Framing with a Machine Quilted Finish
A true-to-tradition work of boutis would be constructed using only hand stitching and would not be combined with any other technique. My choice to frame this little 5" x 5" boutis square with machine quilting isn't intended to compromise the traditional, but rather it experiments with combining the two techniques. It makes a labour intensive, traditional technique like boutis more achievable and likely more appealing to the contemporary quilter/embroiderer. But that's a whole other discussion for another day.
So that, by way of introduction, is what became of my little 5" x 5" boutis square. And since the original design for the boutis square was inspired by a rose window, I decided to make it the focal point of a larger "cathedral tower" wall hanging. (see my previous post).
Below, with the boutis securely appliqued to the centre of the project, the wall hanging has been sandwiched and is ready to be completed with free motion quilting (FMQ).
For most FMQ, I prefer using the open toe free hand embroidery foot. It gives me the greatest visibility in all directions.
Below, the quilting on the front of the rose window has been completed. When designing for FMQ, I try to minimize stops and starts where ever possible. (Tying off and burying threads is very tedious.) The circular design around the boutis was completed with two continuous stitching lines, one inner and one outer.
|Front of work|
|Back of work|
When there are a number of long, repeating straight lines in a pattern that is otherwise quilted with free motion, I prefer to use a ruler and stay with the free motion technique rather then toggling back and forth between feed dog movement and free motion. Free motion with a straight edge allows the quilt to be stitched up or down or side to side, without constantly turning the quilt. Shorter lines can be free handed, but for a long continuous line, I find the results with a straight edge are more satisfactory.
For this technique I switch to the transparent plastic quilting foot which is easier to butt up against a plastic straight edge.
The next 2 photos show the completed centre held up against the light. Notice how the boutis is completely exposed, both in the finished front and the back. When held up to the light, boutis will let the light pass through between the corded channels and in this way illuminates the design. It's this play of light and shadow that is the essence of boutis.
|The front of the rose window when held up against light.|
|Back of the rose window|
The completed wall hanging, which measures 31" x 16", was quite easy to manoeuvre in my domestic machine, and it certainly quilted up a lot faster than had it been finished by hand. Handwork, of any type, is still my favourite stitching method, and I remain loyal to it. In this case, the hand work and machine work are intended to complement each other without diminishing the merits of either method.