The new Ice Bear Quilts Studio (complete with attendant plush Ice Bears) is a reality: the last pieces of furniture have been hauled up to the third floor and put together (glad that’s over!), and yesterday, as the final touch, we hung up the design wall, which took up a whole wall and draped to the floor in the old studio, but which is dwarfed by the wall in this one and dosen’t even come near the floor!.
The studio has now been thoroughly done over to make it suitable for quilting and sewing. It has been painted bright white, and I have installed two full spectrum lights in the middle of the ceiling, that give off an even light over the whole room and are bright enough for sewing at night. I have chosen for white so that I can see the colours as accurately as possible – no coloured shadows – and also I like the bright clean feel of white.
There is a window in the roof, giving light from the south west. I have installed a retractable sunshade for the outside, and the window shade for the inside (which blocks out all light if need be) is white so that when closed atnight it reflects as much light as possible. The floor is also white, a limed wood-effect laminate: easy to clean, and easy to spot things on! The grain on the laminate gives sufficient contrast to the walls to feel like a floor, and softens down the white walls without adding colour. It stops the studio feeling too clinical.
The furniture is a mix of white and natural light wood (birch wood). There are two white rolling storage cabinets for my stash; the open shelves have fabric arranged by colour, the closed cupboards below have themed fabric, backings etc. Behind the rolling cabinets there are cupboards built into the wall space, for things I don’t want to get rid of, but hardly ever use (such as the aeroplane travel packing case for my sewing machine, and spare bits of flooring). These cupboards have broad doors that open upwards on long piano hinges, and can be clipped open to make it easy to get stuff in and out. They are painted to match the walls, and close securely with magnetic fasteners. If I do need something out of them, I can just roll one or both of the stash cupboards out of the way. I can afford the luxury of open cabinets (and therefore the inspiration of being able to see my stash!) because I can put the shade down and leave the room totally dark when I am not there, so the fabric doesn’t fade.
The pressing and cutting stations are freestanding kitchen units from the Varde range at IKEA, and a good height for cutting and pressing. One unit has three large drawers, for pressing materials, batting and other bulky stuff, the other (the cutting station) has twelve smaller drawers for notions, rulers, drafting materials, patterns etc. I also store my embroidery materials, for when I feel like doing some Danish cross stitch or another needle art, in these drawers.
I have a large table for my sewing machine and serger, with a clip on daylight lamp for extra light round the needle when free motion quilting. There are four bookcases for all my quilting books and books on the history of textiles, and a pull out bed that also serves as a sofa: handy for a quick nap between sessions, or for a leisurely read or ideas session. I also have art cube storage primarily for Jelly rolls and batiks.
When machine sewing I don’t sit on a chair with a back, but use a Variér Move® stool, a special type of stool from Norway, that promotes good posture and active sitting (it constantly moves a bit, so your muscles have to move a bit too). I first came across a Variér Move in an office at a job a number of years ago; it took a bit of getting used to, but I wouldn’t go back to a standard office chair for sewing now.
Behind the sofa bed is my cd-player. I like peace and quiet a lot, especially in the designing phase (and the room is nice and quiet) but once I am actually sewing, I enjoy listening to audio books as I work. Also nice when picking out bits of stabiliser or foundation papers!