When crafts were just a hobby, I often found myself in the midst of complete chaos. Wool and fabric and glitter and glue sticks were strewn everywhere. And I liked it that way! I have always found a tremendous amount of inspiration in the crazy mess of supplies. But now crafting is my career and I have deadlines to meet. I can no longer afford to spend an hour looking for my scissors. I used to live in a two-bedroom house; one bedroom was for sleeping, and the other was for crafting. I had an entire room just for my projects, and it was a luxury that I totally abused. Everything was everywhere. When I was working on my book, Feltique, there was wool roving in piles on the floor, sweaters in scraps, and the scissors were buried beneath it all. A year ago, I moved into a new place. The whole house is just 730 square feet. There’s hardly room for my bed in the single bedroom, let alone a dedicated space just for crafting. I worried that if I had to keep everything put away, my creativity would suffer. Instead, being forced into organization against my will was the best thing that ever happened.
I scored a rolling shelf from the junk store and set it up as my workstation. It holds my sewing machine, and has a place for literally everything I need. I found clear-sided bins and used them to sort out my supplies: ribbons and trim in one, glue sticks and fasteners in another. Wool has its own bin, with sweater scraps in their own too. My washboard, my tripod, and my reference books all have a spot on the cart. To make it inspiring, and keep myself interested in the mundane details of organization, I made sure to find cute containers, little jars, and boxes that I like to look at and want to have around. One of my favorite parts of the new system is that my sewing machine is now on a high shelf, much taller than the table top. It allows me to stand at it and sew quick and simple projects without bending over, or needing to clear off the dinner table. If I do have a larger project, I can easily move it, but standing and sewing is a way I had never worked before, and I really like it. That could also have to do with my new machine, the Natalie A-Line from Baby Lock. It’s simple and compact, and super easy to work with. And since she’s called Natalie, I can pretend I get to craft everyday with Natalie Zee Drieu! When I am not crafting, I keep the cart in my closet. When it’s time to get to work, I roll the shelf out into the dining area, next to the table. It has plenty of light, and the table gives me some space to spread out. At the end, everything goes back into bins, and back into the closet. To my complete surprise, what I thought would be a hindrance to my creativity, has been a boost to my productivity.