Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Dog, the Fish and the Galaxy: An Attic Windows Collage

For any number of reasons - whimsy, politics, insomnia, great fabric, sugar avoidance, whatever - sometimes you just need to cut out some nouns and stitch 'em down.
 There's a snooping dog:

A bowl of goldfish,a baby block,

And, of course, a framed Picasso:
I stitched all the components on by hand, using needle-turn applique. That takes a little longer than fusing and cutting, but I think it's much more relaxing and it does result in a nice puffy effect for the furnishings. 

This setting is a traditional quilt block called Attic Windows, which creates a strong 3D effect. Attic Windows can be a challenging design, because of the mitered corners of the strips adjoining the center. There's a huge range of ways to accomplish it:
  •  Very easy fusing (Cut an overlapping strip at 45 degrees, and fuse it to the adjoining strip cut at 90 degrees); 
  • Fairly easy applique, by hand or machine (cut overlapping strip to 45 degrees, turn that edge under and stitch to the adjoining strip by hand or machine);
  • A classic and very easy cheat  trick to avoid mitering completely, via half-square triangles;
  • And, the challenging old-fashioned method: very careful measuring, cutting pressing and stitching, to create a true miter between adjoining strips. (It's also comprehensively outlined in the out-of-print book "Attic Windows, Quilts with a  View," by Diana Leone and Cindy Walter. If you luck into a copy, snatch it up. It shows many, many Attic Windows design options.)
There are also an infinity of Attic Windows styles. They can be made to look like a shelving unit, or windowpanes, as in the second quilt down here.  They can even be done with complex perspective for each window.

Attic Windows are also great way to use large-scale novelty fabrics, placing them 'outside' the window. I used intergalactic fabric in the wallhanging above. There's a deeply hilarious Thanksgiving turkey version, here.

And if those aren't enough examples, here's a slew of inspiring Attic Windows quilts and tutorial links:

I'd love to see what's outside your windows!


  1. You are amazing, and so is your daughter. We really loved her artwork at yesterday's show.

  2. You are good for all of our morales here, Margaret!!! (If not our morals. You're good for that, too.)