Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Silk and yarn no-knit scarves

Here's what I've been working on this week ...
Scarves to sell when the holiday bazaars begin.

They start with these strips of luscious feather-weight silk from half-yard cuts that I bought years ago in Taos. The price was right, the colors were better than anything I could paint or dye myself, and I knew that just a little would go a loooong way.

I especially like the one that shades from white to black -- the colors of Seattle in winter. So here's how I started my "Seattle Winter Scarf" (above). First I put down a piece of water-soluble stabilizer (I used Sulky Solvy) the size of the finished scarf. Next, arrange strips of silk, yarn and anything else you'd like to include. Here's a closeup:

Then cover it with another piece of stabilizer and pin the layers together with safety pins. Take it to the sewing machine and sew evenly all over, being careful to anchor everything in at least one direction. Then swish it around in water to dissolve the stabilizer, hang it to dry, and you now have a light, airy, one-of-a-kind scarf!

My only problem is that the machine foot has been sticking to the stabilizer after the first few inches, slowing things down considerably.

Every inch or so I have to raise the foot and tug everything forward. I've tried different feet (walking and regular), I've tried lowering the dogs and doing free-motion, I've tried different weights of Sulky Solvy, but nothing works.

Does anyone have any suggestions? This is an old technique, so a lot of you have probably tried it. Is there a better product?

Anyway, I slog along just because I get a rush from combining the colors and fancy yarns. When the sun came out a few days ago I took everything outside for photos so you can see some of the finished scarves along with the fabric and yarns that went into them.

I'm thinking of combining this brilliant blue with the black-gray-white silk for a "Seattle Summer and Winter Scarf." I'll work in green yarn for the trees.

Suggestions welcomed on the Solvy problem!

Have a colorful day


Judys Fiber Art said...

Thanks for sharing this, as our small fiber arts group is planning on this project this year. Let us know the solution.

ellen gets crafty said...

Your scarfs are beautiful - sorry I can't offer any suggestions for sewing them.

Sandi said...


I had a workshop with a quilt instructor who is a quilt artist
and made similar scarves. In this workshop we used ULTRA Solvy and I had no problem. Give it a try!
Let me know if it works

Gloria said...

Did you try a teflon foot? Just a thought. I love these scarves. Thanks for sharing with us and if you find a solution to the foot sticking, PLEASE post it on QA list and here. I have a whole role of the solvy, but haven't used any of it yet. I would like to be prepared in case I run into the same problem. thanks again.

Sandra said...

These are lovely. Hope you do well with them.

BarbsBlog said...

We layed 1 sheet of tissue paper over "sticky" stuff when I used to make halloween costumes out of nylon netting, fake fur, etc.. maybe that will work?

Where will these gorgeous creations be available for sale? I want to see them!!!

Ladybug said...

These are gorgeous - you continue to amaze me! A true artist...

Suzy said...

What beautiful scarves! Could you please comment a bit more on your sewing technique -- do you sew both horizontally and vertically--how many inches apart; how do you judge what color thread to use; any additional tips about your stitching/sewing method would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Melissia D. Johnson said...

You can try Fabri Sticky Solvy, I think that is the name of it? It is fabric like and is sticky on one side, you pull the paper off and stick your yarn and what have you on it then place another piece over that and stitch away. The rest of the process is the same.

SM said...

Just reviewing others' scarf projects and read your comments. I am a thread educator and teach this technique using specialty threads to add extra pizazz. Try using a 'roller foot' and reduce the presser foot pressure if you can. It works! Also, I use Superior's Dissolve and Pellon's washaway with no problem. Hope this helps.

Unknown said...

Clover Needlecraft makes a special Needle:
Clover Anti Glue Needles 5/Pkg
Retailer Description
Anti-glue needles are perfect for materials treated with adhesive spray and adhesive backings. Reduces glue residues on the needle to the special composition.

You can order direct from Janis at 606-494-2301 or from the Clover website.