Friday, December 20, 2013

Real Studio Tour - where I work

The REAL Studio Tour

Today is the final installment of the Real Studio Tour, so hold on to your hats!

You have seen this many times - one of my two design walls. It is 8' x 8' and is almost big enough. See the doorway to the left? That is the laundry/dye studio. I will get to that room in a minute.

Turn 90 degrees to the right and here is my other design wall which is 7' x 8'. I don't do much designing on this wall. You can see it is full of small pieces that I have collected from other quilters, a piece from my Mom and things I have made. I keep ideas, bits of ribbon and items I don't want to lose, and pieces and parts for starts of quilts. You could say this is more of a bulletin board than a design wall.

Then there is my 8' x 8' table. I use this table for my cutting and pressing. I clear everything off when I need to pin baste a quilt. I love this table!

Under the table I put a piece of plywood and I can store my cutting mats here when I am pin basting.

I usually keep the one leaf of the table down so I am working on a 6' x 8' table. The table can be configured to 4' x 8', 6' x 8' or 8'x8'.

Another 90 degrees right and here is my sewing area and entertainment. I have two other tables that were made the same height as my sewing machine cabinet so that I have a bigger area to spread a quilt out when I machine quilt. I keep extra spools of thread in a printer type drawer and of course I have my framed picture of me with Richie Sambora.

Between the TV and the design wall is the doorway to the laundry/dye studio. I have a big sink in there to the right of the washer. This room is kind of a mess/catch all. I am definitely not the organized person Vicki is!

On the opposite wall I have wire shelving with my dyes and other art supplies.

Now if we go back into the sewing studio here is a look across the foyer to the fabric storage room on the left and Peg's room on the right.

The fabric storage room is my personal quilt shop. These shelves hold my commercial prints, solids, batiks, African fabrics, and linens. The tubs at the left have scraps, and the boxes on tops hold Velcro, interfacing, and other groups of sewing stuff.

This corner of the opposite wall holds my hand dyed fabric, quilting thread (on the top shelf), there are rolls with leftover duvetyne, car cover fabric, lining for my living room drapes when I get around to making them, and the stack with the two black boxes are full of fat quarters that I was selling. The table was a desk I used for years and works great in this room for auditioning fabric when it is not covered with stuff! Right now I dumped a tub of scraps on the table (I vowed not to buy any more tubs so when I need one, well this was my solution!), there is fabric for pillowcases I need to make for Xmas, a pile of fabric in the upper left corner for a project I have been collecting fabric for, a pile of books, and homespun fabric that I will be making one or two quilt tops for Vicki next year for the veteran's project. Underneath are two more tubs of scraps and a display box project I want to make for my son.

The other corner of the room has a shelf with my UFOs, what is left of my Mom's fabrics, another tub of scraps, and a tub of wool.

The closet in this room from top to bottom - bolts of iron on interfacing for t-shirt quilts, on the hangers are larger yardages of fabric and my stash of baby quilts when I need one in a hurry, completed quilts, and tubs with fancy fabric like silk, flannel, and vintage fabrics.

In Peg's room I have a cabinet that holds my books and photo albums.

Along this wall I have a quilt rack with a quilt top and the backing, buttons in the blue mason jars, and on top of my son's toy box a quilt I will be fixing up for a friend.

The closet in this room has my art quilts, sewing supplies, and miscellaneous stuff.

So there is the tour of my studio.

I am taking vacation over the holidays to work on the house. I will probably squeeze in a bit of sewing also. So I may not be posting for the next week or so. Have a happy holiday and be safe!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Work continues on the t-shirt quilt

I sewed a bit and trimmed a bit. I needed to trim some of the pieces to reduce the width of what I had going on. I am now much more comfortable with where I am at. I now can start to sew sections of the shirts together and just keep building this quilt.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

T-shirt quilt progress

I stared at the t-shirts on the wall trying to decide how I was going to approach sewing these together. I quickly decided I would start by sewing the matching fronts and backs together - that is the front and back that came from the same t-shirt. At first I was having trouble free motion rotary cutting the t-shirts and duh maybe I need a new blade. I changed the blade and that solved the problem. Yes, you have to put a new blade in every once in a while! LOL! Here are the t-shirts as they look now on the wall. They don't look much different from yesterday's picture and it is hard to tell which ones are sewn together.

Here is my method for sewing the pieces together. I laid out two pieces to be sewn together. I found overlapping and cutting both pieces at the same time did not work very well. The interfaced t-shirt fabric is just too heavy, so I trimmed one section which is the top section in this photo.

Next I overlapped the pieces lining up the design and remembering that after cutting I will lose 1/4" more in the seam.

It is hard to see that they are overlapped so here is close up.

I then traced with my rotary cutter along the edge of the top piece cutting the bottom piece to match. Next issue is that both pieces are not the same width and how would I know where to start sewing without getting a pencil and marking. I trimmed the end of the bottom piece to match the width of the top piece. This way I can put right sides together and match up the ends and start sewing. Did that make sense?

Here are the two pieces sewn together

Here I am showing that I press the seams open because of the weight of the fabric. One other tip: I sew a couple of inches at the beginning and end of the seam with smaller stitches - 1.5 - and this helps keep the seams from coming apart since I don't backstitch. If I just use the standard 2.5 then chances are with all the handling this quilt is going to go thru one of the seams would come apart.

When I add regular quilting cotton to a t-shirt piece I press the seams to one side since the cotton is lighter in weight. Here is an example.

I have overcut the size of all of the t-shirt pieces. This gives me plenty of fabric for fitting the pieces together. I will be adding more orange cotton as needed. I do need to make this quilt a bit narrower so I will be moving pieces around and trimming. Let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, December 16, 2013

13th finish for 2013 and the next one is in progress

Here is the musical quilt all finished include the label. It goes in the mail today.

I spent time on Saturday when I go back from a harrowing trip from Dover and Sugarcreek cutting up my niece's t-shirts and ironing on the interfacing. My trip was scary because the snow started falling and by the time I was about 20 miles from home the interstate was messy. Now I have driven thru worse, but it still wasn't fun. I was exhausted, but very grateful when I made it home. Back to the t-shirts. There were 32 shirts and now they are hanging on the design wall. I rearranged them a bit to get the colors dispersed across the whole piece.

I now have a big bag of scraps that I cut up into usable sized pieces for caulking rags. I was hurting for caulking rags, but now I am well supplied and they will be put to use over the holidays. I plan on taking vacation which will include working on the house as well as quilting.

My trip Saturday to Sugarcreek was to stock up on baking supplies. Then Sunday morning I went to the grocery at 7 am to beat the crowds and pick up a few item they don't carry at the bulk food store Sugarcreek. With the snow we received and the cold temps there weren't many people at the grocery at 7 am on Sunday. I am glad to get that job out of the way. Here are my supplies for sweet potato casserole, cookies, and pies.

So far I have only been able to find two pie pans. It seems like every year I lose one. I will have to make a trip over to my brother's house and see if he has any I can borrow. I use to work at a bakeware manufacturer and I use to bring home stacks of pans, but now 12 years later I realize I should not have give away so many!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Storage methods and binding the musical quilt

The REAL Studio Tour

So today's tour is all about storage. I don't have anything revolutionary in the area of storage, but I almost have enough. I have a four bedroom house by myself so all that closet space is great for storing quilts and supplies.
About a year ago I did some cleaning up in the sewing studio and bought some items to make it easier to find stuff when I looking for it. Here is the top of my bookshelf where I used bread pans to keep various items - pencils, pens, tape, and all sorts of little things. Kind of a mess.

Now the mess is all wrangled in this drawer system I bought for $6.88 and the pans will go back to baking bread.

I also took these old storage drawers and this sewing box, sorted the contents, put like thing together, put the small stuff like beads into the drawer system on the bookcase ...

and put the contents into these snap containers I bought at JoAnn's for half price plus and extra 10% off when I was visiting my friend, Peg, over New Years 2012. Now all the zippers are together, the laces and ribbons are together, etc. when they were in multiple containers. Again, it will make it easier to find what I am look for and I also pitched some useless stuff. The old storage drawers will be going out to the garage for storing nails and screws and not to the trash.

My regular readers will remember I fixed up my fabric storage room - yes, I have a room! - about 2 years ago. In that room I have shelves lining the walls for my fabric which I organize by color. I keep my batiks separate from my printed fabric. I have a table in the center of the room which is handy for auditioning fabrics although right now it is piled with scraps, UFO's, books, and orphan blocks. I totally forgot to take a pictures last night so this is an old one from when I was putting the room back together. Believe me these shelves are full now. I have another shelf in the room for UFO's and where I have gathered fabric for future project. There is another shelf for my hand dyed fabrics and thread. The closet in this room is full of finished quilts, large yardage hung on hangers, and storage boxes with flannel, specialty fabrics, and scraps. It is a luxury having an entire extra bedroom for just storing fabric and I love it. When I go in there it is like having my own quilt shop to go shopping in whenever I want to! I will post more pictures next week when we show our real studios.

I got the binding on the musical quilt last evening. I still need to do the hand sewing. I did my typical sewn mitered corners. I did post a tutorial on how I make these sewn mitered corner on June 20, 2012 if you want to see how it is done. The first time I did this it took me an hour and a half to get all four corners done. Now I can sew the corners in just a few minutes. Of course, it took a few times to figure out a system so once I did that I got much quicker.

I got this lovely gift basket yesterday at work. It had coffee, tea, hot chocolate, some sweets, a stone coaster, mug, and some Cracker Jack in it. I donated the coffee to the guys at work since I don't drink coffee. The basket is nice and sturdy with handles and it will find a second use in the sewing room as a scrap basket. It is not too big, but big enough. Right now I don't have a scrap basket by my machine and the scraps that are still usable end up in piles everywhere.