The Bookcase Quilt: Penguins, anyone…?

Well, if that doesn’t rouse your interest, nothing will!

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.18.07 pm Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.18.30 pm Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.17.47 pmSeriously, though, I’ve got three more shelves done, including the one with the Penguin Classic paperbacks on it. They look a bit blah at the moment, as they need the black quilting stitches to visually separate them, but I’m pleased with the general effect.

The other two are a stack of big books with a bowl, and the other is some tippy books. I think the Penguin Classics block is going to go in the centre of the 9 blocks – it’s such a bright colour I don’t want it leading the eye off to an edge or corner. I have some ‘books’ left in that colourway, and I’ll scatter them among the remaining shelves.

Now, a word about iron-on transfers. I wanted the Classics to have the names of some of the books my niece has read as part of her BBC Big Read marathon. As my sewing machine doesn’t have an embroidery function, the obvious route was to make and use iron-on transfers. You buy the transfer paper, run it through your printer using a reversed version of the image you want, and voilà, there is is your transfer, ready to be ironed onto the fabric. I had two kinds of paper, an expensive one which I normally prefer because it leaves no visible trace apart from what has been printed in colour, and a cheap one, which leaves a sort of yellowish tint behind. I started with the good stuff, but discovered to my dismay that it won’t print onto fabric surface printing. This is what you get:

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.19.01 pm

Bottom: expensive. Top: cheap.

Luckily I had the cheaper kind too, and so long as I trimmed out the book titles pretty closely, I was reasonably happy with the result.

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.19.19 pm


Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.19.37 pm


I just wanted to give people the heads up: don’t use the TAP if you’re going to be putting it on a heavily printed white-on-white, for example, as the slightly glossy print will resist the transfer. It has happened a little with the other one too, but to a much lesser extent.



I think I’ll have to create a family photo in a frame for one of the shelves to remind her of home. Time for another transfer. This time, I’ll use the good stuff and print on a plain white good quality cotton…


38 thoughts on “The Bookcase Quilt: Penguins, anyone…?

  1. tialys says:

    Looking good!!
    I was going to recommend the TAP until I got to the end so thanks for the heads up. I think I’ve only ever used it on plain fabric before and it has performed well.

  2. loving watching this progress…. 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      I like that it has a vintage look to it because of the colours I used…

      • Even the slightly fuzzy Catcher in the Rye looks genuine – not all books stay pristine!
        I would love to have own quilt, and I’m sure your niece will be thrilled.

      • katechiconi says:

        I thought the same, but then I thought that she deserves to have everything pristine at the start – time will give it ‘character’ and I don’t want the titles to wear off too soon. This quilt is not at all difficult to make, and once your scrap frenzy is over, you could easily make one for yourself…

  3. Nanette says:

    Looking very much like……books! Nice.

  4. knettycraft says:

    I love the details you added… the bowl, the mug… It is already looking very lively, also the “diagonal” books and the pile of books.

  5. EllaDee says:

    Oh wow… this isn’t a bookcase quilt… it’s a work of art…istic genius 🙂

  6. Emmely says:

    I love the addition of the cup! I’ve found with the transfer paper that I occasionally use that it will stick perfectly to fabric that has been prewashed but doesn’t want to stick to quilting cotton that hasn’t been washed. I think it may be something that the fabric is treated with to keep it nice and crisp on the bolt.

    • katechiconi says:

      I don’t tend to prewash, and have never had a problem because I always do a test with scraps. I didn’t wash this fabric, but the cheaper transfer paper worked pretty well. I have noticed it doesn’t like very starched fabrics – perhaps due to the silicone in the commercial sprays.

  7. Lovely, creative work! My fave is the one with cup…tea and books, the perfect combo ;0) xo Johanna

    • katechiconi says:

      Exactly! I have to think of a few more inhabitants for the bookcase (apart from books, that is) so it will look ‘comfortable’.

      • Grannymar says:

        How about a trophy or medals? A toy such as a teddy, or if I was really mean a cluster of jewellery! I love the way the quilt is working so far… you almost have me tempted, it will give me something to think about while posturing.

      • katechiconi says:

        I’m going to have to email and ask her if there’s a special memento or two she’d like featured. I hope you do take a shot at it, I’ve been thrilled at how easily and painlessly it’s come together.

  8. claire93 says:

    oh yes! it’s coming together nicely.
    How many blocks are there going to be in total?

    • katechiconi says:

      They’re large ones, so 9, three rows of three, with 2″ sashing between and round the outside. It’s a lap/ nap/ picnic /yoga mat/ snooze anywhere quilt, so I didn’t want to make it too large. The books, etc, are outsize, but it does have the advantage of being a bit easier to sew!

  9. rutigt says:

    I like the ideas with the bowl and the mug. Really makes it more interesting! You just have to take another look at it, it´s so eyecatching 🙂

  10. it’s going to be a stunner again !

  11. […] Chiconi is making a bookshelf quilt, which is quite superb.  Mine is simply hanging on the bookshelf, as the only way I could get it […]

  12. restlessjo says:

    Looks like fun 🙂

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