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Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Embroidery Workroom Organization – Not There Yet. But….

 

Can you tell me about your studio space?

I often receive emails from readers in the throes of making decisions about studio space, who find themselves with a spare room at home that they can devote solely to needlework.

It’s a wonderful thing, to be able to carve out your own little retreat for pursuing embroidery or sewing or any craft! But the fact is, I’m probably the last person in the world to ask about this!

I usually gurgle out a few chuckles when I get this question. I’ve always been pretty forthright about my workroom.

While I’m quite blessed to have a room that is semi-dedicated to my work, it isn’t one of those perfect, cozy, ideal embroidery workrooms that’s organized to the hilt and attractive to boot. So I’m probably not the person you want to emulate on this point, if you’re looking for your own little Embroidery Haven.

I mentioned earlier in the summer that I was on a re-organization kick out in my garage-gone-workroom-plus-household-storage-catchall-area, and – though you can’t really tell from the pictures – much was accomplished. But there’s still a bit of work to do! And although it pains me to share some of these photos, I will, because I said I would.

Today, I’ll just show you where things stand, mess-wise. Down the road, I’ll tell you about some of the things that have become essential in my workroom, and we’ll chat about some things to keep in mind when setting up your own workroom.

My Embroidery Workroom - Not the Dream, but It Works

To capture most of the photos of my embroidery workroom that you’ll see in this article, I took my camera out there, opened the door, snapped a few photos with the westering sun shining in (making everything decidedly yellow), and came back to my computer. I didn’t straighten anything. I didn’t even remove things that aren’t pertinent to my Needlework Life.

And as you can see, things are still a bit of a mess.

My Embroidery Workroom - Not the Dream, but It Works

Most of the work in my workroom goes on here, at the table. Right now, I’m sorting through some things for some photo tutorials and such, so I’ve got a lot of miscellaneous stuff on the table.

When I finish with that, the stuff goes back in the boxes at the end of the table, and those boxes go back in a cabinet. Then I have the whole table space to work on projects like this, that require a whole table to lay out.

My Embroidery Workroom - Not the Dream, but It Works

This is a mess I still have to sort! The plastic cabinets here hold my mom’s crochet stuff, and it all needs to be sorted into its own space. I haven’t gotten to that yet.

In the cabinets behind this miscellaneous stuff, I keep the majority of my needlework books and magazines. And I was too lazy to move the miscellaneous stuff to get to the books for a photo!

Embroidery Work Room Book Cabinet

This is what the inside of the book cabinet looked like some six years ago, when I wrote about it here. The collection has expanded a bit, and it’s now more organized (yay!) and it occupies several more shelves.

Keeping most of my books in a closed cabinet was not really a thought-out decision in the beginning, but it’s one of the best accidental decisions I made when putting stuff away initially. Books in a closed cabinet collect a lot less dust, they are safe from sunlight and so forth, and they are out of the way. I don’t access all my books all that frequently, so I’m glad they aren’t taking up space outside the cabinets.

My Embroidery Workroom - Not the Dream, but It Works

However, earlier this year, I put together two little bookcases that form the front support on a table under the opposite window in the workroom, and these two bookcases provide plenty of space for books that I do access frequently, or that I have on my radar for one reason or another.

My Embroidery Workroom - Not the Dream, but It Works

Neither shelf is exactly neat right now, and both have some extra room on them, so I’m still going to sort through my cabinet of books and do some further switching out.

The books that I keep on these shelves are mostly reference books that I really like. I keep all my A-Z books (that I wrote about here), all my Beginner’s Guide series (that I wrote about here), and all my RSN Essential Guides (you can find all of them reviewed here on Needle ‘n Thread, on my book page) on these shelves, plus plenty of other oldies but goodies.

What I love about these two bookshelves is that the books are easily accessible on them and easy to see. And the bookshelves are tucked under a tabletop, so they don’t actually take up floor space, but they help provide me with another table top…

My Embroidery Workroom - Not the Dream, but It Works

….that, right now, is superbly cluttered with all kinds of stuff that I need to sort and address in one way or another.

Aaaaaack! It never ends! (Guess what I’ll be doing today?)

So, that’s where I am with my workroom organization – I have three areas to address still, and then I’ll be satisfied.

No, it’s not the Dream Space for Needlework. But it’s functional, and I’m happy to have it!

We’ll chat more about workrooms down the road a bit. I’ve made up a list of the major items or organizational components in mine that I find essential, and we’ll talk about some important considerations to keep in mind if you’re carving out a space from scratch.

If you have any comments, questions, suggestions, ideas, or input on workroom organization, do feel free to join in the conversation below!

 
 

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(55) Comments

  1. The thing I value most in my sewing room is my project board. Made from 2 large sheets of extruded polystyrene insulation board covered with cotton wadding (2m x 1m and a total cost of about £10) and screwed onto the wall, it is covered in pinned samples, notes, photos, ideas and part completed projects. Nothing gets forgotten at the back of a cupboard and by seeing pinned up future projects and work in progress daily I get fresh ideas on the way I want to take them forward.

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    1. This is such a good idea. I’ve looked at cork boards but I wanted a big one and they’re rather expensive. Do you have a picture?

    2. I was able to get some office partition board that was being removed and was in good condition. Or maybe sound insulation board. I glued right angle wood around the edges. If you know anyone that is a builder or remodeler ask them where you could get some. It has held up very well for 30 jears.

    3. Karen, I don’t know how to attach a photo here, but I will post it on my instagram account, mw1yearofstitches2017.

  2. Hi Mary, just finished reading today’s newsletter concerning your workspace. Other than not having an actual ‘cleaned off’ area to actually do any needlework, I don’t see anything wrong with your workspace. My workspace is a favorite comfortable chair with my trusty magnifying floor lamp. The piece I’m currently working on is on the floor in covered containers, next to my work chair. We’ve lived in this house for 30 years, my various threads are stored within plastic shoeboxes in an upstairs closet. All of my reference books are stored within shellacked Antique wooden shipping crates we use as furniture within our Greatroom. Our home is a Cape Cod style, one of the 60ft sq. dormers is full of embroidery magazines (stored in covered plastic containers) I’ve collected over the years, that aren’t organized at all. My philosophy about a needlework (or any other hobby consisting of nothing larger than a book), is as long as the person to which it belongs can FIND within a few minutes what they need to complete their project is organized. Granted, in as much as you run company concerning hand needlework, you most likely need a more formalized area that incorporates storage and your working area together. My storage method is most certainly not formalized.
    Do so much enjoy your newsletter and web site. Am so glad I found both the site and you. Thank you so very much for giving me another resource spot, Susan

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  3. I redid my sewing room last year. I just can’t seem to get the last 4 boxes done. Still I have found that having a more organized workspace has vastly improved my productivity. I even find that when it starts to get out of control I take the time to clean it up. Do I still have organization to do? Yes, it truly never ends, but it is so much better than when I had a tiny corner in a guest room. Given that I have limited time for sewing and stitching, being organized enough to find what I need when I need it, and to be able to work for short periods of time when I can has made a huge difference.

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  4. My workspace is in my basement. We recently layed commercial carpet tiles down and it helped immensely. My workspace has two inexpensive farm tables in an L …. one area for Embroidery and one area for my sewing machine. I invested in a comfortable office chair on wheels. My husband also made a work island for me. We purchased a butcher block top from Uline and he made a base out of black furniture grade PVC pipe. It is great for cutting and assembly work. He also built a wall of cupboards with doors where I store everythinging plastic bins. I have an oversized ironing board that is up at all time. It is nothing fancy and we did not spend a lot of money but it works for me.

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  5. Organizing a work space is a challenge, and keeping one organized and tidy is for me a nightmare. I share my workspace with the laundry, canaries, a small dog, the main entrance to the backyard etc. That said, deciding to collect all the boxes, threads, beads etc, from closets and drawers and move them to a designated space has been a miracle. I have shelves with tins, baskets, and boxes under the windows on the sun porch, a good light and a work table for the first time ever. Now if I would just learn to put things away………………………………..

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    1. Oh, learning to put things away has an easy solution. Get some cats. They steal. I quilt, and they will steal fabric scraps or cut pieces, makes no difference to the little thieves. Somewhere in my house there are 6 seam rippers….and yet, they won’t steal the one that doesn’t work well.

      When you come home to 160 pieces of cut and sorted patches scattered all over the the floor, some of them in the litterbox, some shredded, some disappeared..you learn.

      Then the little rascals steal your heart.

  6. Thank you for sharing your workspace. I did have to giggle (I wasn’t laughing at you). I truly look forward to your posts, learning how to do specific stitches and your knowledge and the information you so freely share! The pictures show where allow this great work originates!!! Thank you again. I appreciate you even more.

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  7. Mary,

    You are very brave to share photos of your workroom. Mine is a horrid mess, with a giant weight machine in the middle that I use to store and sort thread!
    You are awesome and great, I learn something every time,

    Shelia in Oklahoma

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  8. Good morning Mary! Although I would really love to have that perfectly organized work room, I will always be struggling with it because I am by nature a “clutter-bug”. I have gotten better through the years but it’s still hard for me. So, I love that you share your work space with us (me especially)! Helps me to remember that perfection is not what it’s about, but having a special place to do what you love! (whether it’s a whole room, a corner, or a comfy chair-I have had all at one time or another) I hope to have a new room some time in the next year, more space (to clutter up ha!) and plan to have dedicated space to my handwork, as well as my quilting so that things are a bit more easily found. Love your columns and your work! Such inspiration for me. Have a blessed day!

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  9. After seeing your book cases I have a need to go rearrange mine and neaten them up! After moving, and having to leave so many books behind, I fear when I got in my new condo I just kind of threw them on different shelves in different rooms and there they have stayed. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  10. Thank you, Mary, for posting your pictures and thoughts about organizing. I need those ideas very much, and you’ve given me many with these photos. Your experience and that of others who have replied to your post is so very welcome. I don’t aspire to the level of design magazines that don’t portray reality. I need functionality as well as clever ideas about organization, and you are so kind to provide both. You provide for me a renaissance in the needle arts, and I am so grateful for all the beauty have you have brought my wide.

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  11. Dear Mary

    I love your workroom so much room. I just have a corner space in the living room where I have my computer embroidery stand, magnifier/light and some draws for my needlework accessories and a shelf for books and magazines. So I have to be organised as it could quite easily spread out in my living space. I keep meaning to add a table to use for patterns, cutting etc. Thanks for sharing your workroom with us and for the photos it’s looking good.

    Regards Anita Simmance

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  12. It must be the weather making us want to tidy. I was trying to fit everything into my dining room when I just realized, duh, that I have a room in the Attic. The trick is to go there, it seems so far away from everybody! Thanks for sharing because it often feels like it’s an impossible task and I’m just disorganized. I always felt you must be very organized, and I’m sure you are, to produce so many beautiful things, and still have time to write! sometimes it’s all just overwhelming.

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    1. Jackie, I just wanted to reply to your comment, because I always felt the same way. So, my art/craft room is actually just for organized storage of all my (tons) of supplies. I do my actual work on my project in the living room to be able to hang out!
      Kathy

  13. I keep thinking about better ways of organizing and I am fortunate to have a utility room with shelves and room for two shelving units. But I can’t work there — bad lighting and it’s not air conditioned. So I use it for storage, put my sewing machine in a corner of the kitchen and actually stitch in my recliner with two folding tables to hold threads, patterns, and tools. Not ideal but it works. But if my family room where all this is gets too cluttered, I can’t work or think. And right now………………

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    1. Charlotte, get an Otte Light or good light bulbs with natural light. Get a fan for your room and start a jar for dimes and save up for a portable air conditioner. I have the same problem, so I found that lighting can be solved fairly inexpensively and I can use my space most of the time except in the heat of summer.

  14. “The creative mind is seldom tidy.”

    Mary, It’s a WORK room. We don’t expect it to be tidy. If you can find what you need when you need it, it is organized enough. Your work room, like life, is in constant flux. You will just drive yourself crazy if you try to organize it to within an inch of its life. We envy you because you HAVE one. And a very nice size one. And you have so many lovely threads and fabrics to work with. I have a room that I do most of my work in and it is also my guest room. It is never tidy (unless I am expecting stay over company). The best and fastest that I can ‘tidy up’ the room is to close the door. = )

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    1. Sherry, thank you for pointing out that it is a WORK room. You made me feel better about the fairly organized stacks in my office/work space.

  15. Dear Mary,
    I’ve got the perfect solution for you! Start accepting needlework enthusiasts/costumers/students visiting. It really, really helps to keep everything tidy. Or return to that tidy state before the next invasion comes. You see, those lovely visitors have a tendency to touch things (I have a sneaky suspicion that they do tell their children to use their eyes for watching and not their hands, LOL). And since I am awaiting the visit of just such a lovely person tomorrow, I just spend about an hour to clean and tidy my workspace :). That was quicker than I expected, so now I am pondering doing a little embroidery. Not in my tidy studio ofcourse! I’ll just occupy the kitchen table…
    Love, Jessica

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  16. I am somewhat “organized” in as much I know more or less where to find what I want. Parts of 3 closets upstairs and one shelf of books, drawers on the main floor for 6strand and specialty threads and two dedicated bookcases, finishing options in the basement, a few baskets for work in progress near my seat……a little extra excercise setting up and putting away!

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  17. I have two major hobbies (sewing/quilting and needlework) and many minor ones (beading/jewelry making, knitting, paper-crafts/scrapbooking). I finally decided that I needed to organize them into their own spots. I have a room for sewing that is mainly used for storing sewing stuff, as I now have two sewing machines in my family room, where I can be with the family while sewing. There’s a small anteroom in front of my sewing room where I have my drafting table, bookcase and a couple of cabinets for my paper-crafting. All my needlework is stored in an armoire, bookcase for books and magazines, and a couple of plastic containers. They all live in my bedroom. I’m lucky to have two large bedroom closets, so in one closet is all my knitting yarn. The knitting books are in the office, as well as my Grandma’s kidney-shaped dressing table, where I do my beadwork. The drawers hold tools and stringing materials, but the beads, crystals and findings are in small boxes stacked on a bookcase. It’s been great separating my hobbies. There isn’t a lot of overlap of supplies, so being able to go to where all the sewing is, or where all the beading is, etc., has made me more efficient. More time actually to craft.

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  18. Am I the only one who is beginning to find photos of perfectly cleaned and organized workrooms or areas rather… boring? Photos that show how a room is used and works (or doesn’t work when people ask for ideas) are far more interesting to me lately. It’s often the little bits and tools used on for-real not staged for photos projects that often catch my interest. Mary, your work room looks like it’s been well thought out over the years, thank you for showing it in it’s normal condition.

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    1. Hi, Gail! In fact, It wasn’t really thought out, as much as it was worked out after the fact, and it works out really well for me. I have no complaints! I agree about the overly-perfect, “Pinterest-worthy” workrooms. They just don’t seem so realistic to me. Like magazine homes. Do people really live in them?

  19. I have finally gotten a better sewing area. I took an old bookcase and put it in the closet sideways facing a file cabinet I just got. My patterns and books are in organized file drawers. My sewing cabinet is in the middle part of the floor of the closet. Not too much trouble to pull it out to get something from the shelf or a spool of thread. I have also stacked some wooden cubes on my grandmother’s old cedar chest for some storage. Then I have baskets with precuts in them decorating and calling to me. My ironing board fits right behind my sewing table, so all I need to do to press is turn around. There is a walkway through my room into a glorified extra closet, second bathroom(powder room) where all my tubs with my stash is stacked on one side. I have a window also that lets in light and a ceiling light just above my table. It is working for me…..

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  20. I hope no one ever asks me to share my workspace lol, I think they are always in some form of chaos. It is a workroom after all, every beader, embroiderer, artist I know has some for of chaos going on at all times. Its because it is a working space don’t feel bad about it it means you are doing something that you feel is important to you. I will tell you though find your habitat for humanity store in your area you can find all kinds of things to help you organize. They always have extras of everything, cabinets, chairs, lamps, building supplies etc and they are reasonably priced too.
    My workspace has so much going on but I think it is a sign of my ADD too lol. i have a oil painting, sewing, beadwork, etc going on its my mess but i can find everything I need for the most part (tongue in cheek).

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  21. Many years ago, when my husband and I had our business office in the house, it was also a Guestroom, with pull-out couch, good lamp and side table, and the desk and filing cabinets. Shortly after,Computer, printer and Fax had to be put there, so the office expanded. I brought a lot of my needlework and knitting things up from the basement to have them handy in slow times on the phone. When my husband died a year and a half ago, I got rid of the filing cabinets of business papers, and the Fax, and closed the business. With all this added space, 15′ x 20″, I kept adding more and more of my stuff. Knitting yarn, etc went in one corner, TV was brought in, so I could watch at night and stitch. The next thing I knew was every corner, and some floor space was filled, and I had 5 6′ shelves full of books. Luckily a few of the girls (I have 6) decided they had to clear out and straighten up the room. They bought in 2 4′ shelves for two corners and sorted things and put them away. They also used 17 clear baskets, sorted things, and labeled each one. Such a difference, although I still make the desk top a mess that I have to clear when I can’t find an important paper. Occasionally I’ll have to ask, do you know where you put so and so, and luckily they always know. It’s a more tidy place, but I still mess up….more then one embroidery pieced to be worked on, or more than one baby sweater. I also teach a small Crafts Class in my home, and have lots of stuff around for those ladies. Probably not as neat as yours looks to me, but better than it was, and I’ve only lost touch with a few things. Of course the basement has industrial shelves for out of season things, or things not used constantly. The girls have straightened that area also. Thank heavens for my girls, and they realize these things are “gold” to their Mom. Of course they tell me when I die, they’re going to have garage sale with it all.

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    1. You never know, Margaret! Some of them might catch the bug and find a real treasure trove in your stitching stash! Your girls DO sound like gold. I have six sisters. Wouldn’t trade it! 🙂

  22. Thanks Mary! My Mum died 19 months ago and I’m just getting round to thinking about devoting a room to my stitching-stuff, now I have the house to myself. Not only is your post timely, it also makes me feel a LOT better about how much sorting-out I still have to do! I’ll watch for your further posts on this with interest – thank you.

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    1. Sorry about your mom, Glen! You shouldn’t worry too much about time – just sort out as you go, when you can and when you want to. I think that pushing a sorting job can actually result in a less than serviceable workspace, anyway. You end up making rush decisions that lead to regret later!

  23. Hi Mary,
    I’d love to hear about your work table. Did you put a board on top of filing cabinets or was it ready made? What size do you find is optimal and yet accommodates a small space?
    Thanks for all your posts and sharing,
    Lori

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  24. I wish I had photos to share, but have no idea where they are since we have moved to live in Montana. But in Washington I had a 12″x 15″ office workroom area that I practically lived in. My first great buy was a floor to ceiling bookcase. Then I added two wire basket drawers and spaced them apart to place a wood board on top to make a work desk. I was able to lay out patterns and also layout my newspaper on top. In one corner I had a huge corner desk with file drawer and place to set up a big custom built computer. In the wire drawers I used one set for business and one side for embroidery. On the back wall I had a lighted layout table and more drawer setups in the walk-in closet after taking out the back rail. the side rail I used to hang take along bags and projects. Combining a business with pleasure can be difficult, but with constant organization can be done.

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  25. I’m getting ready to build a dream craft room. If you could have anything you wanted, what would you include? I stitch, bead, knit, crochet, do some sewing, tat, bobbin lace and am getting into polymer clay and silk fabric dying. I will have shelving and cabinets.

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  26. Mary, as someone that has been trying to organize my Art, Quilt, Crochet, and Beading hobbies, all I can say is “it is taking forever”! But
    I have not given up as there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
    You have a good start, and I love your book collection. Mine is huge since they encompass ALL my hobbies but like you, that is done for now.
    Don’t give up!

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  27. I like the three sets of drawers holding up one end of your table top. Excellent use of space. And looks like it is easily accessible. Have a great day

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  28. I have a studio room which is mostly mine, though it also has my husband’s workout equipment. I love having my own space for art supplies and finished artwork (I have no idea what to do with the pile of finished work!) but I find I don’t necessarily like working there. I paint there, but for embroidery I prefer to be outside or in the family room, near other people.

    So my desk is a mess, but most of the other stuff is more or less away. Most of the time.

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  29. I share my crafting space with my husband – but it takes up most of our house.

    A big reason we bought this house was the “family room” off the kitchen – now it is our main studio space. We each have a 6’x2.5′ office table and they sit facing each other, so when needed we have a combined 6’x5′ table (although one table is an inch shorter in height than the other as the tables were not bought at the same time.

    We have 5 dressers and 1 smaller floor standing set of drawers in the studio. Two of the dressers contain fabric – folded so that each piece is about 4 inches across and the height of the drawer so they can stand up in the drawer for viewing. Each drawer has a specific purpose/purposes of fabric in it. I have a swatch book with swatches of each piece of fabric and what drawer it is in. One dresser stands at the end of the tables – I have a drawer for embroidery supplies there. Husband has one each for pen making supplies and punch needle supplies, and a half size drawer for lucets. There are 3 other small drawers which have in process reproduction board games, stablizer and the like. (Okay, my pasta maker is also stored in this dresser – there is a door section.) On top is a 3 plastic 3 drawer piece – we each have a drawer for what we are working on (when we are not working on it) and one for glues – all types. One dresser has an assortment of craft supplies – a drawer of felt and one of paints, markers, crayons, etc. for example. The other dresser has shelves on the bottom with craft kits waiting to be done and the drawer has unused skins of floss etc sorted by type and number. The plastic drawer unit sits under the bridge table next to my main table (L shaped setup) and has sewing supplies and supplies for small bears I make. On the bridge table are several small plastic drawer units with projects in progress (including a started shirt for reenacting which has been there over 5 years).

    There is also a shelving section with 2 small drawers. It contains plastic boxes with supplies which are easier to use by taking it all at once – including boxes of floss and other threads. One drawer holds some assorted tools – such as glue gun and glue sticks; the other more fabric.

    There are 3 bookshelves in the room – two have craft related books, a shelf of cook books, my Louisa May Alcott book collection (upstairs bookshelves filled) and have some supplies on the tops of them.

    Husband has a shelf unit next to his table with items he needs to have at hand.

    Shelf across the back of the room has finished items for display on it, as does a shelf set up on one wall. Large cut paper pictures of my husband stand lengthwise (on each other also) between a dresser and the shelving unit. Right now his photographs (framed) do not have a home and sit in front of one of the dressers.

    We also have items under our worktables – mostly items for when we do (did) craft shows, but also a box of polyester stuffing and a small light table.

    On the finished side of our basement has fabric on bolts and a cutting table for same and for mats – mat board also stored down here as is the cutters for same. Husband has his leatherworking tools, leather hides, and a “horse” (sit on when working on leather and it holds the piece). There is a large metal office cabinet with finished inventory in it. Of course, there is also personal stuff in the basement – including our electric train setup. The unfinished side of the basement has some of his woodworking items (such as a large tool sharpener wheel) and home tools, cutter of some sort (“be careful don’t touch” is what I know about it). Also stains and glues for leather.

    Our garage is his woodworking shop – the power tools are on wheels they can be moved from their places along the walls if needed – wood and related items kept in here – entire garage is filled with same.

    Our shed has the tables, tents and such for craft shows.

    One bedroom (of 3) in our house is our office – for both of our professional practices, our craft business and personal – one of the closets holds finished fabric and leather items.

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  30. I’m looking at your chair/stool with no back support. Is it a special ergonomic stool? Comfy supporting chairs are a must for our stitching rooms and I am yet to find the right one.
    Lois
    Australia

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  31. My space is my living room chair where I do all my work with my 20 year old stand and magnifier light, which is way less than 47 years. Unless I’m on my front porch, which is my alternate space, with clipons. (A couple of years ago I began working almost exclusively on 40ct.)

    Included in my newly organized space, I’ve taken all my unframed pieces, 50+, and using small quilt clips have hung them from hangers in a closet all alone; it’s a tiny closet.

    I am also in the process is moving all my threads onto Annie’s Keepers. Since I didn’t order enough, I’m waiting for two more sets of 100, and hope they are enough. I’ve been using no-loop safety pins with labels for 10+ years. I’m in love with Annie’s Keepers!!

    Storage. I just became organized by way of a large shelf unit, after 47 years! My home is very small, so no dedicated room. And I mean organized; everything has a proper place and for the first time ever, it is all in one place! My nightmare days of patterns in one place, threads in another, overflow in several places, etc. are OVER. So exciting!

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  32. Your pictures of your studio make me feel so good! I have my fibers organized by color. My books are on shelves by subject and I really try to stay organized but I always have several projects going and I have my chair with good lighting and my space always looks cluttered. I can put my hands on what when I need it but I know that non-fiber people walk in and look around and just see a mess. I keep thinking that someday I will come up with the perfect organization system and it will magically look like a picture that all other stitchers will strive to emulate. It hasn’t happened in the past several years and I know that it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. In the meantime I will just keep happily stitching and bringing my stitching visions to life.

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  33. My room (alternately referred to as the horrible room or the treasure room) is a continual work in progress. My hobbies include bobbin lace, beading, knitting, embroidery, needlepoint, crazy quilting and paper-crafting. In its current configuration, the room is arranged in 4 zones – with much of the storage arranged perpendicular to the walls to take advantage of every inch of floor space.

    I started with modular wood units designed for LPs and cassette tapes to store small bobbin lace supplies and decorative baskets of yarn, plus Closet Maid wire mesh drawer stacks that hold the larger bobbin lace items, needlework supplies and the stash of crazy quilt embellishments. On top of those units is a piece of plywood I covered with batting and metallic, heat resistant fabric to create an ironing surface. Stacking plastic drawers were added to hold the growing stash of yarn, then came two units with shallow drawers that I use to store beads. I inherited 6 low wooden cabinets that I arranged in 2 stacks, which now hold plastic shoe boxes of fabric sorted by color for quilting and sewing projects. The closet has more wire mesh drawer units for the paper crafting supplies. I have a 5 foot table that I would theoretically work on if I ever actually finished cleaning it off – but at least the skirt I made for it does a fine job of hiding more containers of yarn. The top of every flat surface holds either books or baskets of supplies and in-process projects.

    My room wouldn’t win any design prizes either, but I’ll never be bored!

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  34. Work room space…wow… where do I begin? First off… I’m gonna brag ladies… (I’ll apologize ahead of time. My Mom always used to tell me it’s impolite to brag… But I’m proud of this room thanks to my hubby, so I’m gonna brag anyway. ) I’ve got a work space a lot of women would die for. No, it is not a pretty space but it is functional… Its a large space, a converted oversized two car garage under our bedroom. We replaced the roll up doors with two sets of French doors. I have a 12′ wall for my library (which hubby built) complete with an easy chair and standing reading/stitching lamp , I have an area for pressing/ ironing and the tools connected for that chore including a 60″x24″ sized pressing board my hubby custom made for me… I have a 97″x 48″ large cutting table with underside storage (again custom made by hubby), my big 12 foot quilting machine, my 12 needle embroidery machine, my “U” shaped sewing tables with hutch…( yup you guessed it… custom made by hubby) for the serger and three other domestic machines; there’s storage for my beads, sewing notions, fat quarters, machine quilting threads, domestic machine threads, hand embroidery threads, hand embroidery projects/ hoops/ frames and tools…a four drawer filing cabinet for all my patterns and papers and the 16′ wall of fabric storage shelving…(Old Wal-Mart units) two sided… The hidden side holds the items I keep in bins, things I don’t access everyday… I also have a flat screen TV with DVD but most of the time I just listen to music. All this and I’m only steps away from a bathroom… what more could a girl want? I know this all sounds like a dream and most days it is but the bigger the space, the bigger the mess can get… Right now, I do have a huge mess that I plan on attacking… I can only stand it messy for so long… then I just HAVE to stop everything I’m working on and clean. Actually, I’d love to downsize some of this. I have a ton of projects I’ll probably never get to at this point in my life. And before you ask… nope, my hubby is unavailable… sorry girls… he’s all mine. {:0)

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  35. I have no suggestions for you as a workroom dedicated to my needlework projects is only a dream. But I must say I appreciated seeing your Erica Wilson Book. It reminded me of the time many years ago when I was at home with my babies and overwhelmed by bottles and diapers. How wonderful were those moments when I could sit down and watch her show on PBS and then try my hand at similar projects.

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  36. I enjoyed this post! I’d also love to read a sketch of your “dream” work space, if that doesn’t turn your eyes too green!

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  37. I have my books on shelves a couple of steps from my quilting room in a small alcove. I have a nice chair there, and it makes a nice place to sit and consider options.

    When we did the room, my husband wanted to have the carpenters build shelves on the walls for my fabric, but I didn’t want the permanence of them; I want to be able to move things around. I have Billy shelves from IKEA. They come in a variety of sizes, and my fabric looks pretty on the white shelving. I have a smallish table to use for a cutting table. I got some bed stackers to put the table up on so it is a comfortable height for cutting. I have a nice wooden table for my sewing machine and a comfortable adjustable office chair.

    We had an extra bureau so I put it just outside the room where I can store templates, measuring tapes, quilt batting and other supplies that I don’t use often.

    The only additional thing on my wish list is a larger, rectangular ironing board.

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  38. Hey Mary

    You ever look at IKEA for ideas in storage and shelving? Not expensive and easy to put together. My whole sewing room is now IKEA. I wondered mhy I waited so long.

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    1. Hi, Cleo – Yep! With the exception of my thread cabinets with the drawers, everything else (table tops, small bookshelves, and my tools cabinet) are all IKEA. I love their table top / shelf combos and whatnot – they’re affordable and easy to put together!

    2. i too use ikea for much of my organization. i noticed you have two raskog carts in the back. do you use them for anything special? how would you organize them or use them for your craft? i purchased two of them and im trying to decide the best way to utilize them.
      thanks

  39. Well Mary for a workroom I’m thinking you’re looking very well organized. Sure you might say the details need tweaking ( whose doesn’t?) but nevertheless your space is great. Lots of light and lots of shelving and a nice big table!

    My space is carved out of half a very tiny bedroom. I have from my in laws a very beautiful antique wood office desk in a English traditional style. Directly opposite is another antique beautiful wooden sideboard in a very similar style. They look like they belong together. Above the side board are two shelves. Above the desk is a fabric covered cork board and two narrow 6″ shelves. I’m trying to keep things looking decorative on them, they are beginning to get a bit cluttered. I’ve collected a number of things from garage sales and such and things I’ve bought that are overwhelming the space.

    So recently I did another sweep of the room and pulled the like supplies and projects into 2 stacking, rolling under the bed plastic storage. This cleared up a lot of the excess. But I know that I’m not through yet. I do have an old carved wooden bookshelf that looks good with the rest of the furniture and I have my magazines and books here. Unfortunately I’m forced to share this room with my husband. All his clothes are in the closet and he claims half my bookshelf, 🙁 and we also share a large wooden armoire which also holds our clothes. Our house is small and my clothes take up the space in our bedroom closet. I wish I could get him to switch closets with me but he is stubborn.

    So I still need to do some whittling down and reorganization still. The biggest fix would be to just plain finish some projects! And lets not forget the auxiliary space in the coach in the living room in front of the TV. Here I have a standing magnifying light, a TV tray, and one of those old fashioned folding cloth/dowel standing totes which holds a number of projects. The project d’jour is hexagon crazy quilt blocks.

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  40. Always fun to see the library of a fellow stitcher. I recognize a few books that are in my own collection in these pictures!

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