Organizing My Sewing Room

The before.

I LOVE my Sewing Room downstairs.  But while we were gone these last 2 years, my space became a catch-all space for everyone who came and went in our house.  The room filled with boxes and bags of stuff (much of it was mine, moved from other places), but much of it was just fabric and purchases that have been sitting since before our missions.  Next to my Sewing Room is my Overflow Sewing Room.  This room was also so full, you could hardly walk into it.  Then when the kids were here, we added the crib for Margot.

I decided this week to start tackling this job, organizing and reclaiming my spaces.

The overflow.

I’ve gone through piles and mounds of fabric, filing them in drawers and on shelves, uncovering old projects started but not completed.  I’ve emptied bags and boxes and totes and have read 20 years’ of notes and cards and thank yous for this or that, quilt related. I found notes from little Claire and dozens and dozens of scraps of paper with quilt ideas and measurements, never enough to remind me what the finished project was supposed to look like, though!   I’ve filled several boxes and baskets of things to give away to ladies in my quilt group and the quilt guild.  I’m sorting and thinning and making this a workable space again.  It’s been a nostalgic trip though my quilting past.

I’ve also determined that I never Need to buy another piece of fabric.  That may not stop me, but I hope it slows me down a bit.  I have everything I love and need to make 100s of quilts right here in this room.

Best of all, my work spaces have been uncovered and are inviting me back.  I still have the closets to go through as I reacquaint myself with the 100s of unfinished projects here, but at least now I can enter the room and start working.  My goal is to chip away at quilts I’ve already started–there are so many–and limit starting new projects.  If I start a new project, I must see it to completion (that’s really hard for me).  I am a multi-tasking quilt maker, working on several (dozens) at a time.  We’ll see how it goes.

There are still corners of things to sort and boxes and piles of projects to get back to, but I’m making headway and I’ve started sewing again.

I have been reminded me of HOW MUCH I love to sew and create quilts.  People often ask me who I’m making the quilts for, or why I need so many.  I can’t really answer that.  I make them because something in me NEEDS to make them.  Like a painter needs to paint, or a writer needs to write.  I need to work with fabric.  I can’t imagine anyone asking a composer why they composed that piece.  All create because there is something inside that needs to come out.  It’s the same for me with quilts.

In the November 2008 General Conference, Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a talk called  “Happiness, Your Heritage,”  He spoke to the women about creativity and making beautiful things.  I love what he said.  Here are a few excerpts from his talk:

The Work of Creation

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.

Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty. . . .

We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy.  Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.

You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us.  The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.

What you create doesn’t have to be perfect.  Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.

If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it.

Nearly a century and a half ago, President Brigham Young spoke to the Saints of his day. “There is a great work for the Saints to do,” he said. “Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ.”

The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.

I know my quilting life is not reasonable or in control, but my quilting life brings me great joy and I love looking around our home, filled with beautiful quilts made by my own hands.  They lift my spirits and help me feel peace, contentment, joy and warmth.  For me, they also represent a way I can send my love to future generations.  “GrAnn made this quilt and when you wrap up in it, you can feel her love.  Look at these colors and look at her little stitches.  She chose them and made this just for you.”

Here’s a baby quilt I’m working on for Heidi’s baby coming in May.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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