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33. My Quilting Studio: Past, Present, and Future

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Hi there. I’m Nicole Gilbert and you’ve joined the stop scrolling start sewing podcast. Are you new to sewing and want to start quilting, but have no idea where to begin each Wednesday. Join me as I share the ins and outs of that quote life. If you don’t have a sewing machine, have no idea how much fabric you need, or you’re just trying to figure out where the heck to stick that bobbin. This is the podcast for you. Hey, there. Welcome to episode 33

Of the stop scrolling start sewing podcast. I’m your host, Nicole Gilbert. And I am so excited that you have chosen to join me. So today’s episode is all about your quilting area. So I’m going to break down exactly what my current quilting studio looks like, what my quilting studio looked like when I started down this fun little journey of quilting, and also we’re going to go into what my ideal dream quilting studio would include. And don’t worry. I will be listing a bunch of stuff where if you want to know exactly what the name of that is or what it looks like, you can head over to the show notes, for all of the details from today’s episode. So don’t you worry, I’ve got you covered. But first, before we dive on in, I wanted to let you know a little something.

So over the past few episodes of the podcast, I have talked about a lot of different Christmas ideas, both things for you guys to make yourselves like planning your maker’s holiday. And also some fun things that you could ask Santa to leave under the tree for yourself. And I received a few emails, which I was like, Oh, I got to do something for these people. Cause this is good. Um, I received a few emails from my listeners who are new to the sewing thing, want to start quilting or like very early in their quilting journey. So like, maybe they’re just like piecing, but now they’re like, Oh, this might be a whole nother beast. If I try to quilt it myself. Um, and they had some questions about machines, mostly like gifts. So I had three separate, um, people email me saying some version of, Hey, my husband really wants to gift me something quilting related for Christmas, and I’m still not ready to dive into getting a bigger machine, but I was wondering what are some things I can do to my current machine that would make it ready for quilting and are any of things like buyable items?

And I was like, Oh, this is so good. So I created a guide, um, with some things that you could do to your current machine. Um, I would definitely think of this along the lines of those of you who are using some of the more entry level brothers singers Janome is, you know, you’ve got machines, they’re doing the job for right now. You know that eventually down the line, you do want to upgrade your machine, but you’re just not quite there yet. So I put together a guide of a few things that you can do to your machine. Some of it are maintenance, some of it is settings. And also some of it is attachments that you can use to make your quote life easier. So if you are like some of those listeners that I was mentioning earlier, and you’re looking for something that is not hugely expensive, but, um, could be a great gift.

You should head on over to, and you will be able to download that guide. So again, that is the modern quilter machine. Okay. All right. So let us get started on the quilting studio. I have to say, um, I’m obsessed with my current quilting studio. Um, I loved my original, I’m using air quotes here, quilting studio, and I dream about my quilting studio in the future. So I am very excited about this episode to kind of break all of this down for you guys. So let us start with the quilting studio I had when I first started sewing and quilting. Um, spoiler alert. I did not have one. So what I had was a brother sewing machine. Um, it was one from a big box store. It was one of the nicer ones you could buy at a big box store, but it still was a brother sewing machine from a box store.

And, um, I had the little rolling trolley that those you always see kind of set up in those box stores near the sewing machines. I had one of those and that’s where I kept my sewing machine when it wasn’t in use, it was inside this little trolley. Um, and I had my 24 by 36 inch cutting mat slid between the box Springs and my mattress to keep it nice and flat. Um, I had my kitchen table for most of the time. And then very early on, I did get a, um, Mel per table from Ikea. Um, and I still have that table. I love it. I fold the laundry on it now, but it was a great table. And that is what I eventually kind of moved to. Um, but original

Actually I was using the dining room table to do

Rethink and I had, um, a little scrapbooking caddy. And that is where I kept my thread, my bobbins, my rotary cutters, my thread snips, um, seam rippers. And honestly, now that I think about it, I actually did use the little, you know, the, the bed on those machines slides off to expose like a free arm. And there’s like a little compartment in there. I kept a lot of my notions in that compartment. That’s how, uh, streamlined my setup was. It was very compact and clean. Um, and my fabric, I never had more fabric than what I was using for the current project, which, um, my husband can tell you is no longer the case. Um, but yes, so I started on the dining room table and then I bought that table and I believe Ikea still sells a version of that table. And I purchased mine about 10 years ago.

Um, but I do believe they still make it it’s the mentor. Again, like I said earlier in this episode, I will link to all of these things over in the show notes, but, um, so I had the ICML tort table and it was perfect because I can put my 24 by 36 mat on it and still have room at the end of the table to put my sewing machine like perpendicular to the mat. And so I could leave it set up. Now I didn’t have a designated room for this. So at the time my husband and I had a small little, two bedroom apartment, um, by his first duty station, uh, it wasn’t in the nicest area. I’m not going to lie. Um, but we had this guest room. And so since my husband’s in the military, I mean, a guestroom is great to have no matter where you live, but it’s kind of a necessity for our family because wherever we are, we’re away from loved ones.

So if we ever want loved ones to visit, I mean, not that they wouldn’t stay in hotels, but I’d rather my sister or my parents or my husband’s parents stay with us. And so a guest room is always a necessity. Um, funny to add now that I’m getting a little bit older and a little bit more set in the I’m, the momma of this house ways I’m leaning more towards sewing room is the necessity and guest room can be the ad-on where before it was like a beautiful guest room with this little table in the corner. Now it’s a beautiful sewing room and not in this house because I have a designated one, but in some other houses there’s like a bed in the corner kind of a deal. But yeah, so that was my first sewing studio and that was it. Like, that’s all I had.

And so I know oftentimes my students will, um, kind of be like, Hey, I don’t have a place to do this. I don’t have a place to do that. I know the struggle, the struggle is real and I get it. So, I mean, I stored my machine in the closet every evening. My, um, my mat did get to stay out once I got that table. But before that table, it was underneath my, my mattress. Um, and I didn’t have any extras. It was really important not to have any, you know, quote unquote stock on hand because I didn’t have any place to put it. So I didn’t have racks of thread and tons of rulers. I had one 64 by 24 inch ruler and that’s it. I was like, I could make anything work with this and it’s true. You can make anything work with that.

So that was my first studio. Now I am currently sitting in, you know, 10 years on my current studio and I am going to walk you through it. So our home that we have now does have, um, space for me to have a designated quilter studio. Um, and I love it. I’m kind of obsessed. So it is just another bedroom. Um, it, it would be, you know, a superfluous bedroom. Uh, so I took it over. It does have a walk-in closet, which is, Oh, amazing. It, mine is currently holding four giant rolls of batting, like probably 200 yards of batting right now, but there was an amazing deal on black Friday guys, like an amazing deal. And so I got up really early in the morning and I was that person. So lots of batting in the closet right now, but, um, let’s, let’s break it down.

I’m literally going to walk into the room and turn right. And just like I do at the supermarket and go up and down until I get to everything. So as soon as I walk into the room to my right is my sewing table and my sewing table is a custom built. Um, and that sounds way fancier than it is because my husband built it. He is, um, really good at these kinds of like hobby craft woodworking. Um, and so he was able to make me this sewing table and it’s big, it’s big, it’s a bout seven feet long. Um, to put it into perspective, I have a 24 by 36 inch mat on it. And it looks tiny, like with plenty of room to spare. Um, so on my sewing table, because my sewing table is quite large. I have a 24 by 36 inch mat.

I have a Cricut maker. I have a 24 by 18 inch mat. I have a six by 18 inch mat. These are all kind of like laid out surrounding my machine. My machine is a genomic M seven continental, um, or continental M seven. I’m not quite sure. I always see the Facebook ads say continental, M seven, where the machine says M seven continents. So I guess that’s what I should go with. But anyway, that’s the machine I have and it’s kind of a large machine it’s, uh, it’s a big machine and that kind of lent itself to how big the table is. Um, and then I also have an art light desk lamp, and it is the one that has the two arms, one arm, both arms or flexi. And then one of the arms has a big magnifier on the end and the other arm is the traditional light lamp.

And I love it for, um, really illuminating my cutting space. Um, that’s, that’s what I predominantly use it for sometimes. Uh, if I am on kind of like a sewing tear and I’ve been at it for a while, I will shift it over and put that magnifier in front of my needle, just because I will catch myself kind of bending down towards it quite a bit. Um, but it’s an awesome, awesome lamp. And at the time that this show airs, I’m not quite sure, but Joanne’s probably is still doing their black Friday cyber Monday deals. And they always have the lights on sale. That’s where I got when I got mine, because this is like an originally like a $200 desk lamp. And I think I got it for like 70 bucks. So lights are not cheap, but if you plan it properly, like Joanne’s legitimately, every black Friday has the same things on sale.

So you can kind of plan your shopping for, for that around this. So again, that’s another little gift you can think about if anybody is thinking about what to get you at lights. They’re amazing. So I have my outline. Um, and then, um, also the table itself is, uh, counter height. So it is a tall table. Um, I’m obsessed with it because I didn’t want to be like hurting my back when I was cutting. So I wanted it to be a little bit higher. And that’s the beauty of having your spouse make your table for you is that they can follow your directions. So he made it super tall. And if you’re wondering how I say edit too, so I have a table that, um, or rather a chair that I got at, I’m not sure if you have them near you, but it’s a store called at home and it is an office chair, but it is like a super high boy one.

So it’s, it’s like the bottom half of it looks like a bar stool, but the top half of it looks like an office chair. So it’s kind of the best of both worlds. It’s super comfy, but I can sit up high and how I reach my pedal is my husband actually built me a box that my pedal plate can go on top of. And my machine comes with two pedals, um, the traditional pedal foot, and then it also has a thread snips foot. So instead of pressing the button on the machine for thread snips, you can hit that pedal. Um, and both of those pedals are mounted to a plate. And then my husband mounted that plate to this top of this wooden box that he created so that I could reach it when I’m sitting, because like I said, the tabletop is elevated. And if you haven’t seen my table and you’re curious about it, um, you can head over to the Facebook page and check it out.

I did have a Facebook live where once he was done, I kind of broke down exactly what he did and how it works. It’s a pretty flipping cool, um, table, I will say so myself, he embedded my machine in it. It’s great. Um, but I will link to that video in the show notes as well. So moving along on the wall behind my sewing table is a giant pegboard. So I would want to say this pegboard is about four feet by six feet. So it is quite large, um, and to make it pretty. So it didn’t look like a pegboard first. I got the plain white one and then, um, I picked out a really decorative, um, baseboard molding from Lowe’s. Um, the kind that, like when you’re in the baseboard aisle, you’re like, who would pick this to put this on their wall, like to put this on their baseboards?

Cause it’s kind of crazy. This one looks like a basket weave. Um, so I got that and my husband cut it up and made a frame for the pegboard out of it and then painted it hot pink, like it’s hot pink and it’s so cute. Oh my gosh. And then from Amazon, I got one of those pegboard kits with all the hooks and rings and whatnot. So on this pegboard, I have my most used rulers. So my four square set from June Taylor, my six by 24, my six by 18, my companion angle, um, my Omni grid flying grid, uh, flying geese. So I’ve got all of that up there. I have a really cool metal rack for my thread and it’s by no means all of my thread, but it’s definitely a good variety. I mean, obviously there’s a tons of light gray there, cause that’s what I use when I am piecing.

Um, but I do have a variety of colors, especially thanks to the great fast face mask make of 2020. I do have a variety of colored threads that, uh, have become my go-to just for top stitching all of those masks. So that is the pegboard that’s behind my desk. Then in the corner I have a wall-mounted television. Um, it is kind of large not going to lie. I actually got it on Facebook marketplace. Um, there’s a really funny story behind that. And if you want to hear about that funny story, you can head over to the show notes, cause I won’t go into it now, but it is really, really funny story about the origin of this TV, but I paid like $30 for it and it’s a Toshiba big flat screen TV. So kind of awesome. And also I didn’t have to feel guilty because I really wanted a TV in my craft room, but it felt a little indulgent because I was already getting my own craft room and I was like, Oh my gosh, I’m the mom of three small kids and we could do this and we could do that.

So it didn’t feel right to get myself a TV. I don’t know why, but then I was like, um, this is just a good deal. And so I did it, it was pretty funny. Um, and then moving on to the next wall in the craft room, this is my design wall. And so at any given time, and I’m sure you’ve probably seen it if you’ve watched any of my Facebook lives for my quilting studio, um, or seen any of like pictures that I’ve taken of myself or had taken of me in the quilt studio, it’s kind of always the background. You’ll see like whatever quilt blocks I’m working on at the time. And I did not decide to go with a formal design wall, meaning I didn’t buy one, you know, pre-packaged, this is what it’s made for. Instead, I got a bunch of pretty inexpensive polyester by, um, batting and I covered the entire wall.

So my design wall is nine feet high and 12 feet wide. It is an entire wall and it’s amazing. And I just have it tacked up there with a clear pushpins, which you can’t see because the polyester batting is a little bit, uh, it’s not high loft, but it’s just puffy enough that once the pins are in the pins kind of disappeared. Um, and it’s great. I love having a design wall. And for those of you who are not familiar with design walls, design walls are, um, they’re, they’re made of usually just batting or flannel. Um, and what they allow you to do is as you’re sewing, you can put your swatches, your blocks, your individual pieces up on this wall. And it, they just like naturally cling. Um, and I know a lot of people do it with like dollar’s door flat act, picnics, uh, tablecloths.

So like think of that kind of material, these are the things that people are typically using. Um, and I just love to have it. I think it’s probably the best work of art that I could have at any time is like looking at the project that I’m currently working on. It’s re it, first of all, it really inspires me to keep sowing. Cause every once in a while, you know, life gets in the way I have a six-year-old I have a three-year-old I have a two year old, um, my husband is traveling for work a lot. I mean, not right now. Cause a COVID cause yikes. You know, in general he’s usually traveling quite a bit. Um, and so just life gets in the way and sometimes you just have to walk by the room and be like, ah, that is so cool. I want to work.

And the design wall does that for me also it allows you to see or quilt come together before it’s time to actually put it all together. And so you can get a really good visual of what your final product is going to look like. And it really helps, especially with like scrappy quilts when you’re like making multiple blocks of different scraps and you want to rearrange it. So you don’t have too much repetition in one corner or anything like that. A design wall really helps with that as well. And then funnily enough, I do have my glider now. I haven’t nursed in quite some time, but I got a really pretty glider. Like it’s not a traditional looking glider. Um, I like to have my husband hang out with me and now that I’ve added the television, he wants to hang out with me in here too.

So during nap times or when the kids have already gone to bed for at night and quite frankly, sometimes when we’re hiding from them, he will come in here and he will watch TV while I’m sewing and everybody’s in the happy place or, you know, when he was at home, COVID working, he would telework from my, my craft room with me. So I will say it’s, it’s become a S uh, a happy Haven for both my husband and I, and then moving along, we do have, so I’ve got this little card again. Uh, this was an awesome black Friday deal. I was a little bit metal cart on wheels. It’s super pretty, it’s super cute. And I kind of just have the stuff that I want to have on hand, but yeah, don’t necessarily want to have on my sewing table cause I don’t want to clutter my sewing table up.

Um, and so I have that in here as well. It’s super cute. Again, I will link to all of this in the show, but, um, it’s pretty awesome. And uh, yeah, and then the last thing I have in the room and I will discuss a little bit about what’s in the closet beyond all those roles. Um, is this antique dresser? Um, this was another yard sale find, uh, we’re really big on like upcycling and recycling, uh, furniture around here, especially cause we’re in the military and we moved so much. So to buy brand new gorgeous furniture just, um, hurts the soul a little when, you know, it’s probably going to get banged up in the next move, but this actually, um, the duty station that my husband is currently stationed at that, um, had like a yard sale selling out old furniture from the hotel and the hotel that’s on post here is beautiful.

So this is like a beautiful antique chest of drawers. And so I use it to hold my fabric and now is all of my fabric in there. No, but, um, a lot of it is, it’s a pretty big trusted drawers. And so I have my fabric all neatly folded in my Nicole Gilbert method that I show my students in the modern quilter circle. And we’ll be showing the students that joined, learned to quilt in 60 days. Um, and I have that at all, stacked up neatly in there and it’s pretty great. And so that is my quilting studio and my recording studio. Isn’t it very large. It’s like 12 by 14. So I mean, it’s a, it’s a pretty standard like kid’s size bedroom, you know? Um, but I love it and it’s perfect and it’s exactly what I need when I am based in quilts.

I still move my dining room table out of the way. And based on the dining room floor, uh, we have like an open floor plan kitchen to dining room. So between the two, I’ve got enough space on the floor to base my quilts. Um, so I’m still, I’m still a little bit on the struggle bus there. Um, and in my, my walk-in closet, I do have stacks of Tupperware that have all of my extra notions. My like don’t need to have on hand notions are, um, stacked in there. I have my bags of scraps. So I have D I have varying levels of scraps. I have scraps that are about fat quarter size, separated up in one area. I have like really scrappy scraps, like one inch pieces in, you know, in any one direction, um, in another one. And then I have like just the weird, the weird, almost drunk, but I refuse to throw anything out, especially because I do do a, um, I participate in it’s the weekend quilter does it, uh, the summer scrap along, um, quilts.

I do it every summer. I love doing it. It comes, they come out so cute. And I think it’s a great, like snapshot of what you did over the year. So I keep everything really. Um, and that’s, and that’s it. And then I also do have a lot of like my equipment for all of this. So my podcast equipment goes in that closet. It, uh, you know, the lights and microphones and whatnot for my Facebook lives. Um, that’s all in the closet. So, so this is definitely, um, my Sophie, my, my quilting studio is pretty much also like my, my business headquarters, you know, I’ve got all my files and all of that in there as well. Um, so that is the current studio. And like I said, I’m kind of obsessed, but mama always once more and quite frankly, a lot of what I currently have, I would keep in my, in my dream studio.

So we’re, we’re moving onto dream studio now, guys. Um, I would keep it, my dream studio, the number one thing I would have would be my dream studio would be at least four times the size of mine, current sewing room. So, um, I would definitely have like, um, like a 20 by 20 room would be not sufficient. Ah, yeah, like 20 by 2020 by 20 room would be sufficient. Um, if it could be bigger, amazing. I always think like maybe we can get a house that has like a finished basement and then I can make the entire finished basement, my F my, um, Michael Lin studio. So now that now we’re talking about like, you know, a thousand square feet or something, but, um, that sounds great. What really sounds great to me is the finished attic, because then when I think of a finished attic, I think of like big windows and lots of light coming in because I want a really bright quilting, um, studio.

I love color, I love bright color. You’re never going to see a civil war reproduction out of me. It’s always going to be crisp and bright and yellow and pink and turquoise. And that’s just, that’s my jam. That is my jam. So definitely a lot of light. That would be my first thing next. I would actually keep the table I have, because I think with the table that I have is perfect. I would keep the sewing machine that I have. I love my sewing machine. Love it. I think it’s perfect. I, I honestly can’t think of anything that I would want more out of a sewing machine, but I would have this table kind of set up against a wall with my pegboard up top. That’s great. But then I would have a giant Island in the middle of the room that could be like my staging area.

So, um, scraps and bits and swatches and stuff, stuff. So I can leave it out in a neat and orderly fashion, but that I could still see it because I’m very visual like that. And so I liked to pack stuff away cause I don’t want it to be a mess. But then when you pack stuff away, those little lightning strikes of inspiration don’t really come cause you don’t see it. And so I would like an area to keep it out. And this is again, as I’m saying these things aloud, I’m like, Oh my gosh, you crazy bougie quilter you, but I can’t help it like this. Um, I’m dreaming. Um, I’m reaching for the fences here guys. So I want like big, uh, big, uh, Island in the middle. I also want an ironing table similar in height to my sewing table. Um, but I want it to be giant, like big enough to lay out a twin size quilt, anything larger than that is excessive, I will say.

Um, but like laying a flat, a twin size quilt, so that then I could, like, I could based on top of it, I could iron obviously. Um, and I just think it’d be super, super convenient. Uh, also I would kind of replicate what I have going on with the design wall. Maybe I would have it be large enough that I could hide the edges against another, like a DIY frame or maybe cause it’s my dream. I don’t have to DIY it at all, but just something to make the edges a little bit cleaner and prettier. Um, I would definitely do that. Um, but now that I really think of it, I thought I was going to have like, Oh, and I would do this and I would have that. And honestly, I am fortunate enough knocking on wood, uh, that, that, uh, my family is good.

Fortune continues. I have everything that I really want in need. Um, in my sewing studio, just space spaces, the biggest thing. And I’m sure for those of you who are still, you know, using your dining room table, you understand. Um, and also it’s just one of those things. It’s like, it’s never enough space. There are some amazing quilting studios out there. I’m sure you have seen them on Pinterest. I pin them as well. They’re amazing. But you’ll notice that the biggest things that it has in common is the size. The size is amazing. Ooh, I forgot. I do want something else. I want built-in bookcases so that I can still using my folding method. Cause I really do like my folding method, but I could display all of my fabric on the walls like books. And so everything would be color coded, maybe color coded by designer.

Um, because you know, some fabrics just don’t play well together. And I want to, when I’m looking at the wall, see all of my fabrics playing nicely next to one another. So that, that way, when I want to go shopping my stash, I can very clearly laser focus into like, that’s what I’m trying to do here with that, you know, that given pattern and whatnot. So I would do that. Ooh. Also I would see I’m so full of it guys. I would also have another desk set up with computers, um, because I do do a lot of this online stuff. So I would need to have a studio set up in a corner. And again, this kind of leads into what I’m saying with my current studio. I have all the equipment, but I put it away in my closet. Um, with enough space, I could have it kind of set up in one corner and that would just be the angle that I shoot from.

That would be where I sit to do my podcast and I could have it all out. I would have a desk with a computer, probably not my laptop. I would have like a nice big screen computer. So that, that way, when I am using like electric quilt, I can really have a great visual of what I’m creating, but now I promise that’s it. That’s, that’s what I would do. Um, yay. Oh my gosh. So I am going to I’m legitimately, this is going to be an interesting list of show notes. Cause I am going to try to put links to all of the products and items that I’m currently have stocked in my quilting studio, as well as some things that I used in my OJI studio for ease of comfort and some things that would be in my dream studio because the sky’s the limit. Okay guys, you have just finished another episode of the stop. Scrolling starts, sewing podcast. Thank you for hanging out with me and make sure you never miss an episode by hitting subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Now stop scrolling.

Speaker 4: (33:36)

Quilt Love

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and...

Noelani T.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and Nicole’s expertise was invaluable for this large project. Nicole is very patient and explained the different steps and their purposes clearly. She improved my original idea to better accomplish my overall goal. I highly recommend Nicole as an instructor and would personally have another session in a heartbeat!

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked...

Michelle L.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked me through everything step by step. And it was amazing. She taught me the ins and outs of my machine and how to add each basic concept together. It was invaluable, because now I can figure things out and get creative without fearing the dreaded unravel!
The Modern Quilters Circle