FREE Quilting Patterns, Tutorials, Magazine

5 tips for organizing a new year of quilting

 

The thought of organizing one more thing may be overwhelming to you right now. You may not have made it back to your quilting space yet even though the end of the first month of 2016 is approaching. That’s okay! Here are 5 tips for organizing a new year of quilting.

The tips I’m providing are useful any time you’ve been out of your regular quilting *groove* and are looking for a way back in. Try them and you and your machine will be humming again in no time 🙂

Use these 5 tips to get quilting in 2016
Use these 5 tips to get quilting in 2016

 

1. Clean up from holiday sewing

First things first – it’s time to clean up the debris from holiday sewing! Whether it’s still all over your cutting table or was chucked into a bin to deal with *later* – it’s time to deal with it.

Cut down fabric strips left over from trimming a quilt into usable sizes for your stash.
Cut down fabric strips left over from trimming a quilt into usable sizes for your stash.

 

I took the backing trimmed from a quilt that was a gift this year and cut the pieces into sizes that I use: I cut some 5″ squares, some 3″ and  2½” squares, a 3″ and 2½” strip. Some have already been designated for projects – others will sit with my scraps and wait to be used.

Put other leftovers back where they came from and put your patterns/templates back in order too.

 

2. A Place for Everything

You probably received some new gadgets under the tree or shopped a few fabric sales and have new things to fit into your space. Take the time now to find/make homes for these items so they don’t live on your cutting table or ironing board for the next month and slow down your making time.

Making room for the new things might involve getting rid of some different stuff that is no longer bringing you joy or useful to you. If you can’t bear to just toss it, consider donating to local schools, guilds, day cares, after school groups, clubs or senior homes. Make kennel quilts. Sell it online.
Make space for what you want to focus on this year.

 

3. Replenish regular supplies

Having extra needles on hand will make it easier to change them when you need to and not wait until you have to!
Having extra needles on hand will make it easier to change them when you need to and not wait until you have to!

 

I know it was just gift receiving time and that you got some stuff already. But – did you get a new rotary blade or new scissors? Some new neutral thread for piecing, batting, or new needles? Get what you need so you can start quilting this year with a clean space, proper supplies and a plan to enjoy it all.

 

4. Make a plan

Decide what you’ll work on this year. Every year I sit down and update my UFO list – projects that are unfinished for one reason or another. This can be overwhelming and disheartening. Or it can be a fun, liberating challenge!

It’s up to you – how do you want to feel while you’re quilting this year? Stressed? Obligated? Confused? Rushed? OR Grateful! Challenged! Inspired! Relaxed.

Choose what you want to get done in the first few months of the year and then organize your space for those projects.

Keep fabrics for an ongoing project together in one bin
Keep fabrics for an ongoing project together in one bin

 

This year I’m in a birthday block exchange making a block each month for a different quilting friend. I have a bin with fabrics that I started to collect based on the different quilters’ requests. I started a Pinterest board of Block Swap Ideas for inspiration as several quilters are letting us pick our own blocks to make!

Part of my first UFO of 2016 to complete - Halloween 1904 by Blackbird Designs
Part of my first UFO of 2016 to complete – Halloween 1904 by Blackbird Designs

 

I also have a quilt for me that I keep putting off – not this year! It’s my first UFO on the list to tackle this year and will make a wonderful birthday present in February 😉

 

5. Make time to quilt

Schedule your quilting time in. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but you’ll need to make it a regular habit if you want to see progress of any kind – even if that progress is a good night’s sleep because you relaxed with quilting before bed.

Getting a project ready can take a larger chunk of time than you usually set aside – schedule time in one weekend and do all of the cutting. Or, realize it will take time and be satisfied with that – start cutting one fabric a night until you’re ready to quilt.

My first leader and ender project of 2016
My first leader and ender project of 2016

 

I usually sneak a second project in as a leader and ender – an extra something to put under the needle between piecing two units for the same project. Then, quilt each day for the time you have and watch your quilt grow!

This tip I’m still working on as I tend to make project goals not time goals: it’s hard for me to stop in the middle of a step, but I know I feel better when I at least start a step instead of not doing any quilting at all!

 

Bonus Tip: Leave space for JOY!

The beginning of a new year is challenging as a quilter because so many new projects start! A new block of the month, a new guild challenge, a new pattern from a favorite designer gets released.

Leave some space in your quilting plans for 1 or 2 extra projects that you didn’t anticipate. Don’t deny yourself something new – but don’t say yes to everything either!

I combined blocks from two different sew-alongs to make my own quilt.
I combined blocks from two different sew-alongs to make my own quilt.

 

I tend to try and combine new projects – take blocks from different ones to create my own project. This way I feel like I’m getting to do something new and I know I can actually finish it.

 

Share your organizing tip

Do you have a tip to share on how to get organized to start quilting? Please share in the comments!

Now that we’re organized for a new quilting year, I wish you lots of inspiration and finished quilts in 2016!

 

 

I love to play with color and *quilts* are my playground! A self-taught quilter, I've been designing quilts for almost 20 years. I'm inspired by happy fabrics, selvages, traditional blocks and nature. I'm also a wife, mother, and elementary school teacher, and enjoy drinking coffee on my front porch in northern Ontario.

13 Comments

  1. Laura G

    I can organize all I want but can destroy all the effort in 5 minutes…

  2. Mary

    great idea for using a planner!

    • Thanks Mary! I hope being organized helps you enjoy lots of quilting time this year 🙂

  3. Thanks for the tips. I look forward to implementing some of these.

    • Thanks Dominique! These tips keep me quilting all year long 🙂

  4. Ginger

    These are really great tips!

    • Thanks Ginger, I hope they help make your quilting time enjoyable this year.

  5. Sharon Gates

    I needed this post to help me get moving-thanks

    • Thanks for commenting Sharon! Enjoy your quilting time 🙂

  6. Tracey

    I can’t wait to get my birthday block from you! And yours is ready to mail. Thanks for the great tips! And it all helps! Getting started is my worst chore but just breaking it down into a few minutes a day helps with the overwhelming ideas at times.

    • Thanks for commenting, Tracey! Having an organized space and a plan make that little bit of time enjoyable. And yes, it’s a work in progress – just like life 🙂

  7. Allison CB

    I got a great new planner that I am using to pencil in all my projects and their due dates!

    • Good plan Allison! I do that too – and sometimes I give myself *mini-deadlines* along the way to make sure I stay on track. Wishing you an enjoyable year of quilting 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

It may take up to 24 hours for your comment to appear above.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.