his quilt is constructed with four long foundation paper pieced columns (each with only 12 seams) which are repeated and mirrored through the center. The colors create a 3-dimensional step effect, and while usually, the quilt appears to be a series “Y” seams, foundation paper piecing allows for precision using only straight seams. The pattern fondly reflects the years I lived in Egypt.
“Directional free motion quilting was used to emphasize the blocks, encouraging the viewer to look up and leaving them with a sense of climbing. Various stitching motifs were repeated, some organic-based, including sand, pebbles, rhythmic waves along the Nile, while others had a modern take on linear Egyptian hieroglyphics and ancient Mastabas.”
Our home while in Egypt for 6 years was the tree-lined district of El-Ma'adi, located on the outskirts of Cairo. From there you could travel 10 miles up and across the Nile to the village of Saqqara. Most recognize famous images of the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the third dynasty 2650 BC limestone tomb that dominates the landscape.
There is a crumbling exactness to the structure, with once precise angles no longer there. Your perspective of height and age is challenged as you walk through the sand towards the base of the pyramid. When you look up, there is a severe contrast between the blue sky and the dusty limestone facing you.
The shot cloth, a combination of two different thread colors creating a third color, was a perfect choice for the Steps of Saqqara quilt. Just like the cloth, the images one recalls depends on how you perceive and want to remember them. In many villages along the Nile, in one direction you could see dirt-floored homes and in the other direction, children laughing, running in their sand-colored galabayas with a stick. The watercolors of the Nile River varied with depth, seasons, and urban proximity. The sun in your eyes alters every hue.