Friday, March 29, 2013

New Sewing Goodies & Studio Remodeling Update

I'm not usually one for broadcasting personal information about myself via car decals.  In fact, I only put the kids' school magnet on my car because they give these out when you contribute to the capital fundraising campaign, and I wanted to show support for the school and encourage other parents to contribute as well.  The little star on the other side of my license plate is from the police benevolent fund, another cause that I support.  However, you will never see stick figure families, monogram decals, or magnets advertising where we go on vacation, which sports teams we support, or which activities the kids participate in emblazoned all over the back of my car.  I was firmly anti-decal...  Until I saw this at a quilt shop yesterday:

Decorated: Quilt or Die!
Look what I got for my car!! Isn't that hysterical?  Skull and crossbones from a distance, but when you get closer you see that it's a skull-shaped pin cushion with button eyes, a bow on its head, and an open scissors instead of bones.  I love it!  My boys got a kick out of it, too.  My mother is the only one who doesn't like it; she thinks it's "weird."  Bernie put it on for me, and assured me that he can get it off later if I ever get tired of it.
I found this at the 2nd closest Bernina dealer to me, Sew Much Fun in Lowell, NC.  I bought my machine from the Bernina dealer 5 minutes from where I live, but he's more of a sew-and-vac shop, whereas Sew Much Fun is a full-on quilt shop with lots and lots of beautiful fabric, specialty notions and threads, embroidery stabilizers, etc.  Sew Much Fun is only about 30 minutes away from me as long as I time the trip to avoid rush hour, and I went there yesterday armed with a list of fabrics and hand applique supplies for Erin Russek's Jingle Block of the Month quilt. 
I was disappointed that Sew Much Fun didn't have many Christmas fabrics left to choose from for my Jingle project, but I did find most of the applique supplies I needed as well as several different interfacing and stabilizing options for my silk machine embroidery project.  To my delight, they did have the Bernina Deco 330 Adapter in stock that I needed for attaching my Multiple Spool Holder to my new 750 QE sewing machine.  She also had the little rubber gripper part to retrofit my #18 Button Sew On presser foot (this part comes standard on the new #18 feet as shown at left, and it prevents the button from sliding out of position while you're sewing it on by machine).  I have saved my favorite purchase of the day for last: a lovely new sewing throne:
It's the Bernina sewing chair, and honestly, I had to have it because it's red.  Even if it wasn't extremely comfortable and more fully adjustable than any other sewing chair I've tried, its redness alone would have ensured that one of these chairs eventually made it home to my studio.  The teal one I had previously looked terrible with my red cabinet, and I had considered reupholstering or slipcovering it.  A slipcover might slide around and annoy me on a sewing chair and really, reupholstering would cost more than a new chair.  Bernie had been complaining about sitting on a hard plastic folding chair in my studio, so I moved the teal chair over to the workstation shared by my serger and laptop, where my husband camps out with his iPad while I'm sewing.  Perfect solution!

While we're on that topic, here's what my studio looks like today:
Stalled Studio Remodeling Project  :-(

...And here's what still needs to happen before I can stop nagging my husband about it:

As you can see, I have already attached the Multiple Spool Holder with the adapter bracket.  Yippee!  The next thing that needs to happen is the building of the permanent cutting table.  Right now I have a temporary setup with a kitchen drawer base between metal wire mesh drawer units, with an old Pottery Barn dining table top for the surface.  The surface is too small, and although I like the wire mesh bins for fabric storage, I don't like the way they slide off the rails to the back and front and land on the floor.  I'd rather have them in sturdy wood or MDF cubbies, sized to fit, with additional storage built in all the way around the new, larger cutting table surface.  I've decided on masonite for the cutting table surface, which is what the existing sewing cabinet surface is made of, and I think it needs to be about 48" x 76".  I find the masontie not quite slippery enough for free-motion quilting, but it would be perfect on the cutting table to prevent my cutting mats from slipping.

Once the permanent cutting table has been built, I'll be able to determine whether my sewing cabinet can move any closer to the cutting table without it getting too cramped.  Bernie can install a floor outlet for cords beneath the sewing cabinet once we're sure that's where it's going to stay.  I hate that plastic folding table behind my cabinet, but I need the extra surface area to support large quilts and for staging and planning purposes.  What I dislike about the plastic table is its ugliness and wasted space beneath, where I pile all sorts of supplies and equipment that has no other home -- creating a lot of visual clutter.  So the sewing cabinet will be expanded to the back with additional built in storage for my embroidery module and other items built in.  The new sewing cabinet surface will NOT be masonite as I indicated on my rendering; that was a typo.  I think it will be MDF with some kind of Formica laminate top, and I want it to have breadboard-style pullouts on the front, to the left and right of the sewing machine, that can be used as mini cut and press stations for paper piecing projects.  I also want to go back to the airlift I was using before with my Artista 200/730E.  With the old machine, I had to lean on top of the machine in order to get the lift to move from one position to another, but I think it will work better with the heavier, 30 pound 750 QE machine.  In any case, the new electric lift we installed is driving me nuts because it doesn't have the capability to program stop positions.  So it lifts the machine shelf too high, then too low, then too high... 

We'll try to get as much storage as we can beneath the sewing cabinet and cutting table, and then address any leftover storage needs that remain.  The wooden unit that you see to the left of the cutting table now needs to go.  The shelves are not useful sizes for storing the items that I need to find homes for, and the length of this bookshelf extends too far to the left, getting in the way of the large design wall that I want on that wall.  It's the only wall where I can do a design wall because of the steeply sloped ceiling and the window on the opposite wall.  Pegboard will go on the wall to the right and/or to the left of the cutting table for ruler storage, and hooks will go on one side of my sewing cabinet for hanging my embroidery hoops.

Scalamandre Stravagante in Color 01, a 24-screen print, $399 per yard
I'm kidding about the Scalamandre drapery valance. Probably. Well, we'll see. I do love that fabric -- the colors and details are so gloriously vivid, and look at that vase! -- but the price point is way out of whack, even for me, considering this is the sewing room...  If I did use this fabric in my sewing room, I'd do a different kind of window treatment so the fabric could be applied flat instead of gathered into swags.  That way I would need just a yard or two, and the gorgeous print would be much better appreciated on a flat fabric treatment as opposed to gathering it up in swags.  In any event, we're a LONG way from window treatments for this room -- I just couldn't bear to leave the window naked in my little design picture.

We're off to church for Good Friday soon.  Lars is the acolyte, so we can't be late -- and that means I'd better figure out what I'M going to be wearing, as opposed to what my windows will be wearing! 

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy Spring, everyone!


Jenny K. Lyon said...

My mouth is agape-where do I start? I am incredibly jealous of your fabulous studio! Your red chair was worth it; really, how much of that fabulous fabric do you need for the valence-go for it; how blessed you are to have a handy hubby and I want one of those decals NOW! Loved this post!

A L said...

Yum! Jealous, especially for the red! in your space.
Check out the crafty skully embroidery designs at I'm not affiliated with them but your car decal cried out for embroidered car accessories. I got a great deal on a desk and credenza at an office auction. Solid construction with no vibrations even when the machine goes full speed. Have you thought of adding power to your craft island by dropping a power line from the ceiling? You can hide it in a post or make it red and wrap around a light fixture. No tripping hazards.