Quilting not only looks warm, but it can help insulate a room when it covers bare walls.
In a contemporary dining room I worked on recently, the wide, high picture window was making the room too cold for evening dining. In this home, designed 12 years ago, the glass had been used wall to wall, with little thought given to a future of heatless days and evenings.
Now, with the cost of heating oil soaring, we had to devise a new way to warm up the room. My first thought was to cover the window with fabric. At least for now, however, the owners were reluctant to drape the window -- the view was the reason they built the house in the first place.
The second option was to cover the wall with a thick fabric and to do this economically, I turned to quilting. I designed a 6-foot quilt of felt, a fabric that comes in a rainbow of colors and is available 72 inces wide. Its sturdiness makes is easy to maintain as a wall hanging.
Taking two widths of felt, I bought enough yardage to quilt a wide swath of the wall at right angles to the picture window. For good luck, I decided to pad the ceiling as well. I bought yardage equal to the ceiling height (for the wall) and the length of the room (for the ceiling), roughly 20 linear feet of quilting. It was made in four sections, because it would have been impossible to handle in one long run. The sections are finished on both sides to be reversible.
After stitching the seams together on one long side, the insides were then lightly padded, and the other long side stitched up. The quilting was easy: I channel-quilted the whole length and divided it into channels of 16-inch widths. I used a double row of stitches in a contrasting thread color, for security as much as for added detail.
The hanging device was simple. A 1-by-4-inch piece of stock lumber was attached to the wall just under the ceiling, first run through loops at the back of the hanging. This was attached to a flat bracket so the quilt may be removed for cleaning, should monthly vacuuming not suffice, or to reverse it.