I had so much fun with my first Kawandi style quilt, I wanted to make another one! I had noticed that many Kawandi are made with shiny fabrics, so I pulled out the shiniest fabrics I have: Robert Talbot tie silk given to me by Ruth Andresen five years ago.
I have put off using these treasures because I have never worked with silk before and everything about it scares me. What if I made horrible mistakes and wasted it? But I realized that the biggest waste would be leaving it in the box for another five years. So I jumped in.
I discovered that cutting the silk is the first challenge. It slips and slides under the scissors as though it were alive and trying to escape! I pulled out my dangerously sharp rotary cutter and, with lots of patience, got some pieces cut.
Pressing the edges was the next challenge. How hot is too hot? How hot is not hot enough? This took another hour. But without the pressing, the next part would be impossible.
Because the silk is slippery, every step was harder. Pinning every edge of every piece was necessary to get anything sewn accurately. My fingers got sore from pinching while sewing. Once I got the first ‘frame’ done, I took a break. Since this piece is only about a foot square and doesn’t need to keep anybody warm, I decided not to lay in a filler layer.
I kept laying down pieces and trying to keep my stitches even while sewing close enough to the edges to sew everything down. It was starting to feel like work.
I was frustrated by the slippery fabric and the easily fraying edges. I wasn’t sure I liked it, but I WAS going to finish it!
In the middle of the day, Grandpa Nelson took me out for hot dogs and ping pong at Zach’s. When we came back, I had a fresh perspective on the piece. I liked it. A lot.
I kept pinning and sewing until it was done. I did a few tiny stitches to hold some lose corners down, and called it good. Because the silk frays so easily, I did not put the little triangles called ‘phula’ on the corners. I guess this Kiwandi will have to remain unfinished.
I am really happy I made a Kiwandi out of Ruth’s silks, and that I stuck with it to the end.