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CRAFT: Make Space for Crafting

You might know crafter Lee Meredith from her amazing knitting or recycle projects on her blog, Leethal.net or her fabulous crafty roundups on the Threadbanger blog. We got a chance to take a peek at her craft space in Portland, OR to see how she gets her crafty work done.
Read on after the jump for more photos and a Q&A with Lee!


Leemeredith Cups
CRAFT: What kinds of crafts do you do?
Lee: I consider knitting to be my main craft, but I do tons of other crafts like yarn making (recycling, dyeing, and spinning), sewing, clothing reconstruction, embroidery, print-making and beading. I have supplies for almost every category of crafting.
CRAFT: Where do you craft?
Lee: On the living room couch, or in my studio, depending on the project. Knitting and other crafts that I like doing while watching tv shows/movies are brought out to the living room, but sewing projects, printing, and other things that take up more space are in the studio, unless my studio surfaces are covered, in which case the kitchen table gets taken over!
Leemeredith Fabric
CRAFT: How do you have all your craft supplies organized?
Lee: I love to be organized in theory, but unfortunately I’m not naturally an organized person in practice, so I try to keep things in boxes, bins, shelves, or wherever they are supposed to belong, but there are always piles of supplies on most surfaces in my space. My goal this year is to get things organized well enough that it’s easy for me to keep it that way! So I have a bunch of various shelves, drawers, bins, etc and I assign some genre of supplies to each, from specific (like my glue drawer and tape box) to very general (like my several bins of assorted uncategorizable craft stuff). My clothes to recycle and yarn are my toughest supplies to keep organized, since I have an enormous and ever-growing amount of each. So I have a set of shelves, a tower of drawers, and another smaller set of shelves all for shirts, sweaters, and other used clothing, which I try to keep categorized by type (sweaters to unravel go on these shelves, felted sweaters to cut up on those). And my yarn is pretty much all over the house – pretty handspun on display in the living room, dye-ready recycled on shelves in the dining room area (which is an extension of my craft space, really), and everything else in various shelves and containers all over the studio.
CRAFT: How do you motivate yourself to keep your space organized?
Lee: Sadly, it’s usually not, but I am so much happier and more likely to make things when it is, so if I get the urge to get it cleaned up (or have a reason to, such as this article) then I take advantage of the motivation and make a really huge dent, instead of organizing little bits here and there. I wish I was the kind of person who puts things away in their place immediately after finishing a project, but I’m just not, so I try to spend some quality time getting things in order whenever it gets out of hand. Maybe this year I’ll get better so it’ll never get out of hand in the first place, which I’m sure would make me a happier and more productive crafter!
Leemeredith Shelf
CRAFT: What’s one organization tip/tool/trick you swear by?
Lee: The supplies and tools that I do keep organized all the time are the things that have a really specific place where they belong – so, my tip is to give all your supplies an official place (instead of just having a bunch of drawers/bins/etc for “craft supplies” in general), so you’ll be more likely to clean up and keep everything in order, if you’re like me.
Another different kind of tip, make your space a really enjoyable place to be, which will make you want to spend time there, and therefore want to keep it in good working order. For me, this means good speakers for playing itunes and CDs, and a record player, a comfortable chair, good lighting (essential!), and elements that I like to look at (visually interesting organization in addition to the purely functional bins and drawers).
Leemeredith Sewingmachine
CRAFT: How do you feel when your space is organized? Unorganized?
Lee: Well, since it’s unorganized more often, that’s kind of the norm, so when it is in order I feel fantastic about it! The unfortunate cycle I fall into is: everything is organized, so I want to use the space, so I do a big exciting project that I get really into, getting everything all messed up in the process of making, then my enthusiasm has transferred from being organized to being creative, and the space is trashed and I’m sad about how briefly the order lasted. Then I eventually clean it back up and am excited again.
CRAFT: Describe your dream workspace.
Lee: A space big enough for a huge table in the center, so all the walls could be covered in shelving and drawers and there would be plenty of space for everything. I always think, if everything was organized enough, I would totally keep it that way. In reality, I know I’d still let it get messy, but if the space is huge, I could work around the mess! (Just kidding, my dream space would be organized all the time.)
CRAFT: How does the way your craft space is organized affect your crafting/creativity?
Lee: If I know where everything is, I can make what I envision more freely, without having to search around for the right materials and tools. I like to have everything easily accessible, as opposed to having stacked boxes where you have to take them all out in order to get to the bottom one, for example. When I’m in crafting mode, I want to be able to just grab what I need, and then if everything is there in front of me, maybe I’ll even find something better that I hadn’t thought of using.
Leemeredith Doororganizer


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Comments

  1. hedgehog334 says:

    finally, someone who is honest about being disorganized! i love it.

  2. Ammie says:

    Ooh, I love this simple creative space. I look at this and think, “I could do this. I could use this.” Thanks for sharing!
    P.S. I love knitting on the couch, too.

  3. Michelle says:

    While I love the beauty of some of the spaces, this one is probably my favorite! I love her creative reuse and how she uses (what looks like) Ikea bits and bobs. This is one of those times that I’d love to be able to use the Flickr functionality to hover over elements of the photos and get notes from Lee on how/what/why she made that storage solution?
    Lee, I do read your blog and I’d love it if one day you posted in more detail about your space! Especially (if I could make such a bold request…)
    - the repurposing of the wine rack and the cribbage board
    - what’s folded up on pieces of cardboard in crates in pic #3? Is that ribbon?
    - the ikea grocery bag holder (is that what it is?) the stack of DVD spindles (really?) and the wall mounted silver tubes (what are those?) in pic #4
    Clearly you have plenty on your plate these days (I loved your wallpapers, and while I don’t knit. I love reading about your creative reuse) but any info you’d like to share with this fan (and others!) I’d be very grateful for!
    M.

  4. Lee says:

    haha Michelle, I am so planning on doing exactly that! As soon as I have a wee bit of free time, I am definitely going to post the pictures on flickr to give them all roll-over notes, and do a series of blog posts to talk about some different details (like the “wall mounted silver tubes” for sure)!
    To answer a couple questions right now…
    -Folded up on the cardboard is fabric. I used to buy lots of scraps from remnants bins, so those are all the fractions-of-a-yard pieces.
    -ikea grocery bag holder: yes (for small balls of yarn); CD/DVD spindles: yes (also for small balls of yarn).

  5. Lee says:

    yay! i was hoping my total honesty would be appreciated ;)

  6. Michelle says:

    Awesome – thanks Lee, looking forward to it!

  7. JosieB says:

    I love the tubes! I just moved (live in NYC) and currently have all my poor yarn still in 2 giant cardboard boxes. I definitely want to do the tubes–very festive. I’m planning on going to Canal Plastics for the tubes but how did you mount them on the wall?
    Thanks. :-)

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