Hooked on Needles

Friday, January 9, 2009

Major Clean Up Needed in the Sewing Room!

Before another day of 2009 goes by, I simply MUST do something about the mess my sewing room has become. There are so many wonderful projects I want to do this year, but I cannot even begin to think about starting anything until my space and my stuff are all cleaned out, organized and in order. But of course you know what that means, don't you? It will get worse before it gets better. Isn't that always the way?

Would you like to see just how bad it is? Of course you do, because it will make you feel much better about your own little mess!

Messy Sewing RoomThis picture was taken standing in the doorway and looking to the left. My little space is 6 feet wide and 12 feet long with all but about 2 feet of the length being even with or to the left of the door. When we had the basement finished, this little space was all I could bargain away from my husband, but I really love having it and I know he loves that I have it because it keeps my mess contained! I had the brilliant idea of having a pocket door installed instead of the usual swinging door so that I would not have to give up an inch of space to accommodate a swinging door. That was a wonderful idea and I would strongly recommend it to anyone doing a remodel or finishing of any practical and useful space where every inch counts.

Also in this picture, you can see behind my sewing machine that piece of light blue fabric hanging from the cork board. When I do my videos or take pictures of some things, I drop my sewing machine into the cabinet, unpin the bottom of the blue fabric so it falls down from the cork board over the cabinet, I turn on my swing-arm task light, and that is my little photo studio. I sit right there in my sewing chair with my camera on the tripod and the tripod between my knees and leaning up against the front edge of the cabinet, and that is how I do my videos. Isn't that funny?

Messy Sewing RoomThis picture is looking straight ahead from the doorway. Now you can see the hooks on which I hung all those tote bags to photograph them. That row of hooks was a simple project -- just a scrap of 1x4 pine painted white with 3 brass coat hooks attached and the whole thing anchored to the wall. Very handy little thing to have.

You can also see in the above picture an electrical outlet above the ironing board. That was the plug that was in the unfinished wall when the house was built and the electrician was going to remove it when we had the basement finished, but I knew exactly how I was going to arrange this sewing room even before the project began. So I asked him to leave it there and to also put other outlets lower on the wall. That 12 foot wall has 4 double outlets on it! Isn't that convenient? I don't like to be too far from POWER!

Another handy thing you can see in this picture is my thread holder just to the left of the hanging tote bags. This was a purchase I made at a local craft fair probably about 20 years ago and one of the best $15 I have invested in sewing convenience. Since then I have added to it. It came with the back panel and all the pegs for spools and the tray underneath that for holding other odd things. I keep my bobbin box in that tray and extra spools that don't fit on the pegs. I was looking for a place to keep my spools of ribbon organized one day many years ago, and so I took my thread holder back to the workbench, rummaged through some scrap wood and came up with the two thin pieces of pine you see hanging down on either side of the tray. I drilled a hole in each piece, nailed then to the outside of the tray ends, dug out a 14 inch afghan hook (which looks like a knitting needle with a hook on the end) from my needle mess, put it through one hole then all the holes of the ribbon spools and then the other hole, and that was my solution to messy ribbon spools.

The box under the ironing board is what the yarn for my Wedding Gift Afghan came in from Herrschner's last summer some time. It's about half empty now and the afghan is coming along quite nicely. I've made a lot of progress since my last update. After this clean-up is complete, finishing that afghan and mailing it to the happy couple will be at the top of my list!

Messy Sewing RoomNow to continue the tour...it really shouldn't take this long, after all, it is ONLY 12 x 6!

This picture was taken from the doorway looking to the right. These are my two cabinets which fit perfectly on the short wall to the right of the doorway. I planned it that way. The contractor thought I was nuts for insisting on this room being exactly these dimensions, but I knew what I wanted and I must say it works for me! Of course it would work better if it were neat and organized...but that is coming!

Messy Sewing RoomOh my, I am almost embarrassed to show you most of these pictures because it is just such a big, huge, disorganized mess. But I think it's part of the process, right? Admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it.

Anyway, you can tell what this is showing...the inside of the cabinets. Not all of the insides of course, because I can't open the last door because of the mess! But you get the idea.

On the top of the left cabinet, you can see a purple plastic container with a greenish lid. That is where I keep my mess of knitting needles. It's a perfect container for that purpose, except that I can never find two matching needles in the size I need. My Angel Swap friend Lyn had mailed me a pattern for a knitting needle roll which is on my list of things to make this year. That should go a long way towards organizing that mess!

In the bottom of the right hand cabinet, you can see lots of denim. Those are old pairs of jeans that were destined for the trash which I have been saving for A Really Long Time. I want to make a quilt out of the denim. That is on my list too!

And look on the wall right in between the cabinets...another electrical outlet!

Messy Sewing RoomThis is our old dry sink that we bought not long after we were married to use in our kitchen. It was the only storage space we had! It had been very useful in our little apartment and in our first home, but my husband wanted to get rid of it when we moved to this house. Of course I had just the spot for it in my sewing room. It has my only drawer, and inside those two doors is where I keep my pattern binders and all my craft books and Other Important And Necessary Stuff. Anyway, this is just inside the doorway to the left, directly behind me when I sit at my sewing machine. Lots of stuff on top of it needs to be organized.

Messy Sewing RoomAnd these bags are sitting just inside the doorway next to my tripod. I guess they could use a place of their own besides on the floor.

So that is the State Of Mess that my space is in right now. It is just to the point where I can't even think about being creative until I tackle this project and Make It Right. You've all been there too I am sure. So this is my first project of 2009. I'll start the year off right so that it can continue productively.

Knitting Needle MessI can't seem to think of the whole project at once though. It's just too overwhelming. So this is the first mess I am going to organize...my knitting needles and crochet hooks. These were not all purchased by me, please understand! When my mother-in-law passed away about 5 years ago, I inherited all her knitting needles and assorted other crafty things. She was quite a knitter and passed that gift on to me,
for which I am truly grateful. So this is what I've done thus far...

Neat Knitting NeedlesI have paired up all the knitting needles and placed those that I could into their original sleeves. The needles that don't have sleeves will get a special place in the knitting needle caddy I will make from Lyn's pattern. I may have to change it up a little to accommodate so many pairs, or I may just have to give away some of them. I haven't decided yet.

But this is a good start. If you don't hear from me for a few days, you now have a pretty good idea what is taking up my time and energy. I would love to check in here in a few days and have some really encouraging words from all my internet friends, and maybe even a tip or two about how you keep your space and stuff neat and organized.

Happy Stitching!

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  • I love looking at other people's sewing/crafting areas - it's so much fun seeing what kind of goodies they have, and yes, seeing how organized they are ;) Your room is great, and you have such fun stuff! LOTS of fun stuff, rotfl!!! It'll be fun seeing your organizing progress!

    By Blogger Sandra :), At January 9, 2009 at 12:06 PM  

  • Yup...I feel better now as I like to know that others have messes in their sewing areas, too. :) As for the knitting needles...maybe you can buy a package of little girl's ponytail elastics at the dollar store and put one or two around each set of knitting needles so they stay in pairs. I use those elastics around my spools of thread and my loose bobbins to keep the thread from unravelling. I am HOPING to start sewing on the tote today and by the time you get your room done, maybe you'll be posting the next step...and maybe I'll be AT that step by that time. GOOD LUCK with the reorganizing. It does feel better when it's done...it's just that it has a way of getting messy again too quickly (at least in my house, it does).

    By Blogger Pat, At January 9, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

  • Hi!! What a nice little space to call all you own. I agree, i was going to tell you the same thing, keep the needles in pairs with little rubber bands or girls ponytail holders. We also had a dry sink and in our first apartmant, it was where we kept the microwave. 31 years later, I still have it!!
    Now here is the real problem, your sewing machine, I had the same one for yeras, my baby, I got two extra ones on ebay for parts, took it in so they could make one and my baby still passed into quilting heaven, I am sooooo jealous you have that machine. i did get a new one, not to fancy, sews fine but I miss my baby. I am off to ebay to see if they have any.
    Now , I believe in containers, and a lot of them. yes it does take up space but them you would not have things on the floor. since you knit a lot, I would take one whole shelf, and put all my yarn there, just like a store; yarn, after, yarn, as you can tell I love to organize, give me a day, and your sewing room will look just like a TV show did it!!! best of luck, jane

    By Blogger Jane's Fabrics and Quilts, At January 10, 2009 at 12:27 PM  

  • A few weeks ago, I took photos of the "before" scene in my sewing room - very messy indeed. I haven't got to the "after" yet because I made even more of a mess during the holidays!! But today, I am jumping in to the mess and going to create some organized chaos to the whole thing. Yesterday I cleaned my computer desk so at least I can work here a little easier. I was having a little too much fun blogging and not keeping up with the "putting stuff away" part that really helps when you are looking for things the next time you need them. So, eventually there'll be a post about a clean sewing room, too!

    By Blogger Sandi Linn Andersen, At January 10, 2009 at 1:10 PM  

  • Dear Mary,
    Thank you for this step by step instruction. I enjoy it so much.
    Good luck

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At December 7, 2014 at 3:08 AM  

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