Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Cleaning up your sewing room

WOW!!!!   I got some great before and after and during photos to share this morning, and here's a SUPER tip from Rose about those power bars. She zip-tied hers to the upper leg of her sewing table. That is awesome. One of the power bars I showed yesterday has a clamp on it, so you can clamp it to the edge of the table. I've NO idea where I bought that one. 

Power bar with a clamp

I mentioned this before, but the same techniques we are applying to our sewing space can be used in ANY part of your house! I should take a picture of our kitchen counter at the moment. It's pretty bare, and this has become our NEW STANDARD at our house. Now, if I can just get DH to put his dirty dishes IN the dishwasher instead of by the sink. 

Here's the other thing you will notice -- certain areas become dumping grounds. For me, I have a temporary dumping ground in the sewing room  -- it's the ironing board. And my more permanent dumping ground is the cutting table. But we're not going there today, but we will, so be prepared!

How do we cure the dumping ground syndrome is to ask yourself why? Why are you putting stuff there? If I bring something out to look at or something from upstairs or downstairs, it usually gets put on the ironing board. BUT here's the important thing -- it does NOT stay there. I find a home for it, and usually, the space is clear again by the end of the day or first thing the following day. 

So be aware of the dumping ground in various parts of your house -- why is it a dumping ground, and how quickly does it get cleared? 

I've got loads of pictures to share today  -- let's have a look. 

Here's a sewing station  -- I'm not sure I should mention her name. OK -- I will -- this is Susan's sewing station. OK -- I think she wins a prize for having the messiest space. 

Susan's space - before

Susan's space - before

I did NOT get an "after" picture, so I'm not if she had a chance to tidy that up. But that's a disaster waiting to happen. Now I realize that we each work in our own way and I'll leave it like that. 

Here's Cathie's before picture. Hmmm -- not too bad for a before picture. 

Cathie's before

Here's her "after" picture. OK -- so I'm coveting her chair! I wanted to get one of those, but they are pricey, and well, I just never broke down and got one. Love the purple walls!!

Cathie's after

OK --- so I'm looking PAST the ironing board in this picture. What has Cathie done to her fabric?? OK -- we'll talk about that another day. But look at that mess on the right-hand side of the ironing board. 

Cathie's before

AHA -- this is much better. The iron sits in the iron holder, and the wool pressing mat stays in place. 

Cathie's after

So we have purple walls and RED cabinets. Do you see someone who likes BRIGHT colors? LOVE IT!!!

Here's a shot from a different Cathie. Not much on her ironing board in the back, and it looks like a mini design board that can easily be moved. A bit more mess on the cutting table. More on that another day. 

Cathie cutting mat

This is Mary's "before" picture of her ironing station. It doesn't look too bad, but there's a wee bit of dumping happening here. 

Mary before

And now here's the "after." I love that she was on Zoom with the Monday Sewing Group when she took the "after" picture. 

Mary after

Here's an interesting follow-up from Maryke. I suggested, if possible that she move your sewing machine to the right-hand side of the table to give you more room to work on the left. It's convenient when you have something large to sew. So she now has room for a small cutting mat. 

Maryke's sewing space

But to move the sewing machine, her small ironing station, which is on her right, had to be dealt with. 

The ironing station

See how she rotated it, so she got a wee bit more room? I love that. It's essential to look at our spaces and see if a small change will make a BIG difference in how you sew. I LOVE that iron stand she has. Very cool. 

Change the orientation to get more space

And put up your hand if you do NOT use those TV trays in your sewing room in some capacity? I love mine for paper piecing. Let's hope the quilt industry doesn't get wind of that, or the price will skyrocket!

I personally like to get up to cut and press. If I sit too long, my knee stiffens up, and it takes a few minutes to work the kinks out. Not good, if you're in a hurry! And I have learned that if I don't stretch out my lower back, my left leg is NOT happy. Let's say that I can now get my hands on the floor when trying to touch my toes! Yeah, for stretching!

Now that we are grounded at the gym for the next three weeks, I MUST remember to stretch at home. 

OK -- the last set of pictures for today is from Helen Anne. This is the "before" picture. OK -- A bit hard to see in that photo, but the cutting table is piled HIGH with stuff, and the sewing table looks pretty messy. 

Helen Anne before

After 45 minutes, the sewing space is clear, and the mound of stuff on the cutting table is significantly less. 

Helen Anne during

And after 1½ hours, the cutting table is clear. That tells me that most stuff in her studio has a home -- it just hadn't got put away! And it's also hard to see in the photo, but she's Zooming in the background!!! 

Helen Anne after

That's one thing I love about Zoom -- we get a peek into each other's sewing spaces, and seeing these pictures, we're getting to peek a bit more!!

I actually sewed in Studio U yesterday. I had some paper piecing to do and look -- I have a drawer in that sewing table with a top to put on it. It's perfect when you need additional space. I've never used it for paper piecing, but I've used it for quilting. 

Extra space in the sewing table

The ironing board is also cleared off in that room -- I didn't get a picture, or if I did, I can't find it this morning. But here's one thing that was on the ironing board that I have a love/hate relationship with. 

I have two sets of rulers from Kimberbell. They are nesting rulers used to trim blocks. Usually, I would say, use a regular ruler, but with machine embroidery, it's handy to not have a flat ruler sit (and rock) on the embroidery. 

Nesting rulers for trimming machine embroidery

Nesting rulers for trimming machine embroidery

But those darn things come in a flimsy non-reusable package. Yes -- each ruler has a hole in it to put on a pegboard, but I wish it came in a sturdier container. It went into one of my drawers - I hope I don't forget where I put it! But it's off the ironing surface. 

Some of the stuff upstairs had to come downstairs and got put on my dumping ground. BUT I needed that space this morning to assemble a quilt top, so everything got put away. So my time NOT going to the gym was well used. 

Studio B ironing board - before

And now it's clear!! 
Studio B ironing board - after

Remember, it's OK to put stuff on the ironing surface, but DO NOT leave it there. It's very important to keep that area clear! 

You know where we're going next - right? Yep -- my nemesis -- the cutting station. I can't keep this area clear if my life depended on it. Although the stuff on it is less permanent now. I used to store things on the cutting table. Now it's more like I need to tidy something up, so it goes on the cutting table and stays there for a week or two. My goal is to STOP doing that. Deal with it right away. 

My cutting table is a mess - again!

But I had to cut a large piece of fabric this morning, and so I did put some stuff away, and some stuff went on the floor to be dealt with later. And it was super easy to cut my fabric pieces. 

Now it's easy to cut fabric

Don't worry -- I will give you suggestions for the cutting area, and I know that several of you want tips for scraps. That will be next, so if you can, be patient for an extra day!

Here are some tips for the ironing station:

We have supplies that we need for ironing/pressing. What would that be? Extra irons (OK -- so I have a few), extra cover, Best Press or starch, pressing cloths, iron cleaner, applique press sheet,   -- all of that should be in ONE spot. Then when you need anything related to your iron -- you know exactly where it is. It would be totally awesome if we all had ironing stations with shelves beneath, but most of us do not, so find a spot. I keep my ironing supplies on a shelf under the cutting table. There is no time for a photo today, and the extra irons go under a table (they are stored in a wooden box). OK -- so more pictures of that tomorrow. 

I use distilled water for my iron, and that container sits on the floor beside the ironing board. 

Whatever works, find a solution to assembling your tools together and labeling them or remembering where they are. 

I see I had ONE chickadee at my bird feeder yesterday. I don't think the birds like this red monster, so I'm going to find a new one. 

One bird at the feeder

And I think it's time I replaced some lights in Studio B, or I'll be sewing in the dark soon! Another bulb went yesterday! 

One more light bulb is gone!

OK --- so good job to those following along and tidying up their spaces. If you haven't, you really should. Not only does it make it easier to work, but it helps to clear up clutter. Did you know that most of our brains DO NOT like clutter? Yep --- it's not healthy! And we are not nearly as efficient as we could be. 

What do you do with that stuff that has no home? Garbage, give away, or sell. That's easy. 

BUT if you want to keep stuff, you need to prioritize. What you cannot work on at the moment requires finding a home. Set up a "current project" table or box if you have the space, which should become the temporary dumping ground. If you don't have room, get boxes and label them well. Put them away until you can deal with them. But if you leave the clutter in your space, you will NOT enjoy the freedom of a clean room. 

We'll go through more of that later. 

So get to work -- take a "before" picture of the cutting table and then figure out what to do with your stuff. Put it away, and then send me an "after" picture. 

I know I might need an extra day on this task as I have a few things that don't have a home, and I need to make some mental decisions if I want it or not. That's very hard, but we have to be realistic. 

On that note, I'm out of here. The admin work is trying to kill me, but I'm working my way out. Slowly!

Have a super day!!!


1 comment:

  1. The zoom session is also good company when sorting. My goal is 15 minutes. Since it was a zoom session I spent about 1.5 hours zipping around putting things away and am almost back to a comfortable work area. Used the rest of the zoom session to actually stitch. Nice to have company doing a task.