Dyeing Silk Fabrics

I’ll Fly Away #4 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski

Lately, I’ve been dyeing silk fabrics for my bird series, I’ll Fly Away. The designs are made with free-cut shapes that are fused into place using Misty Fuse and then ironed to wool batting. I love the ease of stitching through silk and the fact that it is tightly woven so the edges don’t fray. But mostly I love the glow of silk fabric. It has a special warmth.

Silk yardage is hard to come so I search out silk scarves and skirts and dresses at resale shops. My favorite finds are large skirt fabrics with few seams and some patterning. Overdyeing the fabrics in a variety of colors gives me more colors from which to choose. These fabrics are my latest find. And I can’t wait to start another I’ll Fly Away quilt with them.

Silk Stitching: Complete

I’ll Fly Away #3 by Laura Wasilowski

One of the joys of hand embroidery is the meditative act of stitching. Sure it requires patience and time and perseverance. But the rewards in having a final product are worth it. I’m pleased with this piece stitched on silk and am looking forward to the next iteration of the “I’ll Fly Away” series. I expect more quiet joy in the making of it too.

Silk Stitching: More Fields

The next field on my silk quilt is embroidered with undulating rows of thread. By replicating that tilt or angle of the tree tops, this field adds even more movement to the piece. Skinny lines in this field are made with the stem stitch using a size 12 Pickle Juice thread.

The alternating heavy lines are created with a size 8 Lime Frappe couched with a size 12 Really Red thread. Don’t you love how couching the green thread with the highly contrasting red thread creates a wonderful striped pattern?

Next to the green fields, I’ve tamed things down with nearly vertical stripes of chain stitches. This size 12 Aquamarine thread stitches like a dream, is in high contrast to the blue silk fabric, and repeats the colors found in the sky.

Then there are the fly stitches that make up the final field on the right. These are also made with a size 8 Lime Frappe. I love how the variegation of the thread colors travel across the fabric’s surface creating more movement and pattern.