It was fun having a Q&A with Kara Gott Warner, executive editor of Creative Knitting magazine, about my studio space and workflow. We chatted about how I keep things straight, what inspires me, and how I flow through the work day. Go read that blog post and then come right back! I thought I’d expand on that a bit for you guys and show you the down-and-dirty details of my entire space.
As an editor, writer, designer, and hobbyist photographer, it took some time to develop a space that accommodated the various work requirements of each job description. When you are a work-from-home-mom, space constraints, family needs, and lifestyle all had to be taken into consideration, too. What results isn’t so much as a studio as it is a central work hub, so to speak, with outlying supply units (how’s that for fancy “official” talk?).
Our family lives in a pretty small house (less than 1200 or so square feet), so my office took over the space where the dining room would normally be. That level of the house (we live in a tri-level) is an open floor plan, so when I turn around from my desk, I look over into the kitchen, the dining room table, and the back yard through the sliding glass door. I love being able to work amidst the family (even when they are noisy) because I remain connected and part of the flow.
I bet what you will find most surprising is that I work mostly at my desk for the bulk of the day. Writing newsletter content or articles for Creative Knitting, magazine work, marketing materials, blogging, sketching, pattern formatting, photo editing, and generally goofing off on Facebook take up a lot of time. Everything is within easy reach, from my printer to my shredder, my inbox, books, and supplies. Motivational quotes, my children’s art, and bright light inspire and energize me throughout the workload.
To the left, I have a few drawers and boxes for papers, office supplies, and the like, but the kids took over the bulk of the cubbies with their art and drawing gadgets.
To the right, just under the window, I have shipping supplies, writing books, and general things I need access to daily. I diffuse oils to help my brain cooperate (I’m a sucker for the amazing scents of Young Living; feel free to contact me for more info) and keep hand lotion nearby at all times (from soak wash!). The beautiful wood file drawer unit was made by my step-dad (and you should see the other amazing things he crafts). You might recognize the white countertop. Haha! It’s where I shoot all of my tutorials from.
I am a serious pen hoarder, so be prepared for a lot of pen visuals.
The recent Easter Bunny from my youngest daughter sits next to the printer, basket of wires, and scale. I use the scale for weighing yarn, samples, and packages for shipping.
When I attend trade shows, I’m given the opportunity to swatch with new yarns — this helps inspire design ideas, as well as give me real-life information to offer my customers when they are looking for recommendations.
I sit with my planner (Erin Condren Life Planner for my daily life and Arc planner for project planning), sticky notes, fun pens, and white-out every Sunday. When you do such a large variety of work, plotting it all out ahead of time is super necessary for my day-dreaming type of mind. I find that knowing the “must-dos” and “need-tos” in advance allow my creativity to blossom throughout the week.
When it comes to designing, I sketch quick drafts in my binder. After swatching and testing, I’ll finalize the sketch with drawing pens (yup, pens again!). When I’m ready to move forward with a design (going from idea to project completion), I scan my sketch into the computer, add some color in Photoshop, and then move forward with rough pattern drafts and schematics. My drawing tablet is super handy here.
Behind me sits Pippin, my adorable little terrier-something-or-other. He lounges about during the day while I toil away. Sometimes, he will share the couch so I can knit.
The rest of my tools are upstairs in the master bedroom (one of my supply units). I have two Ikea Expedit shelves stacked on top of each other and filled to the brim with swatching yarns, books, project yarns, my handspun, spinning fibers, and samples. Up top is where I store blocking mats, pins, and tape measures.
What isn’t shown is where I do all of my knitting! I sit on the couch in the lowers level, the living room/den, in front of the TV. To my right is an end table covered in vases filled with knitting needles, Namaste cases containing stitch markers and tapestry needles, and chocolate (naturally).
I look forward to the day where I can have an office studio with everything in one place, but for now, my life is happy, busy, and filled with joyful noise.