Argentum is the Latin word for silver. That seemed an appropriate name for this little quilt!
It’s a miniature – just 16.5 inches square, and was completed in 2014. It was juried into the Road to California contest, and was shipped yesterday. It’s already been in two other shows; it won 1st Place, Miniatures, at the 2014 IQA Houston show, and an Honorable Mention, Miniatures, at the 2015 AQS Paducah show.
It was made from silver gray silk/cotton Radiance fabric on both the front and back (I have a story about the back…) The machine embroidery is from Zundt.
The design is for two colors – the first, a satin-stitched design, and the second, an outline around all the satin stitching.
Here you can see the corner design stitched four times around the center, and you can see the metallic outline stitching, on this sample in gold. I skipped the first color – the satin stitch portion – and stitched only the outline. Done with antique silver metallic thread, it creates a very light, airy filigree look. (See other things I’ve done with this design here.)
The same four designs as above, stitched only with the silver outline, then turned on point, form the center of the little quilt. The corner design was stitched individually in the corners,
then stitched side by side, mirror imaging each time, to form the border. Just this one machine embroidery design, stitched multiple times, was used in this quilt. I used water-soluble stabilizer so there would be no stabilizer remaining in the stitching to make the quilt stiff.
Okay, the machine embroidery was the easy part! Next came the applique of teeny-tiny bias strips. These are less than one-eighth inch wide, too narrow for me to make a stitched, turned tube. To make these tiny strips, I cut bias strips of the silk/cotton fabric about one inch wide, pressed the fabric in half lengthwise, then stitched one-eighth inch away from the fold with very short straight stitches. I pressed the narrow folded edge over the stitching, so that the stitching was just on the under side of the fold and didn’t show on top. Then, I trimmed the fabric very close to the stitching, so that the raw edge was hidden under that less-than-one-eighth-inch-wide fold of fabric (that’s why I needed those very short stitches, to prevent fraying.) This fold wouldn’t stay pressed for me (it was too much bias and way too narrow) so I used a toothpick to apply just the tiniest bit of water-soluble glue to hold that fold in place, then pressed the glue dry. Finally, I hand-appliqued those tiny little strips to the quilt top using Superior Threads Kimono silk thread. (The scallops along the binding were appliqued on after the quilting was done, but before the binding was applied.)
Next – time for quilting. The back is the same fabric as the front, and the batting is Hobbs Tuscany wool. First, I stitched in the ditch of every bit of the silver embroidery with monofilament in the needle and silver metallic in the bobbin. The rest of the quilting was done with the silk Kimono thread in the needle and Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin.
I finished all the quilting. The little parallel lines are about 14 per inch! Almost done! Ready to soak and apply the binding, right? Wrong!
After I soaked the quilt, look what I found on the back!
(Yes, this is the back.) See that red spot? Did it wash away? No! Aaargh! I could have just placed the label in an odd place on the back and covered it, but the red showed through faintly on the front. What had happened?
Just before I made this quilt, I had made a quilt for a benefit for Libby Lehman from red, orange, and turquoise silks. Apparently, a tiny thread of the red silk stuck around, and floated onto the back of this quilt after I had soaked and as I was blocking it. Red silk bleeds terribly! So there, on the back of my little quilt, was a bright red splotch! Tiny, but obvious. I asked for advice on facebook, and tried some of the suggestions, all to no avail. Finally, I decided I had nothing to lose, and poured Chlorox 2 directly on the spot. After several hours, it lightened slightly. I rinsed the quilt, and put the peroxide bleach on again. I repeated this several times a day for almost a week! Finally, the spot was light enough so that only I could tell where it was, and I was afraid that I would irreparably damage the fabric, so I called it quits. Even I can’t find the spot now!
Whew! Onward… I blocked it one more time, marked where the binding would go, appliqued the little bias scallops, and applied the binding, which is just over one-eighth inch wide.
Because it still needed a little something more, I used the silver metallic thread and stitched by hand an outline stitch just inside the binding. I added the sleeve and label.
See, no red spot! 🙂
This was at Houston, and will give you a better idea of the size.
Wish my little silver quilt good luck at Road to California!
Update 1-19-16: This was part of the e-mail message I received today – “Your entry #12256 titled “Argentum” has been awarded “Excellence In Machine Quilting” by our judges. You will receive $1,500.00 in prize money. This award was graciously sponsored by Primitive Gatherings.”