Wednesday, August 15, 2012

its all about the details

at least it is for  me!  I'm very much one who likes the little architectural details, and older buildings have so much character.  When I was in Halifax, Nova Scotia earlier in the summer, I took some pictures of some of the older campus buildings at Dalhousie University.

The MacDonald Building, Dalhousie University, Halifax
This building, the MacDonald Building, was the University library at one point.  I really like the crispness of the white dentil trim against the stone walls.  The building was built in 1914.  This became the basis for my challenge quilt.  One thing that I've discovered in doing these challenges is that I am most comfortable working from a photo.  I have a hard time with abstract, and as much as I would like to give it a better try, I'm just not comfortable there very often, and usually do not like my results very much, so I stick in my comfort zone, although this time I did take markers to my finished quilt!
So here's my progress - working from an enlarged photograph, I sketched out my pieces and started cutting fabric.  I had this great brickwork fabric in my stash, but it was  a little too regular a pattern, so I applied fusible web to it and then cut it up in much smaller, random size pieces, and applied them to my background - a combination of one of my hand dyes for the sky and a medium grey, which became the grout lines.

starting point
the starting fabric
the resulting fabric
I then added white and a darker grey to create the background and shading for some of the trim areas.  Many itty bitty little pieces later, I was progressing well.


I added lots of little pieces of a couple of greens to create the bush, and used a layer of green tulle over them before quilting them down.  A lot of the detail in the trim was added with some thread painting and the quilting, but I was at a loss as to how to quilt the sky until I decided to just echo quilt it. with straight closely placed lines.

free motion foot

but it was still missing some shading and some of the finer details,

so out came my gel pens and markers, and with nary a hesitation, I attacked my finished quilt! I'm very pleased with how it has turned out!  (not so pleased with this picture - the sun was shining so brightly but I'm not really complaining!)

The MacDonald Building
The MacDonald Building in fabric
different angle

Thank you Nicolette for a really fun challenge!

Happy quilting!


  1. I am glad that you followed your heart and made the kind of quilt you were comfortable with. The texture of the bricks is amazing and the echo quilting in the sky enhances the architectural theme.

  2. I really like how your did this and I love the sky. Had not thought of echo quilting crisp lines like that, but it works so well!

  3. Well it looks like you found your quilting "voice" too! You said "still missing some shading and some of the finer details" Are you kidding me? I am so envious of the details in this piece. I am impressed with your use of markers to enhance the detail you created with your piecing and stitching. Well done!

  4. This is so beautiful. I love your stitching and the extra details. It is certainlt architecture!

  5. It’s amazing that so many of us used such small pieces to work with! I’m in awe over your MacDonald Building quilt. It’s so Janet, with all the details and the amazing quilting! It’s nice to see all the different approaches and I love that you used a real building for your Architecture quilt!

  6. Oh Janet, I am with you on the details of old buildings!!! I could stare for hours... I just don't know the names of the particulars. I am curious where you used your gel pens...This piece is beautiful!!!!

  7. This is amazing Janet! What incredible details you created, from the building of your bricks to the final touches, awesome! And what a great eye to capture such a perfect photo and angle that you could translate into this wonderful quilt.

  8. Janet, this is amazingly lovely, and I love the off-kilter perspective. Your attention to detail really shows- it is just wonderful.