Sunday, March 20, 2011

Studio - Design Wall & Ironing Station

So last week I finished the ironing station with some help from my sister-in-law, and today I put the bins inside the cubes. I think it will work out very well - it's the perfect height to work at standing, or the chairs I ordered can be raised to work sitting as well - nice if there are lots of parts and pieces to be ironed. The table is 5' long so even two people could easily use it at the same time. It's covered with duck cloth and a layer of batting so it's a nice firm, sturdy surface, and best of all, it's on wheels so I can move it wherever I want as long as there's an outlet nearby!

The bins and cubes are from ArtBin, they have many sizes and configurations of bins. I chose all these to be the same size as I have another bank of these in my cutting room that hold smaller items. Some of these bins have an insert that will accomodate thread cones so that they can be stored easily and dust free, plus I'll be able to see what I have at a glance.

The design wall got finished this weekend. It is made of homosote, which is essentially a pressed fiber product that you can pin into, and it's heat and fire resistant so that you can put an iron on it without issue, unlike many insulation products that many people use that are highly flammable. I covered it with white flannel because the homosote is gray and not very attractive.

I purchased this at Menard's, many home improvement stores carry it. It comes in a 4' x 8' sheet and is 1/2" thick (the picture shows two pieces together). I used the full 4' width, and had to trim each piece to 74" high because my ceilings are low in my studio. Now I have a couple of left over pieces that I could cover and use if I need a smaller surface. The beam made the perfect place to hide the light fixture that shines directly on the wall.

My wonderful husband is working on some trim as I write this, so the progress continues!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Longarm Experience

I had the opportunity recently to take a beginning longarm quilting class at The Quilting Connection in Elkhorn, Wisconsin with Sue Schmieden. It was a really fun day and we created two quilts that will be donated to a local homeless shelter and I learned a lot about longarm quilting, using Sue's amazingly clever Quick Zip System which allows the renter to get going on the machine without all the time to pin the quilt to the frame - you just zip your quilt on and go! Sue rents time on her machines so of course, I immediately rented time for the following week to finish a quilt top that had been hanging around here for at least 10 years.

It's a churn dash block, done in batiks on black. I really like this quilt, and I like it even better now that it's quilted. It took me about 4 hours to quilt this full size quilt - I can't imagine how long it would have taken on my Bernina, but I know that it would have been MUCH more difficult and MUCH more stressful!! I really enjoyed the whole experience and I am certainly going to do it again!

You can kind of see the pattern I chose, it's called "Paint Splat" (or something like that) and it was really fun to do and looks nice with all the straight lines in the quilt. I chose a bright pink thread to show off the quilting (how brave!) and it really works. The binding is a fun stripey batik - I'll post a picture when I finish hand sewing it to the back of the quilt. I think I'm going to hang this down in my new studio - it really needs some quilts on the walls!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Renovation Progress

I can't believe it, but it's been a full 6 months since I started my (simple) studio renovation. Things got stalled and so much has happened since I started this process! I think the biggest hurdle was finding the right work surfaces for the space. We talked so much about building tables, buying tables, but never actually got around to DOING anything about it. Then fall came and went, things got really busy at work, my dad got sick and passed away, Christmas came and went and still no forward progress until this past weekend! We were at Menard's and like a lightning bolt from above, I see these bench frames! Perfect! The frames are adjustable from 5' to 8', and you just buy whatever table top you want, so I got countertop, pre-cut to one 6' and two 8' lengths (would have gotten 3 8', but they only had 2) and voila! I have tables!

The boxes that are lying down are my new ironing/storage unit. The top will be covered with a 5' long piece of wood that will be covered in batting and cotton duck, the boxes hold all those bins that are stacked on the tables to hold cones of thread and fabric and whatever else I need to store. The whole thing is on wheels which makes it very handy. I have a cutting table in an adjacent room so this will just be for ironing. The wall with the black stuff hanging on it will be covered with homosote and flannel for a design wall that I can iron directly on or pin things to - behind the beam there is a bank of florescent daylight lamps that shine directly on the wall.

Won't be long now! Stay tuned for the next installment!