Tuesday, April 25, 2023

The great thread sort continues

We all love to shop --- lots of goodies -- patterns, threads, fabric, and whatever else there is to buy! I started quilting in 1998, and I had no problems buying stuff. Or even worse -- getting freebies from various places. I see so many people winning things they will NEVER use -- why do they even bother to sign up for it? It's all a big marketing ploy. Sure -- they will sell or give it away, but then it will sit in someone else's house. We are KEYED to want free stuff! 

Sadly, I learned a bit too late about accumulating stuff. And for many years, I ignored it. But somewhere along the line, I came to my senses and knew I was in trouble if I kept accumulating like I was. That was about ten years ago, and I'm still trying to dig myself out of the mess. 

Yes -- I am pretty organized, but more organization or culling needs to happen within each group. I'm currently working on the thread. Diane has sewn hundreds of quilt tops for me and has yet to make a dent in the stash. OK -- that's not entirely true, as I see empty spaces, but the quantity of fabric in that stash room would make THOUSANDS of quilt tops. I'm not kidding when I say that! 

What I dislike at this point is the amount of time it's taking to manage the quantity of stuff. While I'm pretty organized, things didn't jump into place by themselves. And now I'm dealing with all those threads, which takes more hours. More hours sorting and organizing and tidying. Hours that I would LOVE to spend sewing. 

So do yourself a favor. If you are new or newish to quilting - STOP!! Before going into a quilt shop - make a list. What do you specifically need to finish or advance a project? Did you see a new technique online that you want to try? Think before you go down that road -- if a time slot is NOT on your radar, then don't go there. Otherwise, you'll find that new technique waiting for you 15 years later! 

And please stop signing up for these giveaways. This is not out of the kindness of the heart of the designer or store --- they are collecting data on you and BRIBING you to spread the word about their products. Giving away products (that they paid wholesale for) is an extremely CHEAP way of promoting their business, and guess who does all the work? Not the store or the designer -- that would be you. Just because you want to win something for free! 

I refuse to participate as I certainly do not need anything, and I am NOT tagging my friends as they certainly do not need free stuff that they won't use either. So - never tag me on anything because I ignore or delete it. That is, if I even see it, which is rare, as I am NOT a big social media user. It's a huge time waster, and I spend all my spare time organizing the crap I already have! As for the reels -- I'm cured. I see them and move on. Who needs to waste their time with someone else's stupid mini-videos?

People still ask me if I watched or liked a particular TV show. I do NOT watch TV. I returned from a three-week bicycle trip in Northern Canada in August of 2010. I have NOT watched TV since. OH -- I've watched a few highly curated shows on my laptop through YouTube or a streaming service, but I have NOT watched TV just because. I don't even miss it, and I never consider watching, just for the sake of watching. 

Boy -- do I sound like a party pooper! I'm not -- I'm just being realistic in light of my situation and the amount of time and space. I know if the mess happened to me, it'll happen to others! 

And now, let's look at what happened yesterday. 

Thank goodness I didn't have the time to shorten this shopping bag, as I see it's got a hole in the bottom. And I bet I know why that happened. The handles are too long, and occasionally, when I return from my errands, it skims the sidewalk! I could quickly shorten the handles by an inch or two, as carrying that bag with shorter handles would be much easier! 

A hole in my shopping bag

Look at this if you think I'm exaggerating or being a Debbie Downer with my comments above. I found a small bag of various threads that came from Superior. I opened it up and discovered it was a bag of various threads I received when I got my long arm! OH -- that would be how many years ago? Something like 17 or 18 years ago? None of them have been used. 

A variety pack of threads from Superior when I got my long arm

And I found a receipt for $83 for some thread I purchased in 2003, and NONE of it has been used. Can you imagine how much money I've spent and how many hours I've spent moving that thread around? If that doesn't drive home the point I was making, spend away as you are missing the point! 

A receipt for the thread

Here's the latest customer quilt. It's a bit crooked in the pictures, but it's done. Another of the Tula Pink Butterfly quilts! It's always a challenge to figure out what color thread to use, but I used a THIN black that I found when sorting, and it works just fine! 

Customer quilt - DONE

The next quilt is almost loaded on the long arm, and I only have three short (hopefully) things on the calendar, so I should have no problem getting it quilted. 

I  managed to sew and trim some half-square triangles, which was good! The first time I've had time to sew in many days. Why? Too busy cleaning up crap! 

Trimming half-square triangles

I walked to Diane's, dropped off the brown fabric kits, and picked up more quilt tops from her. These were made from OODLES of fabric squares I amassed during fabric swaps -- YEARS ago. I hadn't used them, so I "donated" them. I had NEVER opened up the bags, and there were hundreds of them. Well, not hundreds, but probably close to 100, if not more! 

Quilt tops from Diane

I found more piecing thread in Studio U and brought it downstairs. 

More piecing thread

Until you get ALL of the like items together, it's hard to know how to organize them. This is ALL (I think) of my 50-weight piecing thread. Lots of neutral for piecing quilts and colors for binding and topstitching. 

My collection of 50-weight thread

I think I will sort out the greys, whites, and blacks and set those aside for piecing. I think I will put them in those 13" square scrapbook boxes. Hmm -- do I need to go and buy some more? I do NOT - I need to empty a couple. I will need two for the piecing thread as there are some large cones, and they all won't fit in one. Now where is my shelf liner? 

Once the thread is sorted and in the boxes, I'll label them and put them on the shelf. 

And look at this -- there are TWO of those scrapbook boxes on the floor that I need to deal with. Now that there is an urgency to use the boxes, I plan to tackle them both today. 

Two scrapbook boxes to empty!

I opened one up to find the mitered Christmas placemat, but why is the other stuff in there? 

You never know what you'll find in a box.

While cleaning out the thread area in the stash room, I discovered a box of large format patterns that hadn't seen the light of the day in YEARS. Oh boy -- when I went through that box, there are many patterns, some of which are paper piecing and very expensive - one was almost $100! I have no idea what the value of those patterns is, but probably close to $1,000 - if NOT more! OK --- have you got my point yet? About buying and NOT doing? 

A box of patterns

I'm getting closer to having all those threads sorted by weight, but it's an ugly job. Here are the embroidery threads that must be sorted by color into the appropriate boxes. 

Embroidery threads to sort

Here are my metallic and sparkly threads, plus my Wonderfil thin threads that need to find a new home. That thread box, a freebie from Missouri Star if you BOUGHT a certain amount of goodies (and I had to have the thread box!), doesn't fit properly in my cabinet, so it's up for grabs. I like the box -- it just doesn't fit my space. OH -- I need to empty another scrapbook box! 

More sorted thread that needs a home

This is what I still have on the table to deal with. It's mostly the 12, 30, and 40-weight threads, and I found more spools of elastic thread and fusible thread. How many spools does one person need? Especially if you don't use it? 

What still needs to be sorted

The work tables and the ironing board are clear, so that's a bonus. 

My work tables are pretty clear

The cutting table is an EVOLVING piece of art! Yes -- I'm going to call it art! It will change every day, but what's important is that it is NOT a storage area. I need to wrap my head around the fact that this is a working table, and it will likely never be clean. As it gets some space, I put something else there that I will work on. I would LOVE one day with nothing else to do but tackle that table once and for all. And then I'll move something from the current projects table, and it'll be messy again! 

The cutting table is a piece of evolving art!

I'm packing stuff for the retreat, and it's all stacked at the bottom of the stairs. Do NOT yell at me -- I'm cautious on the stairs and NEVER go down without hanging onto the handrail! After Wednesday, I'll start moving it up. Thankfully, some of that will not be coming home with me, so I'll have to pack it, but I won't have to unpack it when I return! 

Packing for the retreat

And it's official --- I finished the Virtual Challenge for the Fellowship of the Ring yesterday!!!

It was definitely a challenge considering the distance and the time frame; I had a blister to heal in there, much travel, and cold days! But I'm a trooper, and nothing will stop me when I set my mind to something. And it shows that ANYTHING is possible if you really want it! 

It's like the organization thing -- I REALLY want that space to be super organized, and I will make it happen. It's just challenging to try to work at the same time. 

I'm away at a quilt retreat next week, and there's a shop hop at the four stores closest to the house. I was going to take my bike and bike to each, but the weather will not be that great. So I've decided I do NOT need to go to any of them. There's an art show nearby, and that'll be my entertainment. 

On that happy note -- I"m out of here! It will be another glorious day, and even if I get one thing organized, it's one thing more than I had organized yesterday! I'll start the next challenge in the Lord of the Rings series, but it's only 75 KM or something like that, so I may start it next Monday and aim to finish it while on retreat. 

Remember that this coming weekend is Virtual Retreat!! I'll post the links tomorrow but put it in your calendar. It's Saturday evening, starting at 6 PM, and Sunday, starting at NOON; all times are EST. 

Have a super day!!!!


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