The Bookcase Quilt: holding auditions

I’ve cut dozens of strips of wildly assorted fabrics in an effort to maintain randomness.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 12.00.00 pmMy eye wants to group fabrics by colour, scale, style, etc. I’m working so hard to make this not pretty-pretty, but bookcase-y, but I’m having to fight my own instincts! I know very well it would look wrong to put all the orange fabrics together, and group the greens, etc, but my innate sense of order tells me this is what I should do. So I’m finding the randomising process surprisingly difficult.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 12.00.25 pmI’ve arrived at three or four groupings I’m OK with. Nothing fights too hard, nothing matches too carefully, and I find them believable as book-type objects. They’ll look much better once the dark background and the black ‘nameplate’ for some of the books is added – you just have to look at the ones where this is already done to see the effect. I’ve also found it’s best to make lots of spines without stitching them together too early, as I’ve had several changes of mind about the placement of the strips.

One thing I will have to do further down the track is quilt in black to outline each book. There’s a lack of contrast between some of them, and the quilting will just add a little extra visual punctuation to separate the colours and make each spine individual. So I’m thinking the backing will need to be fairly dark to accommodate black quilting, otherwise it’ll look pretty ugly.

Something I still have to organise is some orange fabric for my Penguin Classics row of books; I have nothing quite the right colour, and it won’t need much, about 20cm.

Meanwhile, I have another huge baking order for delivery on Monday, so sewing will have to take a back seat for a couple of days. Back soon!

42 thoughts on “The Bookcase Quilt: holding auditions

  1. Kim says:

    What a wonderful gift you are making. She wil l love it. Have you considered using a medium/dark gray to separate the books? Might look more shadowy versus stark…just a thought. Can’t wait to see it finished!

    • katechiconi says:

      Yes, it probably will be dark grey! My background fabric, which looks black in the photos, is actually a print of several shades of charcoal. It’ll be a subtle difference, but you and I will know it’s there!

  2. EllaDee says:

    Great minds think alike… exactly my thoughts before I read your words… dark outlines would define and unify the spines. But you’re onto it 🙂
    I’m sure some orange penguin fabric will show up!

    • katechiconi says:

      I have my Pantone colour swatch fan in my handbag. Next time I get a chance to drop into either Spotlight or the local quilt shop, I’ll be scoring the necessary…

  3. I like the way you give us your thought processes. I’ve done black quilting with a pale backing and the result is rather chic!

  4. claire93 says:

    the hardest part is often getting fabric selection and layout just right. This is looking great.

    • katechiconi says:

      Oh good! I’ve looked at it so much now that I keep having doubts. At some stage it’ll have to be stitched together, but perhaps I’ll have to stop procrastinating now!

  5. tialys says:

    I can imagine this would be really difficult. I was going to say that I wish books came in such lovely designs but then remembered I had a set of French books in my shop once which did – here’s a link to them if you want a bit of inspiration – very 70s –

  6. knettycraft says:

    It is already looking like books… especially the stripes with a nameplate!

  7. Nanette says:

    The colours and patterns are wonderful, I can imagine reaching for many of them in a bookshop, library. What about the paper bag method to combat your OCD….pop everything you really like in, pull them out two at a time ….. and OH! deep breath….SEW 🙂 I agonise endlessly when putting scraps together, so know that feeling of being endlessly on the loop of ‘does it work’ etc. You’ll be right, you’ve got it sorted 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      You know, I tried the lucky dip, but my hindbrain started screaming! I have 4 groupings now that I feel are working OK, so I’ll be adding the dark strips and then…. SEWING! After that, the trick will be to find a few more! I’m looking forward to the squares where the books are slanted or lying down!

  8. Nanette says:

    Ha ha doesn’t work for me either, I still keep rearranging, discarding and changing. I knew you had it sorted!

  9. going to be awesome. already is!!!

  10. anne54 says:

    It seems to me that you have it spot on. Your choice of fabric is lovely. You said you didn’t want it just pretty-pretty, but I think you have achieved that as well as making it bookcasey. It is going to be stunning. Hope all the baking went well.

  11. This is coming along so nicely….I was thinking black was right, but after looking closely the gray-on-gray pattern is so much better. What a wonderful gift this will be!

  12. Grannymar says:

    I like your combinations, I am talking colour here and not all in one undergarments scalled combinations! Like you with all sewing projects I plan and gather all I need and then the fidgets start. I know that I am ready to begin but cannot make the first move. A day away doing something completly different works for me. The couple of days baking should bring you back fresh to it after the weekend.

  13. kymlucas says:

    I love the bookshelf look! But then, what can you expect from a librarian? 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Yes, it has received universal approval from all the librarians, and there are quite a few out there! Do remember this is a home bookcase, and don’t give me a ticking off when I put a coffee cup on one of the shelves….

      • I love the thought of a coffee cup on the shelf, and I am a librarian! I love the look of the quilt and can hardly wait to see the blocks where the books are lying on their sides! It’s all lovely!

      • katechiconi says:

        Hopefully I’ll get some sewing time today now that two days of baking are out of the way, and if I do, there’ll be a post later with some more progress. Maybe even books lying down….

      • kymlucas says:

        No way! Coffee (or tea in my case) is meant to go with books! 🙂

      • katechiconi says:

        Well, this was my thought, but aren’t you guys supposed to be protecting the precious word from coffee, tea, wine, takeout and tomato sauce…? I personally favour paperbacks as mug rugs, but you do sometimes get those interesting ring designs….

      • kymlucas says:

        It all depends on whether you’re talking about personal copies or library copies. 🙂

  14. Quilting and Cooking! You are a star.. take care darling girl.. c

    • katechiconi says:

      I have to hurry with the quilt – I want the niece to take it back to Sydney with her when she begins her year’s adventure in Australia. As for the cooking, well, I’m becoming a victim of my own success!

  15. rutigt says:

    It´s hard to find fabrics that will look good together, but randomly choosen. Especially when it´s fabrics that are familiar to you. For me, who hasn´t seen them before, they all look great together 🙂

  16. Thinking ahead to a dark backing is a good idea.
    Shall I have a look in my orange fabrics for Penguin orange?

    • katechiconi says:

      A dark backing is also a good plan because I suspect this quilt will have a varied and interesting life, used as a yoga mat, picnic rug in park and beach and perhaps to roll up its owner cosily in the dark recesses of Greyhound buses around Australia… Thanks for the generous offer of orange from your stash, but I have managed to locate something suitable.

  17. Kirsten says:

    I’m sure I read somewhere that we are incapable of being truly random when it comes to patterns / design. Subconsciously we always try to establish some kind of order!

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