Friday, August 8, 2014

Organizing handwork supplies

How do you keep all the necessities on hand while you are working?

I have a tin box about 3.5" x 5.5" x 3.5" with a clip closing and a cloth strap on one end.

Inside I carry a spool of thread, a pin cushion, a pencil, a white fabric marker, a needle case, my "Thread Heaven", several pairs of small scissors and a tiny folding ruler.

When I travel, I carry that tin in my bag along with a zip-lock holding the pieces I am working on.

I usually have a long thread on the needle and a clover cutter on a string around mt neck, but there are times I run out of thread and have to go to my tin for more supplies ... usually thread or sharp scissors or additional pins.

Even visiting with friends in a sewing group, the tin sometimes gets dumped and I have to chase the supplies across the floor, trying to make sure I am leaving nothing behind.

I have seen a number of handy fold-up kits but I am thinking of making a chatelaine that I can wear around my neck and keep things handy. The above is a sketch I made of my idea. I am wondering if anyone has such a thing. I certainly need a place to hold my glasses. Maybe the pocket at the neck could be engineered so that the whole thing would fold up inside when not in use.

I have pieced a few scrappy blocks BUT NOW is the time to put some ideas together.

If anyone out there has suggestions ... Please offer them.

My #3 daughter, Norie, and little Leia came for a few days visit. While Norie helped sort through countless piles of papa's stuff and help organize his computer room, Leia and I got to play. Pictures are a bit dark as the drapes were pulled to block out some of the hot sun.

One of my friends gifted me a few pieces of fleece fabric.

We selected a cat print and a solid orange and Leia pinned the two back-to-back.

Then I began to make six-inch  cuts about an inch wide around the edge.

Leia took each pair and tied them together with a double knot.

Those little hands were just flying and before I even made it to the end of the first side, she was at my elbow.

Somehow, I had thought this would be a longer project but I had not counted on such a fast-working assistant.

Here we are half-way done!

Isn't that a cute cat print?

Here is the finished "quilt".

It is a bit too warm for the weather we are having now but it is very soft and snugly. I suppose it will come in handy in three or four months.

After going home, Norie called to say that Leia was required as homework to write a report on several of  her summer activities.

This project was one of the subjects she picked and had quickly written a report with illustrations. I have just seen a copy of what she has produced and am glad that idea was a hit.

Monday was our 51st wedding anniversary.

Norie took this picture outside our front gate as were going out to celebrate with pizza.

Last year for our 50th, I was camping at the Jamboree so we missed the big one.

Monday after my English class, I went to a shop one of my students recommended and bought Paul a nice light summer hat. It is woven of hemp and will allow air to pass through.

I don't know how long it will last because he tends to lose hats and gloves and umbrellas and things that are not tied to his body but he was pleased with this addition and so may be a bit more careful where he puts it.

A typhoon is on its way but probably will cross the country to the west. I am hoping it will generate a bit of rain for our area to cool things down a bit. Today's clouds moving in are a nice break from the hot sun.


  1. Your chatelaine is a great idea and making it to meet your own needs is perfect. Good luck.
    Lovely to see you having fun making a quilt with Leia.
    And congratulations on your anniversary. That is a wonderful achievement.

  2. Oh a darling photo of you and your granddaughter - and what a fun project for summer. Happy Anniversary - we hit 50 at the end of next month. I hope you get some rain and not too much wind. I think the chatelaine is a great idea - I have a less complicated version - small pincushion on one end, scissors on the other and a loop for thread and a tiny pocket for my thimble - it is quite useful.

  3. My Suggestions: For the chatelaine, I would put the scissors on the right hand side and lower down as I would use them more frequently than the note paper or marking tools. If you make the sections so that they fit within a reasonable folding pattern then put a strip of elastic across the back at points where it could be drawn around the folded packet? For the scrappy blocks I think they might need something to separate them and tie the whole together, if that makes any sense at all. Happy anniversary to you and Paul. Did you eat at Shakey's? Love G

  4. FIrst of all, Happy Anniversary!
    Leia did a beautiful job on her quilt and that is a fun project for a beginner quilter.
    I like the idea of a chatelaine, that would be nice for all types of projects.


  5. lovely pictures .. I would rather play with you and your assistant than have to "sort stuff" !! Happy anniversary x

  6. All my sewing things are on my sewing table in boxes pouches and so on, quite a mess..... I am not so organized so cannot help you with your idea. Happy anniversaire and the hat looks. Great.

  7. 51 years to celebrate, All love and many wishes, the quilt, Leia is a fast worker and this will be great in colder weather. Your sewing bits and pieces, what about a vest like the trout fisherman have, very lightweight for the back, and pockets galore on the front, that way weight is spread across your shoulders and not just your neck, scissors with ribbon to hold them when not using? Zip up front or button or Velcro, and pockets could be wider then? just a thought .Or buy a vest from an op shop ( that is what we call the used clothes shop, one of my favourite haunts) men's ones would be in better supply. then all you need to do is add the pockets. Hugs, Jean. p.s. guess that pizza was the best.

  8. I love your idea of the chatelaine. I would like to have one and make one for all my sewing friends. I think your idea will be the next Thing! A vest with pockets would also be great. The main thing for me would be ease of use. I need to see what's there. With too many pockets, I would have to search around. I have a travel vest with sixteen pockets, some hidden. It thwarts pickpockets and it also thwarts me when I need to find something! Happy Anniversary, and wishing continued joy to all your family.

  9. Hi, Julie. Adorable quilt and the fringe is a great idea--so cheerful. I put my stuff for my current appliqué projects in a small pouch. But I like your idea for the chatelaine--especially the pouch for a hot pack. Very clever! Also enjoyed seeing your illustrations for Rossetti's poem. You might like Sketchbook Skool--In fact, I'm sure you would since you are an educator as well. Have a good end-of-summer!
    best, nadia

  10. Julie you have the most wonderful ideas! I love your design and can't imagine needing anything else, except I use a thimble and would need a pocket for that. And it might need to have velcro closure so it doesn't fall out. What a wonderful picture of you and your husband. Our 50th will be in October and our children are planning a reception at church. I'm not a big fan of parties but they are having fun doing it so I guess that's important. blessings, marlene

  11. Congratulations on your 51st Anniversary! Very nice photos and project with granddaughter.

  12. I love Leia's "quilt!" She does look like she had a lot of fun.

    Happy anniversary!!!!!

  13. Congratulations Julie and Husband!! God bless you! I love the idea of your organizer! I will try to do one! Happy Anniversary!!! Hugs :)

  14. Happy Anniversary! I love your little sewing tin. I've been using a small zippered bag I bought in Gotemba, to hold little diamonds I am slowly hand piecing. I am trying to take inspiration from you in having some hand work with me at all times. It's amazing how much I can get done this way. The best part of your design is the spot for the cold pack - genius!

  15. Happy Anniversary. Glad you had some time with your granddaughter. I'm still trying to figure out a good way to carry my supplies, and keep up with my glasses, when I take them off, too. Good luck.

  16. I hope your anniversary pizza was very tasty and that you got to share some memories of all your years together!