QOTD - 9/17 - silk?

K8OrlandoSeptember 17, 2011

I've had a recent inspiration to do a wall hanging using silk dupoini, or at least some of it will be silk for the sparkle and iridescence. I've never worked with it before but I've seen some beautiful quilts pieced with silk.

Have you ever used silk, or anything other than cotton, as a primary fabric in your quilts? Did you like the results?


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I would love to do at least one post without a typo or incorrectly spelled word... "dupioni" not dupoini.

Here's a link to the fabrics I've been drooling over. I won't order them from this source because I think they do 1 yard minimums but the colors are wonderful!

Here is a link that might be useful: Silk Dupioni Fabric

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 7:23PM
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Warning: Very long post, LOL.

I have made (finished) many needlepoint pillows from silk dupioni. I love it.

It ravels like the devil. It's difficult to square off. It shrinks. It's a PITA. If you turn your back, the stuff will ravel again! It might actually disappear if you leave it alone for a while.

I still love it.

All that said, I would use it in large pieces for a wholecloth quilt, or at least in as large pieces as possible. I wouldn't make narrow strips or small triangles from it. And don't cut too many pieces ahead.

I would absolutely prewash it - but I would take a specific measured piece, wash it gentle, cold, line dry, press with a warm iron, and re-measure the piece. Use a color catcher to see if it bleeds.

OK, that's what I should and do advise. For myself, I'd buy a measured 1/2 yard, wash it hot, rinse it cold, dry in the dryer on medium. I would probably serge (or at least pink or staystitch or narrow hem) the raw edges before washing to prevent a raveled disaster.

Then I'd look at it to see if I still loved it, see if it were still shiny enough for me. Then I'd measure it again to calculate the percentage of shrinkage. Why this? - because I only make lap or bed quilts, and if I can't wash them, I won't make them.

I have a kimono-type jacket from a local artisan, made of 5 different China silks. (China silk being a plain woven thin fabric.) She washed the silks, machine dried them, distressed them, and used a weak bleach discharge solution on them, then washed and dried again. Then she made the jacket. I've been wearing it for more than 10 years, and I wash and dry it in the machines. It's a fine strong jacket.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 8:45PM
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Mary, you are so funny. But it does really ravel badly. I have only used it in a texture quilt, and did zig zag the edges and pre-wash it.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 11:53PM
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I have a drawer full of silk necktie factory remnants that I'm still wondering what to do with. Some pieces are several yards and more. Mary's warning is taken seriously I assure you. I'll get brave one of these days. And, now I know an art quilt with little pieces isn't the answer!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 2:45AM
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What are you doing up at 2:45am?!? I'm tending a sick dog; I TOLD her there would be consequences for stealing all that cheese off the coffee table!

Thanks for the great information on silks! I am going to try something kind of artsy with it so now I know what to expect. I was going to do a raw edge machine applique. I'll try some fusible stuff to hold it together long enough to stitch it. It will be a wall hanging so I won't have to worry about laundering it. Sounds like its going to be a challenge!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 3:03AM
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Good luck Kate! I have only had silk blouses that had to be dry cleaned, if I ever got a drop of anything on them it made a spot.
Hope your baby is better and please keep us posted about the silk.

I would love to see Teresa's silk pillows.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 12:28PM
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I used silk as applique on a quilt and as the binding. It was a bugger to work with but the print was so pretty I had to use it. (It actually was a skirt that did not fit me but I bought it anyway and deconstructed it.) I did wash it before using it (and it came through beautifully.) I've also used silk ties in a quilt. I did not wash them first because I had read about how they tangle into a mess since they are so long, so I went ahead and made a dresden plate design with them and did not wash it until the quilt was complete, but they came through beautifully.

I actually found 2 more dresses made from that same silk print and have them deconstructed to use in a quilt. I found a white piece of silk that I picked up at a thrift store a couple of weekends ago to use with it - but it did not make it in my bag. :( I also have picked up enough ties to do another tie quilt.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 5:41PM
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