My Juki and my cutting mat have been living together way too long. It's time for a divorce.
If I want to quilt, the cutting mat is in my way and I have to find a place to store it and all the tools that go with it.
If I want to cut, I have to lower my Juki to it's storage position below to make room for the cutting mat.
Yes, I know that's what the Horn Sewing Tables are designed to do, but if I have to "un-store" my machine every time I want to use it, I don't use it as much. And the only way I'm going to improve my free-motion quilting skills is to practice more. That means having the machine up and ready to go when I have 5 minutes free to practice.
So, to shorten a long story, I decided to switch things up.
The first problem was the pressing table. The white table you see below was my parent's kitchen table when they were first married back in the early '50's. While it has been great for pressing, it's just a little too big for my space, and this is the only place I could put it. See that banquet table behind it, that's totally buried in "stuff"??? I know - you can hardly see it... That's the problem... I had a perfectly good table hiding back there that had just become a dumping ground. And the space underneath it was useless because I couldn't get to that either... What a mess...
So I spent the better part of a day clearing out the entire space, cleaning all the dust and cobwebs out (remember, this is a basement!), and created a new "cutting station".
What a difference! I now have a huge cutting area with all my rulers nearby, and have the added bonus of storage space below! Now you're probably wondering about the pressing table that I lost in the process...
That was my next project. I found a wood bookshelf that was just the right size, and spent day two building a "big board" pressing surface for the top (with a little help from the hubby, of course). I used Sharon Schamber's Pressing Board tutorial, but added a layer of Insul-bright on top of the OSB. Probably not necessary, but what the heck - can't hurt...
It took a while to staple the canvas in place, and I don't look forward to doing that again any time soon, so I also made a pretty cotton cover using one of my favorite fabrics from V & Co's Simply Color collection. I just hemmed the edges of a rectangle that was slightly bigger than the top, and hand-basted it to the canvas on the underside. That seems to hold it snuggly in place and when it's time to wash it, or replace it, I'll just snip the stitches and re-do the top.
The bookshelf is 12" x 36", and the pressing board is 18" x 48" - just the right size for pressing a full width of quilting fabric. And there is room on the shelves below for all my bolts of interfacing and batting that I use for my purses and quilts. It's right next to the table that houses my Bernina, so it's handy when I'm piecing as well.
And the table in the foreground where you see my Juki is now free for quilting. No more moving the cutting mat every time I want to quilt. I now have dedicated areas for cutting, pressing, piecing & quilting.
I'm lovin' my Cotton Cellar!
Now I need to get back to work on Family Ties #3, the third in the series of quilts from neckties. Strips are all sewn and ready to be assembled into a quilt top. More details soon!