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Slow Sunday Stitching Just Got Weird

I feel like I’m drowning under the weight of my unfinished quilt ‘Summer Blues’ at the moment.  I haven’t got much further with it this week, although the beginning of the week started well, and of course there were plenty of good intentions. Truth be told, I got very little sewing done at all this week.

Ocean Waves Quilt, Feb 2016 © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Summer Blues nine patch quilt

It’s Mother’s Day here in the UK today, so I decided I was completely justified in taking some time to myself to remedy the situation! Some slow Sunday stitching was just what I needed this afternoon. I got myself organised and sat down at my desk ready to begin stitching my third from last nine patch.  After a couple of rows I had an unnerving feeling I was being watched…

Hand quilting a patchwork quilt, © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

I’ve got my eye on you!

And I didn’t feel it was the friendliest of eyes watching over me either – it has quite a menace to it don’t you think?!  “You will finish this nine patch today, and the two others while you’re at it”, it seems to say.  Maybe that’s just my guilt speaking – I’m still not convinced I’ll get them all done as it’s already gone 9pm.

Cake

Last week I was slow stitching everything and I mentioned that I’d also been coerced into decorating Kim’s bedroom; I’m still at it a week later. These things happen – things you didn’t expect to have to deal when all you needed to do was put some paint on the walls. Minor things, like discovering soaking wet plaster and plenty of mould. That sort of thing. Then of course, there was the chocolate brownie baking (my favourite Nigella Lawson recipe). Then the second round of chocolate brownie baking earlier this evening, because the first lot got eaten before they were meant to be. They were meant for tomorrow: they were meant to be Kim’s Birthday Brownies!

Kim sitting in a cafe eating a muffin and drinking a caramel cream, March 2016. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.ciom

Still 17!

Tomorrow is the big day: Kim will be 18 – and if he carries on, he still won’t have any Birthday Brownies because he’ll have eaten those too!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful day’s slow stitching and look forward to catching up with you over at Kathy’s for Slow Sunday Stitching. Kathy’s working on her oldest UFO this weekend – and Summer Blues is my oldest UFO! There’s something about that connection that I like. A lot.

Before I head off to put in some more stitches, here’s a reminder about tomorrow: Don’t forget to join me for the second in the new series ‘How Long Does It Take To Make A Quilt?’ Ann from Fret Not Yourself has some great ways of making the most of her quilting time and I can’t wait to share them with you!

PS.  If you have a moment I’d be really grateful if you’d tick a few boxes in my social media poll in the left hand column – thank you!!

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

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas! A night time shot of Truro Cathedral lit up with a christmas tree and Christmas lights in the square. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.co.

Truro Cathedral 2015

I trust you’re all ready for the festivities over the next few days?  I hope a Merry Christmas will be had with family and friends, warmth and love.

We’re looking forward to a quiet day at home with Kim’s dad, a walk down to the sea or the woods at Trelissick (hope the weather’s kind), cuddles with the cats and no doubt an overdose on chocolate – for Kim at least! I’m looking forward to our traditional mince pies and mulled wine this evening – and probably tomorrow too. And of course, plenty of slow stitching.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a peaceful new year, with best wishes and lots of stitching for 2016.

Signature: Stephie
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Art Studio – Sunset in Pastel

Sunset Over Kea Downs

'Sunset from Kea Downs' Fine Art Drawing, Pastel on Paper © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Sunset Over Kea Downs

I packed up my pastels in a rucksack earlier this week, tucked a few sheets of A3 paper and a sturdy board under my arm and headed out for a walk. I wasn’t planning on going far, 6 miles or so.  I had no plan at all really, just the feeling that I wanted to find somewhere to draw. I left home later than I intended and it wasn’t long before sunset.

Walk

I headed out along Kea Downs which gives far reaching views towards the hill of Carn Brea, a local landmark with a memorial to the mine owning Basset family on top.

Field of Maize near Chacewater © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Footpath across a field of maize

I usually carry an Ordnance Survey map with me, even on local walks: I like to find new paths or tracks to explore and you never know what gem you’ll find next. I didn’t need the map for a familiar footpath across a field of maize, but when it’s grown taller than me I sometimes think I’ll be lost in it forever. The path goes down into the village of Chacewater and I headed out again on the other side through unfamiliar, stony bridle tracks, consulting the map every so often to check my progress.

At the top of one particularly steep bridleway there was a spectacular view over the valley. It was scarred with the usual abandoned mine workings and waste that haunt the landscape across Cornwall.

Close to sunset at Creegbrawse, nr Chacewater. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

View across the valley

By now it was close to sunset, the sun was hanging low in the sky and cast a pinkish glow over the landscape, but I still hadn’t seen anything in particular I wanted to draw.  I sat down beside a metal farm gate and watched a small herd of cattle as they came towards me to check me out, probably expecting to be fed.  I sat for a while watching them, rubbing their soft heads which they shook away like a horse shakes off a fly with its tail.

I decided to head back home down another unexplored track and gave up hope of finding anything inspiring. But back on Kea Downs road, after the sun had dipped below the horizon, the sky turned into an incredible spectacle of changing pinks and reds, sometimes washed with golds, all with a rich purply darkness for a backdrop. I decided I had nothing to lose.

I scrambled up on top of a high hedge covered in thorny brambles and started drawing the sky. The colours shifted and changed quickly until darkness fell.  I carried on drawing until I couldn’t tell whether I was picking up a grey or purple chalk any more, then packed up and trudged home.

'Sunset from Kea Downs' Fine Art Drawing, Pastel on Paper © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Sunset Over Kea Downs

Coldness had fallen with the dark.

If you enjoyed this, why not read about one of my collage pieces next?

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

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Inspiration in Norfolk

I’m on a mission: get this Norfolk Bricks lap quilt finished up by the end of the month, or else! (Or else feel like a dismal failure…)  I’ve said before that if I focus and quilt little and often it would only take a couple of weeks. Yes, well now I mean business and you’re allowed to hold me to account! There’s a queue of quilt tops beginning to build and this is not really allowed in my world.

dfgdg

Still stitching the bricks!

Inspiration has hit me of late and I’m desperate to move on and start quilting my recent improv quilt tops. I refuse to allow myself to start until I finish this one though.  Mind you, I’ve already convinced myself that sandwiching and basting the other tops doesn’t count as quilting, ha!

I often feel the last quarter of the year goes by very quickly and this year I really want to have a few finishes by the time I get there.  I have to concede that to do that I’m probably going to have to do something that’s anathema to me: write (and stick to) a schedule (it’s that bit in brackets I’m not so good at!).  It could be painful. Perhaps, I mused to myself earlier today, if I publish my schedule here on the blog I might actually feel more compelled to keep to it.  So, I have a plan: publish my September schedule tomorrow. Eeek!

If you have any scheduling tips for the non-schedually-minded quilter…
please share them in the comments below!

More Norfolk Bricks

Being back in Norfolk last week gave me another opportunity to look at the textures and patterns that inspired this quilt in the first place. I found the carrstone and flint bricks just exciting as I did last year. Inspiration for pattern and colour is almost everywhere.

Quilt inspiration: collage of brick wall photos taken in Norfolk, UK © StephanieBoon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

More Norfolk Bricks!

We went for longish walks every day (at least one of them was 14 miles), so many in fact that my mother suggested I’d be wearing Kim’s legs away!  Old Hunstanton, a pretty village in the warm reds and oranges I love, is probably only a couple of miles away.  We ambled there one evening and sat on a bench by the duckpond (below) to watch the sun set over the church and enjoy the colours of the pantile roofs intensifying as the light faded.

Old Hunstanton Duck Pond © Stephanie Boon, 2015

Old Hunstanton. A short walk from my Mum’s home

Over the week I spent a lot of time looking for inspiration in the textures and colours of the buildings around me and had another good opportunity nearby. A famous Norfolk landmark is also made of the local carrstone (autocorrect keeps changing ‘carrstone’ to ‘carrots’, haha!) and just happens to be in walking distance of where my sister lives:

Sandringham Church, Norfolk © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Sandringham Church (Sandringham Estate)

Sandringham Church is in the grounds of the Sandringham Estate, Norfolk home of the Queen and where some Princess or other was Christened recently!

Quilt inspiration: Collage of Sandringham Church details © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.co

Sandringham Church details

The church is a lovely building; it’s simple and rustic on the outside, but with some extraordinary decoration inside. But the inspiration for me is still in the texture and subtle variation of the colours of the stone.  I can see it seeping from my subconscious into many a future project.

For now though it’s all go with the Norfolk Bricks quilt. The clock is ticking!

Don’t forget to leave any scheduling tips below (hopefully I’m not the only one that could benefit!) and why not share what inspired your latest project too. I know at least one other quilter that’s got a bit of an obsession for walls!

Linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social and Lee for Work in Progress Wednesday and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation this week.

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Slow Stitching Sunday in Summer

Beside the Sea

Slow Stitching Sunday in the sunshine is a bit of a treat around here lately.  When you see the sun it’s wise to grab the opportunity or there may not be another one for weeks.

Slow Stitching Sunday - Janie by the sea knitting. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

A sunny slow stitching spot beside the sea

This is Mylor, a small village in an idyllic location tucked away near the more famous town of Falmouth.  I met Janie for our usual Slow Stitching Sunday lunch date in a bustling cafe that overlooks the marina. We sat outside under an umbrella swatting away wasps and watching boats come and go for an hour or so. Lunch was particularly delicious; summery delicious (simple Greek salad for me and a rosti and poached egg concoction for Janie).

When it was time to get out the sewing we decided to head for somewhere more peaceful.  Just a short walk along the coast we found the perfect spot and out came the picnic blanket.  We settled in for a while lying on our backs cloud-watching, like children. I’m not one for lying in the sun doing nothing for very long, so I lazily stitched some half square triangles for my Ocean Waves quilt. It seemed pretty apt, as we sat overlooking the sea.  I thought about how the memories of this afternoon will be stitched into this quilt, a kind of synchronicity.

Slow Stitching Sunday - boat in the harbour. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Love the name of this fishing boat!

I lived in Mylor for about 5 years and after Janie left I decided to take a favourite walk.  It goes along the coast and then heads back down towards the marina along a woodland track. I loved living there; I could literally step outside my front door and be on footpath in minutes, a world away from everything.

Slow Stitching Sunday - marshes on the Bissoe Cycle Trail. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

The ride home on Bissoe Bike Trail

When I got back to my bike it was beginning to cloud over. The ride home was 11 or 12 miles and I took a short stretch of it on a trail that wends its way through an old tin mining area. It’s marshy here and can look pretty barren and desolate in winter months, but today I was in love with the reds and greens of the landscape. All I could think about was capturing the colours and saving them in my mind, sealing them away for future inspiration. I have so many ideas for quilts, but not enough fabric – and I fear not enough slow stitching Sundays to get them all finished!

Where’s your favourite outdoor place to sew? Do you ever sew beside the sea?

PS If you’d like to have a go at hand piecing triangles like me have a look at my tutorial here.  It’s such a satisfying way to get some slow stitching done when you’re away from your sewing area that I barely leave home without some!

Linking up with Kathy for this week’s Slow Stitching Sunday and looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to since last week.

Happy stitching.

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Slow Stitching Sunday

In the Pub

Another grey Sunday afternoon.

Slow stitching at The Norway Inn, Cornwall, UK © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Red or white, anyone!

And the inconsistent summer weather might well drive me to drink…

Slow Stitching with friends, © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Meet Janie.

But not today!

Yes, it’s a grey Sunday, but that means it’s Slow Stitching Sunday with Kathy’s Quilts, which also means meeting up with my friend Janie for a pub lunch and show and tell session.  Janie brought along her knitting and was working on a sleeveless jumper for her imminent great nephew. She’s knitting it up in a lovely cotton yarn that she picked up at a charity shop.  I’m always envious of her thrifty finds: it’s not something I seem to be very good at.

Slow Stitching Ocean Waves

I brought along some half square triangles to hand piece for my Ocean Waves quilt.  It’s very relaxing to sit and chat while I’m hand stitching and know that by the time I get home I’ll have enough squares sewn together to make another few blocks. In fact it seems to be becoming a Sunday habit: I sit and do some slow stitching with Janie, ride home on my bike and finish up two or three more blocks on my hand cranked Singer, continuing with the slow stitching theme.

 

Slow stitching: hand sewing patchwork pinwheel blocks made from triangle scraps. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Pinwheel border perhaps?

I have about 30 blocks made now, but I think I’ll need either 48 or 55 for a double (queen) size, depending on whether I put a border on or not.  I’ve been making up small pinwheel blocks with the remnant triangle pieces I have. I think they might work well for an on-point border, but I’m still undecided.  Hopefully I’ll have the top finished by the end of the year but I’m in no rush.  I’m making this one for Kim when he leaves home – which doesn’t appear to be imminent, haha! (He says he might like to study at the local university in a couple of years time, so I could have some 5 years left yet.)

If you’re interested in using up old shirts for a project like this Ocean Waves one, check out how I repurpose a favourite shirt here.

Before I head off I was just wondering how far ahead you work on a project – do you prefer to work with or without deadlines? I wonder if it’s even possible to set a deadline on a hand sewn project, what do you think?

Linking up with Kathy for Slow Stitching Sunday and looking forward to seeing what everyone’s been up to this week.

Check Out My Favourite Link Parties

Favourite Link Parties graphic © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.  Until next time.

Happy stitching!

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Recipe for Slow Sunday Stitching

Cake, friends and hand quilting!

Today has been wonderful: I think I may have discovered the ultimate recipe for slow Sunday stitching: baking; meeting a friend for lunch and of course some hand quilting – accompanied by a slice of scrumptious lemon cake!

Baking a lemon syrup cake on slow stitching Sunday, © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Lemony cake in the making

I had a very relaxing morning today, on my own in the kitchen baking cakes and listening to Desert Island Discs on the radio.  (Today’s guest was Noel Gallagher and the first track he chose was Pretty Vacant by The Sex Pistols – and then he played Hand in Glove by the Smiths, I mean, could the start to the day get any better!!!)

Lemon cake and Norfolk Bricks quilt on slow Sunday stitching,© Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Teatime!

When the cakes were in the oven and Desert Island Discs was coming to a close I suddenly realised the time: I’m late. Again. I’d arranged to meet my friend Janie for our weekly catch up, so I packed up some hand stitching and rode to a favourite creekside pub for lunch.  Over a bowl of pasta, a cappuccino and good conversation I quilted a few more octagons on my Norfolk Bricks cushion and surprisingly it’s almost finished.  It’s quilted up much more quickly than I expected so I’m looking forward to having a finish to show you later in the week.

More Slow Sunday Stitching

After Janie left I dawdled around the creek for a while, listening to curlews and watching dogs swimming, and the gig club getting ready for a row. When I finally got home I walked through the kitchen door and remembered the cake! The smell was heavenly. The recipe is Nigella Lawson’s Perfect Lemon Syrup Loaf and it tastes divine. It’s simple, sticky and tangy (and even I can make it taste good) and I highly recommend it.

Kettle on, a slice of cake cut, feet up and I was ready to spend a couple of hours on another favourite slow Sunday stitching project: my very colourful lap quilt.  I’m pleased I changed my mind about outline quilting some of the motifs in the fabrics and decided to go with a regular grid instead.  I think it creates a much better visual rhythm than it had before.

Slow Sunday Stitching, hand quilting 'Norfolk Bricks', © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Slow Sunday Stitching on my lap quilt

But now I’m worried I’m going to run out of thread.  Is it just me, or do you often fall short too?  I thought I was being diligent when I ordered it this time round and thought 4 reels would be plenty.  Now I’m not so sure.  It’s at times like this that I wish I was better at maths!  How many reels of no 8 perle cotton would you generally use for a lap quilt that’s reasonably well quilted? Maybe 6 would have been better?

I decided not to fret about it and just carry on quilting – after all, that’s the beauty of a variegated thread: a change in dye lot won’t make much difference!

What’s your recipe for a perfect Slow Sunday Stitching?

I’m linking up with Kathy and look forward to seeing what’s been going on this week.  Until next time.

Happy stitching!

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English paper piecing – re-use those templates!

Hello hello!  Isn’t it a great feeling when a little hand pieced patchwork comes together? This octagon and square patchwork is all finished up and ready to turn into a juicy pillow – the second cushion in my Norfolk Bricks collection. Here are a few colourful pictures to brighten up your day:

Norfolk Bricks patchwork cushion top (English paper piecing) - © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

English paper pieced patchwork cushion top

 

Norfolk Bricks patchwork cushion top (English paper piecing) - © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Quilting thread at the ready!

This cushion project passed the time on countless journeys to visit my son in hospital over the last couple of months and last week, as the piecing came to an end, he was finally discharged!  I had a ridiculously sentimental thought that as I was putting the pieces of this patchwork together, he was being pieced back together too (ahem, who knew patchwork could be so profound!).  It’s been a gruelling couple of months and it’s such a relief and a pleasure to have him home at last.

The anxiety and disrupted routines have really taken the wind taken out of my sails though and I feel like I’ve lost my way – getting back on track is a struggle in itself. I know being stressed and anxious all the time doesn’t help my creativity (some people thrive on it, but not me) and being eternally exhausted brings a fog that feels like it’ll never lift. But a week after Kim’s discharge things are settling down and the fog is slowly clearing.  Over the next couple of weeks I hope to establish some routines to give me space to be creative again and reconnect with you all. Thank you so much for being there over the last few months, your kind and generous words have meant a lot.

Norfolk Bricks patchwork cushion top (English paper piecing) - © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Norfolk Bricks cushion covers

Before I head off today to write some ‘to do’ lists in a (probably futile) quest to help organise myself I wondered if you’ve ever tried this tip for re-using paper templates when you’re working on an English paper piecing project – I swear by it; anything to save time cutting out more templates (not to mention saving paper)!

Tip for re-using paper templates

Once you’ve removed your papers from a section of finished patchwork you’ll find they’ve become soft and creased and might be tempted to throw them away, but as long as they’re not torn you can use this magic trick to re-use them! Simply spray the paper with some spray starch and then iron them with a hot iron, eh voila! They’ll be as good as new!  Honestly, it’s that simple!

How to re-use patchwork papers (English paper piecing) - © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Starching templates

What top tip do you have for English paper piecing?

I’m really pleased to be linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social this week, so pop on over and check out what’s been going on (I love Lorna’s latest patchwork in solid Kona cottons – almost as colourful as my Norfolk Bricks!).

Until next time (which hopefully won’t be too long!), happy stitching 🙂

 

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Lost in Stitches

 

Slow Sunday

Sunday afternoon. There are a few minutes to spare before your friend arrives to take you out for a walk.  How do you spend them?

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Hand sewing a patchwork quilt. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Lost in stitches

Being a quilter, of course I picked up my latest English paper piecing project and set in the last few triangles to finish off the centre panel of the cushion I showed you recently.  It’s almost there now, almost at the end of its journey.  Which is really apt: I’ve been sewing this on my journey up to see Kim (my son) in hospital in Plymouth over the last 6 weeks and as I come to the end of the piecing journey Kim is coming towards the end of his inpatient stay.  He’s been doing so well lately it looks likely he’ll be home in a few more weeks.  So exciting!  The hospital has a gradual discharge policy, to help him settle back in at home while he continues with therapy, so he was home for the weekend. On Sunday afternoon he was visiting friends, so I grabbed the opportunity to catch up with one of mine.

Norfolk Bricks Octogan Cushion English Paper Piecing © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

On the final stages now

The morning’s rain began to clear while I waited for her to arrive. I sat in the kitchen in my favourite grandad chair under the open window, taking a few stitches, clearing my head as the clouds passed.  By the time we got to Cubert we were basking under warm blue skies.

Walk

© Stephanie Boon, Smuggler's Den near Cubert www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Smugglers’ Den

Before we headed off down a steep hill towards the sea we stopped for lunch at the Smugglers’ Den, a quintessential English pub, pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  I love this place; in winter the wood burners are lit and the low ceilings and low light make it a warm and cosy place to retreat with a good book, on a day like Sunday you can enjoy the fabulous views over the countryside.

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Footbath near Cubert www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Geraniums growing in the hedgerow

Inspiration was everywhere.  These beautiful geraniums growing wild in the hedgerow remind me of a saying my mum was always quoting as I was growing up: ‘blue and green should never be seen without a colour in-between’.  This photo proves her wrong entirely, haha!  And it goes to show that the best place for colour inspiration is the nature around you…not what your mother tells you at all!

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Footbath near Cubert www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Walking towards the sea

The footpaths crossed fields full of buttercups and flag irises, lazily drifting across the landscape towards the dunes.  Footpaths we hadn’t followed before.  Belinda and I agree that finding new places, new paths, close to home is as exciting and inspiring as finding them anywhere: we’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful place and have all this on our doorstep. But we didn’t quite make it down to the sea; we had to turn back so that I could get Kim ready in time to go back to Plymouth. No matter, it’s something to look forward to next time.

© Stephanie Boon, 2015 Footbath near Cubert www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Footpath

Back in the car again on the drive to Plymouth I have my slow stitching in my lap, and a lighter heart.

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