Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Silk Screen Printed Silhouette Quilt ~ Finally Finished

It's finished!!! At long last I have finished the silk screen printed silhouette quilt - over four years in the making.

My daughter and I worked on this quilt together. Tash turned photos into line drawings, which she then screen printed as silhouettes.

Silk Screen Printed Silhouette Quilt ~ Threading My Way

Tash finished her end of the job over four years ago, not long after we attended a fantastic silk screen printing day with Saffron Craig.

Then it was up to me to take 64 screen printed silhouettes, together with contrasting fabrics, and create a quilt. 

I stalled over so many stages throughout the making of this quilt. The process was not straightforward for me. You can read about some of the processes and decisions...

Basically, this was all make it up as you go - is that what improv quilting is? 

Silk Screen Printed Silhouette Quilt ~ Threading My Way

It's by no means perfect, but I love this quilt - so many memories. What began as a birthday present for my daughter - the screen printing workshop we did together - ended up as something we can both treasure. It lives in Tash's home, and I get to see it every time I visit.

The kids were so little in the photos, come line drawings, come silhouettes. If you look closely, you can see their fingers on either side of the quilt at the top. They're a lot bigger now. Holding it up for me, whilst standing on the lounge caused lots of laughter on both sides.

Each time I showed progress of the quilt, I asked for suggestions on the next stage. I so value the contributions of my readers. Your comments helped me so much and gave me a lot to think about - many ideas I would never have thought of. 

I ended up quilting with a pale pink on the front and black on the back. After doing lots of testing to check the tension so that thread colours didn't show on the wrong side, I was happy that the two colours would be OK. And they were!!!

However, using a quilting needle during the testing process seemed to produce slightly larger than I wanted needle holes in the pale fabric, so I changed needles, to a jeans needle. BUT I didn't test!!! It's not disastrous, but the needle apparently wasn't sharp enough, and so in some places it's brought tiny pieces of batting through to the wrong side. 

Photos didn't work out, so I can't show you, and I'm probably the only one that can see it. When I did my first ever quilting - retro flower power pillow - the same thing happened and I couldn't work out why. I didn't know there was such a thing as a quilting needle at that stage.

No excuses now - I do know about quilting needles and I chose not to use one. In retrospect, I think I should have experimented with different sizes of quilting needle. I definitely shouldn't have changed to a jeans needle. Tell me your thoughts to help me next time.

It's all straight line quilting for the bulk of the quilt. Without sewing over the silhouettes, I was able to sew right across the width of the quilt in most cases. A couple of times I had to stop and begin again in the middle. Quilting unbroken straight lines down was no problem due to the construction. A few wavy lines on the black border finished off the quilting.

I can start quilting in the middle without it showing, but stopping I haven't yet perfected. Black on black thread would have been better for those half a dozen stops.

As you can see, I went with black binding, and thanks to Kitty for her suggestion, I threw in a few in a few little pops of colour.

Much as I love this quilt, I am pleased it's finished. So, I'm sure is my daughter. I think she thought I'd never finish. And to be honest, so did I at various stages. But it was worth all my worrying - would I wreck Tash's silhouette blocks and do them justice? I know Tash had complete confidence in me right from the beginning. Now I need to learn to have confidence in myself.

... Pam


  1. YAY!! It look so good. I love it. What a treasure!

  2. It is fabulous Pam you definitely should be confident in your abilities you have done a wonderful job with the screen printed blocks.

  3. Hello, Pam,
    the silhouettes look fantastic...and the quilt is beautiful, so it doesn't matter how long it took;-)
    I really like the quilting and the wavy lines at the black border.

    Greetings from Germany, Klaudia

  4. It came out so gorgeous Pam! I just love it. As for needles, try a topstitch needle for quilting. When bits of batting poke through that is called bearding and is more apparent using white or off white batting with dark fabric such as your black. You could use black batting, but then it might have bearded through through the front on the the lighter colors showing the black batting. Some batting brands and types do it more than others, so experimenting with batting is also another thing to try. Everyone has their favorite brands and types of batting. I have tried so many and I prefer Hobbs 80/20 (80% cotton 20% polyester). It tends to make the quilt lie flatter. It doesn't feel as nice to the touch, but once it is sandwiched into the quilt it behaves nicer than 100% cotton, which feels nicer to touch. Tends to shrink less too if you wash the quilt.

  5. You've created a beautiful family heirloom item, Pam. And the fact that it took so long to complete is part of the story to be passed down. So much to learn, though... I never knew there were so many specialized needles! (Curious - do you have a long arm machine? Quilting something this large would drive me up the wall.)

  6. This is truly an heirloom quilt! It looks wonderful and I am so glad tjat you finished it!

  7. Oh my, your silhouette quilt is a vision splendid! Your daughter's drawings/silk printing are amazing filled with whimsy and playfulness. The beautiful story behind this quilt, the drawings, the fabric, things learnt along the way and the quilting has resulted in a sublime quilt! This truly is a quilt filled with beautiful memories.....a heirloom to be treasured forever. Just visiting from down here in Tassie. So glad I happened upon your lovely place.

  8. It looks amazing! Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned.

  9. Oh wow Pam, this is beautiful. Love it and so creative. Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays.

  10. What a neat quilt! Screen printing looks terrific and I love the colors.


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