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Sewing Room - Four Days In

I’m tired. I’m trying to do too much in the evenings again, and running short on sleep is just harder on me than it used to be in my mid twenties. What a shock.

But the progress in the sewing room is definitely becoming noticeable. Of course, a few other things are noticeable also – like too many hobbies, too much fabric, too many unfinished projects. Heck, too many unstarted projects. And I haven’t even started to haul up the stuff that’s stashed in the basement.

At this point said progress is actually more noticeable in the spare bedroom because the piles in there are getting smaller as I put stuff away. For the last two days I’ve been going through my garb fabric. I did some fairly thorough purges of the quilting fabrics several years ago, so I don’t feel the need to fuss with those beyond organizing the storage for the crates. The clothing fabric is a different issue. I have both more, and less than I expected. More as in "where do I PUT this stuff" and less than I had feared insofar as I’ve already gotten rid of a lot of the dross. What would really speed up this process are a dozen or two bolts for 60" fabric. But since I’m not currently buying any, I’m not in fabric stores. There’s a certain amount of consolidation I can do that will free some up, and I’m working on it. It’s just not fun rolling fabric off a bolt, to roll it onto another bolt that has some of the same stuff on it, so that I then have an empty bolt that I can roll something else onto... tedious. But it’s getting done.

Right now I’ve got a medium stack of linens that need to go on bolts and a much smaller stack of wools. Some of those are very short yardages that were bought for specific projects, so I’ll need to find a different way to store them until they’re made up. Folded on a shelf, perhaps. Also, most of the short wool yardages are intended for hoods, and I’ll be taking a refresher hood draping class in a couple of weeks. So in an optimistic world, those won’t be hanging around for all that much longer because I’ll be sewing them up. Beyond that, I’ve got the stack of cotton duck for my years-stalled tapestries project; some fabrics intended for work clothes; a box of trims; a box of doll-making supplies; and a so-far controllable amount of random "stuff." I’m really pleased with how far I’ve gotten.

Unfortunately, that only addresses the stuff that made it into the sewing room to begin with. There’s also sewing stuff that was stashed in the basement. It’s not all that much compared to the main disaster, but the point is that it exists and I have to deal with it. To start with, I’ve got a huge bin of the fabric I’m trying to get rid of. Bob is going to help me bring that upstairs, and I need sort out the stuff that I’m just going to give away so that I can refill it with stuff that can be sold. There’s a largish bin of polar fleece some of which I’m sure can go. The bits that I want to keep for my hat-making project shouldn’t take up too much room. Also, if there’s room to sew and I actually make the damn hats, they’ll take up even less room. But I’m worried about making space for the stuff in that bin given how rapidly my storage space is filling. There are also four (five? four?) bins of scrap down there too. Here’s the problem: I quilt, and that means that when I look at a 3 square inch piece of fabric – it’s usable and I can’t bring myself to throw it away. There are gorgeous scrap quilt patterns that I want to try. I want to make a linen quilt. I’ve got "waste not, want not" knitted into my bones.

Oh – and I’m a packrat. Had you noticed that I’m a packrat?

My current thought about that material is to go through with my square-up ruler and the rotary cutter and do just that – cut the scraps into usable squares and throw away the trimmings. That decrease bulk enormously, and will also illustrate which pieces are just too small to be useable and just need to be thrown out (as difficult as that is going to be for me.) For the immediate issue of getting them out of the basement I’m going to see if those scrap bins will fit in the little storage space under the eaves. If they’ll slide in there, they’ll be out of the way but still reasonably accessible to be mucked out. That would be perfect.

The thing in the basement that I might not have room for that really hurts is the old treadle sewing machine. It’s not a family piece, it’s just something that I had hoped to renovate – replace the wooden table that is delaminating and find a new drive belt. Clean the metal base real well, clean and oil the machine. But I think it’s just too big for the space, which is a real shame. Unless it fits into the cubby in front of the door to the eave storage, I’ll see if I can sell it to someone else who wants to use it as a machine rather than gutting it to make an end table. I don’t really have to rush to a decision on it, but I don’t see storing it if I just don’t have the space.

Tonight I’ll dive back in after dinner. I’m going to work on bolt consolidation, even though it’s no fun. Once I’ve done that and refilled the bolts in question I’ll be able to get the loose fabric off of the floor, which will help clear up a lot of the visual clutter. What doesn’t get wound will get transferred to the spare bed to get it out from underfoot. I’m also going to ask Bob to bring up one of the scrap bins for me so that I can test the fit under the eaves (Hi Bob!) With dinner, dishes, and woodstove responsibilities, that’s probably enough for one evening.

I wonder if this is my way of avoiding cleaning the basement...


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a whole lot of No Fun At All. *hug* But I guess you have to do it, you know? It kills your soul to live with clutter.

You have so many interesting hobbies too. Quilting? I LOVE handmade quilts (but I can see how that'd become a problem for a pack rat...you'd want to save every scrap of interesting fabric). & I didn't know you made dolls...what kind of dolls?
Jan. 17th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
"It kills your soul to live with clutter."

I've always been a clutterbug, but the more I get rid of the more I'm realizing how true that is. I'll always have some, it's just how I am, but my clutter has been controlling me. That's what I need to stop.

" I can see how that'd become a problem for a pack rat...you'd want to save every scrap of interesting fabric"

You just put your thumb right on it. When I get to a certain point, I'll have my friend Sue come over and help me throw things away. She'll make it all okay.

"I didn't know you made dolls...what kind of dolls?"

Nothing... yet. That's one of those "unstarted" projects. I've got a really neat dragon pattern, and some yardages that would just make the coolest dragon skins. But it all disappeared into the attic in Middletown, and I just found it again. This is what I mean about the clutter controlling me. I'd completely forgotten about that stuff.
Jan. 17th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
WOOOHOOO!! There's nothing like a good purge of other people's possessions! :-)
Jan. 17th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
Yes - I count on you to be ruthless and to mock me mercilessly when I descend into inanity. It's a nasty job, but someone needs to do it.
Jan. 17th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
I'm a packmouse. Not big enough a hoarder to be a whole rat. I do recognize when something definitely won't get used, and throw it out...but I also know how changeable I am and how many hobbies I pick up and put down and pick up again, and so I keep more than I should 'just in case'.

Organizing isn't fun into you get to the last 10 or 20 percent and it finally starts to shape up again.
Jan. 17th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately I can see the areas of my personality that could turn into full-blown hoarding if I let them. Luckily, being aware of it seems to provide a lot of mitigation for me. Also, a lot of it is that things hung around for a long time because "someday we'll have a house." Well, now we've got the house and the space is what it is - it'll never be any more. So I'm purging to fit into the space I've got. On the whole, it's a healthy process.

I also pick up hobbies the way most people breathe, so I just keep acquired more tools and supplies.

The first two days of organizing were huge fun, and I'm sure that the last bit will be also. Right now I'm in the slog through the middle. Even at it's most tedious this is kind of cool though, because it's a space for me that I'm creating. It's something I've never had before, and the coolness factor outweighs the tedium. I'm listening to a lot of Lorenna McKennit while I work.
Jan. 17th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
Rosemary's school is currently seeking donations of quilting fabric. So if finding a new home for any makes it easier....
They have a mid year take a break series of classes and will be taking a quilting class for this. I gave them a shopping bag full of what I had that was good, most of my stuff anymore is dance specific (think sparkly or spandex) and thus not good for quilts. I did tell them that I would buy them more if they needed it.

Jan. 17th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
Most of what I'm weeding out is more clothing type stuff, but I'll take a look through. A few years ago one of the quilting shops was taking donations for the sewing classes at one of the more disadvantaged high schools, and I weeded the quilting stash fairly ruthlessly.

The real solution is going to be to start sewing again.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:33 am (UTC)
I don't suppose you thought to snap a few pictures to show yourself the progress when you're feeling tired, did you?
I'm tempted to do that with my unusable box-storage device, er, sofa...
Jan. 23rd, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
Nope - I just find that depressing. I've got "before" pictures of the room when it was still pink. The organized room will be my "afters." "Betweens" just make me feel beaten down.

It's exciting to be achieving it, because at the end it'll be a room for crafts and sewing - something I've never had before. That's incentive enough. It's actually pretty close right now. I just need to get some photos during the daylight. Maybe on Sunday.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )