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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

 

 

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‘Scawswater Coins’ (A Local Version of Chinese Coins!)

Challenging Coins

A few weeks (months?!) back Ann and Kaja invited us to join them on an AHIQ patchwork challenge and I said I’d join in. The challenge was to make a quilt inspired by the traditional Chinese Coins design, simple horizontal strips separated by vertical sashing. I love the simplicity of the design and was curious as to how I could make it my own.

It’s been fascinating to see all your interpretations. Kaja added a pinwheel block to hers, which she describes on her blog today, and Ann’s already on her second version, working with a different palette. So many of you are all finished up and ready for the next challenge…I wish I could say the same.

I’ve made a good start, but I’m not rushing!

Colour In The Landscape

I was out and about drawing a fair bit when Ann and Kaja threw down the challenge and I kept returning to this particular view. It’s a place near home called Scawswater and I was fascinated with the landscape across the valley.

Across The Valley Scawswater 3 - pastel drawing. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. All Rights Reserved. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Across the valley – Scawswater, 1

The colours…

Across The Valley Scawswater 3 - pastel drawing. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. All Rights Reserved. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Across the valley – Scawswater, 2

The shapes…

Across The Valley Scawswater 3 - pastel drawing. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. All Rights Reserved. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Across the valley – Scawswater, 3

The light.

It seemed a natural step to take this fascination forward into the new patchwork project.

Patchwork Inspired By Drawings

The colours are important, but I was more interested in how I could capture the feeling of movement and shape in the landscape within the confines of a Chinese Coin design.

Chinese Coins is made up of essentially two simple shapes: a short rectangle (the coins) and a long rectangle (the sashing), so that’s where I set my parameters. I started off with a few small strip sets:

Patchwork colours inspired by pastel landscape drawings. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.co,

Beginning with some small strips

 

Patchwork colours inspired by pastel landscape drawings. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.co,

Inserting some small verticals.

 

Patchwork colours inspired by pastel landscape drawings. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.co,

And some bigger verticals!

Coins In The Landscape

Scawswater Coins - a patchwork quilt in progress inspired  by the traditional Chinese Coins design. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Thinking about sashing

Scawswater Coins - a patchwork quilt in progress inspired by the traditional Chinese Coins design. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Thinking about colour transition

 

Scawswater Coins - a patchwork quilt in progress inspired by the traditional Chinese Coins design. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Adding ‘sashing’ strips at an angle to create movement.

 

Scawswater Coins - a patchwork quilt in progress inspired by the traditional Chinese Coins design. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Playing with the strips

Scawswater Coins - a patchwork quilt in progress inspired by the traditional Chinese Coins design. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Love the orange strip!

I have no idea how this is going to progress, no picture in my head of how it should look when it’s finished, but I love the results so far. That might well have something to do with the fabulous orange colours though!

Talking of colour… I don’t plan on buying any fabric specifically for this top, so I may well come to a standstill when I run out of the colour palette I’m using. If I do, I’ll put it on the back burner until I accumulate some more. Or feel a bit rash and spend money I shouldn’t!

No Comment

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit awol recently (then again you may not). To be honest I’ve got a bit dispirited because I haven’t been able to sort out the broken comment form as yet. It doesn’t feel great talking to yourself all the time! And if I haven’t visited you for a while…I probably have, I’ve just not been very talkative!! I’ll try and overcome my frustration, but in the mean time come on over to Instagram where I pop in for a chat most days. Or drop me an email, I love to hear from you.

I’m linking up with Ann and Kaja today for AHIQ, see you there.

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

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Once Upon A Time… A Quilter Had A Plan

 

Star patchwork made with 6 point diamonds in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Star progress

The Plan

Once upon a time there was a quilter who had a plan, and the plan was a good one. She really enjoys English paper piecing so she decided to use her scraps to make a simple star quilt. A hand pieced quilt takes months to make, but that’s ok because that just becomes part of the plan. This quilt would be an ‘infill project’, something to work on for just a few hours a week.

Star patchwork made with 6 point diamonds in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

The last diamonds

Diamonds were cut and prepped and carefully put into a little case to take out with her to a weekly lunch date with a friend.  A quilt would take shape over a few months without her really noticing the time she spent on it. Multi-tasking at it’s best. Or so she thought.

The Best Laid Plans…

Do you have a tv? Lots of quilters enjoy a bit of hand sewing in the evenings, sat around the tv with their family. It’s probably the most sociable sort of sewing there is.

The quilter in question doesn’t have a tv but watches the odd film on her laptop instead. She usually sits alone, sewing along to whatever’s on Radio 4. But this week she discovered an old re-run of a tv series online: Prime Suspect. Do you remember it? Part nostalgia, part fascination: she was gripped.

She just grabbed whatever project was to hand to work on. So the star quilt grew. And grew. Until she ran out of scraps in the blue/green colour scheme she’d picked.

When she looked up, a few days later, she realised she didn’t have a ‘months’ long’ project anymore. Oh dear, that’s annoying.

Plain Sewing improv patchwork in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Plan B: Plain Sewing

Time for plan B: get on with the ‘Plain Sewing’ circle quilt instead.

Sorry

The comment form still isn’t working. Another plan that’s gone to pot! Drop me a line instead: email me.

Linking up with Judy for Design Wall Monday – and belatedly with Kathy for yesterday’s Slow Sunday Stitching.

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

Free Template And A New Tutorial

PS last week I published a  60 degree diamond template sheet  so that you can make your own star quilt. There are instructions here for sewing too).

I’d love it if you take a look at a new tutorial I published recently How To Hang A Quilt With A Hanging Sleeve. It’s how I made the hanging sleeve for my wall quilt On The Edge. Is there anything you’d add, any tips you’d like to share? Let me know!

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Starry Landscapes And My Instagram

Hello and happy Wednesday!

Comments

Sad news: the comments still aren’t working around here, so it feels a bit lonely and like I’m talking to myself (actually, that’s nothing new!). Lack of conversation is the reason I didn’t post last week, but feel free to drop me a line while I try and sort the problem out. I’d love to hear from you.

Let’s change the subject before I start ranting!

Moving On

Fete‘, my latest finished quilt top, is still waiting for me to buy the wadding so in the mean time I’ve been faffing about with an old idea. Remember these stars from 2016? I made them when I was away camping on Exmoor last August (read more here and see some of the inspiring scenery).

English Paper Piecing - Joining Stars with Diamonds © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com All Rights Reserved

Exmoor Stars version 1 from 2016

Exmoor Stars

The beginnings of this patchwork reminded me of a night time walk on the moor when there was an incredible moon, magnificent clear skies and twinkling stars. Trouble is, I decided I didn’t like the patchwork (above) after all.

I think it’s something to do with the size of the diamonds (7cm) – and too much of the ‘dirty pink’ print, so I tried again.

Making a star patchwork with English paper piecing. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. http://www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Exmoor Stars, version 2 with 5cm diamonds

I started fiddling about with it again recently and version 2 was born. This time I’m using 5cm diamonds.

Size Matters

Making a star patchwork with English paper piecing. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. http://www.dawnchorusstudio.com

2cm difference!

2cm makes a surprising difference, one that makes me much happier. The smaller size diamonds means I’ll have a bigger variety of scraps to use, although I’m going to stick to a fairly strict palette of blues/greenish-blues (bye bye dirty pink). Collecting enough blue scraps from other projects will take a while, but that’s not a problem because Exmoor Stars is a ‘Janie Day’ project!

‘A what project?’, you ask? ‘Janie Day’ is a weekly lunch date with an old friend, Janie. I hope that clears it up! We both bring along something to work on; Janie usually knits and I sew. Last year I worked on my Quilty365 circles, but this year I haven’t really got into a groove. Until Now.

English Paper Piecing For Lunch!

English Paper Piecing on the go sewing pouch. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

All ready to go

Everything I need for Exmoor Stars is all prepped, packed and ready to work on for a few months. I enjoyed getting a minimal kit together  – what do you have in yours? I have:

  • cheap thread snippers (don’t want to lose my favourite scissors)
  • a few dressmaker’s pin, sewing needles and a random quilting pin (sometimes handy for keeping things together)
  • tacking and sewing thread
  • basted diamonds
  • a few extra templates and cut diamonds – just in case I get really busy!

It all fits in a lightweight case that my friend Roz made for me, which is much easier to carry than plastic boxes – especially when you travel by bike as I do. This little case is smaller than some people’s wallets – and nowhere near as full, haha!

Free Templates

I experimented with a number of different size diamonds before I settled on the 5cm size and then I decided to draw up a ‘master sheet’ so that I could print off several at a time.

Drawing up an accurate template sheet takes a while, so I saved it as a pdf to share with you. Save the file or print off the sheet for a future project and photocopy or print as many sheets as you need.

If you’re new to Epp my tutorial for making 6 point stars will get you off to a good start!

Download

I Love Instagram!

Fancy a chat? I try and post to Instagram (IG) every day and at the moment it’s the best place to find me until I get the comments sorted here. It’s such a friendly place and I love it far more than Facebook, Twitter and all the rest – where do you like to hang out? If you’ve got an IG account drop me a line and I’ll come and find you!

Walking On IG

I’ve done enough walking to make my legs fall off recently, in an effort to gear myself up for some strenuous hiking on the Cornish coast path this summer. Cornwall has 296 miles of coastline and I’ve done about 80 or so as a continuous line so far. My Instagram account’s full of pictures of the fantastic landscape I live in and this week I’ve been sharing landscape drawings I’ve done when I’ve been out about too.

Across The Valley. Brightly coloured pastel drawing by © Stephanie Boon, 2017. All Rights Reserved. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Across The Valley – Monday’s drawing on a local walk. I shared pictures of the drawing as I was working on it, as well as the finished article.

The Saint Michael’s Way

Fridays or Saturdays are ‘long walk days’ but I’m cutting the miles down to about 13 this weekend, which means I can travel further afield. I’m heading to St Ives on the north coast to walk the St Michael’s Way (part of the Compostela de Santiago), which finishes on the south coast at the iconic St Michael’s Mount.

St Michael's Mount from The Scillonian ferry. www.dawnchorusstudio.com © Stephanie Boon, 2014

St Michael’s Mount from The Scillonian ferry, 2014

Make sure you check out my IG for pictures and drawings along the way – there are some spectacular views.  The forecast is for overcast weather with strong winds, so it should be clear enough but I hope I don’t lose my drawings along the way!

I’m linking up with Lorna for Let’s Be Social today, but before I head off don’t forget you can email me anytime, until I get the darn comment form sorted out!

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

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Plain Hand Sewing For Slow Sunday Stitching

Break Up

Well helloooo! It’s great to be back after such a long unforeseen (and unwelcome) break – I’ve missed you very much.

I buggered up the site. Well and truly broke it – you may have noticed. It was a simple enough job to reload a backup, but I couldn’t even log on to do it or leave a message to let you know. I had to wait for help from the host, but thankfully it’s all sorted now so we can get back to business as usual!

Work In Progress

I’ve been sharing pictures of work in progress over on Instagram in the interim, and if you follow me there you’ll know I finished my quilt top Fete. I’ve been sporadically working on Plain Sewing too, but I haven’t show any pictures because the changes aren’t that discernible. I thought I’d make an exception today.

Plain Sewing

Plain Sewing improv patchwork in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Enlarging the panel

It’s taking an age to piece this one together because I change my mind about the layout every five minutes. My latest innovations are the very contrasty string sections. I didn’t like the circles on their own because there didn’t seem to be any flow, but the strings change that and draw the eye around.

Plain Sewing improv patchwork in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

A string section

I love the particular strings in the picture above – it’s a triumph of make do and mend! The section’s small but includes pieces from a shirt, a pair of pyjamas, 2 pairs of linen trousers, a linen jacket, a tablecloth, a handkerchief, my childhood dress and gifted quilting cottons. I don’t think I bought any of the fabrics in this piece at all, which is gratifying. Trying to make all the disparate fabrics work well together is an art in itself.

Different Weights

It does have its disadvantages though. In this piece the different weight fabrics cause problems with surface bubbling, when weighty suit linens are stitched next to lightweight cottons, for example. But after all the practice I had getting my improv triangle quilt to lie flat I decided to make more of an effort with this piece too.

The bubbling didn’t bother me initially because I plan to do lots of close quilting and I thought it would add to the texture. Then I realised it would probably just look badly done! And we can’t have that, can we? No. So I’ve spent this week remedying that on the sections I’ve already made.

Remedies

Unpicking and restitching is obviously part of the repertoire, but even that’s not always enough. In some places I’ve equalised the weights of adjacent fabrics with iron on Vilene. It’s worked well, but there are other sections where that wasn’t the only problem.

Plain Sewing improv patchwork in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Iron on Vilene from the back

I’ve been piecing this in an organic way and unpicking it’s a nightmare in places – if I go down that route I might as well start again!

I came up with an alternative that involves rolling the seams on the right side to take out any excess fabric and then stitching them in place with little visible black stitches. I really like this approach because it adds to the utilitarian aesthetic – and it’s much more fun that unpicking!

Plain Sewing improv patchwork in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Rolling the seams and stitching them with black thread in an effort to make the piece flatter. (Centre vertical patch.)

Slow Sunday Stitching

The first panel is pretty much sorted now and I’m making sure the new ones are flat as I go along. I’m probably getting obsessive about it. I’ve managed to make a few new circles too, like the one below. This one was made from a linen napkin and I drew some threads out and had a play. I’ve got some more playful ideas up my sleeve and that’s what I’ll be stitching this afternoon.

Plain Sewing improv patchwork in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Drawn threads on a linen circle.

What will you be working on today?

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching, for the first time in an absolute age, coming?

Happy Sunday

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

Comments

Hi everyone! It’s been brought to my attention by Kaja that the comments aren’t working on the blog at the moment. I have no idea why so please bear with me while I try and sort it out. In the mean time, feel free to drop me an email if you’d like. Back soon.

The No Measuring Quilt Size Method For The Numerically Challenged

Deadline’s come and go, but self imposed ones seem to endlessly shift about. My quilt top ‘Fete’ is a case in point. It was meant to be finished last year (well, the whole quilt was meant to be finished), then I had to shift the date and planned to finish the patchwork by the end of January. So, yes, January’s come and gone too, but it is getting close to a finish and I hope to get it all done over the weekend.

I’ve been overwhelmed at the really positive response this quilt gets when I post progress pictures on Instagram; I think it must be my most popular quilt yet. A lot of you are curious about the technique I’m using, but I’m honestly just making it up as I go along!

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

That gap wasn’t meant to be there.

I posted this picture the other evening and I definitely didn’t plan that gap when I was piecing the row. These things happen, so I just filled it in – it looks good and purposeful I think! It definitely adds to the sense of movement and fits with the other deliberate short rows.

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

Fill that hole!

I never use a tape measure, a pattern, a ruler, a template, or a rotary cutter: it’s literally all done by eye. I make one triangle at a time, fitting it next to the previous one and the row below then take it to the machine to sew it together. Then it’s back to the floor I go to cut and fit the next one. It’s a fairly lengthy process, but I really enjoy myself and time just disappears.

Last night I started piecing at about 8pm and kept going until almost 3am – I just lost track of time. And in that time I finished a mere one and a half rows. I started piecing again this morning at 10:30am and finished again around 1pm I think. This little stint saw me finish up the final row to get the height (length) I wanted.

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

It’s 66.5″ tall

Kaja suggested a bigger lap quilt is more versatile, and Deb suggested a wonderful way of ensuring it’s a good length: the no measuring ‘lie on the sofa and make sure it covers your feet test’! I’m pleased to report a successful test this afternoon. But I think another 6 – 8″ on the 49″ width will make it even better.

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

Peekaboo! Deb’s no measuring technique suits the numerically challenged (i.e. me) down to the ground.

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

A few more inches to the width? (Blimey, someone needs to tidy up their bedroom!)

If I add a border and bring the width up to 55-57″ it will easily cover the top of a double (twin) bed. Not quite in the bed-size department, but the extra few inches means it could be used as a ‘coverlet’ as well as a throw/lap quilt. What do you think, good idea? Or leave well alone?  What would you do?

I’m linking up with Kelly for Needle and Thread Thursday today, I hope you’ll pop over and check out some of the awesome quilts she showcases each week.  See you back here soon – Sunday hopefully!

Happy stitching

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

 

 

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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.

 

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Losing Stitching Time To Sleep

Sunday. The one day of the week we deliberately slow down, put aside some time for slow stitching and quiet thoughts. It’s a lazy day for some, resting after a busy week, de-stressing.

My body de-stresses in the most inconvenient way possible and it takes no heed of my head and the things I want to get done. It sleeps for too long, 12 hour stretches or more. This might be ok if I could get to sleep by 10pm, but no, it’s more likely to be between 1 and 2 am. Invariably I wake up with a ‘dehydration headache’, and if not a fury then a deep irritation that I can’t shake off for the rest of the day. Losing an entire morning is, ironically, as stressful as the stress that makes me sleep in the first place.

I woke up at 1.30 this afternoon.

Time, life, slips by. Let it go. I’ll find it again in my Sunday stitches.

Plain Sewing Circles

Plain Sewing, a quilt top in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Making patches for Plain Sewing. A reverse patch with reverse fabric and a reverse circle for needle turn appliqué

Plain Sewing Collages

Making a collage from stitched book pages and fabric. (The book is a 1940s needlework book). © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

I’m working on a series of collage artworks alongside my Plain Sewing quilt top. Slow stitching is a big feature.

Making a collage from stitched book pages and fabric. (The book is a 1940s needlework book). © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

The collage progresses. The black fabric and the transparent fabric are scraps from a childhood dress and the linen on the right is from one of Kim’s dad’s old suits. The book pages are from an old 1940s needlework book my mum gave me.

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching today. Kathy’s started a new project this week, taking one slow, steady stitch a day every day for a year. A reminder perhaps that if you look back over a long enough journey you’ll find you’ve moved forward more than you think.

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

 

 

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A Jumper That Didn’t Cost The Earth

There are few things in this world that stop me stitching or making art, but every once in a while I decide to knit something. I haven’t made anything for a few years now because I have more hats, gloves and scarves than I need and knitting your own jumper is an expensive business. Knit anything in a decent natural yarn, especially with more than one colour, and you can easily spend £70.00.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think it’s worth it, it’s just that I can’t afford to do it on a regular basis. Having said that, I can count the jumpers I own on one hand and I made 4 of them. I still wear them all because hand-made takes a long time, and lasts a long time.

Make It Don’t Chuck It

No-one wants to chuck something away when they’ve invested hours of work in it, from quilting to knitting or growing your own. That glut of courgettes you had this year: landfill, compost or chutney? That jumper you made a couple of years ago, it’s getting a bit thin on the elbows: landfill, darn it or reuse the yarn? The quilt you spent years making, the binding’s a bit worn: landfill, or make a new binding?

When we invest our own time in something (rather than exploiting some poor, faceless person on the other side of the world) we take care of it. Obvious innit?

Make Someone’s Day

And if we have stuff we don’t know what to do with we can give it to charity. Like, if you had a load of yarn but you don’t know how to knit…landfill ? Or charity and make someone’s day?! Yeah, you know where this is going:

A hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Bargain knit

Someone Made My Day

I picked up some luscious Rowan Tweed yarn for a steal in a charity shop sometime before Christmas. As soon as I was out the door I shared photos on Instagram (which disappeared with all the others when my account was hacked), because I couldn’t believe my luck.

A hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Colour and texture… simple things make me happy (mostly!).

I had enough to make a short jumper and settled on a Marie Wallin pattern in a Rowan book I already had (another way to save money).

Self portrait in a hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

It’s cosy!

Self portrait in a hand-knit stripy jumper. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

It’s short, sweet and probably outdated, but it’ll do. And I don’t know what I’m looking at either!

There were 5 different colours of yarn in different quantities of 100g skeins: it was obviously going to be a stripy affair. I settled on random stripes, but knit up all the rib first and then divided what was left between each pattern piece.

This simple shape knit up pretty quickly in the big chunky yarn, so I decided to concentrate on knitting to the exclusion of everything else. I was pretty determined to get some wear out of it this winter. Didn’t think about how dated a 2008 pattern might look. (Does it? I don’t know/who cares.) Or what I’d wear it with… might have to make a skirt now. Or maybe a dress. Or Something.

Nuts and Bolts

  • 800g Rowan Pure Wool Chunky Tweed @ £15.00 the lot
  • Pattern ‘Kettlewell’, Marie Wallin in The British Sheep Breeds Collection (Rowan, 2008)
  • Pattern requires 600g (s). Used 650g (made sleeves 1″ or so longer, + extra for stripes)
  • Over: 150g-ish in pale pinky colour… damn, could have made it longer
  • Final cost £12.50 (I already had the pattern book and needles required).

And I’m happy. Which is good, considering. Anyone got any ideas for using up the rest of it?

What? You Came Here For Quilting?!

Ok, a short catch up. Plain Sewing, my ongoing daily patchwork ritual, is still on track. Pretty much. My Instagram friends have seen a few finished blocks that have a bit of hand sewing detail. Since then I’ve made some very simple blocks like the one below. The patchwork background on this one includes scraps from some old linen trousers and a cotton shirt. I love the texture and the soft drape it makes.

Plain Sewing. A patchwork quilt in progress, showing an appliqué circle on a patchwork background in muted neutral and blue. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Plain Sewing. Right and wrong side of the appliqué fabric.

I used the back of the floral fabric as another way to reveal something we usually take great pains to hide. Another way to reveal the ‘truth’ if you like, which is the drive for making this piece (more thoughts on that here).

What’s Wrong With The Back?

Why do we so blithely ignore the wrong side of printed fabric? It deserves more consideration I think. You never know what you might find, but some things to look out for include:

  • an interesting texture caused by the dye
  • a lighter colour
  • a softer pattern
  • a plain fabric
  • a change in the surface of the weave.

And it’s a good way to vary the stash without acquiring more fabric – great for the wallet and easy on the storage space. The only other quilter I know that does this as a matter of course is Maureen at Mystic Quilter. How about you, do you ever use the wrong side? Let us know below!

I’m linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social today. See you there.

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