My Wall of Quilts

dawn's quilt wall

The quilts displayed on this wall in our TV room replace a piano that I donated a few months ago. I had bought a secondhand piano 20-some years ago. Having taken lessons as a kid, I thought I would relearn how to play. That never happened, not because I didn’t want to but because I preferred to spend my free time sewing, especially when I was still working. Retiring in 2008, I plunged headlong into quiltmaking. The piano, alas, remained unplayed.

With the piano gone, my inclination was to increase the seating in the TV room by adding a sectional sofa. Gradually, with that expanse of wall staring at me, the notion of a quilt wall took over. I remembered a photo I had seen in Marie Deatherage and Joyce Brekke’s fabulous book Pieces of Portland (Quiltlandia, 2015). Marie’s husband, Ric Seaberg, made her a wall-size quilt rack:

marie's quilt wall

Floor to ceiling  — what an efficient use of space! Since the wall in our TV room is one of the few that doesn’t get direct sunlight, I knew it would be the perfect spot to display quilts.

I called upon master craftsman Phillip Galyon of Wooden Images. Phillip made me a custom sewing table and cabinet in 2012, and the next year he crafted a console table and stool for our remodeled master bathroom.

My idea for this project was a series of quilt ladders that could stand alone or be joined by pegs to form one piece. After consulting with Phillip, we decided on separate ladders that, when placed next to each other, would look like one unit. The wood of choice was African mahogany, well suited to the original dark stained wood trim in our 1913 Craftsman home.

Here are three ladders butted up next to each other . . .

quilt ladder wall 1

. . . and here they are with a couple of inches between them:

quilt ladder wall 2

As you see from the photo at the top of this post, I chose to put the ladders together — at least for now. They can easily be moved apart for a change of pace. And adding or rearranging quilts will be a breeze because of the ease with which the ladders can be moved.

I can’t say enough good things about the quality of Phillip’s work. He angled the rungs of the ladders so the quilts would hang properly. He leveled the tops of the ladders so they would be flat across the top (level with the floor). And he added a wedge to the top of the backs so they would lie flat against the wall. Not only that, he put felt on the backs so they wouldn’t scratch:

quilt ladder, detail of back
And he signed each piece on the back of the bottom rung:

quilt ladder, signature
All told, Phillip made four ladders for me. There is room for another ladder on my quilt wall in the TV room but for now the fourth ladder is in an upstairs bedroom (hung with quilts, of course).

Having this wall of ladders means that the precious quilts that have come down through my family will be on display as well as the quilts I have made myself. Some of the latter will be given away eventually, to be replaced by new ones, but for the time being I will have the pleasure of seeing them frequently.

I envision my wall of quilts as a changeable feast.




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16 Responses to My Wall of Quilts

  1. Kristi says:

    Dawn, I’ve been wanting a quilt rack like yours for years. Thanks for the information on your new quilt racks. I love all of your quilts displayed on them.

  2. Linda N. says:

    I love this, Dawn! I remember seeing Phillip’s handiwork back in my StoryQuilts days and think he did beautiful work. And this post only confirms my distant memories. And what a clever idea (thank you, Marie Deatherage).

  3. Diane says:

    Spectacular idea!! These quilt racks take up so little room but create a wall of art. And the racks themselves are divine – I noted the beautiful doweling work. It just could not be more wonderful!!

  4. Sandy says:

    I love those. I have a single ladder and I’ve loved it. Your ladders are perfect and especially wonderful since you can change them around.

  5. Jeanne says:

    Isn’t it fun and affirming to be able to see what you’ve accomplished!
    Lovely craftsmanship.

  6. ric seaberg says:

    Absolutely gorgeous Dawn! Way to go Phillip!!!

  7. Great idea, and it looks wonderful!

  8. Char Quiroz says:

    LOVE IT!!!

  9. anna says:

    Gorgeous, Dawn! The combined work of two meticulous crafts-persons. Dawn and Phillip! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! That TV room will never be the same!
    I have Nina’s piano, and I haven’t done much with it either, but it comforts me to have it.

  10. Peg says:

    So wonderful!! Beautiful job displaying. What fun you will have!

  11. Lisa D'Andrea says:

    I always wondered what quilters did with all those wonderful quilts. This display is gorgeous – what a fine craftsman you have to call on! So happy to see these beauties on display! Thanks for sharing!!

  12. Beautiful display and obvious excellent craftsmanship in the ladders as well. Very jealous of your view now, but that bottom left quilt would give me a chronic twitch I think… too much OCD in me to let one quilt be left askew. haha… I know you have to enjoy seeing all of these quilts out in the open now. Thanks for sharing!!

  13. Charlie says:

    Superb idea. Just like a medieval castle, with tapestries lining the walls for both insulation and beauty.

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