Ask Jo: Sewing Room and More

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I featurethem on the blog.  This is one of those days

Several questions have come in since my recent sewing room reveal and my Ask Jo about links and courtesies between bloggers and how blogs can be a business.

First I’ll answer questions about my sewing room.  If you missed that post, read it HERE.
Here goes with some of the answers…

Carla wrote:  “I so enjoyed watching your video last night. After reading your post this morning though, I’m curious, what happened to your other vintage machines? You point out the 15-91, the Franklin, and your featherweight, but I remember you having others and they do show up in the before pictures.”

One of the hardest parts of the remodel was downsizing a bit with my machines.  My Singer 99 is looking for a new home.  It’s in the garage right now.  She’s a beauty and runs like a charm but alas, there is no room for her now.  I haven’t sold her yet but I do have someone who has inquired about her.  I keep wondering if I can fit her on the main floor somewhere but so far, I haven’t found the spot.  I think she will get sold.

As for the machines I have…this is my Pfaff.  I do the majority of my sewing on it.  Kelli and I both love the machine.  She loved mine so much, she hunted on eBay until she found one and bought one for herself.   If something should ever happen to this machine that can’t be repaired, I will go to eBay and hunt until I find one.  I will pay the asking price for it and not dicker for a second.  My desire to buy any other machine is gone.  In my opinion, I have the best and I don’t ever need to look for another machine again. (well maybe a vintage one)


This is my Singer 15-91.  I bought her with her cabinet for $15.  She is my second most used machine.  She’s a powerhouse.  If you’re looking for a great machine, I highly recommend vintage 15-91’s.

My Singer 301 is in the sewing room, just not set out on display.  She is in this case…


My Featherweight is in my closet in the black case.  I also have a Bernina and that is on the bottom shelf.  The Bernina has embroidery that I never use.  I bought it at the completely worst time.  It uses little mini cards that have to be put into the machine.  I don’t have computer capabilities that make using other designs very easy.  This machine is the only machine I have that has fancy stitches.


My Franklin that the family bought me for Christmas is hiding under here.  You can find the story of this machine HERE.

I also have a machine Connie gave me with a hand crank on it.  I have had that out a few times to show the grandkids.  They think it is pretty cool.

In my bedroom, I have my New Home treadle.  Kramer and I bought this for $75 when we were out antiquing.


I have a Singer red-eye treadle in the garage…I bought her with the intention of fixing her up.  She’s nice as is but could use a good tune-up.  I thought I would keep her but again…no space.  So she’ll likely be on the market to get sold.

Those are the only machines I have besides an old treadle in the back garage and my long arm.  Along the way, I’ve bought many other machines but I typically fix them and then pass them to a new sewist.

Linda in the UK wrote:  “Wonderful Sewing Room tour – everything in its own place, marvelous. Having seen Lori’s sewing room and now yours I’ve decided to bite the bullet in the New Year and have a proper sewing table made. I love your thin light over your sewing machine, that would work for me. Do you have details of this product? Thank you. Happy sewing in your super room.”

I highly recommend my sewing light.  It’s the long skinny light.  I recommend these ALL OF THE TIME.  They are spendy but worth the money.  The Slim Line lamp is so nice.  Here’s Carver, as a little guy, and me showing it off. 
light has made a huge difference for me.  When I was younger I didn’t worry about lighting. As I age, I’ve learned lighting makes a huge difference.
There are floor versions and tabletop versions.  See them all HERE.

I have a light at both of my machines.  The standing one you see in the photo above is at my 15-91.  I also have one that is a tabletop version at my Pfaff.

The tabletop version can be found HERE and is a little cheaper.  I truly love these lights.

Bev asked, “What is the size of your sewing room, it is wonderful.”  14 x 20 plus the closet and it is 6 x 11.  When we designed the addition on the house, we planned it to be this size as most people would use it as a master bedroom.  There is not a bathroom attached but there is a bathroom right next door.

Nann wrote:  “Thank you for the tour, Jo. The gray and red ultra-matte paint is wonderful! What’s the story of the miniature dresser (red with black)?


My little dresser I found on a trip to Lacrosse, WI for doctor appointments.  I don’t remember if it was Kramer or me seeing the doctor.  All I know is that we both went.  We stopped at a garage sale and I bought this.  It was more of a vintage sale than a garage sale.  I paid $32.50 for it.  They were asking $40 for it and I asked if they would take less.  $32.50 was the number he threw out and I said sold.  It’s really cute.  It’s about the right size for a 2-year-old.

Diane O wrote:  “I’ve been looking forward to your sewing room reveal and tour!! It is absolutely beautiful and looks to be very functional!! Love your colors, gray and pops of red, just awesome together!! A couple of questions — What do you store in your 2 red cabinets? What is your plan for the end of the island that is opposite of your sewing machine? Do you use a particular box, tote, or container for storing your UFOs?”

First off…Red Cabinets:
The large one on the south end…  This is the inside.

I put everything in here that was “odd”.  Notice the things don’t have matching totes.  The iron is hard to store on the shelf.  Some things are for specific projects.  I have patterns in there.  It’s the stuff that is a little messier and couldn’t be made to look neat.

The smaller one on the north end…  Thread is on the top two shelves.  I have a longarm so the overflow thread is here.  I hit a great sale over Black Friday and the thread I use was only $1.99 per spool.  I stocked up so I have enough for the entire next year…and maybe even more than that!!

The bottom of the cabinet is a couple of UFOs that blog readers sent that I anticipate finishing for future benefits.

The dresser that anchors the island…  Four of the six drawers are filled with bits and parts.


There are lots of half-square triangles.  There are lots of leftover nine patches.  I plan to dive into these after the UFOs are under control.  Two drawers are EMPTY!  Can you believe that??

How I store my UFO projects… They are stored primarily in the cabinet in the bottom.

I have these totes for the most part.  I got mine from Walmart.  HERE is a link.  This is a good size and holds most everything for a UFO.  My suggestion is to measure your shelf, then measure the containers you are thinking of using.  These are 12 quart containter so when you’re looking, aim for that size so them will be big enough.  In my shelf area here it is just over 14″ so I can put two of these or one of the larger totes I have…THESE.


In some cases, the pieces to a quilt that is cut have to be kept together in a specific way…that is how it is with Garlic Knots.  So I opted to leave that one in the tray it was already in.  Once I tackle that UFO, I will no longer use the tray to store UFOs on.

I use THESE address labels to label all of the things in the sewing room that have labels.

Now onto questions about my post explaining how blogs work as a business…
You can read the post HERE if you missed it.

Ruth asked, “Thank you for the simple explanation of how blogs work. I’ve been trying to remember to check your Amazon account before ordering anything. Have you ever thought of taking Sunday off from blogging like Bonnie does?

No Ruth, I haven’t thought about it.  I used to take Sunday evenings off and I did enjoy that, but with the constant mail coming in and the charity quilt posts, I have too much to write about…For now, I’ll be sticking with two posts every day.

Also, when the blog was down for a bit last week, I got emails from some of you like this one from Amy, “Yay! Thank you. I so enjoy your blog. It’s part of my routine. I get so much inspiration from you. Thank you for sharing your life.”

Kathy wrote, “Hi, Jo. I am pretty new to your blog but I really enjoy it. I also love seeing recommendations for products from folks who have used them and can demonstrate how they work for them. I really enjoyed your Christmas gift recommendations. I don’t know how it is done, but I would love it if you would include a link and have your own Amazon store even with separate sections for the products you talk about so I could get right there instead of going back to find the post. (Bonnie Hunter did this recently, and I thought it was brilliant.) If I need to purchase something anyway, I would just as soon give the benefit to someone I “know”, sort of. I have metal shelves but had not found anything that really fit so I am going to go look at those totes you shared! Thanks again.”

I do have a button that does take you directly to my Amazon shop.  Check in the top of the picture below.  Do you see the tabs?  There is a tab that says, “Jo Recommends”.  That will take you directly to my Amazon store.


I also have this in the right-hand column. It’s been there for a long time.

You can use this if you want to freely shop at Amazon, all you need to do is find this Amazon ad link, click it, and Amazon will credit me, at no extra cost to you, a commission on your purchases.

After I wrote about Blog courtesies and linking, this comment came from
Denise, “Jo, this was an excellent and thorough explanation. Your comparison to quilt shops really brought your point home too. Thank you for all of your great content and now your videos – love them!

I want you all to know that I did contact Bonnie before that post went live.  I sent her a copy of the post as I was sure a few people would be contacting her about it and telling her I had written it so I only felt that it was right to give her a heads up.  We emailed back and forth and Bonnie had no problem with my post.  She was super supportive of my business.  As Bonnie says, if people know her, they can always buy from her directly should they choose.

I want to thank you all for understanding the behind the scenes part of blogging.  Writing posts like that are often hard.  People can take what I write in so many different ways.  I appreciate you all recognizing that the blog is indeed part hobby…part income.

…and before I close out this post, something from Beth:  “Your pizza spaghetti idea is the bomb! I made it yesterday and is a new favorite in our household! Thanks for the inspiration!

Beth is so right…my spaghetti pizza is the bomb.  HERE is the recipe if you missed it.  You don’t have to wonder what to make for supper, just give the recipe a try!

If I missed your question, please ask again.  It does get crazy around here and I do miss things.

15 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Sewing Room and More

  1. Jazz

    Jo, I was wrong when I whined about my office/crafts/sewing room being “not much bigger than your closet”! Your closet at 6′ x 11′ is bigger than my whole room! (I’m thrilled for you. And I’ll start referring to my room as “cozy”.)

    Reply
  2. Joan Parker

    I have a two-part question. What kind of thread do you use for the long arm, and where did you find it so inexpensively? I have a Handi-Quilter and do my own quilts and have a few customers.Joa

    Reply
  3. Judith Fairchild

    I told my girl about the speghetti pizza and she’s going to try it. I would but then I would have to freeze most of it as it’s just for me. I like how you have managed to get everything so organized you have me working to keep my sewing area neat.

    Reply
  4. Linda

    Jo, thank you for the effort you go through everyday to post updates and share your ideas. I am new to your blog. I was browsing through some of your quilts and saw the tumbler quilt. I’m curious about the binding- I have a tumbler quilt almost done and would like to leave the sides indented rather than straightening – would I have to use a bias binding? Thank you for your time. Linda

    Reply
  5. Kathy Fransham

    Thanks so much for the details on everything. I have the Viking Megaquilter, which is a twin to your Grandquilter, and I love it for piecing. I also have a Singer similar to yours. Mine is the 15-90, one step prior to yours, and it’s the one I learned to sew on more than 60 years ago. Both nice machines.

    Reply
  6. Lisa B

    I wondered what was behind some of the doors! I’m glad you answered that. I really need to get my UFOs more organized like yours are. I recently purchased a new sewing machine and ask the salesman about storing it in my vacation home. He said dampness is the worst thing for sewing machines. They can pick-up moisture off a cement floor, in an Old Barn, or next to an exterior wall and the interior parts will rust while the exterior looks fine. He suggested keeping it on the second floor of my condo in the center so it’d be less likely to absorb moisture from the exterior of the building. I love my Pfaff 1472 and recently priced a refurbished vintage one online. Because it had all the parts, which i still have, it was considerably more than what I paid for mine 3 decades ago. I do love my machine. And it was very tempting to purchase the one online but I resisted…for now.

    Reply
  7. Margaret

    I have a Singer 301 in a walnut cabinet which I bought new in 1952, it has a beautiful stitch and runs so quiet. It is a great machine.

    Reply
  8. Gail

    Hi Jo, got lots of ideas on how to organize my sewing room – wondering if you have consider nightstands or coffee tables for under your long arm? I have used them throughout the house to store UFOs

    Reply

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