A Day on the Water

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.

IMG_5405.jpgI 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.

IMG_5398.jpgA 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.

IMG_5400.jpgOriginally I was going to appliqué a boat onto the top, but I decided against that for a few reasons.

  1. I’ve been waiting to appliqué the boat for at least 5 years.  If it hasn’t happened now, it isn’t going to.
  2. I like the abstract look of the top as it is.
  3. Finished!  Need I say more?

IMG_5402.jpgThe 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.

IMG_5403.jpgYeah.  Feathers happened, too.  Duh.

IMG_5411Watching 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.

IMG_5406.jpgThe 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.

IMG_5425The 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.

IMG_5424.jpgThis 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.

IMG_5427Not 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.

26 thoughts on “A Day on the Water

  1. The quilt is fabulous and the quilting you did makes it come alive. I may have some of that binding fabric in my stash – it really is lovely. The silks are just so beautiful; you should be pleased.


  2. That is so gorgeous! It looks like Dupioni silk, one of my favorites to use in crazy quilting. The quilting on this is just gorgeous! That’s a wonderful finish.


  3. Thank you for such an inspiring post. I’ve seen those sample books (my husband was in automotive upholstery for years) and they are not much fun to peel off paper. The silk is lovely and I am blown away by the quilt. It does look like a day on the water. I love the quilting in the triangles and can’t wait to see the 2nd quilt. Your husband will be so pleased with this, I know!


  4. I also was gifted with a large stash of sample boards of home dec fabrics. Many totes, several quilt tops and place mats later I got to the silk samples. I pieced some together for a table topper and did some stipple quilting on it. Wow how wonderful the silk was to quilt, and the feel of the fabric once quilted was wonderful. Ok, I also stroked and cooed but on one was watching fortunately. I am totally hooked on silk, I still have a few pieces left but I am hording them.


  5. Just the word “silk” makes me intimidated when it comes to sewing. Your quilt is lovely! The binding and backing work really well! I like all things “pointy” when it comes to quilts, so this one really floats my boat! Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

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