Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Boutis Round Up

Projects in Progress

Even though the summer was filled with many activities and other types of sewing and quilting, boutis was never far from my mind, and it even found it's way into my hands from time to time. (Which sadly, was not a regular occurrence.) However, I did manage to work on each of the 4 different projects below. Little by little.

1. Le Mireille (design by Francine Born)

"Le Mireille" which is from a kit designed by Francine Born, is my long term study of traditional boutis design and technique. The goal that I have set for myself for this project is to experiment with different threads as well as with a variety of the "boutis sanctioned" stitches. As I work my way through the quilt top, I also hope to do a little research on the symbols and motifs used in the design.

Other then a few spaces intentionally left unstitched for now, the centre motif is complete.

Below is a close up of the stitching so far, showing an outline stitch and a back stitch.

2. Les Capucines (design by Francine Born)

Started in the summer of 2013, on our way home from France, this little piece has since become a traveling companion. Because of it's compact size, it's an easy project to tuck into a small travel bag and work on in airplanes, trains or cars. Progress (dependant on how often I travel) is slow but steady.

The whole piece is being stitched with the back-stitch. Originally the vertical channels around the border were to be just a running stitch, (which speeds up progress) however, it wasn't until I had stitched about a a third of the way around the perimeter with the back stitch that I realized I had not switched stitches. Bummer! Ah well, progress will be a little slower, but other then that, no serious harm done.

3. Boutis Butterfly Pouch - Take 2 (my design)

This is a variation of the previous boutis pouch that I made in the spring. It's the same basic tri-fold design, only a little larger, and with a variation of the motifs.

A few areas will be a highlighted with an outline stitch or a back stitch, but most of the pouch will be stitched using the basic running stitch.

4. Rose Window Boutis (my design)

When working with smaller projects, it's always a problem trying to decide how to finish them. This little 5" x 5"  block was originally intended to be a pin cushion, however, I found it a little too large to be practical.

After considerable humming and hawing, I decided that it would be incorporated into a larger wall hanging. Below it has been set into the background fabric, ready for a little FMQ. More on this project next time.

Throughout the fall and winter,  I will be working on all of these boutis projects and posting individual updates as the work progresses.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sashiko Fun

Sashiko and Patchwork Play Together

While her mother-in-law was visiting a year ago, my daughter was working on a quilt in which she will incorporate some sashiko. When her MIL took an interest in what she was doing, we both thought it would be fun to involve her in the process. With limited stitching experience of any kind, but showing some enthusiasm, (and being a very good sport), she let us persuade her to try her hand at sashiko.

With our own limited experience of the technique, we made up the sashiko pattern using one of my many books on the subject, gave some basic instructions to MIL and set her loose. Before she left that summer, she had completed the stitching on this little 15" x 10" piece of indigo. Amazing work for someone who is not only new to sashiko, but a novice to most kinds of needlework.

Well, I thought that type of enthusiasm deserved a reward, so before she came back to visit this past summer, I used her stitched sashiko to make a bag for her using one of Yoko Saito's patterns from the book shown below. The bag featured on the cover was perfect for the size of the embroidered sashiko.

Since the measurements of the bags are geared for metric, my European (metric) quilting tools came in very useful.

Digging through the stash, I came up with an assortment of fabrics (below) that could work for the lining and accents.

The navy prints, called "Hearty Good Wishes" by Janet Clare, are made for Moda in Japan.

I liked the way all of the navy fabrics worked together with the sashiko, but I felt that the bag needed a little lift. A spark of something bright. Somewhere, in the far recesses of my brain, a neuron fired that reminded me of a package of Japanese charm prints that I had purchased sometime in the 90's. To my utter amazement, I found them without any stress. (Too bad I only needed 5 of the 100+ charms in the package!)

Below, the front of the bag is pieced, sandwiched with fusible batting and machine quilted.

Next is the back of the bag, pieced with the Japanese prints. Additional sashiko was machine stitched and used for alternate blocks.

The handles and the bag bottom were quilted prior to assembly.

The bottom ready to be set in.

Shown below is the completed bag. Not having used Yoko Saito's patterns prior to this, I was unsure as to how the pattern would work. I was very pleased with the outcome. The directions are clear and the pattern pieces are accurately marked for easy transfer. Everything fit together perfectly.

Inside out, showing the interior of the bag which is lined with the Moda Fabrics.

Yoko Saito designed a bag that is practical and meant to be in daily use. The finished bag has form, is sturdy and stands up on it's own. Thank you Ms. Saito! I will definitely make up more bags using her patterns.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Baby Bee's Party Dress

What to wear for that first important meeting with extended family and friends?  Baby Bee (or Little H, Lady H, etc. - nick names are still evolving) was recently faced with this dilemma when she and her "staff" flew off to the prairies for various birthday celebrations, wedding showers, dinners, picnics, etc.. But no worries! Lucky for her, Bee's got a Gram, who is always itchin' for stitchin'.

First stop, the stash. The beautiful mint green bug print from Birch Fabrics (bottom of the photo), was already there and provided the theme for the party ensemble. Three coordinating Birch prints found their way into the stash after a quick visit to a favourite local quilt shop. A length of white linen, also from the stash, was the perfect canvas against which to set these playful prints. 

Along with a great choice of fabrics, there also needed to be a choice of styles and patterns. Of the 4 patterns and the one book that I used, all but one of the patterns made it into the outfit in one shape or other. 

When all the bits and pieces were assembled, coordinated and constructed, the finished ensemble included this little dress, bloomers, a hat and a bag. Whenever I use linens for any of my work, I machine wash the fabric hot, dry it hot and iron with steam. Shrinkage in the finished product has not been a problem. The hat, lined with the polka dot print, is completely reversible.

The same bug print as is in the yoke, was used for the bloomers. Little bows were added for detail.

Oh yes, and there had to be a bag of course (below). Where else is a young lady to keep all of her private necessities? The hat, unfortunately met with greater interest off the head....

... then on. 

Well, back at home, the parties are over, but we'll be ready to go the next time an invitation arrives.

And if it's for a garden party with the queen, we're all set with hat and bag!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

High Flying Baby Quilt

Even though it's been years since my daughter was a student, decades since I taught school, eons since I was a student myself, there's something about the end of summer/early September that seems to push a refresh/reset button in my brain. Because I relate well to routine and a certain amount of structure, the references to a school day seem to recall routine to my life.

That having been said, it's time to dust off the keyboard and push the reset/reboot key on the blog.

The break from the "blogisphere" did not transfer over to a break from either sewing machine or needle and thimble. Over the last few months both have been gainfully occupied and have produced some finishes and, as always, new starts and more Phd's (Projects half done).

First on the priority list was the little "High Flying" baby quilt.  It was finished and sent off to it's new little owner in June, where hopefully it brought sweet dreams with it.

Completed baby quilt.

My quilting designs can come from almost any source. The cloud pattern used in the background (close-up below) was inspired by the embossed pattern on some paper towels. Why not?

As the quilting design for the sun evolved it seemed to take on an "Aztecy" pattern.  Because the shapes of the sun were fairly large, I decided to break them into smaller sections first before filling in with denser quilting. As each section developed, this "Aztec" look seemed to be emerging. It quite surprised me, but sun and Aztec sort of make sense together, so I went with it.

The kite tails, and it's bows and bobbles, were probably the most labour intensive bits in the assembly of the quilt. Getting them together involved Celtic bias bars, fusible web, wash away stabilizer, machine satin stitch and then finally machine applique of all the little bits and bobs. (Little bang for a lotta buck!) They better not come off after all that.

Each little kite got it's own quilting design.

At the outset of this quilt, the goal was to use only fabrics from my stash. I even had the batting. And... , I almost made it.  For the backing, I had intended to use the same polka dot fabric that is in the border on the front of the quilt. However, it would have needed an additional 1 - 1 1/2 inch border stitched onto each side. When push came to shove, I found it too distracting, so I opted to support one of my favourite local quilt shops. This fabric is heavier looking then the polka dot fabric, but it was the best option that I could find on short notice. 

The completed quilt.

The quilt was fun and relatively fast to make (in quilting time!). I have to admit that I am quite taken with the "Seams Baby" side of stitching.

And who knows, one of these days, my stash may actually give birth to a complete quilt!