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Stitching the Boutis Blues

Europe is rich with magnificent historical buildings, many dating back to medieval times and earlier. Spending time exploring some of these amazing architectural structures is always a priority and highlight for me when traveling in Europe. After reading "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett, I became particularly fascinated with cathedrals and living in France for a number of years gave me the opportunity to visit many of them.

Cathedrals provide a huge source of design inspiration for me. From floor to ceiling, inside to out,  they hold a treasure trove of motifs and patterns. I have spent hours photographing and collecting data in these churches and cathedrals and they have become an important resource for me. Rose windows, in particular, fascinate me and have become a recurring theme when I'm making patterns for my boutis. The radiating bars that divide the circular windows into segments easily lend themselves to boutis design.

With the help of my husband and Auto…
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Remake of an Old Favourite Shirt

When a shirt (or any item of clothing) becomes an all time favourite,
 it is worn beyond threadbare to such an impressive point that there are not even enough threads to mend. Replacing it wasn't an option, because the store where said shirt was purchased some 15 - 20 years ago had long since closed. What to do?


While evaluating the options, I came across an almost identically coloured cotton in my stash, so maybe mending would be possible.


The thought of unpicking all of the seams was extremely uninspiring, (understatement of the year), but the more I thought about the problem, the more of a challenge it became. So unpick is what I did. (The things we do for love)


Once the daunting, dreaded task of unpicking was done, I used these pieces to draft new pattern pieces for the parts to be replaced. Taking another look at the shirt to be mended, I decided that even though the worst worn bits were to be replaced, the rest of the shirt was not in a condition where it would withstand a …

Whole Cloth Silk Quilt: Quilting Progress

Stitch by Stitch and Line by Line


When I started the first rough sketches for a quilt for our bed back in 2013, I had no idea it would take this long to finally get the quilt to the quilting stage. As the ideas came and went, and we came and went to and from France every six months, the designs got altered, rejected, put on hold and restarted many times. Staying at home for the last few years, progress was actually possible. Thanks to Autocad and my husband's input, the design finally came together early this year.  Whew!

The quilt is now well on it's way, with a hoped for finish before 2019. (Fingers crossed!)








Progress has been steady, if not quick. Still hoping for a 2018 finish.

Marking a Large Quilt for Stationery Machines

When quilting on a stationery, domestic machine, the overall visibility of a large design gets lost because the quilt has to be scrunched and bunched to fit into the machine and to distribute the weight. For this reason, taking the time to mark accurately is the first step to a successful result. In my experience, too often impatience has led to shortcuts which more often than not leads to regrettable results.


Because this quilt is so large, I did my marking in 3 main steps:
1. Registration Lines - the main division lines in the pattern
2. Skeleton - Outline of all design features
3. Detail -Filling in the shapes

1. Registration Lines: 
My preferred method for the initial squaring up process and marking of registration lines is done on a clean floor, where the quilt top can be fairly accurately squared up on one flat surface. (Works especially well on a gridded floor, such as parquet.)


2. Skeleton:
I had a second full size pattern printed which I cut up into the main design sections to c…

Boutis in the sunshine

No sunscreen required.












Machine Quilting: Thread Painting and Background Fillers

In preparation for quilting my large bed quilt, auditioning stitching patterns and thread colours and weights has been an ongoing side project for the last several months.

Some of the questions I considered:
- Where is the focal point of the quilt? Is there more than one?
- How can I create relief around the motif to be highlighted?
- Which background filler is the most effective?
- Should contrast be created by the colour of the threads or by using varying weights of thread?  Or maybe a combination of both?

The 3 samples below are exploring the possibilities.

Sample 1 is stitched using the same colours and materials that are in the quilt: teal silk dupioni that has been stabilized, 1 layer of wool batting and a cotton backing. All of the samples are using design elements from the quilt itself.

In this first sample I tried my hand at thread painting with a contrasting colour. I used Magnifico, Superior's 40 wt. poly for the outline of the motif, and a 100 wt. silk for the backgr…

The Gate to the Hummingbird Garden & Quilt Canada

"La Porte d'un Jardin de Colibri"   

Remember this little boutis hummingbird ("colibri") from a long way back?


Well, she finally found a happy home behind a silk gate of free motion quilting that opens to her peaceful boutis flower garden.

She was accepted into the juried exhibit of Quilt Canada, which was held here in Vancouver last weekend, and came home with the ribbon for "Excellence for Work of a First Time Exhibitor".


As I was designing the border, I wanted the flow of the boutis to continue into the border. The boutis is set into the centre of the quilt using reverse applique. The photo below shows the circular pattern around the hummingbird being extended to the border and completing the circle by piecing in some white silk.



Following are some close-ups of the quilt.











The title is a little laborious, so I'll call her "Blossom" for short, the name our grand daughter has given to one of the hummingbirds that frequents our balcony …