First Friday Studio Tour – Lynn Woll

This month we are visiting with Lynn Woll in Tacoma, Washington.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room?  To yourself, to friends and family?  Why do you think this is so?  Difference in starting point between quilting and art?  Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

I call it ‘upstairs’. It was originally a ‘bonus room’ or extra living space upstairs so that my daughter could ‘hang’ with her friends. I had a little corner space with my sewing machine, and didn’t use it very much. When she went to college, I started to expand my ‘space’ in the room – a little bit at a time, and, as you can tell, I pretty much have taken over the entire room!

Lynn Woll View from door into roomView from the door into my room

My sewing is a hobby for me. I have a more-than-full-time job that helps me collect fabric for someday in the future. For the past three years I’ve had a fun job that required me to travel around the world. It’s been fun, but exhausting. I have spent more time collecting recently, than creating. But each piece and each notion has a memory of a great place in the world. Being a part of Postmark’d Art has allowed me to continue to be creative – on little pieces, and given me deadlines so I actually get some creative time for me.

Lynn Woll View out windowMy view out the window from my sewing machine . I keep an eye on the cul-de-sac!

What do you have in the room?  machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc.  Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

What do I have in the room? Too much!  Machines, supplies and books are handy in the room; fabrics are stored in a closet off the room. We built the house and the bonus room was huge (we were moving from a house just over 1000 sq ft). We took 10’ off the length of the room and made a storage closet. It is a mess right now, but my fabric and notions are stored in the closet.

Lynn Woll Serger, felting machine and messy bulletin boardSerger, felting machine and messy bulletin board! 

Lynn Woll BookcasesBookcases

I do share the room with my treadmill. It is the perfect place to contemplate a piece on the design wall. I should use it more often! But it isn’t used to hang clothes! As you can see in the pic – garments I’m working on are hung from the wall unit.

Lynn Woll View from sewing machine to doorView from my sewing machine to the door. My design wall is 8′ wide and 10′ tall. 

How is your “stuff” organized?  How do you organize your fabric? By color?  Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)?  How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

I’m working on organizing (again). It seems like an ongoing chore. My quilt fabrics are stored by color in cubbies in the closet. In the past few years I’ve gotten into more garment sewing and that fabric is harder to store since it is more yardage. The collection of garment fabrics are in piles and bins in the closet, the corner of the room, the under-eves attic and in my daughter’s room closet – everywhere.

Lynn Woll Quilting fabrics sorted by colorQuilting fabrics sorted by color along one wall of the closet . . .with piles of garment fabrics collected stacking up against the shelved. Top ones are wovens I picked up in Mexico for less than $1 yard. Who could leave them behind? 10 yards of each, please. 

Lynn Woll Other wall in closetThe other wall in the closet. Garment fabrics below, shelves above hold plastic shoe boxes with notions and ‘stuff’.

I do a lot of beading on my quilts, and like to make beaded jewelry. The beads (and findings and more) are organized by color in the plastic drawers on the desk in the corner of the room. I can pull out my beads, pull up a chair and work right there. The desk is special to me, as my Dad had made it for his computer desk about 25 years ago. It is perfect for my bead storage!

Lynn Woll Computer deskThe computer desk my Dad made, with my beading supplies.

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house.  How many other rooms? (My husband likes to talk about that one.) Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

Uh, yes . . . my husband has accused me of ‘taking over’ the entire house. I have fabric tucked in my daughter’s bedroom, I do some of my handwork downstairs in our living room, so always seem to have a project or two next to my chair. The office has a mix of paper and scrapbooking supplies (most of which can be used in a quilt), and two bookshelves filled with more books. So, I’m often going back and forth between the two rooms when I’m creating.

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough?  Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

Not enough – can you ever have enough? You can see I’m working on some postcards on my horizontal surface in my room. When I need more, like cutting out a garment, or layering a quilt, I use my dining room table.

Lynn Woll Cutting areaMy cutting area

Lynn Woll Postcards in progresss on horizontal spaceSome postcards in progress on my ‘horizontal’ space.

Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?  How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I like to straighten and organize as I go, but generally don’t.  Believe it or not, the room is looking pretty good right now! I’m sure it would drive some people crazy with the mess I have. I usually have many projects in the works at the same time, and have another great idea I want to try.

Lynn Woll View of sewing UView of my messy sewing ‘U’ . . . have my cutting area, primary sewing machine, and then the other side is my serger and felting machine.

In the past few years I have been working long hours and travel a lot for work. When I have a few minutes to create, I don’t want to spend the time cleaning up and organizing. I want to create something.  My goal for this year was to get a bit better organized, and have been attacking a little bit at a time so it isn’t overwhelming. You know it is bad when you can’t find something, and you go buy it again. I’ve done that too many times in the past year! Someday I’ll find it all, get it organized and have more than a lifetime of stash!

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

My working method is to come up with an idea in my head. I think about it for a while and then I just dig in. I don’t plan out on paper very much – maybe just a very rough sketch. As my friend and mentor Lorraine Torrence taught me, I make ‘visual decisions visually’. I will work on a piece, put it on my design wall and force myself to spend time on the treadmill (with me actually walking) and look at the piece and make decisions. I probably spend more time exercising when I’m working on a piece that excites me, because I want to have the time to really look at it and tweak values and scale on the piece.

Quilt on wall

One of my quilts on the wall as I leave ‘my room’.

This was fun! Now, if I just had more time!

Thank you Lynn for sharing your space.  I love the idea of a treadmill facing the design wall.  

Next month: Sara Kelly