New Needle-Turn Applique Tutorial!

Needle Turn Applique Tutorial - The Sewing Directory

Hello, hello everyone, how are you today?  I suspect you might sense I’m a bit over excited, but this Friday is the day a little project has been finished up and my needle-turn appliqué tutorial was published on the fab go-to sewing site The Sewing Directory!

The tutorial gives instructions on how to do one of my favourite appliqué methods that I learnt way back when and still use today. You need minimal tools, just a needle and thread and your chosen fabric and pattern – and if you choose to do a broderie perse style appliqué you don’t even need the pattern (and the tutorial shows you how to do that too!).

You can use this type of appliqué to embellish anything from quilt blocks to your favourite skirt.  In the sample I made for the tutorial (pictured above) I’ve begun to embroider some stems and will add some leaves to the design too before I quilt it.  I was wondering though, how I could finish up the sample: what could I make it in to?  What would you do?  A cushion/pillow panel?  I’d love to hear your ideas, fire away in the comments below!

I hope you’ll head over to The Sewing Directory to check out my tutorial but I’m sure you’ll love the website too, it’s jam packed with great stuff for sewing enthusiasts of all varieties!  Big thanks to Fiona Pullen for inviting me to contribute – I’m still so excited!

Linking up with Finish it up Friday  – looking forward to seeing what else has been going on in our quilty world this week!

Happy weekend stitching

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The party dress

August Rain quilting in progress. © Stepahnei Boon, 2014

Finished label

It’s been raining or hailing for days, dark grey skies have cut out the light to the point where it’s felt like a permanent dusk. Hibernating weather.  Comfort food and mugs of hot chocolate.  It was a bit of a surprise to wake up to bright sunshine this morning, but it’s still wintry cold and here I am tucked up on the sofa under the unfinished August Rain quilt, hand piecing.

Ocean Waves hand piecing in progress. © Stepahnei Boon, 2014

Sunday morning stitching from the sofa

My pile of hand pieced half square triangles for my Ocean Waves blocks is slowly growing.  I have 13 finished blocks and have stitched enough half square triangles for for 10 more. I think I might start stitching some more blocks together before I move on to the next 100 or so HSTs that I have cut, I’d like to get a sense of the quilt growing.

Ocean Waves  in progress. © Stepahnei Boon, 2014

Party dress half square triangles

I made a radical decision to add a dark floral fabric to the shirting mix too.  There’ll only be a few small smatterings, but I think it’ll add a bit of a visual punch. Well, a little nudge! But really there are more sentimental reasons for using it: the fabric is from a party dress I was given for Christmas in 1974! Definitely vintage! My mum still has photos of me wearing it, with my sister in a matching one standing next to me smiling. I like the idea of this quilt incorporating family memories in the fabrics, things that will hopefully mean something to my son Kim too, when I eventually finish it and give it to him.  I’ve got plenty of time: he’s only 16 and I intend to give it to him when he leaves home to go to university, or wherever he may head off to in a couple of years time.  I can hardly bear to think of that though – I’m already getting empty nest anxiety!

I’m off out for a walk this afternoon, make hay while the sun shines and all that. A friend’s coming over and we plan to go down the road to coast to blow away the cobwebs and set us up for the week ahead. If you’re still hibernating this afternoon though, why not take a look at this week’s newsletter – there are plenty of links to some great articles and blogs I love that’ll keep you entertained and inspired.

Linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy’s Quilts. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone’s been up to when I get back from my walk :)

Until next time, happy slow stitching!

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Click on the image below for links to common yardage cuts, how to mend a quilt and new Dawn Chorus Studio pattern news – go on you know you want to!

Dawn Chorus Studio newsletter.


Clouds lifting

Today is the day.  I feel ready to get back on it, bring on the new year – I’ve got things to do!  This could just be the large hit of Starbucks’ coffee I’ve just drunk kicking in  (boy, do I need caffeine this early in the morning – it’s only 10am, haha!!!), but generally things are becoming clearer once again.

I’ve finished up a couple of projects that I ‘should’ have finished in December, which has helped clear the decks (such a relief). I’ve cleared my desk space, which had become a dumping ground over the holiday period hidden entirely by a mountain of loose paper, files, bits of sewing and quilting, sketchbooks, camera…you get the picture.  I’ve cleared most of the house too and I’ve started writing out goals for the coming few months.  It’s as if clearing the physical space has cleared some space in my head. Do you ever get that feeling?

I’ve found it really helpful to write out some goals for maintaing better health this year. LeeAnn left a comment on a previous post that she chooses one word to encompass her plans for the coming year and this made sense to me, something to hang my goals on, if you will.  The word I chose is ‘routine’.  As you may know, or may have gathered, I suffer from bouts of chronic depression (and have done since I was in my teens). 2013 and the earlier months of 2014 were a particularly bad time. And, one of the things that goes out of the window at times like this is routine. I resist routine of any sort (too creative to be so restricted, I tell myself!), so it’s easy to let them slide (as quickly as an avalanche really).  But when I’m feeling less ill I can see that some simple, regular rhythms in life can help it flow more easily. So this year my health goals are focussing on meals (I’m terrible at eating regularly, shopping for ingredients…I often end up living on toast!), sleep (there’s a difference between being a night owl and flitting between 4 hours sleep one night and 12 the next), medication (forgotten to order more? well, you’ll just have to go without for a couple of days), fitness (not a difficult goal for me, if I’m not injured – I love to run, bike, walk) and social (I have a tendency to deliberately isolate myself when I’m feeling low, really not good at all).  Looking back over the last 6 weeks I know for certain that I was having a wobble – and I only have to look at this blog to see it in action!  Blog routine? gone. Newsletter routine? gone. Sewing routine? gone. But today is the day I get back on it! (Please bear with me though because I’m not ruling out a few bumps on the way over the next couple of weeks.)

I’m sharing this, even though it’s not quilting or art related (which is probably why you’re here!) because I think of you as friends, and I think friends deserve an explanation as to my sometimes erratic behaviour.  And you never know, it might help someone else, just has LeeAnn’s comment has helped me focus again.  Here are a couple of fun articles I found that might be useful too:

  • 5 Best Meal Planning Apps (and web) Lifehacker
  • How to Sleep Better, tips for getting a good night’s sleep
  • How to set SMART health and fitness goals


Next on my list of goals to work out will be some quilting related ones. First off I want to finish my August Rain lap quilt!  It’s almost there, just two borders to go, but, being so disorganised of late, I ran out of the cotton perle thread I was using, aargh!

August Rain lap quilt, © Stephanie Boon, 2014

August Rain – still in progress!

So in lieu of finishing up the quilting last week I started to hand embroider a label for the back yesterday. It’s nothing fancy, but I do like to hand stitch my labels, so they really feel like part of the quilt not like something scribbled on as an afterthought.  I’m stitching a very simple split stitch with just the quilt name, date and my signature (well, a shortened version of it that is!). It’s making the end feel very near, which makes me happy: the August Rain clouds are lifting.

Embroidering a quilt label for 'August Rain' lap quilt, Embroidering the labelEmbroidering the label, © Stephanie Boon, 2014.

Quilt label

On that note, I’m off to order some perle cotton and some fabric for the binding from the Cotton Patch – exciting times ahead!

Linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching over at Kathy’s Quilts, I’m looking forward to see how our quilting friends are getting on with their hand stitched projects this week, coming?
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Winter drawing in

Late January Afternoon (Carnon Valley) - pastel sketch © Stephanie Boon, 2015

Late January Afternoon (Carnon Valley)

Not too many words today.  A bike ride over to Devoran and back (about 13 miles) with new pastels and a sketchbook in my backpack to meet Janie for some sewing. I stopped on the way home to sketch the familiar viaduct that carries trains between Truro and Falmouth.  I sat on the marshy ground amongst dried, brittle heather, watching the light change as the clouds blew across the Carnon Valley, low golden sunlight turning on and off as they passed. Winter is here.


Linking up with Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social.  What new projects have you got on the go for the new year?
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Norfolk Bricks 2

I’m enjoying making these mini quilts so much. This is the second one in the series I’ve finished (you can see the first one here).

Mini quilt top in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Norfolk mini quilt (top) 2

I’ve just been allowing myself to be free.  They’re kind of improvised – I mean the sewing of them is very improvised, but I do have a clear idea in my head of I want to achieve before I go ahead. It might change a bit en route, but the overall ‘shape’ is what I’d envisaged.

It’s much easier to keep to your ideals when you have a clear idea of what it is you want to express.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the initial colours and thoughts were very much inspired by vernacular buildings in Norfolk, but one train of thought leads to another and they quickly become something else with much more personal meaning. For example, the shape of the bricks I saw got me thinking about irregularities and disruptions to regular patterns. Then I started to think about how this could become a metaphor for other things that interest me,  like separateness and distinctness, feelings of not fitting in (not necessarily a bad thing). It’s interesting to think about how you can express that in patchwork with little bits of fabric.

The fabrics I used are also special and meaningful to me, which I think is true for many of the quilts we make – it’s the thing that encapsulates memory.  The orange shot cotton (by Kaffe Fassett) was given to me by my son for my birthday this year (he knows it’s my favourite colour) and some of the prints are fabric scraps friends Christine and Kitty very generously shared with me – and I want to remember those thoughtful kindnesses. I suppose it’s a way of reminding myself that you can feel ‘separate’, ‘different’ and not fit in, but it doesn’t also mean you can’t make meaningful connections.

But in the end what really matters is that I think it’s a strong design. One I’m really looking forward to hand quilting soon and perhaps developing into a design for a quilt that you can wrap yourself up in too.


Mini quilt top in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

The nine patch

Mini quilt top in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

The Cornerstone

Mini quilt top in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

The Border

As the new year draws close I’m keen to make a concerted effort to sit and reflect on 2014 on paper and perhaps write some goals for 2015.  Actually, I think it’s that last bit that I really need to concentrate on! I don’t want to be falling off the rails again (even momentarily) because I feel like there’s so much going on I’m drowning in a quagmire, can’t prioritise, lose all sense of proportion, balance, stop looking after myself and finally curl up in a ball and hope it’s all gone away by the time I wake up again!

Do you have a favourite way of planning ahead? What do you to stop yourself feeling overwhelmed? Any suggestions or recommendations much appreciated! (SMART goals are great, but if you end up expecting to achieve a thousand of them in a year, umm, not so great, ha!) So, tell me, what have you got planned for 2015?

Until next time, keep on stitching!

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New pastel drawings

If you’re at home on your own a lot it can be so easy to lose track of the days. Throw in an extended holiday season and I seem to have lost all sense of which day of the week we’re on at all. As I slowly, unwillingly ground to a halt recently the days seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye. I think I was a bit burnt out, the engine just ran out of fuel. But before it died completely it had a bit of a ‘fizz’! My poor wee brain was crackling with flying sparks and poor connections, then just gave up the ghost. I was not impressed!

During the sputter I managed to do a little more hand quilting on the borders of my August Rain quilt and finish another mini quilt top, the second in the series, which I’ll show you during the week (I’m quite excited by it and can’t wait to quilt it).

Today though, I wanted to show you a couple of drawings I’ve made over the last few days. I was so lucky to receive a box of Unison hand made pastels for Christmas that I couldn’t wait to get them out and give them a go!

Self Portrait Christmas day 2014, © Stephanie Boon, 2014,

Self Portrait, Christmas Day 2014

Self Portrait Boxing Day 2014, © Stephanie Boon, 2014,

Self Portrait, Boxing Day 2014

Self Portrait Boxing Day 2014 (detail - eyes), © Stephanie Boon, 2014,

Self Portrait Boxing Day 2014, detail (eyes)

Meld. The day after Boxing Day (self portrait). © Stephanie Boon, 2014.

Meld. Self Portrait, The day after Boxing Day 2014

Meld. The day after Boxing Day (self portrait). © Stephanie Boon, 2014.

Meld. Self Portrait, The day after Boxing Day 2014. Detail.

Many of the colours  I used in these drawings (by no means all) were from the set I was given, called ‘Portrait’. It has to be said though, you’ll only be drawing portraits of Caucasian features with this set… (pretty handy for my self-portraits, but not for everybody). I’m sure I’ve waxed lyrical about these chalks before now, but they really are beautiful. I’m totally in love with them!

I’ve drawn self portraits ever since I can remember: I definitely recall standing in the bath so that I could see into a mirror to draw myself when I was about 14. It started off because I could never get anyone else to sit long enough for me. (The Christmas Day drawing took about an hour; Boxing Day close to three and the bottom one about an hour and 40 minutes – I never work from photographs.) I was thinking the other day that it would be interesting to dig some out and look at them together; I wonder if anything’s changed over the years, other than age.

I’d love to develop these into really large drawings (these are in an A3 sketchbook), so maybe that’s something to go on my ‘goals for 2015′ list. It’s an imaginary list at the moment, of course. I’m still at the musing stage.  How about you, what have you got planned?

Until next time, happy stitching (and drawing!),
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Roundwood Quay, Trelissick, Christmas Day 2014.  © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Christmas Day – a walk through the woods

I kind of lost it.  I’m so sorry to just disappear like that.  I don’t really know what happened or where I’ve been. Asleep mostly though, I think, or reflecting on where I was at last year.

I’ve been thinking of you a lot and hope you’ve been having a wonderful time with family and friends.  I hope you’ll accept my  belated best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. May all your dreams come true.

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Quilting rain drops

Sunday evening. So quiet all I could hear were the cows lowing in the sheds. No music, no radio, no traffic. Just the pull of thread through layers of blue cloth.

August Rain scrappy patchwork quilt being made, © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Working in the borders

The end of the hand quilting feels close now as I move into the second border. I’m hoping I don’t run out of the thread I started with. I know I’ll have to buy more online if I do and I don’t want to have to wait for it to arrive. But it’s what happens when you choose a ‘use u what you’ve got’ approach.  I’ve used three close shades of bluey/grey perle cotton, so it won’t matter if I have to use a different colour or different dye batch. But still, it’s the idea of having to wait that irks.  Which is odd, considering that time disappears as I quilt, there’s no feeling of rushing or wanting it to end.

August Rain quilt back © Stephanie Boon, 2014

The back with appliqué

August Rain applique back © Stephanie Boon 2014

Rainy flowers

It looks a bit puckered, I muse to myself; I’ll have to get the iron out. But it’s just the back, so I’m not too fussed really. It’ll be better next time if I carry on using a hoop. Or so I tell myself.  And the soft, wrinkly texture reminds me more of summer rain anyway.

August Rain patchwork quilt, border templates © Stephanie Boon 2014

My border templates

Summer rain has become winter rain without me really noticing. The rain drops on puddles are just as mesmerising.

Linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching with Kathy.
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Hi, I'm Stephie

I'm so glad you've alighted at my creative space! I'm an artist and pattern designer and if you're a quilter and love colour and stitching I hope you'll love it here too.

Be inspired, find helpful things, join the conversation! x

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