Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Judy W's "Canyon Colors & Curves"

This reversible quilt emerged from an experiment with two separate construction methods meant to depict the geological strata and colors captured in canyon photos.  Both sides were created individually and then placed back to back before quilting and satin stitching the edge.  (The quilt was photographed on a black background to highlight the colors.)

One side is composed of narrow batik fabric strips in colors reminiscent of sunset lit canyon walls.  I used a rust-dyed cotton fabric as the base thinking I’d leave some of it showing through ~ which didn’t happen.  Using clear mono-filament top and bobbin thread, I zigzag stitched horizontal lines  to anchor the fabric.  More  ‘strata’  was added with straight stitched variegated thread.  Some strips were still not fully anchored so I resorted to machine needle felting a layer of beige tulle over the surface.  The result helped but was less than wonderful so I  peeled off most of the tulle after the quilt was finished.
The opposing side features a lovely variegated 100%  wool roving (looks better in person), thinly arranged across a 14” square of black felt which serves as both base and batting due to its eighth inch thickness.  Following the lines of the roving, I machine needle felted a 13” square area.  I layered both sides back to back, then machine stitched a 12” circle on the fabric side.
Transfer product and photographic inspiration.
 A small portable projector  enabled me to enlarge a photo of Ammonite fossils which I then transferred to Sulky Heat-Away Clear Film with a fabric marker.  After positioning the film overlay on top of the felt with the images centered within the circle, I then free-motion quilted the Ammonites from both sides of the quilt to emphasize the outline, then removed the excess film.  I hand picked the film residue off the wool with tweezers instead of ironing it as the product was intended.  Since I’d never used this film before I felt safer avoiding any meltdown mishaps... especially on wool.

Although not entirely pleased with this piece, I’m always happy to learn what works and what doesn’t from one challenge to the next.  Best of all, I finally put some mileage on my felting machine!


  1. You've captured the look and colors of the canyon strata very well. The curving and spiraling ammonites contrast nicely with the linear piecing and the circle frames it all perfectly. Always nice to learn from the process too!! The time and care you took is evident. Well done.

  2. I think it's very unique! Its so wonderful to try out new techniques on a small piece like this. You can feel free to experiment, and you learn a lot. Great JOB!!!

  3. Ooops...Where did my comment go? Lots of information here...a book.
    It is so much fun to experiment and to learn new techniques and get TWO! quilts from the quest. My first impression treated me to the sunlit canyon walls and then the explanation of layers on both was helpful.
    I am so glad you did a circle which is so appropriate for the earth!.I must get up the nerve to vary my edges. Congratulations.

  4. Hi Sistah ! WONDERFUL quilts ! How 'funny' that we both worked in the Exploration Departments for competitive "Big Oil" companies in Alaska, and that we each chose a geological / stratigraphic approach to this challenge :-D I love the way you portrayed the stratigraphy using small strips of fabric, and that you were able to incorporate fossil structures that showed up on both sides of the quilt. Ingenious ! And of course, using a circular 12" x 12 was perfect ! So glad you were finally able to use your felting machine..... I remember when you bought it ! ! ! Love ya, Kath

  5. Fascinating to read how your round two-sided quilt developed. I love how you incorporated the fossils on both sides which are so different in look & texture.

  6. The two sides make me think of a canyon during the day on one side and the other side in the dusk of the evening. What fun to do so much experimenting on one piece!