Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sifting and Winnowing

Labor Day has passed, and finally there is some cool fall air, rainy days, perfect for cleaning the sewing room, sorting through mountains of "stuff," and tackling the stash.  I will do a little a day so my back doesn't give out, but it is overwhelming.  A lifetime of fabric, scraps from quilts, and I hate to admit I have a hard time saying goodbye to any fabric.

However it is time to get organized and make some decisions about all this.  Fortunately there are people who need fabric and will put it to good use.  My sister is already on her way to a beautiful star quilt that she calls a "stash buster" and more is on the way to her.  Every day I feel a sense of accomplishment as a drawer is cleaned, books are sorted and organized and designated for keeping or giving away.  Piles are formed, my life in quilting is passing in front of me.

I found books or magazines that I wondered why I had kept them, and after paging through would find an article I had written or one about me, or a photo of one of my quilts.  I had forgotten I wrote so much and said "yes" to so many publications.  

And, I've taken time to pause and read notes from you, quilters I've met in classes, or from quilters I've never met.  So many of you took the time to leave me a note at the end of class, give me a little gift, and I've kept them all and treasure them.  I love these, and it was so nice rediscovering them.

As I sort the fabrics, and I've only begun, I realize I am still drawn to the same favorites, whether by color, print, or style.  I lovingly pick each up and fold it neatly and admire it.  Some I do wonder what was I thinking, or why did I buy it, but not many at all.  And oh the scraps!  Each one brings back the memory of the quilt it comes from, the making of it, the finished result.  Most of them I no longer have, so .......should I keep the remnants?  Probably not.  I must be practical.  

Before I began there were so many stacks and bins and piles of things I couldn't walk into my sewing room, or see the floor.  Now the outer hall is clean and tidy (that took a few days) and my room beckons, with shining floor, even a rug for Oliver and a stool by the window for him.  I have a new ironing board cover (grey with ivory Diane-shiko), and only three sewing machines.  I need to pare that down to two as well.  

The cutting table is clear and has a wall quilt on it resting and getting de-creased.  I will hang it soon.  It doesn't have a sleeve as the hand sewing with my painful hands was too much so I'll put it up with a few straight pins nailed into the wall.  

I found one sewing pattern I had saved, and it has to be from the 80's when I was still sewing clothes including long riding skirts as shown in this pattern:

Yikes, the shoulder pads!!  I plead Guilty, I wore them.  I could whip out a skirt in wool gabardine or silk in about an hour and it fit me perfectly.  This pattern was never used; I went up in size and sort of gave up on sewing for myself, but it would work now, so.....I am keeping it.  You never know.

In August Oliver turned six!  We went out to eat to celebrate and raised glasses of iced tea to our lovely boy.  Despite my shock when our new vet suggested it might be good for him to have some wet food added to his diet, he has taken to it perfectly.  He is now NOT a Vegan, but a true carnivore cat, although he does not like any people food except raw veggies and corn silk.  He isn't allowed to eat corn silk but he sniffs it out with black-eyed excitement.  He is still a little bi-polar and OCD, but that is very typical for a cat.

He has mellowed a little and is very happy.  His thunder purring is amazing, and it's the little things that he loves:  both of us at home, clean sheets and the making of the bed, an empty paper bag, Mom washing things in the sink with lots of running water, us keeping to routine, the usual cat pleasures. 

His birthday included a stack of canned cat food with 6 candles atop, and a card from his godparents in AZ, below.  He was a happy boy.

My email is working well again, still haven't tackled new software and a website update, although just getting the software was an accomplishment!    

Many of you are emailing me with questions about quilting, and I try to answer as best I can.  I still maintain that with every quilt project you do, you encounter new problems and must come up with a way to work it out.  You think you know it all, but you never do.  It keeps things interesting.

So  Happy Fall and .....keep quilting!  Your work gets better every day,


QuiltShopGal said...

I'm working in my sewing room to organize and now I'll be thinking about you doing the same, although I think you are way ahead of me on organization. I hope one day you'll take a picture of your ironing board cover that sounds like you quilted it. Definitely a story worth sharing. And, it would be delightful to see your sister's star quilt. Am I a snoop or what?

Seriously, just popping by to say hi and enjoy hearing all is well.


Diane Gaudynski said...

QuiltShopGal, Thanks for popping by! I will post a photo of the ironing board cover soon, and.....there is NOTHING on the ironing board!! What an accomplishment. This project began because of my new trench coat that arrived with a few creases, and I needed to press it. The rest is history.

The ironing board cover is padded but the design is printed on, very modern and nice. It doesn't fit as well as I'd like but is ok, and I make allowances because it looks so much nicer than my old muslin one full of stains and burn marks.

I think many of us are doing some fall cleaning!

QuiltShopGal said...

Hi Diane, Your ironing board cover still sounds interesting and good for you for having it cleared off. So easy to use ironing boards for storage. My sewing room is so small I need to put my ironing board away, so I can't really uses it to hold things. But my cutting table is stacked with things that I need to put away, so I can officially use my cutting table. Hopefully tomorrow. But I did fill a trash can, as well as filled a box with things that I will give to other quilters whom I think might enjoy them. For me, organization is a slow activity, but so nice once my sewing room has been tamed. It is fun to know we are both virtually organizing our sewing rooms at the same time. Much more fun than doing it alone.


lvkwilt said...

I am also sorting, organizing and donating...unfortunately, after 38 years of quilting, my stash has spread to three rooms. I wish I only had one to clean! I, too, try to do at least a little at a time and it will get done eventually. With each bag out of the house, I feel lighter! So glad there are women with more energy than I who can sew up this fabric for charity quilts! Funny how one's tastes change through the years, the new energy brought in by the younger, modern crowd but still cherish the old, too. Thanks for all the machine quilting inspiration you've given me over the years! Quilters are such generous people!

Ada Plouvier-Kopitopoulou said...

I try not to look at my floor, covered with tiny scraps, pins, etc. etc. Yesterday I made a dress. I have started again after 15 years to make my own clothes. But mostly I am busy with patchwork. I have my basement/sewing room, but are using one of the spare bedrooms too! Don't know where this is going to end !!

Diane Gaudynski said...

I am so glad I am not the only one going through this! There is still so much to do it will take me all winter I think, but breaking it down into a goal for each day helps a lot, and taking time away from it is good too. I also have an entire other bedroom filled up, but that is more quilts, seasonal things, extra furniture, luggage, winter coats, old files. It's hard to get in there so I'll have to start at the door and work my way in.

It is a very good thing others are using our fabric for charity quilts and projects, and I am very grateful for that. It's hard letting go, but that "light feeling" as each bunch of stuff leaves is wonderful.

Dawn said...

Oh.....look at sweet Oliver. What a cutie! I love that the pads of his feet are so very pink. One of my kitties has pink and purple pads on her feet. She's a kick because she loves for me to rub between the pads of her feet. She spreads her toes wayyyyy out and as I rub her feet I swear that her eyes roll back in her head like she's in Heaven. lol
I feel your pain, frustration and satisfaction in organizing your sewing space/spaces. We packed all of our household items to be stored in our garage while we sell our house. We had contractors come in to do work and with 5 cats, my husband and myself it just seemed easier to live in our 5th wheel while the construction and the selling process was in progress. But I digress. By myself I packed the kitchen, 2 bedrooms, dining room, family room, living room and 2 bathrooms all in 5 days along with many other chores in that same time frame. What my husband found astonishing is that it took me 9 days to pack just my tiny sewing room (10'x12'). So I packed 8 rooms in 5 days while it took 8 days to pack my tiny sewing room. Scarey to say the least. lol My husband won't let me hear the end of it either.

Sally said...

So relevant to see your post. IO just finished reading a book (the name escapes me at present) but it's basically about pairing down. The author first has thou take ALL your clothes and put them on the bed, then sort into what you can't war, what you no longer like, keeping only what brings you Joy. She basically has you pat each item and thank them for the joy they have brought and then move on. Clothes first, then books, etc., etc., personal items being the last because they're the most difficult to make decisions about.

After doing my clothes and books, I can't tell you what a great feeling of accomplishment and happiness the whole project brought me. Then I decided to tackle my fabrics, quilt and sewing magazines and notions, etc. I mean, how many seam rippers do I really need? Fortunately a good friend took a lot of my fabric. Goodwill is always anxious to receive sewing items. So I took many boxes there.

I managed to dispose of 8 shelves of fabrics. I still have lots that I've kept but I'm going to sit on them for a while and then do another purge in the Spring. I've discovered I really, really like the actually free motion quilting part of quilting and have been practicing those skills on solids or gradated fabrics. SUCH FUN! Well, you know. I don't so much enjoy the sewing shapes together any more. Would rather express my creativity through the quilting itself.

Well, have blabbed on long enough. Congratulation on your Fall clean-up. Sally

Sally said...

The name of the book is Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

Rose in VT said...

Diane: Wow, it's such fun to hear everyone's stories about cleaning up at this time of year. And I'm so glad I'm not the only one going through this. I especially like the part about being able to see the floor again.

I also wanted to say thank you again for the classes you taught over the years. Yours was truly the light bulb moment in my machine quilting adventure. I've entered quilts in shows since then, but for the first time sent in an AQS entry this summer. I was hoping it would at least get juried in. I was on a road trip across the country, and planned to attend the show in Des Moines. I was shocked
to check my email the night before getting into town, and seeing my
name on the list of ribbon winners. Thanks, Diane!

Diane Gaudynski said...

Congratulations Rose! I always am pleased to hear that teaching made a difference, that students have succeeded, and for you a ribbon in Des Moines! What a lovely accomplishment and a nice surprise, a great feeling.

I am still working on the house, clearing things out after 21 years here, little by little. My sewing room looks amazing, but I am not messing it up. In the past I'd clean it and then start a new project and within hours it would be mayhem again.

Somerset Wedding Gal said...

Aw, happy birthday Oliver! Thanks for the cute update!

talkingcat said...

I had that very same skirt/blouse pattern until a few months ago when I "think" I tossed it. Of course I may have just relocated it!