Wednesday, 30 November 2011


There's been some talk over on twitter about organising the craft workspace - in particular about storing traced patterns. The conversation is timely for me, I've been feeling greatly oppressed by the workroom. And while I feel happy I have my pattern storage problem licked, the rest of the space is a right off.

Too much stuff and not well organised.

I forget about some great materials I have for projects I was really excited about, I can't find the things I want to use and basically the room is too full to be used to get stuff done.

I have a problem with both quantum and scope - I am kitted out for a lot of different crafts, and I have a deep stash for both knitting and sewing.

But to prompt me to get my shit sorted, I'm outing myself.

I stood in the centre of the room and took a series of (crappy phone) photos of the room as is.

The computer and paperwork zone. Also the holding bin for stuff destined for elsewhere (work, post office, kid's room, mending basket, filing cabinet, rubbish bin), and for things that have no obvious home when tidying up the kitchen table. Kindly called inspiration. Needs a good tidy and a better inbox outbox system. Not using a round non A4 shaped basket would be a good start.

The paper craft and sewing patterns zone. There's quite a bit of dormant stuff lurking here and since paper craft really isn't my forte (despite my deep and abiding love of stationary) I could probably cull here and gift stuff to Amy. There's also a drawer full of technology based junk - cables and plugs and instruction and old CDs - that could be culled too. The patterns are pretty perfect, though can you tell I am headed for maximum density? Not sure what will give when I can't squeeze one more Ottobre in. And all that shit across the top needs to be filed or go.

The cutting table. Yeah, laughable. The under table storage is coned yarn in tubs, buckets of interfacing, zips, elastic and so on and tubs of specialist fabric - vintage furnishing fabric, hand embroidered linens and doilies and unclassifiable scraps (hmmm...). In front are boxes of machine knit weight balled yarns. The shelf under the table has 'craft' fabrics (fat quarters, cute prints, plains etc), yarn winding tools, leather and bag tools and findings, bulk odd buttons. The table top has projects in process, yarn which needs to be put away, scraps I can't bear to part with and a whole stack of random detrius. Just deal with it!

The sewing table. The machines are still packed up from camp. The tool box works reasonably well, holding scissors, pens, rulers and the like, but the cabinet shelves and holders are a random assortment of bits and pieces with no obvious order. Could do with a cull and organise. Want something for storing overlocker threads too.

The very big fabric stash shelves. Aside from tidying up the random yarn cones, pieces of fabric and stuff shoved in nooks and cranies when I am being lazy, the only real job here is to cull some fabric. This is a hard job - there isn't fabric here that's 'bad', though I am sure there's stuff I will, realistically, never sew. Problem is I never know which bits I will or won't be sewing. Between crazy and unexpected kid requests (hey mum, what I really want is a giant purple velour cape!), costume parties and school fetes even the most out there stuff can be gold. Likewise the felting batts, quilt batting, needle felting rovings and old curtains are most certainly just biding their time. So realistically, a minor trim is all that's likely here and mostly it just needs a good tidy and more efficient packing. And no more fabric purchasing.

The knitting machine space. The recent proliferation of machines (future spare parts is all people - this stuff is getting rarer!) means I need to clean, test and sort all the incoming, separate out a complete set of tools and add ons and put all the rest into storage in the roof. I also need some storage systems for weights, tools, extra carriages, manuals, punch cards, swatches, waste yarn cones...all the machine knitting paraphernalia I haven't quite absorbed into business as usual. Also, inconveniently, I can't actually knit with the table pushed back against the wall as it is too cramped end to end. May need to contemplate a sideways move.
The library and other craft storage. The upper part of these shelves take the general craft books, embroidery, quilting and toy making. There's also a whole shelf of knitting and crochet books and patterns. There's a big bucket up top with knitting needles and notions and then buckets with ribbons, bindings, toy making supplies, embroidery stuff, beading and wiring supplies and tools and curtain hanging bits. Next to the shelf is a big felt bucket in which stands rolls of interfacing, paper, cardboard, fabric, leather, curtain rods and tracks and goodness knows what else. Gosh - where to start here?! I think I could cull and re work some of this space, reducing the supplies for crafts I rarely do and devoting more fo this space to machine knitting supplies. I could probably sort through the books and ditch a few too. Pattern filing is most definitely required.

So there we go. Wake up call. Filth pit. Get to.


Di said...

Woah! You have your work cut out for you, but it will undoubtedly be easier to do things once you have had a purge and sort and reorganized!
Ps Hah! The fine print....

flowerpress said...

All too familiar! Can you come and sort mine when you're finished, thanks!

MildlyCrafty said...

Well that'll take some effort to whip into shape! The only way I can keep my shit tidy is to have less of it. I'm in the process of setting up my craft room in the new house at the moment and so taking the time to get rid of stuff while I'm at it.

nikkishell said...

Um, wow!

nikkishell said...

Sorry, i was speechless for a moment! ;)
I can't believe you fit all that stuff in there, it's like a Mary Poppins room or something.

I tidy my room but after a few days of working in it it gradually gets back to it's usual messy self. What can i say? I'm more creative that way, but i do have my limit which is usually when i feel like everything is about to topple onto me and i'll be buried underneath my stash.

Julie said...

So what is your secret with pattern storage?
My space is our dining room. Fortunately we don't use it all that often, but whenever we do it means I have to pack everything up and put it somewhere else.

nlt said...

Repeat 3 times......'I do, I do, I do believe in fairies....'
Seriously though, if anyone can do it, you can!

Jules said...

Bloody hell- taking that on while recovering from whatever you've had for the last week is something only you'd manage ; )

Bon courage!

nicole said...

This post makes me feel oddly calm about my living room ;-)

The kids toy shelf has exploded all over the floor, the craft table is used as an extra storage surface, the DVD storage boxes are off the shelf and the contents has been spread out nicely in the bookshelf. My daughter has built some kind of fort under the coffee table and my parents are coming tomorrow. Oh, and I ate all the lollies that were supposed to go into the family advent calendar. Oops. Maybe we can do some kind of facebook cleanup marathon where we post what we ticked off the ToDoList? Shame myself into cleaning up my messiest room?

michelle said...

Brave post lady! And thank you for making me feel so much better about the extent of my stash. I LOVE you!