Thursday, January 12, 2006

Chatting about International Friends

I was chatting this morning with a really lovely new friend of mine and the subject of international quilt friends came up.

I have a really great friend I met maybe 6 years ago now by accident on the internet who lives in France. She is an amazing quilter. She does all her piecing by hand and all her quilting by hand. I can't even begin to tell you what amazing things she does! About 2 summers ago she and her husband even came to visit me for a week - it was so much fun! I speak no French (and let me tell you, they died laughing trying to teach me) but they did an amazing job of speaking English while here! In fact when Christelle and I first met we started emailing because she figured if she had to make her children learn and speak English for school she should also force herself to practice. At first I used small careful English. Some days it would take her 3 hours to translate and understand the whole email. But now - WOW - I type and talk just like I would any of you! So practice makes good!

Anyway, she brought a suitcase of quilts with for show and tell when she came, and over the years I have gotten some amazing gifts from her. I couldn't even begin to tell you how amazing these are! And some of her more fun quilts I've seen - use the old "cut up old clothes" method. This was way before my maverick days. And here I see all of you being creative.

Anyway - on to the quilt show - ok so I'm really sidetracking above. It has been a stressful busy 2 weeks at work and my time has been so short. So I guess I'm also releasing my pent up quiltness here!

The pillow cover shown above is called Boutis de Provence. It is an old style of French quilting. They used to do this for fancy petticoats, corsets and vests for men. (Now why would you make such beautiful stuff and cover it up for a petticoat or corset I have no idea). The pillow cover she made me is made from an antique petticoat she found in an anique store. It is very heavy and dense fabric. My fingers just ache from thinking about quilting through it. With Boutis de Provence you quilt all the lines through 2 pieces of fabric (no batting). then on the back side you poke a needle inbetween the lines of stitching and "stuff" it with yarns or threads. In mine she said each little line has 6 yarns pulled through - and let me tell you they are TINY. When your done you can brush the fabric with your needle and no longer see the hole - so basically the back is identical to the front! Unbelievable. Oh and her is some more info on Boutis de Provence if your interested (see # 3).

The second quilt is a very small applique piece she did for me one year. The pieces of the little flowers are so tiny they are about 1/2 the size of your pinky fingernail! And look at that quilting - is it awesome or what!

The mariners compass quilt was a gift last year for Christmas. I LOVE mariners compass/stars. Anyway - to her quilts should always be in brighter happy colors. Even the mourning quilt she made while mourning her mothers death is almost all white with some muted purple. So she said she never, never, never used black in her quilts. Well you know I love darker more primitive type earthy colors. So her challenge was to make me a mariner's compass and use a dark blue/black/grey fabric. I think it is wonderful! Even she was happy with it! (and believe it or not if I go bright I LOVE lime green so I loved that she used all shades of green!)

The last is a little table mat she made after visiting me. She was making a similar one on the plane trip for her friend who was taking care of her 4 children while they were on their trip. I fell in love with these little stars. They are very tiny - the inside star is maybe 1 inch across. So I was so thrilled to get this from her.

And can you believe this is only the tip of the iceberg of her talent! Maybe tomorrow I'll have some more time to dig up some more pics.

5 comments from wonderful readers:

Carolyn said...

Such beautiful quilts and such a wonderful friend! You must cherish the friendship with her.

Tonya Ricucci said...

Wow, that's amazing work. I especially love the quilting on the white petticoat - looks gorgeous.How generous your friend is for giving you these quilts. And with such tiny pieces - aiyee.

Tracey said...

They take my breath away. WOW! Especially that first one. Can that woman quilt or can she quilt?!?!
Thanks for sharing them. You're a lucky gal!

Anonymous said...

What wonderful gifts from your friend. Her quilting is quite stunning. I'm glad you got to meet eachother in real life :-)

Darcie said...

OHMYGRACIOUS!!! Your friend's work is breathtaking...and all by hand!