Friday, June 26, 2009

Le Boutis

The quilt shop where I took most of the classes I've taken, Earthly Goods, has a monthly "Grad Club" for those who complete their certificate set of courses. This time we had two women who presented quilting from classes they had taken in France. They explained La Pique Marseillais (three layers), La Pique Cordé, Broderie Perse done with tiny hand blanket stitches, and Le Boutis. They had examples, particularly of boutis, one was a show winner and the woman who brought it is ninety years old!

This style of quilting was forgotten for 200 years and has been revived by fabric artists who were inspired by museum pieces. The work is fascinating. It is two layers of not too densely woven fabric sewn together on the lines of lightly marked patterns, using a dull needles so as not to split the threads. The stitches are unbelievably tiny. Then a cord is pulled into parts of the design to give it a trapunto-like look, but no cutting. You cannot tell how they got the cord between the layers. You also cannot tell the front from the back.

When held up to light, the fabric is transparent except for the parts with cord in them. Utterly amazing. I didn't take pictures, but did get this one from another source (mostly featuring hand-made lace, so you can see samples of that as well).
Try Googling images of boutis!

The real thing is most beautiful. By traditional definition, this likely is not a quilt, but if someone wanted to give me one for my bed, I'd take it. The technique is also used in cushions, drapery, wedding dresses, eye glass cases, you name it. Very lovely.

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