Friday, May 22, 2015

How many shades of grey?

Last Friday, Paul and I went to see the new Avengers movie. It was at one of those new snooty theaters where you can buy a glass of wine and take it into the theater. Now, I don't drink. Even if I did, I would decline. Why? Because looking at Thor wielding his hammer is intoxicating enough.

The Snooty Bar

As quilters, we are ruined. Really, we are. If someone says wine, I think of a deep dark red color. Cheddar means a bright yellow which is almost orange, and Cracker is the light beige color that would work as a neutral instead of white. Therefore, when I saw this bottle at the snooty bar, I smiled and wondered - how many shades of grey are there in my stash?

A Dozen Shades of Grey

When Judy of Quilt Paradigm invited me to the "Share Your Creative Space" journey, I happily agreed.  Here is a peep into my creative space - the inside of my head, sometimes using pencil and paper, often an Excel spreadsheet and occasionally gum wrappers.

My Notebook

Plus Quilt Design Variation, Design Idea on a Gum Wrapper

Block Design for Paul's Quilt (Paulitiks)

Plus Quilt Variations

Doodling during a Boring Work Presentation

My Sewing Space
But that is not what Judy meant. Creative Space is a loose term here. It really means where I measure, cut, sew, rip, iron, trim and repeat all of the above. My sewing area is not a dedicated craft room. It is the dining area in the center of the house, which allows me to keep an eye on the front door (in case the mailman knocks), stir the crockpot in the kitchen, pet the cat with the foot, and move laundry loads. See what I did there - I made you think that I do chores - Ha ha ha ha.
It is plain and not fancy. However, it works and that is all that matters.

When I enter from the Living Room, the sewing machine and the ironing board are to the left, the design wall straight ahead. The bar and idea wall are to the right, but you cannot see them in this picture.

Used to be a Dining Space

When I look into my sewing area from the Family room, the sewing machine and ironing board are to the right. The idea wall is to the left.

Sewing Machine/Work Station
Here is my sewing machine on my Martelli work station which I acquired a year ago and have just now finished paying for. WHEW!!!

Martelli Work Station

First Pouch I Ever Made

It includes a large self-healing cutting mat. It also came with various rules and two ergonomic rotary cutters.

My machine is a Janome QDC 4120. I got it less than two years ago. It was very generously sponsored by my sister :-) And I have already made over 30 quilts on it.

My Janome

Ironing Board
Here is the ironing board. I think it is the most primitive ironing board. It is suitable for ironing shirts but when I have to set the seam and press them to the dark side on the border of a queen size quilt, it is so inadequate.

In the Corner

I am going to stop dwelling on what I don't like and move to what I like and what I love.

Design Wall
I bought the design wall fabric from Amazon a while ago. Then we went to Home Depot to get a styrofoam board to mount the design wall fabric on it. The design wall just rests along the wall. It is not fixed and I love that part. This allows me to pick up the whole thing and take it out, to see the fabric colors in natural daylight. I did that for Whispering Window and Curry Favor and Coming of Age.

Another WIP

Right now, I have these 9-patch blocks on it. Each block is 9.5" square, composed of nine 3.5" squares.  It is just perfect to use up remnants and scraps. Some of this fabric was left over from the Plus Quilt. I struggled with the color of sashing. White would mean very little contrast with the white dotted squares and black would really make the dark purple look dull. I think this light bluish-grey works. It is just another shade of grey :-)

I am going to call this one PlaySchool.

Blocks for PlaySchool

One morning I had pink and purple blocks on the design wall when Paul was leaving for work.

Drunkard's Path Blocks

Yes, it is a UFO (I admit)

But when he returned the blocks had changed to blue and green.

Serendipity Blocks

On My To-Do List for 2015-2016 :-)

Paul (incredulous): Did you finish making that pink quilt?
Me: No, I just wanted a change of scenery.
Paul: So, you are just playing with fabric?
Me: Yes. You can play too.
Paul: I can?
Me: Yes, play with the clean dishes in the dishwasher or the dirty ones in the sink.

At this time, he knows to leave me alone, but only after he has given me a well-deserved smack on my head.

Idea Wall
Now, when I had finished mounting the design wall on the styrofoam board, there was a rectangular piece of board left over. So, I covered it with batting and use it as a secondary design wall. I throw fabric slivers on there, use it to organize fabric, or just play with designs. I call it the Idea Wall. For this blogpost, I am showing some of the blocks from a WIP  which will become the Welcome Home Quilt.

Idea Wall

Chaos to Creativity

You can also see leftover fabrics from the 9-patch blocks. May be they can make their way to the quilt back - create some interest.

And yes, there is the label for Paul's quilt. He insisted that Paulitiks needs a label. Yes, I will stitch it one of these days.
Label for Paulitiks

Mug Rug Block?

Oh, one more thing. I kept losing my cheater needles. So I put them on a piece of black fabric sliver and pinned that piece on to the Idea Wall. Simple low-tech solution. And that is why I call it the Idea Wall.

No needles left behind

Now, the best part of my creative space.
The Bar!!!
It is 70" long and about 40" wide. What I cannot achieve on my design wall, becomes possible at the bar. The bar came to my rescue when I was working on Squirrel Kisses, keeping long diagonal rows organized. I use it to baste most of my quilts. I love the bar.

Piecing Squirrel Kisses

Long Diagonal Rows

Right now, I am working on a queen size quilt. It is a green rail fence. Here is a peek. I should finish it by June 1st. I just finished basting this beast on the bar :-)

New Quilt (yet to be named) in process

Backing (from Connecting Threads) and the Green Binding

I like to make the binding before I start the quilting. This way I don't have to change the foot between quilting and binding. I am going to quilt it over the long weekend! Weekend - Are we there yet?

This post started with a useless (to me) bar and ends with a very useful one. Here is the paradox  - the useless (to me) bar is probably very useful as a real bar and my bar that has not seen a single drink is the most precious part of my creative space.

If this post has given you any shred of inspiration or brightened your day in any way, please let me know. Because hearing from you brightens my day!!!

Jasmine of Quilt Kisses is next. I am tagging Jasmine because she is not only prolific (so many quilts, made so very quickly), she is also very precise. Her attention to detail is astounding.  You must see how she rescued the Floating Quilt from a nasty grease stain. Prolific, Passionate, Precise and Perfection-seeking, that is Jasmine. Are you still here? Click on the link already!!!


  1. Preeti, Thank you for sharing your creative space. I just spent a relaxing half hour as a guest in your Happy Place and enjoyed every minute of it. I'm so glad you are a part of our forum at M*.

  2. This post was so much fun to read! Quilters do think in color. When I see something interesting, my first thought is, "What Kona color is that?" Thanks for showing both of your creative spaces. I had as much fun seeing what goes on in your head (and on your paper scraps) as I did seeing your actual sewing space and all the colorful projects.

  3. What a fun way to get to know you better. I loved seeing where you think, design, create, and make. Your idea wall is such a good idea. ;)
    And thank you for the sweet introduction. sometimes I think I can be too precise, and it hinders creativity. I have a graph paper notebook, but don't use it enough as I don't know how I want it organized. You are an inspiration. I should just use it already.

  4. that was so much fun! LOL you are a good writer. We are house hunting and many of them don't have a good studio space so I might be taking over a living room. I like that the husband is playing with dishes...LeeAnna

  5. What a great post. You have a very nice work area. Love your design wall and the fact that you can move it is wonderful. Things do look different in the sunlight.

  6. I love that you have a design wall & an ideas wall - brilliant idea!

  7. Preeti,

    Nicely done post! So nice to show us where you spend your days creating, and dreaming up your quilts. Good thing your husband is a good sport, too! I'm with you on having the world's worst ironing board, but mine is even a mini you put on a table top! Excellent work on having both a design wall and idea wall. You seem to have defined what you've needed, and either done it or have plans to make it right.

    You have so much energy in your voice, and are a joy to read, friend! Thank you so very much for sharing your creative space with us.

    Julie @ Pink Doxies

  8. This is a very nice post. I enjoyed seeing both creative spaces. I love the houses quilt.

  9. I too enjoyed reading all about where you create! I smiled reading about the block metamorphosis from pink & purple to blue & green!

  10. Preetie, this was such a fun post!! :) So fun to have a glimpse into your creative worlds! :) Love your creative flare for writing too - reading your blog posts is always an adventure and this one was an awesome adventure :)

  11. I love getting a glimpse into other creative spaces! It's amazing to see the diversity, but it's also fun to get ideas to use in my space! :)

  12. I like your idea board. Having a creative space, even if it's not perfect is such a nice thing. Thanks for sharing yours.

  13. Preeti - You have such a delightful sense of humor! I can't count how many times you made laugh and smile throughout your post. The clincher came when you told Paul that he could play too. Heh heh eh. Most of all I loved how you started by telling us about the creative space inside your mind. Just so I don't miss any more of your creative beauty, I am following you with email and Bloglovin' now!

  14. What a terrific, terrific post, Preeti! I love how you came full circle in writing it (English teacher in me, stop it!). How I love the wit of "Paulitiks" so very clever! Love the convo between you two about playing with fabric (and dishes, ha). Aren't gridded flannel design walls just the BEST?! I have to get mine back onto some styrofoam boards though as it works much better than tacked into the studs of the basement, floating on the vapour barrier, although I can still stick pins in pretty much all over! That backing from CT is awesome to btw.

  15. What a great work area! I love the Idea Wall. Great idea! And I doodle at work, too. Some of those meetings are very long. . .

  16. This was a fun read...and I had to laugh at the playing with the dishes.

    I sew in my dining room or living room or front porch / ironing board in bedroom / supplies tucked here and there's whatever works! Enjoyed your post, space, and projects :)

  17. What a great post - informative, funny, inspiring - it made me feel like we got to know each other over a cup of coffee or tea! Lovely quilts, and a lovely sewing/quilting space...just a great read. Thank you.

  18. You are so funny! It is obvious that you do your chores. Your creative space is so neat! Tell me that you finish all your projects and I will know that you are awesome! BTW, I love the feather backing.