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A gentle Journey In Circles and Slow Stitching

Grey, dreary and overcast. The weather matched my mood when I laid out my Plain Sewing circles  to see how far I’d got this month. It’s amazing what a little stitching a day does. I’m further along than I realised.

Patchwork quilt top, with circles and lots of hand stitching. Natural and blue colour palette. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved Plain Sewing, work in process

Plain Sewing progress (apologies for the terrible photo)

I haven’t done half the things I planned to do by this point in the new year, so it’s good to see some progress. There’ll be enough patches to make a block as big as the first one by the end of January and I’m happy with that. It’s a gentle, slow journey and it’s about the only one I can keep steadily moving at the moment.

Favourite Patches

I love the patches below. They capture the essence of what I’m trying to express: the simplicity of plain, no fuss sewing, the mending, patching and darning of every day life. A metaphor for stitching and mending ourselves, layer upon layer, time after time, year after year. Holding it all in place, as fragile as it might be. As fragile as I might be.

Patchwork quilt top, with circles and lots of hand stitching. Natural and blue colour palette. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved Plain Sewing, work in process

This patch is made from old clothes: a cotton shirt and linen trousers, and an old grey sheet. The soft linen thread I used to stitch the circle was given to me. I like the way things are circling around from person to person.

Patchwork quilt top, with circles and lots of hand stitching. Natural and blue colour palette. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved Plain Sewing, work in process

Simple stitches holding things in place, covering up the worn and the threadbare.

Patchwork quilt top, with circles and lots of hand stitching. Natural and blue colour palette. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved Plain Sewing, work in process

1793? I have no idea what that means. This little circle is from a linen table cloth I picked up in a charity shop years ago. I wonder if it marked an anniversary of some sort. I’ve always like it anyway.

Patchwork quilt top, with circles and lots of hand stitching. Natural and blue colour palette. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved Plain Sewing, work in process

More table linen. This strawberry patch (sadly, the pun was intended!) is the corner of a linen napkin. A friend gave it to me recently and it had belonged to her mother. Maybe she embroidered the strawberries, I’m not sure.  The personal connection feels important.

Patchwork quilt top, with circles and lots of hand stitching. Natural and blue colour palette. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved Plain Sewing, work in process

Reworked. This is a patch I made earlier in the month but there was a section I really wasn’t happy with. I decided to patch over it with the blue floral fabric. It’s gone from being a bit of an eyesore to one of my favourites. That’s the beauty of improv: you can do what you like.

 

I’m taking things one day at a time, one stitch at a time at the moment, but plan to be back very soon. Take care and thank you, lovely friends, for all your words of support and encouragement over the last few weeks. It means a lot x

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

 

 

 

 

Linking Up

With Ann and Kaja for this month’s AHIQ, improvising patches, thoughts, words and eventually a quilt top. And I’m going to say hi to the Let’s Bee Social crowd over at Lorna’s and meet up with Kelly and friends for Needle and Thread Thursday too. See you there.

 

20 replies
  1. Ann
    Ann says:

    As you know, I admire your patchwork so much. The darning stitches you sew add texture and levels of meaning.
    Thanks for linking another thoughtful post with AHIQ. I hope your life improves as spring arrives.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      AHIQ is such a pleasure Ann and I’m grateful to have something to aim towards each month. It was especially timely this January – achieving a quilting goal when things are difficult feels positive and encouraging.

      As you know last year’s Quilty365 started me off on this particular journey and I rather like the idea of your Chinese coins starting me off on another one this year. Count me in!

      I’m happy to say that I’ve got a few spring bulbs coming up in the garden pots already – some narcissi and mini irises. A splash of colour under grey skies is definitely something to look forward to. Have a lovely weekend Ann x

      Reply
  2. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    Hang in there Stephie! I thought you were getting quite a lot done from your instagram feed and it seems I was right. This block of circles is looking awesome. If you are only doing one creative thing, it seems good that it is this thoughtful, meaningful, beautiful work.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      You quite literally brought tears to my eyes Kaja, thank you so, so much for all your support and kind words. I really appreciate the things you say and the time you take to say them x

      Reply
  3. Bossymamma
    Bossymamma says:

    It feels as though you are gently healing yourself through your sewing, Stephie. I do hope so. Sending supportive hugs of friendship.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you Dina, I need all the hugs I can get at the moment! Someone recently reminded me to just take one day at a time – simple advice that I’m trying to take on board. I’ve been making a note of the things I’ve achieved at the end of each day, even the silly things like eating a meal (it’s the kind of thing that goes out the window when my mood’s low). The little things all add up, just like sewing a circle a day x

      Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Abigail 🙂 When I joined in with Quilty365 with Audrey at Quilty Folk I had no idea where I’d go with it. I’m eternally grateful for the inspiration Audrey and all the other quilters gave me. I’m just sorry I didn’t manage to keep up throughout the whole year, but I still followed along and there are some wonderful circle tops and quilts being finished up this month. Maybe I’ll have one by summer too! And you’re right, practicing something everyday could be applied to anything…must remember to get my walking shoes on every morning!! x

      Reply
  4. Lynne Nicholson
    Lynne Nicholson says:

    Oh how wonderful these are. It has given me an idea of what to do with my little scraps of Valorie Wells. I have already cut a bunch of little hexagons and papers from some. I have some bigger scraps that I’m going to cut some circles in various sizes and the remaining strings and crumbs I am going to improv as a kind of quilt as you go or just onto a backing fabric but I’m determined not to have more than a few threads to throw away.
    Thankyou for being an inspiration.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Aw, thanks Lynne! It’s exciting to try and use up every little scrap isn’t it – even if they end up on the back. Actually, when they do end up on the back I think it makes a more versatile quilt. Failing that, there’s always a cushion cover to think about! x

      Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Teje, so lovely that you came over to say hello! Thank you for your kind comment, I think it’s probably one of the most enjoyable quilts I’ve worked on in a while – it feels really indulgent for some reason. Probably because I’m making it ‘just because’ and going wherever it takes me 🙂 Have a great weekend x

      Reply
  5. Paula Budinger
    Paula Budinger says:

    Your circles quilt is the first one I’ve seen done improv style and I love it. All the others seem so rigid. And the patches are so peaceful. They are reminders of a lost art in this throwaway world. Like the socks we used to darn and the shiny black darning egg.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Oh Paula: darning!!! I’ve sort of emulated it in some of the patches but there’s nothing like darning a good sock. I love darning thick woolly socks, hand knitted ones, or big thick ‘fisherman’s socks’ especially. I have a vintage darning mushroom (and one that I bought new decades ago, so probably counts as vintage now!), it’s shiny and pitted with use. It’s funny how therapeutic mending is and how so many people just don’t get that.

      Reply

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