A long, long time ago, in a neighborhood far, far away I was given a bunch of fabric sample books by an interior decorator who was cleaning out her garage. I was thrilled, she was thrilled, and everyone went home happy.
I learned all about adhesives, and trying to remove them from fabric samples. Some came out nicely, and some didn’t. My “little” brother, PJ, spent time pulling them apart with me. Most of the fabrics were interior decorator weight, and I used them up making patchwork tote bags. I gave them away to friends and family, and when that wasn’t enough, I freaked people out by handing them out at supermarkets.
Two of the sample books were silk. I drooled over them for years. Finally, about five years later I started pulling the papers off of the back of the silk. It came of very well for the most part. The ones that didn’t come off as well responded quite well to a press with a dry iron. It seemed to make the glue brittle.
I used a triangle ruler, and cut out the biggest triangles I could. I pieced a lovely top. I didn’t use any interfacing or stabilizers – I didn’t have any, and didn’t want to affect the hand of the silk. I haven’t quilted it yet, because I was afraid to screw it up. It has been sitting in my closet since I lived in Texas, so maybe 5 years.
A Day on the Water is made from the blue scraps left from that top. (I don’t throw out scraps of silk, even very pointy triangles.) I decided to throw this one on the longarm and quilt it today, to see how the silk responded to quilting. As you can see, it is glorious. I used Madeira 40 weight Polyneon in gray for the top thread, (Thanks, Chris!) and grey Superior Bottom Line in my bobbin. I used double battings – a scrap of 80/20 on the bottom, and wool on top. I didn’t change my needle for it – I stuck with my usual size 18.
Originally I was going to appliqué a boat onto the top, but I decided against that for a few reasons.
- I’ve been waiting to appliqué the boat for at least 5 years. If it hasn’t happened now, it isn’t going to.
- I like the abstract look of the top as it is.
- Finished! Need I say more?
The top was pressed before I started quilting. I just didn’t get a photo of it all nice and flat. The quilting is just fooling around, trying different patterns. I love how the silk texture glows in the sunlight. A few triangles are left un-quilted on purpose – I like seeing how different it can look.
Yeah. Feathers happened, too. Duh.
Watching the top smoosh down with the texture of the quilting was amazing. I took A LOT of photos. I was caught by my son cooing and petting it twice. Luckily he already knows I’m bonkers and only did a little eye roll on his way back to his lair.
The binding is batik. Can you believe how perfect it is for this piece? I’m almost out of it – too bad I bought it when I lived in Florida, pre-2010. I even prepared a hanging sleeve and label before taking it off of the longarm to bind.
The backing is another batik I’ve had in my stash for a little while. I like how it goes with the watery theme. The label is a scrap of my Mom’s ombre fabric from her last quilt. I’m not to be trusted with scraps.
This quilt will be a gift for my husband, who has been bemoaning all of the bare walls in the house. I hope it reminds him of family vacations in the tropics – his favorite.
The finished dimensions are 27″ x 33″.
Tuesday was my only “selfish sewing” day scheduled for this week. You can bet I will be putting my larger silk quilt on the longarm next week. I have a silk batting to go with that one. I’m curious to see how it behaves.
And I have to thank Dawn, who is in my quilt guild, and has been sharing her silk quilt project online. She got the spark going again for me to pull this piece out and finish it.
Not bad for scraps from trash fabric, right? Oscar approved!
Have you made anything out of silk? I can’t wait to get my hands onto some more. Preferably for free.