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Whole Cloth Silk Quilt: Quilting Progress

Stitch by Stitch and Line by Line


When I started the first rough sketches for a quilt for our bed back in 2013, I had no idea it would take this long to finally get the quilt to the quilting stage. As the ideas came and went, and we came and went to and from France every six months, the designs got altered, rejected, put on hold and restarted many times. Staying at home for the last few years, progress was actually possible. Thanks to Autocad and my husband's input, the design finally came together early this year.  Whew!

The quilt is now well on it's way, with a hoped for finish before 2019. (Fingers crossed!)








Progress has been steady, if not quick. Still hoping for a 2018 finish.
Recent posts

Marking a Large Quilt for Stationery Machines

When quilting on a stationery, domestic machine, the overall visibility of a large design gets lost because the quilt has to be scrunched and bunched to fit into the machine and to distribute the weight. For this reason, taking the time to mark accurately is the first step to a successful result. In my experience, too often impatience has led to shortcuts which more often than not leads to regrettable results.


Because this quilt is so large, I did my marking in 3 main steps:
1. Registration Lines - the main division lines in the pattern
2. Skeleton - Outline of all design features
3. Detail -Filling in the shapes

1. Registration Lines: 
My preferred method for the initial squaring up process and marking of registration lines is done on a clean floor, where the quilt top can be fairly accurately squared up on one flat surface. (Works especially well on a gridded floor, such as parquet.)


2. Skeleton:
I had a second full size pattern printed which I cut up into the main design sections to c…

Boutis in the sunshine

No sunscreen required.












Machine Quilting: Thread Painting and Background Fillers

In preparation for quilting my large bed quilt, auditioning stitching patterns and thread colours and weights has been an ongoing side project for the last several months.

Some of the questions I considered:
- Where is the focal point of the quilt? Is there more than one?
- How can I create relief around the motif to be highlighted?
- Which background filler is the most effective?
- Should contrast be created by the colour of the threads or by using varying weights of thread?  Or maybe a combination of both?

The 3 samples below are exploring the possibilities.

Sample 1 is stitched using the same colours and materials that are in the quilt: teal silk dupioni that has been stabilized, 1 layer of wool batting and a cotton backing. All of the samples are using design elements from the quilt itself.

In this first sample I tried my hand at thread painting with a contrasting colour. I used Magnifico, Superior's 40 wt. poly for the outline of the motif, and a 100 wt. silk for the backgr…

The Gate to the Hummingbird Garden & Quilt Canada

"La Porte d'un Jardin de Colibri"   

Remember this little boutis hummingbird ("colibri") from a long way back?


Well, she finally found a happy home behind a silk gate of free motion quilting that opens to her peaceful boutis flower garden.

She was accepted into the juried exhibit of Quilt Canada, which was held here in Vancouver last weekend, and came home with the ribbon for "Excellence for Work of a First Time Exhibitor".


As I was designing the border, I wanted the flow of the boutis to continue into the border. The boutis is set into the centre of the quilt using reverse applique. The photo below shows the circular pattern around the hummingbird being extended to the border and completing the circle by piecing in some white silk.



Following are some close-ups of the quilt.











The title is a little laborious, so I'll call her "Blossom" for short, the name our grand daughter has given to one of the hummingbirds that frequents our balcony …

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 …

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 …