Friday, September 13, 2013

The Making of the Whitehall Public Library Quilt-Part 1

The first step in making this quilt was measuring the space that was available to me for display when the quilt was finished. We had a large wall that is visible from the door as you walk into the library. It is an interior wall away from the windows and direct sunlight. The quilt measures approximately 98" wide by 67" high.

Once I knew how much room I had I began designing the quilt. After looking at other bookshelf quilts on the internet and discussing the options with Alfie Chico, whose idea it was to make the quilt, and Debby Recker, we decided we wanted a window or fireplace in the center of the quilt.

I use a computer program called QuiltPro when designing my quilts but could also have drawn the design on graph paper instead. The program made it much faster to make changes and check sizes.

I have always enjoyed making things look 3D or as realistic as possible so making the window was probably my favorite part of constructing the quilt. Once I knew how big I wanted the window to be I added the detail of the beveled window frames in my design program. To make the beveled pieces I sewed together 1 strip each of white and gray fabric. My strips measured 1" wide by the width of my fabric so they would finish as 1/2". I set these aside until I had my window background ready. I paper pieced the intersections of the window frames so I could be very accurate. This is what the intersections look like in my design:

To make the background I took a piece of green fabric and placed it wrong side up on a piece of the sky fabric. I cut a gentle curve through both pieces of fabric. The reason I placed the green fabric wrong side up is because I wanted the far hill to look "grayed" out and farther away than the closer hill. Both hills are made from the same fabric. After cutting the curve, I removed the extra sky fabric and the extra grass fabric and sewed the two remaining pieces together along the curve. If you've never done curved piecing make sure you practice on scrap fabric first. After sewing the first curve, I layered this piece of fabric with more of the grass fabric, right side up this time, and cut another gentle curve. If you're afraid of curved piecing this could also have been appliqued.

Once I had the 2 hills sewn, I cut this piece of fabric apart to fit in the window panes. Next, I cut my white/gray strips into segments to fit in between the windows and sewed them together in rows. I made 3 rows. After I paper pieced 4 window intersections, I sewed them together with the white/gray strips to make the horizontal parts of the window panes paying close attention to the positioning of the strips to create a shadow on the underside of the mullions. I sewed these strips in between the window rows, added the outside pieces of my window frame and my window was complete. I'm not giving measurements here because my measurements are unique to this quilt and may not work for another quilt.

It may be easier to see how the window was constructed in my computer drawing shown below:

Well, that's all for today! I have other things I need to do but if you want to make a quilt like mine this should help you get started.

Good luck!