Storage issues are the ugly underbelly of the handcraft world. No matter one's specialty, I would guess that for most, organization of supplies and ongoing projects is a significant thief of time and focus. I'm trying to tame this beast again, though this time I'm actually *de-accessing*, as they used to say at the museum. Last night I went through stacks of Quilts Japan and Patchwork Tsushin, cutting into more than half, removing the one or two interesting quilt photos for which I'd been hanging on to whole issues. (No photos of that...too painful.)
Last week over at The Jettstream, Jane Ann mentioned some plastic storage boxes that were on sale at Michael's...clear and square, ostensibly designed to hold scrapbook paper, but perfect for storing quilt blocks. I headed right over, only to find them out of stock, but since I was driving by Archiver's, I popped in to see what they had. Bingo! More expensive than I wanted to pay, I caved and brought home a single box to try. It fits nicely on my closet shelf, contents can clearly be identified by sight and large blocks (these are 13" unfinished) fit, flat and pressed. I'll be keeping templates, threads and notes for ongoing projects together in these and am currently (not-so-) patiently waiting for their next sale. (This style of box is probably everywhere now, given the recent popularity of scrapbooking, though I had never noticed them before.) They'd work for yarn storage, too...they hold quite a bit and stack nicely. For the time being, my current hodge podge of odd containers/boxes and plastic drawer units will have to do.
This tip comes from Janet Bolton, whose book I was referencing recently. Maybe you all already do this, but she recommends laying your work out on a piece of art board so that it can be moved aside easily without disturbing your setup, until everything is stitched in place. I took this a bit further. I purchased a sheet of the thickest illustration board (20"x30) which I cut in half, using a straightedge and an exacto knife. With several patchwork projects going concurrently, I can keep the cut pieces for each on its own board. When I'm working on one project, the other boards can be neatly stacked on a flat surface, out of the way, instead of in little piles around the room or stored in boxes where I will forget about them. Which has been known to happen. Many times.
The board works great as a tray when moving projects from room to room. I've brought down my Lovely Hearts piece to finish up tonight (hangers) so that it can be sent off in the morning. Tonight I will be parked in front of *24* with my handsewing and my Latvian mitten book. Will I be able to look away and get anything done?