Last week we travelled up to Edinburgh to attend the ordination of my husband's brother. When I rang Uncle Jeremy to find out what he'd like as a gift, he asked if I would quilt him a wedding stole. It would be something that he would wear when he performed certain types of wedding ceremonies. Wow! I'd never made anything like that before. A stole is just a long piece of fabric worn over the shoulders and hanging down the front. How hard could it be?
I took inspiration from the gospel account of the wedding at Cana and decided to illustrate water into wine. I have some gorgeous silk offcuts from my friend Pauline who designs period costumes for museums and films. I was able to find a selection of water and wine colours.
Then my friend Linda Hayes gave me a personal tutorial about working with silks. Following Linda's instructions, I backed the silks in a very light vilene to keep it from fraying, then pieced it together into two long matching strips. I connected it all together with some long sashing strips so we could free-motion embroider the design across both sides of the stole. Then loaded it on the 4 foot Art quilter frame.
I didn't want the stole to be too thick so I used a thin 'Gonold Stiffy' as the backing. Pauline provided a soft interlining called domette. It helps improve the draping qualities of high quality fabrics like silks by adding lift without any weight. Perfect for my project. I treated it in the same way that I would batting or wadding. So now all three layers were ready to load on the 4 foot Art Quilter frame.
Emily and I chose a variety of threads from the Rainbows and Kimono Silk ranges of Superior Threads to fit with the water into wine theme. We chose a flowing watery lines design.
After doodling it on paper, Emily machine quilted the design with the Juki TL98P. It turned out really well! We took it off the frame, sliced off the sashing with the rotary cutter and mitered the join so it would hang nicely across the shoulders.
Then we made a scallop shell motif using shot silk backed in fleece, machine embroidered on the Art Quilter then machine appliquéd to the join. Finally we lined it. Despite the 4 layers, the stole was just the right weight to hang nicely.
Father Jeremy was delighted with his present! Emily and I were chuffed with how it turned out too.It was the first time we had ever made something like that and we couldn't believe that it turned out so well. It was fun to use our machine quilting skills to create such a different project. Now we've started collecting silk in liturgical colours so we'll be ready for the next one.