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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Making window quilts

Why make window quilts? Well, they stop the flow of warmed air over the window where it's cooled. Windows have a constant loop of warmed air being cooled. That's not a good thing to happen when the price of heating our homes is a big expense. If you're trying to cut down expenses, window quilts help. Window quilts can be made very pretty and fancy but it's not necessary.

Actually they don't even have to be quilts, using blankets or fleece will work.... just not as well. The idea is similar to layering clothing to keep warm. The more layers, the more pockets of air that's trapped, the better the insulation against cold.

I made these window quilts very quickly because I only have a few days to get them done and installed before my daughter and grand daughter move into my house. It's better for me to do this work while there's no furniture in the rooms. I'll work on prettier and better made ones later.

The first thing I did was quilt some fabric. If you don't have access to a quilting machine then go to a thrift store and buy some blankets. You will be cutting them up so don't go to a lot of expense for these. Just get something that will look pretty with your decor.

This window is 37 X 68. So that's the size I cut the quilt. There is no binding and no hem. Just a plain zig-zag around the edges. Like I said... I'm in a hurry to get these installed. We are also expecting colder weather in a few days.

Next I measured up from the bottom 24 inches and drew a straight line with a wash out marker. Why 24"? Well, that's about 1/3 the height of the window. You'll understand this measurement when you see how the quilt operates on the window.

From some of the scraps I cut myself a strip of fabric 2" by the width of the window quilt.

I pinned it along the drawn line and sewed both sides with a simple straight line close to the edges. This is going to be a rod pocket to help the quilt fold up when it's opened. That's why it's placed a short distance from the bottom of the quilt.

Next I got out some of these. As you can see, I bought them on sale. I've been gathering supplies for my window quilts for a few months. I rarely buy non-edible things that are not on sale. That's why it takes me so long to get things done. Gotta wait for the sales.

Ok, I'm missing one part for my window quilt. I needed a yard stick but I didn't have any. I had planned to go back to the fair where yardsticks are given away free. I didn't get back to the fair because of my brother being in the hospital. Oh well.... I go on a hunt through the house to see what I have that I can use. I found these. Yup, these will work.

I sew on the rod pocket and 5 rings. I spaced the rings out so they are eyeball even. No measuring. I needed one ring to be close to the edge on each side. Then I put the paint sticks into the pocket. Three is a little long but a craft knife score on one stick and I could snap it off at the right length.

So now it looks like this.

What next? Oh yes, I need some of this. Again, bought on sale a few weeks ago. I have a lot of this because I use it when making t-shirt rugs. This will become the draw strings to make the window quilts go up and down.

In order to show you how the strings are attached I left my window quilt laying on the table. I can't take pictures and do the work at the same time. This is for demonstration only. Normally, I wouldn't attach or cut any strings until I've actually put the quilt on the window. This is merely to show you the operation. I'll explain a better way of doing the strings in a minute.
Starting with one of the outside rings, tie the string to it. Lay the string out the length of the quilt.... going toward the top.

When you get to the top go across the top....

to the corner. Then go down the other side.....

until you get to the bottom. Leave a foot or more of extra string and cut it off.

Do the same thing with all the other rings.

Eventually you will have all your strings going to the top and down the same side, like this. But, like I said, there's an easier way than this.

Now I need some of these. This is what the strings will go through on the windows. Oops, its not on sale but do I keep a supply of these in my tool box. I find all kinds of uses for them.

Now it's time to install the quilt on the window. Oops! I gotta clean the window and put plastic on it first. Eeewww! More icky stuff. Can you tell I'm way behind on spring cleaning?

Ok, icky stuff cleaned up and plastic installed on the window. Next the metal eye hooks are put at the top of the window frame. Eyeball evenly spaced. Here's a couple of pictures of how the strings will look along the top. See how the strings go up to an eye hook and over to one side? Each string goes through it's own eye hook......

and over to the one on the end. All strings go down through the same last eye hook.

On the side they look like this.

A much better way of doing the strings is to attach the window quilt first, then lay the string ball on the floor, run the string up through the outside eye hook and over to the eye hook above it's cabone ring. Then down to the sewn cabone ring and tie it. Then on the side cut the string a length longer than the window.
How did I attach the quilt to the window? Well, personally, I used tiny 1/2 inch craft nails. I used these only because that's what I had available. I really wanted to attach the quilt to a yardstick, either glued, nailed, or another rod pocket. These are temporary and I don't care if I put tiny nail holes in my window frame. (No window frame inspector is going to get me for it.)
Whatever method you use to attach your quilt, just be sure to leave enough room for running the strings before making it tight against the window frame. It must end up tight against the frame to prevent air flow or it won't work right.

Now for the operation of the window quilt. I needed some of these. Yup! Bought on discount sale too. Yes, I do plan months ahead of the work and start searching for just the right stuff. Sometimes I get lucky and it doesn't take months to find everything.

This is how the window quilt will operate. Just like any pull up shade. This is how it looks when open.

In order for my window quilts to be kid safe I make a series of knots in the strings. Like this. These are about 3 inches apart though it doesn't look like it in the picture. That's the reason for all the extra length of string. Knotting shortens the length.

When the quilt is in the closed position I find a height that's higher than Ladybug's reach. That's where I put the cord holder. While still in the closed position I cut the knotted strings to just about half way down the length of the window or near where the cord holder is located. I can still reach it easily. When opening the window quilt, it reaches to the cord holder.

Well there you have it. A very quick lesson on making and installing window quilts. I only have 8 more windows and an archway to get quilts installed on before the move in day. Plus all the plastic too. I have to come up with something quick since I only have 10 days to get them all done. I think I need to go thrift store shopping to find some blankets.
Hmm.... where does one find yard sticks these days? I haven't seen them in any stores for a long time. Maybe because I haven't been looking for them.
Oh gosh! I just realized I need to get the closet doors back in place too. The electrician is coming to install new overhead lights and a new stove hood tomorrow. I have customer quilts still to finish before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving? Have I got everything? Ok, bad scheduling on my part. Somehow it will all get done.... I have faith.


Vaca Vista Videos said...

Oh my gosh!! This is just wonderful to know. I never would have thought of it! Thanks for sharing not only this but all of the other tips. Margaret Bucklew

Joyful said...

I'm sure your window quilts combined with the weatherproof plastic really cuts down on the heating bills and makes you nice and toasty in your place. Good work!