I think this might look familiar.
I’m betting you might have a tangled mess of embroidery floss in your sewing room, too. We should probably untangle that sometime, huh.
And what about this?
A bag full of assorted buttons given to me by my brother-in-law’s grandmother. Might be a good idea to sort those by color at some point.
Oh, and what about this? Do you have a bucket like this?
So many scraps, all crammed in together.
These are the sewing room tasks I avoid, but they’re actually perfect projects for particular times in my year.
For over a decade we spent Thanksgiving in Connecticut visiting my in-laws. We drove down and stayed for five days. A few years in I realized that these five days were ideal for tackling tedious, time-consuming sewing room organization projects. So each year the day before we pack up the car, I would gather up something that needed sorting or unwinding or bagging and throw it in the car with us.
While the family was watching TV or just chatting, I worked on my project and watched and chatted, too. I felt productive and connected to sewing, without actually sewing, and when I get home I could enjoy the awesome feeling of having organized some of my supplies.
Here are the sewing room organization tasks I’ve taken with me on the road:
1. Sorting buttons by color.
2. Sorting and bagging felt scraps by color.
3. Untangling embroidery floss and winding it around bobbins.
4. Sorting and bagging quilting cotton scraps by color.
One year I tackled a non-sewing related project as well. Charlie and I had been collecting recipes cut from newspapers and magazines and shoving them into an accordion folder since we first met. The folder was totally disorganized and bursting at the seams.
I put the whole thing in a bag and brought along a notebook and dividers and sheet protectors. For five days I sorted all of the recipes, taping each one to a piece of paper, and created this awesome organized collection that I use almost daily in our house.
Of course, I’ve also taken hand-work with me to sew while I’m away. A Dropcloth embroidery sampler is perfect, as is any English Paper Piecing project.
Just because you’re going to be on a Blue Cruise in Turkey doesn’t mean you can’t be productive. If you’re like me and aren’t very good at having your hands idle, grab a tedious project you might otherwise avoid and use your time away to get it accomplished!
Genius! I always like to keep my hands busy and often take things with me on car trips. I’ve done the recipe sorting thing on the go, but had never thought about sewing/craft supplies. Can’t wait for my next car ride!
What a good idea. My embroidery threads certainly look like that! I ordered some bobbins but they never arrived and I forgot where I got them from, very little spent but annoying. So I just cut out card bobbins now. Hard to not let them all get in a big old heap though.
I love being productive. It doesn’t always happen, but they are great ideas for travelling. I can’t do anything in the car other than look out the window though, or I would start feeling queasy.
Me neither. I don’t do these things in the car. I do them while sitting on the couch or on the floor and talking and watching TV with the family.
Whoa, you are so smart.! This is a brilliant solution and will work wonderfully well next holiday season when visiting the inlaws.
I’m so glad to hear that!
Laura @ Prairie Sewn Studios says
This is a great post! I tend to work on EPP projects while I travel, but something like sorting would be great too. Also, totally jealous of your button collection.
I have so many buttons! People give me bags of buttons and I love them, but my goodness do I have a lot now.
That’s so smart!! I try to take small sewing projects with me, but usually they take more concentration than I can give. But sorting, I could so do that! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for this evening that links to your tutorial:
Mercedes Dewey says
When I was a little girl, we lived in Puerto Rice in the 60s. My mother bought me a tall stuffed dolly (36″) that I loved dearly. Fast forward thirty years and she needed repair. It turns out she was ENTIRELY stuffed with leftover bits of embroidery floss! Loved your post.
That’s so amazing! I can totally understand the impulse to just stuff all that tangled floss into a doll. What a great discovery. Thank you!
Carol Y says
It’s not just ‘being productive’; sometimes it’s ‘staying sane’. 😉 I also need to keep my hands busy while watching TV otherwise I have no nails left.
Okay, that’s true too!
Denise in PA says
Well, there’s a “why didn’t I think of that” idea! I save all of the cut off sides/tops/bottoms of my quilt backs after I longarm them. It’s usually a lot of fabric (too much to just throw out) and lots of it is stitched to batting and needs to be seam-ripped apart. I stuff it all in bags waiting to get around to dealing with it. Guess what’s coming with me on my next trip?!
That’s the perfect travel project!
oh my gosh, I LOVE the Dropcloth embroidery samplers, and embroidery isn’t even one of my crafts! But they are so amazing I might give it a try. Or, I think my teen & young adult daughters might love them. Thanks for the link.
I’ve made one and it was so much fun to work on, Justine! My sister has done several as well. And Rebecca has a Creativebug class if you’d like to brush up on embroidery with her.
Natalie Jones says
Some great ideas here, I take my knitting everywhere but have stopped knitting in the car since a friend told me of someone who suffered serious injuries from knitting needles in a car crash! I’ll try sorting my wool scraps instead!!! Thanks for the ideas