January 2021 – Organization: Part 2

January 2021 – Organization: Part 2

I have had several quilting emails this past week – and they are all about organization, which I wrote about earlier this month.  In reading through them, I found a few more ideas – and a topic I had omitted, which is how to give your sewing machine a regular cleaning to start off the new year, and periodically throughout the year.

So here are a few more suggestions and follow-ups to Part 1.


Karen Brown at Just Get It Done has a declutter challenge which started on the 11th, so you have time to still be on top of things if you like challenges.

She has a ‘Before We Begin’ blog which is brief and will give you an idea of how she is going about the challenge.  Karen gives some ideas for those profound and mind-boggling questions such as:  Where will it go? Trash? To some other person? In a different storage container? In another room? Do I love it? Do I hate it? Will I ever use it? I am guilty of using my sewing room as the space where holiday tubs hang out until I am ready to pack away all the decorations until next year. And the tubs are still there! I am having a difficult time letting go of the holiday décor this year, as there is really not too much. And it makes me happy to look at what I did put up. [Packing it away is Karen’s Day Two of the 21 Day Journey to Organization; I am a bit behind.]



If that sounds like a good time to you, then you can read more about her challenge via the links below:



Karen also has other links to blogs and tutorials on her site:  https://www.justgetitdonequilts.com/          


No Holds Barred – Thread Storage

The Bernina ‘We All Sew’ email had a link to a thread holder system.  However, if you are a bargain hunter and re-user of all things possible (as I am) save small plastic containers, such as the ones prescriptions come in, or cat treats, or small jelly and garnish jars (although I must say the plastic is much easier to handle. One dropped jar and you may have a broken-glass-hazmat situation.) 

I put thread and matching bobbin in a plastic container and then into a pouch on my sewing table, because when I am sewing quilts, pouches, and other projects I may need to switch colours three or four times in one afternoon. Prescription labels are easy to remove, and the containers are the perfect size, most of the time, to hold one spool of thread and one bobbin. One drawback – you will need to label what colour is in the container, as the gold-orange medication bottle colour can make it difficult to distinguish darker shades of purple, blue, green, and grey.  I spent a lot of time opening all the bottles until I found the right colour.  Now I am armed with a permanent marker for future labeling needs!

This is only one possible solution for thread that can be useful for “in progress” projects  and it works for me.  If you have a method that you would like to share, please message us through the Guild Facebook page or email a description and photo if possible. We are always glad to share tips, photos and ideas from our guild members. Email address for submitting something to FB is in the monthly newsletter.

Finding a Needle . . .In or Out of a Haystack


We All Sew (Bernina) has a very helpful post that is “All About Sewing Machine Needles”.  It has lots of large graphics and descriptions on what and when to use what size needle and what size thread. I bookmarked this site as the information is handy and there is even a simple test  you can do with needle and thread to be sure they are a “good fit”.



I am including a couple tutorials, since machines are different, but what you need to do to them as far as regular cleaning maintenance is basically the same, though everyone has preferences for how they learn; many of you can probably read your manual and clean the machine without having someone else show you how to do it. And take your machine to a professional for a regular thorough cleaning.

 A word of caution from all of these tutorials:   DO NOT USE CANNED AIR ON YOUR MACHINE!   It can force dust and lint into places that you never knew existed in your machine, possibly ending in total destruction. 

We All Sew – Tips on Removing Lint


Man Sewing – Cleaning Your Machine

Leah Day – Quilter – Cleaning Your Machine

When your machine is lint free and humming along, make it a new cover:



We All Sew                                         https://weallsew.com/holiday-cosmetic-pouch 

Suzy Quilts                                        https://suzyquilts.com/zipper-pouch-tutorial     

Jenny at Missouri Star Quilt         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehdNBYnFsAw       

Here are a couple photos of the more than 40 pouches I made last year as gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and “just because”. Jenny Doan of Missouri Start Quilt was right in my case – making the pouches can be rather addictive! I added the wristlet and bead to the original design. I made mine the same size – more or less – but they can be as large or as small as you want to make them.

I hope you all got some useful ideas this month. Next blog will be sew much more fun!