Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tip Tuesday! - Design Walls and Accessories

Welcome to
"Tip Tuesday!" - Design Walls and Accessories

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired! 

I love my design wall!

My husband built this wall for me while I was away on a retreat a few years back and it has been awesome to use. HERE is a link to the original construction of the wall. I continue to thank him for surprising me with this. :-) We've made a few changes over the years, but basically it has stayed to the same and it most definitely has served its purpose. 

My design wall center unit measures 60" x 74" and it is covered with a dyed flannel grid. The grid is called Creative Grid by Maywood Studio and it comes in white, but since I use a lot of white background fabrics, I needed something different so the blocks would nit "blend in." I thought about dyeing the flannel black, but I use a lot of black too and knew that I would not be happy with that choice. I finally decided on the brown because both white and black stand out against it. I use brown fairly often, but it is usually a chocolate or much darker brown, so this works perfectly for me. I've seen this flannel sold at a number of online stores, but I think Tennessee Quilts has it for the lowest price that I've seen recently. If you call or place an order with them, tell them you heard about it from me - Joanne from Ohio. :-) That's the shop where I've taken my Judy Niemeyer workshops and I've had so much fun every time I've been there. They are such nice people!   

Anyway, back to the walls. My design wall has two "wings" or extensions that can be added or removed as needed. Each of these extensions measures 18" x 74" so when I have it fully combined, my design wall measures approximately 96" x 74". Like I said, I love my design wall!  Check out the construction of the "wings/extensions" HERE.

I've heard a lot of quilters say that they don't need a design wall, or that they don't have room for one, but I think they would be surprised how helpful it really is to have one. I feel that even if I wasn't designing quilts, the wall would be useful. Having one certainly helps me stay organized and not pick up a couple of blocks and have them in the wrong order or twisted around. (Ok, I still do it sometimes, but that's usually because I'm talking and not paying attention to what I'm doing.) 

Design walls can be very elaborate and expensive to build, but they don't have to be. Even if you have a limited amount of space in your sewing area (and budget), I'm sure you can create a design wall for yourself. I've seen design walls that are portable and temporary and can be dismantled and stored away until they are needed again.

Check out this small door design wall that I found on the Sew Many Ways blog. This is a great use of space!

If you have some wall space, this idea from Sew Katie Did is awesome.

If you need ideas on how to create your own design wall, simply "google" "design wall for quilting" (or some variation of that), and you'll get lots of links to peruse. One of the links listed through this "google" search will take you to a Pinterest page that has LOTS of ideas. I know from personal experience that you could spend a large amount of time (hours!) checking out all of the websites and blogs that provide information on design walls. 

Don't ask me why, but I've continued to check out the sites even though I have a wonderful design wall. Maybe I'm looking so I can help a student or friend come up with a wall that will work for them. No matter why I keep looking, I just do and I find it very interesting.

There are a couple of things (accessories) that I have on my wall that I find very useful and think you may also. 

First of all, I have attached two measuring tapes to the design wall. The one at the top is pinned in place and it pretty well permanent. The second one is going down the left side. I don't have this pinned down as well as the one on the top because I want to be able to move it to the outside edge of the "wing/extension" that Jack built for me. 

These tape measures help me know the size of the block on which I'm working, as well as the size of the entire quilt. It also helps to accurately line up quilts when I lay them out or when I'm trying to keep things in order. It's also helpful when trying to decide border sizes. Each square in the grid is 2" x 2" so it's easy to do the math and visualize the finished product.  :-)

Since my wall is made from insulation board, I can stick pins in it. This allows me to have a pin cushion nearby and even a copy of the pattern on which I'm working. 

The pins are helpful when I'm doing paper piecing and the blocks don't want to stay put and "adhere" to the flannel. They also helps when I want to audition fabric for borders. I can pin up large pieces of fabric, stand back and make my decision. 

What's your design wall look like? What are its best features and what would you change if you could?

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