Thursday, July 31, 2014

Still In Stitches!

Honestly, I have not fallen off the face of the earth, but sometimes, days and weeks just disappear! Vanish! Into thin air! How does that keep happening? Aside from enjoying the first summer in Canada for more then 8 years, I have been busy working on a number of new projects.

High up on my priority list has been designing and stitching up a number of new boutis patterns that are simple to stitch and quite manageable in size. Easy to pick up anytime and take along just about anywhere.

Below are two of the new boutis projects.

This first one, stitched on an amber coloured batiste, will be a needle envelope. Although I have used a variety of stitches around the cicada motif to add interest and give it a bit of emphasis, it can all easily be worked with the basic running stitch.

The first photo shows the needlefold being blocked after the stitching had been completed. I had to wet it and block it for a second time. The first time, I had not used nearly enough thumbtacks to keep it square as it dried. Here it is for the second blocking, with a second row of  thumbtacks added where seriously necessary. A whole second row would have been preferable, but I ran out thumbtacks. (I have since acquired 2 more boxes and am thinking that I may get more).


Once the boutis had dried. I removed it from the styrofoam, on which it had been tacked, and trimmed the edges. I will finish the edges with a narrow rolled hem, and then attach a piece of felt, stitching it to the centre of the design, on the inside of the needlefold, where it will be a place to keep needles and pins handy for future hand stitching projects.

Another recent boutis project is this rose window design. This one was designed as a pin cushion, but in retrospect, I decided that I would prefer to use it in something else, like a a throw cushion or another table topper. Still deciding on it's ultimate destiny.

On the blocking board. Additional thumbtacks were necessary again.

Auditioning some fabrics that will frame the rose window. It's very likely that I will frame it with FMQ again as in my previous tabletopper.  (see my previous post).
 Note that there is no linen!

Below is the same rose window design, this time being stitched on amber batiste. This one will become a pin cushion and be a mate for the needlefold. I'll post progress reports.



Since I seem to have a "thing" for hummingbirds, one of the delights of the summer so far was watching the hummingbirds frequent this feeder while I was stitching on my boutis, visiting my sister at her summer cottage on Lake Winnipeg. New hummingbird design ideas are already in the works. More on that another time.



10 comments:

  1. I'm glad to see you've been enjoying your Canadian summer! And productively spent too.

    Boutis is a great medium for needlework accessories, I see! They will have just the right sturdiness, I think. The cicada is such an elegant design, and I love the amber coloured fabric, too. No linen, lol!

    Beautiful as always. :D

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    1. Thanks Monica. I have missed summers in Canada. It's great to be back full time.

      You're right about the sturdiness of boutis. It's great for accessories and wall hangings, but quilts can get a little stiff unless much of the background is left as negative space. One of these years I'll try a small quilt.

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  2. Beautiful projects! But how do you do a running stitch in a hoop? Do you have the fabric somewhat loose? I usually use a stab stitch while stitching in a hoop, but I'm sure that can get tedious with boutis.

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    1. Hi Cynthia. Boutis is stitched in a hoop, similar to the way we hand quilt in a hoop. But instead of the rocking stitch, I learned to stitch boutis using 2 thimbles, with the project quite taut in a hoop. One thimble, on the left hand middle finger, guides the needle over the tip of the thimble edge underneath the fabric, and the other is on the right middle finger pushing the needle forward from the top side. It's hard to explain; it almost has to be seen, but it allows for more accurate, consistent stitches. It took me a little while to get into the rhythm of this technique, but now that I'm comfortable with it, it has become my favourite method.

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  3. Delightful projects! I look forward to seeing your hummingbird designs.

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    1. My new hummingbird boutis design is in its very early stages of development. It generally takes months of drafting ideas, numerous restarts, and then finally the final draft is started. (And only then can the stitching begin!) But it's all fun and I enjoy doing it. I'll post progress reports. I appreciate your interest. Thanks Karen.

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  4. What beautiful designs! Can you explain the purpose of wetting the piece? I love seeing your work in progress and learning more about this gorgeous type of needlework.

    Oh, and I can relate to time flying by... I can hardly believe that summer is almost over and school will begin in just a few short weeks!

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    1. Hi there. So glad you had time to stop by my blog.

      There are 2 reasons for washing the boutis once it is completed. The first is to clean the work. Because boutis is usually stitched on white, it can get quite grungy in the stitching and cording process, so it is important to wash once it's finished. The second reason is to square it up again. Because there is so much manipulation and addition of material (in the form of cotton yarn) that takes place in the cording process, the work can become off center and askew. To square it up again, it needs to be thoroughly wet, and then squared up tautly and tacked to a surface such as a styrofoam board until it dries completely. If all goes well, it comes up square. Hope that answers the question.

      Enjoy these last few weeks of holidays with your kids before school starts again.

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  5. Your boutis projects are gorgeous!! I've never tried this technique but you're tempting me. I need to make a hussif and thought about quilting it (with batting), but it would look even better as boutis.

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    1. Hi Marie. I think that a hussif would lend itself quite well to boutis. What a great idea! And once you give boutis a go, you become hooked very quickly. Good luck. Thanks for the visit and your kind comments.

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