The Supply List

My friend Kyle and I are going to a sewing class in Colorado this week for five days to learn to make a Crazy Quilt. It is a highly embellished type of quilt developed in the Victorian Era, when women had the time and the means to make quilts that had no practical purpose.

The quilts are made with many types of fancy fabrics that only the wealthy could afford at the time, and then are embroidered with all sorts of threads, beads, laces and ribbons. Again, only the well-to-do women would have had such resources.

Now, of course, we all have access to such “luxuries” as fine fabrics and embellishments. Kyle and I are proof of that!

For the five day seminar, we each received a one page supply list. Yes, it completely filled the entire 8 1/2″ long page of paper!

It begins with a sewing machine and ends with a color wheel (optional). In between are 26 listed items needed for this class. I’m not kidding!

Number three item was 20 fancy fabrics. Well, I chose pastel colors, which is completely out of my normal wheelhouse. Finding 20 pastel fabrics in my stash was pretty much impossible, let alone fancy fabrics.

So off to the fabric stores I went. This one item took me days to fill, and I ended up with about 40 fancy fabrics – because I want options when I have to make my final choices.

Number six on the list is ribbons. Again, this took days and I ended up bringing pretty much all the stash of ribbons I own. Options, options, options!

Number eight is lace, doilies, fancy handkerchiefs. What?!! I need to go get more containers for all my stuff!!! And containers for my containers!!!

By number nine and ten, we’re adding braids, trims, buttons, doodads, crystals, beads and pearls. Wait just a minute!!! All my containers are full and my containers have containers!!!

Did I mention there are 28 items on this supply list and we are not even halfway through it?!! Granted some of the remaining items are small, like needles and thread. But still, this supply list is enormous!!

I have packed my many fabrics, beads, ribbons, laces, handkerchiefs and trims quite nicely in special tubs and totes. I have all my sewing notions with my sewing machine and have added my apron and paint brushes for my anticipated lace dying class.

In fact, I have everything on my supply list except one, which is listed as “optional.” The instructor will demonstrate the use of the special needles and I have chosen to wait and see if I want to use them or not.

So, I am ready for my class. I have everything the supply list says I need and then some.

In fact, there are bare spots on my sewing room shelves, drawers are empty and my sewing machine is out of place. I look around and see all my lace cones are missing and most of the thread spools are gone. Can it be true?!!

I have packed 3/4 of my sewing room!!!

Why didn’t the supply list just say that in the first place?!!!!!

I Took How Many Bags Of Stuff To Goodwill?

My sewing room is my sanctuary, my creative HQ, my center of all good therapeutic things. I can stay in there for hours and not notice the time passing at all. It is really where my soul is happy, content, at ease and challenged, all at the same time.

EXCEPT when it is so cluttered that I can’t see the floor or any horizontal surfaces or even where anything is anymore!!!!

And that is exactly what happened to my precious sewing room – it got too full! It was like sewing in New York City, where the piles of stuff were the skyscrapers and I was down on the street trying to sew in the shadows and congestion.

I was miserable and I didn’t want to even enter the room anymore. Heck, I couldn’t enter the room for all the stuff on the floor!

A major intervention was needed but that was totally overwhelming. I decided to start with one bookcase. I could purge one bookcase.

And so I did. I ended up with six kitchen garbage bags of books and magazines to give away. That felt so good and the bookcase looked fabulous!

So I decided to do one more bookcase. Another six bags of fabric and stuff were collected. I was on a roll! This was going to be easy.

Day three and bookcase number three began with lower back pain and thigh pain. Five more bags were filled after several breaks and Tylenol. Maybe it wasn’t going to be quite so easy but still doable.

Day four began with Tylenol for the back pain, hip pain and thigh pain. After numerous breaks, a nap and more Tylenol, eight bags full sat in the hallway.

Day five was much like day four – painful but productive. Seven bags added to the pile from previous days.

My sewing room now was reorganized and sparkling again. A place for everything and everything in its place. I had a floor and a cutting surface again. All the fabric was folded on the shelves in groups by color or type. Projects were in boxes. Books and magazines nicely stacked. Room to sew, piece and iron.

I could see and enjoy everything. I could get into my room and use it as it was meant to be used. I could be creative and productive again. What a joy! What a blessing! I felt like I had lost at least twenty pounds!!!

And the final count of the bags taken to Goodwill? Wait for it . . . . . . . . . . . . 32!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Favorite Place

I have spent all day in my favorite place – my sewing room. The HQ of all fabric projects. The hub of my quilting and sewing empire. The center of my needle and thread world.

You sure wouldn’t know it’s the HQ of anything by looking at it though. It’s a mess! Piles everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. Like high rise buildings in NYC, growing taller with me working down at street level. It can look intimidating at times.

But I know what is in every one of those piles. Projects I am working on and projects I will get to. There is a certain order to it all, no matter what it looks like.

How exciting to see my piles and feel such comfort, knowing I will probably never run out of things to do. I never have to think, what will I do next?  I always have something waiting for me in a pile.

It’s like Christmas everyday. There’s a present to open – a project – whenever I’m ready to start. I have piles of presents just waiting for me to open. How lucky am I?

My sewing room is colorful and bright too. Just sitting in the light from the window makes me happy. But on a sunny day at the sewing machine is the best way to spend time. I could sit there all day with the machine humming away and me completely unaware of the time,

Just walking through the doorway of my sewing room excites me. I start thinking of all sorts of creative and fabulous things I can do. Colors start to jump out and patterns begin call to me. All sorts of ideas begin to spin in my mind. My room starts my thinking engine and gets me energized.

Being surrounded by fabrics all organized by color warms my heart. The colors and hues, especially all the blues, just speak to me. There is not a more joyful place on earth for me.

At the same time, my room keeps me calm. When I have a difficult project, a problem that needs calculating, I can go to that special space and work it out. I have everything I need to solve a fabric problem in there. I gives me a lot of confidence to know that.

And do I love to share my room with others! When fellow quilters and sewers come to visit, I enjoy letting them see my precious sewing room. Quilters are like that, you know.

We want to see how others organize their fabrics, stack their projects and deal with piles. We can’t wait to see what others are working on and have up on their design wall. We absolutely must know how others use color to inspire and decorate, and what they hide in the closet. It’s an obsession really.

We all love our sewing room and it shows. We invest a lot in our sewing room and it shows. We spend a lot of time in our sewing room and it shows.

It all shows. The room and me – we both are better for all the time, love and attention we share.

Yessirree – it shows!!!