Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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 relief to the design?


As I experiment with all of these variables in the next few weeks, I will document my findings and share the results.


I am enjoying this journey a great deal and am looking forward to the next stage.

I'll be back soon with some early results.



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

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.

Written by Patricia Belyea. Photography by Kate Baldwin. Published by Abrams, New York, 2017.


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 process attainable and fun .


Her choice of fabric, colours  and layout are symbolic and thoughtful references to Japanese culture. Each quilt presented is accompanied by a brief description of the tradition represented in the quilt, as in Sakura Spring, which references the cherry blossom season.


Clear, concise construction directions accompany each quilt showcased in the book. The last two chapters present basic quilting instructions with some innovative finishing techniques.


Beautifully written and photographed, the book takes the reader on a cultural exchange, where Japanese fabrics and western quilting techniques create a fresh and freeing take on improv piecing.

Vintage Japanese cotton prints, called yukata cottons, frame the book.

"East Meets West Quilts: Explore Improv with Japanese Inspired Designs"
 by Patricia Belyea

is available through Amazon and on the Okan Arts website.