Friday, January 20, 2012

A Fabric Brain Teaser

I am really wishing for a cutting table. In my super multi-use space where I have set up my sewing machine and supplies, you will also find office supplies, computer and printer, TV and DVD player (though these are hidden away and rarely used), guest bed, household files, bookshelves filled with books, photo albums, lots of toys, yoga mats. We usually call this room the office, but it would more accurately be referred to as our office/guest room/studio/playroom/storage room/media room/workout room.

When I committed to learning to sew, I carved out a few feet of space in this already crowded room. (Here is the post over at my other blog where I wrote about this.) Imagining additional space for a cutting table is really unrealistic. I know that, but I keep dreaming.

Right now, I am cutting on the floor on a much too tiny self-healing mat.  Here is an idea of what it looks like.

The other day, I sliced my finger with my rotary cutter. Mostly the fault of my absent-mindedness, as I forgot to close the blade cover between cuts. I have been trying since then to be wholly aware of extra safety measures, but I am still learning new habits. I keep finding that blade cover open with the cutter laying in the middle of the floor. Oh, a cutting table would just make my space so much safer, would it not?

Plus, some designated surface space would make detail work easier on the eyes. I was working on another couple buckets for the kids and was cutting out pieces from this very cheap cotton fabric that I bought for the bucket lining. Apparently, the fabric was printed all out of alignment. The line of pencils leads your brain to think of straight lines and I kept finding myself wanting to cut right along them. But then my ruler kept telling me that I was cutting crookedly. Hunched over on the floor, I could not see anything well enough to be able to tell what was going on. I cannot even tell you how long I worked at squaring off this fabric before I realized it was a fault in the fabric printing and not in my cutting abilities (for once).

Take a look at this. Here is one end of the fabric. See how the straight edge of this bamboo box follows the tips of the pencils, but you can see the edge rising up to the next line of pencils in the pattern toward the right edge of the photo.

Keep following along the edge of the box and...

Astounding! It was like one of those brain teasers where you have to figure out which circle is bigger when they are actually the same size. My brain just could not cut straight lines that conflicted with the pencil pattern.

Such a silly little thing to eat up time in life...

Now a cutting table would surely solve that problem...Right?

Do you have a designated sewing room or do you fit your work into multi-use space? How do you make space limitations work for you?


  1. we also have a guest room/office/writing studio/library/storage room/craft and now sewing room. I had a table in the garage that I dusted off to use as a cutting table... after an hour I realized the neighbor's cat peed on it when we accidentally left the garage door open. ugh. I too cut on the floor, but I wish we lived closer, I got TWO large self-healing mats for my birthday last year. I guess I told everyone that I wanted them. :) Hope your finger is healing up well!

  2. I have a little corner of our living room/dining room/playroom. I dream of more space to spread out my crafts. I did finally break down and get a larger cutting mat, though, and it has helped loads. (I waited until a sale at the local fabric store and combined it with a coupon so not as expensive. :)