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!
I didn’t expect the board to be a good place to take pictures of my finished creations, but it works great! This is Annie’s quilt pictured and its staying up there on its own, no pins!
I’ve been busy working on making a few more gifts, so of course I can’t post on them until I give them away! But I’ll get some pictures up once they are given. I guess I should get better about taking pictures of the process, so I can at least give sneak peaks of the fabric. (and have something to post about while I’m sewing away)
Speaking of fabric, I’ve been organizing this morning. I now have a small chest of drawers in my sewing room and it has rows of lovely organized fabric. A lot of my fabric has been given to me, so some of it I don’t like, but don’t get rid of it either, because you never know when I might want to use it right? That’s a hard one. One blog I read says life’s too short to sew with ugly fabric. And I think that’s a good motto to live by when sewing. But sometimes when I’m making a gift for someone I choose fabric I know they are going to love, but its not always my style or first choice. I guess its the balance between personal artistic expression in what you make and what you know someone is just going to love.
I’ve been thinking more and more about starting up an etsy shop. Bob and I have made some strong goals of getting our mounds of student loans paid off. His plate is more than full so he’s not in a position to take on extra work at this point. So I’ve been pondering sewing some things to sell and get rid of our debt faster! I’m contemplating some names for an etsy shop. I’m not good at this. There is already a “sew much more” shop, so that’s out. Here’s a few ideas I’ve come up with. Water Oak Creations or Designs or Handmade (we have this amazing water oak in our yard that I just love), Washing Room Creations, Laundry Room Designs, (my sewing room is also my laundry room), The Blue Paisley (after my curtains in my sewing room), St. Elmo Handmade. I’m really not sure if I like any of those yet or not. Any ideas? I really need some input. Maybe if selling on etsy works out well I’ll end up changing my blog name too. We’ll see, I can dream right?
I’ve been developing this long list in my mind of projects/crafts that I want to do. But before I let myself do too many fun things, I’m making myself do some more boring practical stuff. So thanks to Bob watching the kids, I spent this past Saturday morning making curtains for my sewing room.
It is fun to create, even if it is just making curtains. But this fabric was giving me fits! I started sewing them on Friday afternoon on my new machine. So I was shocked to find that the stitch length varying greatly (without me changing the stitch length). So I quickly called the Pro-Sew shop where we bought the machine and wanted help. He told me that whenever any machine has stitch length variance that the problem is most likely the needle. (Amy N., maybe that’s the problem with your machine?) So I changed the needle, that didn’t help, and I called back, more than a little frustrated. We just determined that it was the kind of fabric I was using. Because when I switched to different fabric it didn’t have the problem.
The best way I can describe this fabric is stretch-shear-paisley-blue-gauze. Hey I got it for $1 a yard at wally so I’m not complaining. Well I was complaining on Saturday though. Ugh, I guess there was a reason it was 1 dollar a yard. Anyway, enough complaining, they’re done! Here’s some pictures. They’re fun, and I really like them with the gold. Man I’m going so much more bold with this room than I would in other parts of the house, but it makes it fun. I love how they look when the light comes through the window, but you can’t really get that from the pictures. So you’ll just have to stop by and see them, tho don’t look too closely at those aweful stitches!
Alice dressed up for church, she loves that hat.
Our new house has a great laundry room. The house used to have an apartment on the back, so actually my laundry room is the old kitchen from that apartment. Well when I saw ALL that storage with the cabinets and room for a small table for my sewing machine, I knew this room was my dream come true. I always wanted a sewing room to keep all of my fabric/sewing stuff, and not to mention all of my other craft junk. (I finally did throw away a huge bag of paper (to make paper) before we moved. Bob’s been trying to get me to throw that thing away for years!) But I have filled up those cabinets with all kinds of stuff and its great. (we painted the cabinets a while ago)
So I want to show you how amazingly hideous the walls were (I need to comment that our friends we bought the house from felt the same way about this room), and what they look like now. A couple of months ago we primed it but just got around to painting it last night. I love it! Its this great gold color, can’t remember the paint swatch name at the moment. I can’t wait to get some shelves, pictures, etc on the walls. And maybe we can find a cool rug for the floor at ikea. I love decorating and putting rooms together. But this room is even more fun because its ALL MINE! Its at the very back of the house, so I have plans to just spend time back there by myself away from it all. The morning sun comes in through the windows and its so peaceful. I don’t care that I have to share my craft space with the laundry room, I’ll take it!
Before, can you say purple tie dye?!:
In Process, primed, cabinets painted and junked:
Gold, Gold, Gold!:
Curtain Sneak Preview, with Caleb inspecting the gold in the morning sun :
I’m sure I’ll be posting more as I decorate and make this room into a fun place to create in.