Contemporary Quilts made from Reclaimed Silks…?? You Betcha!!

Silk is a lovely, sumptuous, and surprisingly STURDY fabric that is remarkably easy to use, once you learn how to deal with its innate qualities and quirks.

For several years, Bay Area quilters Sue Fox and Julia McLeod have been creating individual bodies of work that highlight the bold and graphic possibilities of this somewhat misunderstood material. Our developing website will introduce you to how we came to choose silk in particular (and salvaged materials in general) for our personal quilt-making and will illustrate how we build quilts in our own personal styles.



• We’ll share a variety of tips, techniques, and other tasty tidbits that may just whet your appetite for adding silks to your next quilting project.

• From Julia’s vast collection of neckties which she deconstructs to make her quilts, to Fox’s stash of silks retrieved from estate sales, manufacturer’s scrap bins, and thrift store garments, we’ll let you in on some of our best sources and tactics for rescuing inspiring materials.

• We’ll also share our journey of developing the uncomplicated yet awesomely effective methods that we regularly use for assembling our own silk quilts. By using simple piecing recipes and modifying traditional block making techniques—along with a crucial introduction to the benefits of Foundation Fabric Piecing—we’ve come up with several straightforward steps to entice you to join in the adventure of working with silks and salvaged materials.

To inquire about our lectures & classes, along with upcoming events, email SilkAndSalvage@gmail.com, subject line: “classes/lectures”.

Read on to learn more about our shared passion for the many possibilities of using this opulent and delicious fabric.

• Our Partnership

From our very young years, spent on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Sue Fox and Julia McLeod have shared a passion for textiles of all sorts and each of us developed alternative resources for collecting them. As lovers of thrift stores, flea markets, free boxes, hand-me-downs, and scrap bins everywhere, how could we not bond as makers with an eye to re-visioning odd materials into awesome new quilts…? When a classroom brought us together in 2014—kismet!
We are makers with a love of both the discarded and the new, and we are also women who value the history and richness of old and/or cast-off materials. The backstories of where we found our materials, why they were discarded, who may have used them before us (and for what purpose?) —and most definitely, how each of us anticipates a new life for these materials— fuels our collaboration with one another.

• Classes & Workshops

As makers and teachers, each of us has developed our own methodologies for working with rescued materials, which reflect our personal preferences and have led each of us to our own particular working styles. In our classes, we share specific techniques while encouraging alternative thinking about how one might proceed once the basics are firmly in place. We have several simple recipes for working with rescued materials, and show how they can be customized for special circumstances and specific ideas.

Our teaching style is based on Examples and Exercises so each student can see and make a variety of samples.

Our goal is for the student to gain confidence in working with rescued materials and to courageously move forward in incorporating rescued materials into their quilt-making toolkit.

Our strategy in class is to have a lot of laughs along the way.

Current Classes–

• Working with Silks in Quilts. Tips, tricks and techniques for achieving a favorable outcome with silks. Samples, examples and exercises. An overview of strategies we’ve learned for successful use of silks in our own quilts. You’ll take home lots of samples.
• Foundation Piecing for Silk: Precision and ‘Piecing’ the Impossible. Julia McLeod’s expertise with precision piecing on foundation fabric goes beyond accurate sewing—she’ll share how she develops color stories and simple strategies for “not messing up” during color placement. We’ll work with commercially printed foundation fabric, but also discuss changing scale, making your own foundation fabrics, and touch on how to create more abstract (i.e., impossible-to-piece) designs.
• Improvisational Piecing– Crazy patchwork recipes from the Tribute and Medallion series. Sue Fox demonstrates favorite recipes gleaned from traditional block styles along with modern variations. Learn how silk, linen, wool and other fibers are handled differently than cotton. Let’s make components for your next Improv or Medallion-style quilt.

• Current Lectures

Our one-hour lectures are designed to educate as well as entertain. We love to laugh and we love to see lots of juicy and inspiring work, so that’s what we pack in to our time on your stage.

• “Silk and Salvage: New Quilts from Rescued Materials” Get the lowdown on the quilts that Sue Fox and Julia McLeod have made and why these materials intrigue us; Learn where we look for and find fantastic materials—and how we prove the fiber content; plus, See how each of us work—either with precision or with abandon. An action packed hour. (with digital slides and a trunk show)

• “’Obsession’ As A Design Motif: Successfully Working in Series” Being obsessed with a material or an idea naturally leads to working in a series—it’s all about the “What if…?” factor. Using examples from several series—Julia McLeod’s Flying Geese and Ties to Zimbabwe, as well as Sue Fox’s Tribute 4-patch and 9-patch designs and Urban Rhythms— we explore questions asked and lessons learned. (with digital slides and a trunk show)

• “Where’s the Cotton…?? Exquisite Quilts made with Unexpected Materials.” A wide-ranging look at quilts made from silk, linen, wool, and other materials such as clothing and manufacturing off-cuts. Highlighting both historical and contemporary makers and some pretty awesome quilts. The trunk show includes both vintage pieces and our own work. (with digital slides and a trunk show)

• Invite us to your guild! We are currently available to teach and lecture at guilds and quilt stores around California. email SilkAndSalvage@gmail.com, subject line: “classes/lectures”.

• To host a Special Exhibit of our Silk & Salvage Quilts at your quilt show or gallery, email SilkAndSalvage@gmail.com, subject line: “Special Exhibit”.