Sewing is My Therapy
Over the past few months, I have been working on a couple of new blog posts, but I just can’t seem to get them finished. I can’t say if this is attributed to the distraction of the tumultuous events of the past year or my newest hobby which has grown exponentially. If you read “The Retirement Adventure” some time ago, you are aware my sewing history and how I came to unexpectedly embark on a quilting adventure. (If you need a refresher or haven’t read it, you can find it HERE.) Suffice it to say, sewing of any kind is almost the only thing I do when I am not thinking about anything else. Hence – my therapy.
In just two years, I’ve gone from these small, fun projects…
To creating one of my favorite wall hangings…
And now I’m working on a series of these crazy Psychedelic Blocks in a BOM (Block of the Month) program designed by Australian Jen Kingwell. I’ve discovered that Australians seem to be even more into quilting than we are. I’ve never traveled Down Under, but if I did, I would want to visit all the amazing quilt shops there.
Lately, what has made this quilting journey even more exciting is the remodel of my studio, a Christmas gift from my husband. When he announced this gift in November, I’m sure he had it in his head that it would be a fairly straightforward and swift endeavor. But these things never are, are they? He has worked on some aspect of the project pretty much daily for the past six weeks. However, the effort was more than worth his time. He’s such a perfectionist and it’s just gorgeous. I’m like a kid at Christmas – I have trouble going to sleep at night and can’t wait to get up and sew again. He transformed my space from this…
What you see here is an 11-foot wall-to-wall sewing table constructed from repurposed solid oak church pews. Hubby bought several 10-12 foot pews for $25 each knowing he could eventually reuse all the wood. He disassembled, stripped, and planed them resulting in quite a stash of lumber. Tons of work but definitely worth it. The table has a custom insert with a manual lift which allows my sewing machine to sit at three different heights — on top to facilitate cleaning or the addition of the embroidery attachment (on my list to learn for 2021), set-in for smooth sewing, and tucked away down below when I want to avail myself of the entire workspace for cutting out large projects. It also has sliding shelves at each end which I have equipped with baskets that hold all my tools and supplies. I can use them just like drawers or remove the basket entirely.
For years, my studio space has had an animal print theme. Even though I had to give up my beloved (and extremely comfortable) leopard print futon, I was able to carry on with the theme by creating “wild” basket liners to replace their original drab ones. Plus, I quilted up one of those crazy Psychedelic Blocks with some of the same fabric. I also had to shorten the curtains which I was about ready to ditch but hubby insisted I keep.
To replace the folding table I was using for my pressing board, hubby built a rolling cart which also serves to store my various boards and cutting mats.
I was able to hang some more of my quilts… this latest one is called “Clamshell” — not doing a bad job of competing with the Hermes scarf and contributing to an inviting corner for relaxing and having a cuppa while contemplating my next project.
And these words now hang above the walk-in closet where I store all my fabric and other sewing supplies.
Since my parents watched me catch the sewing bug and develop my skills (and addiction) from the age of 12, they apparently felt this was a good moniker and had it printed on a sign as a Christmas present one year when I was in my 30’s. Somehow, that sign didn’t make it to this stage of my life. I have missed it and the reminder of how they supported me even though originally they didn’t believe I would actually accomplish much when they bought that first sewing machine. Speaking of which, when I went off to college, my mom (who did not sew at all!) wouldn’t let me take that machine with me. She liked the small wooden cabinet it came in and didn’t want to give it up. So I bought the only thing I could afford… a Sears Kenmore for $99 and proceeded to sew on it for the next 30+ years.
In 2006, we replaced that machine with a Brother Innovis NX-400 which seemed like quite an extravagant investment at the time compared to my previous purchase. It is housed in that wooden cabinet which has a convenient motorized lift (on the left in studio photo above). This is an item we found via Craigslist along with that comfy black recliner and the recently departed futon. Sadly, it was sitting outside on someone’s back porch. We painstakingly refinished it. I was not about to give it up… never know when you might want to have two projects going at the same time! With the new arrangement of my studio, I am happy to now be able to use it in addition to my main squeeze, the Brother Quattro 2 Innovis 6700D… also purchased through Craigslist for a deep discount. When my husband saw how serious I was about quilting, he went in search of a more appropriate machine. We had to make an 8-hour roundtrip to get it, but it literally paid off. The one piece of furniture you can barely see is a full-size antique roll top desk — yet another CL treasure. Thrilled to be repurposing so many things!
Oh! Even one more repurposed thing… a beautiful wooden Williams Sonoma gift box turned project box to hold all those bits and pieces — felt-lined with felt feet added because heaven forbid I should scratch that brand-new table!
So, that’s it for this post. Off for a therapy – I mean, sewing session!
Beautiful work and a beautiful room. I’d say you have both been very productive!
Thank you! Very lucky as well.
How exciting for you. You now have a beautiful room in which to create lovely projects. Norman is so talented, and so are you!! Hope you both have a fun time going forward.
Love – Cathy
We are very fortunate to be able to enjoy life this way in these times.