Happy New Year! It’s been a busy, exciting and exhausting season of family, fun, and way too much food. Believe me, I loved every minute of it, but now find myself longing for some quiet creative time. Like Pati, I feel inspired to pull out all the many bags and boxes of unfinished projects and start checking them off my list. Fortunately I don’t feel the need to give myself a timeline. I just want to enjoy the process.
Next weekend, I’m heading out on an annual retreat with several of my quilting students. I’m always a bit unrealistic on these trips and generally bring way too many projects, only to find that I’m lucky to complete just one. This year, my goal is to finish a wedding quilt I started several months ago. I am making it out of a stash of silk fabric samples that I purchased several years ago at our local Oakland Museum’s White Elephant Sale.
Last summer, Diana (McClun) gifted me with this stunning birthday quilt. It is made entirely of silk fabrics and silk batting. I know the photo does not do justice to its beauty so you will just have to trust me when I tell you it is spectacular.
After receiving it, I was reminded of my own silk stash and decided to sort through it and select a range of colors that the bride likes, to use for her wedding quilt.
Here are a few things I have learned from Diana when working with these beautiful yet delicate fabrics.
1. It is best to keep the piecing simple. For this reason, I’ve decided to cut 6-1/2″ squares and set them on point with sashings and posts.
2. Use a fusible interfacing on the backside of the fabric. This will provide stability and prevent raveling along the edges. The interfacing also makes cutting so much easier as many silk and silk-type fabrics can be very slippery. A lightweight, woven fusible interfacing works well.
3. Pressing. I used steam and pressed on the wrong side of the fabrics. If the seams are bulky due to the addition of the interfacing, consider pressing them open. There’s a wonderful tool called The Strip Stick that is designed for this purpose. It was introduced to me by Jan Krentz. Seams can be easily pressed open without creating ridges on the right side of the fabrics. Click here for more information.
4. Sewing. Use a new sharp needle in your sewing machine. I used a No. 80 Sharp. Use the sharpest pins for holding pieces together (silk or long glass-head rather than ballpoint).
5. Quilting. Have fun with this. Just look at how luxurious both the fabrics and designs are showcased. I’m sure various types of battings will work, but Diana opted for silk which just adds to the quilt’s beauty.
I hope this might inspire you to try some of these often-avoided fabrics. I’ll keep you posted as I continue working on the wedding quilt.
Until next time, happy creating everyone!