A Garden of Society Silk!

I can’t tell you how mesmerized I was by this next piece! A thoughtful friend from my quilt guild had asked me to come over and go through her linens. I brought home a variety of things, but this one was almost jumping on the frame to be quilted! Here we go with the transformation.


The large society silk was beautiful to begin with, as were its matching coasters. The piece is 18″ in diameter with the smaller rounds at 5″. At first, I thought I might collage them, but then decided that might be color overload. I’m glad I kept them as individuals.


On top of the backing I stack 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom batting, and then on top of that is Hobbs 100% wool. That combination of batting always gives a nice trapunto look to anything! There’s also some excess fabric in the middle of this piece, so the double batting will help fill that space.


Next, I stitch a regular line of stitching on the inside edge of the blanket stitched outer edge. This will really tighten the whole thing and allow me to work the inside.


You can already see the difference in the middle! Now I’m ready to outline. For me, this is the most tedious and lengthy process, especially on this heavily embroidered piece.


OH, let’s talk about thread for a minute! I have SO many shades of “linen” Glide thread. I think each time I order I get 5 new colors! Old linens take on so many different colors over time. I always audition a few before I get started.




And the winner is, Glide, Warm Grey! I almost didn’t get into the grey drawer, but it turned out to best for this linen.


I like to start with my focus design in the middle and then work out. I rarely use marking pens, but will put on a few registration dots with a purple invisible pen. This one began with a circle and then I worked the feathers around it and into the areas of embroidery. Once that’s done, I start to use a small fill design.




This fill is a combination of tiny circles and very fine stippling. I love the density! It makes the embroidery pop even more than the original and I like for the makers work to really stand out.








There you have it! This was about 4 hours on the frame, mostly because of the amount of outlining around so much embroidery.

I was so thankful for the gift and wanted to do something special for Catherine, who sweetly let them go. I decided to quilt one of the coasters. I used the same process, but used some very tiny quilting. I mounted it on acid free mat board with spray baste, matted and then framed.


I took it to my guild meeting yesterday, so now Catherine has a “mini me”! I love the end result of both of these pieces. I will also mat and frame the larger piece when I find the right frame. I always hope the maker would be proud and enjoy the final destination of her beautiful work!




  1. Leave a Reply

    Anne Barney
    July 22, 2015

    All I can say is “WOW”!!!!!!!!!!!!! Incredible stitching and design sense!

  2. Leave a Reply

    July 23, 2015

    WOW it’s amazing. I have ‘inherited some old embroidery, I have been wondering what to make w it. Some of it is in pieces, parts of pillow cases

  3. Leave a Reply

    July 23, 2015

    Kelly, this piece is so stunning. The linen is gorgeous and you have made it even more beautiful. Can you share how you ‘bind’ this piece. Thank you.

    • Leave a Reply

      [email protected]
      July 23, 2015

      Hi Sharon, I don’t bind when it has an embroidered edge. I simply trim TO THE EDGE from the backside. It will then be mounted and framed! Thanks for the question!

  4. Leave a Reply

    July 23, 2015

    Wow, your work is just awesome. I am trying to work up the courage to try this, I have some of my grandmothers old Irish linens. But as yet haven’t quite worked up the courage to give this a try. Maybe I should try a practice piece or two first.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Verna Horwood
    July 23, 2015

    Your work is amazing – thank you for sharing it. Can I ask what machine you use to do the quilting and if this type of work would be achievable on a domestic machine as well.

    • Leave a Reply

      [email protected]
      July 23, 2015

      Thanks Verna! Yes, I quilt on a Handi Quilter Fusion, long arm. Yes, you can do this on a domestic! Click on that Craftsy banner and it will take you to their site. Look up Cindy Needham. She is a fabulous quilter and does this same type of work on a domestic machine. She is amazing!!

  6. Leave a Reply

    Mary Corbet
    July 23, 2015

    Lovely, lovely, lovely! The texture is great – I love the way it makes the original embroidery stand out. So pretty!

  7. Leave a Reply

    Mona Keegan
    July 24, 2015

    Beautiful work! It really enhances the linen piece. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Leave a Reply

    July 25, 2015

    Wow what an incredible transformation! It really breathes new life into the embroidery doesn’t it!

  9. Leave a Reply

    July 25, 2015

    Stunning…… How do you finish the edge once its off the frame?

    • Leave a Reply

      [email protected]
      July 25, 2015

      Thanks Heather! I will trim to the edge on the back. It will be mounted and framed, so the raw edge won’t ever be seen!

  10. Leave a Reply

    July 27, 2015

    Delightfully beautiful.
    Yes, I think the woman who stitched this piece would be thrilled to see how it’s being enjoyed again and how it’s been preserved.
    What an insightful and remarkable talent you have Heather.

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