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Thread: Apartment quilting

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sarah in Brooklyn's Avatar
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    Apartment quilting

    I have a saying: The first step to being a quilter is buying a house. But for those of us who can't, how do you manage your space?

    I live in a small 2 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. My son graduated from college and moved away, so his room has become the storage room, cat box room, and now quilting room. I have my sewing machine covered and my fabrics in plastic storage boxes. What I really don't have is a large cutting surface. I have one very small table that has been ok so far, but I can't imagine what I'll do if I try a really big project. I'd love to hear ideas - and see pictures! - of small quilting spaces that other people have made work for them.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bneighbor's Avatar
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    Smile

    I spend almost every weekend in my motorhome as my husband is a professional race car driver. I have a small Brother sewing machine that stays in the motorhome. I have a quilters tote I bought from Joann fabrics. I have everything I need stuffed into that tote. Rotary cutters, folding mats, scissors, etc. I can set up in about 15 minutes and start sewing. I have a way of putting it away so we can eat at the dinner table but be ready to sew again. I have a tote that has projects to work on. Everything fits into the small spaces I have creatively created in our unit. Everything fits exactly together with no wasted space.
    Depending on the race, I can get lots of piecing done. Sometimes the machine doesn't even come out of it's tote. Over the last 3 years I pieced 2 queen size, 1 king size and 25 baby/lap size quilts. End of race season, they get quilted.
    In an approximate 300 sq foot "home" I can enjoy my craft.
    Enjoy your space because it is yours and it is where you can create.
    Last edited by Bneighbor; 07-22-2012 at 08:45 AM. Reason: Spell check

  3. #3
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bneighbor View Post
    I spend almost every weekend in my motorhome as my husband is a professional race car driver. I have a small Brother sewing machine that stays in the motorhome. I have a quilters tote I bought from Joann fabrics. I have everything I need stuffed into that tote. Rotary cutters, folding mats, scissors, etc. I can set up in about 15 minutes and start sewing. I have a way of putting it away so we can eat at the dinner table but be ready to sew again. I have a tote that has projects to work on. Everything fits into the small spaces I have creatively created in our unit. Everything fits exactly together with no wasted space.
    Depending on the race, I can get lots of piecing done. Sometimes the machine doesn't even come out of it's tote. Over the last 3 years I pieced 2 queen size, 1 king size and 25 baby/lap size quilts. End of race season, they get quilted.
    In an approximate 300 sq foot "home" I can enjoy my craft.
    Enjoy your space because it is yours and it is where you can create.
    I am lucky now all kids have there own homes and I am getting a lovley stash. But I do remember when we lived in a small 2 bedroom house with 2 small kids. no stash, all my cutting and sewing hardware (scisors, pins, rulers, machine feet, ect,) fit in 1 large boot box. My portable machine fit in my closet on top of a small laundry basket that held any left over fabric or on the dinning room table when in use. Any projects had to fit in my one Large old fashion sewing basket. Made quilts and tyed them, cloths for all of us and dolls anything else needed. How I did it I'm not sure, I worked full time too! LOL What does your Hubby race? formula, stock, drag, outlaws?

  4. #4
    Super Member TexasSunshine's Avatar
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    I take my machine and a tote of sewing supples with me in a travel trailer also. I have a iron and small ironing board that is left in the trailer all the time.
    Texas Sunshine, piney woods of NE Texas

  5. #5
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    I just have a small room but the closet stores a lot of my stuff. DH put in shelves and it is almost organized. This room has a futon which is a bedroom when the grandchildren come. But when they aren't there the futon serves as a design wall. A person has to make due with what they have and I am just so glad to have a room that I can leave my projects out and not have to put them away every day. Have fun getting your room the way you want it.

  6. #6
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    I put my kitchen table on bed risers for cutting and sandwiching, and also use it instead of a design wall. My cutting mats and oversize Shape Plus rulers stay under the guest bed. I have a plywood board covered in a remnant of washed wool flannel and twill for ironing. I can move it to a folding table or on the 36" counter.

    This quilter has a beautiful studio in her apartment in Chicago. http://tallgrassprairiestudio.blogsp...ets-party.html
    Elizabeth

  7. #7
    Super Member kathdavis's Avatar
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    I cut my fabric on a mat on the kitchen counter. It is a perfect height. My sewing machine and fabric is in a closet that is 4' x 10'. If there is a will, there is a way to make it all work.
    Kathleen

    Remember, people will see your quilts long after you are gone....NOT your housework!

  8. #8
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    sorry, duplicate post!
    Elizabeth

  9. #9
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    My sewing room is my bedroom. It is rather large, so enough room for a big table, the fold up kind from walmart, my sewing machine is in its own stand, and I have shelves in the closet for my fabric. My queen size bed is my design wall! LOL!
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bneighbor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gramie bj View Post
    I am lucky now all kids have there own homes and I am getting a lovley stash. But I do remember when we lived in a small 2 bedroom house with 2 small kids. no stash, all my cutting and sewing hardware (scisors, pins, rulers, machine feet, ect,) fit in 1 large boot box. My portable machine fit in my closet on top of a small laundry basket that held any left over fabric or on the dinning room table when in use. Any projects had to fit in my one Large old fashion sewing basket. Made quilts and tyed them, cloths for all of us and dolls anything else needed.How I did it I'm not sure, I worked full time too! LOL What does your Hubby race? formula, stock, drag,
    outlaws?
    We drag race. We are currently running 3 different organizations. We are mostly concentrating on one series with 2 different cars. He is defending world champion with one car and runner up with the other. Lots of work, but he has decided to cut back next year so we can travel to more tourist-y stuff.
    I have a wonderful sewing room at home approximately the size of a 4 car garage. But i get to do more "fun" sewing in the motorhome. At home I have prom, formal, and wedding stuff. I am cutting that down to almost nothing next
    year to sight see.
    With your kids gone, using their room should give you room to spread out. Enjoy them when they visit then send them home so you can sew!

  11. #11
    Super Member barri1's Avatar
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    At least you are in a two bedroom.. I'm in a one bedroom. I use the livingroom.. I have nine sweater containers piled up with fabric, and I can add a couple more.. I have a three foot table that I cut on, and have a Singer 99 on it.. I have the Singer 66 in between the door to the bedroom, and a closet.. I have room on my office table that if I only will get rid of the turtle tank with no turtle in it, I can make more room.. I have fabric on the cocktail table, as I am working on getting 1.5" squares out for a swap.. yes.. i am getting claustrophobic.. The dogs house is under the office desk.. Don't even think of a design wall.. I'm okay with things the way they are.. I don't have UFO's.. but I am making four of the same scrap quilts for my staff, and myself.. Oh.. I forgot.. I iron on the kitchen counter which is granite..

  12. #12
    Super Member CindyA's Avatar
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    When I didn't have a space large enough to sandwich my quilts I could reserve a meeting room at the local public library and push a couple of tables together to do it there. I'd make a morning of it and invite a quilt friend or two to go along with me. Once I machine quilted a queen size quilt on my old Kenmore on my kitchen table in between feeding two little ones and keeping them occupied.

    When I was attending quilt guild meetings regularly it seemd that many/most of the ladies had 'studios.' I quilted when and where I could and my supplies and stash migrated through the house according to the kid's needs for space and storage. Then one month a woman from England came and spoke to our guild. She had a picture of herself sewing at her teeny tiny kitchen table in her teeny tiny kitchen. From that point on I just pretended to be European whenever I started wanting a bigger space. LOL

  13. #13
    Senior Member Sarah in Brooklyn's Avatar
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    oh my goodness, that is stunning!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Sarah in Brooklyn's Avatar
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    Wow, sounds like good use of space! I am very lucky to have the second bedroom, though I share it with the cats, the lizard, my second bike and a ton of stuff that my son left here! I'm slowly clearing it out. My biggest wish is for a bigger surface for cutting. My only table is about 2 x 4 feet. But I'm doing ok so far!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Sarah in Brooklyn's Avatar
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    Ha, love that!

  16. #16
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I quilt in a small portion of my bedroom so you are doing good. the dining room is my cutting table, my walk in closet is my storage. At least you have a separate room. I feel I had more room in my other apt than this apt. for one the dining room table was alll mine, now it is shared with the computer

  17. #17
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah in Brooklyn View Post
    Wow, sounds like good use of space! I am very lucky to have the second bedroom, though I share it with the cats, the lizard, my second bike and a ton of stuff that my son left here! I'm slowly clearing it out. My biggest wish is for a bigger surface for cutting. My only table is about 2 x 4 feet. But I'm doing ok so far!
    Oddly, although I could use the large dining room table for cutting, I prefer one that just fits my 24" x 36" cutting mat plus a small ironing pad next to it. I figure that my arms will only go so far, and a larger surface wouldn't help me much. It would be nice to have it in the middle of a room so I could walk around it, but for that to happen, I'd have to get rid of a bed. We won't be doing that because we need the guest room regularly. Generally, I don't need any more room for cutting than the size of one block of a quilt.

  18. #18
    Super Member Pickles's Avatar
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    You could get you a couple of saw horses and put a sturdy board across it that you could but some two pieces of batting and some Cotton fabric over the batting and staple it all down underneath.then when not using it you could
    store the ironing board under something are up against the wall and fold up the sew horses to store.
    May you always have Love to Share , Health to Spare, and Friends that Care!

  19. #19
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    I bought one of the tables at JAs for basting my quilts. Side drop down so it's against the wall when not in use http://www.joann.com/sullivans-home-...?green=3031324 Bought it when it was on deep sale price. DH said it was a pain to put together but then refused to let me help. I refuse to pin baste on the floor...knees can't take it I use binder clamps to anchor the quilt and shift as I need to get it basted. Just another idea for you.
    If you don't work on it you'll never finish it.

  20. #20
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    I have one wall in a guest bedroom that I put shelving on floor to ceiling and all stash, supplies are stored there, plus other storage not sewing related. In my living room against one wall I found room for an old kitchen table,covered it to the floor with a cloth and have my sewing/embroidery machine and serger on opposite ends. I have some things hidden under it. My ironing board comes out when I need it and goes back into a closet when I am finished. I put my cutting mat on the kitchen counter top when I want to cut. My design wall is behind a door in my bedroom.

  21. #21
    Senior Member didi's Avatar
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    I bought the short white plastic table at Sam's, Wal-Mart probably has them, put in on bed raiser. Can use to cut, iron, etc. I store thing under and when not in use, put in up next to wall. Of course, you could fold in down. Hope this helps.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by elizajo View Post
    I put my kitchen table on bed risers for cutting and sandwiching, and also use it instead of a design wall. My cutting mats and oversize Shape Plus rulers stay under the guest bed. I have a plywood board covered in a remnant of washed wool flannel and twill for ironing. I can move it to a folding table or on the 36" counter.

    This quilter has a beautiful studio in her apartment in Chicago. http://tallgrassprairiestudio.blogsp...ets-party.html
    Wow!!! that is amazing. Need to get more organized myself. Thanks for sharing.

  23. #23
    Senior Member captlynhall's Avatar
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    I use the guest bedroom to set up my floor frames for quilting. They straddle the bed, and since we don't often have overnight guests, it can stay there for months while I quilt. I set up a card table against the wall for my sewing machine and an antique dresser I use to store my small stash and supplies. I have to admit, I do have fabric piled up on a night stand for the next quilt top I am getting ready to start, and my rulers and stencils are laying on another small table. Don't have a design wall yet, but have purchased those Command hangers and a Fons & Porter Design wall to put up, I'm still not sure where because I don't have any blank wall space. I did just purchase a set of four wooden trouser hangers and intend to hang those from the Command hangers to hold finished quilts for photographing. In my utility room I have a table I use for folding laundry and on it sits a small ironing board. My 24"x36" mat fits on it just fine for cutting and still leaves room for the little ironing board to stay in place. It seems to be the right height for me. Our hall is an odd shape, my friend calls it the rotunda, but it is of a good size, so now and then I will bring the card table from the guest room to sew on my machine there. As my quilting tools and supplies are increasing (imagine that!) and I am beginning to build a stash I can see that before long I will need to plan for better organization and storage. The flow is good between the utility room, the rotunda and the guest room so I'm not complaining.
    When a dying man asked his pastor "How long does it take to die?" his pastor's heartfelt reply was "A lifetime." Live life to the fullest, but stop now and then to enjoy the sunset.
    Lynda

  24. #24
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have a small room for sewing, I share with 4 cats. I cut large pieces of fabrics on the dining table, I quilt there and once in a while I press on it too. I sandwich quilts on it and sometimes use a folding table at the end for longer quilts, or I use plastic type saw horses with a board on it. I move the quilt until it is all pinned. I have a 48" x 72" cabinet loaded down with big yardage pieces of fabrics down to a yard or so. I have upper and base cabinets with a 80" countertop I iron on with a small ironing board and store rulers. The cat's food and water bowl is on it too. I get tired cleaning up the litter,cat food and spilled water to sew, I do if I need to use the counter. I have lived in this small place for 44 years and use to working here.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  25. #25
    Member mizsandy7's Avatar
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    Several years ago, I had a small closet that wasn't in use. I bought two 3 drawer metal cabinets from K Mart and put a board across the top. That made my sewing desk for my sewing machine. Then I put peg board up in front of the desk ( which was the back of the closet) ,and on the sides for hanging "stuff". I really can't remember what stuff I had, but it was handy to have the peg board. I didn't have a lot of fabric, but what I had I put on the shelf above the pegboard. For cutting I would use my kitchen table. I used the filing cabinets for storing thread, patterns ribbons, etc. Presently I still don't have a "sewing" room, just use my bedroom. And for my cutting table I have a hollow door that we had used for a room divider which is sitting on two saw horses. Guess I'm just cheap. Oh, I do now have a design wall. I like saying that, sounds so artsy. It's an old flannel backed table cloth that had it's day. Anyway, everything serves me well.

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