which one i am going to start with!! Thank you.
Robby H. says
Interesting reading. I've been trying to get back into quilting after a long hiatus and can't seem to pick a place to start. I think some of your organizing thoughts might help it feel less overwhelming. Alas, my dining room is my sewing room, but that wasn't a big hurdle in the past. Off to make a list or two. Thanks.
Quilts By Laurel says
This post has inspired me to make my own list of projects to work on and hopefully finish this year! I love that project bag! Do you have a tutorial for that or do you just wing it? So cute! Happy new year! 🙂
Great plans and ideas. I'm working on my UFO list to participate in the All People Quilt Challenge. I'm making a short term list of quilts I'd love to make.
My main focus is going to be quilting a pile of quilt tops aka flimsies. I have a number in mind for 2016 but I don't want to say it aloud. LOL
Another focus is going to be lots of handwork.
I'll be following along, Sherri.
Thanks for sharing your tips! I really try to get a hand on my WIP/UFO pile this year it's like weed growing, growing and growing …
But it's so easy to get distracted … today I started with my Schnibbles (it's such a cute pattern) but since I used some leftover charm squares and a FQ as background I had in my stash for a too long time I can count this as quilting from my stash, right? Right;-)
This is just what I need. It seems most people already know this but I am so overwhelmed I don't know where to start……until now! Thank you so much for posting this. Love your quilts, fabric and blog. And still loving your header. I keep clicking on your blog thinking….well, it's probably changed. But so far, so good.
Thanks so much for the inspiring post! I have been thinking about all the UFOs I would like to finish and the long list of projects I would like to start. It's overwhelming! I need a plan and here you are with weekly tips. I have printed my 2016 UFOs list and plan to start cleaning off my cutting table and ironing board next (you are so right about these spaces be the first to get covered). I am looking forward to your weekly posts to help me stay motivated. Thanks again. Gayle
Susan Smith says
These are great ideas, Sherri!
Too bad I have to leave for an appointment right now because after reading your post, I am motivated to start organizing!
Nancy Poorbaugh says
Thank you for sharing your ideas. My biggest problems are that I have probably well over 35 unquilted tops (large and small, boxes of projects begun and boxes of projects planned. I have a long arm quilting machine, but I mostly work on customer quilts and gifts. I have been thinking of donating unquilted tops that I don't want to finish (mostly shop samples). 2016 is my year to get a handle on all of this craziness. Appreciate our inspiration to do this.
em's scrapbag says
What a fun idea! I'm looking forward to all your wisdom. Now to get started cleaning off all my sewing surfaces. This could take awhile.
What a motivator. I've completed the UFO Challenge 2016 list. Moved my fabric out into the open. Gathered some patterns to help me Quilt My Stash. Thank You for this!
Beech Tree Lane Handmade says
A great way to start the year! Very motivational.
Well this is really funny b/c I was on one page and then went to yours after I saw the UFO Challenge. I don't get distracted much lol. I had just finished up 4 curtain panels for my grown daughter (started them a few months ago), repaired a couple of holes in my grown sons jeans, and took apart an antique child's rocker so I could re-upholster it. I had to get 2 clamps to hold where it needed gluing on the seat board before locating just the right fabric for it. Wow is all I can say about getting organized and finishing up projects. It all started out by wanting to put things away from the living room and I decided to finish up those 3 projects as I went to the Sewing/Craft room and it all just domino-ed from there. The curtain panels needed to have the top and bottom edges squared up before sewing the hem and top casing. I began by clearing off my cutting table. Couldn't do anything until I did that. It had 2 Crochet projects on it and also some 3" squares I had been cutting for a quilt. Found a tote for the crochet items and stored them under the cutting table. Took one new crochet project back to the living room to work on tonight. Then off to the jeans and the chair. Making more room and putting things away as I went. A few months ago I moved all my scraps and pieces of fabric into totes by either color or size. I made one just for blue jeans for a quilt since that is a project I have wanted to do for years. Because I had organized those scraps earlier I had the floor space to be able to work on the 3 projects I did tonight. I have so many things going that I greatly needed this article. Loved seeing this after my projects today 😉
*One thing that does help me is to write down 3 things to accomplish in a day whether 1 big and 2 small or 3 big, etc. I think if I do those before getting on Facebook or email or blogs I can get a lot more done and feel motivated to keep going the next day.
**By using the "Snowball effect" like in the Dave Ramsey "Debt Snowball" start with the projects that you can accomplish the quickest and then go from there. You will finish up several at the start and that gives you the momentum to do more.
***Contradictory to the second help I listed, it has been stated to do the hard things 1st and that keeps you from putting it off all of the time. Smaller projects are done with smaller increments of time afterwards.
****You can list projects or phases of projects on index cards and put down the amount of time required to complete, file them under timed tabs (15 min., 30 min, an hour, etc.) and when you have 15 minutes for example: look at those cards listed under 15 min. and do one. If your planning on being in a waiting room or an airport grab one or two and take them with you.
cityquilter grace says
excellent ideas and inspiration! i've printed out my "list" and with 41 official UFOs, should have a productive and busy 2016!
Helen L says
Just saw what I think is your quilt on the header of the QP&Q facebook page!! Is it yours? If so, congrats!!! 🙂 Hugs, H
I just came across this series. I can't wait to read through it all. Love your WIP! Do all of your hexie flowers have yellow in the middle? Love them! Love all of your projects.
Sinta Renee says
This is just what I have been telling myself I need to do! So, count me in to Quilt My Stash 2016 along with you Sherri! I am in over my head… in projects and the need to organize! I think I will get that project bag pattern… it could be a point to start at! Thanks so much!!!
Well my family has been complaining that I never finish anything. I just found the post on Pinterest, so I am a little late starting, but I am in. I started by pulling out a quilt I had started late last year, had 5 blocks done, and got 6 more blocks done, 20 to go. I will make my list today, but my main goal will be a stack of complete quilts to show the family.