Welcome to Fuller by Design, where we explore what it means to lead a creative life. Because the truth is this - life is what you make of it. So let's make, every day. For life.

A Tour of My Sewing Table

Today is a gloomy, drizzly, muggy day - a great day to be inside working but not the best for taking indoor photos. And leave it to today to be the day I wanted to give you a glimpse of my sewing table. I guess kismet isn’t on my side, so you’ll have to excuse the questionable quality of the indoor photos today. Incidentally, I’m thinking of switching to these lightbulbs - it’s a pricey decision but they’ve gotten good reviews and more daylight-ish light is always welcome. Let me know if you’ve tried them as I work up the nerve to replace what I’ve got!

It’s been a busy week for us, with parts of school getting back underway (the kids are two weeks into their online Chemistry class already, and Winnie started her community college class) so we’re easing back into our usual school-centered schedule. I’ve still been holding out on all of us sitting down together to start our school days, part of that is due to having a new puppy in the house (which makes it tricky to get the four of us to be in one room without the pups running amok) and part of it is my own reluctance to acknowledge the dwindling days of summer.

So while the kids have been doing schoolwork on their own schedules this week, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time in the art room with a swirl of projects. I got the commissioned quilt for the teenage boy off in the mail this week which is a great feeling! I can’t wait to hear how he likes it. And I managed to squeeze out a pillow from the extra sleeping bag fabric, and a quilted pouch for his mom. I’m sure that as hard as this transition is on him, it’s got to be just as hard on her too - so I wanted to include a special keepsake for her too.






It was exciting to show off the finished quilt at the DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting!

Back on the home front, I’m lucky to have a nice big work table in the middle of my art room that I use for all sorts of things but it seems like most of the time it’s a staging spot for all the projects on my ever-growing list. Definitely one of those “the projects will expand to consume the space available” phenomenons (can you relate?).

So here’s a peek at most of my table, and I’ll take you on a guided tour of each of the stacks and piles.




The various projects in my queue are really encroaching on my work space right now. It’s not unusual for me to have to do a few minutes of tidying and organizing before I can actually sit down to work (or stand to work, a lot of the time). Though I do try to tidy up after each sewing session if I can, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.




The biggest project on my table now is my contribution to 100 Quilts for Kids, a charitable event started by Katie Blakesly of Swim Bike Quilt but now run by Heather of Quilts in the Queue. It’s my third year taking part in this great cause, brightening the time that kids spend in homeless shelters with handmade bits of comfort. I’ll be posting more about it next week, but this is my design sketch and fabric selection. I’m excited to see how this one comes out and glad to put that fun mirror ball fabric to good use!




I also have a couple of pieces of Day of the Dead Fabric that I just couldn’t resist picking up at our recent DC Modern Quilt Guild meeting at Capital Quilts. I’ve always loved the intense colors, flowers and hearts that are part of Day of the Dead - they’re so bright and lively - so I couldn’t leave without a bit of this fabric. I had no plans for it when I got it but last night inspiration struck out of the blue - so even though it’s been in my way on my table, I guess leaving it out all week turned out to be a good decision.




Someone I know is having a baby so I’m contributing some blocks toward a quilt for her, that’s the flowered fabric on the left. I’m feeling a little lost on what to do with them, so I’m letting them sit for a bit and hoping something will come to me.

Next to that is a pile of delicious Anna Maria Horner voile fabric (it’s soooo soft and drapey) with some vintage buttons. I’m working on a project for the blog with them but I guess since the fabric and buttons are sitting there in plain sight with no progress to show for it, I’m more thinking about a project for the blog, rather than actually working on the project. Busted. I’m hoping to tackle that this week maybe?




Next on the table are some of the scraps left over from the commissioned quilt I sent out this week. I have a hard time parting with the scraps, I don’t send them back with the finished quilt because who really wants to see their treasured items slashed to ribbons? (not me) But still I have a hard time getting rid of them. I’ll probably pack them into a box soon and let the box sit around for about a year, and then get rid of them. That’s what I did with the stuff left over from the other commissioned memory quilts I’ve done. Pretty inefficient but sometimes the heart overrules the head. Guilty as charged.




This is my trusty quilting calculator which I confess I don’t really know how to use. Supposedly it does fancy things like calculate square feet and inches and yardage but I’ve never read the book to figure out how to do it. I just go old school with it and it seems to be working out OK so far. Progress schmogress.

Next to the calculator is a guilt-inducing pile of very pretty fabric by Michael Miller. I got it (free) through my Modern Quilt Guild chapter, they expect you to make something from it that showcases the line. I just never got around to it this summer. I feel guilty about that, but I’m trying to let it go. Guilt over unused fabric does no one any good. But yet I torture myself by leaving it there.  Can’t win.




I won’t refer to this as the pile of fabric of an abandoned quilt, but that’s sort of what it is. Maybe I’ll call it a temporarily on hold quilt instead. Before Memorial Day I started making improvisational blocks in the colors of the rainbow and I’ve gotten the red, yellow, orange and green blocks done so far. These are my fabric pulls for the blue, purple and indigo blocks. But now I’m rethinking the whole construction of the quilt, it seems just too conventional to me, so I’m letting this one sit for a while. A good while. Maybe a good long while. Don’t quite know yet but I’m convinced that as soon as I reshelve all these fabrics, a lightning bolt of inspiration will strike and I’ll regret it. Regret is bad. So the fabric will sit there, mocking me.




This is a pile of two projects, the top stack is set of shot cottons (a special weave of cotton that has some sheen and color dimension to it) that I want to use for a Sarah Bareilles “Brave” quote quilt. It’s a continuation of my Goo Goo Dolls quote quilt, which I'm hoping will be a series, except they really won’t look anything alike. So I’m sitting with that whole series concept for a bit, figuring out how to make it work cohesively. I have ideas for this quilt, but no sketches yet.

And under the shot cottons are a garment zipper, some floral rayon, and a t-shirt to make Aster an exposed zip dress. Except she really doesn’t wear dresses, but she picked this out and says she wants it, but I’m still not convinced she’ll actually wear it. So obviously my motivation toward finishing this project (or even starting it, to be honest) is super low. But it still sits there, me not wanting to give up on it but not wanting to make a dress that won’t be worn. Silly me, right?




This is the pile that sits directly next to me, to the right of my chair. It’s the scraps I’ve recently trimmed but haven’t put away, big scraps of fabric and interfacing and treasured bits of expensive Liberty of London (where anything at least a half an inch big is fair game to keep). Plus notes from recent projects that need to be filed. Do I actually look at those notes again? Only once in a great while, usually I forget I have them and if I’m repeating a project, I’ll just start from scratch again. But when I do go through them every now and again, I’m always a little amazed at how carefully I figured things out the first time - I often surprise even myself! Doh.

So that’s the tour of the random piles that consume my conscience and my sewing table at the moment. There’s a lot going on these days, but it feels good. I’m looking forward to making headway through these projects in the next weeks and months and sharing the process with you.

Now please tell me that your space (physical and mental) is this chaotic too???

And do I have to admit that in the time I started and finished this post, I made a trip out to Finch Sewing Studio for supplies for yet another quilt?



Silent Sunday

Justifying Not-Back-to-School, Yet Another Year