Friday, January 25, 2013

Last Book Review and Studio Remodeling Update: Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space by Lois L. Hallock

Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space: Sewing Room Makeovers for Any Space and Any Budget, by Lois L. Hallock, is a good reference for anyone who is reorganizing, remodeling, or creating a brand new quilting space.  Hallock offers sound ergonomic advice as well as planning worksheets for taking inventory of your fabric, tools and equipment.  She also includes budget planning worksheets and advice on scheduling and executing your studio so the project goes as smoothly as possible.  The book contains a number of real quilting studio makeovers, including before and after full-color photographs and floor plans with dimensions, and the rooms featured range quite a bit in terms of size and budget, so most readers will be able to find useful ideas and layouts for their own available space.  I like that, along with explaining how to do a scale floor plan of your space to audition possible furniture placement, Hallock also explains how to do an elevation drawing of each wall, which you definitely need to do if you'll be hiring contractors.

I found this book most useful in conjunction with the two other books I reviewed here earlier this week: Carolyn Woods' Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter: An Illustrated Guide to the Space of Your Dreams has much more creative and original storage and organization solutions for fabric and quilting tools, and Lynette Ranney Black's Dream Sewing Spaces: Design and Organization for Spaces Large and Small contains more thorough, up-to-date information on lighting, many creative ideas for maximizing even the smallest work spaces, and -- most important -- discusses sewing room design in a general way, with special sections at the end of the book addressing the unique requirements of sewing spaces for professional dressmakers, quilters, and drapery workrooms.  This was crucial for me because I need my studio to be a flexible space that works well for all kinds of sewing, not just for quilting.  However, quilters who only want to purchase one book about setting up a quilting studio would not go wrong in choosing this one.

My Studio Today, Not Finished but Ready for Sewing!
So, what's next in my own studio remodeling project?  A Test Drive!Bernie cut a larger hole in the top of my existing custom sewing cabinet to accommodate the larger size of my new sewbaby, the Bernina 750QE. I can't believe it's been almost a month since I unwrapped that machine, and I haven't been able to sew a single stitch with it yet! Now that the electrical and painting mess are complete and I have a temporary cutting table in place, I am planning to get in there today and sew something -- anything! -- to see how the new setup and new machine work for me.
My Existing Custom Sewing Cabinet, Adapted to Fit New Machine, with New Electric Lift Installed

In case you're curious, Bernie built my existing sewing cabinet (see above), using an 18" wide kitchen drawer base cabinet that we ordered from The Home Depot and painted red and a Bernie-built 18" wide cubby unit on the left.  The knee hole opening is 32" wide, which allows me to sit centered on the needle and easily accommodates the movement of the machine on the lift (it goes up for free arm sewing, and all the way down to completely recess the machine when I'm not using it).  I have 22" of surface to the right of my machine, where I keep thread snips, pin cushions, and enormous cups of coffee, and I have 26 1/2" of surface to the left of my machine.  The current counter top is some kind of particle board or something that I'm planning to change (I want something lighter in color for better light reflection, with a more comfortable bullnose edge in the front where my forearms rest when I'm quilting, and with a matte but slippery finish to facilitate free-motion quilting).  I do, however, like the size of my cabinet top -- it's 28 1/2" x 73". 
I either want to enlarge the depth of this cabinet or have Bernie build another one just like it that can butt up to the back side of this one.  My serger will go there, and will completely recess beneath the cabinet so it's not in the way when I'm not using it.  I just don't want to go too big, though -- still trying to preserve room for a seating area in the new studio!  I found a birch-veneered conference table top from IKEA that could be a possibility for my cutting table AND an enlarged, two-machine sewing cabinet:
IKEA GALANT Conference Table Top, 76 3/4" x 43 1/4"

I wish they had dimensions on their web site showing where the cutout for the cords is in relation to the edges of the table top.  A quilter on the 8 Series yahoo group posted that she bought this table top and was able to plug the cord hole with a piece of wood.  I like the light color of the birch veneer and it's a nice size, with no annoying seams.  It's only $299, and it's even cheaper if you order the white one.  I haven't shown it to Bernie yet, though, and he's not a fan of IKEA.  He'll probably want to cut down an old-growth cherry tree, mill the lumber himself, and finish it by hand with some elaborate stain recipe out of Fine Woodworking magazine that requires fifteen hundred coats, sanding, and waxing with butterfly wings or something.  We all have our hobbies, don't we?  ;-)

Time to fire up my new sewbaby and see if big girls really do have more fun!  Vroom, vroom...


Ivory Spring said...

I do love that easy chair pincushion you have! And that red sewing table is making me swoon! :)

Unknown said...

Where did you get the lift from? Would love to make this project.

Rebecca Grace said...

Carmen, at the time I posted this I was using an electric lift mechanism that I hated because there was no way to program stop points. So I would push the button and the machine would go up too high, then I would push it the other way and the machine would go down too far... It drove me nuts! I sold that lift and have been using this airlift from Rockler Woodworking ever since:

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Where did you get the plastic plate that covers the opening to make your machine flush with the table surface?

Rebecca Grace said...

My Bernina dealer also sells Horn sewing machine cabinets. He ordered the clear acrylic insert from Horn that fits my Bernina, and my husband cut the opening in my cabinet top to fit the acrylic insert.