My first theme is Attic Windows as suggested by my first quilt and previous post. The pattern is a very obvious choice for an I spy novelty quilt. It provides a clear frame for each novelty fabric with the added benefit of an optical illusion, "Hey, I'm looking through a window and what do I see?" I think I got the original idea while browsing around Linda's Quilt Shop in Denton Texas. I don't know if they are still open but I do owe them a debt of gratitude. They were very encouraging at the beginning of this journey and inspired me with many ideas via their samples. I truly was a kid in a candy store and they were great enablers.
As mentioned in the last post, my preferred method of constructing the diagonal on the window ledge is a triangle sewn to one side of the ledge rather than a Y-seam. You can also use a half square triangle, but that adds an extra unneeded seam. I also like the added depth given when you include narrow sashing between each block, which would be the mullions between the windows (yes, I know that term, I used to be a draftsman). It makes the optical illusion more accurate to my eye. You also need some pretty good contrast between the two surfaces of the window ledge and either a solid or a tone on tone. A busy fabric on a ledge can be distracting from the illusion. A tone on tone helps camouflage that seam between the HST and the narrow strip so that it looks like one piece. I've made several quilts that I would put in the category of attic window type quilts with some variations. Here they are, with the comments about what I think did and didn't work. I left out the very first one since it was the topic of my last post.
This was my 2nd attic window quilt, made for one of my cousin's twin sons. The mom requested the background colors, which as this goes along you will see aren't my typical choices. I tend to use brighter colors, but I do like how this turned out. I call this my postage stamp quilt. When the center was done, it just felts so blocky I decided to add some triangles in the border. It was good practice making lots of triangles (ooo, another topic for a future post). The mullions are fairly thick in this quilt and I decided to add the beige cornerstones. It detracts a little bit from the optical illusion but not significantly. The contrast between the two surfaces of the window frame works very well.
The following quilt was made several years latter for my dad. A quilting friend had collected fabrics representing her father's life and commented she was sad she hadn't made it before he died. That got me thinking, and collecting and this is the result. (Thanks Jonna for the idea and for the contribution of the bank and desert fabrics and for encouraging me to "get it made"). I made a key as part of the label to explain the significance of each window (an ornament to represent how much he loved decorating for Christmas for example). I made the quilt with puffy poly fabric thinking he'd use it as a lap quilt. Nope. My dad was so thrilled with what I had done, he nailed it (yes nailed) to the wall in his home office. He also had me frame a copy of the label to hang with the quilt. I understand he showed it to anyone one who came to visit. The quilt now hangs in my son's room (not nailed) and still makes me smile. It's a bit puffy for a wall quilt but that's ok. I vacuum off the dog hair that settles on the "window sills" periodically.
Regarding the design of my dad's quilt, I don't like the contrast between the two window fabrics as much in this one. The "dark" fabric is so bright and the mullions are so dark it sort of gives an effect of looking out from a darkened room into a sunny yard. The very narrow sashing was a challenge. Any time you are sewing a very narrow strip, especially in a dark fabric, any little variation in your seam really shows. Rather than focusing on the seam allowance while sewing, I lined up my presser foot on the adjacent sewn seam to keep the thickness of the mullion consistent. I used large HST of scrappy blue triangles to add some interest in the border. In retrospect I wish I had used duller fabrics on the window sills to detract less from the novelty fabrics.
Wow, 5 quilts in 1 post. Did I promise my posts wouldn't be wordy? I think I said that somewhere. Ah well, maybe the next one will be shorter, but I'm not making any promises. Thanks for reading.