Thursday, August 18, 2011


Holy moly. Look what they did on the studio today!

The second level is beginning to appear. There is a loft that will extend over more than half of the studio and is it ever cool! Ray and I climbed the ladder and walked around up there today. I have been thinking of the loft pretty much as storage space until I got up there today. It is such a wonderful space, with a big window there in the front. I want to drag a sleeping bag out there and sleep there tonight! (I won't)

There is a branch from one of the trees that pokes right into that upstairs window. It will be trimmed, but I loved how the tree was reaching into the space.

So I am thinking a lot about how to arrange things in the space and what I will need that is different from what I have. For several years I have stored my fabric in wash pans from the dollar store. This has really worked nicely for me, but I have not been happy with the wasted space on the shelving I have been using. I looked at different storage systems and asked for ideas on the QuiltArt list and I think I like the IKEA Trofast system. It is pretty versatile, using plastic tubs that slide, like drawers, into a framework. Here is the frame I like:

The tubs come in three sizes and various colors. Emily went to IKEA last weekend and I had her get me three of the medium size tubs in white.

Here are the contents of two of my old dishpans.

Nearly all fit in one of the IKEA tubs.

I put my fabric in standing upright, so the edges of all the pieces are visible, pretty much. I like this system. I can pull a tub out and take it to my work table and find what I need. When I am done I can poke the fabric back into the tub without disrupting the rest. It is a system of controlled chaos. I cannot deal with neat, tidy stacks of folded fabrics on shelves, because they are neat and tidy for only as long as I don't need one. Now I need to deal with thread. I have yet to find a great system for spools of thread. I have lots of them and they are all different sizes.

I am really beginning to "see" how this might come together. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!


  1. Wow! The studio is really taking shape. Perhaps you and the Grands can have a play house in the loft? I love the idea of sleeping up there.

  2. Wow, it looks REAL now! How exciting! And the fabric storage from Ikea looks good too.

  3. Exciting to watch the progress on your building; thanks for posting!
    Martha Ginn

  4. Anonymous9:34 AM

    Looking great.

    I might be inclined to set up a quilting station in the loft if I had the budget for two machines and two machine tables. So cut and piece downstairs near the stash storage and quilt upstairs. I'd also store my batting and quilting thread up there too then.

    I store my thread on June Tailor thread racks that I screwed into the wall next to the window. This way they don't get much light but they are out where I can see what I have at a glance.

  5. I'm so excited for you! For the loft, I would get a really comfy chair, small table and good lamp. Perfect place to do handwork or think about projects while you look out the window or over your studio.

  6. I'm jumping up and down clapping my hands for you too!

  7. Thanks for doing that query about fabric storage on the QuiltArt list--I think I'll just follow your decision on this and do the same!

  8. Holy moly indeed. Thats not a studio. Its a house!! As someone thinking about fabric storeage myself I second the impossbilty of neat stacks on shelves. How does that work when the pieces are all different shapes? I too practice controlled chaos After five years of fabric collection i have now pretty much mastered the chaos and am now turning my attention to the control. I have many Really Useful Boxes with secure clip on lids but also have decided to make a cutting table out of back high gloss kitchen units with drawers i can shove fabric in by colour. Dont tell dennis about the dollar washpans working just as well will you?!

  9. Oh boy is right. I love to see construction progress pictures. You lucky girl.

  10. I see that everything is moving right along. Looks like a fantastic addition.

  11. I'm having so much fun watching the studio grow! We sign the papers at the closing Friday on our new studio so I've been paying close atention to the progress and storage ideas. Your unit from Ikea caught my eye because I can easily adapt it to my existing storage bins by just making my own rack with 1x2s.

    I have been using over-the-door spice racks like this one for thread but just bought 2 paperback book racks from Borders for thread and paint storage in the new space. I'm an out of sight, out of mind sort of worker so I have to be able to see what I have. I'm also a thread slut so being able to see the amount of thread I have sometimes makes me think twice about buying another spool. Or not.

  12. Very wonderful to see a studio space going up like this one. Congratulations.

    And I agree with Vicky Davis - a good chair by the natural light of that window would be a haven for your early morning hand stitch meditation.

  13. Great post, I enjoyed ready reading it, Keep posting good stuff like this.

  14. I store my thread is an 8-drawer plastic chest I got at the Container Store. It's at
    Now they only seem to have the 12-drawer version. In any case, I have drawers labelled by color. Everything but the few large thread cones I own fit into these drawers. I can pull out the blue drawer and take it to my sewing machine if I need to decide which thread to use. I'm happy with the system.

  15. How exciting that you are getting such a beautiful studio. I love the Ikea storage system. Organization of craft supplies of any sort is always a challenge, especially when you have as many little pieces as you obviously do.

    Please give me your thoughts on my post today about my basement reno project. I'm venturing into virgin territory!

  16. I have a tall thin filing cabinet that I store my thread in.
    In a previous life I used it to store audio cassette tapes on their sides - gives you an idea of the depth.

    I have my thread spools organised by colour - cos that's how I need them. Only spool that won't fit is my ginormous thin polyester - all the other cones fit in nicely.