How Did I Quilt That: Beyond the Brick Wall

Beyond the Brick Wall is one of my creative wins. I don’t remember what I was doing at the time, but the vision for this quilt popped into my head. I bought the panel earlier but I didn’t know what to do with it. And then one day I did.

I imagined the panel poking through a doorway and window. I imagined the brick wall and whenever I thought of the piece, more details came to mind. I wanted to have ivy hanging down over the wall and – most important – a bike in the corner, leaning against the wall.

The brick wall

Most fabric I found with bricks were almost cartoonish but I didn’t really know what I wanted. I reached out to Bill Locke, who found my the perfect fabric within minutes. It was better than I imagined. I had no idea how much to order, so I erred on the side of caution and asked for three metres. With all the measuring, angles, and cutting, it turned out that this was the right amount.

I struggled a bit with my math and geometry to get the window sills as good as I could get them. They’re not perfect, but they were as close to it as I could manage. As it was, I messed up the angles a few times, so it was a good thing I’d ordered more fabric than I thought I would need.

Beyond the Brick Wall window

Ivy on the wall

While I was creating the quilt, I went for many walks in the neighbourhood, taking photos of ivy. I live in an older area, so that was easy to do. I watched how the ivy tumbled down, how the strands separated and intertwined. I then set out to cut out hundreds of individual ivy leaves and attach them, one by one. One. By. One. There is less ivy than I originally wanted, but I couldn’t face cutting out any more than I did.

I stiffened the leaves with FrayCheck, so they stand out a bit from the quilt.

Beyond the Brick Wall, ivy leaves

The bike

To me, the bike on the corner of the quilt is the finishing touch. While I was still designing the quilt, every time I tried to picture it without the bike, the quilt didn’t look complete. So, I looked around the neighbourhood for bikes leaning against walls and fences, and searched for photos online. Once I got a better idea of dimensions, I got to work.

It took a few tries before I got the look I wanted. I lifted one part of the handle bar and a part of the seat off the quilt for a 3D effect, like the ivy leaves.

And now, the quilting

Then came the decisions on how to quilt this new piece. I knew I would machine quilt it, but I didn’t want to mess it up. So I looked at it for a good while before deciding. The video below shows you the choices I made and why. When I look at quilts with lots of lines and corners, I find I end up adding a lot of curves to the quilting itself. They soften the look, I think.

So how do you decide how to quilt something you’ve just created?

Leave a Reply