The Big Dig Part V: Fabric, At Last!

Finally! Karen has let me take home some of my fabric — but not all of it. She doesn’t trust me to manage all of it at once (I don’t like to admit this, but she is right). A lot of my fabric is still in Karen’s basement and believe it or not I kind of like it that way. Did I really just say that? Well, there is something inspiring about a non-cluttered space with room to work.

We are still sorting fabric, but my-oh-my does the fabric look beautiful when it is all folded and stacked up neat on the shelves. A few weeks ago I invited a few of my friends over to Karen’s basement and they helped us sort fabric. Wow, that is the way to go. We had a lot of fabric sorted in no time. It really is a lot more fun to do this with your friends, but I must warn you, they like to take your stuff…


Even after our sorting party, there was a lot of “stuff” to go through. It seems like every time I open a new container, there is more fabric – how did I manage to collect all this stuff? Karen and I spent all day Sunday going through it. I have donated and pitched bags and bags of stuff. It’ a liberating feeling and no, it doesn’t want to make me buy more! It makes me want to keep it all neat and tidy.

I think the best advice with sorting is to know what you want to make with all of those scraps. Scraps are pieces of fabric that don’t fit into the categories of fat quarters or yardage. In other words – odd shapes and sizes of fabric pieces. If you plan to make log cabin quilts, then you can sort the fabrics that will work best for that type of quilt – i.e. scraps that can be stripped, but no odd sized little pieces. If you appliqué a lot, then even little pieces work if you sort them by color.

At home I have been organizing my scraps. I decided to place them in four large bins that will hold enough scraps to make lots of log cabin blocks. We sorted them into dark, medium, light and bright. I have gone through the medium and bright groups and pressed them into manageable pieces and then banded like colors together with large rubber bands. It takes me about two hours to sort, fold, and press each group (no I didn’t time it, even though I do have my timer back). I figured that these bins would be the first thing to get messed up if I didn’t try to keep them in some sort of organized order.

For those of you who are curious, I have been able to keep under my budget of $1,200. I ordered most of the shelves online from The Container Store. I have been really impressed with the quality of their products and the great customer service.

What’s left to do? We haven’t even looked at all the books and patterns; then there is the other craft stuff that I have collected; and we still have all the projects that are in progress or projects I’ve planned but haven’t started – that will take some time. Oh yes, and there is still more fabric to fold and sort. Sure hope I have it out of her basement by spring!

— Posted by Della

Green Buttons


I keep the advertisement for the shelves I bought posted on my cork board for inspiration to stay tidy. Stacy said my room looks even better than the one from the catalog!


Bottom drawers are for fabric that is over 1/2 yard and under three. Top two drawers are for all of my fat quarters. I can get 400 into each drawer! (Yes, I counted!) Everything over three yards is on top of my closet drawers. Scraps are in my beautiful new bins. Can you believe this still isn't all of my fabric? Luckily I still have a lot of empty space to fill in my room.


3 responses to “The Big Dig Part V: Fabric, At Last!

  1. Wow, Della, it is looking so good! Good job to you all.

  2. I am inspired. I have started, two days ago, sorting, ironing and putting in order. It is so freeing to see space where, before, there was just piles, and piles of fabric. And time spent going through the piles everytime I found a new pattern I wanted to try. Now, when this is finished, I can put my hands right on what I need. More time, more quilting! I love it. ; ))

  3. It has been great fun following your progress – the end effort is definitely your reward! Just think of how much time you’ll save in the long run. Awesome!

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