Studio Nook

I love looking at other people’s studios and seeing how they are set up and what works for them.  What you are about to see is my most efficient use of space in one little nook of my studio.  (FYI– sometimes I refer to my studio,which is where I quilt and piece and press, and other times I refer to my office, which is where I keep fabric and the design wall and a giant desk.  There is more natural light in the office, not to mention I just don’t have room in my studio.)  I’ll give you a tour of my studio if it is ever clean enough to photograph.  It ain’t looking good, y’all.

The table is modeled after one I saw at a LQS that is used in their classroom.  It wasn’t as pretty, though.  It was unfinished wood and splintery.  So I had my handy woodworking husband put this together and stain it for a more finished look.

Above the table is a WIP– just for eye candy.  Under the table are two sea grass baskets from Target.  The one on the right houses inexpensive, new thread that is still wrapped in plastic (so that it doesn’t get dusty).  The basket on the left is my ruler base, pantographs (yuck!), marking tools, and all the other longarming tools I need.  In the plastic tub under that basket lies the inexpensive thread that has already been opened.  Keeping it in the tub keeps it free of dust. (My real thread, Superior Threads) are to the right of the table, not shown, in a plastic three-drawer little chest.  It’s not shown because it’s unsightly, but I had to find a way to keep my thread dust-free.  I’m not as particular with my sewing machine thread.  It’s out in the open on the wall collecting as much dust as it can because my domestic can take it.

On the wall next to the table is a clipboard that hangs on a tack.  That is where I keep my thread color cards (ordered from Superior Threads), batting price list, and tension information and charts (I make notes in there regarding what needles/thread/batting work/don’t work for what projects, etc.  It’s much easier than trying to keep it all straight in my head.)  When running out the door to meet a client, I grab this clipboard in case he/she needs to look at thread samples.  I might even put batting samples on a ring by the clipboard in case I need to start bringing those, too.

Underneath the clipboard, leaning against the wall is a big brown cardboard envelope.  It contains quilting stencils.  I ordered a giant stencil online, and it was shipped in that, and I knew that it was perfect for keeping all my stencils housed neatly.  I don’t want them on display because truthfully, I don’t like visual clutter.  Not that you could tell if you looked at this place right now!

On top of the table is a block of wood that I had my husband saw (route?) grooves to hold the rulers.  It took him about 10 minutes, seriously.  I love this thing.  I’d actually love to keep it out of sight or somewhere else, but I don’t want it on my sewing table because it’s too big.  Until I come up with a better ruler management plan, here’s where it is.  One thing that might work is if I come up with a system where I put a sanded piece of wood on my ironing table (and store it underneath), and then it can be my cutting table when I need it.  Then it will make sense keeping my rulers on my ironing table.  Right now I cut on my sewing table, so usually I’m sitting to cut.  It’s not perfect… but then, bringing in a cutting table will change the configuration of my studio, which will inadvertently change the configuration of my office, and I’m just not ready for all that.

And this is where the magic happens.  It’s like this:  The one thing you can do to make your quilts look better is to press them well.  When you are done piecing your quilt top, press it with starch.  I do not use starch at any other step in the process, typically.  When you do this, you will see if there is anything that needs to be fixed with your quilt.  If it is wavy, try magic sizing to shrink it up.  Magic sizing is the “I-don’t-know-what-to-do-so-I’ll-try-this spray.” There is a reason “magic” is in the name.  Advice:  if you have to use magic sizing due to the fullness in the quilt top, try to figure out why that’s happening.  Ask someone, but chances are–it’s because you aren’t using a straight and accurate scant quarter-inch seam and/or you aren’t pressing thoroughly after each seam.  OR maybe it’s because you are using steam in your iron. (perhaps the topic of our next post)

Also in the basket–

  • basting glue
  • blank calendars (used for goal setting)
  • paper/pen
  • calculator
  • colored pencils (sometimes needed for drawing the quilt, and then doodling different designs on it)
  • squirt bottle of water with a tiny bit of starch in it (for unruly, wrinkly yardage)

So, what was meant to be a quick little post looking at my pressing nook ended up being a wee bit longer.  Any tips on improving my space is very welcome.

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