Thursday, August 23, 2012

Where I Sew

OK, I missed out on the "Where I Sew" linky party because I was knitting Hats for Sailors.  But I cleaned up my sewing room and took all these photos, so I am going to have my own "Where I Sew" party!

After 20+ years in military base housing, when the DH and I bought a house for our "first retirement," the main thing I wanted was a really nice sewing room.

At roughly 600 square feet, I think I got it!

The top of this photo hints at what the original purpose of this room was!  It had 18 bar stools and racks for wine glasses (and martini glasses!) when we moved in.  We're not big entertainers, but that bar worked well for Cub Scout and 4-H craft classes.  Under the bar is "floor storage" -- bolts of quilt backing fabric and more bolts of Kona cotton solids.

Here is my cutting station -- the three laundry baskets hold quilt tops waiting their turn to be quilted.  At last count, there were 54 tops.  The red stacking bins under the cutting table are for scraps -- even spending an hour every Sunday cutting up scraps, I can't keep ahead of them.  (Notice the timer?  I work in 23-minute increments.  Cut for 23 minutes, sew for 23 minutes, do something else for 23 minutes.  It really works!  And the hand lotion -- we're in Colorado, after all!  Yes, that is a yarn winder on the cutting table.  I  miss having my little fiberisto at home to wind yarn for me.)

There's one of the few remaining bar stools -- I use it to reach the lights when the bulbs burn out.  To the right of the bar stool is a genuine typewriter table -- perfect for my serger.

My long-arm quilting machine, Meggie, sits where the pool table used to be.  Who needs a pool table when you can have your own long arm machine?  Under that blue sheet is My Little Sailor's 60" LeClerc floor loom, waiting for him to get a shore billet.

Here is my "sewing station."  That's Zippy, my Juki 2010 commercial machine under the white cover.  I have a little TV with DVD player that is usually playing an old movie while I stitch away.  All those plastic drawers under the table hold strips and squares of scrap fabric.  If it looks like everything is covered in plastic, it is -- we don't have much trouble with mildew in Colorado, but the dust (and smoke!) is a constant headache.  It's easier to just keep everything covered than it is to clean off the dust.

This is my Viking Rose and machine-side pressing/cutting station.  When I'm making strip quilts (like the Summer Block-a-Day quilt) it is quicker to have the little iron right next to my machine.

Here is the main fabric "collection."  Again, in Colorado we don't have to worry about storing our fabric in plastic bins -- it won't mildew, and my sewing room gets no direct sunlight. The little applique' quilt to the left was brought home to me from Hawai'i by the DH.

I keep most of my fabric sorted by color, except for the fabric by my most favorite designers -- they get their own bins.  On top of the fabric shelves are smaller bins for ongoing projects, i.e., Blocks of the Month, Strip Club and Fat Quarter Fun.

And here is the main pressing station -- with more fabric strip drawers!  (And a pretty good collection of interfacing, wouldn't you say?  Buy it while it's half-price, I say!)  I have a "big board" pressing table, but it desperately needs a new cover, so I didn't photograph it.

This is my favorite part of my sewing room.  Those shelves are backed by mirrors, behind the giant bar.  There is a sink there, and cupboards underneath (storage for projects-in-progress!).  I use the shelves to display my collection of tins and quilt kits and the occasional prize jelly roll or fabric collection.  I try to keep only the most current project on this counter top -- like my niece's wedding quilt, half cut out and overdue!

When I see the photos of quilter's studios with no clutter and beautiful white, clear spaces -- I just remember, I'd rather have my extensive fabric collection than a well-ordered sewing room!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday - A Return to Knitting

It's baaaaacccckkk!  -- The Knitting, that is!

Because DH and I are taking off to Seattle this week to visit the kidlins, I HAD to start a "travel knitting" project!

Probably the most popular project since "Clapotis," I cast on for a "Color Affection" shawl.  I am using a gorgeous, fall-color-and-it's-orange silk and wool yarn from "Fleece Artist," color name "Sangria."  This particular color is no longer available, but no matter -- ALL their colors are absolutely lovely!

Here is what the finished shawl looks like (obviously not in my colors!).  If you want to make your own (and really, it is the easiest thing, all garter stitch!), you can order a kit from The Plucky Knitter here.

(photo from The Plucky Knitter)

Here are some photos of my first colorway.

 All my travel wardrobe is orange, including the Tumi bag I borrowed from DH.

So even my knitting (and my toenails!) match.  Think it's too much?

My next two colors are orange and (wait for it) purple!  Tune in this weekend to see how the colors unfold.

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday is for (Addictive) Scraps

While cleaning up the sewing room for the "Where I Sew" post, I came across a drawer full of 30s reproduction "strings."  Then I saw this gorgeous quilt on Karen's blog, Selvage Blog.

New String Quilt Pattern!''

Then I was in trouble.

The "Diamond Dish" quilt starts with a solid color rectangle (in Karen's quilt, and in mine, orange.)  Then you add strips of varying widths and a jumble of fabrics.  And you wind up with this:

Oh dear.  I'm never going to get my niece's wedding quilt done, now -- all I want to do is sew diamonds!

Karen has written a very good pattern, with excellent "how to" photos and links to "how to sew set-in seams."  It's available in PDF format, so you can get started on your own Diamond Dish quilt right away!  Go here to order the pattern.

When I ordered the Diamond Dish pattern, I realized I have another of Karen's patterns:

New String Quilt Pattern, pdf Tutorial, Upcycle, Recycle, Free Shipping, "Tracks, Combs and Ladders"

 Maybe next year I should make 52 scrap quilts?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature