Sewing Studio Up-Do

(originally posted August 23, 2011)
It’s not really a redo, that was done last year, but this month, it got a definite up-do, or upgrade, anyway, with two great projects!

Today: Project #1, Making a Recessed Sewing Table (a Project ANYONE could do!)

I started with this, my Ikea bookcase and table that I’ve used for sewing for almost two years.

A shot of my studio in June 2010

But when I needed to do any quilting, especially free-motion quilting, I would pull out a little drop center table from JoAnn’s to put my machine in.  However, the Janome was too large to fit into the table from JoAnn’s.  And quilting with the machine too high was just too hard on my neck and shoulders to quilt for very long.  So… I traced the footprint of my Janome onto the table top, and my sweetie got a jigsaw and drill out,

and cut a big hole in the table.  We figured the worse that could happen is that we would ruin a $55 Ikea table, and have to replace it.  The core of the table was a paper cardboard honeycomb core, with two 1x3s running lengthwise for added support…

Sweetie added some more 1×3 strips to enclose the exposed core, added wood filler, sanded, primed, painted and eventually we added this shelf, attached with 4″ L-brackets to the table.  Here it is without the machine sitting in it:

and voila– A recessed sewing table, custom fit for my Janome Horizon! As you can see, there is extra space to the right of machine, that I allowed for access to the power cord, feed dog switch and power switch.  Remember to take that into consideration when determining the footprint of your own machine:

I removed the feet from the plexiglas table that came with my machine and made sure the machine would sit just high enough above the surface of the Ikea table to accommodate it–a perfect fit! If your machine doesn’t have a plexiglas insert, you can have one custom cut at a local hardware store, or glass shop.  Just make sure they have a very accuratetracing of the bed of your machine.

We finished this project on Saturday afternoon, and I spent much of Sunday sewing, it was such a pleasure to have the machine at the correct height for a change!  I think I could sew an entire day without feeling any strain in my shoulders.  A very nice UPGRADE, indeed.

Of course, once we finished I needed to clean the shelves and rearrange everything (sawdust everywhere!) but they needed cleaning and reorganizing anyway.

DIY Tutorials for the other parts of my sewing studio:

Project #2; a sassy new cutting table with storage!

DIY Design Wall anyone can make!

Big Board Ironing Board Tutorial

Fabric Storage (Stash Management)

Show your stripes

Wow, ya’ll get excited over new hardware…don’t ya? The new Horizon quilts like a dream! Seriously, once I got that baby set to go, not a tension issue or snag through two full bobbins of free-motion quilting!

Making progress on the Chrysanthemum quilt (above)…

On other fronts, it seems like I’ve been sewing a lot of stripes, or strips lately…this month’s Bee Blocks are no exception! This is the first thing I made on my new machine…a strip block for Amy for our first month of Fresh Modern Bee 2:
Love the greens (!!!) and those little flies were fun to get in there…as long you aren’t squeamish about bugs.
And this one is my final block for Sew Connected 2, for Kristen:

She sent us pieces of her husband’s old shirts and asked for free-pieced, Gee’s Bend style blocks. I’m sort of getting hooked on free-piecing with all of these fun Bee Blocks I’ve made…

Packing for the retreat this weekend, and getting ready to send off my packages for One Block Over…

What I did last weekend, Part II

Saturday morning, I went to look at the newest Janome, the Horizon 7700. I’ve been curious about this machine since I first read about it in April. It was released on May 1, but June 5th was my first opportunity to make it to the dealer’s store to play with it.
Saturday afternoon, I brought home a new toy. Yep. That’s right. After saying I wouldn’t buy a new model for six months or so, until I “found out if other people had troubles with it, or there were bugs to be worked out”, I brought one home 35 days after it hit the market. Loads of self-control, I have. Loads. But, I’m happy to say, after a week, I have no buyer’s remorse. This is a GEM!

It has all sorts of markings on the throat plate, which is self-adjusting for various modes, so no need to buy extra throat plates to change out. A fabric guide (LOVE!), which is that extra plexi piece in this photo:
It’s removeable, but it will be great for parallel lines, hems, etc. It also has a free-arm, that the earlier Memory Craft’s did not have, important feature for those of us who sew more than just quilts! It came with the plexi-glas extension table seen in the top photo… and it has “under-the-counter” lighting!!!! See:How smart is that?! I can actually sew at night without turning on my Ott-Lite! It also has a great lock-stitch, a built-in thread cutter, and a start/stop button that lets me sew without using my feet! The number of stitches blows my mind…I’m not a big bells-and-whistles kind of girl, usually, but this machine has me seriously excited!
Do you see stitch number #242 up there? Seriously cute. There is foot storage in the top, which unlike machines I’ve seen like this before, does not interfere with bobbin thrading one little bit.
It comes with three different variations of feet for free-motion quilting…
The first thing I noticed about this machine when I walked into the dealer’s shop on Saturday is that it is BIG. I mean, HUGE:
Here it is next to my Elna 6003, an average sized electronic machine, c. 2004. I’m going to be free-motion quilting a quilt this weekend, I can’t wait to push it through that generous sized throat! (a FULL 11.25 inches!)Other than playing with my new toy, I’m getting ready for a little trip… Next week, I’m hitting the road with my friend Toni…heading to St. Cloud, MN, to meet up with 10 Blog Quilters for three glorious days of sewing and talking quilts!

Victoria, a MN native, but present-day New Yorker, organized this retreat for us (THANKS, V!)

Shelly S, Shelly P , Andrea , Mary , Amanda, Toni, Terri , Rene , Heather, will be joining Victoria and myself. Toni is the only one of this group that I have met IRL (in real-life). If you are heading to the MN Quilt Show next weekend, let me know! I’d love to meet up… It will be a great quilt blogger’s weekend!