Sunday, June 22, 2014

Boutis Tabletopper Reaches the Finish Line

Central to this tabletopper is the floral boutis pattern designed by Mme. Francine Born of "Boutis Provence" ( that I stitched in a class on boutis with Mme. Born several summers ago in Montpellier, France. The linen/cotton surround is there to provide a framework to the boutis.

Completed tabletopper, with Mme. Born's boutis design central to the whole piece.

After the initial FMQ was completed, the tabletopper lacked energy and life. The particular linen I chose for this project presented a greater challenge then I had anticipated (see my post of May 23/14 Other then removing the boutis from the background and starting again, (which was a less then thrilling prospect), I have tried to give warmth to the piece by embellishing it with contrasting embroidery threads, and, to add some relief, I have filled in the background with a small stipple stitch.

After the initial round of quilting, the stitches completed disappeared into the linen with the very fine tone on tone thread that I had used.  (This would be great at another time, but not for this particular linen). So for this round of remedial stitching, I switched to a heavier embroidery thread with a little contrast and sheen and over stitched parts of the design, hoping that it would highlight some of the areas and add a little life.

The circles were over stitched with a Gutermann Viscose Dekor colour, warmer and more golden then the linen itself.  On either side of the small circles, I used a slightly more subtle colour in the Viscose Dekor thread to enclose the circles with rows of a narrow zig zag.

Between each scalloped petal, I used the warmer shade of thread to overstitch the cross hatch as well as  the circles around the perimeter. The narrow zig zag enclosing the cross hatch, as well as the narrower row around the perimeter, were restitched with the more subtle shade of thread.

To enhance the relief, I used a small stipple stitch around the design motif in each separate petal.

For the binding, I attached a piping very similar in colour to the warmer shade of the Viscose thread, and then completed the border by stitching a wider row of zig zag in that shade of thread.

Close-up view of the finished edging.

The completed back.

With the addition of the stipple stitch to the background and with the embroidery threads highlighting parts of the design, there is now a little more life and relief to the quilt. However, lesson learned; next time I use linen in a quilted project, I will use only the very finest of linens with a much loftier batting. Slightly contrasting thread is also preferable when quilting linen.

Cording additional stuffing through each feather and channel of the motifs would achieve the desired effect, but for now, she will be what she is. Maybe someday?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Colourful Interlude

These lush, rich fuchsias and roses on our balcony patio have inspired me to dig deep into the stash and hunt up some of the most colourful and lively fabrics and trims that I could find.

Hummingbirds often visit us, even on the 17th floor. So, to extend a hearty "bienvenue", we  are luring  them with a ready supply of succulent fuchsias, fragrant jasmine, and the ever loyal, sweet rose. Recently,  as my red "Lady and the Unicorn" umbrella (seen here behind the fuchsias) was drying on the balcony,  we noticed it seemed to be an added attraction for the hummingbirds. Since then, we have purchased a more dispensable red umbrella that we can leave out on the balcony as big "Welcome" sign.

This rose transforms from a deep reddish/orange bud, into this bright pinkish/yellow, to a pale yellow tinged with pink and finally into a soft white. Amazing to see the progression.

Since most of my stitching time has focused on boutis recently, which is worked mostly on whites and neutrals, a therapy session using the brightest and most vibrant colours from the stash is most welcome.

These fun fabrics are a lightly laminated cotton that I found in my favourite kitchen shop in Montpellier. I had mailed them (as well as the coordinating bindings)  home several years ago, but because we have never spent a summer in Vancouver, there was never an urgency to dig them out before now.  They will help add a little southern French sunshine to our Vancouver summer.

Better then a candy shop!

First tablecloth done. The table, now dressed in chartreuse, is ready for outdoor dining. The trailing vines on the back lattice are the jasmine, not quite in full bloom yet.

To accommodate the umbrella, I cut a 1 1/2" circle in the centre of the tablecloth with a slit extending to the outside edge, and finished the edge by continuing the binding into the slit and around the centre cutout.

This rectangular tablecloth is destined for my daughter and son-in-laws long wooden kitchen table. I do love these colours on my balcony as well. Hmmmm. Dilemma! Fortunately, we don't have a long rectangular table, so this tablecloth will find it's rightful owner.

And now ... the leftovers. My favourite! From what was left over after cutting the two tablecloths, I managed to get 16 place mats cut. The yellow scraps were still a leftover from Montpellier. Thank goodness these leftovers don't go bad!

More summer fun coming soon! I did have to hit a fabric shop again to replenish the binding supply and fortunately, Fabricland had a great deal - buy 1 metre, get 3 free. Could anyone resist that?