Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Design Wall

In my post of earlier today, I mentioned something about the design wall in my quilt room.  In the comments section, Katie of Katidids asked me to describe it in more detail because she's a quilter, too, and has been wanting to create one for her own use.

A design wall, sometimes called a flannel wall or flannel board, is an upright surface on which you can place combinations of fabrics for auditioning, the individual pieces of a quilt block you are working on or the blocks of a quilt before sewing them together.  It enables you to "step back from your work" and get a good idea of how your color scheme is working or how you might want to change the pattern of how blocks are arranged.

To make a simple design wall, you can pin or tack a large piece of flannel or felt or low-loft batting to a flat wall surface.  Even the back of a door would work.  Your fabric pieces or strips of a quilt will easily adhere to the surface without the use of pins.

Before I had my quilt room, I covered a 4' x 8' sheet of rigid Styrofoam insulation with a large piece of white flannel and leaned that up against the wall near where I was quilting.

When I was designing my quilt room, I knew I wanted as much space for a design wall as possible.  I even gave up wall space that could have been used for storage (you can NEVER have enough storage in a quilting or sewing room, can you?) for my two design walls.

These pictures are taken from a post I did a few years ago giving a tour of my quilt room.  If you're interested in seeing that post, click here.


This is the smaller area (to the right of the window) I use primarily for holding projects that I need to, for instance, look at and think about before going any farther on them.


To the right and around the corner is a large area and the main area I use, especially while constructing a full size quilt.  It's big enough to hold all the blocks of a big quilt so I can keep track of their proper arrangement while I'm sewing them together.

When we constructed the quilt room, we made the walls out of (very economically priced) fiber board.  Over this I put white flannel, floor to ceiling, in the areas I wanted as design walls.  If I need to use straight pins to secure anything on the wall, the fiber board is porous enough to accept and hold the pins much as the cork of a bulletin board would.

I'd truly feel handicapped if I had to quilt without my design walls.  They're in constant use and I'm a better quilter by having them to use.

Hope this gives you some ideas to work from, Katie! 

24 comments:

Erin said...

I can't wait until I have a wall to put up a proper design wall! I hang a big flannel flat sheet from some nails above my closet for now. This house is just not conducive for a proper crafting space, the open loft floor plan is good for making a tiny space feel big but there are only like 6 walls in the whole place LOL!

Tombstone Livestock said...

that is a serious quilting room, looks good, and very well organized.

K Quilts at Home (Karen) said...

Awesome.....

Freedom Acres Farm said...

For sure! If I did more quilting I'd have one for sure! As it is when I do an occasional quilt I use the floor LOL

Love your sewing room!!

Michelle said...

I have a design wall. I can't see myself working without. It's one of my favorite parts of my quilt room.

Katidids said...

Thank you! I have a 6X10 section I am considering using...my last wall space! I will need to attach it to a 1X slat or something to hang it. I've been watching for flannel wider that 45in but we are talking some serious $$ for it now. Foam board behind the door will work perfectly for doll quilts and table runners. Thank you!

Sparkless said...

And if you have young kids you can make your own felt boards using the same idea. Just cut out felt people, clothes whatever you kids like and they can play around arranging them on the flannel board. My kids had one and they loved it but I spend a fortune buying one and now see I could have made one much easier and less expensive.

Susan said...

I am always in awe of your talent - and your quilting room! It is so organized!! Will you come live with me for a month? I need your help!!!

Lisa said...

Thanks for explaining in detail your design wall. I need one now and wasn't sure how to pull it together. I LOVE your quilt room!!!

Mama Pea said...

Erin - You do a FANTASTIC job of making your little house comfy, cozy and oh-so-liveable but there's no way you can squeeze a sewing/quilting room out of the space available. Hang in there, Friend. A new house will come for you (in I hope the not too distant future) and you will get your own private hideaway room!

Mama Pea said...

Tombstone Livestock - Thank you very much!

Mama Pea said...

Karen - Welcome and thanks for commenting!

Mama Pea said...

Karen - P.S. Love the looks of those lap quilts for your daughters!

Mama Pea said...

Freedom Acres Farm - I've used both the floor and my kitchen table! I think we all make do with what we have available.

Thanks for your kind words!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - It is a very handy tool, isn't it? I can agonize over a color or block or placement but as soon as I put it up on the design wall, back away across the room and look at it, it becomes clear if it works or not. It's true that sometimes we're just too close to our work!

Mama Pea said...

Katidids - A 6 x 10' section with give you a lot of area to work with.

The flannel I used was 60" wide and I got it so long ago I can't remember what it cost. I did have to piece it for my big space. I wonder how low-loft batting would price out?

You're welcome!

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - Yes, I know kids do enjoy felt boards. All we need are the basic ideas and we can often recreate lots of things offered ready-made as toys. (It's getting the ideas that are sometimes tough to come by!)

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Anybody who accomplishes what you do everyday around the homestead WHILE working a full-time job (and commuting two hours a day) away from home doesn't need to be organized! It might somehow change your ability to function as well as you do!

nancy said...

Good idea! Have you thought about putting up some white lights, like LED, etc., for truer color?

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Thank you! They sell ready made flannel boards, but they're kinda pricey. And you'd still have to have room to lean it against a wall surface. And a place to store it. Better off making your own, I say. And I know you'll have no trouble doing it!

Mama Pea said...

Nancy - I do have full-spectrum fluorescent lights in the ceiling, but they could be improved upon. My daughter tells me that the colors in a photograph will look different on each individual computer on which they are viewed. How's that for discouraging?

judy said...

I am gonna have my private get away ,hope it has a lock on the door

judy said...

and its not in the lock up ward

Mama Pea said...

judy - Hoping that "room of your own" comes for you soon. I waited many, many years for mine but now can enjoy it from here on out! And you will, too. :o}