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Quilting with Silk: Whole Cloth Sampler

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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"

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"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

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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.

Thanksgiving Already!

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It's already Thanksgiving in Canada.
Where did the summer go?

Wishing everyone on both sides of the 49th parallel a wonderful autumn weekend.


Boutis: Pouches and More

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Although I have not written about boutis in a very long time, it is still very much a part of what I do. Over the last year, aside from making progress on some earlier projects (completing some), I am constantly working on new designs.


With all the time and effort that goes into making a piece of boutis, it's nice if at the end there is a practical use for what I have just made. The pouches that I have been working on can have a variety of uses, such as sleeves for cell phones and sunglasses,  holding sewing notions, etc.  The first six images show three of the little pouches (or sleeves) that have been my experimental playground.

The pattern evolves with each pouch as I work out the design kinks and look for better, more efficient methods and materials. An example is the circular surround enclosing the little butterfly motif below. In it's current state, it looks quite unfinished at the lower end and will need some reworking.


The reworked version has two additional channels …

Machine Quilted Bumble Bee Placemats

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Just Buzzing Around

Finishing some "vintage" Phd's (Projects half done) is a quick way to make a bit of a dent in my self imposed goal to "Scrap the Stash" (well, ....., reduce it anyway).

Years ago, when we still spent part of each year in Montpellier, France, these 8 placemats had been cut out and prepped, ready to quilt. But as often happens, the project was interrupted and the materials were "filed" under "Later". Well, "later" finally came this summer and the placemats got done.



To applique the little bumble bees, I used "Appliquik", a light weight iron on fusible, and then machine satin stitched around the wings and body.


The backing fabric is the typical Provencal cotton found in most French markets. The quality isn't the best, but the colours and designs are a happy reminder of those sunny, warm days in "le grand sud".


All of the quilting is free motion. The swirly border is meant to represent the…