Monday, November 9, 2009

A new Project: A Quilt Shop

It has been 2-1/2 months since my last entry. Real life got in the way of minis. I'm happy to report that the White Orchid is nearly finished. Just a few details to add and it will be ready for the final photos. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, I have another project. My father built this large wooden dollhouse for my sister and me back in the 1950s. It has been played with and stored for at least 60 years, and has come to me for refurbishing. It's big. Wonderfully big.

My good friend NJ has agreed to chair the local quilt guild's show in September 2010. The theme is "Home, Sweet Home." She asked if I'd have the house finished by then. She wants to use it as a prop."Don't bother with the inside", she said. "The outside will do fine." But then I got to thinking. This is a big house. Big enough to hold a quilt shop and a studio apartment for the owner.

Here's my plan: downstairs left (the living room) will be the shop area with bolts of fabric, fat quarters, sales counter, cutting table, etc. The room on the right (dining room) will be a workroom with sewing machines, tables, maybe some sale fabric. Behind it (the kitchen. See the door) will be a break room with coffee pot and snacks. Upstairs left (master bedroom) will be the quilting room. A couple of frames for hand quilting and maybe a couple long arm machines. The little room in the middle will remain the necessary and block off the public area from the owner's studio apartment, the room on the right (former children's room).
Since I haven't had much time in the workroom, I've been doing some pick-up-and-go items, namely quilts. The three on the left are made of cheater cloth -- fabric that has a quilt-like pattern. These are not individual blocks. The one of the right is getting close to becoming a crazy quilt. More about that below. I'm sorry I didn't include something in the photo to give an idea of scale. They are each about 7-1/4" high. The one on the left is sized for a king bed. The second is double bed size, and the third is twin size. The one on the right is meant to be a wall hanging, so it's not a standard bed size. Click on the pictures to see larger views.
The calico was the simplest to do. Just layer the quilt top with the red backing and sandwich a couple layers of my husband's discarded tee shirt, baste it, then "stitch the ditch" with the machine. I'm not a quilter in real life, but I have picked up a few terms, enough to be dangerous. Stitch the ditch means that the quilting stitched run between the blocks. For this I sewed the lines between the blocks and around the five little red diamonds.
Here's a close-up of the calico. Please don't look at the bindings. I need to work on the corners on all of these. I'm telling myself that they're prototypes and don't need to be perfect. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
The next one is the Quilter's Quilt. I was lucky enough to find cheater cloth with sewing symbols on it to mimic an appliqu├ęd quilt. Same technique: stitch the ditch.

It's easier to see the stitching on the detail. Don't you love the fancy detail on the border? Bless my sister for passing on to me a very nice sewing machine. :)

The Tattersal Quilt gets its name from the pattern, open lines. These happen to be double lines, but close enough! This one is not stitched, but tiny knots are tied at the intersection of the make believe blocks

The little red dots are part of the fabric design, so red ties seemed a natural. The border on this and the other quilts is simply the backing fabric folded over and glued.

The Stained Glass quilt started out to be a Crazy Quilt. I found some no-wale black corduroy that works well as a mini velvet and used strips of silk for the colors. It seemed a lot easier to use StitchWitchery to glue down the silk in bold strips than to figure out how to cut tiny bits for individual blocks. I cut strips about an eighth of an inch wide for the horizontal lines.

I didn't want to mess with the bulk of turning the edges of the silk under, so I used a zigzag stitch to edge them. Eventually, I'll embellish most of the segments with some kind of embroidery.

So, here we go. I will probably put new binding on these and use them in the shop. Meanwhile, I have a little plastic tub full of tiny cardboard rectangles and swatches of cloth to make bolts of fabric. And even more very tiny "fat quarters" that need to be folded and boxed. Lots of hand work to be done while sitting or riding or waiting, even if time in the workroom is limited.


  1. Hi Kathi, I like your quilts, such variety. Also your plans for your old dollshouse sound great, I'm looking forward to seeing the progress.

  2. Thanks, DollMum. I'm having fun with this. :)