Category Archives: Creative Space


 Hoo boy!  Lots to talk about today.  I hope you don’t mind, but I might have to do a pseudo power point prez here because to write all that prose is overwhelming me and I will end up just not writing anything.

  • Thank you to Robin and Karen who nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger award!  I will address this award and it’s attendant responsibilities in a later post.  But for now, a heartfelt thank you to both for their compliments and for the award.
  • I’ve been playing with my “new” Singer Featherweight 221 and it’s been fun and frustrating at the same time.  I love how fast it sews, how evenly the feed dogs feed (compared to my Emerald 183), and how good the stitches are (when the tension’s right), BUT, I am having serious problems with the bobbin and needle thread tensions.  I have to fiddle with it for about an hour each time I use it.    My current theory is that I need a new bobbin case because the one that came with the machine might not have the ability to maintain tension.  Anyone with some ideas, please give me a shout in the comments.  Here are some pretty pictures of what I’ve been doing with my FW:

Testing thread tension settings

Playing with the binding foot

I made a new tote bag!!!

close up of fabric and topstitching

My lining fabric -- recognize it?


  • I wanted to do a simple project on my FW to test run it.  I needed a new tote bag, so that’s what I made last night.  It’s a really simple bag, based on the one I made from the PURL class I took a lifetime ago.  The most complicated thing about it is that it’s lined.  No fancy interior pockets or nuthin’!  But it really fits the bill and I love it so.  🙂  
  • I think I am going to use the FW to make my fall coat.  How exciting is that?!?!
  • Confession: In order to actually sew the bag last night, I had to clean off my dining room table, I mean my sewing table.  Folks, it was do or die.  You couldn’t see the table.  It was piled at least 1 foot high with sewing detritus, months of mail, and random stuff.  I was ruthless with throwing out UFO’s (pregnant clown shirt muslin anyone?).  I put all of my patterns away, cleaned up all my notions, etc.  It took me 4 hours, but I can see my table again and I know where everything is.  Phew!!!  I wish I had taken some before pictures, but trust me when I say it was not pretty.  Here’s how it looks now…

  • Now, isn’t that sewing nirvana?  Hey, I could actually eat there too now.  😉   Oh and did you notice anything?  Do you see my Emerald 183 on the table at all?  No?  Well that’s because my Singer FW is taking precedence right now.  I put the Viking under the table.  We’ll see what happens to it after I play with my FW for a while longer.  If I get the tension issues worked out, I might have to “make arrangements.”
  • Oh, and I can’t forget to tell you of an impromptu coffee I had with Marji this morning before work.  Her boat is docked across the river which she posted on FB last night.  I told her I was a ferry ride away and we made plans to have coffee.  I have to say it was minor miracle that I got out of the house before 8:30am much less arrive at a destination by 8:10am WITH TODDLER IN TOW, I might add.  I am impressed with myself.  We talked for what seemed like 5 minutes, but 40 minutes later, I had to go to work sadly.  I could have talked with Marji for hours!  I hope we meet again.

Marjorie and me!

  • I hope to start my coat muslin tonight.  I bought heavy muslin so I would have a more accurate idea re: fitting issues.  Wish me luck!

Happy sewing everyone!

Organize or Die, or how my feng got shui’d

So I had been feeling a mite poorly in the recent past.  A multitude of reasons for it, each one more boring than the last, so I will spare you the agonizing details.  You can thank me later.  😉

But one glaring thing in my environment was really bringing me down: my sewing area.  I thought that having the metro shelves out in the living room/dining room would make it über convenient for me to sew whenever I wanted.  It did accomplish that but it also made my living/dining room cramped, messy looking and dark.  Do you need a reminder of what my creative space looked like?

Creative Space 1

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have never been a neat person.  Clean, but not neat.  Don’t get me wrong…  My mom tried her hardest with me, but I came without a neat and orderly gene.  I was still lovable though.  Uh, sometimes.  Well, maybe once. 

When you combine really messy not so neat with open shelving… um well, you can see what happens. 

I wanted my apartment to be more of a home for Jack, rather than just a place where we go to sleep every night.  I want Jack to be proud of his home, to think it’s pretty and a relaxing environment.  So, I did what any normal, sane person does.  I went to the Container Store and bought a mortgage payment’s worth of shelving for my bedroom closet and various other organizing accoutrements.  For those that might ask, the metro shelves were too wide and deep to fit in the closet, drat it all!

Later that day, a good friend of mine came over to install said shelves, an iron/ironing board holder thingymajig and a few framed art pieces and all of the sudden I had “insta-home”!

Ok, I didn’t all of the sudden have a home because I had to clean up the even bigger mess I made in the name of organizing and put everything in its place (haha!  everything has a place now — how cool is that?!?!?). 

My fabric is neatly folded and I found some that I had forgotten about — it was like finding $20 bucks in your winter coat the first time you wear it again.  All my patterns are in one place (well, except for the ones still open and lying around on the dining room table, but we won’t mention that, will we?).  My Burda magazines and sewing reference books are in a bookcase.  My supplies are neatly organized into bins and I have a craft box full of all the tools of the trade (way better than the shoe box in which I could never find anything).

Here are some pics of Project Organization in progress.

living & dining room 1

Sewing closet

Closet, left side

sewing closet 2

Closet, right side

The pros are that I love that I have more room in the living room.  Love the brighter, neater space.  The feng shui is so much better.  I am much happier walking through my door every day now.  The only con?  Well, I am going to have to be really sure I have all the supplies I need out of the bedroom closet for any project I am working on because I won’t be able to go back in there once Jack is asleep.  He’s a light sleeper.  It’s a small price to pay for Jack’s home though.  🙂

Ok, the barf inducing sickly sweetness is over. 

Happy sewing everyone!

Oh, wait, I have a P.S.!  I have two more commissions for hats and mittens after posting pics of my first commission.  How cool is that?

My creative space

Here I am, airing my dirty laundry for all to see giving you a tour of my creative space.  Since I live in a small NYC 1-bedroom apt, I ask that you stand in one spot and only turn to see the different parts of my creative space.  Be careful not to bump into any of the furniture or step on any of Jack’s toys please.  Ok, you ready?  Wait, I’m not sure you are; maybe I should prepare you for my disorganized chaos.  I wish my mom saw fit to pass on even a little of her organizational skills to me, but alas, none were.  Let’s just say that I could use a little help when it comes to getting organized and staying that way.  My friend Lisa keeps trying to help, but I think she’s losing the battle.  Chores are not my strong point.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not dirty or gross, just disorganized.  I think you’re well prepared now.  Deep breath.  Here goes…

Creative Space 1

In this first picture is my first attempt at organization, the metro shelving unit.  I have grand ideas of sewing a curtain for it using the fabric I originally bought for a couch slipcover project that never came to pass (fabric on the top shelf).  Also on the top shelf you can see my cutting mat, some felt, a roll of tracing paper, rulers and some yarn.  The second shelf from the top is some of my fabric stash and batting.  Note how nicely folded and stored my fabric is.  😉  Some of it is pre-treated, some not.  The third shelf down houses all of my knitting patterns, burda magazines, various sewing/knitting printouts, tutorials, etc.  There are also knitting and sewing reference books.  The big paper bag holds two knitting UFO’s (a big sweater for me and a pair of socks for me).  The smaller paper bag holds my embroidery supplies.  See!  There is some organization here!  The fourth shelf from the top holds my sewing patterns (behind the brown dotted fabric) and my cook books (no place in the kitchen for them unfortunately).  The lowest shelf holds the empty sewing machine boxes and box of wine.

Creative Space 2

This picture shows the Viking Husqvarna box, my son’s tricycle, some more fabric stash, my bolt of muslin and my now defunct Singer machine.  I can’t bring myself to put it away yet.  Not out of sentimentality, but rather because trying to get to it’s box would mean doing some organization — a no win situation.  😉

Creative Space 3

This third picture shows the left side of my dining room table sewing table.  Here you see the covered newly acquired Husqvarna, and behind that machine is my Brother Serger 1034D (covered by the pattern pieces of the infamous pregnant clown top).  The paper bag to the right of the serger is filled with sewing supplies and tools.  And that puddle of yarn is my in progress Whisper cardigan.  I am at a stage where I have to work on it at home so that I can work on it on the subway (picking up stitches).  Needless to say, until I finish the quilt, it will remain at this stage for some time.

Creative Space 4

Here is the right side of the “sewing table.”  Obviously just a shining example of my concerted organization.  And most of it has nothing whatsoever to do with sewing, knitting or creativity of any kind.

I should have added a picture of the couch as I do all my hand sewing there.  And maybe a shot of the tv would have been in order too, as I am watching the entire 5 year series of La Femme Nikita while I hand quilt.

I bet you’re wondering how I sew in this mess.   Well, the answer is, very carefully!  It actually works for me.  I have never been the neatest person.  My bedroom was notorious when I was growing up.  But my brother-in-law Todd defended me once saying, “I bet if you asked Elizabeth where anything was, she’d be able to hand it to you in 10 seconds.”  And that remains true to this day.  Well almost.

I will post tomorrow, hopefully, about the last Kenneth King class.  Stay tuned!

Happy sewing!