Today I want to talk about paperwork...books, patterns, magazines, quilt show photos, free pattern downloads, etc. It's all got to go somewhere and we all need to be able to find it again when we want it, once it enters our quilting domain.
Let's start with magazines and all that loose paper. A few years ago, I simply had to come to terms with quilt magazines. They were taking over my house. I was really afraid to throw them out because there were so many yummy things I wanted to keep.
Sometimes I just want to keep a picture or sketch, no directions. I set these little pictures aside (I'll show you what I do with those in a moment).
From time to time, I find a project that I saved and wonder "whatever made me want to keep THIS?!?" I just throw those pages away and reuse the pocket protector for my NEW favorite thing that I want to make some day.
I keep all my "how-to's" in a magazine file. By "how-to," I mean articles on things like binding, making hourglass units, yo-yo's, labels, English paper piecing, foundation piecing, comparing battings, etc. Fons and Porter's magazine is a great source for these "how-to's," but I find them in just about every publication.
I like the magazine files because I have not met a 3-ring binder yet that has not disappointed me! I hate it when pages slip out of the rings! And these magazine files fit so nice on the shelf next to my quilt books, and I can remove the page I want without wrestling with a heavy binder.
Now, what to do with the patterns, etc. in these sheet pocket protectors...
The nice thing about using these clear plastic pockets is that you can also store plastic templates, fabric swatches, or freezer paper templates (sometimes I re-use my freezer paper shapes from doing hand applique) in the same pocket with the pattern.
I also sometimes shrink or enlarge templates from commercial patterns...I can save all that in the pocket with the pattern.
Perhaps you are thinking that this kind of storage can be expensive. Well, I use second-hand, two-drawer filing cabinets that I find at the University of Michigan property disposition center. They cost me about $10 each. Check out your local college or university - most have one of these places where they sell their old office and lab stuff that they no longer want. I've also found them at yard sales and recycling centers. I space them on the floor, then use recycled doors as a table top over them. This is very sturdy and gives me a flat work space to look through my files.
OK, remember all the little pictures we cut out from magazines? I combine these with others bits of inspiration...quilt show photos, greeting cards, etc...and glue them in to my "Inpiration Book."
I save little pictures to give me inspiration about color, form, etc. Any little thing that will inspire my applique or piecing. I use a large, bound record book (also available at an office supply place). I use this mainly because I had one left over at home from the days I used to work in a reserach lab and I would use these kinds of record books to store experimental data. Now they hold my quilting "experimental data!" I just use a glue stick to glue things to the pages without much thought or planning...just getting as much on the page as possible.
They are comical looking...I kind of like the fact that the books expanded to hold all my little ideas. You could also use a binder or spiral notebook if you want your book to look more normal when it is full. LOL
I store them right above my main work area so I can grab them when I want some inspiration.
Now we come to books. As I have told you, I sew in the basement. I used to NOT store my craft and quilting books down there because I was afraid if the basement ever flooded my books would ruin. I used to store them in my bedroom, two floors away from my stash and sewing machine. That did not work. I like having them near where I work.
So I store them up, off the floor. I put bookshelves up on top of my filing cabinet/door tabletop structures. Very sturdy.
I sort my books by category...applique, Christmas, antique, rotary cut, liberated, Baltimore Album, tie quilts, reference, etc. I tried doing it alphabetically by title or author, but then I could never remember titles or authors correctly and got frustrated trying to find a certain book or project. This really works for me. There are certain authors I love and collect...like Blackbird Designs. I keep all their stuff together.
I did spend some money on good quality bookshelves from Ikea...I used to use something less sturdy, and I came home one day to find that a shelf collapsed and there were my books...all over the floor.
I tend to use sticky notes in my books to mark things I really liked so that I can find them again some day.
I can see the little colorful notes sticking above the books...just like old friends waving at me, saying, "remember me??"
So, was that easy? Does it inspire you to organize all your inspiration?? Don't get overwhelmed...I started this many years ago and now I only have to maintain the madness. This is something to work on over time...especially going through old quilt magazines and organizing all the patterns you've bought.
Thank you for reading along and I am grateful to Stash Manicure and Madame Samm for the opportunity to share my quilt cave with you. Good luck with your organizing!
See you next time,