Organizing My Quilt Room

I did it!

The guests arrive tomorrow and my office/quilt room is ready to be turned into the guest room. Check out my GORGEOUS office now.

It actually took less time to sort and tidy than I had anticipated. It appeared to be an overwhelming project (see last week’s post). But I had the closet rearranged the evening after posting. The next day I purchased more plastic bins for my fabric stash and they were quickly filled. (Eek)

The new ironing station baskets arrived Thursday and Material Girlfriend, Diana Garnhart, help me assemble them. Not to hard a task! We carried them upstairs and set them in place. The next day I filled the baskets with my all my projects. Yep, all 12 baskets are filled! I also recovered my ironing surface. The room is so refreshingly tidy. I wanted to start a new project or rather, revisit one that had been hiding in the closet, but…. company is coming.

This is what I started with:

Walls, I had painted them a light buttery yellow. I like color. White would be just too bland for my creative room. I wanted a wall color that would coordinate with whatever I pinned on it. My Ikea office table is black and the Murphy table is a reddish wood color. I repurposed a small black 3 drawer dresser and a small black and wood color desk from my son’s old room. I felt it tied all the furniture pieces together quite nicely. We added laminate wood flooring that had the same wood/black colors.

How I organized all my shtuff:

Patterns: The closet now holds all the Material Girlfriends Patterns stock. They are organized in plastic bins with handles on the top so I can easily pull whatever patterns are being ordered.

Fabrics: The fabrics are organized in clear plastic bins with white lids that seal. I have a small dog but she sheds like a big dog. It’s her super power. She hangs out with me all the time. The bins keeps the fabrics out of the sunlight, dust and fur free. I can quickly see which color bin I need to pull from under the Murphy table.

Projects: Quilts that need binding and labels, or that are done but just waiting for me to finish the pattern, hang out in a large straw tote on top of the Murphy table.

Unfinished projects now go into one of the baskets in the Ironing station. I love these new baskets. It is easy to pull a basket and take it with me to class or sit it on top of the Murphy table to work from.

Tools: My small tools and small rulers fit in my pink Yazzii bag that lives on top of my Murphy table. Easy to work out of and it is a quick grab to go to class. I also have a Yazzii mat that is under my NEW sewing machine (Baby Lock Soprano – I was good girl this year.) The mat keeps all the necessary sewing items right at my finger tips.

Rulers: I store my rulers in the wooden slats. I have three. One is for triangles and it sits on the small black dresser. The other two are for rulers and squares and sit on the Murphy table.

Other Organizational items: Also on my Murphy table are my cutting mats and a Wrapped Clothesline Basket. The basket holds my scissors and rotary cutters. I also toss into the basket any scrap fabrics that I can cut into 3/4″ strips, Wrapped up Baskets Pattern. Other scraps are cut into 2 1/2″ squares and put in the top right fabric bin under the table for a future checkerboard quilt. Tiny scraps get tossed in the trash can on the floor.

I also have a smaller Wrapped Clothesline Basket near my sewing machine that holds threads and bobbins for any project I’m working on, plus the basic thread colors. The other bagillion threads are in a Dr. Who lunch box on the top shelf of my sewing desk and on a spool rack hung on the wall by my desk.

On the ironing table, I have a small tote that holds all the ironing items such as pressing cloth, tephlon sheet, iron cleaner, water bottle, spray starch, measuring cup with spout for refilling the iron, labels for quilts, etc.

Putting items away immediately after use is always the best way to stay tidy but I know myself all too well. I dump and plan to put it away later. So my strategy to stay tidy is this straw basket on the small black dresser. ANYthing that needs to be put away goes in the basket. Whether it is fabric, notions or a wayward sock that my dog brought me, will go in the basket if I’m not in the mood to put it away at that very moment. Then I can empty the basket on a regular basis, daily, I hope.

The Ironing table: I was asked how does the table not fall off the surface? Dave Garnhart built this wonderful table for me. Measure your ironing surface then add 3″ to all sides. Cut some plywood to that size. Take smaller wood, mine is 1 1/2″ wide and deep, cut to the same length as the plywood. That gets nailed to the underside of your plywood surface, positioned so that your table nests between them. I used 2 layers of left over batting and some muslin to wrap the top and staple gunned it to the underside. This is a picture of the underside of the table surface while I was adding the new fabric. Muslin shows all the water stains so I finally got smart and picked a fabric that would disguise all those ugly spots! Besides, it is really pretty too.

Lora was born organized (blah). I asked her to take a video of her studio and she’ll describe her organizational secrets in a future blog.

Happy Organizing!


Confessions of a Messy Quilter

“Hello, my name is Lisa and I am a messy quilter.”

“Hello Lisa.” reply the imaginary support group circle in my head.

It’s bad. See the embarrassing video link of my office/studio/sewing room. Yup… Support group, here I come.

I can just imagine your response.

If this were my entire house, I’d be reenlisting with a fabulous support group at I joined her support group for messy peoples 17 years ago and the tools I had learned have generally kept me tidy. Really. But as I prepared for the traditional Christmas foofaraw downstairs, all my sh..tuff got dumped in my office/sewing room. Now, if I could just shut the door and deal with it January 1, I would. But the behemoth of a table against the wall is a Murphy bed and it will need to sleep a guest Dec. 19th through the 26th. I’m sure it would be more comfortable if I could actually open said Murphy bed. *sigh*

I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’m rolling up my sleeves and taking a hard look at my storage issue. What can be tossed, what can be put away and what can find a new home?

My closet has WONDERFUL shelves that my husband built for me. I’m going to reshuffle so I can get the patterns in the closet. The fabric bins that are currently in there, are easily stackable and sealed with plastic lids. They can be re-organized under the cutting table/ Murphy bed. My project baskets that are everywhere will… hmmm… uh…  I need a new storage solution.

I don’t like my ironing board. It’s wobbly and the legs bent in half when I set a suitcase on top. (Okay, I over pack.) I rebent the ironing board legs straight…but, it lists to the left. A sweet friend of mine built the extra wide and long ironing surface that sits on top of the wobbly ironing board. I like the top. I don’t like the bottom.

I saw in the current American Patchwork and Quilting magazine a storage solution of a black wire cart with six lined wire baskets. I think this will work for me. I’m ordering two. I can put my wonderfully wide and long ironing surface on top. This will give me 12 lovely baskets to put my projects in! $55 each, get your own here.

I have a plan!! I’ll get to work and report back after I have the wire basket doohickies set up with my projects and ironing board.

Do you need a plan for your sewing space too? Get a timer, and a hot cup of tea. The timer is to keep you on track. Set the timer for 10 minutes and go through Pinterest (Lisa’s Sewing Room Board) for sewing room ideas. If your tea turns cold, you’re done collecting ideas. The tea is my back-up timer because I always seem to go beyond the 10 minutes on Pinterest! Now, get to work.

Thanks for being my support group!