With 14 books, 15 fabric collections, and a hefty teaching and traveling schedule, Nancy Mahoney estimates that she has made 500-600 quilts to date. Her first published quilt pattern in a magazine was in Quilters Newsletter in 1996. Since then, she has published 240 quilt patterns in magazines. With such a rich quilting life, we wanted to know how she does it! Get ready to swoon when you see Nancy’s amazing quilt studio. A large space with plenty of room to work that overlooks a picturesque lake clearly equates to abounding and inexhaustible creativity!
Where do you sew?
My sewing space is located in the lower level of my home. The lower level is a walkout basement, so it doesn’t feel like a basement. This level includes two bedrooms, two large living areas, and a small kitchenette—I’ve taken over the entire space.
What do you love best about your space?
It’s hard to pick what I love best! Since I have a large space, I’m able to have a very large design wall behind my sewing machine. My sewing machine is set up so that I have a wonderful view of the lake.
How is your space arranged?
My sewing space is arranged so that the sewing machine, ironing surface, and cutting table form a work triangle. The cutting table is moveable and can be turned or moved out of the way, as needed. I truly love my big ironing surface. Not only is it useful for ironing large pieces of fabric, but I also use it to measure, cut, and pin borders to my quilt tops. The ironing surface is near my design wall, which makes it easy to iron blocks and then place them on the wall. My laptop is conveniently located on a nearby desk for when I’m designing quilts in EQ8 or writing patterns. One former bedroom is used for fabric storage and the other one is used for storing quilts and teaching supplies.
What is your best storage tip?
I have lots of rulers, so I store the ones I use the most on a wall grid using hooks. I have a large wall grid near my cutting table and a smaller wall grid near my ironing table. That way, my rulers are almost always within reach and I’m not rummaging through drawers looking for a specific ruler.
How do you keep things organized?
I use different methods to stay organized, but I find I work best in a clean and neat space. Which is not to say I dust very often! But when I’m finished with a quilt, everything is picked up and put away. I return the fabrics to their appropriate place on the shelf. The leftover scraps are organized by color and placed in bins. Then I can focus on the next quilt.
How long have you been quilting?
I took my first quilting classes in the mid-1970s, but it wasn’t until about 10 years later that I really got hooked on quilting.
Do you share the space with anyone else?
I share my space with an Umbrella Cockatoo named Prince. He’s very curious and likes to be in the middle of everything!
Visit Nancy’s website for more information about Nancy and her quilts, or check out the March/April 2019 issue of Quiltmaker for the pattern of “Flower Crown” and many more amazing quilts!
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