I was really excited about the picture. I could see it done in a lino print, a silkscreen, or a batik or faux batik. I spent some time thinking about it and decided to try the faux batik technique of pool dyeing. So, first I drew a picture, simplifying the architectural elements, and took it to Staples to make it bigger. The finished pattern is 28" x 35". I think going big was my first mistake.
I traced the picture onto duponti silk. I then stretched the silk on my PVC quilt frame. Once on the frame I traced the lines again but this time with a glue gel to act as a resist. I left it to dry for a day and then started dyeing the different sections with dyes I had thickened. It was the first time I had tried this technique and I was a bit concerned to see if it would work. I colored a few sections and then washed the silk to see if the resist worked and the dye dyed. It worked!! I drew the resist lines again and finished dyeing the piece. At this point, I thought the quilt was going to be a success.
The next step I took was to flour paste resist it. Again I stretched the silk on the PVC frame and covered it with the flour paste. A couple of days later when it was completely dry, I took the silk off the frame and cracked the flour paste. Once cracked I restretched the silk (are you counting how many times I put that silk on and off the frame?) and painted the entire top with a dye paste. Again, I waited a day for the dye paste to dry. Then I removed as much of the flour and dye paste as possible, soaked the silk in some water to loosen the rest, then washed it in the washer with synthropol.
Hmmm.... good news and bad. It had some lovely cracks. It also had some really ugly spots. Sometimes they were right beside each other. See what I mean? A lovely crack and then a smudgey thing
My heart was sick but I thought I would go ahead with the quilting and see what it looked like. Okay, time to choose a batting. Here I really made a huge mistake! Silk is very soft and shapeless--especially if it has been washed repeatedly like this one had. Did I choose a nice sturdy batting that would give it shape and form and let me push it through the sewing machine? NO. I chose a cotton-bamboo batting that is wonderful for baby quilts. What was I thinking??? Next mistake was choosing silk for the back fabric also. Once basted together I tried quilting it. No way could I push that limp pile of fabric through my machine!
Okay, now the story gets ugly. Did I immediately give up, take out the stitching, take out the basteing, change the batting, and try again. NO. I kept trying to make it work. (some of us are slow) Finally I gave up. Okay, now my choices were: 1) take out all that stitching without ruining the silk (yeah right), 2) add a layer by putting a firmer batting on the back and a new material for the new back (and lose that silk from the back?), or 3) maybe putting some water soluable stabilizer on the back so I could continue quilting and then just wash the stabilizer off. Yeah. that was the ticket (said lazy, cheap me).