My philosophy is to have a well rounded stash with a good variety of colors and values so that I’m able to create my next project without having to go shopping (a good theory, even if it doesn’t always work). The majority of my fabrics are arranged by color and I developed a method of storing them when we moved into our current home 6 years ago. I was able to design my new quilt studio in our walk out basement with lots of light and a good amount of storage. I have quite a bit of space, but it’s not limitless, so I still have to be organized.
Here’s what I’ve found works for me. I don’t like to dig in bins and I want my fabrics protected from light, so I keep them on wheeled carts.
The carts have 3 flat shelves each and the shelves measure 15” x 20”. I purchased the carts to fit in a cupboard built under my counter and made the mistake of having the cupboard built first (duh!). Surprisingly, it only took a short bit of internet surfing to find them on a physical therapy supply website (of all places!). I’m sorry I don’t remember the site, but I’m sure the size you need can be located fairly easily.
Now you may not have a cupboard such as mine, but I envision this working very well for the many quilters I know who make their studios in the empty nest rooms of their college age kids. These carts would fit beautifully into those abandoned bedroom closets and if the machine is in a different room, the wheels make it all very mobile. This would also be helpful for those who make their sewing space at the dining room table – the fabrics can easily be in whatever room you need them.
My main fabric stash fits on these carts and there’s still a little room to spare. My multicolor prints, hand dyes and batiks are not grouped by color, but category, and they fit on one of the carts also. I have to admit that the fabrics I use less frequently such as my holiday fabrics, children’s prints and flannels are still in a bin or two. Nothing is perfect. The only down side I’ve found to this system so far is that when I finish a project and there are fabrics left over they don’t magically reshelf themselves. Any suggestions?
Kathleen’s comment about storing smaller scraps is a whole new topic. I have a large fish bowl on my counter that I fill with these “too small to fold” pieces and strips. When it gets full I dump them in a bin and when the bin gets full I make myself do a scrap quilt. My most recent one was from Sharon Rotz’s book: “Log Cabin Quilts With Attitude”. That top used up most of my scraps and is awaiting borders. The trouble is I’ve already refilled my fish bowl. So many quilts, so little time. Here’s a true confession: Sometimes when my fishbowl gets full and I can’t deal with the guilt, I’ll dump it in a bag and donate it to my guild’s next white elephant auction. My friend, Laure Reuters, purchased my last “guilt dump bag” and made a delightful quilt with it!
I’ll watch for more comments and come up with a new topic on Monday :-)!
PS Here’s how I fold yardage to fit on the carts: