Sewing Room Update

Yikes! July since I last posted??? Shame on me. I’ve been busy, though. As you know, I’m creating a new sewing room from scratch. It’s going to be a looooong process, but it’s starting to come together. Here’s a panoramic of the room, and some of my recent projects. Forgive the pictures, I took them at 4 AM. There’s truly a crapload of light in there, but the camera was fighting with me:

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Don’t you just love that floor?? It looks like a patchwork quilt. LOVE. They’re carpet squares we got at Home Depot, and the entire thing cost only 94-cents/square foot! And, yes, I laid the entire thing myself – over 400 sf over a 2-day period. It was a blast laying out the pattern, and (except for the outside edge tiles) they butted up so tightly they didn’t need taped down. No problems vacuuming – and trust me, it’s been done a lot! It has warmed up this basement room not only in looks, but in temperature. Here’s a link to the flooring: Versatile Carpet Squares It still need a ceiling, but that will be the last thing done. I want to make sure everything is in place before installing the ceiling. I’m sure there will be more room-rearranging, and the lights will be shifted to the optimum areas once the final layout is done. My design wall on the left is perfectly awesome.

design-wallTwo sheets of 1-3/4″ insulation covered with batting only. How happy I am to have an 8×8 foot design wall! The thicker insulation allows my pins to completely push through the insulation so they don’t stick out. Peggi’s suggestion of using only batting worked SO well and was much less expensive. It fits perfectly between two sets of outlets without being screwed into the wall. These babies aren’t gonna move or shift. Several of the projects I am working on are hung on the design wall. Two table runners and applique blocks. More on those later.

For the first time, quilts are hung on my wall!

longarm-areaThere’s my dad. His quilt won first place in the AQS online quilt contest in 2009, which resulted in winning the quilt frame and helping to purchase my mid-arm machine, so it was was only fitting that he should watch over me as I quilt.

Don’t you just love the quilt on the left?

happyplaceYou can see the post about it here. I added my own applique to it, and it looks so cute on the wall. Did you know that Command Strips makes little clothespins?? I didn’t want to drill holes into the brick, so I used these and they’ve held up perfectly. Or heck, you could just add Command Strips to regular clothespins.

Lastly, a new sewing “nook”!

sewing-nookDon’t’cha just love the makeshift footstool?? The chair was from the upstairs bedroom – darn, it just didn’t match the furniture up there (snort!). The end table was my mom’s, so she’s there with me too. It’s a great place to do hand-sewing and watch a movie.

That’s all for now, a cutting table and sewing table are in the planning stages, and I’ll post them once they’re finished!

Cindi 100PS: Happy Thanksgiving to all! We’ve got 15 coming for dinner, so I’m off to get ready….

Let the transformation begin!

After 2 years, I’m finally getting around to making this space my own! It’s in the basement, with one tiny window. The previous owner used it as a woodworking shop, and the concrete block walls are painted a stark white. Ugh. Not that I’m complaining – the room is huge – 17×24′, and I’m grateful to have a place that allows me to put the LA in the room as my sewing area. Plus, I’m looking forward to a place that’s inspiring. My room before was too small, and the LA was two floors up, which meant dragging everything up two flights of stairs. Yikes!

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And would you look at that gawd-awful paneling?? Right outta the 80’s! So the walls will be painted tan (including the paneling), and we’re putting down carpet squares on the floor. Yes, I am one of the few who prefers carpeting rather than vinyl or hardwood floors in my sewing room. Don’t bother telling me I’ve made a mistake with this. I LIKE carpeted floors! I’m on my feet too much when I quilt, and my legs get achy with a hard floor. We found carpet squares at Home Depot for $1/SF. Woo-hoo! With 480 SF to cover, that’s a perfect price for a basement floor! 

DH is also going to build a cutting table for me – which will be a godsend, as right now I’ve got the most expensive cutting table ever:

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Yep, our pool table! Make due with what you have, I say. Everything from the sewing room has now been moved into the pool room and his mancave (incentive!) so the entire basement is a disaster area right now. Then we’ll figure out what to do for a sewing table, whether to build one or buy inexpensive cabinets and put a countertop on them. The portable table just isn’t working. It bounces around too much when I’m sewing at full speed, lol…

The room is now empty except for the LA frame, which we’ll just pick up and move around rather than taking apart. He’s going to be painting this long weekend, while I spend the weekend shopping and dining with my teen niece and dog-watching. Hey! He likes painting by himself – says it’s cathartic and mindless. Who am I to protest??

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Struggling with broderie perse

I am struggling with this new-to-me technique, broderie perse.

applique 1I understand the concept, and I did a bit of online research to see exactly how it’s done.  However, I wasn’t able to find a lot of specific how-to information out there.  It was mostly historical information; it seems that broderie perse has fallen out of vogue.  A post on Barbara Brackman’s blog states that quilters would not cut very close to the actual outline of the shapes, but rather loosely in the background around the shapes.

Well.  That’s not going to work so well with my chosen appliques.  The background, seen here in my previous post, is more of a bluish periwinkle.  That won’t work with the black background of the quilt.

So I decided to try invisible thread; Superior’s MonoPoly in Smoke.  It really is very, very hard to see – so much so that I had to get a magnifying glass to thread my machine.

applique 2But I don’t like the little holes the needle leaves in the applique. I used a size 10 needle, which is the smallest needle I have.  But it was still leaving those ugly holes, and since the appliques are fused, I doubt the holes will close back up after washing or steaming.

applique 3So I switched to Bottom Line, which is a fine (60 wt) thread.  Didn’t care much for that look, either.

Back to brainstorming.  I briefly considered a denser zigzag, but that’s a TON of work, going around all those shapes, and I think in the end, it will detract from and obscure the appliques.

I’m actually considering pulling off all the flowers and doing a different type of applique for the borders, but the perfectionist in me is mentally stamping her foot and pouting because these flowers are so stinkin perfect for the quilt!

So.  Does anybody out there have any ideas, suggestions, or broderie perse resources I could check out?  I would greatly appreciate it!

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Neon Glow part 2: trying something new

Well, it seemed to take a really long time to get all the blocks assembled, but it’s done.

kaffe 4But…  it doesn’t really look done, does it?  It needs something, some kind of border.  Not just a typical plain border, though.

Sometimes daydreaming can be very productive.  I was staring at the quilt, daydreaming, studying the construction, when it hit me – what to do about the border.

bordersAha!  Much better!  I really like how those corner blocks extend the center of the quilt out.  And it’s different.

But.  Hmmm….  it still needs something, doesn’t it?  A bit of applique, perhaps, to soften up all those pointy angles.  Off to my local quilt shop I go, top in hand.

I auditioned teal, purple, and pink solid or read-as-solid fabrics.  The colors matched the ones in the quilt, but the fabrics just did not blend well with the design.  They overwhelmed it instead.

Enter one of the best things a quilter can have in her life: a wonderful, knowledgeable, and creative Local Quilt Shop Owner.  My favorite LQSO is named Cheran Bee, she owns Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop in Vancouver, Washington (Vancouver not B.C., Washington not D.C.), and she’s an absolute gem.  Cheran looked at the top, agreed that the borders needed something, and she didn’t like the pink and teal fabrics either.  She thought a minute, disappeared into the depths of her shop, and reappeared with this:

philip jacobs anne marie in blueWow – I know where she’s going with this.  I gasped and blurted out “Broderie perse!”  It was PERFECT.  I bought a couple of yards and ran straight home, did not pass Go, did not collect $200.

Confession time.  I’ve never tried broderie perse, and to be honest, I’ve never really liked it when I’ve seen it in magazines and quilt shows.  But I realize that’s probably because when I have seen it, it looks like a still-life painting to me.  Boring, yawn, Ho with a capital Hum.

But it’s a challenge and I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so I did some research.  I learned that broderie perse was quite a popular technique back in the day, whatever day that was. Quilters would loosely cut around floral prints, then applique (needle-turn or buttonhole stitch) the shape onto the background.  According to Barbara Brackman, “traditional broderie perse is harder today because large-scale florals with white backgrounds are rare” and it’s harder to match backgrounds.  However, quilters can solve that problem by cutting the entire background away from the print.

People, that kind of detail work is right up my alley!

I ironed some fusible web onto the back and started snipping happily away.  I LOVE intricate, detail work.

A few hours later, I have some working pieces to play with:  dahlias and carnations.  I tried the dahlias first.

kaffe 7Hmm.  This doesn’t balance.  I tried placement of the flowers by size, first putting the small ones in the corner, then reversing the order and placing the larger flowers in the corner.  Neither worked.  Okay, let’s try carnations:

kaffe 8I like that better; I like the delicateness of the carnations.  They’re not big and blobby like the dahlias were.  But it’s still not cutting it; the carnations don’t seem to flow with the quilt either.

How about combining both types of flowers?   I really didn’t think that would work well, which is why I separated them in the first place.

kaffe 9Wow, I really like that!  I like how it starts off large in the corner and tapers out toward the center of the quilt.  I like how the carnation stems give some flow and continuity. I like how the small, delicate carnations balance the big blobby dahlias.

Yes, I think this will work!  Off I go to cut more flowers for the opposite corner.

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Neon glow

A couple of months ago, I got a wild hair.

kaffe 1I picked up an assortment of Kaffe prints and started slicing and dicing without much of a plan.

kaffe 2

A very simple, basic 1-patch block.

kaffe 3 I love how it seems to glow, so the working title for it is “Neon Glow”.

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I LOVE THIS! It seems to float on top of the black 🙂 Can’t wait to see how the blocks intertwine when you make more!

Cindi 100 small

The great signature quilt pen debate (Part 1)

As I prepare to make a wedding quilt for my niece, I’ve searched high and low for information as to the best pen to use for the signature blocks, but decided to do my own experiment. What works for someone else may not necessarily work for me! Kylee wants to actually use the quilt, and I WANT her to use the quilt. I don’t make quilts so they can sit in a drawer, dammit. I’m making snowball blocks, and the writing area will be about 2×4.5″. I’m having guests sign the blocks before I sew the quilt together, so I paper-pieced them, allowing for easier signing.

Snowball-BlocksI decided to cut several squares of the white fabric and take them to “Sunday Dinner”, where a gaggle of friends gather at my sister’s house. I thought it would be best to get several different types of signatures with several different pens. Everyone writes differently. Some have a light touch, some press harder. This would result in different results when washed. I wanted to try to get 2 different signatures of each pen. Since I’m a doodler, I have tons of great pens hanging around. Here are the four pens I used for the experiment:

PensSharpie Ultra Fine Point, Sharpie Pen Fine & Medium, Prismacolor Premiere 05 & 08, Micron 03, 05, & 08, Nano-Liner 04 & 06. Yes, I used several sizes of each pen, if possible, to see what wasn’t bold enough and what was too bold for a signature. Kinda like the three bears. One’s gonna be juuuuuust right…..

I am using Kona cotton, Snow White color. I washed it in warm water with Tide (no fabric softener), and pressed it (no starch).

We had a signature party at dinner, and these are the samples I collected:

Signatures-parchmentI pressed the signatures with a hot iron to set the ink (hopefully!), quickly zig-zagged them together and threw them in the wash. Warm water with a load of towels. I figured if anything was going to scrub off the ink, it would be towels! Plus, worried about bleeding with the first wash, I wanted something okay to ruin. The first thing I realized is that I sewed them every which way. I’m a dork! But, as you can see, right off the bat the Sharpie Ultra Fine Point is out. It faded away in the first washing. It may be permanent, but not on fabric!

Pen-sample-wash-1The others held up well, with no bleeding and little to no fading. I’m leaning towards the Prismacolor Premiere pens at first glance. The black is truly black, while the Micron pens are a sort of brown-black.

This sample is going to be thrown in every single load of wash for the next 30 days. Hot water, warm water, cold water. Whatever the temp of the rest of the load, this will be added. Because you never know what temp a quilt will be washed in once it’s out of your hands. I’ll report back on my findings, and hopefully we’ll have a clear winner!

What is YOUR pen of choice?

Cindi 100

Weaving finished

Well, it took a while…

weave 2abut I got all the weaving done.

weave 3It was easy but time-consuming.

weave 4

weave 6Done!  Whew!

trimI trimmed it and stitched the raw edges.  The glue holds it together nicely, but since this was so labor-intensive, I didn’t want any risk of the weaving coming undone.

stitching edges Several years ago I made this bag for my laptop.  It’s worked very well, but it’s a hair too small.  It fits just my laptop and nothing else, and the flap should have been longer.

orig bagI want something big enough for my laptop, a binder, a couple of notepads, pens, and other office accoutrements.  I decided this weaving project would be a cool replacement for my original bag.

bag fabricBummer! I started this wild-hair weaving project before I really knew what I wanted to do with it, and I didn’t make it big enough to work as a replacement laptop bag.  So I’ll put the woven fabric aside for a while, until I stumble across a different use for it.

I don’t feel that my efforts were wasted, however.  I learned a lot, had some fun, and will probably make another woven project soon!

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I got a wild hair

I started a new project, because apparently I just can’t have enough UFOs.

This was inspired partly by this woven pillow cover I made a couple of years ago, and partly by a gorgeous woven leather handbag that I saw in a store.  It was gorgeous but hoooo boy, very expensive!

I bought some lightweight denim and cut it into 1″ strips.

cuttingRan the strips through a bias maker.

binding toolI’d started out with putting a 1/4″ strip of fusible web in the center, but I ran out of it, so I resorted to starching the strips, then moved on to using Elmer’s glue.

Elmer’s has this neat little glue tube.

glue 1 It dispenses a thin line of glue at one end…

glue 2…and a wider one at the other end, with a tip that spreads the glue evenly and thinly.  It worked perfectly for my strips.

glue 3Next, I lined up the strips on a 45° angle and taped them down with duct tape.  Ha!  Never thought I’d use duct tape in a sewing project, but I was wrong!

weave 1My husband got curious when he saw me with his roll of duct tape in hand, so he came to see what I was doing.  After observing me for a few minutes, he dryly pointed out that although this is a quilting blog, there didn’t seem to be much sewing involved in this project.  He then asked me if I was going to swipe his WD-40 also.  I pointed out that not only do I know where he sleeps, I also cook his dinner.  He was quick to bring me a glass of wine and a slice of chocolate cake.

Next up:  I’m ready to start weaving!

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I’m Not A “Country Color” Kind Of Girl

So why did this layer cake jump in my cart??

For color purposes only. I really DID buy a layer cake!

I bought it quite a while back at Yoder’s in Shipshewana. Maybe someone else invaded my body for a moment?

So I found the MBS pattern “Old Glory” by Barb Johnson to use it up. I wish the fabric would have had more than 3 colors. There’s no way to make any kind of pattern with hourglass blocks when you’ve only got three colors! It ended up being a hodge-podge instead. It’s on the frame now.

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And I’m quilting it with what Peggi calls “loop de loops”.

IMG_3521First time trying this quilting, and it’s fun! Not perfect, but certainly fun 🙂

I decided to keep track of exactly what it’s costing me to make this simple quilt. And I mean exactly everything it takes to make it, from start to finish. I’ll report back on that later. But what I’m finding in my tracking so far is absolutely blowing my mind.

Cindi 100

Designing a sewing room in EQ7

We’re moving in 2 weeks, and I have to leave the love of my life behind…

Sigh.

Sigh.

Okay, maybe I’m going a bit overboard there. But a lesson learned: Never build the perfect sewing space that you can’t take with you. I didn’t expect to move from this house for a long, long time. You never know what the future holds….

My new room won’t be this fancy. But as long as you’ve got a place to quilt, that’s the only thing that matters, right??  I’ve designed 3 sewing spaces so far, and I’ve gotten to the place where I know exactly what I need, how I need it and where I need. I’m very excited that in our new house my basement sewing room will be twice as big as this one. That means my sewing area AND Laverne & Shirley (my frame & midarm) will be in the same room. Hallelujah!! Used to be I’d pull out graph paper to design my rooms. This time I decided to play with EQ and see if I could design it in there. I did. I’m no pro in EQ (that would be Peggi!), but have always wanted to play around with the drawing section. This was the perfect opportunity to learn more about it. I created a couple of boxes in Patchdraw Motif. Just simple boxes. They can be resized on my quilt, so I didn’t need a bunch of blocks. I even found a sewing machine in the Block Library/Contemporary applique/Your design studio section! Can someone tell me why they don’t have an iron???? Or a chair?? Aren’t those a staple in a sewing room????

blocks

I started by using 1″=1 foot. My room is 17’2″ x 27′, so I created a new quilt layout with one block sized 17.2″ x 27″.

layout-size

Yeah, these are just approximate measurements, so .2 = .25 on my layout. I’m not worried about a couple of inches!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does my quilting room need? A sewing area, a cutting table and my LA/frame. So I added 4 of the blocks of I created, and stretched them to start designing. I stretched and played until I came up with a layout that appealed to me. The text feature was great to label the spaces.

Design1

Okay, but you’d be able to see my mess from the door. Not gonna work….

 

The following pics don’t show the measurements:

design3

Let’s flip this around. I added the clearance area needed for the longarm frame. Better, but I need to face the door when I’m sewing (must be some feng shui thing in my head). With the sewing machine on that side of the table, I don’t have enough clearance to the left of the machine without having to scrunch up my quilt when I sew. Nope, this one’s not gonna work either…..

 

Aaah....much better.....

Aaah….much better…..

Once I liked the layout, I added more boxes – the cabinets. I’m planning to use Ikea cabinets, so I stretched my boxes to the size of the cabinets. I colored these boxes yellow. This also allowed me to narrow down the exact size of my sewing area.

design5

Then I started adding things I needed in my room – a design wall, my ironing area, a fabric storage pantry and pegboards for my tools and patterns. Two bookshelves with cabinets below to make up for the wall cabinet storage I won’t have here. Oh yes, and I need a TV and maybe a sitting area for hand sewing. Let’s make it comfortable, dangnabbit!

design6And, finally, measurements so we know where everything will be placed.

Design7I know that this will be a work in progress – The sewing area and cutting table will be built first, and the other items added on as the pocketbook allows. But it will be totally portable, so if I ever have to move again, it’s coming with me 🙂

Now, I’m off to create my cutting table in EQ. It needs lots of shelves, and pegboard to hang my cutting tools, and…….

Cindi 100