Nellie"s Needles

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Studio South

I'm back in Knoxville in the studio that's purely a working room. This 16'x12' space doesn't have to double for any other purpose. It's all mine! There are 8' patio doors on each end of the room. One looks into the courtyard with a 5' fountain and metal sculptures under a Maple tree. The other overlooks a landscaped grassy yard.

Just before we left for Michigan I finally got an additional sewing table so that both machines could be set up ... the Brother 1500s for free-motion quilting and my Pfaff Creative 7530 ... ohh, I'm glad to be back to my favorite machine. The chair swivels from one to the other. Previously it seemed that the machine I needed at the moment was NOT the one that was set up on the sewing desk. Whew! Glad that problem is solved. Every inch is planned for storage and particular tasks.

When I reorganized a year ago, I took the doors off the storage cabinets and way too many books out of the bookcases. My friends and the local library benefited from that task. Now most of my fabric stash is visible. My philosophy is, " If I can't see it, I don't have it". The silks, wools, etc. are in clear storage boxes stacked under the cutting table and sewing desk. I don't use those often, but I can still see and get at them.

The futon is my major "designing tool". I lay there studying whatever piece is on the design board. It's amazing what can be seen or realized in those moments of waking up or falling to sleep. Although, I'm thinking of replacing the futon with a stratalounger chair so there will be space to set up a table area just for fabric painting.

And yes, that's a lot of ribbons. Most all of them were awarded to entries in Knoxville's Dogwood Arts Quilt Show. That's the one competition I've entered yearly since I began quilting in 1994 as a measuring stick of my work. It's a judged show and doesn't require slides ... a big plus in my book. There are many entries from around the USA and a few from foreign countries as well. I figure if I can compete well in this show, I've "still got it".

The design wall is 1/2" fiber board from building supplies at Home Depot. It's covered with felt-like material especially designed for this purpose ... fabric clings to it. If I ever recover it, a medium value gray felt will be my choice. The long cabinet/counter beneath it is a bookcase laid on its side. It had been upright across the room and full of books. The dividers are closet organizers I bought from Target. Don't know where I'd put that printer if the narrow counter top weren't there.

This set-up cut down on the area of the design wall, but the counter sure is handy. I use the step-ladder often to work at the wall. There's another tower of shelves that stores threads of all kinds on the right side of the design wall to complete the room.

Now, to get back to work.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Studio North

Summer is definitely over. It's time to close up my studio here at the cottage in Michigan and move to Studio South in Tennessee. This summer studio is small (11'x10'). When I'm not here it needs to look like a general project/office/reading room.

I had spent quite a bit of time reorganizing it at the beginning of the summer. In August my friend, Alicia, helped me paint the desk and storage cabinet.

I love the big pink formica top on top of the desk. It accomodates both of my sewing machines very nicely. I use my old Pfaff 360 for piecing, sewing on bindings and any zig-zag stitching (usually couching yarns). The Brother 1500s is mainly used for free-motion quilting.

I share this studio with anyone who comes to the cottage. In the above photo Diane Durand is applying a binding to one of her creations. Even my grandsons get to sew. Winston is waiting his turn while Jackson is making a "super cape" for his stuffed dolphin. Jennings was waiting out of the picture.

The view out the huge picture window can't be beat. Plus there's the wall of windows to the left of the supply cabinet.

The rolling storage table serves as an extra surface. There is another one under the cutting table. Both contain most of the fabrics I keep at the cottage. The turquoise rolling cabinet stored under the sewing table contains my daughter-in-law Jeanette's sewing supplies.

Well, it's time to dismantle my design wall. The covered fiber board panels hang on hooks over the photos on the wall and on the back of the door. I have a large piece of suede upholstery fabric that can be pinned across both boards when a large piece is being worked on.

My next posting will come from Studio South.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Last Flowers of Summer

Daisies are one of last flowers blooming in our cottage garden. I was inspired to make a small wall quilt featuring this flower by an annecdote related to me by the woman who was treating me to a reflexology massage and a gift of fabric remnants from an interior decorator friend.

I Really Wanted Daisies

In the middle of a massage session the image of daisies popped into my head. So I asked Carol, the reflexologist, "What is your favorite flower?" Her reply was, "Daisies." She went on to tell me the story of her wedding. "I had wanted to carry them at my wedding, but my family who owns a greenhouse and nursery said I could not carry daisies ... to leave the flower decision to them. So, I carried a bouquet of gardenias and I hated them. I really wanted daisies."

This converstaion had happened the day before another friend, Ebbie, gave me a big bag of decorator fabric remnants. When I unpacked it and saw the one with flowers that could pass as gardenias (though they're most likely magnolias), I knew I had to make this quilted wall hanging for Carol. I have my last session with her this week and will give it to her then.
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