Quilting in chaos…


Chaos might just be my middle name. Actually my middle name is Janelle, which I hate (sorry mom). But seriously, I have four kids, which as far as kids go isn’t a huge family, but it’s not small either.

Compound this with the fact that our family lives in a developing country and frequently travels. Of course, right now we are about to move out of that creepy basement (See my last post) and move across the country to wait out the pandemic in my parent’s second home. So does that count as homeless? I guess not, we just can’t access our home.

So yes, life is fluid and messy these days, and pretty much most days. My kids are usually running in and out of the house. Someone just might be screaming, another one probably needs help with a school paper or project, my littlest is usually found precariously balancing on something.

It seems I am usually in the middle of packing or unpacking from a trip, planning school around said trips, teaching my four year old to read, taking classes in Urdu/Hindi, changing dirty diapers and did I mention that mountain of laundry? To be honest my husband helps with that and my kid’s chore is to fold it. And I use “fold” in the loosest sense possible. All this to say, I have a couple things going, which I am sure most, or all of you can relate to.

Here is a couple tips that helps me stay on track even when I am sharing my sewing space as a dining and school table:

Stay organized. My husband would say I’m not when he looks at my space, but really there is a method to my madness. I started keeping a bin and a basket stacked on the table where I am working. The bin has extra fabric or scraps from the fabric I am currently using as well as more background fabric in case I miscounted while cutting (hint: I usually do). The basket has an open top and has small rulers, cutting tools, extra thread, bobbins… Anything that I frequently use is there ready to grab. I also keep any fabric I have already cut or blocks I have finished on the top so I can pick up where I left off.

Clean up. I don’t always do a great job at this. But I at least stack up my fabrics, quickly put things back in my basket or bin and push back my sewing machine so someone else can use this space when I am done.

Stay organized 2.0. If I am in the middle of cutting fabrics and I need to stop I sometimes just hang the fabrics over my sewing machine. This keeps them organized and also prevents them from becoming wrinkled, which saves me time later from having to re-iron them.

Stack fabric. Keep your fabrics organized by blocks. This tip proved super helpful the last time I was making a color coordinated quilt. Since I am color blind this is necessary when working with solids.

My ironed, partially cut fabric waiting for me to finish.

So I guess if I could give you one tip, it would be to stay organized. At least organized for you. Organized for my husband is not the same as organized for me. And my son’s concept of organization is throwing all his clean clothes into one bucket. Sigh…

Until next time friends,

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