I did this quilt to pay homage to some of my favorite authors and series. It was something I did for the pure enjoyment of doing. I usually make things for other people or something that serves a practical purpose if it is for myself.
If you have read any of my blogs, you probably noticed I try to get to the point or to the “how to” part without making you read a ton of unimportant blither first. This one will be different because the process is important to me.
I read A LOT. It is my escape and helps my anxiety because it takes me to another world and lets me forget about my worries. My preferred genre is Fantasy, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance and Science Fiction. I read biographies and other genres but those are few a far between. My love for books was the inspiration for this quilt.
This was a HUGE project!
I think I used every design principle that was known to me. I went to school for design. First, I went for a little over a year for Interior Design and then switched to Graphic Design for another year but never finished due to my severe anxiety. I learned a lot though and use what I learned in my art and my crafting.
The most important part of the design to me was to stay as true to the author’s book design as possible. I changed things up depending on my supply of fabric and vinyl.
Color played a big part in this design. I chose my fabric carefully. I have a ton of fabric. Most of it is under a quarter yard, so basically scraps. I dug through it and tried to match it the best I could to the author’s cover. I also had to be mindful of the colors that would be next to it, both the words and the fabric. I admit that I had to by a little fabric. I had to buy black fabric with designs in order to make the bases for the 1001 Dark Nights books and zip grabbed some more blues and yellows.
Fonts were important. I found similar fonts to what each author used and messed with them until they looked right by stretching and condensing them. I even mixed several different fonts together to match the author’s font. I did okay for the most part.
Balance and unity was a must. I must have looked at hundreds of bookshelf quilts and they all had books of every height and width next to each other. It looks great but, in real life, my bookshelf was neat and all my books from a certain author were one height. I know! I know! I’m picky. It drives me insane to see messy bookshelves. Paperbacks are usually one size for novels, smaller for novellas and a little larger for special books of the series. I owned very few hardbacks because I couldn’t afford them. I think my leather bound copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare was my favorite. I say “was” because I had to get rid of almost all of my books when I moved to a smaller house. I still have signed books, my Shakespeare and a few others. I really miss physical books but I have my e-reader. Wow! I really went off subject there. My point was that a lot of the books are the same size so it is a lot different from other bookshelf quilts in that regard.
I had to downsize. I didn’t realize just how many books each of my favorite authors had written in their series. I should have since I have read them all but I guess it is like eating donuts and ice cream; you don’t realize you’ve been eating a lot until you can’t zip your pants.
After completing the cutting out and pressing the vinyl on five authors, my boyfriend asked if our bed was going to be big enough for the quilt. I was also realizing it was going to get too big so I decided to only create the first book of the series in the remaining authors. I then decided to cut my list and just added some of the books that have had a profound impact on me over the years. I have read thousands of books so it was hard to narrow it down.
I designed the book spines and then chose the fabrics for each book. Sometimes, the design had to change a tad for the fabric I chose. I did the five Paranormal Romance authors, one at a time, first.
I used the Cricut to cut out all of the designs one author at a time. As you can see those series have 19 to 25 books in them.
I ironed on the designs and then went on to design and choose fabrics for the next author.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Authors by last name was how I organized it.
Most of the spines were 10″ x 3″ so I went to work cutting long 3″ wide strips of black fabric.
Next, I cut those into 3″ pieces so I had a bunch of 3″ x 3″ squares.
I decided to cut thr black pieces for any of the odd sized spines as I reached them. I started sewing the black pieces onto the spines. Of course, the third spine was odd sized so I calculated how tall it needed to be to match the top of the others and cut it out. I sewed a pile of these.
I ironed all the seams toward the black side very carefully so I didn’t melt the vinyl.
Next, I sewed them all together.
Sew them side by side
I made sure to keep the series in order. I had one single book by my favorite Historical Romance writer, Terri Brisbin (I struggled with wanting to add all her books), and the entire series of Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark on one strip which would be the top shelf.
I wasn’t feeling it. To me, it just didn’t look bookshelfish enough. I had to do something, which would throw off my original plan but it was necessary. The next book was a single so I decided to tip it. This is something I would never do on my real bookshelf but I had to so the design would look more bookshelfish.
Figuring out how to do this was tricky. Researching it was a busy because I could not find anything that had specific instructions so I winged it like I do a lot.
I sewed black strips on every side and tilted the piece to where it looked nice. I used chalk to mark where I needed to sew and cut the extra off. I had to guess at where the bottom corner would sit on the shelf after I sewed it.
Ahhhhhh! Much better!
Now, I had a choice to make. Did i really want to struggle with a huge quilt and trying to sew the batting and back on when my sewing machine isnt made for huge quilts or did I want to do a version of a quilt as you go? Easy decision, QAYG won.
I took a QAYG class at a locally owned fabric store a long time ago. The store was owned by a husband and wife and the husband taught this class. I thought that was super cool because I don’t see a lot of men quilters. Anyway, I am glad I took it and I adapted it for this quilt.
BLOOD! SWEAT! TEARS!
I poked myself a bazillion times. I cut myself a few times and even managed to slice myself with my rotary cutter.
It was way more work than I thought and it was sometimes exhausting.
I made mistakes and cried. Once, I tried ironing seams but accidentally melted letters. After crying a little, I carefully removed the melted parts and replaced the letters. There were also many mistakes, some I was able to fix and some I had to just accept.
Even though I had a ton of fabric, I still had to buy some when I just couldn’t find what I wanted in my stash. I only bought fat quarters and a quarter yard of each fabric but that added up. I also used a yard of black fabric and six yards of brown fabric.
The quilting batting cost $50. That stuff is way over priced. I usually use a coupon but my boyfriend ran and bought it for me and didn’t use a coupon.
Don’t forget the thread! It seems like a little thing but I used three spools of black thread and two spools of brown. I used about a half spool of invisible or transparent thread.
Vinyl is spendy. I can’t even begin to figure out how much I used but it was a lot.
I absolutely love the results. I am super proud of it and it makes me happy to look at it. I think it might be my favorite thing I have ever made.