I had many canyon photos of my own, but none seemed just right. So I turned to the Internet and found many lovely images. One in particular I was eager to try to render in fabric, a “slot canyon” that was spectacular, but I knew that to use another’s copyrighted image as the basis of my quilt, I needed to ask permission. Alas, my favorite picture’s photographer didn’t reply to my email!
But then the phrase “urban canyon” popped into my mind! Yes! I sketched several make-believe cityscapes. When I came up with one I liked, I drew it more carefully using a ruler on 12"x12” graph paper. This I traced onto freezer paper, and I used those shapes as templates for my quilt.
At first I used fabrics printed with window-like squares for the buildings. After I laid out the first version of this quit, I asked my husband, “Can you tell what this is supposed to be?” He studied it, and then said ruefully, “I’m sorry; I really can’t!”
It was a classic case of his not seeing the forest for the trees! Yes, those “trees”—those colorful buildings with their fanciful “windows”—were ideal, but just not for a quilt this small. I then applied Wonder Under to solid-look fabrics of black, gray, brown, and blue. These I cut using my templates and assembled version #2.
I called Bob in again—Eureka! He knew immediately that what I was picturing was a cityscape, in fact, an “urban canyon.” I fused all the buildings and the street to some fabric that reminded me of a sunrise. Then I fused the front to some all-cotton batting. Appliqué stitches served as the chief method of quilting, both buttonhole and zigzag stitching. I couched several lines of black and brown Perle cotton thread down on three of the buildings, to delineate the fronts and the sides of these structures. I then added some random machine quilting in the sky.
I finished the edges with a technique I learned at the Sue Benner workshop last fall—multiple zigzag stitches in several different colors. As Sue does, I left dangling threads at the four corners. The back is a cityscape print that I’ve treasured since 1999; it depicts Seattle (the part I used); Washington, D.C.; and New York City. The NYC portion includes the Twin Towers, and thus this fabric is precious to me.
|Here's the back showing the skyline of Seattle.|
|I wanted to show you how the quilt looks when I pull back a bit, to show|
the dangling threads at each corner.