Improv Triangles, The 40th Birthday Quilt

Fete

‘Fete’ is my improv triangle quilt and people seem to love it, even my sister – the birthday girl! I decided to let her in on my progress because I lost so much quilting time over the summer, which means she’ll receive it late. I planned it in plenty of time, as you do, but life has a habit of getting in the way doesn’t it? I feel sad that it won’t be a surprise on the big day, but I hope it’ll be a memorable 40th birthday present all the same. And I’ve made fair progress this week despite the summer set backs.

I posted this picture of work in progress on Instagram about a week ago:

and this is how it looked the night before last:

Fete - a handmade improvised patchwork quilt in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK. All Rights Reserved Patchwork quilt in progress.© Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK. All Rights Reserved Patchwork quilt in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2016, All Rights Reserved. www.DawnChorusStudio

This picture shows the addition of two more rows at the top and the vertical triangles on the right hand side.

Hiding My Bulges

It doesn’t look like much more piecing has gone on, but each row can take about 4 hours, sometimes more – and it’s been one of those weeks! It takes longer to make a row if there are lots of small triangles to fit together, or I have to restitch the seams to make the top lie flat. Sometimes bulges appear a couple of rows below the one I’m working on, which come about due some over zealous pressing on the bias of the curves! (My can of starch is disappearing fast and stay stitching is my best friend.) They’re easy enough to sort out with a dart or a bit of unpicking, but it can be fiddly and time consuming. So, I’m pleased to have passed the half way stage this week, another small milestone ticked off.

Today’s Fete

It’s been raining cats and dogs all day so I’ve been getting on with some more piecing. All this colour has been a good way to shake off the blues.

Fete, a handmade improvised patchwork quilt in progress. Bright colours and shapes inspired by summer bunting. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Finishing up the row at the top

I made another row (the top one in the picture above), which is ready to shape and stitch to the one below. A few more hours at the sewing machine this evening will see the next row under way (hopefully!). And, I get to play with some new prints too…

Fabric Choice

I had to buy more fabric this week. I’m using as many scraps from my scrap baskets as I can but there seems to be a dearth of scraps in this colour range, and the bits I can find are only really big enough for the small triangles. The 5 prints I bought were by Lewis and Irene. I love their fabrics, but I don’t like making ‘matchy matchy’ quilts (it’s not fulfilling for me). Why did I buy them then?! Because my local shop doesn’t stock much else. I went to the new quilt shop I mentioned the other day (where I got to try out and buy a Hera Marker) hoping to pick up something a bit different, only to find it had shut up shop already. Gone in the blink of an eye. Such a shame.

Selection of Lewis and Irene quilting fabrics. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Lewis and Irene prints. I’m not sure the colour of the puppy dog one is perfect, but the dog is just like my sister’s little mutt so it’s perfect from that point of view!

Necessity is NOT the Mother of Invention!

I need to grow my stash again: I’ve worked it down to virtually nothing over the last 6 months. Paucity is the mother of invention when you’re improv quilting, but there comes a point when there’s nothing left to be inventive with and the acquisition of materials is the only way to get the job done. I was too impatient to order online and wait for a delivery so I took a wander down the road to my local fabric shop (oh the danger of living in town!). Lewis and Irene line the shelves, with a smattering of Makower for interest… Oh well, needs must!

Your Thoughts

Have you ever had to overcome the lack of something essential, like fabric?! I’d be really interested to what creative solution you came up with, over dyeing maybe? Or cutting up your spouse’s clothes?! Share your experience in the comments.

I’m linking up with Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday and Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social. You can find more of my favourite link parties listed on the page below:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy sewing!

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

17 replies
  1. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    This is looking fantastic, Stephie, and it has such a joyful feeling about it; well worth all that fiddling about. I never buy quilting cottons in actual shops but haven’t been buying online much at all this year – I find myself drawn more to the local charity shops at the moment. If hard-pressed I would not be beyond chopping up clothing!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Do you find you can still pick up a bargain or two in charity shops? They’re ridiculously over-priced here in Truro – £4 – £5 for a worn shirt from Tesco! They don’t cost much more than that new. Charity shops in Cambridge are cheaper, and you can imagine the wonderful quality of some of the stuff you pick up there. Shame I don’t get to visit more often!!! It made me laugh to think of you sneaking into a wardrobe to snaffle out some clothing…anything red, white or blue left in there at the mo?!?!

      Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi there Juliana, thanks for popping in. I’ve been really fortunate to receive scraps from good friends around the world and I’ve put many of them to good use too! I was given a couple of bags of scraps this summer and looking though I discovered there are lots of strips, which I think will make a really good string quilt. I’m looking forward to making another one. The last one I made called August Rain was made from lots of scraps given to me by my friend Christine. It’s a lovely way to remember your friends too – I was snuggled up under it last night! Have you ever swapped fabrics with friends?

      Reply
  2. Lynne Nicholson
    Lynne Nicholson says:

    Steph Fete is amazing. I love it. I’ve been growing my stash by buying fat quarters so I have some pure cotton. I also have lots of poly cotton fabric I salvaged from my daughter’s dresses, blouses, my sons shirts, my dresses and charity shop finds. Plus also from old clothes I have denim, corduroy (different colours and differing widths of the ridges), & velvet. There are also old duvet covers, sheets,curtains. So many boxes, so many fabrics. I also have some yardage I bought to make clothes in the 90s that I didn’t get round to making and some yardage I was given (manmade fibres) that I didn’t say no to though I may never get round to using it.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      I think that’s pretty much how I built my stash too Lynne – it’s just that I’ve managed to dwindle it down to virtually nothing. I’ve donated a few pieces to charity recently because I’ve had them for years and was really unlikely to use them. I don’t especially like poly-cotton because it tends to bobble with use, but I’ve got a lovely stash of pure linen that’s growing nicely. It’s mostly from clothes that friends have given me and they’re in lovely bright (but plain) colours. I think I might have enough to make a good size quilt soon, which is exciting. I guess another restriction on the size of your stash boils down to how much storage space you have!

      Reply
  3. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    Fete is looking a real treat! The vertical row of triangles top right is an inspired addition. Steph I have a huge stash of fabric, I tend to buy bright paste, or rich bright hues so a dearth of lights in my collection, however I quite often use the reverse side of fabrics when I need a pale colour. It works well and means I don’t have to think of buying any more fabrics.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Oooh Maureen that’s a fantastic and very resourceful idea! You get a lovely texture on the back of some prints too. One of the things I love about all the quilts you make is your exciting use of strong colours, you have a real talent for making them all work together and that’s a great way to add lights. I’ve used the back of a print or two in the past, just to tone them down a bit, but I’ve never really thought of it as a purposeful addition to my palette – thank you for that!

      Reply
  4. Amy
    Amy says:

    I am in absolute love with this quilt! I love the organic nature of it. I’ve never come across anything like. In terms of going ahead and making something similar, is it literally just a case of cutting triangles and making a row? Any top tips for me if I wanted to go ahead and make something similar?

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Amy, Im so glad you like it! I’m basically making it up as I go along. I make one row at a time, one triangle at a time. I cut the horizontal curves after I’ve pieced the row, but I do try to shape it as I piece it together so that I can get the size of the triangles right (otherwise I’d lose all the tops and all the points). I piece each triangle separately so that I can alter the angles and suggest movement. It’s time consuming and fiddly, but hopefully it’ll be worth it! If you have a go at something similar, make sure you let us know – good luck! Hope you’ll come back for a chat soon 🙂

      Reply
      • amysbuttonbox
        amysbuttonbox says:

        Ah, I wondered how you got the curves in the rows, I love how much movement there is in it! I have a 6 week old baby so I’m not sure when I’ll get round to making something like this but it’s definitely top of my list! Where do you buy your fabric from in truro? I have family in Greenbottom and only know about Truro Fabrics.

        Reply
        • Stephie
          Stephie says:

          Aw congratulations Amy, what a special Christmas you’re going to have! There are a few fabric shops I use: Truro Fabrics have mainly Lewis and Irene plus some Makower prints; Coast and Country Crafts in Perranarworthal (main road between Truro and Falmouth) is a dedicated quilt shop with lots of prints from Tilda, Lynette Anderson, Janet Clare, etc – Sally’s an old friend and I really recommend her shop!; and The Sewing Studio in the centre of Redruth. The only other dedicated quilt shop I know and they have a huge selection of Moda designers, Tilda, Amy Butler, etc. Definitely worth a look. Both of them sell online too 🙂 x

          Reply

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