January 17, 2017: Working with silk

Greetings!  I mentioned a couple weeks ago that one of my goals this year is to “finally” make a silk quilt and in the last post I showed you the beginning of that new quilt.   The reality is that I already made a silk quilt, but it’s a small wall quilt made for a guild challenge a few years ago. What I meant for this year was to make something larger and more substantial.  Here are some pictures of my previous silk quilt (about 24 inches square):

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I lined all the pieces of silk with a very soft and flexible interfacing – I don’t remember what brand it was; I purchased it from a vendor at a quilt show.  It worked very well to stop all the fraying at the edges of the cut silk fabrics, but it was a real chore to take the time to fuse it to all the individual fabrics.  I remember that it was pretty easy to hand quilt even with the added interfacing.

For my new silk quilt, I decided I didn’t want to take the time to interface all the fabrics.  I went to my go-to book  to review advice on whether to interface or not:

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This is a great book if you want to work with silk – published in 2000, I think.  It has lots of wonderful information about silk,including history and how it’s made and was used in the past.

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There is a great chapter featuring lots of silk quilts from around the world and most of the quilters weigh in on whether they interface their fabrics or not.  I’d say it’s about 50-50 – no actual consensus.  To me that means anyone working with silk should potentially try both ways and see what one prefers.

I paper pieced my blocks without pre-interfacing the fabrics.  Each block has 4 paper pieced sections.  Here is what 4 blocks look like pinned together on my design wall (click to enlarge):

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Each “block” is 8 inches so the above section will finish 16 inches square.  I’m envisioning a quilt with at least nine section as above, set 3X3 so that would be about 48 inches square with a border yet to be determined.  I’m thinking of “Galaxy Gazing” as a possible name.

Here’s the back of one block with the paper on (you can see I tried to limit the fraying by cutting with a pinking blade on my rotary cutter:

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Here it is after I took off the paper – still quite a bit of fraying!:

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The reason I took off the paper before sewing all the blocks together is that I want to “play” with the blocks and I can’t do that with paper attached!  Here is what the stars look like with circles in the centers (not yet appliquéd):

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I like the circles!  And I want to add some type of embroidery embellishment as well.  It suddenly occurred to me that there is no reason I can’t fuse a lightweight interfacing to the finished block to stabilize it!!  So that’s what I did – the blocks are 8 1/2 inches and I fused an 8 1/2 inch piece of interfacing to the back.  This will take care of the fraying and allow me to appliqué and embroider whatever I want on the blocks.  This is much easier than fusing interfacing to all the pieces of fabric ahead of time.  A neat solution to the fraying problem!  The silk is so thin, as is the interfacing, so I don’t think hand quilting will be a problem.

I leave this Saturday evening for Thailand!  I doubt I’ll be posting again before then and I will be taking a blogging break while I’m away.  I’ll be back the night of 2/6 and will try to post soon thereafter!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day,  Gladi

 

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7 thoughts on “January 17, 2017: Working with silk

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Agree – I love appliqueing circles! They are usually easy and the stitching is meditative and comforting. Gladi

      Reply
  1. Paul F. McKenna

    Lee & I hope you have a superlative trip to Thailand & we’ll look forward to your travel tales upon your return. This should be an excellent opportunity for finding new fabrics as well as inspiration for future quilting projects. We’re excited about our get together with you and Al in early March so be sure to take lots of photos to punctuate the travelogue! Buon viaggio!

    Reply
    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thank you both! I’m sure it will be a wonderful trip and I do plan to take many pictures which I’m happy to share. It’s also nice to have something to look forward to in March! Gladi

      Reply
  2. Margaret Solomon Gunn

    try a tricot interfacing like Pellon bi-strtch lite. It stabilizes, and minimizes the fraying. I use on the Radiance.

    Reply

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