Saturday, January 31, 2009

Quilt Storage Tubes

As a consequence of volunteering at my local museum and working with its quilt collection, I like to roll my quilts on cardboard tubes that have been prepared following museum guidelines.

I glean hard cardboard tubes from a local fabric store or carpet outlet. For smaller quilts, use the tubes from waxed paper or plastic food wrap. The first step is to wrap the tube with aluminum foil because the foil serves to trap and contain any gases emitting from the cardboard. After wrapping, tuck the foil into the tube ends to hold in place. Follow by covering the foil with leftover batting to pad the tube.

Pre-washed muslin is used to cover the padded tubing. I quickly hand sew a seam using an overcast stitch, the length of the tube to secure the muslin covering. Others like to use a strip of fusible to close this seam, but I’m concerned with the fusible breaking down causing the sticking chemical to permeate the muslin covering and contaminate the quilt. Simple cloth ties are used to hold the rolled quilt in place. A long cloth bag is constructed into which the rolled quilt is slipped. And, yes, I store more than one quilt on a tube.

To aid the quick identification of quilts once hidden away in cloth bags, I use hanging tags that are purchased from an office supply store. Each tag has a reinforced hole with a string for attaching to the bag. I write the quilt names in pencil on the tag and pin it to the bag so I can easily read the bag’s contents. I tend to switch quilts from one roll to another over time, so I use pencil to write the information on tags. It's easy to erase pencil and I’m Scottish enough not to write new tag each time I pull a switcher-roo.

Next posting, Hanging Bags for Quilts.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Studio Reorganization

Everyone hates to consider organizing h/her stuff. In the studio environment I believe it’s necessary in order to save time when the intense Creative Mode is engaged. Having to stop and search for supplies, tools and other items will severely hamper the process. I have just completed my studio refurbishing and reorganization, a great accomplishment for the New Year. And, yes, my studio lost body mass in the effort. That’s part of the Ruthlessness I mentioned in the previous posting.
Following the floor plan I prepared, all has been returned to the studio. Five-double stacked shelves contain most of the fabric (see photo below). Three bookshelves hold miscellaneous supplies, and notes books that are used frequently. The sewing machines, the chairs, the workstation and the cutting board are in place. And, most of my quilts are tucked away, either hanging on padded hangers or rolled on padded tubing.
Next posting: Making Tubes for Quilt Storage.

Up grading a studio, no matters its size, has 4 requirements: 1) Determination, 2) Ruthlessness; 3) Organization, and, 4) Planning. The onset not only requires determination but may require some negotiations if you live with another human. The dog doesn’t care as long as you feed him on time. The job is chaotic for some days, if not weeks. I recommend keeping a good bottle of wine and a sense of humor readily available. The rewards at the end of the exercise are highly worthwhile.

Every 5 years I like to conduct review my studio contents, to see what I have, find the supplies I actually use, and get rid of the extraneous. This is a 21-year-old habit from military moves every 2 years and the itch continues to reappear. I now call it Refocusing. The last effort was a consequence of chronic stumbling over boxes of fabric and other creative necessities. I was going to seriously injure myself if I didn’t do something. Fed up, I took everything out of my 12 x 16-foot studio and move it all across the hall. This is where Negotiation is involved because everything was a mess.

In 2008 a new plan was launched. I wanted more, particularly laminate flooring and a better working environment by making better use of my studio space. This was Determination. Everything was sorted & packed into boxes. Some boxes stayed, others went curbside. I determined I hadn’t used this stuff since the last reshuffle, so now, out it goes. No second thoughts, gone, Ruthlessness ruled.

While waiting for the re-painting and the new flooring, I drew up a floor plan-to-scale to figure out the best use of the room. My studio has a closet, plus doors or windows on every wall. Where to place the 5 doubled-stacked fabric shelves, one sewing table & machine, the cutting table, 2 bookshelves, an accessory cabinet, and work station with the 2nd sewing machine? Working it out on paper is highly recommended before one has to actually move furniture into the room. This is the first step of Organization. It makes everything easier because you have a Plan.