Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lessons in Stash Folding!

Click HERE for printer friendly version!

Last night on QuiltCam and on Facebook several asked how I do my stash folding and I thought it would be a good thing to share since I am deep up to my knees in it right now!  These are the purples and teal/turquoises.

Messy piles!

Actually, it’s not that bad..much of it just needs straightened and stacked a bit better. I haven’t done this in nearly 5 years --since we moved here ---and things get stuffed and crammed and out of order over time.

I know some use the “roll around a ruler” method….but I found that didn’t work with the sizes of shelves I had ---I needed something that was adjustable to any shelf depth.

I like very narrow stacks so I can simply slip my hand into the stack, remove part of the stack if what I need is buried down toward the bottom, lift what I need out, and replace the stack without disturbing it or the other stacks next to it.  The ruler method made the stacks shorter in depth and taller in height and would have taken up more shelf space.  I would need MORE cabinets to do it that way -- not a good thing!

So this is how I do it!

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First, measure your shelf.  You need to know how deep it is so you know where to fold!  Mine are right at 15".

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This is a 2 yard piece of yellow--- I grabbed it for photography purposes, and I think the fold lines will help clarify what I am doing.  I have the fabric folded in half so it measures 1 yard long.  This isn’t necessary – you can leave it in the 2 yard length, it just means more folding.  If I were folding a 6 yard piece, I’d definitely want it folded end to end first.

The selvages are together at the upper edge, just like the fabric comes off the bolt when you buy it, the fold towards me at the bottom of the picture. This way from fold to selvage it measures 22” tall.

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Bring the bottom folded edge up to the selvages.  The fabric now measures about 11” tall.  There are 8 layers here.

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Fold it once more, bringing the bottom of the piece up to the top fold.  It now measures about 5.5” tall, and there are 16 layers.

Remember the depth of your shelf?  Subtract about an inch.

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I begin folding at the far right end by putting my finger at the 14” mark.

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Here is the right end of the fabric flipped over my fingers where I placed them.  From here, you are going to continue the roll as far as you can go, maintaining the depth of your shelf minus that 1” or so….

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This what I’ve got when I’m done rolling.

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See how it fits??

I can fit 3 stacks across on my cabinet shelf.  There is a bit of a margin on the side where if I had a larger piece, say for a backing, I could stack that on its side to fill the space.

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Close up of the reds!

I know it takes time to do this.  But I love how it fits.  Because I’ve done it to fit the depth of my shelf, there is no wasted space and everything is uniform.

And this is what I will be doing today ---yellows/oranges and greens are on the agenda for this morning!

39 comments:

45th Parallel Quilter said...

Great information as I'm in the midst of organizing my quilt studio after a major move. Just purchased some shelving and will be utilizing this method of storage. My quandry was whether to store by colors or sizes or "groups" but after seeing your results I think color is the way to sort. Thanks for all your knowledge-sharing, Bonnie! Can't wait for your Star Struck workshop in Michigan late in November ... planning to attend!

Krista said...

What I like most about the ruler fold method is the accessibility of the "working edge" of the fabric. I can simply unfold once (the final "fold in half") and I have the cut edge of fabric right there. I unroll (like rolling off a bolt) just as much as I need, cut, roll the tail back over and fold in half again. Without that convenience, I'd quickly end up with a pile of crumpled fabric, because I can't see myself refolding every time :) Biggest problem is, the ruler fold doesn't work well for pieces over about 2.5 yards - maybe I'll try yours for those.

Linda H said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you Bonnie!

YankeeQuilter said...

Looks much nicer than my roll and stuff method!

quiltmom05 said...

Love the step by step instructions! Now my issue is that I use containers for a majority of my fabrics, and most pieces are pretty large. Do you have any suggestions for yardage that is over 2 yards long? I have a lot of that.

TLC said...

Would love to go shopping in those cabinets! So neat and orderly. My schedule today was to attend a rally, but it's much too windy for me to be outside. I would say, "Dorothy I don't think we're in Ohio anymore". I think a trip to my quilt space is in order now to fluff and fold.

Pauline said...

Wonderful tutorial! Thanks.

Material Girl said...

Thanks for posting how you fold your fabric Bonnie, I fold mine selvage to selvage then in half width wise, then I fold it end over end until it is all folded up into a nice neat bundle... I can do as 5 and more yards that way.
I like doing it that way cause I totally know what Krista means about having a pile of crumbled fabric on my table if I didn't mine fold the way I do... happened just the other day as I was working on a Halloween project and came across some fabric that wasn't folded the way I like it and yep for 3 days I had a pile of crumpled fabrics on my ironing table. I spent a few hours last night pressing and re-folding the way that works for me, they fit nicely into my roller carts like a bunch of file folders and it's easy to find what I need.

cityquilter grace said...

and i'll take that yellow! lol, looking good from here, enormous task but will be so easy to use once completed..

45th Parallel Quilter said...

Be safe if you're in Ohio ... weather reports are showing LOTS of weather passing through there from "Sandy". Quiltroom time is a good idea!

45th Parallel Quilter said...

I'll share that yellow with you ... yep ... nice piece of yard goods!

Valerie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yo said...

Good Morning Bonnie,
Louvin' those storage hints!!
**This is one you will have many inquiries about ---
might want to put these instructions in your "TIPS & TECHNIQUES" tab.Thanks for all you do in our wonderful quilting world to make it all a more joyful place.

Valerie said...

Bonnie, your method is working well for me. Fabric I folded using the ruler method is, for me at least, difficult to keep neat when pulling fabrics. The comic book board fabric looks so nice lined up on the shelf, but when I'm pulling fabric the ends get pulled and wrinkled up. With your method, the full depth of my shelves is used, and it is easy to stick my hand and arm into the pile and lift it to remove the fabric I want. I have many fabrics well over 3 yards--I just do what I have to to fold them lengthwise so I can cut a length from the end without unrolling the entire thing, so it is worth the initial struggle to me. Thank you for another tip that really works in my every day life!

Wanda said...

Wish I had seen this before I folded all mine around a ruler, as I think it would have fit better. Maybe I can slowly change it. I like your method and my shelves are deeper so this would probably work much better in the long run.
Thank you for sharing,

Angie said...

Great tutorial for folding fabrics! Bonnie is there any chance you could make this "printable" in Tips & Techniques? Thanks

Laura said...

Oh my, that is such a fine piece of yellow. I have to ask, is it an "older" piece?

The Fibers of Life said...

It is so good to see how other quilters handle their stash. Get something valuable from one and all. Thank you Bonnie.

Mary Ellen said...

I like this idea. My new shelving is just about the same depth as yours. I do have pieces relatively small, though, less than 1/2 yd. in some cases, and which I don't want to relegate to the scrap bin just yet. I do a fair amount of applique and the small pieces, if they are beloved, I like to keep. I have been putting them in the front of the larger pieces, but this is messy. I will have to think about what to do with them. Maybe just a separate bin for these pieces? I like the idea of just putting my hand under a stack and lifting out the fabric. I had never thought about it before, but this is exactly what I do. Thanks for the (for me) very timely tutorial.

SweetAmbrosia said...

Bonnie this is such a great idea! Sure makes sense of all the odd cut pieces. Since using the Bonnie-Method lol, I have cut up sooo many fabrics. Realized I should keep a few greater pieces too.

Hope Superstorm Sandy doesn't do anything in your area. Our temps have dropped, and some snow will probably be seen today or tomorrow. I live in the foothils of the Smokies.

Take care, have fun nad "GIRL! Clean up that stash, you hear?" lol
Smilies
JulieinTN

Carolyn Sullivan said...

I'm in Cincinnati, and it is cold, a little rainy, some smow on the east side of town, but all considering in my side of the city it's not too bad. My sister in Clevland has not power!

TLC lets meet up and shop at Bonnies, I could use a RD trip! LOL like she'd let us.

Micki Clemens said...

Bonnie, thanks for answering my question. It seems simple enuf and I will give it a try. Micki

wildcatmom said...

Bonnie, think that lovely yellow would have worked as a cheddar print. Think I'll be trying to add some of those to my stash, if I can find them. Just loved your bow-tie quilt, and I've got the plaids!
It's soup day here in Kansas, too, but ours will be clam chowder. Enjoy

Lois M. said...

Bonnie, How can I get your blogposts in a timely manner? I usually don't receive any updates until after 9PM(I am on Eastern time) and there is always 2-3 in one email. Since it comes so late, many times, I have missed your webcam.

Shirley said...

OH I love this stash of red!!!! I have a quilt I wanted to do, but needed so many different reds that I finally gave up collecting :(

Karen, aka Yaya said...

Thanks for this post. As I mentioned a couple of days ago I recently reorganized my stash. But it is already getting messy and un-organized again! UGH! On my shelves I seem to have stacks behind other stacks so I really can't see all the fabrics I have.

As much as I don't look forward to organizing my stash again, I love how you have stacked your fabrics and each fabric goes the full length of the shelf, so no fabrics are hidden with stacks behind!!

Guess I need to do this soon. :)

norma v said...

love it, but i would have to refold my entire stash....

elana613 said...

I fold my fabric the same way, with one addition. I make sure that I have about half an inch at the front end which I fold over the stack and place at the front. Sometimes this means kind of rolling the folds so the end is at the front. Why? That way if there is any fading damage from the light, only the beginning inch of my yardage gets damaged, and the rest is protected. Believe me, I learned this from experience. If I could post a picture this would be much clearer, but if you understand the principle you can figure out how to do it.

Susan Stessin Cohn said...

Thanks, Bonnie- What a great way to organize my fabrics!

Carla said...

Thanks for sharing your folding method.

Rebekah Lay said...

Inspiring to get organized in a new way! Thanks Bonnie.
Rebekah, Ky

Rebekah Lay said...

Motivated to fold and reorganized! Great directions, thanks Bonnie!

WIPPYSPLACE said...

BONNIE--my goodness lady-I thought you had all scraps! teehheeee I sorta do this for my stash--but if I re-think this, and refold-I will have room for more---thanks! *~*CAROLE*~*

~~Sew Happy Designs~~ said...

WOW, this is GREAT! I try to fold mine similar, but in looking at your method, I KNOW I'm not utilizing my shelf space well. I need to do this...oy...head is spinning thinking of the time it will take, but I know there will be REWARDS in having stash more organized. THANK YOU for all your wonderful tips Bonnie! Wish I had been able to watch you last night, but will pick a time to do so later.
Blessings for Easter!!
Cindy in NY

Jan Duffy said...

Love it great tip.

Jan Duffy said...

Love it great tip

Lois said...

Soooo much better than having them hidden in bins, etc. Thanks, Bonnie.

Bev @ kwiltpharm said...

Did mine in November and December-so far, so good-I haven't messed any of the folded piles up yet! And, yes, I have pulled fabric, but being able to lift off the top of the stack and then place is back is such a splendid idea! Thanks for the reminder!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Krista (#2). I like the ruler method as I am able to unfold and cut only what I need without unfolding the entire piece. I find it easy enough to take from the middle of the stack as well. As far as using ruler method for larger pieces, I simply use a larger ruler. Many of my 3 yard and up yardage has been folded with my 16" square ruler. It's a little cumbersome to fold, but stays neatly. Also, when I need to know how much yardage there is, I just count the folds and multiply by whatever the ruler width was. I have also found that I can fold my 6" ruler stacks in half again and file straight down in a drawer for storage easily. Every fabric in the drawer can be seen!