Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"Rose Window Boutis: Finished" (Part 3)

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 the surrounding stone tower.

Machine quilting on a darker grey cotton creates the roof line as well as the surrounding stone work. (see above)

Straight line FMQ (see my previous post) has partitioned the lower part of the tower into three smaller towers. (below)

Close up of the lower part of the wall hanging

Completed front

Completed back

I quite enjoy combining different techniques, such as hand stitched boutis and FMQ, in the same project and  I know there will be more like this project in my future.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rose Window Boutis: Part 2

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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rose Window Boutis

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 are still very much in use today. Cathedrals, in particular, provide a huge source of design inspiration for me. From floor to ceiling, inside to out,  they hold a treasure trove of motifs and patterns. So consequently, a large portion of my photographs are of churches and cathedrals. Rose windows, in particular, fascinate me and seem to have become a recurring theme when I'm designing my boutis. One of the reasons is that the patterns in these windows easily lend themselves to boutis design.

Below is a photo of a rose window taken in Paris a number of years ago. It was seeing this particular window for the first time that I had the idea it could easily be translated into a pattern of channels required for stitching boutis. Ironically, this building is not even a cathedral, but rather it is Paris City Hall in the "premier arrondissement". Never mind that, the rose window is still beautiful.

That rose window became the springboard for the original 5" x 5" boutis piece, as well as the quilting design that will frame the boutis.

My initial design process.
Included are 2 photos of actual cathedrals.

Below is the final quilting design, (a loose interpretation of the original). The blank square in the center of the circle is where the boutis will be reverse appliqued into place.

The inner circles were drawn prematurely and should not be there.

Below, the quilting pattern has been traced onto some white batiste, and the boutis square has been reverse appliqued into the center.

The back of the boutis is trimmed to 1/4 inch. It will be sandwiched between the layers of batting and backing.

Next, the entire circular window is reverse appliqued into a gray fabric, which will form the stone tower for my rose window.

Both the front and back of the boutis should be visible in the finished product. Therefore, batting and backing are aligned with the front and a 5 " square is cut out of both materials where the back of the boutis will remain visible. The backing fabric encloses the batting and is appliqued to the back side of the boutis.

When all 3 layers have been attached to the boutis, the rest of the quilt is sandwiched, pinned and ready for machine quilting. More on that next time...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.

Wishing everyone a great weekend in your part of the world. 

Happy Thanksgiving from Canada.