Friday, December 20, 2013

The REAL Studio

The REAL Studio Tour

This is what my studio looks like when it's clean. Which is hardly ever and only lasts a few hours. I find I am reluctant to enter my studio when it's clean, because I don't want to mess it up. So I tend to NOT clean it until I finish a project or it reaches a state I am sure you all know as "Critical Mess."

My studio is smallish, (about 11' by 12') poorly lit, doesn't have very much wall space and has no closet. It connects to my living room by a pair of French doors. They are a royal PITA because I am always opening and closing them to get at what's behind them. The biggest advantage the studio has is a design wall. The second biggest advantage is that I can see into the living room and the TV. (See yesterday's post.) I usually have it on when I work in the sewing studio. I love to watch tennis on the TV. I don't really WATCH, I just listen. Remember, I live alone, so the TV provides background noise.

This is what my studio looks like most of the time. Stuff thrown all over the place. You can see a pair of jeans I have to shorten, and a quilt I have to bind as well as some bins of quilts-in-progress.

When you walk into the studio and turn to the left, you see the thread racks on the backs of the French doors, and the bulletin board where I hang my most used cutting rulers and the design wall. I'm only five feet tall, so I need the small step stool to reach high up on the design wall. To the right of the design wall is my sewing machine.

 My sewing machine sits on an old student desk. Inside the desk are a couple of bowls with sewing machine tools and a bowl of prewound bobbins. I use grey thread for all my piecing, so when I get down to my last full bobbin or two, I wind about a dozen more. The plastic bin on the floor is for all the pieces to fall into when I'm chain-sewing. 

 This drawer in the taboret next to my sewing machine holds my most commonly used tools, my rotary cutters, seam rippers, rulers, blades, and other stuff. I always put these things away, because it makes it easier to find these when I am ready to work. I also put them away because I use tilted work tables and stuff falls off, and because I have a cat. 

Need I say more?

This is my small work table. It is a drafting table, and set at an angle. The sewing machine is behind me, and I set up a small portable ironing board so I never have to get up. It makes for a very efficient work triangle. I use a small decorative box as a tabletop wastebasket for threads and tiny scraps. My pins are in the large tin, and I keep a lint roller handy for when I need to rip out a seam.

 This is my big cutting/work table. Before the arthritis in my back flared up, I did all my work here (and I did it standing up). Now I use it for cutting large pieces and straightening up my long free pieced word blocks.

This is my large (24" x 48") ironing table. You can see it also stores plastic bins full of fabrics that are larger than scraps, but too small to be folded and stored in my stash. Above the ironing table is the magnetic rack for my scissors. Above the scissors are some of my favorite photos and photos of my quilts.

To the right of the ironing table is what I call my "inspiration" wall,  but really it's letters and emails from friends for whom I've made quilts. Whenever I'm feeling lost, I look up at the wall and read the letters of joy, and it gives me the courage to keep going. The house quilt was made by my Aussie friend, Helen. The blue ribbon was given to me by my friend Julie for encouraging her to get way way out of the box when she was making her See Rock City quilt. She's since won a Best in Show award for it.

Across from the large work table I have some of my favorite things on display. The large quilt of color names is my Nine x Nine surrounded by one of my paintings and some other quilts by friends and photos of things I like.

On that far wall you can see bindings waiting for their quilts, and a shelf bracket that holds several rolls of blue painter's tape (dead useful for all kinds of things). There's a bureau back there full of stuff I never use, with all the notes of the book I am writing, a small desk (can you see the Digital Pinwheel blocks on the chair?) and the sock kitty Millies that travel with me...

See? I told you she was famous!

Then there's a small desk and a bookcase with a collection of quilt books, some books on Art, Color and Creativity, coffee mugs filled with pencils, pens, markers, notebook and other tools.

 Then there's the bookcase with my fabric stash. And since this is the REAL studio tour, you can see the pile of leftover backing from the Spools quilt I sent to my son and his fiancee for Christmas. Yeah, I know I should pick it up, and separate the fabric from the batting and fold it and put it away...

On top of the bookcase are plastic bins filled with leftover bits and oddballs. All my fabric is stored where I can see it, and all the bins are clear because I'm the kind of person where if I can't see it, it doesn't exist. So everything is out in the open. In a way it's all inspiration.

Now we are back where we started, by the French doors. The plastic cutting rulers on the board are specialty ones I don't use often.

Way at the far end of the studio, beyond the big work table is a special spot for my cat, Millie, She can lie there undisturbed, and she has a perfect view out the window. Millie does all the Quality Assurance work on my quilts. She checks them for softness, kindness, love and warmth.

Every quilting studio needs a cat.

Update: Because everybody wanted to know how I fit it all in... Here is the plan I made when I first decided to put the sewing studio in this room three years ago. I've moved a few things around, but you get the idea.

The solution: graph paper. One square = one foot. I measured everything I wanted to put in the room, measured the doors, and windows, and located the electrical outlets.


Pat said...

You sure know how to pack it in!! My sewing space is only a little larger (11x14). Not much wall space but I do have a couple of closets. I think you have yours much better organized than I do.

Exuberant Color said...

You have organized your small space SO well!! I'm with you that if you can't see it, it doesn't exist.

Quiltdivajulie said...

What fun to play "I Spy" as I worked through your photos - finding things we've talked about and shared . . . and I agree - everything we have provides inspiration (AND that cats in the studio rock!).


Vicki W said...

It may be a small space but you have really optimized it. With all you've got in there you still have a good bit of floor space for moving around. In my book that's a miracle! Love that one photo of Millie at the back of the table.

Queenie Believe said...

Tis a lovely studio. Thanks for the tour.
Have a great day.
Always, Queenie

Sharon said...

Nice tour! You have a lot going on in there!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Thank you for the tour of your space, and introducing us to Millie. My studio assistant kitty had to go and live with our son because my husband developed bad allergies. I miss his help!

elle said...

What a great space for all that colourful creativity. Ooh, that ironing board!!!!

Mary said...

Great use of space with lots of energy in it. I don't have a cat in my studio (any more), but I do have a dog or two to keep me company.

deborah wolff said...

SOMEBODY cleaned up! You're space is so well planned and organized and spacious. My cat approves all my quilts also!

Millie said...

Deborah, nope, I didn't clean up. I always keep the ironing table clear,and I always put my tools away, and there's plenty going on on the small worktable. You must have missed the pile of quilt trimmings on the floor, and the ball of batting in the corner. The rug hides all the threads and dropped pins.

Beth said...

I love your space! Its cozy and feels welcoming...and a bit messy! Wait till you see MY mess! Its a MESS! lolol Millie is a wonderful quality control employee. She has a perfect perch to survey all the work. I miss my kitty...she was 21! (I didnt know cats lived that long!)

Megan said...

No wonder you make fabulous quilts, Lynne - you have a fabulous cat in your studio. She makes all the difference.

Sydney, Australia

Kathleen Wilson said...

What a wonderful studio. I like the arrangement you have. Thanks for sharing your graph layout. I might try that to see if I can come up with a more efficient way of arranging my studio.

upstateLisa said...

what a wonderful studio!! You sure make use of every inch of space! Mine also adjoins the living room/office with french doors which often have fleece over them to use as a design wall. I am in the middle of revamping ....what a mess!

Poppy Q said...

Thanks for the tour, we think it looks great. We love the Miss M spot, and her little face peaking over the top.

Like you I like the tv on for noise even if I am not watching it.

LA Paylor said...

This is a studio nest!! It's got all the comforts of home without doing the dishes! I love that Millie checks the quilts for love and comfort. Love,
LeeAnna Paylor

Patricia Lines said...

A great use of a small space! You have it all together and at you fingertips.