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I am a quilter living in Woodbridge, Suffolk who has made quilts since I was a teenager. I also ring bells! Both are great British traditions....I will try to feature some of my antique Welsh and Durham quilts, the quilts I make myself, my quilting activities and also some of my bellringing achievements. Plus as many photos as I can manage. NB: Double click on the photos to see greater detail, then use back button to return to the main page.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

New project - Pilani Hawaiian quilt

Pua Pake, or Chrysanthemum
Pilani, a village in Kaui, Hawaii (I think - will ask Cissy)

I have started a new Hawaiian quilt - Pilani from Poakalani. You may remember that I already had one that I was working on - Pua Pake, or Chysanthemum. But that applique was not nice to work on - the yellow fabric was not good quality,thus harder to work with, and there was not enough contrast between mid yellow applique and light background - I really need a darker fabric in gold or apricot I think. So I may start again later with a different coloured Kona cotton.

In the meantime, I bought some cream Kona cotton as a background, and used some extra wide purple Kona cotton that I had brought back from Florida. As the Poakalani patterns are traced onto rather flimsy newsprint, I usually iron the newsprint onto freezer paper to stiffen it up a bit before cutting the pattern out. In this case, you can see that there is a "negative" centre - ie, a hole. I knew that this would cause problems in placing the cut out pattern onto the background fabric - so I have left the centre uncut and intact for now. I will make some freezer paper templates and complete the centre applique with the "freezer paper on top" method when all the rest is finished.

Cutting out the pattern through eight layers of folded fabric is a lengthy process - thank goodness I have my Gingher scissors (still very sharp as they were carefully hidden away when the children were small).

I was also horrified to see that there was a faded patch in one area of the applique fabric when I came to use it - it looked as if the bolt corner had faded in the shop. Luckily, it was on one side of the cloth only and the right side was unaffected. And, in fact, much was cut away when I cut the pilani pattern out.

Placing and pinning the cut fabric onto the backround (using the placement creases) was more difficult this time and took quite a while. My two "helpers" thought that it was great fun. Monkey helpfully brought a large pheasant's feather to join in the fun, which had to be confiscated...finally it was finished.

What a difference using good fabric makes - the applique is much easier as the fabric "behaves" itself and turns under nicely. The whole effect is crisper and much nicer with smoother edges. I'll enjoy this more - later, I'll make a decision as to whether I continue with the yellow applique, or cut my losses and unpick and recover the nice background fabric, and use a darker and better fabric for the applique. I still have the Pua Pake pattern folded away...

I also bought some silk thread at FOQ - it is nice to use, but I think it is the thinness which is good - the thinner good quality cotton seems just as good to use - so not convinced about the extra expense of silk thread. Instinct tells me that cotton might be sturdier in the long term.


  1. Have fun with your new project. It would be interesting to try a small test of both cotton and silk and see how they hold up.

  2. ever since you posted about this I have been looking at the patterns and would love to make one too
    I really want to make a queen size one!
    I LOVE Your new one and that purple is to die for, what are you appliquing it too?
    are they both Kona fabrics????
    would love to see your start...just a little section would be great !
    thanks...another project being added to my list for sure

  3. Hi Pippa
    I've tried silk thread and didn't like it much - yes it's very fine, but it doesn't behave like cotton and shreads quite easily. I wonder too about the relationship between the two types of fibre and longevity of the silk. I've returned to using fine 100% cotton for my applique.
    Look forward to seeing your progress!

  4. I was taught that you always matched your thread to the fibre content of what you were making - cotton to cotton, silk to silk/wool and synthetic to synthetic. I don't like to mix threads but that is just my opinion. I have seen recently on several projects where they have advocated using polyester thread on silk and I am not sure about this. I know that technology has moved on somewhat over the years but I can only think that the wear and tear of different strenghts of fibre cannot be good. The new project will be magnificent.

  5. I jumped on the silk bandwagon for a couple of projects but now have gone back to good thin cotton...I buy the DMC 100% cotton machine embroidery thread whenever I can find it! Though I have only ever run out of one spool (the green that went with almost every leave in my Baltimore Album...)

  6. I tried the silk but got frustrated with had such a fussy temperment and kept tangling.Back to good ole cotton. Love your hawaiian quilting. Working on my first one...ulu. :)