“Dirty old river, must you keep rolling, rolling into the night. People so busy, making me dizzy, taxi light shines so bright. But I don’t need no friends. As long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset, I am in paradise.

The Kinks released this record in 1967 and it rose to number 2 in the charts in May of that year.  Ray Davies said it came to him in a dream and originally he wanted to call it Liverpool Sunset but he knew London better so decided to call it by the name we know it by.  

According to  Loudsound.com ‘the lyrics had a dappled impressionist feel that is more about mood than about linear story telling’ and that was my starting point for creating this art quilt when it was presented to me as a challenge by Sylvia Priest of UKQU website.

Originally I was thinking I would do something around the sunset and iconic skyline of big wheel and building outlines. But then I went on an abstract painting workshop, working in  acrylics, and thought the style would suit the mood of the song. The design I finally decided on was inspired by a painting by Paul Klee – Double Tent


I searched through my supplies to find sunset colours  and found a nice selection  of hand dyed fabrics calling out to be used.   The ‘dirty old river’ and the sky fabrics were made up of grey and deep blues/greens.These were found in my stash (think that says something about my style!).

The work consists of 1.5” wide strips stitched together in a  graduated colour scheme.  The sunset strips (ooops that is another song) graduated in colour from yellow down to red and the two triangles were made from the same block so that they were identical.  Theses triangles were cut at an angle of  60 degrees from the top peak.  


The words I chose ‘As long as I gaze on | Waterloo Sunset | I am in paradise” were printed out in a dark petrol blue and white to fit into the sky and river.  The sky/river was developed in 4 separate parts and then cut on a 60 degree angle and stitched to the sunset. It was a tricky procedure to get the joins accurate whilst working on the bias (the stitch unpicker was very useful tool needless to say!). The bottom was developed first and was then joined to the top half. 

Originally I wanted to frame this piece but after deciding the finished size did not fit a standard frame I decided to quilt.  This required a border to be added before layering.

Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station, every Friday night. But I am so lazy, don’t want to wander, I stay at home at night. But I don’t, feel afraid. As long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset, I am in paradise”



Quilting of course adds another level of decision making and luckily I had some time to think and asked for a little help from some friends (There goes another good song title!). In the end I decided to quilt in circles the size of EP records leaving a small centre circle (for putting on the record player) and a label sized gap before infilling with circles.  These overlapped each other as though dropped on a surface. Once complete I decided I didn’t like the white border so trimmed it back and added an invisible binding giving it a more modern look and feel.  

Finally I added a few gold sprinkles on the refection in the water – sadly it doesn’t show up on the photo below.  

Now all I have to do is add a label, hang the quilt, get my Ukulele out and do a few versus of Waterloo Sunset.



‘Millions of people swarming like flies ’round Waterloo underground. Terry and Julie cross over the river where they feel safe and sound. And they don’t, need no friends. As long as they gaze on Waterloo Sunset, they are in paradise’.


This was a lovely project to do and it has taken me back to my youth.  I may very well create more in a series of the Kinks records – who knows.   

To listen to the original recording check this out


  1. Sue Burford

    This one bought back more Memories! Thanks Ruth. Love the triangles and the water – very clever. Te circular quilting really addes to the whole design too. I have never thought about putting a fabric design in a picture frame – might give it a go another time. Really enjoyed the Blog too. xx

  2. Maggie Attfield

    A lovely piece Ruth. I am really enjoying this Song Title Series! Beautifully stitched and it really does evoke a sunset on the Thames. I especially like the printing, though I do not know how that is done. It complements the work beautifully.