And so, back to the studio and the conversation of process. In this post, I’m going to show you some of my storage set-ups, and tell you a little about why I use what I use. I’m going to go counter-clockwise from the cutting table…

In the last post I talked about using office tools to hold my rulers, and here’s a close up of one of them. It’s about 3 inches deep with 3 sections, and works pretty well for almost all of my rulers. I organize them loosely from widest and weirdest (big squares and various triangles) at the back to narrowest and most used at the front. There are some other beautifully crafted wood widgets with grooves that I have seen at various shows, but I’ve never bought one because each groove holds only one ruler which makes them significantly deeper than my little rack. Deeper takes up table area, which is a party foul in a space as small as mine. Peg board might also work here, but I find it easier to grab the rulers from the rack than from the wall, and if I layer on peg board, you can bet the ruler I need is the one underneath – which means I have to move two rulers to get to one – not efficient!

Between the crates that hold up my cutting surface is a plastic unit of drawers. These are full of small things that I want to keep free of the ubiquitous dust that fiber studios create. The top drawer is full of marking pencils, chalk and such – things that I use at the cutting table. Lower drawers have small tools, special fibers, inks, paints, stamps and so on. They are organized by frequency of use with the most used at the top.

Moving left from the cutting table is a door (which has my to-do-list white board on it), and a pile of file-type boxes and crates in the corner, all carefully labeled, the contents of which I won’t describe as they mostly relate to the fine art side of my world. I have a dressmaker’s form squeezed between these boxes and my book case. There are two of them in the studio (because they don’t fit anywhere else in my life at the moment) and they seem to have turned into hangers for bags and other stuff, just like a treadmill in a bedroom becomes an expensive towel rack! I usually work with this door open so it’s fine that all of this stuff disappears behind it.

And on to the bookcase, where most of the things I use a lot are readily at hand. The things that get the most use here are the threads, needles, pens, paper, and snack food! And they are all in the middle which makes them easy to get at. This bookcase is piled to the ceiling, but I seldom need to get to the stuff that’s up high… which is why it’s up there!

I have several different types of thread storage going, each purchased to fit the size of threads they hold. I would much rather have one type of box, but I have yet to find one that serves all purposes without wasting space. I prefer the slightly soft, slightly opaque plastic cases (3rd image) because if I smack one on a corner or in the car trunk, it’s less likely to crack than the clear hard cases. But I have a bunch of those too because they work, and if I have to transport them to a retreat I pop them into totes to keep them safe. I don’t like having the thread out on decorative racks (as visually delicious and inspiring as it would be) because I don’t want them getting dusty. The only threads I keep out are cones of piecing threads.

Next to the threads are my bobbin boxes… I have a lot of bobbins so that I don’t have to unwind something to start a project (efficiency!). I like this style of box because they have a foamy insert that stops the bobbins from rattling around and unwinding. I keep the bobbins sorted by type of thread first, and after that color family. I periodically wind up whole boxes of the piecing threads, usually when I’m procrastinating other things (and more on that part of the process in a later post)

More storage to come…