Decluttering – very, very, slowly

Last week we did a lot of projects, and the next one on my list is painting the walls of my studio.  But before I can do that, I should declutter it!

My favorite fabrics and supplies, the ones that spark ideas of  masterpieces,  are organized in sweater stacker bags, shoe holders, and shelves, all easily visible.  But I also have about 6 big plastic boxes of random fabric, yarn, batting,  – useful stuff that I’ve been given.  Stuff that is too good to just get rid of, but that will never find its way into a masterpiece.  I don’t enjoy tripping over the boxes or hunting through them to find what I have in mind.

Yes, I am in the middle of two other quilts, but I could concentrate so much better without those big white plastic boxes staring at me!  I decided that before painting, I should just zip through those boxes, transforming the supplies into nice donations to charity.  How long could it take?  The projects I make for charity are not that complicated!

I started with a big piece of dark blue “space” themed fabric.  The design is a very weird combination of planets and moons in the style of  NASA illustrations, along with gold outlines of sun and moon faces in a style of medieval woodcuts.  It did not say “baby blanket” to me, or “quilt for a child in the hospital.”  I thought it might make a nice lap robe for the VA hospital.

But I didn’t have enough for front and back of a lap robe.  I had to stretch it with some other fabric.  Usually I do a big square in the center, and then just keep adding borders until it’s big enough, like this:

medallion lap robe

Cute and cozy

but I thought the dark blue fabric would look better in relatively small pieces, set off with lots of white.  I decided to make a 16-patch.

I had some trouble with the piecing.  For ten minutes everything would be going great, and then I would change a bobbin or something and the fabric wouldn’t move smoothly, or the thread would pop.  I try to be very consistent with type of needle and thread, I change needles all the time – but sometimes things just won’t cooperate.

16-patch lap quilt

I like the way it looks puffy before quilting, but it’s not very practical.

When it came to the quilting, I was feeling pretty sure of myself.  I had just done free motion spirals all over my sea glass quilt, and I thought that I finally knew what I was doing.  I decided to do square spirals in just the white squares of this quilt, thinking that then the blue squares would puff up in comparison.  I also thought I would try using the darning foot instead of the walking foot, to see if it was any easier.

I did like the darning foot better than the walking foot; it seemed easier to maneuver.  But I still had lots of problems with the quilt just feeling draggy.

So here it is.  It still needs binding.

16-patch detail

Spiral stitching in the white squares

Yes, just three days after I decided to declutter, I have succeeded in using up one piece of fabric, one bag of batting, and two spools of thread.  At this rate, if I don’t take any days off from this task, my studio will be clutter-free in 540 days!