There’s a light at the end of the hallway

Looking back at my blog posts, I see that the last time I wrote anything about spending creative time in my studio was on July 13th…..almost  FOUR months ago!  Of course, during that time we have spent 3 weeks in China, bought a new house, spent 5 weeks getting it ready and moving in, spent 5 days in Texas visiting with my mother, and spent countless hours trying to get caught up with the last of my Tax and Accounting work for the year. 

Added to that, I managed to hurt my knee while moving and was basically unable to climb the stairs for over 2 weeks!!!

However, this weekend I spent time in my new studio, getting it ready for some creative time and I feel sure that the time is coming….I can FEEL it in my bones!!!

The first step was to get my new design wall built and installed.  I started with two pieces of thick Insulation board which were cut down to the proper height and width and an area cut out where the electric plug would sit.

My original thought was that I would build the wall in the garage and then carry it upstairs to install, but quickly decided that it would be better to simply put it together in the studio.

After I had cleared out an opening, I laid the two boards down flat and started using duct tape to form a hinge line.


Next I laid the board down onto a piece of polyester batting and pulled the batting over to the back and roughly taped it in place…..


Next step was to lay the flannel on the floor and place the board on top of it.  I then trimmed the batting and stretched and pinned the flannel to the back….


After checking the front to make sure that it was stretched well, I added additional strips of duct tape to hold it in place….DSC07116


A final round of duct tape, removing pins and it is ready to hang….DSC07117

My sweet husband came in a helped me to hang it on the wall.  It measures 72 inches across and about 80 inches in height…..about 50% larger than my old one….


Now to the fun stuff…..for a long time I have wanted a sewing table that my machine would sit down into so that I would have a flat surface for machine quilting.  After reading about lots of tables and looking at the merits and costs of various ones, I settled on the Arrow Gidget Sewing Table.  This one was recommended by Leah Day of The Free Motion Quilting Project and I liked the price so I ordered it from Amazon and happily unpacked it to see how it would work.


The depth of the opening is easily adjustable and I was happy with it, except that there seemed to be quite a lot of open space between the machine and the table edge.  Then I had a brainstorm……

I had an old Husqvarna quilting table that had been replaced by a larger one many years ago, so I took the legs off, moved the machine as far into the right corner as possible and marked where the Plexiglas would  need to be cut….


A quick phone call was made to our local handyman, who cut the piece to my specifications and voilà……


… table is ready to use!!!   My plan is to put another table behind this one and maybe another one to the side if I am quilting on a really large quilt.  Cant wait to try it out!!!!

Finally, I needed a stand for the rulers that I use most.  Unfortunately, most of the stands that I could buy would not fit my favorite rulers, the “Quilter’s Rule”.  So, I called my friend Anita at Sewcial Studio and her husband made one just to fit my specifications (3 slots for the Quilter’s rules and 3 slots for regular rulers)…..


So now this little shelf sits just next to the machine table.  It holds all of my threads and rulers and there is still some room for future purchases….DSC07122

Naturally there are several projects in the works and in my mind so I cant wait to get up there to sew…..maybe even someday soon!!!!

Reorganization (again)

A few weeks ago I was doing my round of the blogs and seeing what various people had posted about. One blogger (sorry I dont remember who) talked about a new way to fold her fabrics and referenced a You-Tube Video that showed this new system. Check it out here……

The idea was to fold the fabric in half from selvage to selvage and then roll it over a 6-1/2 inch ruler. When you get it rolled, you pull out the ruler and fold the piece in half.

Anyway, back to my story…… I am very happy with the way that my color groupings of fabrics work….they are folded and stored in plastic boxes. It is very easy for me to pull out the box and look for the color that I need. However, I knew that there were several boxes of fabrics that didn’t easily fall into a color category and I felt like I was missing those fabrics because I would forget to look in those particular boxes.

SO, I took all of my larger pieces (2yards and larger) and all of those “too many colors to categorize” fabrics and folded them in the above manner. The only difference that I made was that I used an 8 inch ruler as my guide. It made the pieces a little bit wider, but not as fat.

Here is the finished result. I really enjoyed handling the fabrics and now have a few new quilts in mind to use some of those pieces.

Tutorial for working with different sizes of photos

I have been commissioned (by my Cousin) to make a quilt using photos from her business (Merchant’s Trucking Company). It will be raffled or auctioned at their annual meeting in March.

While making this quilt, I decided to photograph the process and present a tutorial about making a quilt using photographs that are different sizes, so here goes…..

First of all, decide on the size of block to be used… this case, I chose 6 inch finished.

Print the photos, being sure to keep them under the 6 inch size. Make some of them quite a bit smaller than 6 inches, and some almost full size. These sizes will also be determined by the quality of the photos that you are using.

Cut the photos out, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance on each side.

Cut strips of the fabric that you want to use to border the photos. I like to cut the strips larger than I need them to be… this case I cut them 2-1/2 inches.

Place one strip in your machine and sew the photos, one at a time, onto the strip.

Lay the pieced strip onto your cutting board and slice the fabric between the photos. Press the strip away from the photo.

Follow the same process for the opposite side of the photo.

Now, take the border strips and sub-cut them into pieces that are the finished size of the block plus about 1-1/2 to 2 inches. In this case I cut these border pieces 8 inches.

Sew one of these strips to the un-bordered sides of the photos, roughly centering the photo in the middle of the trip. Don’t worry about the un-even borders from the first sewing, just concentrate on the new strip being straight with the photo and sew on the edge of the new strip.

Press these strips away from the photo as well.

Square up the blocks, using a square-up ruler. You can choose to center the photo in the block, or have it off-center.

Ta-Da…. now your blocks are ready to put into a quilt.