January 19, 2011

Quilts as Sound Absorbers

My beloved mother-in-law, Judith, passed away last November. My husband, her only child, has inherited her lovely Edwardian era home in downtown Melbourne. If we sold it, it would fetch a quite a price, but for many reasons we have opted not to do that. Instead we've decided to put some time, energy, and considerable money into fixing it up. We'll use it as a second residence.

When we go there for overnight stays, we take our companion birds with us: Blue (a red-factor male canary), George (a male eclectus), and Laka (a blue and gold macaw). We do this often enough to justify getting a couple of inexpensive cages to house them in. The cages are situated near the back of the house where there is an easy-to-clean polished brick floor and where a series of internal doors allow us to keep most of the noise contained.

The walls of this hallway are composed of brick, with windows high up and sky-lights above. It's quite bright, but all that brick tends to make the screeching reverberate - almost like an amplifier, really. It can be quite unbearable - deafening - to be in that hallway when either George or Laka cut loose (which they do frequently).

Amoung Judith's things is a lovely double-size quilt that my mother made for her some years ago. Rather than use that quilt on a bed, I've decided to hang it in the hallway next to the cages. It makes a huge difference, absorbing instead of reflecting and amplifying the sound. It works so well that I also hung a Christmas quilt (something I gave Judith a long time ago) on another wall.

I'm now considering the possibility of making some decorative hangings to go in that hallway - quilts, of course - to cover even more of the brick and dampen the volume. Yet another excuse for heading to the quilt shop!

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