If you call your UFOs - "Works in Progress", are they progressing when you are not even touching them? I like to think so. It makes me feel better even if it's not true. I also like to think that if I store them neatly, then maybe they don't really have to be finished. My project boxes come in bundles of 50 that are flat and store in a relatively small space until you need to fold them into a box to store a small or medium project. A large project can be stored in two matching boxes, with back and binding fabric in one box and block fabric in the other. The boxes are not acid free, but with one layer of acid free tissue paper they work the same. I counted my Project boxes and made a list turn in to my Quilt Guild to join their UFO challenge. I have 18 currently active WIPs. My goal this year is to finish one per month and post them here. January's Jelly Roll Race Quilt was already finished and sent to the quilter (see photo below).
Fabric is the whole reason I make quilts. Now that sounds like an obvious statement, like of course you need fabric to make quilts! But that isn’t what I mean. What I mean is that I love fabric and quilts are the manifestation of that love. I could just collect fabric for the love of fabric and not bother with the second step of making the quilt. It sure would be a lot less time consuming. But what good is love if it is not shared?
What is fun about being a part of a quilt guild is our shared love. We ooh and ahh over each other’s fabric choices, block placement, and quilts. We get excited about taking classes, learning new techniques, or just gathering to talk about the new quilt shops we visited. There is nothing better than a whole retreat weekend with fellow quilters. It never grows old. We come home with spirits refreshed, hearts repaired, and the ability to face our life with replenished energy and renewed joy.
What I find confusing when I enter many quilt studios is the lack of focus. Where is the fabric? If “for the love of fabric, I quilt”, why isn’t the fabric taking center stage? Or if the fabric is visible, it is in teetering piles and squashed in boxes and bags all over the room. Is that how we treat something we love?
Well I am here to offer you solutions and hope for a better storage method for your fabric. Let’s make use the most use of shelves, bookcases, and closets by folding your fabric using a ruler. I like the 8 ½ “ x 24” ruler – roll the fabric up on the ruler like the ruler is a bolt form from the fabric store. Slide the fabric off halfway, fold the fabric back onto the half on the ruler and slide it off the rest of the way. The clean front edge is the side that faces the room and is lined up on the edge of the shelf.
So you say, that is crazy! I don’t have time for this! Try it – you will like it and you can do it mindlessly. Bring a bag or box of fabric to the TV each evening after dinner. Fold one bag or box while watching that night’s favorite show. Carry the folded bag or box back to your studio before bed each night. When all is folded, put the fabric on your shelves so you can see it.
Half yard pieces and fat quarters can be folded with the smaller 4” x14” ruler and put in small bins that act as drawers when stored on the shelf. Look at the photo for a great idea from Kate Hunter for finding extra volume on her shelves by using racks meant to increase plate storage in kitchen cabinets.
It’s all about volume. Fabric when folded, takes up less space, which makes room for more fabric. So that solves the practical storage problem. But the even bigger benefit of the folded fabric is the positive energy and renewed quilting passion it gives back to you when handle it lovingly and store it beautifully.
When I make a quilt for someone, there are hours and days of thinking about, cherishing, and holding dear that person in my heart. The fabric that I love is combined with my love for them to create a gift that will wrap them in more than just the warmth of the quilt – the spiritual gift of my love resides there until the quilt, like the velveteen rabbit, becomes real.