The Bookcase Quilt: Judged by its cover?

Work has begun on The Unexpected Bookworm’s quilt. Sadly, she’s seen the earlier post and knows what’s in store for her. I’m glad to report she’s delighted!

They say you shouldn’t. Judge a book by its cover, that is, but I find it impossible to browse a shelf of new books without allowing the cover of one book or another to say hello and help me decide to pick it up. I need to make the books in this quilt say hello too.

We’re not going for a uniform row of plain colours here, but something more like a real bookcase (or at least, my bookcases…), where the spines are a rainbow of colour and the books are short, tall, thin and fat. But unlike my bookcases, I’m considering grouping the books by their predominant colour. It would probably look pretty… but would it look real?

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 4.13.19 pmI’ve spent the afternoon cutting strips of coloured fabric. Without letting personal taste dictate, I’ve gone along my row of stash baskets, nipping out a piece here and a piece there at random. I don’t want this bookcase looking all designery and tasteful, I want it to look like the bookcases everyone in our family ends up with, jammed with masses of varied books on diverse subjects in sometimes incomprehensible order, tipped, stacked, piled and askew. I’m cutting the strips in 3 sizes: wide, medium and narrow, and they’ll be mixed up as to width and height. There’ll be knicknacks on the shelves too, but that’s for right at the end, and to be decided later.

Before I start stitching, I’d love to hear what you think about grouping the books by colour. Nice idea, or too perfect and organised for what I have in mind?

So for now, it’s unfold, press, slice, slice, slice again and stack.

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42 thoughts on “The Bookcase Quilt: Judged by its cover?

  1. claire93 says:

    I suppose you really need some photos of ordinary bookcases.
    We tend to have our theme and size ie all gardening books together but going from big to small, and when we have collections/series of books, they’re all on the same shelf. If you like, I’ll take some pics of our bookshelves and send.

  2. I’m inclined to say NOT to grouping by colour – just being careful which colour goes next to which, and mixing up the darks, mediums and lights. That said, my many bookcases do contain collections by single authors – similar in style and size; and a lot of reference books, which tend to be dark green, black or maroon’. and rows of large glossy art books on the bottom wide shelves. I suppose what I am saying is to go for a balanced look. But that’s second nature to you!

    I’ve taken a deep breath and started cutting squares, rectangles and strips from any scraps big enough, and have made a couple of sample mixed blocks wich look quite good. We’ll see……

  3. tialys says:

    You could say it was the bookshelf of somebody with OCD 🙂

  4. knettycraft says:

    Congrats to the start!!!!! I will collect selvages for mine. And no I would never group it by colour… and a look to my bookcase (s) tells the same 🙂

  5. katechiconi says:

    It’s good to have other people confirm my instincts to mix up the colours. Shall I start saving my selvedges for you?

    • knettycraft says:

      That would be great, thank you. But it will take while to start with … it is at the end of my project list. Yesterday I cut fabric pieces the whole day for a new quilt, I’ll start my pstcrossing quilt too and I suppose during August I’ll receive the missing F2F blocks and can start making a quilt out of it.

  6. rutigt says:

    I think I´d let a different colour slip in here and there in the groups of same coulour. If you keep mixing colours every where in the bookcase it might be a bit messy 🙂 At least that it what I´d do!

  7. Debbierose says:

    Lovely fabrics and idea for quilt

  8. Might there be room for one ‘set’ of books with similar covers, perhaps a series by a favorite author, or a gift set of books? Other than that, a glance at my bookshelf screams ‘random!

  9. Being a librarian, I love the concept of this quilt! It will be wonderful. Can’t wait to see it! I am just beginning a foray back into quilting myself, and have begun a quilt for our bed. Been meaning to do so for all of the 34 years we’ve been married! It’s about time, I guess!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ll be posting progress as I go along; I’ve been asked to explain how it’s made, so I’m making the posts quite procedural. No pressure, then… Congratulations on re-entering the quilting arena, and indeed on your 34 years!

  10. I would not group by colour. But I’m not big on “grouping” at the best of times, so don’t go by me !!!

  11. If you Google “book quilt” there are loads of bookcase quilts, all different styles with loads of inspiration. It’s another great project you’ve got planned 🙂

  12. EllaDee says:

    I think you’re onto it 🙂 Mixed but groups of colour. I love the idea of a take on Penguin Classics in orange and white.

    • katechiconi says:

      I think a whole row of Penguin Classics, and I could make iron-on transfers of the names of a load of books she’s read for the BBC Big Read, to put on their spines… It’d be truly personalised then!

  13. pattisj says:

    I don’t think I’d group by color, either. I like a nice book cover, too.

  14. You’ve heard enough opinions to not need mine. But I think this a thoroughly fun project and can’t wait to see more!

  15. Only people who don’t read but use books as an interior design fashion accessory sort books by colours! The rest of us sort them by author or topic or genre so we can find them and read them! 🙂
    However, as quiltsandchemo says, colour blocks do creep in when you own a series.

    • katechiconi says:

      There are people who are intensely visual and remember a book by the colour of its cover, and I suppose would therefore search for a blue book in the blue section… I’ve more or less decided on a Penguin Classics section somewhere, a long row of orange and white spines.

  16. Kirsten says:

    Initially I would say yes to the grouping together of colours, but maybe you need to lay it out first and see . . . ?

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s fine having an idea now of how it want it to work, but ultimately, only laying it out and letting the quilt tell me what’s needed will work. I have learned to trust this process and have in the past been sorry when I ignored the ‘voice’ of the quilt. I’ll be watching it evolve as much as everyone else!

  17. Not a quilter, therefore no advice, but love quilts and love books. My books are rather a jumble, but hubby groups his by category (and by size within category). Looking forward to seeing the progress and the finished quilt!

  18. lucyannluna says:

    I think you should jumble up the colours , you could add a little of another above the spine, to represent the double stacking of books. We’ve just brought 2 more book cases & filled them in a day & we still have not cleared the double stacking! Good luck will be watching your progress

    • katechiconi says:

      I know the feeling – I thought with 7 book cases we’d have enough, but I haven’t stopped buying books, and strangely, the space hasn’t expanded to accommodate them, and I’m now double stacking too…

      • lucyannluna says:

        I think we now have 15!!! & only 2 humans in the house! Some bookcases are only 1/2 the height of others. My mother in law does not understand, calls all books dust harborers, she says we should get rid of most of them as we could not possibly read them all. She only has 23 books in the house in the spare room, I’ve counted them several times & none of them would make it on to my bookcase. I love books.

      • katechiconi says:

        I think I’ve stocked several libraries in my time. When I emigrated to Australia, I had to get rid of most of my books, and I still brought out 15 cartons of them… And again when I moved from Melbourne to NSW, and again when I got married and moved to QLD. The only thing I can’t do without is books…

      • lucyannluna says:

        What would we do without books. I think it’s a shame when you have to part with some. It’s nice if you can pass them on.

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