The Bookcase Quilt: the sound of an owl

What sound does an owl make? WOO HOO! Much like myself!  

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Pinned wonkily to my design wall, but you get the idea…

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 4.45.54 pm Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 4.46.12 pmI have finished all nine blocks for the front of the quilt. And speaking of owls, the owl bookends are prominently featured – I spent some quality time fiddling with the image in PicMonkey’s editing suite, and managed to boost the greyscale and contrast enough to make them work. I find the contrast between the realism of the photo transfers and the simplification of the book spines a little odd visually, but not enough to try anything more complicated!

The final block is a straightforward, simple one with no extra bits. I’ve rearranged the order of the blocks to satisfy my sense of symmetry a little more, and I’m much happier with this new arrangement.

Tomorrow I will press the backing fabric and cut from it the nine 20″ squares I need, and the same again from my batting roll. If I have time, I will sandwich and pin the nine sections together.

Time for a cup of tea and a bickie, I think…

The Bookcase Quilt: L is for…

Lovely Lucy’s Library!

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 4.00.55 pmAnother shelf finished, this time the one with the big capital L in honour of the one she has on her bookcase at home. The L jumps out so much that I thought I’d better keep the books quite simple and plain otherwise there’d be a visual fight going on.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 4.02.01 pm Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 4.01.29 pmI found a great family photo for the quilt in my huge iPhoto file. It’s of my brother and his 4 daughters, including my visiting niece, and they all look lovely, even my brother… (in case you’re wondering, he doesn’t normally dress quite so formally, he was getting married!).  I just reversed the image in the online free PicMonkey editing suite, printed it onto transfer paper, dry ironed it to some plain white fabric, and then bound it as I would a quilt, to give it a 3D frame which stands out from the quilt surface. I really like the effect! The figures in the photo I will outline quilt, so they’ll have a little dimension as well. This is fun!

I still want to feature those dratted white owl bookends of hers. They’re extremely cute, but the problem is that the images of them you can find online are either at an angle or lack enough contrast to make a good transfer; you lose a lot of image quality when you bond it to the fabric. I’ll do a test edit of an image to see if I can beef up the grey-scale and contrast enough to get something usable. If you want to see what the bookends look like, go here for a nice photo.

Two more blocks to go and then the tricky bit is done. I’ll move on to cutting squares of backing fabric and batting, sandwiching the blocks and then, hurray, quilting can start. It’s going to be amazingly liberating to quilt small pieces instead of wrestling my usual monsters under the machine needle…

I’ll be back tomorrow with more to show.

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:

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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.

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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…