Saturday, May 12, 2012

Quilt table - Serendipity Studio

I'm so glad to see you!! Come on in! We're just finishing up the Serendipity Studio.  I want to tell you all about the quilt table we made.  My dream was to have a huge table that I could lay out an entire quilt on. No more pinning and basting on the floor - my knees will no longer allow it, plain and simple.  In the center of the room I had a big enough space for a large table. My bed is a queen, but I usually make my quilt a bit longer all around, so I needed this table to be somewhere around 7 x 8 feet total work surface.  My husband said we could build it so it had storage underneath, and I got to thinking. I wanted all four sides to be open for easy access.  I even decided ahead of time what I wanted to store under there so we could custom build it.  Ya just gotta love being married to a carpenter, right!!!   I explained what I wanted in great detail to my husband.  He smiled and shook his head, as he always does when he hears my great ideas, and then took my wish list and sat down with a pencil and paper and a tape measurer.  After a few different ideas we came up with the perfect solution.  We would build a base and put a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood as the table.  Then we would cut another 4 x 8 in half lengthwise to be two 2 x 8 foot pieces.  We would hinge those to each side and support the extra pieces with a leg of some sorts, like a gate leg table.  I could open up the extra sides when I needed them and put them back down when I didn't, so the room didn't feel so crowded.
So we built the base . . . .

Note the little cubby holes.  I have tons of yarn I have collected over the years for my crochet and knitting projects and needed a place for it all, instead of in a huge plastic garbage bag. We custom built the little cubbies to store the yarns.  I should have enough space to organize the yarns by color!
This side is where the bolts of fabric can fit, tucked safely out of the way. Usually my bolts are for backing fabrics or fabrics I loved so much I had to buy it all.  I will probably keep my quilt battings in there too, although I might keep my large pieces of Warm and Natural batting right on the long cardboard tube it comes on and set that in a corner somewhere. 
This side is where I am storing my interfacings and stabilizers and Wonder-Under, as well as stuffing for my dolls.
I made some fabric skirts to cover the open areas.  I think it looks so cute and I like being able to hide supplies out of sight!  
For the table top, I not only wanted to be able to lay out my quilts and baste, but I wanted to be able to iron on them.  I HATE trying to maneuver a quilt top over my ironing board. So, I cut two layers of warm and natural batting and one layer of a thermal batting, and we stapled them to the board, wrapping the raw edges under.  
Then I picked out a fabric I LOVE that I have been saving for I can't remember how long.  I hated to cut into it because once it was gone it would be gone, so this is a perfect way to be able to enjoy it every day!  The fabric is "Nicole" from Mod Girls by Jennifer Paganelli.  Love it.  Thank you Jennifer!!  I stitched a canvas twill tape to all the edges for reinforcement. I figured it would be much stronger and better to staple into than the actual fabric. 

We layed the fabric out and gave it a final pressing to make sure all the wrinkles were out.  We wrapped it around the edges and stapled it down over the three layers of batting.  Perfect.  Now I can iron and lay out my quilt pieces without having to drag it over the ironing board.  This will be really helpful with my quilts because I do a lot of applique, which I usually fuse down.
Uh oh.  One problem.  If I had the drop-down sides it would be harder to get into the storage in the base.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to have to go through putting the sides up just to reach for something. Also, I thought this would be a perfect place to showcase more of my vintage pillowcases, but the drop-down sides would cover them. I had to put on my thinking cap.  The light bulb went off and I figured out an alternative solution.  I decided we could just make a 2nd identical top.  When I needed a larger work area, I could turn the first 4 x 8  sideways, and put up the second one right next to it on the base. Either way it would work out to be the same amount of surface area.  I figured it would take as much time to turn the boards around as it would lifting up the drop-down side and pulling out the legs to support it.  The only problem was where to store the second top when I wasn't using it.  Duh, light bulb went off again. Just put one on top of the other.  We made the second piece and covered it with the identical fabric and placed it on top of the first one. The only thing I did differently was to also cover the underside of the top board so the raw wood wouldn't possibly catch or splinter into my beautiful fabric when they are being moved. I am thinking of crocheting a cute little edge to go around it. I'm not sure I'll ever have time - maybe someday in an alternate universe where I have nothing else I need to do I'll get around to it!  :)
Here it is with both sections up.  Plenty of room to work!!
Since I had my heart set on using this fabric, I did have to modify a bit.  My fabric was around 43 inches wide, which wasn't wide enough for the 48" board. If I wanted to use one long piece with no seams I would have to cut each board to 42 inches wide instead of 48.  I decided I would rather lose the inches than have to piece the fabric because it would ruin the overall design.  I also didn't want to be ironing over a seam.   It was a tradeoff, but I don't regret it because it looks so pretty!  Goodness, I can see that I will need to pick up some more vintage pillowcases. Darn.  More antiquing!!  
A while back I made a smaller ironing board to sit on my cutting table in my sewing room. It was  made in the exact same way, just a bit smaller. This one measures around 50 x 32.  I saw the scrap of plywood in my husband's trailer one day a few months ago and asked him if I could have it, and that is how this little ironing board came about.  I love having it.  I would highly recommend making one, it is so helpful. You'll love it!!

Hopefully you enjoyed seeing this project and were inspired to make yourself an ironing table, or table topper.  Well it is almost Mother's Day, you deserve it!  Thanks so much for visiting!!!