First week of the new blog post schedule and I managed to skip a day! Oops. Today you get two posts to make up for the one I missed on Friday. I’d like to point out that everything I mention in the Studio update has been done in the last four days…I have been incredibly busy in this room!
Studio Reorganization Update
Craft room work continues! I know, it seems like all I’m doing is the Studio but that room REALLY needs the attention. Now that the walls have been painted and the furniture has been set up, it’s been nothing but sorting and putting things away, day after day. I don’t think even I had any clue just how much stuff was in that room to begin with.
Once the crafting supplies had been put away, I had five major areas to work on: Yarn, Fiber/Fleece*, Fabric, Patterns, and Trim.
*For the non-yarny people, “fleece” here means wool shorn from a sheep, usually washed but otherwise unprocessed. “Prepared fiber” has been combed, carded, dyed, and otherwise prepped for spinning. Fleeces are often large and fluffy while prepared fiber is more compact and easy to organize. This is not to be confused with Polar fleece, which is a synthetic fabric used to make jackets and blankets. I mention both below.
I started sorting through yarn first. After I lost a lot of my stash to the carpet beetles, I feared what I would find. It seems more yarn escaped damage than I thought; the commercial yarn was badly dented but my handspun now makes up about 60% of my total yarn stash. Of the still-questionable yarn, I think I’m going to just trash any fiber or commercial yarn and try to save the handspun. That’s a whole process in and of itself, so I’ll go into that later.
With the stash divided into handspun and commercial yarns, I made piles of color families. The handspun has five: Warms, Cools (Blues & Purples), Greens, Neutrals, and Multicolor. The commercial yarn has four: Warms, Cools, Neutrals, and Sock Yarn. (I know Sock Yarn isn’t a color, but work with me here.) I like this system; I tend to plan my projects organically, so having like colors together is very inspiring.
All of the yarn fit into the cube wall. Since the medium bins I used only filled the cubes about 2/3 of the way, I found some discontinued scrapbooking bins that fit perfectly into the extra space. Small skeins and remnant balls of yarn went into these.
Sorting through my prepared fiber was a lot faster and easier than I expected. I did the same kind of separation of Warms, Cools, Neutrals, and Multicolor. I ended up with only four tall bins, all of which now live in my closet. I have these nice staggered shelves that take advantage of the angled wall, as the closet is positioned above the stairwell. The shelves are exactly as deep as the bins, making them a perfect fit.
While the fiber situation is looking great, on the fleece side…things aren’t so fab. I have WAY more fleece than I thought I did. I was caught between a little bit of laughing and crying as I emptied the closet the other day. Bag after bag of fleece came out – Lilith and Angie called it my “clown car closet”. I still won’t count how many bags it was because it was crazy. I already know that I’m going to get rid of some once I’ve inventoried them. I also want to card some into spinning batts for sale. Until then, I’m hanging up the smaller ones on hangers just to get them off the floor.
I think I have the equivalent of seven or eight sheep in there, if I put all the half- and quarter-fleeces together.
Long before I was a spinner or a knitter, I was a seamstress. At one time, I needed a storage unit to hold my fabric collection because the tiny apartment we lived in couldn’t contain it. I also worked at several fabric stores over the years, so it was easy to come home with more than I ever needed. When we moved into this condo, I finally emptied the storage unit and brought everything here. I held a huge fabric destashing day, during which I culled 2/3 of my total stash. The remaining third was still more stock than I’ve seen at some shops. Yesterday, I cut out half of what was left. A giant bag of smaller pieces and a big box of Polar fleece will be leaving for new homes. Some medium-sized bins hold specific project fabrics and scraps. The rest of the stash fit into five tall bins: Warms, two bins of Cools, Neutrals, and a larger bin for velveteen, which needs to be stored unfolded and therefore needed more space.
I’m seriously proud of how this ended up! I had a highly impractical storage system for my patterns involving baskets, a pot lid rack from the kitchen, Ziploc bags, and big yellow envelopes. Many of my patterns were holdovers from my fabric store days…some were from 1991 and had never been used. I’ve changed dress sizes a dozen times since then! Everything outdated went into a bag for listing on Etsy. The rest fit into a single tall bin, which you can see as the first bin on the top shelf in the picture above. It contains everything, including my costume, home dec, and vintage patterns. It’s a bit stuffed, but at least now I know where everything is.
This is the one big area that has yet to be done. Of all the above supplies, the trim and ribbon category has been the most well-curated. The collection currently resides in four bins, and once I’ve gone through them, I plan to set up a ribbon holder on the wall to contain and display the spools. Maybe I’ll actually use some of them instead of just thinking about possibilities!
I was out a lot this weekend and picked up some things that I really needed. The bins you see in the pics above were on sale at Target. I’ve been grabbing a few at a time over the past couple of months but on Saturday I found out they were being discontinued. I got an extra deal because one store was out of lids, so they discounted the bases…and then I found out I could get lids from another store when I stopped by to get the last few of their stock. I’m so glad I did this. The sizes are just right for me. I can fit them on shelves, lift them over my head, and stack them just about anywhere. It may seem picky to want bins that are all the same, but as a very visual person, it makes a huge difference in my ability to organize. It also means that the lids and bases are interchangeable, so if one breaks, I can swap them out as needed. That’s something that has been an issue many times over the past 10 years. In fact, it was an issue just recently when I learned that the bins I wanted to use – the ones that fit perfectly in my cube wall – have been replaced by Rubbermaid with a design that is now a full half-inch too big for the cubes. Honestly, too, I love having the opportunity to plan instead of dealing with a hodgepodge of storage containers.
Speaking of visuals…I have this set of Vietnamese silk lanterns that I have wanted to put up for years. However, it’s been difficult to find the right kind of lights to go in them. Plus, every time I found the right type, it was part of a string of 12 or 24 and usually way too extensive for my needs. On top of that, I hadn’t found anything battery operated, which meant I was limited as to where and how I could hang the lanterns. This cool LED set, however, is utterly awesome. It’s a set of 3 with a remote, and once you have that initial set, you can get individual ones that also respond to the same remote! I can’t wait to show you how they look when I hang them up. At last I can display my beautiful lanterns safely, and add a bit of cozy lighting to the room.
I think I’ve caught you up on the cleaning progress now! Every day it improves. The house gets closer and closer to what I want it to be. Step by step, guys…step by step.