Skip to main content

Cathedral Window Boutis: In Stitches

The second boutis "Cathedral Window" that I started back in February is well under way.

(To get the right lighting for photographing white on white is almost impossible, (very frustrating) so I have included two variations of the same photo, hoping that the pattern will be visible on at least one of them.)

Just as in machine quilting, when stitching boutis, the first step is to stabilize and secure the major design lines, working from the center out. So, starting at the center rose, all of the large arches and channels radiating from it were stitched first.

Black and white photo of the entire design.

Colour image of the same photo.

Next, I continued with the first inner row of half arches, working the short, middle bar towards the rosette, and then on to the smaller arch.


From there, each following segment in the circumference will be stitched sequentially.


Some of the most impressive antique boutis quilts that I saw in France were stitched only with "point arriere" (a tiny backstitch). When I first had the opportunity to see these stitches close-up, I was completely blown away by the perfection of the stitch, both front and back. The meticulous stitches were tiny and consistent and it was difficult to fathom that these stitches were in fact hand made, not machine stitched, but Madame Nicolle, the proprietor of the "Maison du Boutis" in Calvisson, France, assured me they were the real deal. With those quilts as my inspiration, I have decided to stitch the entire cathedral window, other then the rosettes, with the "point arriere". This stitch does slow down the process, but as with everything, practice will improve the speed and consistency, and I'm up for the challenge.

I'm using a Gutermann hand quilting cotton thread with a size 10 Bohin quilting between needle.

The front of the work, showing a close-up of the backstitch.

The back of the work, showing the underside of the backstitch.

For the time being, I'm stabilizing the rosettes with a running stitch. Once all other  stitching in the piece has been completed, I will work a "point de rosette" (a needle lace rosette) into each circle. This will be my first attempt at this delicate pattern, but while in France, I had the opportunity to learn to make this rosette from one of the women in the boutis group that I participated in. Hopefully the notes I made and the pics I took will help me remember her instructions. There will be practice runs first!

The very first knotted thread that I pulled into the work made a tear in the batiste. Nooooooo!!!! The fabric is more delicate then I had anticipated. Thank goodness I had decided on the "rosette". It will completely cover the damage.


Comments

  1. OMG, was that knot for the cording? But, maybe it is lucky you discovered the issue now, in a place where it can be hidden.

    I hope it all goes smoothly from here, because it's going to be gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't believe what I had done when I pulled that first knot through. My first thought was that I had no option but to start again. However, once I calmed down a tad, I realized that the stitching for the rosettes would completely cover the damage. Whew!

      It was just the regular quilting thread for the stitching that caused the problem; the same thread I always use. However, I had not used this particular batiste before. It was a very delicate (and expensive!*!) Belgian cotton that I purchased at one of the boutis exhibitions in France. I had been saving it for a worthy piece. I was not expecting the fabric to be as fragile as it is. And you are very right, best to have found out on the first stitch, particularly in a place where it will be hidden. Caution (and a less cavalier attitude) rules the day from here on in.

      Delete
  2. This will be absolutely exquisite! What an undertaking. So sad about the tear but happy so soon you found your answer! Love this piece!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's got a long way to go, but I am happy it's in progress.

      Delete
  3. That tiny backstitch looks time consuming, but it will be beautiful! I thought all boutis was running stitch, but that shows you how little I know. That little tear is frightening! but at least it will be covered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The running stitch is the most common, (and efficient) stitch used for boutis, but the backstitch really does take it up a notch. When I am in "the groove",(so to speak), that little backstitch can whip up quite quickly. However, that "groove" isn't always there at my beck and call! But, for this project I am committed to it and will see it through.

      Delete
  4. Assolutamente un lavoro fantastico, tantissimi complimenti!!!!!!
    Emi

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Blocking and Squaring Boutis

The door of her cage has been opened. She is free to fly off and find her destiny.


After many months of hand stitching and then many more months of cording, my little "calibri" is ready to set off on her own. As this was my first attempt at designing so large a boutis piece, it has been a bit of a learning curve. All of the tight swirls, curls and circles are a great deal more difficult and time consuming to cord then are the longer more gentle channels. Maintaining an even tension is absolutely necessary throughout the process, so patience comes in very handy when doing the cording.

Once all of the stitching and cording is complete, the boutis must be washed and squared up. After it is soaked overnight in a basin of water with a mild detergent, it gets rinsed gently in several clear washes, then rolled in a towel to remove the excess water. 


The final step is the blocking process. There are a number of ways to block a boutis piece, but I have found that the easiest metho…

Amazing Applique by Yoko Saito

The quilt exposition in Nantes "Pour L'amour du Fil" was filled with a number of highlights. Certainly one of the more memorable experiences was seeing the works of Yoko Saito in person.
"Elegant" is the word that best describes Yoko Saito's quilts. Although her palette is neutral, the lights and darks play very well together to create a perfect balance to the quilt. To say that the applique is amazing is an understatement. The perfectly formed 1/4" circles and the tiny leaves and stems are inspirational. And of course, the hand quilting is perfect. For the final touch, she uses embroidery as adornment in much the same way that the perfect pair of earrings complete the look of the little black dress. The opportunity to see her quilts in person has been truly inspirational.

The photos in order:
- Yoko Saito in her booth on the floor of the show
- "Pointsettia" - by Yoko Saito
- "Spring of Sweden" close -up - by Yoko Saito

Amish Hand Quilting in France with Esther Miller

Esther Miller, was born into an Amish family in the U.S., and now lives in Germany where she has for many years taught the techniques and methods of Amish hand quilting to anyone interested in learning these skills. As a child, she would closely watch as the women of her community worked together on a quilt, and eventually she was rewarded with a needle of her own and encouraged to join the group. Through the years, she has mastered these skills and techniques and now generously shares them with anyone who has a genuine desire to learn.



Last week, at the "European Meeting of Patchwork" in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, in Alsace France, www.patchwork-europe.com, I had the privilege of taking a 2 day workshop with Esther. The Amish quilting method requires a free-standing simple wooden frame upon which the 3 layers of the quilt have been stretched. To accomodate the 18 women in the class, Esther set up 3 quilt frames, with 6 students at each frame. Because the quilt is on a large, unm…