Wednesday February 26th 2014

She does windows

I hope you’ve had a chance to read about the art of Karen Colbourne Martin in the October issue of TQL. Karen crafts incredibly detailed quilts that depict Newfoundland’s austere coastline and the tiny fishing villages there. Karen says each one of the buildings in her quilts is constructed piece by piece with fabric, much the same as the original structure was built of shingles and lumber.

One of the things we asked Karen is how she makes the windows in her houses look so realistic. She said she came up with the technique “by luck.” I’ve posted a detail from Karen’s quilt Some View (the full shot is on page 49 of the magazine) so you can get a close look at the windows. I think you’ll be surprised how she does it.

  • 1) Choose the background fabric – black if you’re looking into an unlit room by day, or bright if the lights are on inside. A mottled fabric looks like the glass is reflecting the sky.
  • 2) Add curtains and the window frame.
  • 3) Cut a piece of heavy-duty fusible web to fuse the window to the house. Make sure you use a web that has no texture – some have a pebbly pattern that spoils the effect. Position the window over the web on the front of the house. Then turn it over and press from the back, using a dry iron on a cotton setting. “If you press just enough and not too much, the fusible web shines like glass,” Karen explains.
  • 4) Finish the edges by machine.

Doesn’t that make you want to do windows, too?…Jan Magee, The Quilt Life

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