Monday, September 9, 2013

How It All Started

Update: photos of 2013 quilts added to Quilts page.

It took a while, but I've visited everyone on Ellison Lane's Studio Spotlight.  I really enjoyed seeing where other quilters create and suggest that you go by and view some of the beautiful spaces.
Some quilters sew at their kitchen or dining room tables, others (like me) have a dedicated studio, and still others sew somewhere in-between--a corner of a bedroom, a hallway, and so on.  Chatting with others about their spaces had me thinking of my days of starting out.  We were living in our first home, a small three bedroom with rooms that barely measured 10 X 10.  Living with three growing boys took every inch of house and our large yard.

Of course, I started out at the kitchen table.  When the three boys were still very young, I made almost all of their clothing except jeans and Underoos.  When they started asking for boxers, I began making those, too.  One year alone I must have made a hundred pairs of boxers.  The boys were middle school age by that time and didn't really want to wear "homemade clothes."  Of course, the hand-made movement had yet to occur.   

built-in sewing table Rich custom made for me
Then we built our house, and our builder suggested a little sewing closet in the hallway.  The closet was supposed to be for linen and extra storage, but he offered to build one shelf extra deep and at table height.  I was thrilled.  For a while anyway.  

I outgrew the closet when the boys were about high school age.  I'd begun making quilts since I rarely sewed for the boys, although I continued making boxers for them even after they moved away. 

storage under the cutting/work table
Stash storage closet

Today, the old sewing closet is where Richard piles up papers, pays bills, and hides out.  I am the lucky seamstress who has a large building of her own.  Extra large, actually, because once we'd purchased the long arm machine, Richard determined that I'd outgrown a whole two-car garage, which he had enclosed.  He added on about half of that again, making it plenty big enough for the long arm and a seating area.  

repurposed cabinets on the cheap
So I went from no space, to a small closet, to a carport to today's large 30 X 30 space with every conceivable want: my beautiful Bernina, two sergers, a couple of vintage treadles, a long-arm, and more fabric and notions than any one quilter or seamstress could want. 

a hand-me-down cabinet from Rich's grandparents' house
If you're one of the bloggers who posted photos of your kitchen table or a corner of your bedroom, know that it's probably temporary.  You'll get here.  It took me 25-30 years, but I have always been a bit distracted (we call it ADD now) by really important or not so important things--family, sewing, money issues, etc.

old wooden boxes for display and storage above my sewing machine

seating area with the old trunk from my dad and a sewing rocker from Rich's parents
This last photo was taken in 2009 right after we moved into the addition. Even before I painted.  Of course there's paint now and curtains at every window, so the space looks very different.

long arm area and my grandmother's quilt rack (used to store finished quilts)

I guess it's time for a good cleaning and photos of the current state of affairs in the studio--not that it looks so great.  My life is a constant state of chaos and cleaning.  However, there's so much stuff in my studio, it would be difficult to figure out where it can hang out during a photo shoot.   Would you have some extra storage space for a few boxes and bags?  Think you can manage a crate of potatoes or a tree?  

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