Friday, 12 October 2012


People (both quilters and non-quilters) sometimes ask me how I find the time to make so many quilts.  I'm usually at a loss to answer this question, and say something like, I use the time they use for doing other things, like watching the television, playing or watching sport, gardening or even doing housework to do some sewing.  But recently my friend Jane asked me the same question, and I started thinking.

One of my main advantages is the fact that I am able to leave my sewing machine up all the time.  This means I can sew for a few minutes and don't have all the bother of getting things out and putting them away.  But I think the thing which is really time-saving, is having storage which works for you, and being organised.

Most of my fabric is organised by colour, and here is red, pink, yellow and batik in an IKEA basket storage unit.  Sometimes I have too much fabric of one colour for one container, so separate them into lights, mediums and darks.  Blues are like this, but for reasons that will be obvious to those who know my favourite colour, greens are divided into light and lime green in one box, and other greens in the other!  I have a lot of lime green!

But the main time saver is my adoption of Bonnie Hunter's scrap user system.  All my scraps have been cut up into useable sizes.  Here I have 1.5" strips and squares and 2" dark and light strips and squares. 

Here are dark and light 2.5" strips and squares, 3.5" pieces and charm squares.

I even have a container for selvedges and triangles - I just can't bear waste!  When I have finished any project, I spend a few minutes cutting up any scraps into the biggest strips I can and putting them in (or on, if I'm feeling lazy) the relevent container.  Then when I need, say, 2" squares, I don't have to spend time choosing and cutting yardage, just look into the box and see what's ready to go! 

If you don't already sort your scraps (as Jane didn't) and you feel a bit overwhelmed by the bag of scraps you have and at the idea of all that cutting, just remember how to eat an elephant.  A bite at a time!  Buy yourself a couple of plastic food containers from your local hardwear shop and put aside just 10 or 15 minutes to cut some scraps from your bag.  If you do that every day, you'll soon empty thebag, and have made yourself loads of extra quilting time!


Sew Create It - Jane said...

Excellent advice. I adopted the Bonnie system years ago and it makes life so much easier!

black bear cabin said...

that would certainly make things easier! For me, its not having an official sewing space, so i always have to drag everything out into the living room and kitchen table...but when im on a roll...that stuff sits out in the house for a week or two at a time (which is sort of a pain since our house is soooo small, and it takes up sooo much room, but it works). i like the idea of having things already cut to size though...maybe ill give that a try! thanks Lynda