making space monday :: creating with *ten finger workshop*

another monday! another peek at a studio!
this week our making space monday visitor is Lily Hoyer-Winfield.  Lily is an inspired and eclectic artist who lives inside the creative enclave that is Madion, WI.  as you can see below, her art celebrates the beauty of everyday life and everyday events with a playful whimsy.  she is most well-known for her painted dolls, which are handpainted and sold on etsy. she is also a friend of mine and I never walk away from time with her (as rare as it is) without feeling full of new ideas and laughter.  her home and her chicken-filled yard are a living testament to the varied and lively life she lives…filled with tiny sculptures, musical instruments, bits and pieces of all kinds of projects.

Lily is also the mother of 3 fantastic boys and wife to a guitar maker. she’s currently on a bit of a sabbatical as she cares for her third little man but that doesn’t stop her from baking, knitting, sewing, painting and even making her own…well..everything including I believe proscuitto. I thought it would be nice to peek into her studio because her process reflects an out of the ordinary and highly inspired creative style. She’s also committed to remaining inspired and has great tips for us on how to shape a sewing space around your individual needs and work style (versus feeling like there is a cookie cutter approach) as well as how to continue to seek and find inspiration in the people around us.  let’s get started:


Hello, thank you Melissa for inviting me to do this post ! I’m Lily Hoyer-Winfield from ten finger workshop, on etsy and a little blog, both have gone by the wayside due to baby #3 but there is good stuff in the archives. So, onto my sewing space. After much thought, rearranging & tidying I realized that there are 2 things that are vital to make my sewing space work, #1 surface area & #2 knowing my process.
I used to think having an organized or coordinated workspace must be the ticket ( thanks pinterest ); did that, didn’t help. I also thought having everything rite in front of me was the ticket, but it cluttered so fast. So now I found that my process is more like that of a baker ( which I am by trade ) I sew in batches. I make 6 shirts for my boys vs. 1.  3 pillows at a time; 8 lunch bags, etc.  I prep and then it’s a sewing bonanza.  As a result, I have a few spaces for working and it always evolves; one of these spaces is my dining room.
 It’s accessible, cleans up easy. It’s like a hold table plus the dining table is rite there for more surface.
The other space I have dedicated to making is a studio in my basement.  I keep fabric, my large ironing board and other materials in my studio, waiting. When I’m making a project I tend to prep by bringing the necessary materials up from my studio into my dining room space. Planning, cutting, pinning throughout the week in spurts. When the magical moment appears to sew I have it all ready and if the stars align I can sew it. When the project is done I tidy up & put materials back into my studio in their proper place.
In addition to having space in my home for sewing the other essential part is having a community of other sewers/crafters.  Having people I can turn to with design or process questions moves me forward in a way I couldn’t do myself. I find I store up projects for a regular weekly/monthly craft group and afterwards I come home totally inspired to finish & move onto the next idea. I’m fortunate that in my craft group there are a lot of different work styles and disciplines.  It ranges from the ‘ follow the pattern’ sewer to the renegade – shove-it-through-the-machine sewers/ knitters/ crocheters. We make time (with kids and without) to work, encourage each other and get a lot of shit done.
I would love to have a hutch-like piece that would house all my sewing things, look beautiful and be neat all the time. But that doesn’t exist, nor will it in my home, I like what I’ve got, I just need to use it better. I did find this handy dandy little sewing side table last summer, it houses a ton of necessary notions & accessories. It also travels, sometimes by the TV, sometimes by my machine.
I love that my sewing space reflects the week/month I’m having, all projects are a direct reaction to my daily life.
One day it’s strewn with boys shirts and appliques for summer wear, the next day it’s vintage scraps for place-mats, mending pants and making a quick skirt for a dance. My family runs through my machine and all is functional. I also love that my children, home, husband have an appreciation for mending and making rather than buying new.
My tip for anyone else out there who is trying to find more time & space for sewing?  Look at what your process is.  Is it a basket by the tv for mending ? Is it a closet that can be transformed into a small sewing area & closed off ? Is it in your spare room or dining room ? Within a family life I’ve found that if I’m going to make room for their toys than they have to make room for mine.
Happy spring cleaning !
next monday is the final making space monday! (sad sounds) check in when we hear from Beth, owner of Rock, Paper, Scissors fabric shop in Montclair, NJ.  she’s got great tips and tricks on organizing and making a beautiful space.

6 Comments on making space monday :: creating with *ten finger workshop*

  1. Margaret
    April 23, 2012 at 11:21 am (6 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing your space, ideas and thoughts. I can relate to your style and approach to working functionality over pure esthetic. It looks like you have and use beautiful things in real life. Your boys are handsome looking characters, by the way. 😉

    • ahappystitch
      April 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks Margaret! Lily is good, isn’t she!

  2. Maria Swift
    April 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm (6 years ago)

    Nice to see your space described Lil. I love that it is what most of us have and do…..especially when the kids are small fry. I liked your description of trying to have everything organized in one space quickly getting in disarray…that is what I try to do and what always happens. I had just been thinking of shipping some of my stores down to the old studio in the basement…and using that project sort of approach! Now I am inspired to do that! thanks.

    • ahappystitch
      April 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm (6 years ago)

      Love that you are inspired Maria. Lily has got a good style…in every sense, doesn’t she!

  3. lily
    April 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm (6 years ago)

    Thank you all for the kind comments, it was a great to really look at my space. Thanks again melissa !


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