Egyptian quilt « Ann Champion’s Blog

egyptian-quilt-014-300x225-1822472For the past couple of months I’ve set aside the Roseville Album applique so I could work on a surprise gift for my Daughter in Law.

She’s very fond of Egyptian art and has been since she was a child.  She remembers reading mythology, her first introduction at a very young age, and in the third grade did a project where she interpreted hyroglyphs.

I recall being interested in Egyptian antiquities myself at a young age, because our Art Museum here had an Egyptian display, including two Mummies…pretty exotic stuff!

egyptian-quilt-015-300x225-7548078From the time we first met I knew that some day I’d like to make her an Egyptian themed quilt to let her know what a valued addition to the family she was…I just didn’t know where to start or what the design would be.  My search for “Egyptain quilt” turned up no commercial patterns available.

I found a little over two yards of the Lotus print fabric that I used at the top and bottom of the quilt at a yard sale last Summer.  It definitely had an Egyptian look look to me. I grabbed it immediately!  It’s so hard to find traditional Egyptian themed fabric.   I had seen some with symbols of King Tut, which I knew wasn’t what she had in mind.

Last Fall we talked about my making her a quilt.  She wanted the main theme to be the Winged Sun Disk.

egyptian-quilt-010-300x225-1904422The winged sun disk is one of the most widespread ancient symbols that is still in use today.  It was used by the Egyptians, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Persia, South America, and even Australia.  It was also used by groups such as Freemasonry, Theosophy, Rosicrucians, Unity Church,  Chrysler Corporation, and Harley Davidson.

It’s a symbol of protection and is associated with divinity, royalty, and power. It is thought to have originated from the corona effect of a solar eclipse which can give the appearance of wings.

The disk in the center represents Ra the sun god, giver of all life in the sky, the earth, and the underworld, who was associated with the falcon or hawk.   The serpents on either side of the disk, or Uraeus symbols, represent the goddess Wadjet, the patron goddess of lower Egypt and Nekhbet, the patron goddess of upper Egypt.  The Uraeus symbols (spitting cobras) were a sign of sovereignity, royalty,  deity, and devine authority, and were worn on the headdresses of Pharoahs. When upper and lower Egypt were unified these two were known as the “The Two Ladies” who became the joint protectors and patrons.  It was said that the two ladies would “spit fire on their enemies from their fiery eyes”

I used fusible bias strips for the dark strips that give a stained glass, or stone work effect.  Then I stitched along each side so everything would stay put.

egyptian-quilt-004-300x225-9288444I added my Daughter in Law’s name in a cartouche in the upper right corner.  Most art from ancient Egypt had symbols that told who it was made for.  The seated red image of a woman along with the direction the characters are facing tell that the word should be read from left to right.   The red image indicated that this is an important woman, or goddess.

The bands of color above and below the sun disk are very traditional additions to a lot of Egyptian art.  The colors used fell into place once I knew we’d want the sun disk, which is usually red/dark orange, and has a halo of gold around it.  The feathers were decided by the Mendhi fabrics that matched so well with the Lotus fabric I’d found.

egyptian-quilt-007-300x225-8548369I also added the symbols for life, prosperity, and health below the winged sun disk.  This would be called a “prayer” in Egyptian symbolism, or my wish to the owner of this piece.

I added the date the quilt was made in the lower left corner. 

The quilting is “bricks” behind the sun disk and a swirled wave between the bands and Lotus fabric.  This same motif is in the Lotus print.  I quilted the Lotus fabric following the design that’s printed in it.

egyptian-quilt-012-300x225-1962893Once I hung the quilt for pics I could see that the center of the sun disk needed more quilting, so I added a circle to the center. 

With the symbols I inked with permanent fabric marker enlarged, I thought they could be darked a bit, so I went over them again.  I didn’t take pics of my little changes due to the weather..and I was anxious to get the quilt packed for shipping!

The finished size is 90″x 90″.

My DIL got the quilt yesterday, and I’m happy to report that she was very pleased with it.

Tags: Egyptian quilt, hand applique, hand quilted, winged sun disk quilt