In a rare burst of financial frivolity I actually purchased a quilting book without having examined it first. Usually I borrow a book from a library or friend so I can see if I want to buy it for my collection. However, I couldn’t find any library that owned a book I was curious about, so I took the plunge.
Oh, the book is called “Sliver Quilts” by Lisa O’Neill, and I was intrigued by a particular pattern in it called Helios. It’s a circular pattern that looks paper pieced, but it isn’t. Instead, the author cut an arc of fabric, folded it at regular intervals, inserted slivers of other fabric in the folds, and then sewed along the fold to encase part of the sliver. If you sew four of these together you get a circle. Here’s a picture of the pattern that caught my eye.
However, that’s not the pattern I started with. Instead a table runner made with silk caught my eye. Why? Well, I’ve been collecting silk fabric for years with the idea I’ll make my magnum opus with it. However, such a project keeps getting bumped down my to do list, and I really want to use that silk for something other than a drape for my coffin.
So, I hurriedly read the book’s basic instructions and then pulled out my silks. Of course, I deviated from the instructions right away. Lisa rightly comments on how silk frays and then says her pattern calls for oversized blocks so you can cut off the frayed edges after all the slivers are inserted. However, since I had already backed part of my silk fabric with fusible interfacing, I went ahead and did the rest. The advantage is it really cuts down (haha) on fraying; the disadvantage is it increases bulk as you fold and sew. Pick your poison. Here are just a few of my slivers, all ready for insertion.
The bulk was manageable except for the mystery synthetic teal fabric I used. I had interfaced that because it kept slithering, but the new interfacing I tried really wasn’t suitable. Of course, that didn’t stop me from using it anyway. So, now that I’ve sewn all my blocks my next step will be to take a hammer to the bulky areas and beat them into a semblance of flatness. Here are some of my blocks after inserting the first two slivers.
And here are some of the finished blocks, plus the book itself.
I’ve been auditioning fabric for the posts between the blocks and was intrigued when my husband opined that he thought one possible choice clashed with the blocks in a good way. That’s quite a sophisticated critique from a man who likes florals.
Some other possibilities running around my head include the use of sari silk yarn to sew horizontally and vertically on the posts.
But, back to the book. Lisa has some other interesting patterns that create spokes (more circles), and suggests ways to experiment with the basic technique. Her book is clearly written and well illustrated, and includes sufficient details to get you through each pattern to completion. The major downside to the sliver technique is that I don’t think it will be easy to quilt the slivered areas due to fabric bulk. Of course, if your quilt also includes lots of borders, posts, and flat areas you’ll have lots of scope for quilting designs.