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.
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.
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!