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Mary Corbet

writer and founder

 

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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The Tables We Chose and Why

 

Amazon Books

After the tour of the new studio a couple weeks ago, I received a flood of questions about our furniture – specifically about the tables in the work & classroom space.

My intention all along was to tell you about them in a little more detail because, truth be told, they are already a source of work-related joy for us. They’re probably the best investment I’ve ever made in furnishings. And they’re one of the only larger purchases I’ve ever made in my life where I have not suffered one iota of the dreaded Buyer’s Remorse.

So I’ll tell you about them, what they are, what they do, and why we got them. There’s no affiliation with anything here. I hope that some of you find the information useful, especially if you’re setting up your own sewing or craft room.

Uplift tables for sewing & crafts

Ever since I started Needle ‘n Thread, I’ve been a “make do” person when it comes to furnishings that I work on or with.

Needle ‘n Thread began in my bedroom, where I had a desk with a computer. When I needed to take photos on a table top, or videos, I pretty much just pushed my computer to the far edge of the desk and did what I could. Blogging, online images, and online video were not at all what they are now!

Embroidery happened in my living room. And that was Needle ‘n Thread.

Then, I graduated to my garage, which was a finished room with extra storage cabinets.

In there, my great furniture investments were my Bisley thread storage cabinets and an IKEA table top. I also had a folding plastic table from Sam’s to round out the seating space for classes.

After years in the garage, and having to drop local classes for lack of space, Needle ‘n Thread finally outgrew that room. Especially after I started kitting, which requires bringing in large quantities of supplies all at once, there simply wasn’t enough space.

From the garage, I moved to this residential duplex that I rented just for Needle ‘n Thread. This move really allowed my to expand the business and to work in a more efficient way than I was working.

Furnishings included plastic tables on plastic risers for cutting fabric, IKEA desktops and some small shelves, and a few pieces garnered from local garage sales and the like.

A residential space is never ideal for a business, but I was grateful for it! We spent a good four years there.

As Needle ‘n Thread continued to grow, though – and especially when I started bringing in a curated collection of books and other needlework-related goods – it became evident that I had to be proactive in finding a commercial space, where deliveries could be better regulated, where storage was not as much of an issue, where we had room to work, cut fabric, manufacture ready-to-stitch goods, package kits, ship efficiently, and so forth.

And so, here we are, in the newest space, a commercial space in downtown St. Marys, Kansas, along the Highway 24 corridor, which I already showed you here.

Uplift tables for sewing & crafts

The first thing I promised my trusty sidekick Anna when we acquired the space was that we would invest in some real work tables that could accommodate cutting gargantuan amounts of fabric while standing, sitting to do handwork, standing to kit supplies, sitting for classes, standing for putting together thread packs, sitting when we wanted, standing when we wanted – you get the idea!

And so the research began.

In these days of standing desks, where you can press a button to raise your desk so that you can stand and work – and then press a button when you want to sit – I already knew what I wanted. I wanted a motorized standing desk that was the size of a table.

My research led me to Uplift Desk, which was further recommended by my doctor, who has them in his office. He advocates using standing desks for folks who have sedentary computer-related jobs, and I plied him with questions.

I did a lot of price comparisons, too, looking at different automatic standing desks at various places, including Sam’s and other less expensive options. I read tons of reviews. But I kept going back to Uplift, mainly because they offered a lot of customization and a variety of sizes.

They also had conference tables. And conference tables are bigger than desks.

But conference tables that raise and lower on a motor tend to be really expensive, and I had a few very serious moments of hesitation.

I finally settled on two small conference tables that are 80″ x 24″, because I could get the two tables for less than the price of the larger 108″ conference table. And as much as I would love to have their full ping-pong size conference table, it’s way beyond my reach!

The two smaller tables would give me the ability to maneuver and rearrange the tables for different activities, including cutting large swaths of fabric while and hosting classes while sitting… and everything in between.

Uplift tables for sewing & crafts

The motor mechanism on the Uplift tables is pretty impressive. It’s smooth, quiet, and quick, without jolting or bumping. It doesn’t strain, even when the tables are loaded with books, fabric bolts, and the like. The tables have heavy duty legs and heavy duty, but quiet, motors. Despite their heavy-dutiness, though, they are relative straightforward and easy to put together.

The ability to program frequently used heights makes it easier to keep the tables aligned together and to move quickly move both tables from a preferred standing height to a preferred sitting height.

I decided these auto-lift tables were a need and not just a want for several reasons:

1. The ability to stand or sit, or half-way stand or half-way sit, while working is much healthier than either sitting all day or standing all day. We do a lot of work that requires standing, but some work requires (or our bodies require) a sitting break, too. But sitting all day every day is definitely not good for the old (or young!) bag o’ bones.

2. Plastic risers for plastic tables have proven to be unstable for constant work, especially when handling large bolts of fabric and awkward, heavy things. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve knocked a table on risers over, just from moving around it or pulling a large roll of fabric across it.

3. The ability to change the position of a table quickly without hassle saves time and frustration. We can transition from standing-work mode (kitting, thread prepping, fabric cutting) to class mode or embroidery mode with the touch of a button. We don’t have to break down a table-on-risers, unloading it, reloading it, etc. It’s all done lickety-split, without any upset of the work surface. And while this seems like just a matter of convenience, we have found that we are more likely to tackle more projects more quickly, or to have people in to work with us, and so forth, now that we can make those table transitions easily and quickly.

So these tables have been our biggest investment in furniture for our work space. We’ve barely been in the space for a month, but they’ve already proven their value.

I think that anyone who has a sewing or craft room, who cuts fabric frequently, who works a lot in a sitting position but realizes the need to stand and work, too, or who does a lot of work that requires standing without the back-breaking bending to reach goods on a regular height table, would benefit from an adjustable-height table.

We settled on the Uplift tables because we liked their size, their customization options, the good reviews of their mechanical aspects, their product guarantee, and the whole ease of use. Motorized adjustable desks are becoming much more common, though, and there are many out there for different budgets. It’s definitely something to look into, if you’re arranging a sewing or craft room and making investments in furnishings. We’re delighted with ours!

Coming Up – Don’t Forget the Give-Away!

Don’t forget that we have an exciting give-away going on for a reticello kit and books. If you haven’t joined, there’s still time. You’ll find the give-away article here.

And some exciting news! Thanks to Vito Buonpadre, I’m adding a second kit and two books for a second winner, so I’ll be drawing two names for this give-away on this Wednesday. I’ll adjust the post accordingly as soon as I can.

Anna and I will be taking time off for Christmas, so this Wednesday is the last day that we will ship from Needle ‘n Thread before Christmas. We’ll ship once in the middle of next week (after Christmas), and then we’ll get back to regular daily shipping after January 2. So if you are looking for something special from my shop and you want it to ship quickly, you might want to get it today through Wednesday. I’ve recently restocked Tulip needles, hoops, and Elisabetta Sforza’s books.

I’ll be restocking all the reticello kits and topping up all the books as soon as possible. It will be after the first of the year before they arrive. Once they’re back in stock, I’ll announce it on the website.

Hope you have a lovely week! And if you’re in North America, stay warm! We’re gearing up for a super freeze here in Kansas and through much of North America this week. Good excuse to stay inside and stitch!

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(4) Comments

  1. I had to laugh when I saw your tables. A few years back I needed work surfaces for cutting out fabric and a place to put my sewing machine. I envisioned beautiful cherry wood sewing cabinet – but my husband, bless his heart came up with a different solution. He went to our local big box store and picked up 2 of their 1,000 lb capacity shop tables. I was mortified when I saw them. BUT, after using them I wouldn’t go back to anything else. These are tall tables like you show, which allow me to stand while working on crafts. I have a tall chair for when I feel the need to sit. They are solid sturdy and adjustable. You’ll love crafting on them. Tall tables are definitely the way to go.

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  2. Hello Mary,

    Three years ago I purchased an Uplift desk system – just legs & motor, no table top – for my sewing room. My husband custom made the table top for me which fits the dimensions of a very large cutting mat for fabric. It has been a lifesaver for my back while cutting fabric for quilts & pieces of clothing. So happy that you have treated yourself to their tables.

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas & a Happy & healthy New Year.

    Cheers from Ontario, Canada,
    Linda

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  3. This sounds like a really good purchase! I’m still making do with secondhand or cheap furniture but it is working well for me; I just need more space. I have an Ikea desktop that’s adjustable but I don’t change the height because it has drawers tucked under it. It is kept at standing height and I use an adjustable swiveling “bar stool” so that I can sit down to use the table as well.

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