Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Sewing space and machines

Hope everyone who got snow is dug out and has power. It’s been a long time since we had this much snow this early in Connecticut. And it was blowing and drifting! My nephew came with a snowblower and cleaned it up for today. Winter in New England is off to a good start!

Following along with the blog posting schedule from Cheryl at Muppin.com, yesterday was supposed to be showing your sewing space. Today is to show your machine(s). I am combining the two topics into one post so that I am back on schedule.

My sewing space at the moment is the living room of my home. When I was going to move from New Hampshire to Connecticut I spent a few weeks looking online and went to see several properties. I ended up buying an 1,100 square foot ranch with attached garage. I thought it would be plenty of space for me. And it would have worked better if I hadn’t bought a HandiQuilter Amara longarm on a 12 foot frame. It was my housewarming gift to myself. Trouble is, it would only fit in the living room.

I’ve recently added plastic storage drawers under the bed of the machine. They are great for holding rulers, threads, etc. for the longarm. I also labeled a couple units with the strip and square sizes that Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User System calls for. As I finish a project and have scraps I am immediately cutting them into the possible sizes and storing them in the correct drawer. Check out
 https://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/scrap-users-system.html for more information.

An unplanned use of the drawers are as amusements for my cats. I have a varying number of cats over time, but right now I’m up to 5; 3 are young, purebred Maine Coon cats, one of whom is still a kitten. They have discovered how much fun it is to go behind the machine and push the drawers out into the room.

I have two machines that I sew on regularly, a BabyLock Destiny II with embroidery (left), and a Bernina 770 that is in for cleaning right now. I am waiting to receive my new Bernina 880 that I traded in a non-functional Bernina 830 for. It was the first larger body machine and I bought it immediately. I really wanted that larger embroidery hoop. So I got a good 5-6 years on the machine before it started having tension problems. I had it fixed twice but it will no long hold a good tension setting. Turned out it was a flaw with the machine and Bernina came out with a nice trade in package this summer. I hope to have my new machine soon, and will be selling the 770. It is the same body size but without the embroidery module. I’ll post about it once I have the new one.

Next to the BabyLock is a work table where I can cut and press as I’m sewing. It gets piled with too many things from time to time but it’s usable right now. The top visible is the center of last year’s Quiltville mystery quilt. I haven’t added the borders yet because I’m still trying to decide if I want to make it bigger to fit a bed.

I also have a BabyLock Ovation serger. This is a top of the line model from several years ago. My intention was to make clothes with it. Turns out I use it to serge the edges of my fabric before I wash it and that's all, so far. I'm fussy about how I handle my fabric and I'll post about that another day. I do wash everything, and iron with starch, before using it.

My last BabyLock machine is a 10 needle embroidery machine. I do a lot of machine
embroidery so when I had the chance to get this monster I did. I love being able to make quilt blocks so fast. With the largest hoop and the 10 needles I can set up and run out multiple blocks much faster than with my single needle machine. I made embroidered presents for my great-nieces and great-nephews last Christmas. The 3 baby boys got these 3D baby blocks. The 2 toddler girls got purses. Now to think of what to make for this year.

Behind the embroidery machine is a Brother Scan 'n Cut, and an Accuquilt Go Big electric cutting machine and a collection of dies. I love the accuracy of both these cutting methods. Demos of both will be future posts.


The last part of my sewing space is the fabric storage. I have a stash that probably beats small shops. I still have Thimbleberries fabric from my quilt shop that closed in 2011. Above are photos of the central hallway of my home. There are three IKEA Billy bookcases with doors in this shot. The photo on the right shows what is inside one of them. I also have a huge closet with plastic storage buckets containing fabric and UFOs as well. I'll post more about stash soon. I've developed a system that works well for me.

Lastly, here is my ongoing project storage at the moment. It lives at the end of the longarm across from my work table. I have several block of the month quilts in progress and each has it's own box. I also do a Saturday Sampler program at a local quilt shop that is in a box. And the front several boxes you can see here contain prewashed fat quarters of multiple fat quarter bundles from current floral fabric lines. This way, if I need to make a quick table runner or an embroidered project, I have fabric ready to iron and go. 

Thank you for visiting me today. I hope you'll stop by again!




  1. Very inspiring - I still have my mug rug you made everyone when we sewed in Newfields NH - Sewing brings the best of our creativity - love your new set up!

  2. You have a nice space. We are in the market for a new home and all that have come available in our price range, none have a room large enough for my 12' table. My husband jokes he is going to build a house around it.

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