A Quilt Gallery

2014-01-01_16_24_34It’s the first Sunday of the new year and I am determined to keep my resolution!  Aside from posting to the blog on New Year’s Day, I spent a considerable amount of time putting things away in the sewing room and even hanging some wall quilts.  Our sewing room is upstairs and there’s a hallway at the top of the stairs that has been yearning to have something other than wallpaper or paint on its walls.  When my parents bought this house over 20 years ago it had 7 different co-ordinating floral wallpapers and borders in the upstairs.  About 3 years ago we finally got rid of all the wallpaper upstairs and painted the whole upstairs a nice soft yellow.  I remember going to my friend Martha’s house a few years ago and seeing her gallery of quilted art.  We had been hanging small and medium quilts in the living room and dining room just one at a time.  I loved the idea of a gallery where you could see several at once but I didn’t think of using the hallway upstairs when there were 3 floral prints on the wallpaper there.   It was just too dizzying.  Once we got the yellow paint on the walls I started brainstorming.

How could I hang several wall quilts of various sizes and be able to change them whenever I felt like it.  If I put holes in the wall for each of the quilts in the first setting would that be a problem when I swapped them out for smaller art quilts?  There are so may options on the market for quilt hangers but many of them are permanently attached to the wall in one place.  Just like in a real art gallery, each piece of artwork needs to be hung at eye level.  I know there are professional ways to accomplish this, but I was thinking inexpensive and simple.  So here’s what I came up with.

2014-01-01_16_25_14  Inspired by the decorative molding that goes throughout the living room and dining room I went to the hardware store last summer.  For years, I’ve hung some lightweight Christmas decorations from the molding in the dining room by putting a small nail in the top of the molding and using transparent thread to hang the decorations from it. When I got to the store I was very disappointed in the quality of the decorative molding and decided that it was all too flimsy to support any weight.  They just don’t make things like they used to.  I think my house was built in the 1940’s. 

So I decided on 1×4’s for this project and painted them the same color as the trim in the upstairs.  Last summer, my boyfriend hung them on the wall in the hallway about 4 inches from the celing.  About a month after he hung them, I finally hung a quilt.  On New Year’s Day I finally added 3 more.  Each quilt either has a sleeve for hanging on the back or

quilt galleryit has tabs along the top to put a rod through.  I went to the craft store and bought simple wooden dowels.  I picked up several different diameters so I would have sturdier ones for larger quilts and thinner (cheaper) ones for the smaller, lightweight projects. 

I used grosgrain ribbon to hang the dowels from the nails.  I will leave the nails in and just add more where I need them when I swap things out.   

I will eventually paint the dowels and nails to match the walls.  Somewhere in my stash of craft supplies I believe I even have some decorative ends to put on the dowels if I’m so inclined.  But doing all of that will take precious time away from quilting.  So for now, I am happy just to have quilts on the wall! 

I hope this post inspires you to hang some of your quilts so you and your guests can enjoy all the work that went into them on a regular basis!

This coming week I’ll be working on a couple of challenges.  One is for the quilt guild that I belong to, The Museum Quilt Guild in Batavia, NY and one is for the Quilter’s Consortium of New York State.  Check back next week for clues on those projects!  (I’d say I’ll show you the finished projects but I don’t want to give anything away before the reveal at the guild meeting.  Besides, if you know me, then you know I’ll be working on them right until the last minute!)  

-Melanie