Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome to Fleur de Lis Quilt Studio

A recent post on the Etsy community forums asked Etsy sellers for pictures of the place where they create the handmade items that have become so popular world-wide.  I began thinking of my studio and thought some people just might be interested in seeing photos and others might like to know how someone ends up with studio for sewing and quilting.
Sewing table with Juki serger and computer.
      If you've read past posts, you already know that I've been a happy seamstress all of my adult life and that I have wonderful memories of sewing as a child and teenager.  Of course, what I called sewing at five or eight years of age is very different from the sewing I've been lucky enough to experience--anything cutting, tying, or stitching counted for sewing when I managed to nick my finger in Ma-ma's old treadle machine.  Making clothing for my boys as they were growing, sewing my sister's wedding dress, or designing a special occasion dress for myself was much closer to what I enjoyed as an adult.

Storage of quilts and Accuquilt Studio in far corner.

Storage below the worktable--notions and small items.
 Then the quilting bug bit me.  I'd made quilts before....heavy, utilitarian, not-very-pretty quilts that were used for years in a drafty, older home.  The first one that I really remember had a patchworked backing of our boys' receiving blankets and the thickest batting I could find.  More than once I had to whipstitch the backing where it split from the tugging and pulling that three boys put it through.  But it was warm and cuddly and soft.  And we washed it on a regular basis because the boys dragged it throughout the house and into the yard for "camping."  That quilt may not have been the one that got me started in quilting, but it is the one that was loved  the most.  Later, when the boys were older and I had begun
Work table: huge 6 feet wide by 9 feet long made from three small tables.
The mess!  It's supposed to be storage of everything not fabric.
working full-time, I found quilting to be a fabulous way to create, design, play and sew.  I simply need to sew some days, the way I need to read, or eat, or pray.  In fact, on some days, the only reading I do is about sewing or quilting, and praying comes very easy while sitting at my machine or making stitches by hand.

Sewing station.
An old trunk that my dad gave me.  I use it to store completed Etsy items.
Cone thread storage on wall.  

Innova long arm, with peg board storage behind.

Istarted out rather small--a closet at the end of the hallway right in the middle of the boys' rooms.  A nice desktop provided space for my machines, and shelves above provided space for storage.  As the boys grew up and left home, I took over their bedrooms.  Eventually, I'd taken over half of the house.  At the time, the plant where my husband worked was shutting down to move south.  A garment factory that made clothing for children, much of the extra fabrics and thread were put up for sale to employees at very reduced prices.
Fabric storage.  Anyone feel the need to come organize?

 Richard bought both fabric and thread for me, and I stored it in bedroom closets and in boxes under beds.  Not long after the plant closed, my mother-in-law decided that since she didn't sew anymore, she would clean out her stash of fabrics.  She had also worked at the plant and had bought up quite a bit of fabric and thread. Every spare room was filled to capacity and the closets were straining to hold in the boxes and piles.

Close-up of worktable.  This is the large area meant to hold quilts in progress.
Some of the NICU gowns that I've been working on are in the photo.

Richard laughed that he would get pushed out of the house if something didn't give.  So, he gave.  He, with help from our grown boys and his brother, closed in the carport at the back of the house.  A double carport can make a sizable studio.  Richard added windows as I requested and built in shelves and worktables.  There was lots of room, space to spare, in fact.  But I needed and desperately wanted a long arm.  So that was our next step.  It single-handedly filled in every inch of space that was open.   Now we're talking about adding on!

Small jars of vintage lace and buttons from my mom.

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