Monday, April 30, 2018

Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop 2018

I am excited to be a part of this great opportunity to get my studio back in shape after a fun filled first quarter of 2018.  A special thank you to Cheryl Sleboda of for arranging and organizing this event.  I really need some motivation and a deadline to bring some order to my creative chaos.

First let me introduce myself, I am Linda Bratten.  I am a quilt artist, instructor and pattern designer through my company,  

My husband and I did a dramatic downsizing in our living space after the boys left home, so we could pursue our own interests.  I now face a huge downsizing dilemma, now that my sewing studio is smaller by half, what should I keep and what should I get rid of?  I should also mention that the past 10 years of teaching both nationally, locally and online has created a love of a variety of sewing machines and tools to get the best results, not to mention a fabric collection that I may never sew through.  However the storing of said items has presented its own problems, especially when the studio is relatively small.

So I created a list of things that I would love to get done by the deadline.

If you have ever had a small living/studio area you recognize that you can make a mess by leaving out a project. So now imagine creating three new patterns, organizing and presenting two guild programs, conducting an all day workshop, and maintaining my monthly teaching opportunities at a local quilt shop, all of which started the first week of January and ended on the last week in March!

I admit I am guilty of creating piles, and jumping to the next project to keep things moving.  I kept promising myself and the studio that I would get to it later, but it seems that "later" never comes without a deadline.  So here is what my work areas looked like before I dove in.

Piles of fabric and projects on my ironing station.
Threads piled high on my cutting station.
Inspiration Board Overload...

Finally, no place to sew at my sewing station.

Because of limited floor space, I have to used vertical space to store things,  and unfortunately there is not a closet door that I can shut to hide it. This may seem claustrophobic for some, but it is a sacrifice that I accepted when we downsized.  To get me started and to find a project that I could accomplish before the deadline, I started with my inspiration boards.

It is amazing what one finds when you go through several years of inspiring items.  I use these boards as inspiration, pattern planning, and part memory boards to keep me inspired.  Once the big clutter is gone/filed away they are surprisingly fun to look at!

Next I tackled the thread mess.  I took this opportunity to sort and reduce my thread supply.  I had just finished a thread sketching/painting workshop and so many of my threads were pulled out.

I reduced my thread boxes by half and was able to fit them on the shelving again!

Next I tackled the ironing station.  I took the sewing projects and sorted them into project bags and baskets that would keep items needed to finish them together.  Now to just find the time to get them finished.  Then I folded and sorted the fabric in piles.  I store my fabric in big totes in the garage based on fabric type and color.  Obviously there is no room for them in the studio.

This is the ironing station that my husband created for me.  He put a dresser on wheels and attached a large padded surface for me to iron on. I keep a piece of 100% cotton fabric on top of the padded surface.  The fabric protects the padded surface from spray starch products and fusible web.  When needed I wash or replace the fabric to keep it clean.  It is much easier than recovering the padded surface. I use a small basket to hold starch, pressing cloths, water bottles, and measuring tools that I use frequently.  The canvas container is holding camera equipment for when I film techniques or go "Live" in the Linda B Creative Facebook Group.

Next I straightened out the cutting area.  There was not much left once the thread was put away.  This is a huge cutting area given the amount of space that I have.  I absolutely love my large cutting table as I can easily cut out a dress pattern with a rotary cutter on it. As mentioned earlier, my last sewing studio spoiled me and I had some things I did not want to give up, this being one of them.

As of now  my embroidery machine shares one end of the table.  They play nice together and I move the embroidery machine when I need the full table.  The other end of the table is a piece of plywood with magnetic tool holders.  This helps me to keep the cutting area clear of my small tools and is backed with a small chest of drawers that holds patterns and sewing notions.  Several of my sewing machines are stored on top of this and another chest in the room.

Finally it was the sewing stations themselves that needed to be tackled.  Much just need to be stored in the proper place, perhaps a sign of an overbooked business owner.  Having the other areas cleaned motivated me to continue on until the space was usable again. I like to keep my machines covered to protect them from fading and dust.

This is my favorite sewing area.

The curtained book shelf on top the sewing station contains lots of my mixed media products that I like to use on my sewing and quilting projects.  And yes that is another machine behind the main machine.  It is a Sashiko machine and I trade them out as needed.  Believe it or not there is a second sewing area in the studio.

It is smaller and so I use it to piece tops and for small sewing projects.  This is where I like to use my serger so I keep my serger feet sorted in shoe storage pockets that hangs on the wall in this area.

If you looked carefully at my list, you probably noticed that I didn't get the walls painted behind the ironing station, nor did I get 10 years of content and patterns sorted.

It may take another deadline to get through it all.  However, I am inspired when I go into the studio now, and I cannot wait to see what I create next!

 Please check out my website  There you can sign up for my free monthly newsletter, Linda B Creative and be sure to join my Facebook Group, Linda B Creative, where I share patterns, tips and techniques to inspire your creativity.

Also, be sure to hop on over and check the other creative individuals that are participating in the Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop 2018!

April 23 – Lori Crawley Kennedy –
April 24 – Jennifer Thomas –
April 25 – Robin Koehler –
April 26 – Andi Barney-
April 27 – Misty Cole –
April 28 – Carolina Moore-
April 29 – Heather Pregger –
April 30 – Linda Bratten –
May 1 – Lisa Reber –
May 2 – Teresa Coates –
May 3 – Lisa Chin –
May 4 – Jamie Fingal –
May 5 – Sam Hunter –
May 6 – Jessee Maloney –
May 7 – Randa Parrish –
May 8 – Sarah Vedeler-
May 9 – Jessica Darling –
May 10 – Melody Crust –
May 11 – Debby Brown –
May 12 – Cheryl Sleboda –

Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave a comment about what you liked in my sewing studio!-Linda

Monday, April 23, 2018

Head to the Hills, the Hill Country Quilt Guild of Kerrville, Texas!

This March, I was honored to share my love of Mixed Media Techniques for your Quilting and Sewing Projects with the Hill Country Quilter's Guild, in Kerrville, Texas.

There was about 112 members in attendance, eager to learn the different ways to use mixed media products to enhance their quilting and sewing projects.

It was such fun to demonstrate the techniques and share how I have used them in my projects.  Then the next day, I conducted a workshop, "Fall"-ing in Love with Thread Sketching and Thread Painting, using my original pattern.

The workshop participants used thread sketching and painting techniques, with my helpful "training wheels" to create this fun wall hanging.

"Fall"-ing in Love with Thread Sketching and Painting Traditional Fabric Choices

"Fall"-ing in Love with Thread Sketching and Painting Modern Fabric Choices 

Participants really enjoyed the process and the feedback from them was great!

They were a fabulous guild to work with and I really enjoyed my visit to Texas

If you know of a guild or shop that would love to have me give a presentation or a workshop have them contact me through my website at

The "Fall"-ing in Love with Thread Sketching and Thread Painting pattern will soon be available on my website.

May your bobbins be full!-Linda Bratten