Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ironing board

Nothing too interesting to show you today so I guess I'll finally get around to showing you my ironing board as many bloggers were doing last week. I had originally told Michele that I was too embarrassed to show it but she encouraged me to be proud of my small space challenges so I am showing you my "challenge".

My sewing room is large enough for a bed and a table and one shelf. This only leaves a narrow space to walk in but this is a normal Japanese size bedroom. (We say it is a 6 tatami mat size room whether there are mats in it or not) Occasionally I rearrange things to try to make more space, but space is space and what is in there has to stay so the furniture arrangement of the room seems to make very little difference in how much space I have. I've contemplated throwing away the bed that is in there (it was Leiya's bed) but since it is the only bed in the house and the only place where I can try out bed quilts, it is there for now.)

Right now my arrangement isn't the best. Bed along one wall, desk, which is now my cutting table next to it, and the sewing machine on a pull out part of the desk. Squeezed between the bed and the cutting table is a plastic set of drawers that holds all of my fabric stash and on top of that is a very small rectangular Japanese ironing board.

This little ironing board has metal legs that unfold and is supposed to sit on the floor for the ironer to work on her clothes while she sits on her knees but I no longer like sitting on my knees for long periods of time so I've put the board on my drawer. If I had just a couple more inches of space I could have put the ironing board lengthwise across but it is butted up next to the wall and between the table and bed so there is NOT MUCH SPACE TO IRON ON! The only good thing about my ironing board is that I can roll back and forth from the sewing machine to the board without ever leaving my chair to iron short seams.

You can imagine though what happens when I want to iron a whole flimsy or backing or even binding around an unwieldy quilt. I either iron 12 inches at a time or .... I use the floor as an ironing board! Yes, I just spread the quilt or whatever on the carpet (in the other room which doesn't have a bed or table in it) and get down there and iron.

For this purpose I have an absolutely wonderful iron. It is cordless! Now some people will say that a cordless doesn't keep it's heat and won't press firmly but I've had no problems and I love that it can go anywhere on the floor with me. It sits in a cradle (which heats it) and I can move the cradle to a corner of the room or in a pinch, just bring the iron from the other room for a quick press. I don't know why other Japanese housewives need a cordless iron since the ironing space is so small but mine is wonderful and I've often thought my family in America should have one. I've looked at American electric stores but have yet to find one.

I learned this week that there are drawbacks to ironing on the carpet however. I was pressing the binding onto the When-oh-When and was thrilled with my ironing skills but when I picked the quilt up off the floor... "Wait a minute. What are those marks?" I guess I forgot that the carpet isn't cotton, probably has some nylon in it, and while I've never had to directly touch the iron to the carpet before (usually a flimsy or a backing between iron and carpet) this time the iron did a pressing job on the carpet too. I think I've melted some fiber because there are definite marks there! Oh well, this is an oldish house. The carpet hasn't been in good shape for years. The iron marks will always remind me of my time doing the When-oh-When so I'm not too upset.

So there you have it, the pitfalls of small space living in Japan!


Katie said...

Quilters know how to make do whether with fabric or a place to sew. You are doing great on both counts.

anne bebbington said...

I think you do an amazing job in limited space Tanya - btw I would've done the same with the carpet

Denise (Nour) said...

Love that pink iron!

Shelina said...

I have a regular ironing board, but I usually have to move things off of it to have any space, so my space is probably similar to yours. I generally lay some towels down whatever flat surface I can find, and start ironing there.

I was impressed by the small size of your stash. Mine isn't very big either, but seeing how other people have rooms full, I thought you would have more. You've managed to get so much done with a little fabric. And so little space.

artfilstitch said...

Your sewing studio may be small in space,(I love it) but your wonderful talent produces BIG results. Your quilts are awesome! Your pink iron is to die for!

artfilstitch said...

Your sewing studio may be small in space,(I love it) but your wonderful talent produces BIG results. Your quilts are awesome! Your pink iron is to die for!

Marilyn R said...

Thanks for the tour of your quilting space! I love your cute little iron!

Mary said...

I've also been know to iron on the floor when needed.

I'm feeling kind of greedy because I'm still adjusting to living in a smaller space. Our apartment here is 1800 square feet and the townhouse is just about that too. I take two rooms for my quilting - one for the longarm and one for my sewing (piecing) room and I still wish I had more space! I think the more space I have the more I fill it up.

The Calico Quilter said...

I was surprised by the board used to iron on the floor. Oh my aching back if I tried THAT! I am curious as to why so many tasks in life are done on the floor in Japanese culture: sitting, dining, sleeping, even work like ironing. It's intriguing because it's so different from Western culture's approach (furniture designed so that you don't have to bend your knees more than 90 degrees!) Could you explain to us why? I'd love to read about it.

Kyra said...

What an interesting iron design! I also like that its in pink color. Thanks for sharing!