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Ralphetta | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

For some time I’ve been considering moving my sewing room into my daughter’s old room.  That room has more windows and is brighter and has better ventilation in the summer.  The main reason I haven’t (aside from just being lazy,) is that it has deep carpeting and I didn’t want to take it up.

My house has hardwood floors and the floor of my sewing room is an absolute disaster after years of pins in the floor.  My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be and I think I would sew more in the other room that gets more sunlight.

Here’s my question: What can I put on the floor to protect the wood, but will allow me to clean up the pins, etc. easily, after taking up the carpet/?

Speaking of  picking up pins…I bought a gigantic magnet on a long handle at Home Depot and thought i would never get to the check out counter!  I’m serious..every time I came close to a metal shelf, or objet, it would grab hold and I would have to “rassle” it off.  I’m easily entertained because I was laughing really hard by the time I got to the check out counter. I have the same trouble with it at home.


  1. User avater
    blondie2sew | | #1

    So funny!! You have me laughing right along with you!! What a story that would be seen on like a TV comedy show or something...like to play a trick on people!! Thanks for sharing that!! You had painted the visual so well I could have just been at the store watching that unfold!!I know I was suppose to comment on your flooring but I think you story is priceless!! Actually I don't have great answer for you at this time..I need to pick myself off the floor from laughing so I can think

  2. dionna | | #2

    Heres an idea buy some clear vinyl under your sewing area and it will a little easier to see your pins I used this when I had a shaggy type of area carpet under my sewing area.

    1. Ralphetta | | #4

      Do you mean solid, or fabric-like vinyl?  If it's the fabric kind, I would be afraid it would wad up and be easy to trip on.  This is why I started this discussion, 'cause I had a lot of questions and had considered several things.  Please tell me more.l

      1. User avater
        rubyminky | | #5

        The story about the magnet absolutely cracked me up! That would have been too funny.About the flooring, I agree about the vinyl, how about one of the vinyl mats that go under computer chairs? They are rigid, so no wrinkling, but would let you brush up pins easily. I'll try and put the link in here:http://www.staples.co.uk/ENG/Catalog/cat_sku.asp?CatIds=,&webid=S5m399&affixedcode=WW

        1. Ralphetta | | #9

          I must be a lot messier than you guys, because even though the mat under the chair is a really good idea, that's only a fraction of the area in which I use pins.  I move from machines to table to ironing board.  It really surprises me to hear that other people haven't had problems with pins damaging their floors.  You've made me feel like Hansel and Gretel leaving bread crumbs, (pins) in my wake.

          Thanks for the reminder about trapping things between the wood and any cover, that's a good point.

          Now I'm thinking about a room-size sheet of cheap linoleum, it would probably be cheaper than a bunch of those desk mats.  I've been considering this move for a while because of the better light, but it will involve reinstalling shelves, etc. so I've been procrastinating. 

          I'm very aware that I need to be careful about magnets..but I don't think I've ever ask why?  What exactly does it do to your machine?  Do they exhibit symptoms, or do they suddenly just quit working?  I'm curious.

          If someone has a copy of the security tape of me "bonding" with other carts, etc., they would be big hit on Youtube.

          1. solosmocker | | #11

            Too funny! My SIL bought me the most wonderful gift a while back. It is a telescoping magnet, kind of like a radio antenna, and on the end is a small little magnet. You don't need to bend over. You just open the magnet full length and move it to the floor and it will pick up all your pins and nothing else. It won't suck things off the wall but it works great for those pins on the floor. No bending over!! Do I have a smart SIL or what?Have to say, the one instance where I had carpet in the sewing area years back, DH and I were always getting stabbed. They wedge their way in there and just hide till you least expect it. I have had hardwood floors for years and no problem with pins. I use the big glass headed pins so they can easily be seen too. I dropped my scissors a couple of times to nick the floor, but never a problem with pins.

          2. pc3 | | #13

            I would love to have seen that. I bet there were lots of people in the store laughing with you.My uncle had a pace maker and once a month they would call the house, and check his pacemaker over the phone. And some times they would have me put this very strong magnet over the pacemaker to adjust it somehow. Any way one day after the phone call I put the little case that had his magnet and other stuff that went his pacemaker on the top of the TV. Lets say that was the end of that television. We had to get a new one cause it ruined the TV. OOPS. But it will do the same to your computer or your sewing machine. So be more careful than I was.PC3

      2. User avater
        Becky-book | | #6

        Watch out for your electronics as you move that killer magnet around the house!!

        It does sound like a fun project to run it over the floor and see what you find!

        So... do you have hardwood under the deep carpet in the proposed new sewing room?  Anything you put down on the wood to 'protect' it can become a danger to it if dirt gets in-between the layers- think sandpaper!

        Office supply stores have heavy plastic mats to go under desk & chair that would work over the carpet for the area near your sewing machine.

        What ever you decide about the floor, a room with good lighting sounds like the best choice to me!


        1. ctirish | | #35

          Just to clarify about computers and the magnets..... If you still have  floppies that are 5.25 or  3.5 the data is adhered to the disk with magnetic (metal)  media.  If you put even a cheap magnet near them it will attach to it and remove the data from the metal and your data will be gone.  It has been a while since magnets will remove data from a hard drive.  The new Flash Drives and SD are immune to magnets. 

          So, what is the bottom line is...if your computer is older than 3-5 years and/or use floppies than I wouldn't put a magnet near it. If you have a new machine and don't use floppies than you can use a magnet near your computer. To be safe I wouldn't put a magnet on your computer or sewing machine if it is electronic.

          any more questions ; let me know


  3. fabricmaven | | #3

    Hi, I just read your posting about pins and wood floors. My sewing room has wood floors and I've never noticed damage from straight pins. When I had deep pile carpeting it was far more treacherous not being able to find the pins. They would always find me. As to your magnet, I worry that it might be too powerful to have around electronic equipment. Sewing machines, stereo equipment, computers and the like can all be harmed by magnets.

  4. jgrue | | #7

    I would just get one of those carpet protectors that are made for under a desk--they are made of clear hard plastic. You could even get two of them if you wanted a larger area. This is just an example of what I am talking about: http://www.asd.co.uk/posturecare/products.php?p=8eeca8jgrue

  5. MaryinColorado | | #8

    Thanks for the chuckle!  I am also easily amused, I tell my hubby he is lucky I am low maintanace and a cheap date these days!  

    Be careful around computers and computer sewing machines with that magnet!  When my grandkids lived with us, I didn't allow magnets or gum in the house.  They thought it was funny and still tease me about it. 

    I have carpet in my sewing room.  It is supposed to be the "master bedroom" but I chose it because of the bright sunny windows.  Someone here suggested putting a nylon stocking or gauze over the end of the vacuum with a rubberband to vacuum up the pins.


  6. fabricholic | | #10

    I must be easy to amuse, also. I don't have to have an audience either. I think tile would be good. I have it in my kitchen. It is very slick when it is wet, though. Get some track lighting. I have it over my cutting table and my ironing board. Now, I want it over my machines.Marcy

  7. Alice in Atlanta | | #12

    That story was too funny! I could just imagine you, as Lucille Ball, with that magnet. We keep ourselves entertained, don't we? 

    I have one of those magnetic things, looks like a pencil until you pull it all the way out, it's wonderful when I don't have to bend over!! Someone's genius idea, like adding wheels to a suitcase. 

    In my old house I had both thick padding and carpeting. I bought a couple of 4' x 8' sheets of plywood.  I cut them to go around and fit where needed and I absolutely loved the mobility that it afforded me.  I could roll my chair around without any problem.  Don't buy a thin sheet, get one that's about at least a 1/2 " thick, 3/4" would be good but it's heavy, however, the thicker the better support.  I now have one of those mats and it's not as good and sure is a lot smaller and they aren't cheap, there's no comparison to the plywood which is a small investment.  Don't buy a good grade, ask someone to help with a builder grade, you don't want what they use for cabinets for instance. If there's knots in the wood it's OK or get one with knots on one side and a better finish on the other, it's call a/c grade. I think I paid maybe 10 bucks for each.  Let me know what you decide, I'd like to hear.



    Edited 4/9/2007 11:17 pm ET by Alice in Atlanta

    1. Ralphetta | | #14

      I hadn't thought of plywood.  That certainly sounds a lot better price-wise than other things I had considered.  I had resigned myself to having to remove the carpet, but if I understand you, I could put the plywood on top.  I was hoping to make the switch without spending much money.

      I had considered outdoor carpeting because it is so flat, but I think most of it has a texture almost like Velcro and would probably cause the pins to catch.  What do you think?

      This discussion has really helped.  My house has very deep eaves, which makes it much cooler than most in the summer, but it also makes the house  dark. I have the lights on most of the day. Now, since my eyes aren't as good, I really need more sunlight, but it's taken a while for me to realize that was the problem.  I just thought i wasn't in the right mood.

      I didn't used to like that room because it was TOO bright and cheerful.  My opinion has changed.

      Agghhh, I just realized, this means  I've started another "project."

      1. Alice in Atlanta | | #15

        Poor you, poor us.  Yes, another project and yes, it goes over the carpet which will be cleaner than the rest of the room if or when you move. (smile)  Another good thing about the plywood is that pins won't be embedded in thick fibers of carpet, they'll be easy to find.  You're going to be really surprised once you start rollin' that chair!!  Be careful, you're going to fly around that room.  About that indoor-outdoor stuff, would you be using it over the carpet?  Not a good idea!  Where you thinking of taking up the carpet and then putting down the indoor-outdoor carpet?  In my humble opinion, the plywood seems to be your best and certainly your cheaper/cheapest option.  As I said, I loved mine and felt like a genius for having come up with the idea.  I must admit however, I spent a lot of nights laying in bed thinking and planning on what to do....just as you're doing now.  Ah, I remember it well.  I was like an epiphany when I seized on the idea AND when it worked out for me.  No husband to help either.

        Edited 4/10/2007 12:48 am ET by Alice in Atlanta

        1. Ralphetta | | #16

          No, I wasn't thinking of the outdoor carpeting over the other.  Did your plywood cover the entire rug?  If not, was keeping the rug part a nuisance? 

          One reason I would like to keep the carpeting is that when I removed the wall-to-wall in the living room and hall I noticed the house was colder in the winter.  This room I'm considering is over the basement garage and this end of the house is colder...so I think the carpeting acts as additional insulation for these rooms.

          1. Alice in Atlanta | | #18

            To answer your question:

            No, I wasn't thinking of the outdoor carpeting over the other.  Did your plywood cover the entire rug?  If not, was keeping the rug part a nuisance? 

            This was a large room, a loft with the dining room below.  It was out of site from the downstairs and I could make a mess without anyone seeing it.  I lived in Boca Raton, Fla. at the time, the house had the Mstr. bedrm. down and the loft, a bathroom and two bedrms. up.  This loft overlooked the living room.  Like I said, as I recall I laid the plywood out so that the first one was horizontal where the chair went and the  edge was up against those two drawer file cabinets which held the door/table.  I can't remember how I did the other one but I had a jigsaw and made cuts around the file cabinets so that my feet where also on plywood and that way everything was covered.  I guess if you could picture a piece of plywood like a big "T" but upside down that's how it looked.  I cut the other piece so that I could move from sewing machine to serger with ease.

      2. nisee | | #42

        Hi, I loved that story!! I moved into a condo and lost my perfect sewing room.  I decided to use part of the master bedroom for the sewing space.  I took up the carpets and put in laminate floor.  It doesn't damage as easily as wood.  I did it myself with just a table saw and tape measure!!  In a year I have not had any damage from either pins or dropitis.  I like the suggestion of a vinyl rug.  So many new product out there.  I have seen clear vinyl to cut at Home depot.  It appears to come in a very wide width.  That might be worth pricing.  Thanks for the laugh.

  8. spicegirl | | #17

    I also have the "Wand" and it is great for rescuing pins, but it does demand it's own "space".  I keep mine up-right in a little storage bin where I store my marking pencils and other none metal objects.

    My sewing room is in the basement (finished, but not fancy).  The floors are painted, and we put down area rugs that resemble outdoor carpet for a little warmth.  They are no-pile and the pins and needles can't hide.

    We got our rugs at Lowe's for a decent price.  Don't have a Home Depot nearby, also Walmart may have something at a good price.

    The rugs would be easier to handle compared to linoleum or plywood and not slippery as vinyl might be.  And those plastic mats under office-type chairs can send you flying into space.

    Hope this is helpful!



    Edited 4/10/2007 12:04 pm ET by spicegirl

  9. user-51823 | | #19

    i think your original i dea of a cheap roll of remnant vinyl flooring (i think you said linoleum, which would work also but may be more $$)-- is the best idea. i had thought of plywood, but if you have nice floors (or potentially nice wood floors under the carpet that just need some TLC, the plywood could damage them, as someone has mentioned; dirt and grit migrating underneath would become serious abrasives. unless you first lay down carpet padding or underlayment foam , there would be loud clanking and clattering as you move around. also, the cheap rough stuff is very splintery; if you do plywood, slather on a gallon of $5 oops paint in a satin finish, one thin layer at a time.
    the vinyl / linoleum is easier to cut, cheap, quiet, and comes in various finishes. it will need to "rest" in warm temperature to relax the curl of the roll, and you can speed that up with a hairdryer.

    1. Ralphetta | | #20

      I guess I'm dating myself...do they even call it linoleum any more?  I'm getting some really good ideas.  I don't work well in a vacuum and it's really good to brainstorm with others.  I appreciate all these ideas.

      1. user-51823 | | #28

        fyi, linoleum and vinyl are different materials, although similar. linoleum is the original man-made surface (1920's? 30's?) and is made from linseed oil. it is still made because it is still an excellent product. vinyl is a more modern product, somewhat less durable and cheaper."...lost in an orchestral maelstrom of lunacy..."

        Edited 4/16/2007 11:44 am ET by msm-s

        1. Ralphetta | | #29

          thanks, i didn't know that.

          1. HeartFire2 | | #30

            We just bought a new house, and my sewing room will be in the basement, it has carpet right now, but I want to pull it up. I was looking at some industrial rubber flooring, its 'tiles' that are 2 1/2' X 2 1/2' I think they were about 3/8 inch thick, felt great to walk on - I need cushion under my feet - 30 yrs as a nurse and my feet are shot- the downside is the rubber tiles are really expensive, about $35.00 each, they will last a lifetime, the plain black were the cheapest then there were some with colored speckles in them. the more color they had the more expensive they became - upwards of a little over $100.00 a tile! Its the kind of flooring you find in gyms, really great to walk on, I suppose I can settle for black, but will look around some more.This has been an interesting and timely discussion for me

          2. Ralphetta | | #31

            That sounds like a great floor you're going to have.  It's way out of my price range, though.  And I don't want to put anything permanent over the wood floor.  This HAS been an educational discussion, hasn' t it?

          3. HeartFire2 | | #32

            Well, I don't know that we're going to put the rubber tile down yet either, it is VERY expensive. I do want some sort of a rubber flooring, but still have a lot of research to do. I don't remember if we asked if that was 'installed' (I'm pretty sure it was) and how much it would cost to 'do it yourself'.Mine is also a basement floor so its concrete under the carpet.

          4. spicegirl | | #33

            Do you mind a suggestion?  Where will you be standing the most?  That's where I have the soft, cushioned mats.  Mine lock together like a puzzle.  I have them at my cutting table and the ironing board, but I can move them to where ever I want.  If we move, or change the purpose of the room, the mats will go and the floor will remain low-pile rugs over painted concrete. 

            If you have an absolute 100% dry, guaranteed never to get wet basement you are very lucky.

            This is my constant fear of having expensive equipment in the basement.....you never know when the sump-pump might fail.....happened to me at two different houses (neither the back-up nor the alarm kicked in).  Believe me, you do not want water to seep up under tile or carpet.  The builder put in a "floating floor" - it floated alright.  Water seeped in all around.  Thankfully, I was working in the basement at the time and we quickly tackled the problem (stuck float).   That pump is history, but I don't trust any brand anymore.  Flooded once, shame on the pump, flooded twice, shame on me.

            I hope I haven't scared you out of sewing in the basement.   Twenty some years and only two problems.

          5. HeartFire2 | | #34

            Well, never having had a basement before.....I'm moving from Houston to North Carolina, there are no basements in Houston!!But I think I'm safe its not really a below the ground basement - well at the front of the house it is, but my sewing room is at the back and it opens up onto the back yard. - I actually have glass french doors! It doesn't get as much daylight as I'd like, but its better than nothing, and I plan on having lots of bird feeders out there! I love watching the birds, but thats a whole different subject. I really do want the whole floor to be rubber - and the tiles I was looking at sound similar to yours - puzzle interlocking tiles. I tend to go barefoot and I just can't take hard floors.

          6. ineedaserger329 | | #47

            I used to work in a gym that had those mats. In the 9months I worked there, we went through 5 or 6 industrial vacuum cleaners. and if it got wet it was terribly slippery... I might rethink the rubber if you haven't already bought it. The play-mat foam they make for kids is a little more cushion on your feet and much much more durable.

        2. ineedaserger329 | | #46

          Seems you do learn something new everydy

    2. solosmocker | | #24

      Here is my next thought. Given that the room is up in a loft area, away from most visiting traffic, why not pull up the carpet, paint the floor, and be done with it? Painted floors can look really great. Very little expense involved here. Plywood has gotten tremendously expensive between Katrina rebuilding and the Iraq war rebuilding. I don't think you will find it for 10 a sheet any more. Try 50 to 70 dollars a sheet and thats up here in the Northeast. Painting could be fun. And for the record, I love zooming around my room in my chair too!

  10. spicegirl | | #21

    This is just a PS to my earlier suggestion.  Since you have hardwood floors, do preserve them.  They add beauty and value $$$$$$ to your home..

    The room being over the garage/basement, if the floor is chilly could you add insulation to the ceilings of the area below the room?

    Make your sewing room a happy room.

  11. user-217847 | | #22

    Hello there Ralphetta,

    it's well after 1am here in OZ Ive just finished reading your initial question and the story of the magnet, what a hoot, even the visualization has me in fits of laughter. DH thinks I've lost the plot and is threatening me with the little green bus, ha, ha. You have lifted my spirits and I'm going to bed happy. Sorry I could'nt help out with your problem, hope every thing works out.

    good night


  12. Teaf5 | | #23

    Thanks for the giggle!! And keep that magnet away from any appliance that has a computer memory (including most of your car dashboard, your microwave, any disk drives or timers)! The tiny magnets on our staff name badges wiped out a lot of disks and hard drives until someone discovered the problem.For flooring under sewing machines, I like those low-pile indoor rugs they sell for children's rooms--like ones printed with the towns and streets or flower gardens. It's safe to put them on top of wall-to-wall carpeting, but pins sit on top of them rather than rolling around. If you take up the old carpeting, you can lay a tight-looped, more industrial pile carpet down to get the same effect.

  13. tmorris1 | | #25

    What a great story about the magnet!! My sewing room is in an unfinished basement and the floor gets really cold so I glued down these big squares of 1/2 inch cork. It looks great, resists pins and needles and in warm an cushy under the feet. The other thing that I had considered was carpet tiles and think that they would work just as well. They are very low pile and can just be picked up and moved anywhere. You can also replace just one in the event of a stain, tear, or - if you are like me - in the event that your rambunctious rabbit knocks the ironing board over and burns the floor. You would still have to rip out the existing carpet but these materials have proven quite versatile for me (I have a carpet tile area rug in my living room)

    1. MaryinColorado | | #38

      Thanks for the bunny story.  We raised a Yorkie puppy and a bunny togeather.  The dog ran like a rabbit, the rabbit thought it was a dog! What anticks we enjoyed!!!  So many stories were written by my neighbor to an elderly aunt of hers.  She'd sit outside and look into my yard as she wrote the letters.  Many cheerful memories of those days when the children and pets wreaked havoc!  Mary

      1. tmorris1 | | #39

        My bunny is the absolute best pet I have ever had, and a constant source of amusement. I rescued him from minus 30 degree weather, poor little guy ran away from his previous owners and was living under my front porch.

        1. MaryinColorado | | #40

          We have a big yellow labrador now, he has a great sense of humor.  Lots of fun and love!  He's from puppy rescue. 

          1. tmorris1 | | #41

            Good for you, I love to hear from people that get their animals from the rescue centers, they are so often just the sweetest and most appreciative little animals.

    2. ineedaserger329 | | #45

      I might have to look out for cork-board around....did you use the thick kind? I wonder if I lay something on top of my area rug (impossible to move due to small space) but under the cork if that would work, what are your thoughts???

      1. tmorris1 | | #48

        Serger;I am not really sure what you are asking. Do you need to replace your flooring? Do you want something to put over your area rug? I think that my post mentioned that I had used 1/2 inch thick cork.

        1. ineedaserger329 | | #49

          Ok, sorry, I got my answer on my own after re-reading, sorry about that.

  14. jane4878 | | #26

    What kind of hardwood flooring do you have?  It would be unusual to cause a lot of damage unless the wood is softer (cherry, walnut).  It's not that hard to refinish a small area--lightly sand and varnish--especially if you do it frequently before the damage becomes too obvious.  Another option is to use OSB (oriented strandboard).  My daughter's dance studio uses it as flooring.  It's quite attractive varnished and less "splintery" and usually cheaper than plywood (depends on which is in demand right now).  My sewing room is also a computer room and the bulk of the damage is from the chairs.  I have rubberwood (similar to birch) parquet. Speaking of pins--I usually don't have too much trouble with dropped pins until my 7 mos puppy grabbed my pincusion as a chew toy!!  I've been finding damaged pins all over the place since then.

  15. SueinNE | | #27

    Do look at the Office supply store.  Some of those "under the desk' vinyl mats are 12+ feet long.and over 4+ feet wide.   Office Depot had some and they deliver around here.  Or even thelarger rubber backed doorway mats may help.  Those go up to 20 feet long.  .   

    Is this magnet like a small car battery in size?  If so, I understand your problems.  I cannot get them off the metal shelf to start with. 

  16. tmorris1 | | #36

    Ralph;I was on another thread and remembered this...If you rip up the carpet in your sewing room and do not replace it with something soft your sewing room will be much louder. You may want to consider the ramifications of your sewing on the rest of your household. I still say carpet tiles

    1. Ralphetta | | #37

      A good point.

    2. barb2cats | | #44

      I accidentally posted this to the wrong thread yesterday. I've left an apology in that thread and reposted here. Hope the plywood over carpet is helpful. Barb

      When my father was ill, his wheel chair would not easily roll on the carpet of his bedroom. We bought several sheets of 1/2" plywood sheets (4' x 8'), painted the top sides with a fun spiral design before we installed it. This way we did not need to worry about paint leaking between the edges where the plywood sheets butted against each other. We laid out the plywood sheets so that the room was wall to wall sheets of plywood (had to cut a few sheets to fit). The pieces of plywood were connected to each other with builders' staples (longer than regular staples, but did not go through the plywood sheets). This worked really great. We could sweep the floor, nothing vanished on it, and it was really easy to roll or walk on.

      Five years later when we removed the plywood, all the carpet needed was a good vacuuming to bring the pile back up. We could not tell that it had ever been covered by the plywood.

      If I ever get a sewing space with carpeting, I'll certainly consider a layer of plywood on top.


  17. ineedaserger329 | | #43

    As a child, my parents had carpeting throughout the house. I lost a needle once....it was sergically removed from my mom's foot. sorry to say, but pull up the carpet. as for protecting the floors, I would most cretainly get one of the mats that go under chairs.....The sandpaper thing: that non-skid shelf liner would do the trick....I think the new sewing room will be wonderful for you. I'm sure people have told you to keep the magnet in a safe place far from electronics and CDs and DVDs will also be distroyed....
    Another thing thats just a side note: my mom uesd to put sewing needles in the arm of the couch......not a good thing for a child to see!!!! Because mommy does it, it makes it ok. My poor older brother never saw it coming. It went clear through his hand and had to be pulled out the other side. We all felt responsable, especially my mom.

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