Since I like to use LOTS of different fabrics when doing applique, many have asked through comments and emails how do I work with so many fabrics and get blocks done so quickly.
Normally using lots of different fabrics, often for each leaf or petal, would take a long time if I was dealing with yardage or large pieces...choosing a bin, sifting through to find the right fabrics, unfolding, pressing, using, re-folding, putting away...TOO SLOW!
I am guilty of container-mania. I can't seem to look at any kind of container and NOT think of a way to organize quilt stuff in it! If you are familiar with my quilt cave, you already know this. If you aren't aware of my whacky OCD and the quilt cave, click here (and be kind...)
My larger scraps are already segregated by color, but even these medium-sized art bins can be cumbersome when I am working with many colors at once. They are too big to have many of them open at my fingertips, all at once, as I audition fabrics and group them together to test compatibility.
I found these small bins lately, and realized that I had found a way to speed up choosing fabrics and prepping ahead of doing the glue stick thing on each piece.
They were made to store and organize 4 x 6 and 5 x 7 photos while archiving or scrapbooking (that should give you an idea of their small, handy size). At my JoAnn's, I found them both in the scrapbooking AND sewing container sections of the store.
Well, at the risk of ridicule, I will share my latest organizational idea for tiny and small scraps. It only took one good movie on DVD to establish these little boxes for this project, and now prepping blocks is a joyful breeze. I picked through my large, "wee bits" (or crumb) bins to find the colors I needed for most all these blocks.
I use the small ones for the tiniest fabric crumbs (pictured below, right)...sometimes just big enough to get one leaf or petal shape out of it. I can sort through the little container of crumbs very quickly and easily with my large, straight forceps (my fingers are a little clumsy picking up the little bits - have you ever seen someone doing this kind of thing with chop sticks? It's amazing how agile and quick you can be when clumsy fingers get out of the way!).
I put slightly larger pieces in the 5 x 7 boxes (pictured above, left)...this is good if I am prepping larger pieces or several pieces from one fabric. These bins are so small, I can have several open at one time around my immediate work area. (I actually went to my pink yardage and quickly whacked random rectangles with my scissors that were slightly smaller than 5 x 7 in size to establish this box of larger pieces.)
I used to dig through these large crumb containers...
...they are large and clumsy, and hold a color family ("hot" - reds, oranges, yellows; "warm" - purples, blues, greens; "neutrals" and "browns/blacks"). I spent all my time first digging to choose, then pressing (because they are a jumble on the inside of the big bin).
Using the forceps to move bits around (for speed,) I did a quick press of the desired crumbs only once when establishing these little boxes, then as I use pieces, I put them back in the container stacked instead of jumbled...meaning I don't have to press them ever again. Taking a little time now saves much time later. Using the forceps to move them in and out makes this go really quickly.
I just use the forceps to quickly lay out some pieces, then use the forceps to easily pick up the tiny pieces of freezer paper and place them on the scraps, then I come through with the iron to adhere the patterns to the scraps, several at a time. MUCH FASTER!
After cutting out the piece, if there is enough crumb left to save and use again, I use the forceps to quickly stack the pieces back in the small bins, maintaining the nice, flat, "pressed-ness." When pressed, you can get a lot of crumbs into each small container!
They don't take up a lot of room when closed and stacked, so I can have them right next to where I work, ready to grab.
These little bins make the following nonsense a lot easier and faster to do!
Think this is nuts? Welcome to my OCD world! But it is helpful to have OCD, sometimes...
I enjoyed reading the organization posts. It works well for you and it is obvious that you get a lot done so well worth time and money spent. I have a good size stash but yours is phenomenal and would be a wonderful place to play.ReplyDelete
You make it sound so easy!! I don't have an OCD bone in my body and it shows when I'm trying to find something in my scrap bins. I've started separating the standard cuts into their own bin, but that's as far as I've gotten. And even that was thanks to seeing your quilt cave the first time.ReplyDelete
I'm so in awe and jealous of your talent when using itty bitty pieces of fabric. You turn out masterpieces.
It may be OCD, but it's wonderful--I wish I could get myself to organize my bins of scraps--I KNOW there are very use-able pieces in there!! I guess I just don't know how to best color-organize my pieces in a functional manner--AND I am used to searching through the mess for that one piece of fabric I thought I remembered (ROTFLOL)! I do like your containermania though--sooooo neat!! :-)))JulieroseReplyDelete
I wish OCD was contagious. :) I love how you think and work. I've been organizing my fabrics a bit a time and always refer back to your posts. I love containers and want more. :) Thanks again for sharing.ReplyDelete
This is not nuts......it's GENIUS! I hate having to re-iron bits and pieces when using my scrap bins. I'm going to do this, too! Thanks for the 'tutorial'! lolReplyDelete
You go girl. You are not nuts. You are getting stuff done while everyone else is still digging around looking for where they put that darn thing and reading about how you do it! :)ReplyDelete
I agree with Judy, I wish OCD was contagious too.ReplyDelete
I love OCD when it comes to my stash and sewing. It's really the only part of my life that is organized. And I like seeing pictures of others' OCD talents on display so I loved this post!ReplyDelete
Wow - I am in awe of your organisation - such handy little containers! I know that feeling of searching through bins for just the right piece, it can take forever!ReplyDelete
love this idea....wish i had the storage space to do itReplyDelete
Faster?! Is it even possible for you to work faster? Teresa you make my OCD look like "normal" and for that I thank you kindly :)ReplyDelete
Safe places to store fabric is my down fall. I have a limited amount of space. We do have an outside storage area, but in the middle of a snow storm I don't want to be out in the weather to look for stuff. Always afraid of humidity and mold plus insects like crickets eat fabric also. At some point it will become an issue for me because I am to inherit a huge amount of sewing and quilting supplies. Amazed at your skills and ability to store fabric.ReplyDelete
Let me say: That is one AWESOME channeling of OCD.ReplyDelete
Never, and I mean NEVER EVER EVER (plus another EVER) did I see someone organizing their stash this well. Fabulous! Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
you have figured out a great system that works for you.ReplyDelete
I love your OCD-edness. My mind is willing but my body just doesn't follow up....all my scraps are overflowing several huge bins, I'll never find what I need and I should throw it all away and start again but my mind and body both have lots of Hoarding instinct!ReplyDelete
I feel s inadequate! :-)ReplyDelete
That wall of boxes just screams "come play with me!:" I think I should have taken out stock in the Rubbermaid company--I have bought a lot over the years!! I love to applique--and all these perfect little bits need their own place to stored. What an great idea--may I borrow it?? I have the little containers already (they were on sale at Micheals) and I was using them for something else. My son just helped me replace a light fixture in my sewing room--and I can see now. Off to organize............ JudyReplyDelete
That's not crazy at all. You are so organized. I also like little containers to put "stuff" in. I just love all of your beautiful applique'.ReplyDelete
I'm always gobsmacked when I see your organization!ReplyDelete
You would need resuscitation if you saw mine!
Amazing!! and Brilliant!! Fancy sharing some of your OCD?? I'm a compulsive box buyer but not organizer. Your organization is awesome!!ReplyDelete
Your organization is to be admired. I had been tossing these tiny pieces as I didn't have a way of effiently organizing them. I have got to check out these little boxes. Your applique is so beautiful and I really appreciate your sharing how you do it.ReplyDelete
Your amazing organization and your beautiful photos could make me weep! Absolutely inspiring! OMGReplyDelete
I usually waste time working from yardage instead of lopping off more workable sizes because I'm always trying to avoid cultivating more scraps. Yet, I prefer making scrappy quilts and that's tedious if you don't have ~ scraps. I'm definitely a bit OCD and your suggestions here are most helpful! Plus, I live just up the street from the best JoAnn's, next door to their headquarters. No excuses! Thanks, Teresa!ReplyDelete
Amazing! Very excellent way to keep your pieces handy and portable! I keep my crumbs organized by color in glass jars. They are handy and decorative, but heavy and the pieces need to be ironed because they are pretty much stuffed in the jar. Hmmm.... I may need to try your method :*)ReplyDelete
Brilliant!! Your organisational and applique skills are awesome. If that's the result of OCD I want to know is it contagious and can I catch it from reading.... hope so.ReplyDelete
W.O.W. I am totally in awe of you, woman---and when did you say you could come hang out with me and get my fabrics into containers????? ;D I want my stash to look just like yours, please.ReplyDelete
You are truly the queen of bins! Good for you for finding a great way to make applique easier to deal with and all those tiny pieces .... yes, your way is great!ReplyDelete
Wow, I would love a tour in person of this beautifully organized sewing room! I am constantly having trouble with my mess...ahhh, to be so organized! Thanks for sharing! I came you way from Simple Bird today!ReplyDelete
Thank you for the "little boxes" storage idea. I love all your musical blocks. I have been off the computer for a while. I am trying to catch up today. Love all those beautiful blocks.ReplyDelete
I understand your OCD tendencies. These little boxes are a great idea for all those little pieces you use in your blocks. Your representation of all the musical instruments is phenominal, as well as the floral pieces with all those tiny petals. I am in awe of all that you accomplish. Keep up the great work!
I always love reading your get organized posts. I started using small containers sort and store my works in progress fabrics.Love it.ReplyDelete