Saturday, 28 June 2014

Gold Fever

This was the piece that started it all off. I wanted to see if I could make some of my designs circular. And I wanted to try something out on metallic fabric. I was thrilled with the results. It looks like beaten gold, and reminds me of Viking treasures. I knew that I wanted to do a second Fracture piece with this. Trials and design done, I  entered this piece for the Festival of Quilts confident that 3 months was ample time to make the quilt.

Then came the awful discovery that I could not get any more of this cotton backed metallic foil fabric. The shop I had bought it from had run out - were not going to get any more - couldn't remember the rep who had sold it to them. I started ringing around all the big stores in the UK and trawling the Internet but with no success.

My second try was with a gold lame fabric. It looks good, but it doesn't have that appearance of a metal sheet because it is a woven fabric. It also frays like mad and would be hopeless for fine piecing. It quilts OK in that it takes the stitching with no problem, but the non stitched areas bag and the piece looses all definition - I'm not sure how clear that is in the photo. It was also a very pale gold, almost a white gold which wasn't really the look I was after. I have a large piece of this quilted - about 36" square. It is no good for the FOQ piece, but look out for it somewhere else. Not sure what to do with it, but I don't want to waste all that work! Another, more personal problem that I had with it was its very high reflectivity. Like many migraine sufferers I find that bright lights can trigger a migraine and after about the 3rd one whilst working on this piece, I realised it was the fabric!! I tried quilting with sun glasses on, which certainly helped with the reflection, but alas I could not see where I was going. Slight problem!

The next piece was a metallic foil backed with an open net. It doesn't fray, but it is very flimsy and would be difficult to piece with cotton. One of the things I have discovered with this post is how difficult it is to accurately photo gold. Here, the colour looks fine - as it did on the net when i bought it. In reality it is very brassy. It looks bad imitation gold - cheap and tacky. I am not sure if you can see it here, but also the texture of the backing net shows through.

Version 4 was a fold faux leather. It cuts well and stitches well - no problem at all but you do need a leather needle. It is a very thick fabric. I'm not sure it would piece well with cotton and it certainly wouldn't do my favourite sliver piecing. Although it quilts well it doesn't look a bit like metal and colour wise it looks more like champagne than gold. So,on to version 5.

This is a supposedly gold spandex. It does look gold in the photo - which is why I bought it, but again colour on the net is deceptive. This is quite a dark metallic brown and looks quite dark and dull combined with black. It is also very stretchy so a bit tricky to quilt.

What the next fabric arrived through the post I though I had struck gold! the colour was perfect. It is also on a net backing, but not quite so loose weave as the first one. The problems began when I tried to quilt in the circle guide lines.

One problem with metallics is that none of the usual markers work. You have to mark and quilt from the back. As the only thing I mark is the circles, I had then preceded to the right side to quilt all the pattern in the previous versions. However, this gold fabric just stuck to the machine table - even with a Teflon slider. I tried lifting it and feeding it through. Not a technique that works folks, don't try it. Next I pin pricked the outlines. This was better, but very difficult to follow accurately. And with metallics, all pin pricks show - so no taking out. Whatever you do is what you live with.

And the next problem was even more serious.

The stitching has a tendency to split the fabric and the batting peeks through.

Well, I suppose you could say going for gold isn't easy!! Never have I had to do so many version of a quilt!

thanks for dropping by...

Hilary Florence

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  1. What a tale of endurance, but what a frustrating series of events. I thought I didn't give up easily, but I don't know if I'd have stuck at this one for so long. What next? Do you have any more options? I really hope you can find the fabric you need; this is such a terrific idea to work out further.

  2. You never cease to inspire and amaze me. Thank you for sharing each step of the journey. It was fascinating to see how each of the fabrics reacted to the stitching. The original piece is phenomenal and does look like Viking treasure. Is it too small to enter in the show?

  3. Ouch! I feel your pain. I agree that the first one is phenomenal and really showcases your beautiful quilting. I also like the way the faux leather looks. Hope you find what you're looking for.

  4. What a difficult journey! You're such a patient woman to keep looking for the perfect fabric and to keep quilting new fabrics. The first piece is amazing (it looks like silver on my screen). I also love the leather piece.

  5. That first piece is stunning, just took my breath away. How I hope you can eventually find that fabric!!! It DOES look like beaten gold. I can't believe how much time you've invested in all the other fabrics, time that will save others time of their own! Incredible quilting, as always.

  6. Love the first piece! You've been through so much trying to replicate it though. You have the patience of a saint!

  7. Thank you for sharing your process. Love your work. The first sample is amazing.

  8. I agree with the first person who commented: you are to be commended for your perseverance! Interestingly enough, on my computer monitor, it all comes out silver except for the last two photos!

  9. Hilary: Man, you have suffered for this quilt for sure! The first picture is just fantastic. I saw the tiny thumbnail on the Freshly Pieced link up and I knew immediately that tiny square with that fantastic quilting belonged to you. I am in awe... and I admire your fortitude to stick with it.

  10. Wow - these all look amazing, though holy god the struggle of trying to make it work. And having it trigger migraines as well, talk about adding insult to injury! I was wondering if adding interfacing to the reverse of the lamé, spandex, or net-backed fabrics might help at all? Also, would printing or transferring your quilting design onto tissue paper and then placing it over the top of the leather fabric help prevent the permanent pin holes? you could then rip the tissue paper out when you're finished. The paper might move while under the quilting foot though... It's certainly filled with lots of little problems, but the initial test is so amazing it's worth trying everything to make it happen again! So beautiful, absolutely everything you described!!

  11. It certainly gives an awesome effect. Good luck finding the perfect fabric. Maybe, with luck, you will come across the original again.

  12. Wow, what a journey and I LOVE the effect of the quilting on the metallic fabric. They look like liquid gold and molten silver. Just beautiful!

  13. they are so reflective. I am thunderstruck by the coolness of the whole experiment. I hope you find the perfect solution and keep doing these. Machine quilting really shows well with reflective fabrics. LeeAnna Paylor not afraid of color

  14. Those 'samples' are masterpieces in my opinion. The effect is amazing!

  15. It is simply fabulous! I so hope you find the original fabric!

  16. Wow, you are persistent! The first piece and the idea are fabulous>

  17. This is a fascinating post. I'm sorry you weren't able to repeat your AMAZING results (!!!) with the metallic fabric, but I'm so glad you tried all these out and presented their differences. Thanks so much for sharing. Again, the metallic piece is just is just fabulous.

  18. Hilary, talk about determined! Quilting with sunglasses on is an image that will stay with me.
    Thank you for linking to Free Motion Mavericks - you have totally captured the wonder and frustration involved in experimenting with FMQ.
    Love, Muv

  19. These pieces are amazing. I love your work and hope you are successful in finding something that works for you.

  20. Wow! I love how you push the boundaries with your work. It's just beautiful! Thanks for sharing everything that you learned whilst quilting with the metallic fabric, now I want to try it to :)

  21. Amazing reading and stunning quilts! Thanks for sharing.