, ,

Walking’s Where It’s At

Oh boy, I had no idea it’s been so long since I posted! Quilting is still going on in these parts, but it’s taken a bit of a back seat for a while because I’ve decided to do some training in something a bit different…

Walking

Zennor Head on the South West Coast Path, Cornwall, June 2017. © Stephanie Boon, 2017, www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Sweeping coastal views on the north coast of Cornwall

Walking and exploring my local landscape has always been a source of enjoyment and inspiration, and has a clear benefit to my mental health. The health benefits of walking are always touted by medical professionals and health and fitness bloggers and it’s become a bit of a hackneyed cure-all.

I’ve had decades of trying to stave off chronic depression with varying success, but I can attest to the need to get outside and run or walk, whether it’s 2 miles or 22 miles, and gradually the positive benefits  affect my mood. When you’re in the depths of ill-health it can be really hard, like walking through treacle, but I’ve learnt I just have to push through it.

I had a bit of a blip a few months back and pushed myself through to the point, where today, I’m feeling better than I have for years!

A5 study of willow tree-tops in oil pastels. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Tree-tops. Willows.

I’ve been feeling creative again. And looking to the future. I’ve signed up to train as a walking group leader. It’s a nationally recognised award that qualifies you to safely take groups on guided walks in lowland Britain.  I’m full of ideas of how to put the training to use! Walking/drawing workshops for artists and textile artists, hiking and walking around glorious Cornwall, workshops in map reading and navigation (I’m not too bad, haha!) – you get the idea I’m sure.

View from Trencrom Hill, St Michael's Way, West Cornwall. Pastel drawing by © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

View from Trencrom Hill, St Michael’s Way, West Cornwall.

But training requires walking. Lots of walking. So, I’ve been out and about a lot and quilting has been confined to a few snatched hours here and there, progress has been slow and I felt I had nothing to show. And then there’s still the issue with the comments not working on this blog…

Quilting

Prosperity – hand quilting still in progress

This quilt, a wall quilt, is still in the hoop, although the centre section is now finished and I’m working on the border. A few more concentrated hours and it’ll be finished up.

Prosperity is a small hand quilted wall quilt by © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Hand quilting underway

Prosperity is a small hand quilted wall quilt by © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Close up of the hand quilting on Prosperity

I decided to work Prosperity with as small stitches as I could muster and I’m pretty pleased with my efforts, even if they are a bit uneven here and there. I’m looking forward to getting this one finished up because I’ve got all the things I need to be getting on with my sister’s quilt Fete now.

Fete – my sister’s 40th birthday patchwork top all finished up

© Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved Patchwork quilt top in progress

Fete – trying it out for size

The top’s all finished up and I squared it up just last week. I’ve begun the back, but still need to make a strip for the side because it’s not quite wide enough. Shouldn’t take long, just need a bit of inspiration! I made an appliqué title block last year, but it doesn’t work with the deep blue Kaffe Fassett backing fabric, and it’s probably a bit too big (have you seen the new Kaffe website, it’s so much more inspiring than it used to be). I’ll probably add the appliqué to a cushion or something…what would you do with it?

Patchwork fabrics.

Almost ready for a sandwich! – The bright Kaffe backing is in the centre

 

'Fete' applique in colourful fabrics for a patchwork quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Fete – feeling summery!

Exmoor Stars – slowly growing English paper piecing

English paper pieced patchwork stars. © Stephanie Boon, 2017 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Making stars

Exmoor Stars is my English paper pieced ‘background quilting project’. I do a little bit here and there, usually once a week when I’m out with my knitty friend for lunch.  It’s slowly growing, but I need to cut and baste more fabric before I can do anymore. At the moment I think I might give this one to my brother for his birthday in 2019 – so plenty of time to work on it. Well, I’ve got a quilt on the go for both my sisters, so it would seem fair to make him one too, haha!

My other sister’s 50th birthday quilt

I haven’t actually started this one yet, even though I’d intended to by now… her birthday’s next May and I want to get the top finished by October time really, to give myself enough time to quilt it. Better get on with it then! I’ve started a good collection of fabric though, which is getting me a bit excited.

I’m going with prints with a nature theme for this one – there are some really good ones around at the moment, and I’ve been lucky with a donation of the butterfly fabric by a friend who was having a clear out. As I’ve mentioned before I think, my sister suggested pastels for her quilt because she said she had ‘no idea what colour my walls will be by then’… since when do quilts have to go with walls?!?! Pastels shmastels, there are going to be a few brights in there, otherwise it won’t be a quilt made by me, ha!

Fabrics for patchwork

Pastels…ish!

That’s about it for me at the moment. My apologies to you all for not being around much lately, but I hope you’ll forgive me and welcome me back into the fold soon. I’ve still got a lot of walking to do, so will be out and about a lot, especially in this wonderful summer weather we’re having here in the UK.

Why not come and join me on Instagram, where I try and post more regularly (daily when I can)? I’ve opened 2 accounts now,  stephieb.dawnchorusstudio for quilting and a bit of home life and TenMileHike where I share photos just of my walks – hopefully you’ll enjoy at least one of them! And it would be a great place to chat, since I just haven’t had the time to sort out the comment form here…

Hope to see you there, and I’ll pop back to the blog sooner rather than later! I might even have a finished quilt to show before the end of July!

Love and best wishes

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

 

 

, ,

Slow Sunday Stitching – It’s On The List!

Making New Year Quilting Goals

Have you made any quilting goals for 2017? I read Kaja and Ann’s hopes and plans recently and I was inspired. Since then I’ve sat down and filled reams of notebook pages with goals, ideas and hopes for quilting, blogging and personal stuff (like exercise and reading). Making lists is pretty scary, I tend to over do it then berate myself for not completing anything.

Making plans for 2017 - list of quilting projects. www.dawnchorusstudio.com © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved

List making begins. I was surprised (and relieved) that my ‘tops in progress’ list is relatively small (There are 8 in total).

I can do without giving myself an ear-bashing so I’m sticking to ‘SMART’ goals this year, I’m sure you’ve heard of them? (I think I’ve gabbled on about them before.) Try this method if you didn’t tick everything off your 2016 list (ahem, no comment!).  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.  It’s basically a checklist to help you get things done.

SMART Stitching

Take a very simple example: one of my blogging goals is to link up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching every week. I’ve linked up as often as I could in 2016, but I want to make a bigger commitment because it’s a really inspiring marker in my week.

So I asked myself:

  1. Is this goal specific? Yes: tick.
  2. Is it measurable? i.e. can I track my progress? Yes, I just need to check my publishing dates. Another tick!
  3. Is it achievable? Probably… I worry that I’ll be posting the same old thing every week and bore the pants off you (as I’ve mentioned before). So I made myself a promise that even if I feel I don’t have anything interesting to share I’ll pop over to Kathy’s and see what you’ve been up to (I know that’s something I overlook). A tentative tick then?
  4. Is it realistic? This is the one I have endless problems with! My goals are realistic in and of themselves, but I have a tendency to try and achieve about a million of them in a week! So I’m going to qualify this question from now on: is it realistic and compatible with everything else I want to achieve? (I guess that’s asking myself to prioritise). This goal is high up on the priorities, so yes, it’s realistic…tick!
  5. Is it time-bound? i.e. how long am I going to give myself before acknowledging success or defeat? I reckon if I look back over a 6 month period I’ll get a reasonable picture of how regular my posts are, so yes, it’s time-bound. Woohoo! I’ll give myself the go-ahead then.

I often do the checklist in my head, but this time I’m writing it out next to my goals so that I get a really clear picture of what I’m trying to achieve. It’s working so far – I’ve already noticed I’ve tried to cram waaaay too much into January and had to make rather a lot of adjustments to my expectations!

Making plans for 2017 - pile of notebooks. www.dawnchorusstudio.com © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved

A very long to do list for January – it got a bit of a culling!

Follow up your goal setting with some goal tracking! My follow up post includes a tracking sheet for you to download and use.

Navel Gazing

Life’s thrown a lot of crap this way over the past couple of years and I feel like I’ve just been drifting along. I don’t really have anything concrete to look back on and say “well, despite all that you still achieved x, y and z”. I focus on the things I haven’t done instead, get worried and anxious that life’s racing by. So I’m curious to find out whether putting my thoughts in black and white will actually free up space in my head, so that when I sit quietly and stitch I know everything else is taken care of.

I always think there are so many high achievers out there (I mean people that get lots done) and I wonder how they do it, then I compare myself and question why I’m not one of them. I ask what is it that productive people do that I don’t. I ponder why I want to achieve more and question whether I’m really that unproductive, or just don’t acknowledge what I have done. This tick list is designed to give me the evidence. As long as I don’t lose it…

This time of year is all about the questions isn’t it?  So much navel gazing and not really any answers.  Do you indulge, or is it just me?

On The Edge in December

On that note I’m going to turn my attention to the last thing I actually achieved in December 2016!

On The Edge (Floating Squares) is on today’s to-do list. I’ve claimed the comfy chair in a cosy corner of the house and I’m going to tackle the knife edge binding and plan a hanging tube. Some quiet stitching to start the new year off the way I mean to go on: relaxed, calm and in control! (hahahaha!!!)

A cosy armchair for hand sewing. www.dawnchorusstudio.com © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved

My cosy corner set up for some Slow Sunday Stitching.

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching, but check out Kathy’s 2016 quilt review and her UFO list for 2017 too. What are your plans for this year – and how did you get on in 2016?

Happy New Year – and happy goal setting! (Don’t forget to download your goal tracker here.)

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

 

 

,

Rag Wreaths, A Festive Way To Use Your Scraps

My Band New Rag Wreath Tutorial Is Here!

Rag Wreath Tutorial

 

A festive handmade wreath made from torn and knotted fabric scraps, decorated with bow and bells. In a range of teal and blue colours. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

A scrappy festive wreath

One day in summer my friend Sally from Coast and Country Crafts came round with two bin bags full of fabric scraps. Sally travels the county meeting quilters and selling her lovely range of fabrics (as well as running the shop) and quilters donate scraps for swapping with others. The bags she gave me were full of left-overs. I had a quick rummage through and discovered there were plenty of strips that would be ideal to put towards a string quilt. Then we had to move home and the scraps were buried in boxes for a few months.

Waste Not Want Not

I got them out the other day and began to have a proper sort through, bagging them up by colour – there are some real gems in there! Most of the useful pieces are small squares and narrow strips, but there are quite a lot of strips that were too narrow for piecing. It was tempting to throw them out, but they must be useful for something.

Waste not want not I thought to myself and put them to one side. Then, when I was scrabbling around for ideas for Christmas presents, rag wreaths popped into my head. It seemed like the perfect way to use up the scraps and help reduce the world’s fabric mountain at the same time (granted it won’t make much of a dent, but every little helps!). I got excited and got to work on the first one.

Detail of a handmade rag wreath in teal colours. Showing a detail of some added decoration. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Jingle bells, jingle bells (yes they really do jingle)! Mixed blue, green and teal scraps.

Choosing Colours

I bought some 12″ wire wreath forms from a local florist and picked out lots of blue and green prints from the scraps. I wanted the overall colour to be Teal – a favourite of the recipient. Its not a colour I associate with Christmas but I had to put aside my doubts: the person I’m making it for loves it.  I needed a way to ‘lift’ it though and realised that something sparkly would do the trick. Enter 20cm of a forest green lurex fabric that sparkles when the light catches it (as I’ve mentioned before, it really isn’t good having a fabric shop 5 minutes down the road!) and a couple of shiny jingling bells. About as festive as it gets.

It’s a miracle I managed to get a second one finished too. Making the first one was tedious enough! I spent hours tying knots and shoving them hard against each other to get a full and fluffy effect. Obviously the final effect was worth it and I got to work on number two.

White and Frosty

This colour scheme was down to me. I love frosty mornings when the mist hangs low in the air, or temperature inversions where it seems to hover above the ground and I wanted to capture that. I went with whites and white on white prints, some naturals, soft pinks and blues and a touch of grey. Half way through I discovered I didn’t have enough – these things take a lot of scraps! Back to the fabric shop for some sparkly white. Still nowhere near enough, so I raided my stash of linen.

I’ve been given lots of linen clothes over the years and have a collection almost big enough to make a quilt. Not any more, out came the whites.  The beauty of linen is that it tears wonderfully for rag wreaths. You get that gorgeous frayed edge that adds enormously to the texture. I even found a couple of bits of embroidery Anglaise ribbon that I tied in.

 

Detail of a handmade rag wreath in teal colours. Showing a detail of some added decoration. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Version number two was meant to have a frosty feel in white, silver and grey. Brrr!

I worked this one a little differently from the first. Instead of tying in a continuous circle, I added the touches of colour all around the ring first and then went back and filled in the whites. I wanted little pockets of colour to add depth and interest. Some of the linens seemed to tie up very closely and it seemed a lot longer to make.

A festive handmade wreath made from torn and knotted fabric scraps, decorated with a linen bow. In a range of white and silver colours. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

A linen bow and a string of silver snowflakes hang from the bottom.

I was so pleased to finish it! I finished it off with a few strands of sparkly ribbon and a really sweet length of snowflakes. It still didn’t look quite right so I added the linen bow. Perfect, even if I do say so myself!

A festive handmade wreath made from torn and knotted fabric scraps, decorated with linen bow. In a range of white and silver colours. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

A range of soft greys, pinks and blues added to the mix of whites and naturals. Look at the edges of those linens!

I had a couple of people on Instagram ask me how I made it and I wondered if you’d be interested in a tutorial? It really is a fab way to use up your quilting scraps and I know some of you have been collecting selvedges, which would look amazing! I kind of wish I had some now… Oh well, onto wreath number three: creams and golds this time. Watch this space.

My Instagram Account Has Been Hacked…Again

Instagram has been the bane of my life recently. My account just keeps being hacked. All my personal info is changed, my login details, my password… I change them back only to find that they’ve changed again next time I try to log in. This time all my photos seem to have disappeared too. I could cry I really could.

I’ve had my fill of it these last couple of days so decided to take a break until I have the patience and headspace to tackle it.  I’m really sorry, I miss my IG friends – it’s such a friendly place and so much more fun than Facebook.  I’ll try and get it sorted over the next couple of days, so bear with me. It does mean that there are some gaps in some of the posts here though where I’ve embedded my IG photos. I hope I can get them back…

Tutorial or No Tutorial?

My Band New Rag Wreath Tutorial Is Here!

Rag Wreath Tutorial

Don’t forget to let me know what you think about the idea for a tutorial on using up scraps to make a wreath. And if you have any other ideas for ‘scrap management’ let us know in the comments! Someone uses them for compost (great idea) and of course there are rag rugs and garlands – what else can we come up with to help stop textile waste going to landfill? I bet you’ve got some fantastic ideas.

Back with some quilting next time – it’s been a bit slow around here lately!

Linking up with Kelly for NTT this week, where I’ve just had the shock of my life and seen my quilt top Fete as one of her featured quilts! Also happy to be sharing these finishes over at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday, woohoo! See you there!

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

 

 

, ,

As Luck Would Have It

Hello Slow Sunday Stitchers! I’m so excited Kathy’s brought us together again this weekend, because I’ve got something wonderful to show you. This week’s post is a little different from usual and starts earlier in the week with a wander into town on a very rainy day…

I Am A Queen

I wouldn’t call myself a ‘thrift store queen’ or ‘king of the charity shops’, far from it. These days charity shops don’t seem to sell anything that wasn’t once on the high street and generally speaking they’re not much different in price. This week though, I was most definitely Queen Bee! And I still can’t believe my luck.

I walked into a new store run by Cornwall Hospice Care that had opened that day. I was with Kim and the first thing we noticed were two quilts laid out on a couple of beds. A hand pieced, hand quilted Grandma’s Flower Garden was priced at £9.95 and the other one had no label. Kim really liked ‘the other one’ so we enquired about it. One of the store managers said it was also £9.95. I told him it was too cheap. He said “Why, it’s only a blanket.”

Absolute sacrilege! (And it showed on my face!)

Handmade patchwork quilt in blue and white. Hand quilted with feather wreaths. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 http://www.DawnChorusStudio.com

This is it!

I pointed out the hand quilting, the amazing feather design and how long it must have taken the quilter to make – it really was beautifully stitched. Hours, weeks, months, maybe even years worth of stitching.

Hand quilting - detail of a feather design on white fabric. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 http://www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Look at those tiny, beautiful stitches – I’m rather envious!

“£40 then, and you can come and work for us!” he joked. So I paid him the £10, put it in a big bag and told Kim to carry it – he’d declared it was going on his bed “until you finish my ocean waves one.” Ouch! (I can tell you now Kim, it won’t be as gloriously quilted as this one so make the most of it!)

Hand quilted patchwork quilt, detail. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 http://www.DawnChorusStudio.com

A showcase for some beautiful hand quilting and simple blocks (some fading on the blue print)

Sadly, we had to leave the Grandma’s Flower Garden behind: I just didn’t have any more money to spend. And I already felt incredibly guilty at paying the equivalent of four cups of coffee for such a wonderful piece of craftsmanship.

The One We Left Behind

Kim sees his dad everyday and he popped in on his way home from work as usual. The first thing he did was show off his new quilt, enthralling him with details of how it was made and how wonderful it looked on his bed (not as good as it would look on mine, haha!). Then he told him about the one we left behind:

Vintage Grandma's Flower Garden quilt on a bed in a shop display. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Wonderful symmetry

“Why didn’t you phone me?!” he declared. “I’d love it.” His girlfriend would be thrilled too, he said. He gave me £10 to see if I could pick up the next day. I’ll see if it’s still there… and not been re-priced at £40, I said to myself!

Grandma's Flower Garden vintage handmade quilt. Detail. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Detail

As luck would have it, it was still laid out on the bed and still priced at the paltry sum of £9.95. I took it to the counter. “You’ve still got that sheepish look on your face, haven’t you?!”, said the same manager. Yes, other charity shop queens look like cats that got the cream. Me, I just look sheepish. And I still feel guilty. After all, someone spent hours making something really beautiful that ended up ‘just a blanket’ in a charity shop. And then I breezed in and picked it up for a song.

Vintage 'Grandma's Flower Garden' handmade quilt over the back of a chair. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

It would look just as good as a throw

I hope our appreciation would make the quilter happy they’ve come to us. Neither quilt has a label, so we’ll probably never know who she is.

When I’m sat at my desk quilting a few more squares on On The Edge this evening I’ll be thinking about this incredibly talented quilter and just how I can improve on my own humungous stitches!

afdadas

Finding a spot among the mountains of cardboard packing boxes to take a few stitches (and a bureau I can’t bear to part with, now painted white – those bookcases are next for a fresh coat of paint!)

Slow Sunday Stitching is a great time to think about slowing down and planning a new hand quilting or hand piecing project. If you’re wondering what to do next and feel inspired by these quilts, have a look at my updated tutorial for making a hexie quilt, like the grandma’s flower garden one above. There’s a free pillow pattern there too.

Have a lovely Sunday everyone and enjoy some peaceful stitching.

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

, ,

A Clear Solution

It’s often said that little things please little minds. In my case I’m sad to say it’s 100% true! On Sunday I wrote that I was at a loss to know what to do with my many blunt needles, since the demise of the 35mm film canister. As ever, I put the question to the Slow Sunday Stitchers at the weekend and you came up with lots of suggestions:

  • most popular was the old prescription pill bottle,
  • then there was the sharps bin at the doctor’s surgery
  • or the inventive little plastic breath-mint box.

But the suggestion that really caught my attention was Colleen’s Mason jar solution. Mason jars are the ones with the metal lids and the separate ring screw-top (in the UK these are the original Kilner jar I believe). Colleen suggested you make some holes in the lid (you could use a bradawl) and drop your used needles inside until it was full enough to dispose of by taping up the holes and sending it off with the trash (which would take some considerable time!).

What I Did

Tiny Kilner jar with a homemade label, to store blunt pins and needles. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

On my weekly shopping trip today I popped into a kitchen shop and picked up a mini clip top Kilner jar (above); I’m a sucker for Kilner jars! No more blunt needles hanging around on my lamp base – or anywhere else they might fall. A cute jar needs some cute decoration. Yes it does!  A bit of repurposed ribbon and a white pin from a clothes label, plus a parcel label a friend gave me and Bob’s your uncle – that’s me happy for the rest of the day!  See, little things.

Thanks again to Colleen for the solution and the smiles. How would you decorate yours? Need some ideas? Look at this amazing Pinterest board One Million Ideas for Mason Jars!

I’m linking up with Lorna for this week’s Let’s Bee Social, see you there.

Happy stitching

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

 

, ,

Fete – A New Improv Triangle Quilt

I’ve wanted to make a quilt with improv triangles for a while and until now I couldn’t find a good enough excuse to make one, because I’ve got so many other works in progress. The excuse I’ve come up with is my sister’s 40th birthday in January 2017. It’s a good excuse, right?!  I mentioned her birthday a few weeks ago and asked for ideas, but nothing really grabbed my attention. Triangles had been percolating for a while though and when I saw this fabulous bunting in Truro recently it was like the proverbial light bulb coming on.

Mosaic image of bunting in Truro with a bright blue sky behind purple and orange tenants. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Bunting in Truro spring 2016

It’s so joyous and festive, just right for a birthday celebration. So the triangle quilt got it’s name before it even got started: ‘Fete’. It’ll be a lap quilt.

'Fete' a new patchwork quilt in progress. Improv triangles in pinks and reds prints on a grey print background. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Improv triangles

I decided to have a look at some improv triangle quilts to see what others have been up to; there are a lot of half square triangles out there aren’t there! Not what I had in mind. I had a look through a couple of my books for more ideas. I love Sujata Shah’s triangle quilt in Cultural Fushion Quilts, but I want a lot more movement in mine, not really just the tips of the triangles missing across fairly straight rows. A corner of one of Sherri Lynn Wood’s improv quilts that I saw in her book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters was nearer the mark. It’s definitely creating movement that interests me.

Sewing individual triangles together for an improv patchwork quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Sewing individual triangles

I started off by making the bottom row of small triangles, cutting each triangle individually to get different angles. I soon realised that sewing this way might take a while so decided to have a go at layering alternate light and dark squares and cutting out several triangles at once.

Sewing large individual triangles together for an improv patchwork quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Making some large triangles

The trouble with this method is that you get fairly uniform triangles and not much movement. It’s pretty easy to spot these particular triangles in the top row on the left of the block. I decided to finish the row with individually cut blocks to see what happens. Suddenly the movement came back. Maybe I’ll try a mix of the two methods for a bit of time saving – I’ve given myself to the end of May to get the top finished so that I’ve got 6 or 7 months to hand quilt it.

Detail of improv triangles for patchwork quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Detail

I plan to use as much scrap fabric as I can, it’s so much more eco friendly and I just love trying to make it work. In the detail picture above you can see where I’ve joined two pieces of grey fabric to get a piece large enough to fit. I think I’ll have to buy a fair bit of fabric though to cut some large triangles. Most of the pieces I’ve already got will result in small triangles like the ones in the bottom row and I definitely need more variation. I actually bought a quarter of one of Tula Pink’s Eden fabrics yesterday and nearly died at the till – almost £16 ($23) a metre. WTF?!?! (Excuse me!) I haven’t used it yet, but it’s going to look great for larger triangles.

Improv Triangle Tips

If you’re interested in having a go at improv triangles I’ve got a few tips that might help along the way:

  • If you’re cutting your triangles individually you’ll get a lot of different shaped bias edges that can easily stretch. The best way to overcome this is to sew them together slowly (make sure you don’t pull them through the machine and let the feed dogs do the work).
  • Don’t press your seams as you go along, instead just finger press them. I’m pressing my seams open wherever I can because it’ll be much easier to hand quilt that way.
  • Once you have a row of triangles stitched together spray the reverse side with starch and press (don’t iron!). Flip the row over, starch and press again. Pressing them just the once gives a lot less opportunity for stretching the edges and you’ll find your rows are less distorted and lie flat.
  • Stay stitch each finished row about 1/8 of an inch from the edge – again it’s all about stabilising the seam so that it can’t stretch. (Click on the 1st Improv Triangle image to enlarge it and see the stay stitching in a bit more detail. I used a grey thread.)
  • If you’re going to use large triangles I recommend stay stitching them individually too.

Have you got any tips for triangles you’d add? Let us know!

I’m linking up with Kaja and Ann for this month’s Ad Hoc Improv Quilters (AHIQ) and hope to see lots of inspiring quilts in progress.

Happy sewing until next time.

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

 

Get Celebrating with the DCS newsletter

Hello everyone, I hope you’re doing well?  I’m glad to say that the rotten flu I’ve had for two weeks is finally abating and I’m over the moon to be back! There’s so much of it around this year, I hope you haven’t been laid up too. ‘Tis truly a beastly affliction!  I thought I’d get back into the loop by sharing my latest newsletter with you, which went out earlier today.

Who doesn’t know that today is the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare?!  I’ve got a few fun links that should give you a smile this weekend.

Portrait of William Shakespeare

The Bard himself

And if you’re into all things British and have your Union Jacks out for The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, you’ll love some of the links to Union Jack quilting patterns I’ve put together for you.

Quilted Union Jack bag by Amy Smart

Bag designed by Amy Smart

There’s also some news about a change coming up on the blog next week…and a few details of what I’ve been up to with it so far.  I hope you’ll come and have a read online. You can sign up by leaving your email address in the box at the bottom of the page and next time it’ll drop into your inbox without you having to remember to do a thing.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some quilting progress, so until then have a great day!

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

Your weekend inspiration is here!

Messy desk - the small desk where I write the Dawn Chorus Studio newsletter. © Stephanie Boon, 2014. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

The very messy news desk…covered in, erm, thread!

News from Dawn Chorus Studio (issue 6) is online now with some inspiring reading to start your weekend! Get fired up with these links and articles:

  • Colour: an incredible pigment library, 17c colour-chart prints (I want one!) and a very enlivening read about a colourful artist and designer
  • Quilters: 3 quilters that have caught my eye – all very different, all very inspiring
  • Popular Posts on the blog this week
  • Blog News… and why I’m going to be posting a little less over the coming couple of weeks.

Sign up for the newsletter in the boxes at the bottom of the page and take the hassle out of looking for inspiration: let me do it for you!

See you tomorrow for Slow Sunday Stitching with Kathy, until then have a great day.

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

 

, ,

Homespun Charm

Bedroom in the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Museum, Arkansas. Shows hand made quilts on and iron bed. This photo of Johnny Cash House is courtesy of TripAdvisor

This photo of Johnny Cash Boyhood Home is courtesy of TripAdvisor

I was really moved by this photo of a bedroom in Johnny Cash’s boyhood home (now a museum in Arkansas) that I stumbled across earlier this week. The simple beauty of sunlight falling through the window on to the rose patterned rug made me long for warmth and maybe simpler times. I don’t mean ‘easier’ of course, I’m under no illusion that life on a 30’s farm in the middle of nowhere was easy; we all know that life was difficult and full of drudgery. I suppose what stuck a chord was really seeing the beauty in simple things, without the clutter of consumerism and the incessant noise of today’s lifestyles. Seeing farmland through the windows, the scrubbed, natural wood walls and floors, the humble furnishings, the useful but beautiful quilt – it made me feel that life’s so full of unnecessary stuff and that it’s so much easier to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings without it getting in the way. I started to wonder what I can do to make my home simpler, what (else) I can get rid of. (I tend not to keep lots of things, but I wouldn’t call my life minimal.) I thought about Deb’s Frugal Little Bungalow too.

It took a while for the penny to drop but I realised that the simple nine patch quilt I’m making is a kind of nod to that aesthetic: homespun charm in small space living. I’ve been diligently hand quilting this week and have made good progress. I hope you’re not bored of seeing this quilt by now?

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

Last week’s progress

I’m conscious that I show it virtually every Sunday. It’s my main focus at the moment and although I don’t want to rush it, I do want to see it finished sooner rather than later. That sounds like an oxymoron, but I mean I don’t want to rush the stitching, I just want to work on it more often than I have been so far, so that I can get it done. I’d love to notch it up as a finish by the end of April, but we shall see…

The week before last I was procrastinating over whether to quilt the sashing or leave it and get the quilt finished up quicker. You convinced me I should quilt it, and I’m so grateful you did – the more sashing I stitch the more I realise I’d be bitterly disappointed in myself if I hadn’t! Earlier in the week I managed to carve out some good blocks of time and got a fair amount done in a few sessions. My index finger’s full of holes as a result, but I’m so pleased with how it looks! You can easily see the difference between last week’s progress and this week’s (the colours in last week’s photo are much more accurate, the light was terrible this morning when I took the photos below) and the texture’s wonderful.

It’s a very warm quilt too, thanks to the 100% cotton wadding I think. I discovered this because my bedroom heater broke during the week – it was freezing in there (and still is)! Hot water bottles and several quilts on top of the thinning feather duvet made all the difference. In fact it’s so snuggly it’s been difficult to drag myself out and get dressed in the cold – I’m not as hardy as I used to be, if ever I was. Is it sacrilege to use an unfinished quilt? Bah, it’s filthy anyway and I really needed it to keep warm. I wonder how many of us say that these days – that we need a quilt for warmth rather than purely for it’s beauty or comfort, or even nostalgia? That’s the kind of thing I’ll no doubt be musing on when I do some more hand quilting in the sashing this evening.

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

This week’s progress

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

Detail of the sashing so far

Before I head off to link up with Kathy for this week’s Slow Sunday Stitching, I’m just going to drop another reminder about a post from last week – a chat with the passionate hand quilter Audrey from Quilty Folk. She shares her thoughts and ideas on how to make the most of our quilting time – and what makes her tick. Pop across and have a read, I’d hate you to miss it. I’ll be posting a follow up article later in the week, so I hope you’ll look out for that too.

Graphic: cHow to Make the Most of Your Quilting Time, with Audrey Easter. A conversation with Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Enjoy your slow stitching until next time!

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