I can say it now we are moving!! We have purchased a unit and later this year will make the big move. To help me remember how I had my set up before I started packing I thought I would share it on here. Crafting can take up a lot of space with supplies and machines. I’m always curious as to how people have theirs set up
I had 4 main areas within my rental unit that I used plus my garage which I kept fabric and my first sewing machine which I called my travelling machine in.
This is where my sewing first started. Before I started sewing in the loungeroom on Mr Sttichnsew’s suggestion I had my machine set up in here in a cabinet, all my craft magazines/books and few craft supplies on bookshelves. If I was going to sew it would only be when I had enough time to set up and pack things away afterwards. I’m lucky enough I can leave sewing projects out without animals or kids touching them but when I was sewing in the study I was limited with space. I would have to pull my sewing cabinet out into the centre of the room and move things about a bit to use it. It was a nice little room to sew in but it was also very isolating. In the end the study turned a storage area for some of my sewing machines which I wasn’t using and I had a spare sewing cabinet which held my overlocker in it and the top it was used for a dumping ground for patterns. My roles of interfacings and pdf patterns rolled up were kept in there too as well as all my foam blocking mats. My bookshelves contained some craft supplies and my remaining craft magazines and books. By the end of 2019 I had sold 3 of my extra sewing machines and sold my spare sewing cabinet. Once I started clearing out my excess craft books and magazines I had space on my bookshelf to store my overlocker so I sold the cabinet.
This is where I kept all my dress making fabrics, sewing notions, yarn most of it anyway. I had a wardrobe which much to B’s amusement I called the “Craft Wardrobe” It contained a shelving unit full of fabric, containers of yarn, a bookshelf of sewing supplies and a heap of other crafting items hanging or squished at the sides. In the room I had boxes of fabrics, another shelving unit of fabrics and all my paper dressmaking patterns. I also had my clothes drying airer which often would have fabric drying on it. I would try and keep this room under control but it did get a little crazy at times… ok a lot crazy. Having my sewing patterns and dress making fabric within the same room meant sometimes I would just go and play around with my patterns and fabrics to get ideas on what to make. Sometimes that was all I needed to help me relax.
In the garage I keep a lot of my general crafting fabric. This is fabric I use in gift making and for making WIRES pouches although I did have a stash of that in my spare room too. My fabric boxes weren’t organised at all and I would have to go through several boxes to find fabric I want. It was fun “shopping” in my mini fabric store but my dream would be to organise it more so perhaps all colours were together or all prints are together. I need to go through as there are a lot of fabrics in there I know I won’t use such as Christmas themed fabric or fabrics which have like a metallic finish on them which aren’t suitable for WIRES pouches. Future me will get this organised and that way I can use it more. In recent times sometimes I have gotten lazy and just brought new fabrics instead of going through it all. As mentioned I would store my travel sewing machine here but I don’t travel with it any more so have kept it as my spare machine instead.
This isn’t one of my main storage areas but I managed to stash a lot of yarn in here. Most of it is under the bed where I also kept my yarn winders. In the bottom of the wardrobe I also had a stash of yarn. This was big lots of acrylic yarn for future projects or scraps from previous blankets.
This was my sewing area and preparation area. I permanently have my sewing machine and ironing board set up. My machine sits on sewing cabinet by the tv so I can watch it as I sew or I can listen to music. We have no dining table so in the space behind the lounge where most people would use a dining room I have my ironing board and craft table set up. My craft table is actually a cutting table which I think you can no longer buy. It is higher than most craft tables which is good for my back as I don’t have to bend so much. With my mobility issues the higher table helps immensely. The table was my mum’s and it was one of the few things I said I wanted when we were clearing out her stuff. Most times it is pushed against the wall but I do pull it out into the centre of the area when I am tracing out/cutting out large patterns as I can get around all sides of it. When I use my overlocker I used it on this table. My craft trolley used to live under my table but I now keep it near my sewing machine as I can reach over and grab things from it.
I have no idea what the set up will be in the new place but I know things will be different. I won’t have a garage to store fabrics in I know that for sure. The unit layout will be different and it will take me a bit to work out where to put everything but I will get there. As with most things I had just gotten the right set up and balance of things before the decision to move was made. I have limited time off before the move so late December I started packing away things I wasn’t going to use in the coming months. It has been an interesting task. I have had to really plan out what I’m going to knit/crochet during that time to leave enough yarn out for projects. I had to also think about the projects themselves, I didn’t want anything too complex as knitting/crocheting is my relaxation from everything else that is going on. It helps keep my sanity. I decided on a few easy projects and so far so good. With my sewing I have kept out a bag of essential tools and supplies and my projects are again relatively simple or things I need to get done by deadlines which may fall near our expected move timeline. We don’t have an actual move date yet but have a rough time frame. I’m even thinking of gifts for Christmas 2020 and as I pack my remaining craft fabrics I’m happy to even make a start on those knowing I can always place them in a box and know where they are as during my packing I’m numbering each box and writing contents in a notebook.
It might be many months before I do an “After” blog post but once I get settled in I will. Ideally I would like to have it as a similar set up but as for the most part it was working for me in this place but I will have to wait and see.
I never knew that you could get your sewing machine to automatically stop with the needle in the fabric when you took your foot of the pedal. Earlier this year I learnt this in a Deborah Louie class I attended.
When I got home I decided to see if I had this function on my MC11000. Looking at the manual I couldn’t find the information anywhere so I had a play around looking at my machine. On the main screen I noticed some images to the bottom of the screen.
Looking closer I noticed a image of a needle in the raised position. I pressed on the button and the image changed to the needle being lower. I stitched a few stitched and realised this was the automatic needle down button.
Now that I have discovered this function I use it all the time. It is perfect when you have to pivot fabric as you know the needle is going to be down in the spot you want and you don’t need to place the needle down with the hand wheel or needle down button. When doing free motion quilting you are able to stop and reposition your hands without the quilt moving. If you start stitching and have forgotten to set this function you can easily stop stitching and press the button, when you next stop stitching the needle will stop automatically down in the fabric.
This is another reason why I like going to classes or group, you pick up other really handy bits of information and tips that you can use in your every day sewing.
Confession I was having a lazy day yesterday…. I was sewing repetitive lines on an item yesterday. This is awful to say but I was bored holding my foot down on the pedal, yes maybe this meant I shouldn’t have actually been sewing but my gifts need to be done.
On my MC 11000 machine I have the option of foot pedal free sewing by operating the machine by pressing the Start/Stop button. I’ve only ever pressed this button when doing machine embroidery but never during regular sewing. I decided to give it a go. The first thing I discovered is that it won’t work with the foot pedal plugged in, if you press start your prompted to disconnect the pedal if its connected. When you start sewing the first stitch or two is a bit slower than it resumes your normal speed. With what I was making it didn’t matter where my stitch lines finished. If you had to be very precise you could press stop near where you wish your stitching to end then press the needle up and down button to get to the exact spot. If your sewing with a decorative stitch when you press stop the needle position doesn’t go back to the centre to start the stitch at the beginning it remains in place so when you press start again it continues with the pattern. If your halfway through a swirl or shape it continues on doing that part of the shape even if you have shifted the fabric. With what I was making this wasn’t really an issue. I didn’t try it but I wonder if you press the back stitch button it would anchor the stitch and the needle return to the centre position like it does when you press the button during a decorative stitch with the foot pedal connected.
In regular sewing I don’t see myself going pedal free very often however I think it would be really useful if you at ever couldn’t use your foot to operate the pedal. I’m lucky I operate my machine with both feet (it seems except if I’m tired) Or you could use it if having the foot pedal on the floor is dangerous due to small children or pets. Online I hear a lot stories of animals falling asleep on foot pedals and scaring the owners. It’s always good to know all the options available to you on your machine.
Yesterday I stitched my first buttonhole!!
Ok I know buttonholes are very basic and the machine does all the work, all you have to do is load the button into the size gauge on the buttonhole foot and press start on the sewing machine. In my 4 years of sewing I’ve never made anything that needed a buttonhole so I’ve never had to do one. I was working on a project that needed one so I had a practice first on a piece of scrap. I read my sewing machines manual and worked it out. Yep very basic. The only thing I had trouble with was sliding the gauge back to release the button from the foot. There must be some sort of trick to it or my foot is just tight as it had never been used before. It was good to learn a new skill and I was able to complete that step in the project I was working on.
Ironically last weekend I was looking at one part of my machine thinking what is that lever for? Turns out it is the buttonhole foot stop lever. Now I know 🙂
What does it do and why do you use it?
Until now I’d never used my knee lift. It was just an attachment that I took out of the box when I got the machine that I had no idea what to do with. Asking around I discovered its a lever you attached to your machine that allows you to raise and lower the presser foot with your knee. If you do a lot of quilting it becomes your best friend as it gives you an extra hand when your moving the quilt around on the sewing bed, you can keep both hands on the quilt yet adjust the presser foot at the same time. Over the last couple of days I gave it a trial use. Its fantastic. It takes a bit of getting used to and I’ll admit at times I was getting confused between the machine sewing foot pedal and the knee lift. I may have done a couple of odd extra stitches here and there. On one project I was doing a lot of quilting and it made it so much easier just having to move my leg to operate it. Now I know how useful the knee lift is I’ll be using it again.
I will warn you if you have any leg issues you may struggle to use it however you already know your body and know what you can and can’t do. I have leg issues and I finally managed to combine sewing with exercise as every time I used the knee lift I was working my leg muscles to control it. Another way that sewing is great for my health 🙂
I’ve decided that in 2015 I need to get tough with all my craft gadgets, machines, books etc… They are all take up valuable space when I’m limited for space so I’m going to adapt the use it or lose them principle. I’ve mentioned that I’m slowly using the features of my MC 11000 I’m gaining confidence with that and its getting used. Its my main sewing machine. At first it scared me but now I’m concurring it. This year I’m going to learn how to use it to its full potential.
I need to pull out my Scan N Cut machine and figure out how to use it. When I used it last year to cut fabric I couldn’t get it to work for me. In the end I packed it in the box and only took out to draw a stitchery design. I watched youtube and things at the time but I couldn’t get it to work just like they did. Its a great machine and I’m sure once I get the hang of it I’ll use if not I’m going to lose it and pass it on to someone else so they can get the hang of it.
Recently I just brought a couple of items including an electric bias binding maker and electronic strip cutter. I’m going to play around with these just as I did with my sewing machine cause I know once I get the hang of them they are going to be useful. I have a couple of gifts that I want to complete or at least start this year which are going to need a lot of bias binding and strips so I need to get these machines to work.
I have a slight habit buying craft books. I’m going to limit myself as to what I buy. No more buying books on a whim. If its not a super discounted price which I’m unlikely to see again then I’m not going to buy them. A book for of knowledge is never wasteful but at some point you do have to say no. I need to do a cull of what I have too as some I won’t ever use so they may as well be passed on to someone who can use them.
I generally don’t buy a lot of fabric as I have so much of it already but this year I’m going to refrain even more from getting it on a whim. Unless its for a specific purpose I’m not getting it. I’m not about to give away my fabric any time soon I just won’t add to it as much. The same applies to the rest of the stashes I have.
I’m hoping by the end of 2015 I can look back and say I was successful with following the Use It Or Lose It rule this year.
I got my fancy Janome Memory Craft sewing machine earlier this year. It is an embroidery machine as well as a general sewing machine. Up until now I have only used it as a sewing machine. The embroidery side scared me. I think I have mentioned in previous posts if I’m not familiar with something or unsure of it I get very nervous. Last month I had intentions of trying out the embroidery but life got in the way and I never got to it. Last night I watched the embroidery instructions videos that are on the machine and this morning I bit the bullet and gave it ago.
I was clueless as to what I was doing and in fact had to get the tablet pc out next to the machine to even see how to screw the embroidery arm on to the machine. I then had to work out how to even start the embroidery. Of course hit the start button on the machine! Once it started I realised I should’ve cut away the starting thread so I did that I little later than I should have. Oh well learning curve for next time. For a first attempt I’m happy with it. It isn’t as scary as it seems. I’m going to use this as part of a Christmas gift I decided upon last night. I was going to hand embroider it but I thought no I have this fancy machine I may as well use it to its potential.