Monday, January 24, 2022

Declutter Challenge 2022 - Days 4 through 16

I've been plugging along on the daily sewing room Declutter Challenge and making good progress.  Here's a little catch-up of how it's been going.

Day 4 was books.  Like most quilters, I have quite a few, but they're fairly organized and contained.  Still, it was good to take stock and see if there was anything that could be moved along.  I ended up with a cutting table full of titles, one of which (Mark Making) I thought might be of interest to a friend.  It's been passed on to her and is now living a good life in Idaho.  The rest of these got a free ride to Goodwill.

Day 5 was patterns.  I took this to mean quilting patterns for purposes of this challenge.  I do have a ton of garment sewing patterns to weed through, but that's a job for another time.

Lordy mama, there was a lot to sort through!  I had printed out so many tutorials for quilts I wanted to make "sometime," but it had gotten out of hand.  When it was all said and done, I had about a ream and a half's worth of paper to recycle (see upper right stack with blank sides up in photo below) and other patterns to organize (lower right), which I did the next day.  I set up a better filing system for those, so at least I'll know better where to find them without riffling through the entire bunch.

Day 6's task was to address the archives.  That is, the notes and journals of patterns made or work done that you want to keep, valuable memories or mementos.  My quilt archives got whittled down to what fits in a divided binder (lower left blue binder in photo above). 

A couple of old-old quilt patterns went into the archives, including my grandmother's paper templates for a Dahlia quilt (the construction of which I can't quite wrap my head around yet), as well as a 1961 letter from my mother to her aunt, which was never mailed.  That letter included paper templates and a drawing of the setting for a Sunflower quilt (a type of Dresden plate) that Mom had made.  

I remember my sister and I each had a Sunflower quilt on our twin beds, and one of them is still in the family.  I had it out last fall to photograph.

I don't know why the letter was never mailed, but I'm glad to still have it.  I had to smile at the paragraph on top of the second page of the letter where Mom writes, "The baby talks already and tries to say everything..."  That baby was me at 14 months!

Day 7 was a catch-up or a rest day.  I did a little catching up and then worked on a squirrel project that I had started during the decluttering process, a Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt.

I had happened to pull out my leftover bindings drawer and thought, hmm...all those 2-1/2 inch binding strips could be sewn into a Scrappy Trip block.  I've never made one but have wanted to for a while.  Let's try a block or two with these scraps and see how it goes...

Well, you can imagine how hard it was to stop at a block or two.  That became the go-to project between decluttering sessions for the next several days. 

Day 8 was pins and needles.  Karen of Just Get It Done Quilts talks about inherited stuff on her video for Day 8, "The things that aren't your legacy, they belonged to another person.  You don't need to take on legacy stuff.  You do you.  Keep what YOU use."  I'm paraphrasing, of course, but I definitely needed to hear that!  So I said goodbye to the group above, largely from my mom's sewing collection.

Day 9 was thread.  My threads were in fairly decent shape.  I got rid of a couple spools of hand quilting thread and old-old buttonhole twist because they were duplicates or more inherited-but-unused stuff.  I honestly don't do a lot of hand quilting so one spool was plenty to keep around.  I did put my vintage threads, which were gathering dust in an open container, into a vintage cut glass loaf dish that belonged to my grandma.  They're just for display, I don't use them, but now they're protected and look pretty on the shelf.

Day 10 was rulers and mats.  I gathered them from all their various hidey-holes and put the most used ones on the ruler rack I got for Christmas, and the rest went onto a large open spot on the pegboard in the workshop next door to the sewing room.

Day 11 - Scissors and cutters.  Again, I just gathered together what I had and then let go of a pair of rusty hair scissors (?!) and a dull and unwieldy pinking shears that were my mom's (top row, horizontal items).  The rest are still sharp and useful.  Job done.

Day 12 - Appliances and devices.  This included "anything with a cord," which could be old sewing machines, cameras, electronics and tech, etc., together with accessories and manuals. A whole bagful  of extra and/or no longer used cords, cables, and appliances went bye-bye.

Then I took a look at the old Singer 600 that my daughter returned to me in 2020.  She said the needle position was no longer straight and was sewing wonky.  I had picked up this machine at a thrift store several years earlier and then (after a trip to the spa for general maintenance) gave it to her to use.  

It's an all metal geared machine, unlike some later Touch and Sew models, so I felt it was worth taking a look at before giving up on it completely.  Luckily, it seemed that simply moving one of the levers fixed the issue, and after a thorough cleaning and oiling, it was sewing like a champ once again.  Since I don't need another machine (have five already, plus a serger), and my daughter now has a new machine, I'm giving it to my sister.  First, though, I got out the hot glue gun and fixed up the thread holder with some new felt, since the original cushioning material that held the thread spool in place was disintegrating into fine bits of powder.

Day 13 - Notions.  I was dreading this, but as it turned out, it wasn't bad.  I got rid of a bunch of "legacy" ribbons from mom's stash, along with some elastic and a few other doodads.  I tossed some old interfacing, reorganized some of the drawers to consolidate things, and that was about it.  I kept more buttons than I'll ever need or use in my lifetime, but buttons are small and they're fun to look at and don't take up much space.  I also kept all the zippers I've collected (mostly from thrift stores), because I do use them for little makeup bags and pouches.

Day 14 - Another catch-up or rest day, and/or to remove excess furniture from the sewing room.  I don't have excess furniture so I worked on an idea for a table runner from scraps.  I'll talk about that more in the January Table Scraps Challenge link-up this coming weekend.  It was fun to play around!

Day 15 - UFOs.  Okay, don't hate me but I don't have many UFOs.  I've got a quilt pin basted and waiting to be quilted, if that counts.  Otherwise, there's the scrappy string Hole In the Barn Door (Churn Dash) quilt that I sashed together a week or so ago.  I think it may need another border, but I'm percolating on that.  So that's two things.  

The third and truly oldest UFO is one I've had for 10 or 12 years.  It's a little attic windows quilt with a vintage bird fabric I thought was so cool to find at the time.  But I'm really "meh" on this thing.  I don't love it, and maybe it just needs to be finished—or cut apart and reworked.  Something.  I just don't feel compelled to finish it now (ever?), but for the purposes of this challenge, I dug it out of the drawer and took a picture of it.

Day 16 - Kits.  What's a kit?  It's a fabric bundle (or fabric pull) and pattern or idea for a quilt.  I don't have any kits, currently, so I worked on my scrappy table runner instead.

And that brings me up to today, Day 17 - Scrap Management, which I haven't yet started.  It sounds like it may get messy—or at least interesting!



  1. You are doing great on this challenge. I donated a whole bunch of magazines today. They weren't quilting magazine, but they do clear the way for the quilting stuff.

  2. Dang! I would have wanted to scoop up a few of those books you donated, Paulette!! One was the Mark Making book you sent to your friend. If she gets tired of it, I'd pay for her to ship it here! I'm glad to see that I wasn't the only one working on decluttering with Karen. You ROCKED the challenge to this point (and I absolutely LOVE those quilts you are working on!)

  3. You are doing wonderfully at this challenge! I can't hate you for not having more UFO's, but I can't say that will ever be me.:) I did a huge cleanout a few years ago and it's about time to do another. It's always such an interesting experience when you really do a thorough job. Love the letter that you have from your mom. Mailed or not, it's pretty special to have it in your possession.:)

  4. I admire your industrious-ness, and love your impromptu project. Isn’t it funny how we can get “meh” about some projects. I’m not sure why it happens, but I’ve had those meh projects too.

  5. I've been doing the same; maybe great minds do walk the same paths.


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