Cleaning and Re-Arranging

Why do I work so hard to clean the sewing room and then within days, if not hours, it’s a mess again?  Why can’t I keep it straight?  Why don’t I finish one project and put away all the leftovers before hauling fabric out for another project?  Why do I print a zillion pages and then have to spend hours going through them and tossing half of what I’ve printed?  Why?  Why?

The projects I have going right now are:

  • Patriotic Sampler
  • The yellow/navy QOV
  • Nicole’s sofa quilt
  • The new quilt for Nicole
  • Christmas Town Sampler
  • A quilt for a magazine

There are probably more but those are the ones that I had spread out all over everywhere.   I can work on a couple of projects at a time but I cannot function with at least six projects all in the piecing stage.

Adding to the frustration, the new furniture will be delivered tomorrow and the old sofa goes in the sewing room.  A reader asked why I’m keeping it.  I suppose the real reason is it still looks brand new and the next reason is that it’s the most comfortable sofa I’ve ever sat on.  I really do like it but it is too big for the family room in the house and a love seat will go better in the house.  It will be nice to have a sofa in the sewing room.  Now there’s only computer/desk type chairs that I use for the computer and sewing.  It will be nice to have the sofa so if friends are over, we can sit and chat or if I’m tired, I can take a quick nap on the sofa.  Here’s the spot I cleared for the sofa.

The distance between the end of the cutting table and the longarm is about 9 feet so there’s plenty of room for the sofa there.  I will not put the sofa right up against the cutting table because Speck has a tendency to get on the back of the sofa and climb onto anything he can reach.

The table that holds the two 301 machines got moved over by the other design wall so now, all three of my set up sewing machines are together.  I only  use the Bernina for binding and do all the piecing on the 301 machines.

This is my little work area — cutting table, sewing machines and an ironing table set up for small jobs.  I can get to the design wall easily from any of the sewing machines.  On the floor is a pillow and sheet where Speck can curl up next to me.

The quilts stacked under the cutting table are all needing binding.

Here’s my other cutting table.  This one is where I trim borders or work on bigger things.  You will notice the newer Bernina is probably feeling pretty unloved.  It sits under the table . . hasn’t even been unpacked since the move.

The bigger ironing table gets used once I’m ironing things larger than blocks.  I love having it for backings, borders, and the big things but for pressing half square triangles and small seams, it’s nice to have a small table set up by the machine.

When I walk into the sewing room from the house, this is pretty much what I see:

Why can’t I keep this room looking like this?


  1. 1

    Terri says

    What a great room! and yeah I wish mine looked that tidy too 🙂 Right now mine is total disaster, our hot water heater busted and flooded the basement and since we are moving in a few months I decided to go ahead and start packing it up. Not like I’ve been able to do anything in months anyway what with work and working on plans for the new house…….. someday lol

    Couple of questions for you…. how do you like your can lights? do they put out alot of heat? and do you like the light? our electrician is telling me fluorescent would be best. But he’s a man 🙂

    And are you liking carpet in there?

    • 1.1


      I’m not sure about the canister lights. I don’t love them and I don’t dislike them. I have LED lights so there’s no heat. I have fluorescent lights in the closets and I think they put out more light but maybe the quality isn’t as good. If I had it to do over, I’d put some kind of track lighting in the sewing room where I could point the lights over whatever area I want them over.

      I’m loving the carpet. I didn’t want it at first but am so glad I have it. We went with a medium grade commercial carpet and I would definitely use it again.

  2. 3


    Asking a quilter to keep her space looking like that would be the same as asking an artist to do their painting without getting paint on their paint brushes, or their painting smock or clothing. Without the mess, there is no creating.

  3. 5


    Judy, you sewing room is so nice….and you could keep it organized if that were a priority for you. We all make time to do what is important to us…..having things in place is nice but being fruitful and creative is MORE IMPORTANT to you than having things in order. MAKE SENSE? So the next time you ask why…just tell yourself BECAUSE I HAVE BETTER USES FOR MY TIME AND ENERGY. (I think it is OK to talk to oneself…..LOL)

    I am one of those people who CANNOT CREATE if I have too much going on….so I have to limit the number of things in process that I have out in my visible work space. Orderliness gives me peace – but I am not NEARLY as productive as you are….so there is a trade off!!

    You are one of the most creative, organized, productive, diverse people I know… keep doing what you are doing. You are the true definition of awesome. :):)

    sao in Midlothian, VA

  4. 7

    Anne says

    The mess is part and parcel of the creative process, I think. It’s like any creative endeavor. The right side of your brain spurs you to drag out various fabrics to audition for quilts you intend to make soon. While you browse the Internet for ideas, the left side of your brain prompts you to print everything you might need to access later. That’s what I think, anyway. Play the “blame game” and take turns defending your messes on one side of your brain or the other. 😉

  5. 11


    I have two rooms that connect. The first is 13 x 14 and is where I do my design and computer work. The large room is 20 x 20 and where I do longarm work, meet with customers and have friends in to sew. NEITHER room is ever clean/tidy at the same time. I think it’s the creative gene at work. ;>)

  6. 13


    I do the same thing Judy – clean one week and a disaster the next. When you say 301 machines….is that a Singer? blessings, marlened

  7. 14

    Cheryl says

    I love your sewing room, especially the sunny yellow color. I showed the pictures to my husband and he asked the square footage.

  8. 15


    that’s a lot of space to keep clean. i know i couldn’t keep it looking like that. i just finished 2 days of moving things around in my studio and vacuumed up year old dust bunnies. LOL it only gets a GOOD cleaning when i move stuff around and expose the floors. we who are artists are not good cleaners. that’s my story and i’m sticking to it.

  9. 16


    insert room envy here…! I do the same thing though – jump right to the next project without cleaning up from the previous (or current) one…

  10. 17


    Wow, love your sewing area/room/apt. I, too, have one end of my room for sewing and the other had a TV, sofa and chair (plus bookcases for quilt books). We just moved and I’m doing the same thing again. And, yes, it is always a mess unless I do a speed clean if someone is stopping by. Just enjoy

  11. 18

    EagleKnits says

    You have a wonderful space, and the yellow walls are perfect — such a happy color! I’ve knitted and crocheted for decades, but only started quilting a few months ago when I retired. I have a small bedroom that I could convert to a sewing room, but I’m not sure where to begin. What do you experienced quilters think are the three most important elements of a good sewing room? Cutting table? Design wall? Storage space? Ironing table?

  12. 19


    Sweet! I’ll have a place to sit and relax when I come visit! On second thought I hope you have it piled high. I would spend all my time relaxing on the sofa instead of getting any sewing done.

  13. 20

    Linda B in MI says

    well, I have the same problem, always seem to cleaning up, but worse, when I or someone else brings something sewing related down to my sewing room, it gets put anywhere and usually by my main sewing machine since it is closest to the door. And PAPER PRINTOUTS!!! YEE GADS!!!! I could fill volumes! Then I get on a paper destashing, getting rid of duplicates, why did I print this, and more. Thankgoodness we have paper recycling. Between the den, the kitchen and sewing room, we get rid of about 4 groceriy sacks(paper) every two weeks.
    And projects uncompleted…have them in all sorts of doneness (I like the word, also undoneness).
    And rearranging is my biggest downfall. Still trying to find the perfect setup. maybe now that i have a blog(in it’s infantsy) I will take some pics and see if I can be fixed..right now I have to force myself to enter the dungeon…done over and out

  14. 21

    daneesey says

    Okay. I’m going to be completely and totally honest and just say how much I love your space and that giving up my “sewing/crafting/quilting” space is probably the ONLY regret that I would have in moving from a sticks and bricks house to our RV. That is all. 🙂

  15. 22

    Patti says

    Creativity is fleeting as a wisp of cloud…if you don’t act on it immediately it vanishes….running around cleaning stirs up bits of wind that scatter the threads of creativity and they vanish…along with the piles of fabric of creativity. In this case, cleanliness is not always the best option….at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  16. 23


    There is an easier answer to your questions in the first paragraph. You are a quilter. Enough said. I do envy you on your room. All the space and equipment and everything. It is beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. 25

    Kris says

    Wish I could help you. 2 years ago I started moving my sewing room to the basement. Still fo not have everything put away. In fact, it looks like a fabric shop threw up in there. I am trying to commit to spend 15 minutes cleaning before I sit down and sew but you know how that goes.