As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had some type of sewing space in my house. My DH is retired from the Air Force and for 29 years we moved about every 3-4 years. When my kids were small there was very little extra space to allow for a dedicated area to sew. I often would set up my sewing machine at the kitchen table, make a huge mess with fabric scraps and pattern pieces scattered all over the place, and then try to push everything aside to allow enough room to eat at the kitchen table. After dinner, everything would be returned to the previous chaos until that sewing project was completed. At that point everything would be cleaned up, machine and ironing board put away until the next sewing project.
Eventually we moved to a house that had a downstairs family room which allowed me to take over a corner of the family room. This allowed me a little more freedom as I was able to leave the sewing machine set up between projects which also meant that I got more sewing done because it wasn’t as hard to haul everything out to start a new project. I became so used to having my own space that I continued to commandeer a corner in the basement of the next house. With the next move we ended up in a house with no basement and no room in the family room for me to have my own little corner. By this time my three kiddos each had their own room so I convinced the girls that it would be a great idea if they would share a room and I took over one of the bedrooms for my ever growing sewing supplies. I can’t begin to tell you how many fights I had to referee over them sharing a room, I think there were a few months of actual masking tape down the middle of the room so that neither of them stepped in the other’s space (but that’s another story in itself)!
When the girls were in high school we lived in yet another house that had no extra room for me so I ended up taking over the dining room for my space. This actually was not the best solution because it was in the main living area and one of the first things people saw when they came to the house. Because of that, I had to clean up quite a bit when I finished sewing for the day to keep everything looking presentable. Several moves later I now have a dedicated sewing studio of my own! It’s the bonus room over the garage. I can start a project, leave everything as messy as I want, start another project, etc. etc, and I am the only one who has to deal with the mess.
We’ve lived in our current house for 11 years now. Ack! That’s like a lifetime for someone who was used to moving every three or four years, so occasionally I get a little itchy to move things around.
Recently I realized that the design wall I had been using for a few years just wasn’t hacking it anymore. I had a sheet of styrofoam insulation from the local hardware store which I covered with flannel. It leaned against the wall and was stored behind a large chair which manages to stay covered with piles of fabric. Whenever I needed to use it I hauled it out from behind the chair and propped it against the storage cabinets at the end of the room.
Eventually I began to want a larger design wall, something a little more permanent so that I wouldn’t have to move things around whenever I needed to use it. I decided that the only way to accomplish this was to move all the shelves and storage cabinets to another wall so that it would “free up” the wall I needed.
Since my original design wall wasn’t quite large enough I added another covered sheet of foam insulation next to the original one. It wasn’t until they were covered and nailed to the wall that I realized that the color of the insulation makes a difference. The original one was pink and the recently purchased one was blue. You can see a little difference in the color now that they are side by side but I’ve gotten used to it. When I use this wall to take photos of quilts I crop out the background anyway so it really doesn’t matter.
If you have been yearning for your own design wall, here are a few pointers…
Depending on how large a wall you want, you will need one or two styrofoam insulation sheets from your local hardware store. Measure your wall to determine the finished size of your design wall area. Since I rearranged my room to accommodate a large wall I used two styrofoam sheets.
To cover the styrofoam I purchased some heavy duty flannel. It wasn’t large enough to cover the styrofoam so I sewed two widths of the flannel together and made sure to allow enough fabric (about 6 inches) to be able to fold over to the back side of the styrofoam board. After sewing your flannel together be sure to press the seams open.
You may need a helper at this point. Lay your flannel out on the floor or use a large table with the wrong side of the flannel facing up. Then lay your styrofoam sheet over the flannel. Make sure the fabric is flat and begin turning the fabric to the back of the styrofoam board. Staple a couple of staples on one side and then pull the fabric slightly from the opposite side and staple. Continue alternating sides, stapling as you go until you have secured each side. Next, staple the top and bottom the same way.
Since the styrofoam isn’t strong enough to hold the staples in place for an extended period of time, use some type of wide tape (I used duct tape but packing tape will also work) to tape over the edge of the fabric and staples. Tape all four sides.
I used two pieces of styrofoam and wanted to keep them aligned so I added additional tape to make a “hinge” between the two boards.
Now you simply need to attach the finished design wall to your wall. I rested the bottom of the design wall onto the baseboard and used small nails and nailed through the styrofoam right into the wall.
If you are limited on wall space, you could always make a design wall like this, hinge it together with tape and store it somewhere, maybe under a bed, until you actually need it.
Once you begin to use it, though you will love it enough that you will want it out all the time!
If you joined in on the Blog Tour from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Magazine I hope you had a great time visiting all the websites. Through a random drawing, I chose six winners from my blog visitors…
Kathy S – Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Magazine sent from Quiltmaker
Michele – Qultmaker’s 100 Blocks Magazine from me
Joan H – Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Magazine from me
Carol Williams – Here Comes the Sun pattern
Laura McFall – Jiggity-jig pattern
Linda Christianson – My Favorite Earrings Pattern (Giraffe)
If you are one of these lucky winners, you should have received an email from me asking for your mailing address.
If you subscribed to my newsletter, you are also a winner because the free pdf of “Santa’s Flight” was included in the newsletter which went out today.
Thanks so much for participating in the Blog Tour, now you just need to get busy making some of the wonderful blocks included in the magazine!
I hope you have been having a great time on the 100 Blocks Magazine Blog Tour! I’m glad that you found me here in my corner of the world. I have a little post-it note stuck to my computer screen that says, “I live in my own little world but it’s okay, they know me here!” So welcome, sit back and relax and enjoy a few minutes with me.
I am excited to have a block in this wonderful magazine once again and hope that you will find it is just what you need to make up something quick for the holidays. My block is called “Shine a Little Light” and it actually has a little bit of special meaning to me as we place candles, just like this, in all of our windows for the month of December.
This block would be lovely if you combined three of the blocks together to make a table runner or even use it to make a mantle cover over your fireplace.
Since I like to do things a little differently, I’m also showing how you can make a simple wallhanging of a window and add the candles to the windowsill. For a little special touch, I added the moon and a silhouette of Santa and his reindeer flying off into the night.
If you would like to make a similar wallhanging, I’m offering a free download of the Santa and reindeer silhouette called “Santa’s Flight” as a free pdf that you can print out on your own computer. In order to get the free download, you just need to sign up for my newsletter. Don’t worry, I only send one out when I have a new design coming out or if I have some quilt related news to share, so your inbox won’t be overrun with emails from me. I’ll be sending out a newsletter next week with a link for the free download.
Sign up for the newsletter here.
I also have a couple of giveaways for you here. You can win one of three of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Magazines, I’ll be sending out two magazines and Quiltmaker will mail out the third. I’ll also be giving away three of my patterns. To win one of these six prizes, simply go to my website, decide which pattern you would like to win, and then come back here and tell me which one you would like, by leaving a comment below. Six lucky winners will be selected Monday morning and I will contact the winners to get a mailing address.
If you haven’t already “liked” me on Facebook, please do so, as that is the quickest way to see what’s new in my world. Click here to be added to my Facebook fans.
Good luck and thanks for stopping by!
Many of my patterns have an additional little design element that’s called a “flange”. This is actually just an additional strip of fabric in a contrasting color to add a little zing to the design. However, it not only adds that little pop of color but also has a very useful purpose! It allows you to lift up the flange on your finished project to begin free-motion quilting in an area so that no one call tell where you began. After you have done all of your wonderful quilting, you can then end your quilting by lifting up the flange again and secure your stitches underneath. Again, no one will be able to tell where you ended your quilting! AMAZING, I know!
I decided to add a little tutorial on my blog so that you, too, would have the knowledge to add a flange to your projects and give them a little extra personality. The design I’m using is called “Stitch” and can be purchased on my webpage.
The first thing you need to do is complete the stitching on your particular appliqué block.
For this block I decided to stretch it over an artist’s canvas. I purchased a 12″ blank canvas from my local art supply/craft store.
Since I started with a 12 ½” finished block, I needed to determine how much to trim off the block in order to add the flange and have the block wrap around to the back of the canvas. I wanted my flange to be 1″ inside the edge of the canvas so I trimmed my block to 10 ½”.
Next, I cut one strip of fabric 1″ x wof (width of fabric).
I then placed this on my ironing board in a little pile and added spray starch to it.
Next, iron this little strip of fabric, wrong sides together, to create a long strip of fabric that is ½” wide.
Now, cut four of these flange strips 10 ½” in length.
Line the raw edge of the first strip up with the raw edge of the top of the block and sew it on with a ¼” seam allowance. Then continue to sew the flange strips onto your block. I usually sew the top and bottom on first and then the two sides.
When the flange has been added, you need to determine how wide to cut the border strips to add to your block so that it will wrap to the back of the canvas. Center your block on the front of the canvas and measure from the edge of the block to the back side of the canvas and add ¼”. My measurement was 3″ so I cut two strips of background fabric 3″ x wof (width of fabric).
I then cut two strips 10 ½” in length because that is the size of my block, and I sewed one border to each side of the block, again using a ¼” seam allowance, encasing the flange between the block and the border fabric.
Remember to press your borders away from your block each time you sew one on. The folded edge of your flange strip will be towards the center of your block.
Now that your side borders have been added you need to cut two lengths from your border fabric to measure 3″ x 15″ and add these two borders to the top and bottom of your block. When all the borders have been added, it’s time to layer your block with backing and batting and do some fun quilting. If you aren’t sure about free-motion quilting, you can always do some straight line quilting or cross-hatch quilting.
After quilting is finished, trim your block to 15″ square and staple it to your canvas.
Center your block on your canvas and pull the fabric to the back a little at a time and staple with a heavy duty stapler. Start in the center of each side so that you can determine that the block is centered and square and pull the fabric tight. The corners can be a little tricky, so fold the corner up at a diagonal and then fold the sides over it. Then continue to add staples around the block every couple of inches.
What a quick and easy way to give a block more personality. You can also add a flange to an area on your quilt that needs a little extra pop of color!
It’s time for another exciting Blog Tour from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Magazine and today is the first day of the tour! My block is called “Shine a Little Light” and it’s perfect to stitch up quickly for the holidays. It even made the front cover, it’s the three candles all the way to the right in the third row!
Sit back with a nice cup of coffee or tea and join me and many other designers as we guide you along. The tour is November 11-15 with different designers featured each day. Simply click here to begin the tour! The list of designers changes each day and when you visit the designers’ websites you will have a chance to win some great prizes.
My tour date is November 15th so come back by on Friday for a chance to win your own copy of this wonderful magazine and a chance to win some of my patterns as well. See you then!
Thanks for your comments regarding the Falling Acorns quilt. The winners of the two magazines, Quiltmaker’s Quilts From 100 Blocks are Anya King and Elizabeth McDonald. Congratulations ladies, please send me your mailing address to email@example.com and I will send these magazines out to you on Monday.
I’m heading out of town for a few days to attend my high school reunion, 40 years, yikes! It has been at least 20 years since I’ve seen any of my fellow classmates. I just hope there is a yearbook available as a reference of how we all looked those many years ago because I’m afraid I won’t be able to recognize anyone!
Wish me luck!
The days are getting a little shorter and occasionally you can feel a touch of fall. What better time to tackle a new project! Last year I submitted a block to Quiltmaker Magazine’s Fall issue of “100 Blocks”. When I created the block, I also quickly made up a wallhanging using that block, and a variation of it, for the center of the quilt and the corner blocks. I was hoping that they would include it in the magazine. But, when I sent them photos of the quilt, they decided to hold onto it in order to include it in their magazine ”Quilts From 100 Blocks”. I’m happy to report that this issue just hit the news stands and I am so excited to be included!
I’m giving away two copies of the magazine by random drawing on Tuesday, September 10. Simply comment below telling me what you love most about Fall. You can increase your chance to win by also “Liking” my Facebook page, Hissyfitz Designs, and come back here to tell me that you have “liked” my page. If you are already a fan of my page just tell me that too.
Best of luck to you and I hope you are working on a project that you love.