SEW I SEE!

quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

Craft Room Tour

One of the questions in the “self-interview” questionnaire I recently posted asked about the view from the sewing machine, and that reminded me that earlier this summer, I took a bunch of photos of my craft room, intending to share a craft room tour.  The tour never materialized, but the photos were still there, waiting.  So why not do that now?
I enjoy taking a little peek into other people’s creative spaces, as it seems that many people do.  If the room is immaculate and beautifully decorated, it inspires daydreams of possibilities.  If it’s cleverly arranged or organized, I borrow and apply those ideas to my own room.  If it’s full of personality and a little (or a lot!) messy, it makes me smile and reminds me that a little “creative clutter” is okay.  It’s also just interesting to catch a glimpse of someone’s happy place!  
This is almost exactly how my room is currently laid out.  The only significant change I’ve made in the meantime was moving the quilt stand out of that room and into our bedroom.  
Let’s start at the door to the room.  

The way this room is laid out, there’s a little nook right by the door.  I wanted to make an efficient use of the space with a small bookcase, but nothing really fit that well.  The only things that kinda-sorta fit were short and left wasted space further up the wall.

A plain white “Billy” bookcase was also too wide for the space– but Donald shortened and drilled new holes in the top, bottom, and shelves a bit to make it narrower.  (I’m lucky he’s so handy with those kinds of things– not to mention generous with his time!)

Now it fits like a dream!  All that extra storage space is great!  It holds craft books/magazines and binders, circular knitting needles, and some decorative items (which have been tweaked since these photos were taken).  

A set of those neutral, beige, collapsible bins that you see everywhere these days fit the shelves pretty well, and I like the fact that they hide things tidily away.  Mine are currently storing craft felt, bagged yarn, and non-quilting fabric (mostly freebie fabric of the upholstery/home-deco type).  This has freed up a lot of space in my closet, giving it a little breathing room.

(Oops. This one feels like we’ve entered rough waters and the ship is rocking from side to side… Hold on to something until you get your sea legs!) 

This is a good overview of the room from the door.  The room is dominated by two big tables pushed together.  This where just about everything happens, from cutting to pressing to piecing and binding.  From my chair at the sewing machine, I can reach just about everything I ever need while sewing, and I have a view of most of the room and through the windows.  

Turning slightly to the left, you can see the quilting frame.  Donald added the bar with the lights himself.  They make a world of difference!  Even with the blinds open and the overhead lights on, it was far too dark before, and the light cast by the quilting machine isn’t really enough on its own.  You can buy lights for quilting frames, but they aren’t cheap.  We saved a lot by doing this one ourselves, and the two LED light bars are very effective.  

Here’s a closer look at the other side of my work surface. 

The blue-painted thing is something else Donald built for me at my request.  I’d quickly noticed that cutting fabric for quilting left me with an aching back, because I was bending over too far.  Not at all an ergonomic set-up! 

If I had a taller table, that would’ve solved the problem, but there were deterrents.  I already had these perfectly good tables and didn’t want to spend money replacing them (not to mention the issues it would cause regarding pedal and chair height).  Maybe just a taller cutting station… But I don’t have room for that without getting rid of at least one of my big tables.  

Really, all I needed was a relatively small raised section for comfortable cutting.  It didn’t have to be any bigger than my cutting mat.  So I had the idea of something like this.  I asked Donald, and he kindly obliged.  

It works great!  There are rare occasions when it would be nice to have a bigger surface for dealing with large pieces of fabric, but it is rare.  I can always move the “Little Blue Table” out of the way and get more room, but I haven’t felt the need to do that, yet.  

As you can see, there’s room underneath for storage, too.  

Beside the “Little Blue Table” (LBT) is a large pressing surface.  It’s wider than an ironing board, which I find convenient.  I prefer to press smaller things at my sewing machine with the tiny iron, but for removing wrinkles before cutting fabric or pressing quilt tops as they come together, this is better.  The pressing board can go on the LBT for improved ergonomics, if I’m going to be doing a lot of ironing. 

The desk/hutch is mostly used for decorative storage in pretty glass canisters, jars, painted tins, boxes, baskets, and bowls.  My old sewing machine (a super-cheap Singer) is there, various odds and ends fill the drawers, and the top is an ideal display spot for mementos and knick-knacks– out of the way, but very visible. 

The spot where you’d normally put a chair is filled with a bag of Poly-fil.  I’ve had that bag forever.  Stuffed many pillows and dog toys and amigurumi from it.  It’s still full.  It’s a magical, bottomless well of poly fiber.  Every so often, I think of rigging up some decorative “skirt” to hide the Poly-fil, but I never get around to it, and really, Poly-fil isn’t that objectionable.

Looking slightly to the right, you see my sewing station, again.  You can also see that I’ve continued the hutch’s display/storage onto the two tables, along the wall (and with a shelf hanging above the tables fore purely decorative/sentimental items).  
The tall stand in the middle holds crochet thread and my childhood collection of unicorn figurines.  The shelving unit to the left is home to a variety of arts and crafts supplies, and the one on the right contains yet more crochet thread and some sewing “stuff”, including a handy plastic box with lots of little compartments, where I store my sewing machine feet and related items.  
The area closest to my sewing machine has cups for pens, tins and boxes for needles and bobbins, containers of clips, magnetic and non-magnetic pin cushions, paper for notes, scissors and rotary cutters, and on and on.  (You know how it is!) 

I use an old-fashioned mail caddy/organizer for my smaller acrylic rulers, which you can see on top of one of the shelf units.  

This is the wall behind my sewing station.  There’s a long closet there with two doors.  This is where I store my fabric, batting, acrylic yarn, and most other craft supplies.  

An old ironing board painted red serves as a magnet board for notes and inspiration. 

The metal stand currently holds batting scraps and some mostly non-quilty fabric scraps.  The little chair needs clearing off… It’s a catch-all for cluttery things that need to be dealt with or put away.  …And that’s Luna on the floor, wondering what I’m doing. 

This shelf hanging over the light switches came from Granny L. and is home to small spools of thread, tins of different kinds of pins (corsage and basting), jars of buttons, pretty decorative jars, and so on. 

The shelf below holds most of my machine quilting tools and odds and ends.  There are tins of thread cones, a plastic box of bobbins, quilting machine tools/parts, clips, sewing machine oil, marking tools, etc.  The bottom shelf is dedicated to beads and jewelry-making.  

The view from my sewing machine. 

To the right of the chair is the pressing station.  To the left (out of frame) is a small filing cabinet that gives me more space for spreading out my fabric options and/or laying out blocks prior to piecing.  It also gives extra surface area for those times when I’m applying the binding and have a huge, heavy quilt in need of support.  

Also out of frame, to the right, is my design wall (grey flannel over foam board, allowing for static cling or pins, whichever works best).  Here, it’s in relatively easy reach of my sewing machine, but also makes good use of the wall space adjacent to one of the closet doors– one of those spots that can so easily become wasted space, because there’s no room for anything that sticks out more than a few inches.  

Another view from the sewing machine.  The far corner has more storage.  The cubbies (originally intended as shoe storage) hold most of my non-acrylic yarn, and there’s yet more crochet thread on one of the shelves above the cubbies. 

The houseplants are easy-care pothos– just a little freshness for the room.  

(There’s a Mr. Frodo in this photo!)

Looking along the wall behind the quilting frame… 

Another attempt to make the most of my space.  There’s an old bulletin board (which I’ve had since I was eleven or so).  More mementos and talismans from my past… Pretty greeting cards… My old globe… Glow-in-the-dark stars from childhood… 

Below, pegs to hang project bags.  

To the side, a wicker mail organizer that now holds my quilting rulers (the thicker specialty ones that can be used with the quilting machine). 

(The crochet-covered cushion under the quilting frame is to protect my poor knees when I need to climb under there to plug or unplug things because of thunderstorms.)

More from the same spot. 

In this next photo, there’s a wicker chair covered in fabric and shirts in need of something (repair, buttons, ironing).  This chair is a “stuff”-magnet.  It’s still covered in things!  There are also some cardboard boxes lurking under the pressing and cutting table.  One of these days, I need to sort that out, but for now, they’re not doing much harm where they are. 

And that’s it!  Thanks for taking the tour!  

If you need me, you know where you’ll find me… 👇😉

(I’ve bound and washed the “Hunter’s String Star” quilt.  All that’s left is to take some photos and finish up the blog post!)

Welcome!

I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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