Earlier this year a quilt group I belong to, The Columbus Modern Quilters, issued a challenge based on a photograph one of our members took in downtown Columbus, Ohio. (You can see the photo and challenge requirements by clicking the link above.) In the image, parking garages with painted murals stand out against a bright blue sky. We were challenged to use this photograph for inspiration in creating any type of sewn project. Urban Cabins is my interpretation.
This quilt is entirely improvisationally pieced, although I did use rulers to help with construction. I began with fabric bits from my scrap bin, and incorporated larger pieces of fabric as the project grew. In the original photo, I loved how the brightly colored murals enlivened the surroundings even though they only took up a small portion of the image. To capture this overall feeling, I included centralized areas of color that spark into their more subdued surroundings. Concrete and sky colors of tans, greys, and blues dominate the most surface area of the quilt, but the bright colors give the piece life
With so much of the quilt being comprised of similar subtle colors, texture, both visual and physical, played a significant role in completing the design. The use of both prints and solids create visual shifts in texture, while physical changes between cotton and linen create further interest. Occasionally a selvage edge is exposed to further enhance the textural variations.
For the quilting, I decided to use evenly spaced, vertical lines to pull the design together, while not overpowering the design of the quilt top. Vertical lines evoke the energy and feeling of a bustling downtown environment.
I was excited to discover the perfect backing fabric in my stash. I had purchased it on clearance a long time ago, knowing it would make a great quilt back at some point. I liked how the bold print varies across the width of the fabric, giving it a mural-like vibe that relates to the original inspiration image.
A facing was the perfect finish to this quilt. With an energetic design like this, I think it is important to allow the viewer’s eye to continue all the way to the edge of the quilt without the visual barrier of a binding. Fortunately, I had just enough backing fabric to line up the printed motifs on three sides of the quilt. I would have loved a perfect match, but there wasn’t that much extra fabric! The fourth side had black circles, so a solid black fabric worked to finish the edge.
Title: Urban Cabins
Size: 30″ x 40″
Techniques: Machine Piecing, Improvisation
Quilting: Straight line quilting with digital channel locks on an A-1 Longarm
Fabric: Cotton and linen solids and assorted cotton prints
Batting: Hobbs Tuscany Wool
Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil
Binding: Faced with the remaining backing fabric and one strip of solid black fabric.
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