Skip to main content

Boutis Update

Cathedral Window, Silk Jewels and Brush with a Balistic Strawberry

Over the last several weeks, a great deal of my stitching time has been devoted to boutis; there is the on-going stitching on some of the larger projects, other projects where the stitching has been completed, as well as some new designs and patterns in the works. Below are a few of these projects.

Holding a boutis piece up against the light makes the stitching a lot easier to see. Below is the progress so far on my cathedral window.

Cathedral window boutis, held up against the light.

The next photo shows a close-up of the stitching. Aside from the small circles, which will become rosettes, most of the piece is being stitched using a tiny backstitch. The backstitch slows down the process, but it enhances the channels and gives the pattern more definition once corded.

Close up of back-stitch used on Cathedral Window.

A very recent project is a series of silk keepsake box covers. I love the look of silk with boutis, with it's rich and vibrant colours that add a touch of drama to the relief in the finished corded piece. My small collection of silks had been tempting me for a while, so I decided it was time to give them some attention. 

The collection of dupioni silks that I will use for the jewel box covers.

This pattern has been adapted from a previous pattern to accommodate a round top.

The diameter of the pattern is 4 1/2 inches, a little larger than the box to accommodate the shrinkage that occurs because of the close stitching and the cording.

The box is just a paper mache box bought at a local craft store.

Below, the project is stitched and ready to be corded. Using mostly the running stitch, it stitched up quite quickly.

The stitching is more visible on the back. The two rows of broken lines near the perimeter form a pattern called "point de Vauvert". Each little section of the line is comprised of 3 evenly spaced backstitches, where the thread travels between the layers to get from one line to the next.

Working with white fabric is always a bit nerve-racking. Aside from the normal handling that leaves it's mark, fingers do get pricked, coffee can splash, pens can leak, etc. It's always a relief when a project is completed without disaster, as was the case with the butterfly pouch below. Enter a "show and tell" around our dinner table a few weeks ago, where strawberry parfaits had just been served. BIG MISTAKE! In my enthusiasm to regale my friends with boutis lore, (on their request, may I add) my over excited, uncontrolled hands sent my strawberry coated spoon sailing through the air, landing directly on the lower right hand corner of the stitched butterfly pouch below. It seems my hands were not the only things uncontrolled at that point. My poor little 4 legged friend Winston had to have his ears covered. Apparently my choice of words, prompted by the near disaster, were not appropriate for such delicate ears. My most sincere apologies Winston.

The strawberry fell just to the right of the stitched butterfly.

The story does have happy ending however. Immediate rinsing and soaking the stain overnight in a bath of warm water and Orvus soap completely removed it. Whew! Disaster averted, lesson learned and best of all, still friends with Winston.


  1. You are making excellent progress on your Cathedral Window! That is going to be so nice.

    You did a great job getting that stain out! I am very paranoid about clean hands and tables when I am showing my work. People look at me askance, but, they don't understand the time and effort involved. I'm glad the story had a happy ending!

    1. Thanks Monica. Like I said, lesson learned, and fortunately for me, other then the initial weak knees and panic, no permanent damage done.

  2. I have a bunch of those little boxes, this type of project is perfect for them. I look forward to seeing the silk boutis once they are stitched.


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

Alsace Quilts

A quilt show is a great place to be inspired and to celebrate our craft with other artisans. Spread throughout the town of Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines, as well as 2 other nearby towns, this show did not disappoint in either way. There were many fantastic quilts to marvel at, and even more fantastic people to meet and share ideas with.

When at these shows, time is always at a premium, so I prioritized the exhibits that I hoped to see and did my best to get there. Here are a few of the highlights.

The first exhibit we saw were the Canadian quilts. Just as with the Amish quilts, a church acted as the gallery. Churches make great venues for displaying quilts.

Libby Lehman is very well known throughout the quilt world for her free motion machine quilting and threadwork. As she was the featured artist at this year's show, there was a large retrospective display of her quilts. I am more familiar with her current work, so it was quite a surprise to see her more traditional earlier work. It was a…