Studio Details

Work Stations

Work Table

One of the nicest things about the quilting studio is an heirloom 5-legged country dining table that expands from 45″ x 45″ to a grand 72″ long, thanks to internal “kangaroo pocket” leaves.  It is on casters, too, which allows it to be moved aside to get to less accessible storage in the room.  Although it is still at the original 30″ high, Chuck is considering how best to lengthen the legs to allow an ergonomic  36″ cutting and pressing surface, while still retaining functional casters.

When I need to use the rotary cutter to cut pieces or straighten a quilt, two 24″ x 36″ self-healing mats are always laid out on the table.  A carpenter’s T-square is great for squaring-up quilt corners and sides longer than the usual ruler length of 24″.  There is ample room for organizing quilt pieces for assembly, as well as other craft/art projects–I am a novice painter, too.

Pressing

Homemade 24" x 48" ironing surface.

Before having  a dedicated quilting studio, I used an ironing board set up in the laundry room.  A homemade “big board” made from 3/4″ plywood, batting and fabric and fitted to the top of the ironing board, made pressing yardage or long strips of fabric more convenient.  However, at slightly over 20 pounds, I was leery of leaving it up for long periods of time, concerned that my ironing board would just collapse under its weight.  I found that if I cleaned off the tops of the washer and dryer, the board made an excellent pressing surface at a comfortable 36″ height. However, if I had laundry to do, it had to be moved.

Teflon ironing pad used for small jobs.

Now, when I need to press large or long pieces of fabric, I use the big board on top of the work table, leaving it out as long as I like. It has check fabric cover that allows me to line up strips of fabric or quilt tops to assure that they are pressed straight.  I would love to have a new top of teflon-coated fabric with a one-inch grid!

For small jobs, if the big board is stashed behind the studio door, I use a portable teflon and foam pressing surface I bought at 50% off at Joann’s.

Piecing and Quilting

Once quilt pieces are organized, a sewing machine on a small folding table is just a step away. The swivel office chair served both the sewing and the quilting machines.  The floor is protected by a chair mat–Chuck spent a long time renewing the finish, and I want to keep it that way. Under-table modular storage units with removable shelves are  more attractive than plastic drawer units, and match the white laminate quilting table and the table used for the sewing machine.  Baskets stored in the shelves group supplies by function and are removable for easy access.

Outlets, Lighting and Lightning

A small lamp set upon a vintage end table with an antique crochet tablecloth makes a warm welcoming accent when the entry switch is turned on.  This gives enough light to enter the room and turn on more intense light needed for work.

General lighting is provided by a ceiling fan and light fixture with three cool fluorescent bulbs. This provide illumination similar to expensive daylight lamps at a fraction of the cost. The Tin Lizzie 18 quilter comes with an Ott light, but additional light was needed to cover a wider area of the quilt. The floor Ott light (protected by the same surge protector used by the TL 18) has a lengthy cord and flexible neck which allows intense task lighting at either machine as well as the work table.

Surge protector with cord management provided by a special cord cover.

Several new, grounded outlets were added to the room, particularly to provide power to the Tin Lizzie quilter. The quilting machine is a sizeable financial investment and is protected from damage by a surge protector. An online search provided a surge protector with multiple outlets, sufficient length and a space-saver plug.  A 5′ brown cord cover provides camouflaged cord management to prevent tripping and make floor cleanup easy.

Storage

Sauder wardrobe with custom shelves for tote boxes filled with fabric

Sauder storage cabinet provides space for books, rulers and projects.

Storage for fabric, supplies and ongoing-projects  are hidden to maintain a clean, uncluttered studio. The two main storage units are matching Sauder Antique White pieces, an armoire fitted with custom shelf supports, and a smaller storage cabinet.

I visited several local stores, taking the measurements of various storage boxes and decided on the sizes that would fit most efficiently into the available width of the armoire. I made a point of purchasing all clear-sided totes from the same line so the tops were all the same color.  Chuck drilled holes for shelf supports where I needed shelves, with just enough headspace to allow the nesting boxes to be moved in and out easily.

Eastlake dresser holds small pieces of fabric

Fabric is primarily sorted by color, with dedicated totes for special fabric like holiday and juvenile prints.  The armoire holds larger pieces and fat quarters, while smaller scraps are sorted by color and stored in partitioned boxes in the antique Eastlake dresser.

I keep even small scraps of fabric, particularly if they are hand dyes, or those with the front and back of the fabric the same color. This is because I like to make confetti landscape quilts, where matchstick size pieces are used like paint to make Impressionistic style landscapes. Sometimes I like to piece narrow strips of fabric together to make larger pieces, then cutting and re-sewing these strips to achieve borders that otherwise would be too tedious to do otherwise.

Two modular storage units

There are two inexpensive white storage units, originally intended for closets, that are placed under my TL-18 table. The one on the left has packages of batting, while the one on the right is within easy reach when quilting. It has a tray for bobbins and other small tools (including machine oil and screwdrivers), as well as baskets for other tools and supplies.

Entertainment

I love the company of my cats, watching them sleep, look out windows, or inspect my current project. Their company does have its drawbacks, however. Most of the time, my cat Squeek and I compete for the honor of sitting on the black office chair. It only takes a moment for her to take advantage of my momentary absence.  In self-defense, I bought her a cat bed and situated it on a  an antique blanket chest set in front of a window.  I lift her curled form and set it into the cushy curve of the bed, and she usually stays there for a while.

Listening to recorded books is also a favorite accompaniment to my time in the studio.  I have a boom box perched on another old chest and I keep those disks going!  I would love to get a set of wireless earphones to allow me to hear the story at low volume while quilting.

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