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Boutis on the Go

Before leaving for home in Vancouver at the beginning of August, we are planning to spend a little time driving about the French country. Between following road signs and being "Mme. GPS", I may have a little time for some stitchery in the car. (Maybe more wishful thinking then reality!!!). However, we can dream.

To practice "le point arriere" (back stitch), the stitch I seem to be focussing on this summer, I chose to make "Les capucines", one of Mme. Francine Born's smaller designs.

For this pattern, yellow batiste is suggested as the backing, yellow thread for the stitching and white, yellow and green coloured yarn for the cording.

This is Mme. Born's finished class example, keeping true to her recommended colour specifications.

Here is my work in progress of "Les capucines", using her recommendations for materials and colour choices for the fabric and thread. For the cording, I will likely stay more monochromatic and skip the green yarn entirely, play with the yellow, and keep mostly to the white. It's a good opportunity to experiment.

 My backing is a yellow cotton batiste with a white Swiss batiste top, and it is stitched with yellow Coats cotton/poly hand quilting thread, (F.B.'s favourite choice. She believes that the cotton/poly blend holds up better in the long term).

To practice "point arriere" (or back stitch), the choice of using a coloured thread made sense. It makes it easier (on aging eyes! ... and when did that happen???) to see the consistency of the stitches. Coming at it from the hand quilting perspective, where the running stitch allows for a number of stitches on a single needle pull, it seemed a little tedious to be making so many individual stitches as required in a back stitch. However, if I think about it as embroidery, it begins to make sense, and is not at all a hardship. As with anything, speed and accuracy come with practice.

Here's a closer look at the backstitch used in boutis. It's going to require a lot more practice to get the consistency of stitches that I have seen in some of the "boutis"ful ladies' work.

The piece is reversible, so the back of the stitch must be just as regular and consistent as the front. There is still much fine tuning to work on.

Since a moving vehicle is not a good place to get regular and accurate stitches on boutis, my little hummingbird boutis, which has been frightfully neglected over the last few months, is coming along with me. There may be a little time, between watching for road signs and off ramps, to do a little bit of cording in the car. (I believe it's called wishful thinking!)

Our internet access will be limited until we get back to Vancouver, but I will try to check in periodically and post progress reports.

Enjoy summer everyone!


  1. Oh...thank you for sharing the photos of the "Boutisful" ladies and their well as the lovely yellow and white work you are doing now. The backstitching is very nice. This is how I do all of my embroidery! I have been busy with many things, sadly not my boutis. Soon I hope!

    1. I too am developing a new appreciation and understanding for the backstitch. The first time that I saw an antique boutis quilt, with it's tiny and perfect backstitches, it seemed like an impossible task. However, working my way through this little piece, I find that I am really enjoying the process, and the finished look of the backstitch is very satisfying. Good luck with your piece, whenever you have time for it. I'll look forward to updates!


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