Monday, June 3, 2013

by design

wacky scraps

I have a week or two batchin' it at home and got bored, had some pastel (baby colors) flannel and figured I could whip up a little baby quilt or two to keep me busy. So I washed the flannel first to get off the extra fluff and for it to shrink… well after two washings and 3 trips through the dryer there was more fluff than ever, so much so that I would not let a baby anywhere near it for fear of breathing in all that stuff. So what to do with this stuff? I contacted Linda, a quilt guru I know and she said maybe to use it as batting, a great idea!

useless flannel

I still needed a project so when I was cleaning out my car of the fabric scraps granddaughter Madison had borrowed for school, I saw them all piled up together and pictured a wonky wacky bright quilt. I went through the rest of my fabric and pulled out all the little scraps of things used for the grandkids over the years like book covers and purses and wallets and a quilt for our niece.

The little squares started piling up and my table was getting smaller and I remembered that some quilters use a design wall. I would not call myself a quilter, just like to dabble, and am always amazed at the things these ingenious folks come up with to make their work easier.

I had not even heard of a design wall until I visited the home/quilt studio of the wonderfully talented lady I found to do my quilting, Peg Hasbrouck. It looked like a piece of plywood covered in white flannel… look at this picture:

not my sewing room

These are just individual quilt squares and pieces put onto the wall, and they stick! Also in this picture is a rectangular ironing board, another thing I had never heard of, but makes soooo much sense! The only reason traditional ironing boards are narrow at one end is to iron into sleeves and such, but who does that, right?

Anyway, to sum all of this up, I had this useless flannel and all the little squares to arrange… and {light bulb moment} I could make a design wall! My little sewing room does not have a wall big enough for a piece of plywood, so I would have to improvise.

my sewing room

Rewind…many many years ago after the nursery was empty I decided to make it into my sewing room. The room was a perfect little A-frame, the steep roof going all the way to the floor. I wanted to make use of that space all the way to the floor and needed some shelves, so I used my carpenter training and Just Did It. The lower shelves hold plastic totes of fabric and notions and yarn, the top shelf paperback books. Yes this is my entire sewing stash (after my mother-in-law passed away years ago we went through entire rooms - literally - of fabric, and I vowed never to do that, collect fabric). If I need something I go get it and I still have way more than I need right here. And yes that is vintage 70s orange hi-lo shag carpet, in case you were wondering...

Whew, I keep getting side tracked.  Anyway, in my little sewing room (I know I have bigger empty bedrooms where kids have moved out but I really like my little cubbyhole sewing room, it is so cozy… ). Where was I - oh yes, my little sewing room has no big walls to put a design wall on, so I looked around and found the fold-out cardboard cutting board - you know what I am talking about - and used push pins to hang it on the bookshelf. Seeing that it was going to hold, I got out a piece of the useless flannel and put it up with the same pushpins.  And voila! Instant/temporary/portable design wall! 

instant/temporary/portable design wall

What is a design wall anyway - a fancy name for a piece of flannel? But what an idea! In the quilting world it holds those squares of fabric, they just magically stick to the flannel, you can arrange them in different ways and stand back to get the big picture, much easier on the back (and knees) than putting them on the floor, it is really pretty ingenious. I wonder who came up with the first one? 

1 comment:

Paula, the quilter said...

VERY creative thinking!