March Already and Halfway Over!

Hello Spring? Coming soon? It doesn’t seem like it the past couple of days.  At least not here in Chicago, nor all of those other lucky people who were blasted with FEET of snow! I am used to Mother Nature and her surprises for us in March and April sometimes. But I won’t show you photos of the mess!  I am thinking Spring today. This tiny little pillow was once a free pattern out there on the internet, but it seems to have disappeared. I love it because it not only had a Shamrock for March, but extends into May for Les Muguets Day (May 1st…in France) with the tiny little Lilies of the Valley. I believe it was by Danybrod.
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Finishes better late than never:

This one was stitched by Southpaw Stitcher and it is one of my favorites! I LOVE the lone deer and the quiet dusk-like feeling you get with the blue linen and barren trees!
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Southpaw also did this Winter Cardinal. She LOVES stitching birds and has quite a collection of them!
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These were gifts for the holiday each one done with the recipient in mind.  A project roll with a matching project bag! The project rolls open on the end and can hold thread, scissors, needles, patterns, etc. Fun to make and they include charm pulls on the bags dedicated to each person’s interests.DSC_1352

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Here is another winter cardinal.  This one is Little Red Bird from the Little Stitcher Shop on Etsy.  It is SO nice to just go on-line and be able to download a PDF pattern!  If you haven’t tried it…you need to! Instant gratification!IMG_4668

I do a LOT of pillows for my client Pat and this one is fun and amusing!  I love the fact that the dog has no eyes.  He/she could be ANYONE’S pet!  And that HUGE bone…why surely that is any dog’s dream!  I love the colorful fantasy flowers as well.  Fun just to look at!
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Here is another one done by Pat.  Brings me into Spring for sure. It is so soft and delicate and the purples and blues so pastel. I hand-dyed a silk ribbon to match. Beautiful.DSC_1409

This Lavender Needlebook was stitched by Lynn. I adore lavender (although I can NEVER seem to get it to grow in my garden). The inside has a lavender lining and wool lavender pages for needles.  I hand-dyed more silk ribbon for the closure. Lovely.DSC_1418

New Techniques and Stitchers Alive and Well…

It has been very busy the last couple of months stitching French Boutis needlework. I will be teaching a couple of classes in French Boutis coming up soon and I have been busy with stitching more patterns for other classes and kits. It is nice to know that there are adventurous women out there wanting to learn this ancient art. So often we look at our young people today and wonder if the Needle Arts will disappear. I don’t think so. We had this discussion just the other day at a needlework group with waning membership. One friend mentioned that she knows of a lot of young people doing stitching…they have lots of digital connections and just are not joiners of our “old” needle work groups! (So true Marj!)

So keep on stitching everyone and keep on learning new techniques and methods and pass them along to our young people everywhere!

Amities, Averyclaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Boutis

The past month or so I have been avidly working on designing more French Boutis patterns.  Today I published one just in time for Valentine’s Day on my Etsy site.

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This French needlework technique is easy to do if you like handwork. Stitching the piece is rather like hand quilting, a small running stitch, on two pieces of batiste. Then the boutis yarn is drawn through the channels by inserting a tapestry needle from the back between the two layers of fabric. Voila!

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In my kit I provide the pattern, instructions with photos and finishing technique, the white and pink batiste needed to complete two hearts, a white sun catcher and a pink sachet.  Also included are the two needles necessary for stitching and toothpicks needed for stuffing in the tail ends of the yarn cording.  Other materials you provide are white and pink thread, a ribbon or cord for finishing, and filling for your sachet.

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I am working on about six other designs as well.  If you love handwork and would love to try this ancient French Needlework Art, give it a try.  There is also a digital pattern available. It’s a small piece, easy to work up quickly…just in time for Valentine’s Day! I also teach French Boutis to anyone interested.

Thank you to my dear French friends, Nicole, who introduced me to this beautiful art nearly 15 years ago with a gift for my newly born granddaughter, to Maggy and Nicole, who have supplied me with lots of books and magazines for inspiration, to Elisabeth, who sent me a piece of her own hand worked Boutis, and last but not least to Elizabeth from Canada at Seams French who shares this passion with me!

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think! (The comment form is at the top of the page under the date)

Stay tuned for more finishing work next time!

Amities, Averyclaire

 

My Clients Do Such Lovely Work

Well, I survived the hacking of my email, although I spent a full day on my computer changing passwords, etc. I don’t know if that will help any, but it made me feel good. I had been meaning to do that anyway.

Each time I do finishing for clients, I am competely in awe of the lovely stitching that they create. I always wish that the item was mine when it is finished. Alas, with all the finishing I do, there is little time left for my own creations. I promised myself in the coming months to save a day or two a week just for me! I actually did finish something which I will show another time.

For now, feast your eyes on the lovely work of my clients!

Pat did the first one here. It is from the Plum Street Sampler Leaflet entitled “Good and Plenty.” She found the perfect burgundy mini pom pom trim to go with it! I love pieces like this that go all the way through Autumn!

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Beth managed to create some beautiful beaded ornaments. First is this adorable turkey named “Bruce.” She has a lovely story to go along with it after cooking a 40 lb. turkey one year! Nice memories.

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The next she did is this Sailboat Ornament. It’s very elegant with the rayon floss I used for cording and is perfect with the “sea” themed backing I had in my stash.

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And talk about elegant…well this Santa is quite stunning! His beard is made of all beads! A work of art! And I finished it will a green velvet back.

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And the last one for Beth is this lovely needle book/ornament. This was a gift to her stitched with her friends’ initials. How lovely is that?

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Nancy stitched this beautiful reindeer from last year’s Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue. The color of the linen she chose for this is perfect for the wintery day it depicts!

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And Betsy…well there are no words to describe this luscious sampler. It is from By the Bay Needle Art and is called Serenity Harbor Sampler. She changed the flowers from pink to yellow and the large house at the bottom to yellow as well. It took her a year to complete and is stunning! I added a coordinating plain fabric backing and used handmade cording. I painted the dowels to match the cording and the look is complete!

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Vivian made this lovely primitive pillow from the pattern “Christmastide” by Notforgotten Farm. She said it reminded her of she and her sister decorating the Christmas tree! I used the antique lace she gave me and I hand-dyed silk ribbon to coordinate with the pillow. It is a very pretty piece.

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Vivian is an extraordinary quilter, but loves to do cross-stitch too. This one is called “Deck the Halls” by Stacy Nash and was made into a pinkeep filled with walnut shells by Vivian. She asked me to attach the mini pom pom trim to it after it was finished, but I like it better within the seam allowance. So I took it apart and finished it with the trim in the seam. She loved it that way.

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And last but not least is a simple photo of the lovely “Princess Diana Serviceberry Tree” in my yard. The colors are so lovely in the Fall. It doesn’t last long but when it turns colors, it’s beautiful. Alas, I think our Autumn is coming to an end making way for the fun-filled holiday season.

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Once more I have to put in a small advertisement for those of you who have not tried French Boutis Needlework yet. On my Etsy site you will find an ornament kit with three French Boutis Christmas Ornaments. I am in the process of designing more Boutis patterns so I hope you will give them a try.

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In friendship, Averyclaire

A Few More Photo Finishes

Here is another post with photo finishes!  The finishing studio is humming where each week my clients challenge me with their work.  There is always something new and interesting to see. Enjoy the eye candy handiwork of my clients!

Vivian did this lovely Brenda Gervais small pillow “Merry Noel”.  Since the fringe was unavailable for her, I hand dyed some mini ball fringe to match.  It’s perfect.  The soft colors in this piece are beautiful.  Nice work Vivian.

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And Laura did an equally beautiful job on this Stacy Nash medium sized pillow entitled “Pine Tree Farm”.  She gave me handmade antique lace to use as an accent around the pillow edge and the perfect fabric backing.  It’s gorgeous!  And the colors in this one are equally soft and delicate.  Lovely!

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Judy created this beautiful white work pillow.  She wanted a brown backing behind the stitching, so I used the same brown fabric for handmade cording and the pillow back.  I included a zippered back so the pillow insert could be taken out if needed. Such intricate detailed stitching!

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Pat did a couple of gifts for little ones this time around.  She requested a rather large flatfold for the first one.  I added the “sticky kisses” across the bottom and the cute little matching buttons.  On the second one I added a handmade multi-colored cording with multi-colored french knots along the accent fabric.  And for privacy, in the photos I have deleted the birth date and weight from both.

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Pat’s needles were on fire this last month and she created this very large wall hanging for someone who just LOVES Halloween.  The tomb-like shape just adds to the fun!

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She also did these two cute wall hangings as Christmas gifts.  All the little girls seem to LOVE the Disney Princesses, especially the mermaids.  Here is one of Ariel!

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And another one of Snow White…this one is certainly elegant with the rosy red apple and the red rattail trim around the perimeter of the stitching!  I LOVE the Disney fabrics on the back!  These little girls will love to look at both front AND back!!

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If you are interested in learning Boutis (a simple running stitch and corded French needle work technique), I now have on my Etsy page not only a kit for the three ornaments I designed (containing ALL materials needed for the three ornaments), but a “pattern only” choice, as well as the “hard to find” special cotton yarn that is needed for the kit.

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I have lots more photo finishes…so come back again soon!  Thanks so much for your continuing visits!

Amities, Averyclaire

Finishing Photos Finally

It’s been a while since I posted some finishing photos except for what was done for the Boutis Class.  So I am trying to catch up on showing some of the lovely things my clients have done!

Pat quickly finished this very pretty needleroll.  It came as a kit and I did the finishing for her.  What a lovely piece!
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Nancy was very busy stitching up a couple of gifts for a good friend. I love the nautical theme.

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I kept the nautical theme going with the “whale-like” stitching on the accent piece. Click on photo to zoom in a bit.

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And I added some of that accent color to the back as well!

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And here is Nancy’s second gift item…sailboats…made to match the first one!

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For this one I added “wave-like” stitching on the accent piece and some accent color on the back as well.

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Vivian requested a simple Christmas pillow with ten rusty bells.  I love the backing she chose to go with it.  Simple and elegant.

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A new project roll is born with a hidden place to keep your thread and scissors, etc.

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And a couple more project bags were finished with a French theme.  Eiffel Tower on one with an Eiffel Tower zipper pull and a Boutis needlework piece mounted in the center of the second one, which also has an Eiffel Tower zipper pull.

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Thank you again to all my clients who keep my “in-box” full of beautifully stitched pieces.  More to come as soon as I have the photos ready and downloaded!

Amities, Averyclaire

 

 

French Boutis Needlework

It has been quite a month…broken…dead computer and my DH and I were traveling for several weeks.  I am very much behind on my finishing, but the class I was preparing for took precedence.  I did get some finishes completed, but I will save them for the next post. New Etsy site is now running.

For fifteen years now I have been an avid fan and student of French Boutis Needlework.  My dear French friend, Nicole, sent me a piece as a gift when my granddaughter, Sophia, was born.  I was enthralled by the exquisite detail of this needlework.  Via the internet and some lovely books she sent me, Nicole, patiently taught me how to do this. And over the years my dear friend, Maggy, has sent me LOTS of wonderful books and magazines regarding French Boutis. I have perused all of them over and over and learned and dreamed.

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I set aside the Boutis for a while in favor of other stitching and quilting, but my interest was revived when I met my friend, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth is a talented “boutiseusse” and a designer extraordinaire.  She asked me to pilot her pattern and this was the result.

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Together we taught a class using her “Cicada Needle Book” pattern for the Great Lakes Region of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America this past weekend on Saturday. We spent MANY hours over the summer preparing kits and researching other necessities for the class.  We had 25 women students who very much enjoyed this new, but exquisite technique.

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Besides the necessities in each kit, we included a lovely handmade lavender sachet and a piece of “Merci” chocolate. We even had a drawing for a beautiful boutis project bag, three of Elizabeth’s new “Rose Window” kits were given away, as well as three of my new “Boutis Ornament” kits. Everyone enjoyed the day.

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Karen (Averyclaire) and Elizabeth (Seams French)

Karen (Averyclaire) and Elizabeth (Seams French)

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Elizabeth is currently in the process of creating a new website and Etsy shop that will not be ready until mid to the end of October. Her current blog is Seams French. She also designed a “Rose Window” box which I finished for her. It can be finished as a small round box or table mat or wall hanging or any other creative ideas you might have! If anyone is interested in Elizabeth’s patterns you can leave her a message on her present blog site and I am sure she will let you know when the items are ready for sale.

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This summer I stitched a boutis piece from Hubert Valeri at Boutisarchi.  His website has many modern patterns and is a feast of eye candy for the interested boutis seeker. The piece is done on two pieces of white batiste (no batting), stitched with a variegated green quilting thread in a “point d’arriere” (back stitch).  All boutis is translucent when held up to the light and is completely reversible.

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Over the summer I designed three French Boutis Christmas Ornaments which will be for sale on my new ETSY site. There is an Etsy link on the side of my blog now.  I have included in each kit enough materials for three ornaments which includes everything necessary to make them.  These ornaments are a simple, easy, small project with which to learn the basics of French Boutis.  I think you will be as enthused about this lovely needle work technique as I am.

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Here are some Boutis blog sites to visit:

“Seams French”: (Elizabeth Janzen): http://www.seamsfrench.blogspot
“Boutis Provence”:(Madame Francine Born): http://www.boutis-provence.com
“France Boutis”: http://www.franceboutis.canalblog.com (The local boutis association in Nimes in the South of France)
“Boutis Archi”: (M Hubert Valeri): http://www.boutisarchi.com (contemporary)
“CRE-DO”: (Dominique Fave): http://www.dominiquefave.com (contemporary)
La Maison du Boutis (Madame Francine Nicole): http://www.la-maison-du-boutis.fr (traditional)

Hopefully my new little substitute computer will hold out until my new/old one is repaired!  It sure is hard to get used to somethings all over again and again!

Amities, Averyclaire

Boutis

I have loved this beautiful type of hand quilting for a long time. This is my first project.

Boutis is a french type of quilting.   Two layers of thin batiste fabric are layered together and the design is quilted with a small quilting (or running) stitch.   A #22 or #24 tapestry needle is threaded with a quilting thread.  This loop then carries a cotton yarn.   The cotton yarn is drawn through all of the channels and the design areas “stuffing” them.   The boutis is transparent when held up to the light. Beautiful quilts and clothing were made long ago by talented french women using this technique.

A couple of my friends living in France (Maggy and Nicole) sent me several books and patterns.   Nicole sent me a lovely boutis piece she made as a gift.   She also wrote to me and explained the process.   I didn’t read the instructions properly and didn’t know about the needle looped with thread. Unfortunately I threaded a needle which was TOO long directly with the yarn.    This made my holes much too large and some are still visible.    And I really didn’t know what to do when I finished.   Luckily I found a lovely blog and Elizabeth was kind enough to help me out and answer my many questions regarding boutis.

I also made the mistake of beginning to pull the yarn through on the right side of the project rather than on the wrong side…hence you can see the holes I left by using a skewer to assist in the “stuffing”… my needle was actually all I needed.   Hopefully next time my piece will look a LOT better.  Trial and Error!!!

Sending you BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Amities, Averyclaire

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