Monday, December 3, 2012

Hand Quilted Whole Cloth

Seven years ago when my daughter and my son-in-law became engaged I started designing this quilt for them. Having just moved to Montpellier in the south of France, I was influenced by the quilts and linens I saw there, in particular by the lovely boutis quilts. At the time, my knowledge of boutis was quite limited, so I borrowed the look and some of the motifs used in boutis and adapted them to this whole cloth hand stitched quilt.

The heart is one of the symbols used in wedding quilts.

Five years ago, when they got married, the quilt was no where near being completed, but it was well on it's way. Four years ago, when my husband and I stopped spending winters in France, I moved the quilt to Vancouver. (The summers are much too hot where we live in France for lap quilting.)

The section in the hoop shows the border that I am currently working on. There are 3 rows of border motifs.

Sadly since then, because other things always seem to take priority, I have spent very little time on the quilt. I love to hand quilt, and I tend to look at time spent quilting as a decadent pleasure, so often it gives way to something that seems more like work. (A bit warped - I know!)

All of the empty space between the motifs will be stitched into narrow channels,  imitating the background pattern found in traditional boutis.

But now, I am determined to finish the quilt. There is still a lot of stitching to do and there are always other obligations that have to take priority, but my goal is to spend a minimum of 10 hours each week at this quilt and make some substantial progress this winter. Realistically, the 10 hour minimum will not happen until after Christmas, but I will post my progress each week. Stay tuned!


  1. Oh my goodness, your work is incredible! What a wonderful gift for your daughter and son-in-law. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more photos as you make progress on it this winter. :)

  2. It's a beautiful project. In my experience creativity and schedules don't work well together. But, if I don't make a schedule, things are usually even worse! So it's an interesting experiment. ;) Happy quilting!

  3. Thanks so much. This quilt has been far too long in the making already, and I really do want the kids to enjoy it soon. I'm hoping that posting my progress on the blog will light a fire under me and get me to focus on it a little more regularly. Here's hoping!

  4. I know what you mean Monica, about sticking to a schedule. It is not always easy, nor practical to do so. I know that if I am working on another project, I don't want to put that down if I'm on a roll, but I'm hoping that by putting a little bit of pressure on myself, I will make some progress on the quilt.

  5. I am in awe. As one who has attempted hand quilting, I can only say, gorgeous! I can hand quilt passably (if your eyesight is not too good!) on a lap frame. On one of those big ones, such as are used here at church quilting groups, I am hopeless. The quilt is always stretched too tightly and, of course, you can't move it around to suit yourself.

  6. Hi Mary Ellen. Thanks for visiting and for your very kind comments. I can identify with your reluctance of hand quilting on a large floor frame. The quilt is always stretched very tightly, which really does make it more difficult to stitch, and you must be able to stitch easily in all directions as well. For me, it tends to become more of a chore then a pleasure. Whereas lap quilting for me is the ultimate decadent pleasure in my "stitching life". I find a very comfortable chair with ottoman, turn on some good DVD's or music, and can then stitch for hours. This particular quilt is taking so long to finish because I don't allow myself the pleasure often enough. I am hoping that by putting some pressure on myself, I will make some progress this next year. There's a lot of love in each stitch of this quilt and I am really looking forward to presenting it to my kids.