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Quilting With Silk III: Choosing Threads

Threads and Stitch Patterns

Thread selection has become a lot more complicated then it was when I first started machine quilting. On-line shopping has opened up an endless variety of materials along with educational information about the product and tutorials on it's correct use.

My earliest machine quilts were stitched using mostly a 50 weight cotton thread, often with a contrasting colour in both the top needle as well as the bobbin. 50 weight cotton is a good choice for utility quilts that will be used daily, (ie quilts without a lot of fine detail), however, when used for more decorative stitching, the resulting "threadiness" is often more of a distraction than an enhancement. (See below).

Today, although I prefer tone on tone colours, there is a greater variety of threads in my quilting of differing weights and fibre content, depending on where and how the thread is to be used.

For subtle highlights in a main design feature, I prefer a heavier silk or poly thread …
Recent posts

Quilting with Silk II: Testing materials

1. Prewash?

2. Underline with stabilizer?
3. Marking Choices?
4. Type of Batting?

When starting any new quilt, there are many choices to consider and decisions to make regarding materials, designs and techniques.

Working with silk creates it's own unique challenges. Although many quilters are choosing to work with silk today, resource info was scattered and hard to find, both on-line and in books. One invaluable source has been the book "Silk Quilts" written by Hanne Vibeke de Konig. Published in 2000, the information is well researched and still relevant today.

1. Pre-wash?
Once the fabrics have been chosen, in my case it's a silk dupioni, the question of pre-washing must be resolved. Opinions in the quilting world vary on this, although my findings led me to believe most quilters choose not to prewash silk.  The draw back to this is that the quilt must then be dry cleaned if it ever gets soiled.

Because I'm working on two different silk quilts, two different …

Under Construction

Since my last post, there has been construction happening on several fronts.

The most obvious is the new look of my blog site. There are still many kinks to iron out on that front. "Techno Wizardry" is as alien to me as sewing and quilting are a natural extension of who I am. Since I'd rather be quilting any day, the blog rework is a bit of an ordeal but it is slowly coming together.  (If my 3 year old granddaughter could read, she probably would have had the rework up months ago!)

That having been said, I will start posting again in the next couple of weeks, ironing out the rest of the kinks along the way.

However, throughout the drama of my computer trauma, the sewing machine has been running overtime, happily quilting. And my hands, not idle either, are working on new boutis pieces.

Here are a few pics of some of the projects that have been keeping me busy.

So, as I continue to iron out the kinks of the new layout, I will be posting again more regularly. Thanks for ch…

Boutis Star to Celebrate the Solstice

A boutis star to celebrate the winter solstice.

Grand Baby H, now the young Lady H, turns 3.
I can't imagine a better reason for celebrating!

Wishing everyone a very happy  Christmas season.

Quilting with Silk: Whole Cloth Sampler

Choosing and Prepping Materials

Although I have quilted on silk in the past, never has it been on a scale like the 100" x 100" whole cloth quilt I am currently working on.

There are  so many things to consider when quilting with less familiar materials like dupioni silk. 

There's the question of  prewashing or not?
Some say yes, others say never.
Underline? When is it necessary?
How will it affect the loft?

Markers react differently on silk. Blue wash-outs can spread and must be washed out after the quilt is made, (you are then committed to pre-washing the silk).  Chalk marks easily and is fairly visible initially, but will rub off long before the large quilt is completed. What will show up the best on a dark fabric?

Battings. Wool? High loft polyester? 80/20?
Combinations of two?
Partial combination, like trapunto style (see below).

Which threads to use? Colour? Weight?
Will it highlight the main motifs?
Which thread disappears into the background but gives the best…

Book Review: "East Meets West Quilts: Explore Improv with Japanese Inspired Designs"

"Enjoy the delight of discovery as you try something new. Give yourself permission not to know exactly where you are going. Yet note that creating improvisational quilts is never arbitrary or accidental; It requires active discernment in determining each design choice."
Quote by permission of the author, Patricia Belyea

In her book "East Meets West Quilts: Explore Improv with Japanese Inspired Designs", Patricia Belyea introduces the quilter to a fun and fresh method of improvisational piecing using Japanese prints as her inspiration.

Patricia's comfortable approach to improv piecing eases the reluctant improv quilter (eg. ... me) to drop those nasty self imposed inhibitions and restrictions and have fun playing with colour and pattern, while at the same time providing a safety net with a few basic concepts.

Using strong solids next to vintage yukatas, as in "The Art of Flowers", Patricia's simplified approach to improvisational piecing makes the pr…

Boutis and Butterflies in a Tri-Fold Pouch

Little pouches come in handy for a number purposes. They can provide a protective sleeve for cell phones, mini tablets, cameras, etc. Or, by adding a looped cord to use as a handle, it can serve as a small evening bag to accommodate essentials. When I spend a lot of time making something, it's nice if there's a practical purpose to the item.

This is the second tri-fold butterfly pouch that I have made. It is a little larger than the first, and the design has evolved somewhat.

The latest pouch is lined with a grey cotton and assembled in the same way as I did the first. See the first pouch here.

This close-up of the butterfly highlights the background filler stitch. The stitch, called "point rapproche" (meaning back and forth stitch), has a similar effect as the basic stipple stitch in machine quilting.

Enough pouches for now.
Time to focus on Christmas ornaments.