Wednesday, November 28, 2012

sweatshop tour, continued

I know you are riveted and excited to see more of my own little haven! Truly I may not have gorgeous, coordinated furnishings, but it is my haven and I love it!

The roof line and north-facing window mean the light is not the best. My husband and I painted the room bright white last winter to maximize the light. It was a taupey-gold color, which is grat for the rest of the house, but it meant this room had weird shadows and colors had a strange cast.

Under the right eave is the desk. This desk was built by my husband's grandfather and it has moved with us everywhere we have lived.

Here is a close up of the beauties at my desk.

The lovely art quilt was a gift from my friend Laura. She dyed the fabric and FMQ-ed it. It was a total surprise and I love it! The pillow was from our TMQG swap, made for me by my friend Colleen. I adore it! There is a small Ganesha that my dear friend/colleague Keshore brought to me from his home in India, next to that is a small picture of me in my Daddy's arms one Easter when I was a little girl. I am so inspired and comforted to be surrounded by the items of beauty!

In the other eave is my sewing/quilting station. I have my Sapphire on an Arrow Gidget II table, with an additional table behind and on the left side to hold mt quilts as I FMQ. This allows my machine to be recessed, with the needle approximately the same height as my table(s). This makes a huge difference in comfort while quilting!
I also set up my Feather weight on the left table to piece. I have a floor light from IKEA on the right of the machine, I like the brightness, but the light is a bit yellow. On the left side I have an Ott light I bought a few years ago at Lowes. It was a good deal and I wish I had bought 2! But alas, they did not restock them after the sold them.

On the wall behind you can see 2 gorgeous mini-quilts I received in swaps. The Swoon block was from my friend Sarah and she used my favorite blue/orange combination. The other mini was from the DS swap I was in this past summer. Gabriella did a beautiful job embroidering the quilting lady in the center block! The rolling drawer cabinet I lucked into at Big Lots a few years ago (Cheap #3). So handy, and it rolls anywhere I need it.

Beside the machine tables is another set of bookcases (I have 4 medium bookshelves from Target, $19 each, Cheap #4). The top has my antique spool holder (also made by my husband's grandfather) which hold my collection of wooden spools. I have my antique wooden yarn spools along with my button jars on that as well.

These shelves hold my dying supplies, scrapbook stuff, books and patterns. I found several pattern I had forgotten about, so they are on my list to use in the near future!

This picture looks sad. But it also looks like room to add more books! And I love quilting/craft/art books! The binders on the bottom shelf hold patterns and inspiration from magazines and the net. I love storing them this way, the only problem is that since I can't instantly see them, I forget they are there! Another good reason to take time for sorting/organizing.

 To finish up, I will leave you with this shot of my little pre-cuts basket. And you can see my battings in the corner.
I hope you have enjoyed this little tour!

Seriously, every person who enjoys creating, needs a room of their own to dedicate to their creative activities. I am glad I cleaned it up, but it is so liberating to be able to leave a project out while in process. I have run the gamut from sewing on the kitchen table, to taking the tiny bedroom, to this space. And my art/quilting is worth it!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sweatshop tour, part 1

I spent part of the long weekend doing some long-awaited cleaning/sorting/organizing in my sweatshop. No, no "before" pictures! I do admire the gorgeous "done" studios I have seen, but I have opted for practical and thrifty for the time being.

Here is the view from the door:
 My sweatshop/studio is the "bonus" room over our garage. Great square footage, and while I love the roof-line ceiling, it makes arranging a bit of a challenge. Cheap #1: My Dad took our old kitchen table and added longer legs (and a shelf) to make my cutting table. Amazing how the extra height really makes a difference to my back.

On the right side of the door, is my design wall. Cheap #2: It is made of white flannel, which I pieced and tacked to the wall.
 The left side of the door: this corner features some neat artwork, a Scherenschnitte (cut paper) of a quilter, which was a gift from a friend; a cross stitch piece of a quilt that I purchased at a charity auction; and my autographed Heather Ross print.

Close up of the cute print:

Under the artwork is a short shelf: I keep my templates in a file holder on the top. I have my fat-quarters on this shelf, solids together, prints & batiks together, all arranged in ROY G. BIV color order. Besides being a very fun and therapeutic activity, this also shows me that I am drawn to the red and orange color families, with very few greens.
 Around the corner on a taller shelf are my yardage cuts on the second shelf, with projects bundled together on the top shelf.
This is it for my stash. I have seen much larger stashes (hoards!) but I have really tried to keep the buying to a minimum. I like having projects sorted and bundled together, makes it easy to move to the next one and gives me a new project to look forward to. Stay tuned for the next part (if you dare...)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November FMQ challenge

Can you believe it is November already? And the end of November at that!
This month's FMQ tutorial was by Sarah Vedeler. I was not familiar with Sarah, but WOW! Her quilts are amazing!

The challenge was based on spirals (which I love).

I struggled trying to follow the lines, I guess my spirals want to be more free-spirited!
I used cotton batting, and Mettler 60 wt. cotton thread in my Top Stitch sz 90 needle.

A great tutorial, and an excellent introduction to another quilting Superstar!

Friday, November 23, 2012


I finished this beauty Wednesday.

 61" by 61"

The grey and chartreuse are Moda Cross-weaves. I adore these fabrics but they are so hard to find! I had read somewhere that Moda was re-releasing a limited color palette, but as yet have only found 2 possible sources, both on-line.

The pattern is Curious Nature by designed by David Butler. The prints are from Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt, and a Michael Miller print I had a 1/2 yard of.

FMQ-ed on my Viking Sapphire.

This quilting was an amazing experience, it was without any problems at all! The only time I had to stop was to put in a new bobbin.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

a freebie and some gratitude

I have been working on 2 different quilts. I love to have 3 going, like this: 1. Being quilted, 2. being pieced, 3. conceptualizing. It is very relaxing for me as the 3 quilts push all other worries from my mind.
So here is a flimsy (unquilted quilt top) I have finished. It is what I call a freebie since all the fabric came from my scrap box.

on the design wall


The center blocks are all strips of whites and neutrals. I love how the dark neutrals make the entire quilt look really aged. The sashing is a grey mottle, and the border are strips arranged in ROY G. BIV order. I am really happy with how it turned out. This is destined to be a donation quilt for my guild.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the US. I have been through a tumultuous year but I am so very thankful for my life, my family and friends. I wish for all of you a Thanksgiving Day filled with love and friendship.

Friday, November 16, 2012

scraptacular beginning

I sorted my 2 1/2" scrap strips into color families, Roy G. Biv style, with additional stacks for greys, blacks, whites/neutrals and holiday stacks.

This is always where the inspiration strikes! My first thought was (still pending) is to make an all-red strips quilt, since my red stack is by far the tallest (yellow and violet are the smallest). But I looked at all the whites/ neutrals and thought they looked so soft and quiet together, so some stitching (on my sweet Featherweight "Scotty") was in order.

on the design wall

a variety of neutral shades
I squared my strip panels to 12 1/2". Since I only had the strips to make 12 of these, they were not really big enough all alone so I added sashing from my stack of greys.

with the greys

I am happy with this arrangement!

strips awaiting

Now to work on the border, I am arranging these strip panels again in Roy G. Biv order and will develop these into a piano-key border. This is really a great way to use up some scraps, relive the quilts I have made earlier and just relax with no deadline. I really love scrappy quilts.

My husband is resting comfortably with his new hip. I am taking vacation time to stay with him next week, so I anticipate some sewing time during his convalescence!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


As I took a few days off for my birthday, I had time to (finally) neaten and organize (just a bit) in my sweatshop/studio. I got all my battings off the floor and into a bin, and vacuumed up threads (and dog hair). For some reason, I could not close the lid on my scrap bin, so I decided it was time to make sense of it.

I cut my scraps into 2 1/2" strips and 5" charms. There are tons of patterns and ideas for working with these sizes and it is quite fun to revisit these old friends and give them new purpose.

I actually ended up with a large stack of 4 1/2" charms as well as I was cutting willy-nilly with a template and didn't pay attention! But, they will work with some block patterns I have.

Anyway, as suspected, I got quite inspired with my color-sorted scraps and have started a scrappy quilt top. It is still in the development stage, but I am really liking it.

scraptacular stacks

My husband is going under the knife today to receive a new right hip. Wish us luck!

Monday, November 12, 2012

For my brother

I made this quilt for my brother:
It is approximately 64" by 72".

I used a "Blueberry Pie" Bali Pop set along with a grey-blue mottled batik. I love how it looks both "carved in stone" and dimensional. My brother lives in the mountains and has always loved the outdoors. He used to be quite the avid rock-climber and is still a serious cyclist. As I was making this quilt, it (the quilt) told me it was for Kent. (Yes, if you listen closely, they will speak to you!)

I FMQ-ed it with a large jagged line, and used a wool batting.  He loves it!

Friday, November 9, 2012

My birthday surprise!

Today is my birthday.
The year doesn't matter. Suffice it to say, I am finally feeling a bit better after a brutal few months.

I took the day off work to laze about and fondle my fabric.

My parents came over and brought my birthday present:

A 1950, Singer 221 "Featherweight"! Isn't she lovely! She came with the case and ALL the accessories. I am her second owner! She sews like a dream. Yes, I was surprised and so happy!

I am also very thankful for my parents, and extra grateful they are still here to celebrate with me!