| | | |

Almost finished quilt tops and thread organization

I was originally aiming for finished quilt tops as the title of this blog post, but ALMOST finished is much more accurate. I’m also working on thread organization, so I thought you’d like to see my current thread “situation”.

I have a little bit of that “back to school” feeling even though I’m no longer in the parenting arena. Instead of new school supplies and a newly defined schedule, I’m prioritizing, getting my sewing supplies and projects organized, and scheduling some new projects and classes. It’s the perfect time to finish up old works in progress and clean up my sewing space. Let me show you how it’s looking so far.

Finished quilt top

I have one finished quilt top to share, and considering the kind of month it’s been, I’m really happy with that. This is my Vinca Blossom Quilt pattern done in the throw size. It measures 52″ x 66″ which is my favorite size quilt to make. I used fabric from the Sunnyside Collection by Camille Roskelley for Moda Fabrics. I love the the blue and green color combination!

Vinca Blossom Quilt designed and made by Julie Cefalu @ the Crafty Quilter.  This is one of my favorite finished quilt tops this year!
Vinca Blossom Quilt made & designed by Julie Cefalu of The Crafty Quilter Designs
Vinca Blossom Quilt designed and made by Julie Cefalu @ the Crafty Quilter.

Almost finished quilt tops

Also known as UFO’s and WIP’s, my almost finished quilt tops are so close to being done! The first one is a black and white scrap quilt that I started last year (or 2021?) with Pat Sloan’s free Traffic Jam pattern. I thought I had enough blocks for a rectangular quilt, but it turns out that I have a square quilt. So, I’m back to using up my scraps as leaders and enders to make four more blocks.

Traffic Jam Quilt Top made by Julie Cefalu.  Pattern by Pat Sloan.
Traffic Jam Quilt Top made by Julie Cefalu.  Pattern by Pat Sloan.

My next almost-finish is this Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. The pattern is by Sherri McConnell and was originally published in American Patchwork & Quilting 2018. You can now find it at her Etsy Shop as Flowers for Emma.

Unfinished quilt top is looking so pretty!  This pattern is Emma's Flower Garden by Sherri McConnell - made by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter.

I fell in love with this quilt design the moment I saw it. Sherri’s pattern is a modern take of a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt, but it came together the old-fashioned way – English Paper Piecing. The flowers are pieced together by hand (EPP) and then hand-appliqued to the background block. It was fun digging through my scraps to come up with a rainbow of flowers and I loved using my low volume and white scraps for the background squares. I still have to add the outer borders and then it’s a finished top! I think I’m going to quilt this myself, which will keep it an active WIP.

Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks made by Julie @ The Crafty Quilter.  This pattern is Emma's Flower Garden by Sherri McConnell.

Thread Organization

I’ve had a pretty good system for keeping my thread organized, but as my collection grows, so must my storage system. I purchase a lot of Mettler silk-finish cotton thread in 50 weight. That’s what my local quilt shop carries, so that’s what I buy (and since I work there, it’s very convenient). I like Mettler thread and it works really well for me. I also like Aurifil thread, Scanfil Organic thread, and Superior thread. Thus the expanding waist-line in thread!

Currently, I have a plastic, 3-tiered drawer on my counter and I keep all of my Mettler thread in two of those drawers. I sort them by warm and cool colors. I don’t worry about keeping the threads neat and lined up – it’s not worth my time. The top drawer is dedicated to an older supply of DMC thread (this one is neat and tidy because I don’t use them very often).

Thread organization system @ The Crafty Quilter.
Thread organization system @ The Crafty Quilter.

As you can see, the top of the drawer unit is starting to accumulate other threads. And for a real show of transparency, you can see my other thread drawer that is turning into a hot mess. I have Aurifil 50 wt. cotton threads in one bin and Aurifil 80 wt. threads in another. And then there’s a bunch of other stuff that needs to be sorted through.

I have enough space to add another 3-tier drawer system on top of the current one. Now I need to locate a store that still sells them (and it’s not my local Target store). That’s where I’m at with my thread organization. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Another reason for my focus on thread organization is that I’m currently participating in the Aurifil Thread Labs subscription through my local quilt shop, The Granary. It’s only available through participating retailers. Here’s an excerpt from Aurifil with the basic details.

From July through December, subscribers will gain the necessary tools to more confidently create with a variety of thread weights and techniques. They will finish the year inspired, armed with new skills and a wealth of knowledge.


Each month we get a box of assorted thread, a project sheet, a coupon code and there are videos that supplement each month’s lesson. The Granary also hosts a workshop for each lab where we see the finished project, watch the video together and talk about thread. The Granary includes other goodies in the workshop, too, so it’s been well worth my investment.

I just finished the first project from the July Thread Lab. The original project was designed to be a pin cushion but I decided to keep mine in a hoop to display on the wall. I also made it a little larger and added a few more embroidery embellishments. It was really fun to make and a great way to play with and learn about the various thread weights.

Aurifil Thread Labs month 1 project by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter

This month, I have high hopes for getting my WIP’s in order and my sewing room organized before moving onto any new projects. It’s almost time to start planning any Christmas or holiday gifts that I’d like to make! I feel like August is a good month to take a breath before the deep dive into the holiday season. I hope that’s how it is for you, too!

Similar Posts


  1. Your Vinca Blossom Quilt looks absolutely stunning! The blue and green combination is so refreshing. It’s amazing how you manage to create such beautiful pieces. And I’m totally with you on that “back to school” feeling, even if it’s more about organizing sewing supplies than school supplies now.

    As for thread organization, I’ve been using a plastic drawer system too, though I might need to upgrade soon with my growing collection. Your system looks efficient, especially sorting by warm and cool colors.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your projects! Keep up the fantastic work.

  2. Julie, Here is my recommendation for thread storage. This takes slim and standard size spools. Very handy
    Original Slimline Thread Storage Box – Empty
    https://sulky.com › original-slimline-box-empty
    sulky thread keeper from sulky.com

  3. This Lois Kahns and I sent you a message last week and I am not sure you got it. I would like to get your pattern Summer Fun Quilt Along 2018. Is it still available? Please let me know. Thank you

  4. I actually use several thread organizers that work very well and enable me to grab one to move to my cutting table to interview thread colors for my sewing project.
    I sew various different things so need various threads and need to keep them separated. Cotton from polyester from embroidery, and then by different weights as well.

    Creative Options 14″ Clear Plastic Thread Organizer
    ArtBin 9002AB Super Satchel Thread Box, Portable Craft & Sewing Organizer with Thread Tray

  5. While I see Kathleen and Laura here, I am not shy anymore and comment. Love your creativity and your ideas. The black and white quilt is super cool and the grannys are „the“ idea. To sew a hole quilt only with hexagons is soooo much work, bit this is a super idea. Thanks for your inspiration!

  6. Traffic Jam looks great; I may have to make another one!
    I love your thread organization! My threads (and I’ve got a lot) are willy-nilly in drawers and I like them like that. Most do have thread nets, but otherwise, the spools are loose and jumbled and I enjoy rummaging through them. No super tidiness like one sees in those perfect studio magazine spreads…just lots of fun tossed in a drawer! 🙂

  7. Hi Julie,

    Love your Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. Even though I have a lot of projects I am do a little diving into EPP.
    I have a couple of Ikea storage units stacked up on each other and the first three drawers are a thread just thrown in. I had an idea of cutting up plain molding strips to fit the drawers and gluing them down to form rows and then standing up my Aurifil thread. After we get back from vacation, I am going to take a look at Home Depot to see if they have something that would work. My hope is that I will find something 1/4″ in width and 1/2″ in height so the thread won’t topple over when I open the drawer. Just an idea, will see if it works!

  8. Your quilt tops are wonderful and I love seeing your drawer organization for threads. I am in a pickle about them myself. I have some sterlite thread containers, some inexpensive tubs from dollar store for my bigger spools for embroidery and then a narrow 4 drawer container for the longarm threads. For me, there is no one size fits all, but I do wish there was. I have seen some drawer inserts on etsy that if I had a lot of space I would use. They are wood so the spool sits in it.

  9. Love the quilt tops and your embroidery. Thanks for sharing with us. You are definitely multi-talented. I saw something similar to your 3-drawer cabinet at JoAnn’s. It was taller, had more drawers and was on wheels. So, maybe not so similar. Just a thought, but that might work for you.

  10. Hi Julie! Love receiving your emails and checking out your projects. I do have a suggestion for your thread organization. A few years back I told my husband that I wanted a thread cabinet for Christmas. I gave him all the info and he delivered! I LOVE this cabinet! All my different spools fit into this one cabinet. And it’s beautiful boot!! So check this out: http://www.cottagecraftworks/.

  11. Love all your quilt tops! You are inspiring me to tackle some UFO’s. Regarding thread, I wonder if you have any ideas on what to do with bobbins with leftover thread on them. They multiply fast!

  12. I love seeing your projects – finished and in progress….
    I also have the same 3-drawer container for my thread. Think I bought it from Walmart

  13. Hi Julie I love the blue and white quilt. And if I was that good I’d love to make the black and white one but in Navy and white theme
    It’s really beautiful. Well done in sorting threads that’s the neatest part of my space which is actually downstairs and then fabric upstairs.

  14. The Ikea Alex cabinet is my thread storage place..Isacord embroidery thread, cotton threads, poly threads and other valuables take up residence there. I’ve also started the emma quilt.. My favorite color combo is blue and green too! We think alike..

  15. I have a three drawer unit like you show and I’m pretty sure I got it at Big Lots (do you have one in your area?). I have also seen them at Joann.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Some of the links on this site are affiliate links and I may be compensated a small commission when you make a purchase by clicking on those links. I only promote products and services that I use and love myself. Your support enables me to maintain the content of this blog and I am truly grateful!