A recent family holiday in Hawaii wasn't just an opportunity to postpone winter a little longer, while absorbing and storing as much sunshine and warmth as Canada customs would allow us to bring home, it also provided a whole new chapter of ideas and inspiration for quilting and needlework designs. On the day of our arrival the evening sky after sunset was magnificent with a vibrant display of lavenders , hot pinks and rich blues. Th ese colour s made their way into a number of my earlier quilts, and I still find the combination attractive and magnetic . Picture perfect orchids were growing everywhere. The petals provide a great example of how a natural colour gradient works. There were a number of species quite new to me. The ironwood tree below is a dense red hardwood that was used for making tools and weapons in ancient times and is currently planted to create windbreaks. But it's the colours of the trunk that caught my attention. The Ironwood Tree.
Between now and the New Year, quality, focused time in the "studio" (term used very loosely), will be a rare commodity. Oh well, so it goes. My hands though, which happen to be a perfect fit for a needle and thimble, have promised to make themselves available at a moments notice. Having that promise in writing, (after publishing this post), I have declared November and December "Hand Stitching Season" at the Seams French HQ and expect efficiency and quality performance from it's staff of one. Can you hear the crack of the whip? In the production line-up are some embroidery projects, as well as 3 or 4 (or more) boutis projects. Last year's "Stars and Butterflies Baby Quilt" for the Lady H included a pocket on the back of the quilt to hold a collection of falling stars. My intent is to add a wish and a star to this collection annually, on the little lady's birthday. Thread colours for this star have not yet been finalized, but will likely
Light at the end of the Boutis Although the actual boutis piece is only the small 5" x 5" square in the center of the rose window, it was the springboard for a larger "cathedral tower" wall hanging and was central to it's development. The piece combines 2 of my favourite stitching techniques; needlework by hand and free motion quilting with machine. Tip to base, the finished hanging measures 31" x 16". Held up against the light, the boutis is illuminated from the back and becomes the focal point of the piece. The wall hanging consists of 3 sections. The rose window, (on the white batiste), takes center stage with the boutis it's main focus and the FMQ providing the frame. Front of the work, highlighting the boutis square. Back of the work The complete rose window has been hand appliqued into a light grey fabric, representative of the carved stone often surrounding a cathedral window. Details of the roof line as well as t
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
Design and Assembly When working with a smaller project, like the rose window boutis below, there is the ever present question of how to finish it. Regardless of whether I am quilting, embroidering or stitching boutis, I like the piece to serve a purpose; be useful in some way. Averyclaire , quilter and embroiderer extraordinaire, is a Whizzz at creative, beautifully constructed finishes and never seems to run out of ideas. In fact, she runs a little finishing business, where she will finish other people's embroidered work, all with meticulous care and craftsmanship. But for me, it's always a bit of a quandary. So, how to finish this little 5" x 5" boutis square. Since the inspiration for the initial boutis design was a rose window, I thought, why not make it into a wall hanging of a larger rose window, with machine quilting framing the boutis. One of the things that I love most about Europe is it's multitude of historical buildings, of which most a
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