Blast from the Past 5: Mother’s Day 2019

Buoyed by my success with quilted silk, I was keen to play more with the concept, and Mother’s Day was a perfect excuse to do so! Mum had been enviously eyeballing the cushion cover I made for my aunt’s mum, so I quietly arranged for a few more silk swatches from The Silk Route in pretty reds, oranges and golds, mixed them with the greens I had left over, then set to dreaming up what to do with them. For a change, I thought a rectangular cushion would be nice, so I cut a quantity of HSTs from my silk and arranged them accordingly, in a gradient from one corner to the other:

It reminds me of leaves turning colour! Barring a few shuffles, I stitched my HSTs together to make my cushion top.

Now, how to quilt it? Because of the leaf colours, I decided to roll with that as a concept, so I did some minimal dot-to-dot quilting across each pair of HSTs, leaving a space in the middle, then doodled free-hand leaves in each one. To make the leaf shapes really POP, I used some tight stippling immediately around each leaf, up to the edge of the dot-to-dot quilting.

Like real leaves, they’re all different shapes and sizes! XD I used wool wadding, which really makes the quilting stand out and enhances the shimmer of the silks, some of which were “shot”. As I progressed through the quilting, I tried to use threads that matched (within reason) the colours of the HSTs I was quilting, to enhance the colour changes across the top.

A couple of flaps for the back and some scrappy binding, and it was all finished! Mum was really pleased with it, she loves that it’s rectangular because it provides better back support.

Blast from the Past 3: Emerald Facets

This is a rather bittersweet post because the lady I made this cushion for passed away recently. It was a 90th birthday present for my aunt’s mum, a very dear and talented woman who did a great deal for others both near and far.

From having made her a bed quilt, I knew that she particularly liked blues and greens, and I had been wanting a good reason to do some quilting with dupioni silk, so I armed myself with some packs of 10″ squares from The Silk Route, plus a couple of shot cottons for texture variety, and doodled a pretty straightforward design of squares and half-square triangles.

Having arrived at an arrangement I liked, I interfaced my silk (to reduce fraying) and cut my pieces, making sure to keep the “grain” of the fabrics running all in the same direction. Assembly went pretty well.

Those larger squares were destined for some embellishment, and I had just the thing lurking in my stash – Markal Paintstiks! I created a couple of stencils in Inkscape, printed them onto freezer paper and carefully cut them out with a craft knife, then ironed them in place and had huge fun colouring them in with my shiny metallic Paintstiks.

I was so pleased with how well this worked! The metallic paints looked really luxurious against the silks. After the required drying period and a jolly good press to set the paints, I layered up the quilt with some wool wadding and started quilting. To make the stencilled designs really POP, I used quite dense fillers around them. With the bouncy resilience of the wool, this looked really effective. On the HST blocks, I used a variety of “dot-to-dot” designs, inspired by Angela Walters.

I confess here and now that I am UTTERLY in love with how silk looks once quilted. The natural sheen and shimmer of the silk is really enhanced by the stitching, and the whole effect is just opulent.

Once the quilting was complete, I used a blue Essex linen from Robert Kaufman to make up the cushion back and binding; it was a pleasing contrast to the glossy silk and, I feel, a rather luxurious fabric in its own right as well. To really bling up the back (and make use of some of the small left-over silk scraps), I created a pieced edge on the outer flap of the cushion, and worked out a way to add concealed buttons for the closure:

I was really happy with how this cushion turned out and was proud to be able to send it to such a wonderful person who spent so much time crafting for others. <3

Hexagons With A Twist

In part 1 of n, I mentioned that I was getting quite into EPP.  Part of the reason for this is because I’ve had a project in mind for quite some time, but was unsure how feasible it would be.  The project would involve hexagons, but generated by a small program written by a good friend of mine, which can output .svg arrays of hexagons that range from perfectly regular to highly distorted according to the preference of the user.  To test the practicality of piecing the distorted hexagons, I selected a small sample (90 hexies) and, after some grooming of the shapes in Inkscape to avoid any concave angles, I printed out two versions – one on card to cut for templates and one on paper to use as a guide for later assembly.

To make life even more complicated, I decided that I wanted to piece my distorted hexies from recycled tie silk.  I have a large collection of silk ties that I have purchased from charity shops, washed and unpicked for use in patchwork.  They come in a marvellous array of colours, patterns and weaves!  Some are very thin, whereas others are are much more thickly woven.  To stabilise my silk and stop it behaving badly or shredding too much, I ironed my chosen colours to the lightest interfacing I could obtain locally.  I didn’t put too much thought into colour arrangement – just grabbed a hexie and a silk at random and put them together.

shexies_1908_1

The distorted hexies were a bit more fiddly than regular hexies, but my examples were quite small and I suspect the distortion factor was quite high for this sample.  If I repeated this project, I would make the hexies larger and a little less distorted.  They do look really cool, though!

Thanks to my “map” of the layout, the assembly of the finished hexies went quite smoothly:

shexies_2008_1

Once my hexies were complete and assembled, I had a band of distorted hexagons looking for a home, so I appliqued them to a square of grey Essex yarn-dyed linen that I had hunted down at the Festival of Quilts particularly for this project.  I really love this fabric, the weight and texture of it is lovely!  It does shred terribly easily, though – I used an edge-binding stitch on my square to stop it unravelling completely before I managed to finish the applique and quilting.

Once the applique was finished, I made up a quilt sandwich and hand-quilted the hexagon strip with wavy lines in blue perle silk and the linen with straight lines in grey perle cotton, then turned the finished top into a cushion:

hex_test

I really, really love how it turned out!  Originally it was intended as a birthday present for my friend who wrote the hexagon software (it seemed very apt to give him something generated from his code), but the piecing and hand-quilting took a bit longer than I expected so it ended up being a Christmas present for him instead – I managed to finish it just in time.  🙂

Despite the challenges of this piece, I really want to try it again, with some modifications, and also with more control over colour placement.  This may be a really good application for some of the beautiful Liberty prints I indulged in when I was at the Festival of Quilts!  😉

Linking up with Monday Making, Needle ‘n’ Thread Thursday and Oh Scrap – all links in my sidebar.  🙂