Fan fabric

Creative Oozings #6 – Attic Windows, the Evolution of a Design

The thing I really like about Quilt Club (apart from the lovely people) is the relative informality of it.  Everyone works at their own pace and although there are group projects, no one is forced to do anything they don’t want to do.  This was great for me because when I joined I brought with me a host of already-started projects that I needed help continuing.  (And most of them *still* aren’t finished yet!)  Until now, the only group projects I’ve jumped in on were the pre-Christmas mini-projects, which were great fun but only took up one session.  The next group project, though, is one I’m going to grab with both hands because it’s Attic Windows.

This was the first time I saw an Attic Windows quilt.  I loved the whole concept of it and decided that it was something I must try.  The slight optical illusion created by the light and dark strips meeting at 45 degrees really appeals to me, as does the idea of creating a fantastical “view”.  As much as I’d like to do something like the one in the link, though, I simply don’t have all the different prints needed to do it (yet!).  Bizarre as it may seem, the initial proposal of the Attic Windows project stumped me a little.  I was keen to do it, but WHAT was I going to do?

As mentioned elsewhere, mum has been watching my sewing activities with interest and asking when I was going to make something for her.  Well, technically I already did, but that was a very spur-of-the-moment idea.  Ultimately I think she wants a bed quilt (I know she does, she’s even shown me pictures in magazines…), but in the interim I thought she might settle for another one of these:

Door curtainI didn’t make that, by the way.  It’s a Japanese door curtain that I bought as a Christmas present for mum when I was living in Japan and teaching English for a year.  It’s lived in a number of doorways since I explained to mum what it was supposed to be (I posted it with no explanation and after eliminating a trousers hypothesis, she’d been wearing it as a shawl…), and currently it’s in the kitchen doing a fair job of preventing all the warm air being sucked down into the freezing back kitchen.  Its other home has been the bottom of the stairs, performing a similar job, and I think mum would like another so both doorways are covered.  So, an idea is born – door curtain, oriental theme, Attic Windows.  Brilliant!  Let’s DO this!

The other reason I’m quite keen to do this is Dresden plates.  I haven’t tried doing any yet and I’m curious about them, so much so that I’ve even bought a template, though it seems to have a very large angle (30 degrees).  The idea is to make Dresden quarters and applique them as fan shapes in my windows.  Oriental fan shapes.  🙂  I already had a few fabrics in mind for this, mostly bought from Ebay in fits of enthusiasm:

Window frameThese will be the frame fabrics.  The red and black will form the main frame and the yellow/gold will be a narrow strip of sashing in between the frames to enhance the illusion of solidity.

The fans will be made from the following 12 fabrics:

Fan fabricSparkly!  Initially I considered pairing up the fabrics to make fans with alternating …spokes?  Blades?  Essentially, the idea is to join two strips of fabric and then cut out the Dresden template so that half is one fabric and one half is the other, like so:

Two-tone dresdenThen join three of those together to get my Dresden plate quarter.  I hope this will give a nice fan effect and be more interesting than just three bigger wedges.

To decide how big my windows will be, I measured the door curtain.  Each half is approximately 18″ wide, so that’s how wide mine will be.  Initially I considered making a small number of very large windows that be the same width as each curtain panel, but 18″ is just too wide, especially since my Dresden template isn’t that long.  So, it’d better be a larger number of 9″ windows, then.  For the length, I’m aiming for three times the width (54″).

Looking again at my fabric and considering the reality of my window size (9″ total finished size, with 1 1/2″ frames and 1/2″ sashing), I realised the having the busy fan fabrics next to each other in a relatively small space might be a bad idea.  I have excess frame and sashing fabric, so I’ll use that to alternate with the more heavily printed fabric.  Unfortunately, after I cut all the strips I needed for the frames and sashing (without them, there’s no window at all), I found that I only had enough yellow and red fabric for four and six fans, respectively, which nixxed my plan for an equal number of each colour.  I suppose I might be able to track down more of those fabrics, but one came from ebay and the other I bought years ago.  I think I’ll do this instead:

Fan planIt’s the best distribution I can come up with.  Unfortunately a few fabrics are going to have to be paired with black butterflies twice, but it can’t be helped – I’ll just have to keep ’em separated!  My next task is to start piecing the fans so that I can use them to help choose a background fabric, though to maintain the window illusion I’d like to find a nice light blue, maybe with puffy clouds.

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