A couple of weekends ago Bob and I built something that I’ve been scheming about for a while now. In her Quilts book, Denyse Schmidt suggests hanging flanel on the wall to help plan and lay out your quilt. She says that most fabric will just stick up there without pins. She also suggests that attaching flanel to foam board might make it easier. So I took that idea and ran with it.
I’ve wanted to have a large work and ironing surface for a long time. I have a small sewing room, which is my laundry room as well. I’m definitely thankful to have my own spot to create, but there is not enough room for a big cutting table. So I got a piece of 1/4 inch plywood cut in half from my Ace Hardware. I covered it in two layers of high loft batting using my friend’s staple gun. Man that gun was fun! I might have to get one of those someday. I covered the batting with white flanel and voila!, my very own large ironing surface. I also use it, because its such a large work surface, to cut quilt pieces. I of course place my cutting mat on top of the flanel board before cutting, and I’m very careful not to let my rotary cutter roll off the edge and cut into the flanel beneath. Bob built me a small but sturdy shelf to hold this amazing board and I just love it! (see the shelf in the pictures below)
When making Annie’s quilt I had the entire quilt layed out on the wall behind me as I was sewing. All I had to do was reach back for the next piece or next row as I pieced the quilt top together. There was no confusion over which edge to sew or what piece goes next, because it was all layed out so nicely. This was also helpful when deciding what fabrics to choose in the quilt. I’d tried another squirrel fabric mixed in as well, but once I had it up on the wall, it just didn’t look as nice.
Here’s pictures of planning out Annie’s quilt. My board wasn’t made yet, but you can see how helpful it is to try different layouts for the quilt. Its easy to get a feel for what it will look like when pieced together.
I prop the board up on my washer, dryer, and ironing board, with the 4th corner resting on the little shelf Bob built for me. In the first picture below you can see my rulers and cutting mat propped up on the shelf. It turns out that shelf is a great place to store my mat and rulers too!