Unravelling Silk

So, there was a new book on the cutting table at PHF last Friday with the intriguing title Silk Unravelled (published by Dragon Threads), and it had a bright and colorful cover, and Gina has all these wonderful rolls of silk dupioni all calling my name… I had dropped Steve off at O’Hare to go and work in Seattle and the weekend lay ahead…

I bought the book and went home to have a good look. On Saturday morning I went back to purchase the necessary supplies. Lorna Moffat’s new book is subtitled “experiments in tearing, fusing, layering and stitching”. I haven’t mixed any chemicals in a lab for more than 28 years but I was in for a good few days.

I started with her pattern for a “Spirals and Flowers Throw”. I didn’t have that many green silks to choose from so I made the background out of a selection of green cotton solids, shot cottons and batiks.

The I tore strips from a gold dupioni and couched them on in a grid.

So far so good… the real fun began with spirals of pink, yellow, blue and cobalt silk strips attached in a regular pattern between the grid lines. The directions said to put the feed dogs down and use the darning foot, free motion style. With no stabilizer and the silk ravelling constantly it was a challenge to relax and let it all happen.

But it did happen and then there were 31 spirals…


Not quite the 73 in the 29″ x 80″ throw in the book but enough for me to be going on with!

The flowers came next. I cut a pattern out of template plastic and chose my brightest fabrics for the fused shapes. The centers were made from more torn strips, two to each flower. I used bright green for each one, twisted with a second color. I used the same variegated Superior threads King Tut thread for all the top stitching with a #90 topstitch needle and it worked well.

When all the elements were attached I pressed the piece from the back with a hot iron and plenty of “MaryEllen’s Best Press”. Now all I need to do is add some end strips and a backing. I got the fabric last night so it should be done soon…

But one project wasn’t enough. I wanted to have a go at the silk cords made by zigzgging over twisted strips so I tried a variation of the “Fringed Bag”.  The cords were fun to do. By now I was getting used to tearing the silk and I didn’t get into such a mess with the frayed bits. In the end I decided to use the strap idea from the “Flowery Bag” and I made a loop and button closure (using more cords) and ended up with a “Catherine Bag”…

There are lots more ideas in the book I still hope to try. I want to make a “Crystal Pillow” and a small “Reversible Orchid Curtain”. I am going to have to get more silk… Gina will be delighted!

While I was in the shop for the “Artful Leaves” class last night I found two more books that I needed. So I came home with Dream Landscapes by Rose Hughes for That Patchwork Place and Quilt-O-Grams by Cheryl Malkowski for C & T Publishing. I’m going to be busy for a while.

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