I’ve so enjoyed Jennifer at Ellison Lane’s Studio Spotlight series. It’s wonderful to see the studio spaces of quilters I admire–I find their spaces as inspiring as I find their quilts!

However. It’s time to get real. This, friends, is what I see while I sew on THE VERY BEST of days. The days when we have bread and bananas, the days after our five-year wedding anniversaries when we have zinnias (to conveniently hide the toddler pot).

SONY DSCYou see, we live in an apartment. A really very small apartment. We barely have room for a queen bed, much less a sewing studio. This will change, yes, but change takes time, and I’m not going to put off quilting while I wait for a lovely light-filled studio space with a hardwood floor for basting. (Raise your hand if you’re in the “I baste on filthy carpet and it makes me a stronger person” club with me.)

Here is my kitchen island, on a fairly clean sewing day.


That’s it! That’s my space! See the Janome? The filthy ironing board cover? I *did* treat myself to a new cutting mat recently, that was a major improvement.


My sewing machine perches permanently at the very end of our (small Ikea) dining table. WIPs get draped over chairs.


In the corner furthest from natural light in our matchbox apartment, my stash. (And a yo-yo clown doll that my aunt made for Lucy, that Lucy has since destroyed and I need to re-string.) I moved my stash out of the binΒ after getting rid of 200ish books. That’s right. It’s like pouring out your Jack Daniels to better store your cartons of cigarettes. Or something like that.


In case you didn’t catch it, I have WIPs piled up literally to the crown molding. In this small a space, you learn to use every bit of vertical storage space.

I am really happy with the quilts I’m turning out lately. I think I’m doing good work, and I’m proud and satisfied. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? I’m doing that good work in this really teeny, imperfect, messy space. And basting on grubby carpet. I’m here to tell you that’s OK! You don’t have to have an impeccable studio space, filled with gorgeous light and fabric.

You just have to DO, and sew, and make quilts you are happy with. No matter the space you’re in.

(A thanks, and a shout-out, to MarlaΒ at Sew Hungry, who shared her unfiltered sewing space this past weekend and encouraged me to do the same. If you also have a make-it-do space, we want to see it! Let’s represent the kitchen-island dining-corner quilters!)

Linking up with Ellison Lane’s Studio Spotlight Link Up, which is open until August 23!