Saturday Series: Show us your space

Hello and Happy Saturday. Jen Madsen here to give you a peek inside the Stitch Simple studio... where I've managed to carve out a few nooks and crannies in which to do my personal sewing.  When most folks learn that I own a fabric business and work out of a home studio I imagine they think I must have the most awesome sewing/crafting/creating place.  And while I do think it is the most awesome space- that's mainly because it is mine.  I'll give you a look around today so you can see for yourself.  It's tight quarters but I manage to get a whole lot of work done here and it is one of my favorite places to be.

Here we have the view as you enter the non fabric storage side of the studio.  It's very utilitarian looking and if the boxes didn't give it away, this is where we pack orders for shipping:

A closer look on the left wall will reveal the studio desk equipped with all the necessary tools for successful sewing:  computer, printer, calculator, stapler, baby monitor (preferably with a sleeping baby on the other end):

Tucked under than big long table is my personal sewing machine.  Nothing fancy.  I got it as a present for my ninth birthday.  Its the machine I know the best and the one I use the most.  I recently converted to sewing standing up and I cannot tell you what a sewing life changer it has been.  It was a little tricky getting the hang of the foot pedal and I need to invest in some of the boxes Tracy uses to elevate my machine, but I feel like I have WAY better control even without them.  In fact, it might now be just the right elevation to yet again try my hand at free motion quilting and see if I can finally get the hang of it.  I bookmarked a blog post from Annik forever ago that recommends sitting up high enough that your elbows are at 45 degree angles to your body.  The counter height table plus my 5'11" frame meet up to make that just about perfect:

In addition to the smallish stash of notions stored under that table behind and underneath my machine, I also have a little spot on the shelf that surrounds the room to keep my cutting tools organized along with my small library of sewing books and patterns:

Here is the compost bin.  Did you know that natural fiber fabric scraps and thread are compost-able?

And now we have the fabric storage areas.  I have a small closet where I keep larger cuts of fabric neatly folded and organized at all times (just kidding.  I cleaned out this closet about a week before I took this photo... and I didn't sew anything in between which is why it still looks great in the photo).  Also note the blue IKEA cart hanging on the door.  A must have for transporting my machine and whatnot to and fro sewing classes:

And here is where I keep my scraps and smaller cuts of fabric organized by color.  This drawer unit is about 7 feet tall (it is actually 3 shorter units stacked and tethered together).  Got to make the most of vertical space when working in small areas:

The WIP bin.  It's not as bad as it looks.  There are only three quilts in there and two of those are completed tops.  That giant stack of old t-shirts is going to be my new batch of reusable paper towels one of these days:

And now it is time for the least glamorous part of the studio- chiefly the ironing area/bathroom.  While certainly unconventional, refilling the steam chamber is a breeze and its one less toilet and shower to scrub.  Plus who doesn't like to iron in front of a mirror? (and in case you wondered, that small green kiddie four wheeler is studio-only entertainment for my four year old son.  Some days you gotta do what you gotta do to get some personal sewing time in...and don't worry he rides it out in the hallway nowhere near the iron or anything that could fall on him):

The downside is that it's pretty far away from everything else... and since I've got two little kids and a lot going on at any given time I have to take some special precautions to make sure I remember to go back in the bathroom and shut everything down before I leave the studio:

The other less than desirable part of my space is the lack of design wall.  I use my iPad to take photos of things laying out on the dining room or packing table- but one of these days I'd like to cook something up for the hallway outside.  As you can see, the rest of the space is dedicated to fabric storage... and the rolls don't make such a great design wall:

So, there you have it.  I hope you enjoyed your tour of my little slice of heaven on earth.  It took some mental training, but I've learned to be grateful for my space and when I do start to feel cramped I think of all the businesses that must have started in even smaller spots in cities like New York or San Francisco and of all the years I sewed at my dining room table... then I tidy up a little bit and get back to work. 

August 2014 Meeting Minutes

August 2014 Meeting Minutes, Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild The meeting was held on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at the Textile Center at 7 PM.

The main attraction of the August meeting was the 2014 MMQG Garage Sale. Brianne and Erin did a fantastic job organizing the sale (and we can't thank them enough). Thanks to all who volunteered, de-stashed, and shopped! We broke from socializing and shopping for a brief round of announcements and show and tell.
The 2nd Annual MMQG garage sale was a great success, thanks to Brianne and Erin!

Shopping for a good cause!


  • Next month, we will start meeting at our NEW meeting day, which is the THIRD THURSDAY of the month at the Textile Center. Though the summer schedule has been a bit out of whack, we will consistently meet on the THIRD THURSDAY starting in September. The new meeting date will not conflict with the other large group that meets at the Textile Center, so there should be more available parking.
  • The September meeting will feature a schoolhouse and we need a few volunteers to demonstrate a skill or technique. Each demo will be about 8-10 minutes and will be taught to a small group. Anyone interested in volunteering to teach is invited to contact Tracy or the Board via the MMQG email.
  • The October meeting agenda includes a presentation by Steve Pauling, aka The Bobbin Doctor. Steve will share his extensive knowledge of vintage sewing machines.
  • The November meeting will feature a demonstration on glue basting by Sue Heinz of Kismet Quilting.
  • The December meeting will be our annual holiday social and swap. More details to follow.
  • The in-town retreat will be held on Saturday and Sunday, September 27-28 at the Four Seasons Quilt Shop in Maple Grove. To register: call the shop directly at (763) 557-5899 and register your name. You can either pay with a credit card over the phone or in person at the shop when you arrive. Registration is $15/day. More details are on the blog's Retreat page.
  • The overnight retreat will be held the weekend of November 21-23 at Camp Wapogasset (Wapo) near Amery, WI [map]. It is about a 1.5 hour drive North/East from the city. Registration details will be available at the September meeting.
  • MMQG is bringing Anna Graham of Noodlehead to town to teach a workshop on October 18th. We are still in the process of working out details with Anna, so stay tuned for additional details on the blog.
Next Meeting: Thursday, September 18th, 7 PM Textile Center of MN
Next Sewcial: Thursday, September 25th, 6 PM Common Roots CafĂ©.
Next Sew-in: Saturday, October 11th 1-5 PM Roseville Public Library

Show and Tell Photos


Saturday Series: Show us your space

Hi - Tracy W. here to show you my sewing space, or as my neighborhood friends like to call it, The Sweatshop.  I took over our lower level, smaller bedroom a number of years ago and even though it's a tight space, it's all mine and it has a door to cut down on all the chatter about what a hot mess it is most of the time!

Here's a picture from the doorway which pretty much covers my cutting/sewing space:

All my scraps are sorted on the bookcase behind my machine. On the ledge above the bookcase I keep some of my favorite fabric in a black wooden cube storage piece that I bought at Target.  I took an old picture frame and turned it into a bulletin board.

My design wall is attached to the only wall in the room without windows or a closet.  My husband and I made it a few years ago using Film In The Fridge's blog post on how she made hers


This is hands down  my number one favorite thing in my sewing space.

To the left of the design wall is my second favorite thing, my fabric storage unit that my husband found for me on Craigslist (I know, he's a keeper):


I wanted something with glass doors so I could see all the fabric that I'm hoarding and this fits the bill!  The boxes on top are filled with completed quilts and some UFO's. Between the wall and the cabinet I stuff my extra pillow forms...nice.

My third favorite thing is my Ikea magnetic knife holder that I use to keep track of my scissors, rotary cutters, blades and anything else that's metal and will stick to it (and when I say stick, I mean STICK):

When I'm sewing, I plug in my headphones to either the TV or my iTunes and it cuts out the machine noise.  It also cuts out my husband yelling that I have a phone call or asking "what's for dinner".

I've recently discovered the beauty of sewing while standing and it's pretty slick.  I can elevate my machine and quilting table to the perfect standing height for me by using a couple of those sturdy, fancy boxes that you can buy at JoAnn's.  It has really changed the whole process of piecing for me -- not to mention that I have much less guilt from spending hours sitting and sewing.  (And yes, that is another bookcase with more scraps in storage boxes...yikes.)


There is one thing about this space that I am not happy with -- the wall color.  Martha Stewart seems to think that this color is "Saltwater".  

People, that wall color is straight up baby blue.  Someday when I have some spare time and don't want to sew, I will gut this space and paint it a color that doesn't turn my stomach quite so much.

I know that I'm very lucky to have this cramped, messy room all to myself.  It allows me the luxury of starting and stopping my sewing projects whenever I want and not have to really clean it up ever.  I will admit though, when I take the time to tidy it up, it feels great! Plus I find fabric that I forgot I even had, which is really kind of sad.

As a reminder to myself that it's okay to surround myself with clutter, I have this hung right above my cutting board:

"Creative minds are rarely tidy"

Spend your time creating people, and less time cleaning up!

Garage Sale sneak peak!

The Mpls Modern Quilt Guild garage sale is this Thursday, August 14th at 6:30. Here are some sneak peeks at what's for sale!

There are precuts for sale! 

TONS of books and magazines! 

There are so many pretty scrap bundles.


There are lots of patterns for both garment sewing and quilting. We also have lots of vintage buttons and trim for sale. 

Besides quilting cotton, there is also knit, corduroy, flannel, and home decor weight fabric! 

Did I mention yardage?! There are several four yard cuts of quilting cotton for sale!

There are SO MANY good quality items ready for a new home and your next crafty project! Bring cash or check and your shopping tote! See you this Thursday!

Saturday Series// Sewing Spaces: A peek inside the Stuff Pile.

My house is old and way too big for us so I have two rooms to sew in, which is good and bad. The good is that I can really spread out and leave projects set up and ready to come back to. The bad is that I have a tendency to fill up open spaces, so the more space I'm given, the more stuff I pile up. (Before anybody refers me to a psychiatrist for hoarding, please know I have recently pledged to reduce my "stuffprint" by half and am making progress...) I have always found the creative process to be aided by chaos and prefer to have things within reach and visible; not tucked neatly away in drawers. But enough excuses already--- on to the pictures!
My main sewing room. It makes the 'triangle' of cutting, sewing, and pressing.

My design wall is just a flannel sheet tacked to the wall.

Some of the sewing and quilting books.

My notions shelf.

Neutrals, yellows, polka dots, and collections. 

The main stash shelf. Neatness is overrated.

The other room. The old Necchi in back is set up for punching holes in freezer paper patterns for paper piecing. I use the Bernina for zigzag and fancy stitching and free motion quilting. The Singer to the left is on its way to Craigslist.

My trusty old iron, which has a cloth cord and weighs a ton, but hasn't failed me yet.

A thread tableau. Most of my threads are cones, which I do keep tucked away as I am frequently knocking them over.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my sewing/creative space! I cant wait to see everybody else's! xoxo---Rozina D.
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