Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How I Work

 When you make a free pieced quilt, your sewing studio generally looks like a bomb went off inside. There are fabrics e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e and it can be really stressful to work in.  I've found a way that works for me and thought you might like to see it.

Since my new quilt (working title: "Black Box") is using so many colors and fabrics, I find it's easiest to cut a lot of strips ahead of time. So I do. I stack up the fabrics, and cut several strips, generally about 2" wide. I don't worry about straightening out the raw edges, I just make it wide enough to work with.

 I keep these colored strips in a bin on the worktable across from where I sit. They are easy to see, and easy to reach. I keep them in a jumble, because they often fall together making color combinations I might not think of on my own.

When you do a free pieced quilt, you use a LOT of fabric for your "background." I've bought over 8 yards of the putty colored fabric for the Black Box quilt. It's been washed, and folded so the selvages line up, then folded accordion style and it sits on the left side of my worktable. If I need any, it's a simple matter to unfold it, cut a long strip, and then fold it back out of the way.  I keep my long cutting rulers nearby.

On my right sit my pins, rotary cutter, a marking pencil and a large plastic bin (about the size of a shoebox) for the scrap pieces and strips of the background fabric.  I'll be using a lot of this color, and this bin keeps the mess somewhat in check.  The small decorative box is used as a desktop trash bin.

 On the spare worktable on the right, I keep all the fabric I'll want to use for this quilt. For me, if it's out of sight, it doesn't exist.  If I need a large piece of anything, it's close by.  Here you can see the very light pastels, the light pastels, some WOWs and other fabrics I am considering for the quilt.

Here's what my worktable looks like. Since my back has been bothering me, the table is now level, and I do my work sitting down. My ironing table is right behind me, so if anything is wrinkled, I just turn around to press it.
Here I have fabrics laid out for the next letter.


Quiltdivajulie said...

I so TOTALLY get the "bomb dropped" idea ~ it happens at my house, too. Using bins to help corral the chaos definitely helps. Of course, unless the mess is allowed to happen, the creative work itself is continually interrupted and/or stalled. So - here's to controlled chaos!

Teresa in Music City said...

Very neat and organized! I usually stay pretty well organized except during the initial cutting stage for scrappy quilts when I am using so many fabrics. Then I end up with a huge pile that needs to be folded back up and put away - not my favorite task but it's so much nicer when the cutting station is back in order.