Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hand Quilting with Silk Threads















Beautiful soft cotton fabrics and smooth, colour saturated silk threads are a very satisfying combination to work with. I have begun hand quilting 'Peaceful Night' with the delightful silk threads I shared about last week. Silk thread is strong, smooth, soft and durable, maintaining its integrity much better than cotton, allowing you to use longer lengths and to undo and restitch a section when needed (I'm a bit fussy with my stitches). 

Silk's natural reflective lustre makes it appear to change colour according to the angle of the thread and light, a feature which I find adds to its interest and appeal. For this reason I have found it best to choose thread colours by daylight as the silk's shininess makes it hard to accurately choose colours even with my full spectrum Ott-Lite lamp. Laying a length of thread over the fabric gives a better idea of true colour effect than judging by looking at the entire spool of thread.

The silks do tend to catch easily on any roughness, including hardened skin on fingertips and nail corners, proving to be good motivation to look after my hands with more care.

Hand quilting with silk truly is a pleasure to both the eyes and the skin, one which I will be continuing to enjoy for a few weeks.


Thread Notes: As shared here last week I'm using Quilter's Silks 16 wt from Superior Threads and also Gutermann Buttonhole Twist Silks 12 wt which I sourced on eBay. Any difference between them is imperceptible once quilted so I choose the colour which works best with each section of my quilt.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

40 comments:

Blue Moth said...

Lovely, just lovely - I love everything about your project.

Patchwork and Play said...

You are going to have a luxurious and beautiful quilt in my favourite colours Karen! Stunning photos as usual too!

Fun60 said...

Your hand stitching is so beautiful. Even the tacking stitches are a work of art.

Steffi´s Candy Quilts said...

That looks gorgeous! Love the look of the shiny, luxurious silk threads together with your beautifully chosen fabrics.

Collette said...

Oh I love this idea and will need to try silk thread for my hand quilting some time. Love the colour palette of this work in progress too following your beautiful blog x

Rachaeldaisy said...

It's wonderful to hear your thoughts on using silk thread. Your stitches are so perfect. Your photos are always a joy to behold.

Jennifer Price said...

WOW!, everything is so perfect, it is breathtakingly beautiful. I love the silk and will need to add that to my quilty bucket list. Thank you for sharing.

diane b said...

It sounds like it is a pleasurable sensation to work with those silk threads. The work you do is absolutely stunning.

ladyfi said...

So very gorgeous!

geanina said...

just lovely! very nice work!:)

Renee said...

Those threads are so gorgeous on your quilt! And your stitches are beautiful!

Ruth said...

I'd not thought of that before! I'm planning to hand quilt a sampler quilt and this might be a really good option - thanks!

DeborahGun said...

just beautiful! I don't know what else to say :-)

Hannele said...

Beautiful - a great idea! Unfortunately there aren't any such threads available in Finland :(

LynCC said...

I just love your projects. :) The silk threads for this are delightful.

the momma said...

Karen! It's so lovely!! I've been waiting to hear about your experience with the silks ~ so glad it's been wonderful :-)

Wendy said...

oh yum, they look like gorgeous threads. The end result is going to be stunning

Kelsey Boes said...

Wow, gorgeous. How do all of your stitches look the very exact same length? You are amazing. This quilt is going to be a beautiful, invaluable treasure when you finish.

Maryse said...

Beautiful work! I would have never thought of using silk thread for quilting, never heard of it but why not?? It seems like a brilliant idea...Can't wait to see this one finished.

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

So beautiful!!!

Lisa Gordon said...

I just love this quilt, Karen, and the silk thread really does look beautiful.

Happy day to you!

Ruby said...

These are gorgeous :)) Beautiful colors and patterns!!

Dirk Rosin said...

så fargerike og skarpe bilder, supert !

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Hi Hannele,
I have the same problem here in Australia, which is why I purchase most of my fabrics and threads from the USA (also most things are much cheaper in the USA even if I can source them locally). I’m very grateful for living in an age when through the internet and international shipping we can access a huge variety of products.

Preeti said...

The texture and the color saturation of the silk threads against the cotton diamonds, just takes this quilt to the next level! Being of Indian origin, I have a huge love for silk ;)

Kate Yates said...

I love hand quilting, but I've never tried silk. Your project looks beautiful, I'll have to try it!

Anne said...

I love the look of hand stitching but have never done it. Do you use a hoop

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

I think you may enjoy it Anne. I tried using a hoop when first hand quilting in 2011 but soon realised it wasn't for me. I stitch baste well, then begin quilting in the centre, working my way outwards, just as I do when fmq by machine. I gently smooth the section I am working on as I go.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Preeti you are right about the wonderful colour saturation of the silks....so pretty!

I’ve spent several months in India, twice, before having children (so that makes it about 24 years ago now). If I was to go again I would have a ball with my (digital) camera and pay a whole lot more attention to details like fabrics. I surely remember the wonderful bright colours and great variety of the clothing and how the women appear immaculate despite less than clean surroundings.

Gail Lizette said...

I've been considering hand quilting a hexie quilt, and love this post on the threads you use. It looks beautiful! Do you have any hand-quilting tips?

Mareenchen said...

Gorgeous, I want to touch and wrap myself upin all this supple beauty. The colours, the stars, the quilting...just my cuppa!

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Hi Gail,
I think my best tip is to experiment and see what works best for you. I prefer not to use a hoop (or thimble) and I am learning to sit so that I’m not stressing my neck or shoulders by bending over my work all the time. For now I’m using two chairs - one to sit on and the other to put my feet with my knees bent upwards to act as bit of a table for my quilt. I knot the ends of the threads and bury within the batting/quilt. Keep the lengths of your threads not too long - this helps prevents tangles, is easier to work with and keeps the thread in better condition. Try a few different thread types and thicknesses to see which works best with your quilt and decide if you want the thread colour to blend or provide a contrast. Choose your batting carefully to give the effect you want but not one which is too stiff to hand sew.

Marie said...

I will have to try silk as some point. I do hand quilt, but I am so slow, I prefer to quilt on the machine, just to get more projects completed. I can't wait to see your finished project!

Elise Lea said...

I love the look of your hand quilting. Your stitches are so perfectly spaced and even I am awed by your work. I especially love the look that it gives the quilt, it seems like it makes the stars pop out a little more. Did you use a higher loft batting? Or is that just because of the stitches?

I am currently working on an applique quilt and I was thinking of using a higher loft to make it pop more, so I was wondering if that is what you did.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Elise I have used a medium loft soft polyester batting, Matilda’s Own brand (Australian). Unlike other polyester battings I have seen, it’s beautifully soft to the touch. I first used this batting on the Musical Stairs quilt I made for our twins, partly because it was whiter in colour than cotton batting, plus the softness and lighter weight. I also used it for my last quilt - Royal Whispers. As I may one day hang Peaceful Night as a wall quilt I thought the lighter weight of the polyester would be a better choice. It’s a bonus that it has a higher loft than the cotton battings I have used and it’s nice and soft to hand quilt too, even though it has a scrim.

Erin said...

Can just feel the pleasure thisis giving you:):)
Just awarded you:)
http://sevenlittleaustralians.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/ive-been-awarded-twice.html

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Morning Erin,

Thank you for thinking to nominate me for the Sunshine Award, however I have kept my blog award and hop free, and for now I am content to leave it that way.

Looks like another lovely day!

:)
Karen

Rosemary said...

I'm seeing there's a lot to learn about materials, but I guess that makes quilting even more interesting. Gorgeous photos!

Seeing Each Day said...

Such beautiful matches with both colour and your skill. You should be so pleased with the outcome. Renee

Lynda said...

I love these colours. The threads have such a beautiful sheen.

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