Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Boutis: Pouches and More

Although I have not written about boutis in a very long time, it is still very much a part of what I do. Over the last year, aside from making progress on some earlier projects (completing some), I am constantly working on new designs.

With all the time and effort that goes into making a piece of boutis, it's nice if at the end there is a practical use for what I have just made. The pouches that I have been working on can have a variety of uses, such as sleeves for cell phones and sunglasses,  holding sewing notions, etc.  The first six images show three of the little pouches (or sleeves) that have been my experimental playground.

The pattern evolves with each pouch as I work out the design kinks and look for better, more efficient methods and materials. An example is the circular surround enclosing the little butterfly motif below. In it's current state, it looks quite unfinished at the lower end and will need some reworking.

This is a tri-fold pouch which is stitched on a white Swiss cotton batiste.

The reworked version has two additional channels around the perimeter of the pouch which gives it a cleaner finish.

Finding quality, appropriate materials for boutis in North America is also an on-going search. Some of the supplies are available on-line from French sources, but for the sake of convenience and cost, I have been looking for replacements of equal quality closer to home.

Good quality white Swiss cotton batiste can be found fairly easily, however, the colours saffron and purple are also sometimes used in traditional French boutis, but more difficult to find in a cotton as fine as the batiste.

The saffron phone sleeve below is made on a gorgeous, silky like cotton, purchased in person from a Boutis supplier in France, but unavailable on line. I have not found any replacement cotton in colour quite as perfect for boutis.

My cell phone slips nicely into this little sleeve.

I used a Provencal bumble bee print for the lining.

To overcome this problem my friend Karen of Averyclaire Needlearts, who also creates boutis, has started dying good quality white batiste into colours that she likes to use for her work. It makes a very good alternate choice. The purple sleeve below was made using Karen's dyed batiste.

Another sleeve with a few minor design changes.

Aside from the pouches, work on my Notre Dame Rose Window (below) is also progressing. The stitching of all the channels has been finished and I'm now working little needle lace Rosettes into some of the smaller circles. Rosettes and other embroidery stitches are accepted embellishments often used in Boutis.

At the same time, I am re-working my website/blog to accommodate more of a focus on boutis. I am also in the process of developing kits that will be available on Etsy, for those interested in trying this traditional French needlework technique for themselves. The plan is to eventually post some on-line tutorials that will demonstrate the basics of boutis.

In the meantime, this blog and my Facebook page will be up and running as usual.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Machine Quilted Bumble Bee Placemats

Just Buzzing Around

Finishing some "vintage" Phd's (Projects half done) is a quick way to make a bit of a dent in my self imposed goal to "Scrap the Stash" (well, ....., reduce it anyway).

Years ago, when we still spent part of each year in Montpellier, France, these 8 placemats had been cut out and prepped, ready to quilt. But as often happens, the project was interrupted and the materials were "filed" under "Later". Well, "later" finally came this summer and the placemats got done.

To applique the little bumble bees, I used "Appliquik", a light weight iron on fusible, and then machine satin stitched around the wings and body.

The backing fabric is the typical Provencal cotton found in most French markets. The quality isn't the best, but the colours and designs are a happy reminder of those sunny, warm days in "le grand sud".

All of the quilting is free motion. The swirly border is meant to represent the busy buzzing of the bees and the interior "honeycomb" was inspired by Cindy Seitz-Krug's book, "The Grid Design Workbook". The straight lines gave me the chance to practice with my new ruler presser foot.

As there are still many similar Phd's in the stash, there will never be a time where I will have to wonder "what's next?".

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A "Summery" of Quilting

Sew with the Flow

Having started this post sometime in June, it was to be a bit of an update of what was on my stitching list for the summer. As often happens, unpredictable events take us from our routine schedule and force a re-prioritization of plans. Therefore the post never got published, and the motto "sew with the flow" became my daily mantra. A number of the projects below have been completed, progress was made on some, while others were not even touched.

First up on the list of priorities was the whole cloth silk quilt that I'm making for my husband and myself. The design is well under way, and as soon as there is a large chunk of time, I will start transferring the pattern onto the silk. It will not be an easy task, but I'm very anxious to get going on it.
Hummingbirds and gardenias are a major design element.

As are shamrocks.

The top of the quilt is a teal dupioni silk (centre of the photo). On the back will be the dark navy/tealish Northcott cotton that is on the left. The turquoise solid cotton on the bottom right was an option for the back that I decided against.
To see how it would hold up, I pre-washed a meter of the silk, which I am using for the trial pieces. Although there was shrinkage, it's not serious at all and I love how soft and manageable the silk has become. I will definitely be pre-washing the whole 9 yards.

The trial piece has been underlined with a very light fusible interfacing. So far, I'm not crazy about the relief I'm getting with it, even though I'm using two layers of wool batting in some places. Will I regret it if I don't use it?

In my on-going attempt to reduce the stash, I hauled out these 8 placemats that had been cut to size back in France, with applique templates ready to go. The bumble bees are machine appliqued and held in place with a light fusible web along with a satin stitch.

They also gave me the opportunity to practice ruler work with my new ruler presser foot and "Kelly Cline's" machine quilting rulers.

Along with the placemats that had been pre-cut were about 6 more meters of the yellow and white striped fabric, left over from a project in France. Tablecloths were an easy project that used up most of the fabric and became the colour inspiration for the table setting for our "Summer Solstice" party.
As there was still a lot of fabric, I made a second tablecloth for our balcony table.

The Lady H has graduated to a pillow, so new bedding was required, including these flannel pillowcases.

And last but not least, there was a little time to get my Scrap IV Flower Garden quilt from last year stitched together into rows. Another session should have the rows together and ready for sandwiching.

The next post will be a bit of an update on Boutis, which is still very much a priority in my stitching life.