Sunday, April 7, 2013

In Which I Tackle the Basement

There is a sequential vortex of cleaning.  If you clean one area and remove the clutter, some of that clutter will go to another area and need to be put away.  This leads to noticing the clutter in the second area, and before you know it you are sorting and dusting and wondering what possessed you to buy all this stuff.  That is, if you are me.
The picture above is the junk pile I have accumulated after two days of sorting.  This doesn't even count the trash, or the crate full of stuff to go to other areas of the house.
I have not done this thorough a clean out in years.  I am blessed with a large huge basement room, which I share only with the furnace and hot water heater.  I have just about filled it with fabric, projects, sewing machines, and LOTS of miscellaneous.
It has gotten to the point of being actually stressful.  I am happier working upstairs not just because the spare room has sunny windows (which the basement does not) but because the upstairs is far less cluttered.  All this stuff is making me crazy.  I need things to be organized.  I need some empty space.  And clean would be nice, too.
These last two days I have made a good start.  I didn't take any before pictures (way too embarrassed), but here are some of the afters.  Well, after two days of hard work.  There is lots more work to come.
This is my bookcase, near my sewing machines.  (My books are on the other side of the basement with the rest of the family books.)  I have my knitting needles, buttons, pins, sewing machine needles (in the Singer tin, of course), hand needles, marking pens, thimbles, etc. handy when needed.
This is my piecing area.  The Singer model 12 is next to the junk pile.  It's the kind that opens out flat (as you can see).  The wooden surface folds up around the machine and locks.  The baskets are string scraps and mending.  The other machine is a Domestic, really a White Family Rotary.
This shelf unit is next to the bookcase.  These bins and boxes house my collection of vintage print fabrics from the 1930s to the 1980s.  The black banker's boxes are labeled, finally, so I don't have to keep pulling the wrong boxes off the shelf.  Right now I have a massive amount of 1950s and 1960s cottons.  I also have a Singer model 12 hand crank on the top shelf.  It's a Frankenstein, cobbled together from at least 3 machines.  It works great.  The yellow at the top of the picture is the insulation--there are no ceiling tiles.

Here's my Davis VF, ready to go.  I've got my wind up clock, thread scissors, and seam ripper, all prepared for a sewing marathon.

Between the two shelf units I have a rolling cart with thread and other notions.  The green library cabinet on top holds my collection of cotton rick rack.  The black tin box contains my embroidery floss.

This shelf unit has mostly boxes of solid colored fabric.  The vintage prints, feed sacks, and vintage quilt blocks work well with solids.  They are sorted by color.  I also have my Accuquilt cutter (which I LOVE).  The floral bin next to it holds the dies and mats, plus Accuquilt patterns and samples.  The red metal thing on top is a snap setter.  I bought it for making cloth diapers.  It's handy for kids clothes, too.
The sewing machine on the end of the second shelf from the top is an adorable hand crank, I'll have to take pictures of it when I get the mess cleaned up.  Her name is Rosie.

Hurray!  I can see the top of the desk!  I've got an old computer in the case, and orphan blocks in the wicker drawers.

I cleaned out all kinds of boxes and baskets, and put all my rulers together (in the basket with the handle).  I also put the instructions with them, for a change.  The round basket in front holds tools, like rotary cutters, blades, and machine quilting stuff.

To the right of the desk, No Man's Land begins.  I have just started work in this area.  The bins stacked here are all full of feed sacks--two bins of print and two bins of plain colored.  The small bins on top are strips and scraps.  According to the calendar on the wall, it's always 1897 in the basement.

On the other side of the room, I've finally got all my strips together.  Some of the quilt items on the shelf unit are soon to be for sale on Ebay or Etsy.  The big brown bin holds my novelty fabrics--guess I'd better not buy any more for a while!  You know this was bad if this is the AFTER picture.

The rolling cart in front holds strips of different widths, similar to the Bonnie Hunter scrap users system.  I modified it a little to suit me.  My strips are 1.5 in., 2.5 in., 3.5 in., and 4.5 in.  I also cut 6.5 in. occasionally, if I think I want them for star centers or Accuquilt pieces.
The white metal cart holds feed sack squares and strips as well as extra Accuquilt pieces.  To the right you can see the "on deck" shelf, where current projects wait for my attention.  Stored below that is my cotton yarn and a box of wool rug yarn.  The yellow bin is stuffed with two large failed knitting projects, to be raveled out for their yarn.

These bins are just for the kid fabrics.  Some are for strips, some for projects.  I can take these upstairs easily to work on.  The cabinet is an old treadle cabinet that needs to be glued back together.  The Domestic machine I use for piecing was originally in this cabinet.

Lastly, we have these 3 dusty sisters.  These are hand cranks.  I plan to dust them off, clean them, and find them new homes.  I'll reveal more about them soon.

I'm not going to show you the rest until I get it in better shape.  That could take a while!  It feels good to get started, though, even though I was ready to fall asleep right after supper.
It's a good thing I'm doing this now.  Tomorrow starts Quilt Show Season!



  1. Go Mom! Maybe you can help me clean out my basement sometime! :)

  2. I may need to take a nap first!

  3. What a great room! Where do you live, I have some friends looking for hand cranks in TX and MO.

    1. I live in Wisconsin, near Milwaukee, sorry. Maybe somebody could do a pony express?

  4. You have very lovely vintage machines! I own a Davis NVF that is in a cabinet that looks like your cabinet. I love my Davis NVF; it's my favorite machine for quilting and attaching binding. I have enjoyed reading your blog.

    1. Thank you very much! I love the Davis, too. It's kind of amazing that this technology is not really being used on sewing machines today.


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