Quilting Studio

Here is my recently completed quilt studio, previously my youngest daughter’s bedroom.  I began cleaning out the room in February 2011, the actual conversion process  started in April 2011. Except for the quilting machine and a large work table, it was  mostly completed in mid May, in time for our trip to Oaklahoma City and points west. We visited our younger daughter Meredith and her family in OKC, then flew to the Four Corners area for leisurely exploration of previously unvisited parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.  We ended our trip with a few days visiting our friend Pat in Tucson before flying back to OKC and driving home from there.

From Catch-all Bedroom to Quilting Studio

The conversion included numerous operations:

  • removing unneeded furniture and clutter (described in an April 2011 post)
  • stripping wallpaper and repainting the walls
  • adding several grounded outlets
  • replacing traditional bulbs in the ceiling light with cool daylight fluorescents
  • renewing the finish on the oak floor
  • installing a 6′ x 8′ design wall
  • assembly of two pieces of Sauder furniture in antique white–an armoire and a smaller storage cabinet
  • refinishing an antique Eastlake chest of drawers
  • refinishing a 5-legged oak dining room table with hidden leaves that can expand the work surface from 4 to 8 feet long.

Wallpaper and underlying panel had to be removed first

Renewed oak floor and design wall assembly

A large part of the work was done by my husband, Chuck, bless him! He did the electrical work, floors, and refinishing. My part was the initial sorting, tossing and organizing the clutter (a huge obstacle), and stripping and washing down the walls to remove old wallpaper glue and sizing.  We worked together on the painting, installation of the design wall and furniture assembly.  The table legs still needs to be lengthened 6 inches to provide a working surface at my preferred height for rotary cutting and pressing.

I took a lot of care in the room layout, needing to fit in a cutting table, quilting machine, two antique chests and a dresser, fabric storage and still have room for two air mattresses for visiting grandchildren. I also wanted to enjoy the garden views out my windows.

I purchased two pieces of Sauder furniture in a style that reminded me of the Lakeside OH cottage my husband’s family owns. I already had one armoire is used for storage in my original quilting area, and liked it so much I bought a second one, plus a matching storage cabinet in the same antique white. Unlike many quilters, I like my supplies hidden from sight unless I am actually using them.

My  daughter Suzanne encouraged me to choose orange for my accent walls behind the antique white storage units. I was hesitant at first, but now I love the glow I get from reflected light in the room.  Two walls are painted in Sherwin Williams “Egg White”, with the accent walls in “Fame Orange”–not as overpowering as it might seem from the name.  My painting teacher commented that orange is the color of creativity.  She’s right!

The Quilting Machine

It took about a year and a half of research to decide on my Tin Lizzie 18 SitDown as the best quilting machine for my purposes.  I liked the sturdy table with a removable drop leaf, the orientation of the head, the quality of stitching, the sound of the machine, and the fact that I had a dealer only an hour and a half away.  The clincher was the automatic up/down needle buttons.

Now that I have used the TL 18 at home, I find this last feature was not exactly as I hoped. The buttons don’t make the needle stop automatically in the desired position when you stop quilting, as I thought from the “automatic” description seen on the brochure and website.  However, once the up or down button is pushed, when you stop quilting , then tap the foot petal, the needle moves to the desired position.  That’s OK–I can get used to that.

To continue with my reasoning in choosing the TL 18 SD. I don’t plan to make bed quilts or custom quilt for other people, so I don’t need a standup quilting machine. I am interested primarily in art quilts, baby quilts and lap quilts, and I prefer a large work table to assemble the quilt and embellishments. Besides the large TL 18 table, I wanted to be able to use an antique dining room table for ironing, cutting, and quilt assembly.  Also, I don’t know what my future will hold–we may someday move to smaller living quarters.  The TL 18 table has a removable leaf that allows it to occupy a space as small as 48″ x 30″, or expand to a full 48″ x 48″.  This also allows enough floor space in the current room to lay out two twin air mattresses for visiting grand children.

Here are the benefits of a sit down vs frame quilting system, at least as far as my needs as an art quilter are concerned. I don’t know, at this point, if sitting down will be easier on my body than a frame system

  • Smaller footprint–even with a frame set to smallest width-5 feet long, additional width would be needed to load the quilt onto the rollers
  • Art quilts with  uneven surfaces can’t easily be loaded on rollers
  • More of the quilt top can be seen at once on a sit-down quilter
  • Easy to work on multiple projects at once–just take one off  and lay another down
  • Less waste backing and batting, compared to what will be used on a frame system
  • Less expensive system (of course!)

Waiting for Lizzie

I ordered my quilter  in early May before I left for my trip to the West, and arranged for delivery the second week of June.  However, there were problems and I ended up changing my dealer.

My TL 18 finally arrived at the end of July, but I couldn’t use it right away because I was painting outdoor banners for my church’s VBS,

Road Sign "Ticket to the West"

then helped to put on a large gospel sing.  So I finally began on my first quilt–to be given to a Ronald McDonald House in Charleston or Huntington WV–at the end of August.

Since God has blessed me with health, artistic ability, an extra room, finances and especially a handy husband to make the room possible, I wanted to dedicate the first work from the quilting machine to Him.

First quilt will go to a Ronald McDonald House

Studio Details

See the Studio Details tab at right for details on  the construction of the design wall, as well as organization of the work stations and storage areas.

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