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Hand Quilting – How Dense is Dense Enough?

Morning all. Doesn’t it feel good when you have something to share? After all the disruption at home I’m pleased to be working on more than just one project that I can share with you. It must get dull seeing slow progress on the same quilt week after week? I admit it bothers me, I don’t want to bore the pants off you! But that’s enough of my insecurities, let’s have a look at On The Edge instead.

I’m On The Edge Again

There’s a finish in sight on this quilt and I’m getting excited – I’ve got an empty place to hang it after all! I’ve been hand quilting overlapping squares to compliment the ‘floating squares’ score that inspired it and I’m pleased with the decision: it’s looking good!

Hand quilting detail of 'On The Edge' a quilt in progress by © Stephanie Boon, 2016. All Rights Reserved www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Hand quilting overlapping squares. I’m using two colours of Gutterman hand quilting thread, a blue and a red, picking up one or the other in a random fashion, a bit like sewing the squares themselves.

But I’m Not Too Dense!

I like my quilts to be fairly densely quilted compared to some modern quilts. It keeps the layers together better and holds up to more use and washing that way. On the other hand too much quilting makes the cloth stiff. It’s more of an issue with machine quilting, for me anyway. How densely quilted do you prefer your quilts? Do you find it’s a delicate balance getting it right?

I’m getting to a happy saturation point with this one now – you can see it better from the back in black and white. To some extent density of quilting is personal preference, but practicalities have to be considered too don’t you think?

The back of a hand quilted wall quilt, quilted in a series of overlapping squares. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 All Rights Reserved. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

The back of On The Edge showing the hand quilting design. Random size overlapping squares are in keeping with the patchwork.

I have less than about 1/5 of the quilting to finish then I’ll figure out the best way to make the knife edge binding and hanging sleeve – I predict disasters galore and plenty of swearing in my future!

Morning Rounds

Have you seen Maureen’s latest quilt in Tula Pink fabrics? I popped over this morning and was bowled over by the burst of colour on yet another grey, mizzly day here in Cornwall. It must be more than miserable for the people of New Zealand though, Maureen’s part of the world. Another Kiwi visit took me to Linda at Koka Quilts this morning. She’s talking about quilting designs too and her beautiful strip-pieced Trip Around The World looks really soft and inviting. There’s solace in sewing even in the most difficult of times. I hope Maureen and Linda find some today.

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

 

 

 

 

Linked up with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social this week.  Find the link to Lorna’s lovely site here:

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

Thinking About The Process Of Improv Patchwork

Hello there! Well, what a day. Momentous, whatever your perspective.  A billionaire reality tv host becomes president of the US. Some people in my social media feeds say they’re staying inside today, retreating from that reality! I’m happy to be inside: it’s been chilly here in the UK over the last few days and I’m finally beginning to feel at home in our new home.

We’re mostly unpacked and things have found their natural place, which means the sewing machine’s set up and the floor’s clear enough for some piecing.

Worrying About Time

Fete‘ is at the top of my list of piecing priorities and when it’s finished it’ll head straight to the top of my hand quilting list too. In short, I need to get my skates on because it’s a gift for my sister. Her 40th birthday is on the 2nd January and with all the unexpected setbacks, I’m seriously behind. Months behind. I don’t know if I can get it done by then but I’m going to focus all my energy on it – and keep my fingers crossed too!

Considering My Improv Process

I’ve managed to add another couple of rows over the last two days: it’s a slow process. The design is entirely improv and each triangle is individually cut (with scissors) and pieced to the next one. I work on it laid out on the kitchen floor so that I can see shape of the next piece and determine the curve. There’s a lot of backwards and forwarding to the sewing machine and I’ve found it’s much more productive to stand up to sew the pieces together.

Fete - an improv patchwork in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Fete…so far

Experimenting With Design And Technique

I’ve begun to add some new colours and prints to the rows. Initially I thought I’d graduate from one colour to another, but I’ve got something else up my sleeve that I want to try out. Tonight’s the night for experimenting. I love this part of the process, the ‘what if’ part. The decision making. This is the part where I become completely engrossed and lose track of time. And usually forget to eat.

Fete - an improv patchwork in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Introducing some new colours and prints into the mix. The purple is from Makower and there’s a new grey Lewis and Irene print called Bumbleberry – and a few others I can’t recall.

When I look more closely I realise the piecing is surprisingly intricate in places. It’s funny how that happens without you noticing. When you’re sewing it’s just a matter of figuring out how one piece will connect to the next. And how to get rid of ‘bubbles’ and any bias stretching along the way (there are a couple of small, barely noticeable darts to overcome this effect). A lot of the fabrics are from my scrap stash which aren’t necessarily cut along the grain; the curves would negate this anyway.

Fete - an improv patchwork in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Evoking the sky with raindrops and bird prints adds to the fun of this quilt

What’s Your Process Like?

Trying to articulate the process is difficult and amounts to a lot of rambling, it’s like an automatic writing session here today. The question though is does it encourage you to have a go at improv and experimentation, or does it put you off all together? What’s your thought process like when you give yourself licence to play with technique and composition? Or do you prefer to have some direction? Let us know below – rambling accepted!

I’m linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social today, come and see what the party’s about.

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

Is There An Alternative To The Hera Marker?

What Is A Hera Marker?

A Hera Marker is a small hand tool for marking quilting lines on a quilt top. The tool leaves a crease on the fabric rather than a line made with the usual pencil, pen or chalk. The crease is invisible when you stitch over it and doesn’t need any washing or fading to remove it. Most quilters are familiar with them, but not all of us have used them.

I was a Hera Marker virgin until quite recently and I owe my conversion to Kaja. This unassuming little tool didn’t look up to much, and quite frankly costs a fortune for a bit of resin (£6+/$7.3+). It’s looks pretty similar to the clay modelling tools I have and you can get a set of 10 of those for about the same price, in plastic or hardwood (you can buy them individually too). It seemed like the Hera Marker was just an overblown piece of marketing intended to rip off the unknowing quilter. Or the quilter that likes a gadget or two.

Jug of red plastic clay modelling tools. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 http://www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Can you see the similarity between one of these clay modelling tools and a Hera Marker?

Keeping It Simple

I like to keep things simple and I’m not overly bothered with all the gadgets available, but marking quilt designs with a pencil was getting a bit annoying. I kept forgetting to do it before I sandwiched up the quilt, which made it less accurate because it drags the fabric. Kaja mentioned she uses a Hera Marker after she’s made the sandwich so I thought it was worth a try. I grit my teeth and went to part with my pennies at a lovely new quilt shop in Truro, where the owner happily let me try the tool before I bought it (now that hasn’t happened before!).

I was pleased with the way the Hera Marker felt in the hand: you hold it like you’d hold a small knife, with your index finger resting along the top to apply pressure.  It has a nice weight, sits very comfortably and runs smoothly along a ruler too. I handed over my pennies and took it home for playtime.

The Hera Marker V The Clay Modelling Tool

I decided to run a test. I wondered if the especially cheap plastic modelling tools I bought for childrens’ workshops would do a similar job. The short answer is yes. Can you spot the difference between the lines I drew? No, of course you can’t: there isn’t one!

Comparing the marks made with a quilter's Hera Marker and a clay modelling tool. Lines drawn with either create the same marks. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 http://www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Spot the difference between the Hera Marker lines on the left and the clay modelling tool lines on the right…

The modelling tool performs just as well, and in this instance cost about 1/6th of the price. The main difference between them is the way the tool feels in the hand. The Hera Marker undoubtedly felt more comfortable, but a better quality modelling tool would feel just as good.

My initial suspicion of ‘overpricing for the quilting market’ seemed justified. I know £6 or £7 isn’t a lot for many people, but it does annoy me when I feel like we’re being hoodwinked and there’s a perfectly good alternative for well under a 1/6 of the price.

How It Performs

All that aside, I now have a Hera Marker so how does it work? I’ve been using it for marking squares on my On The Edge wall quilt:

Marking squares with a Hera Marker on a sandwiched quilt top. Image shows details of the crease lines created by the tool. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Marking squares with a Hera Marker on a sandwiched quilt top. You can see an ‘over run’ in the bottom left corner of the square.

The tool makes clear fine lines that stay crisp in the hoop for a good while. If you draw a line in the wrong place it’s easy enough to ‘rub out’ with your fingernail or a spritz of water. One of the most annoying things for me is the curve of the ‘blade’. When you’re trying to make lines of a specific length you have to draw over that length to take account of the curve. Initially I got around this by marking the beginning and ends of the line with a pencil dot.

Eventually I learnt to rotate the blade forward a bit as I got towards the end of the line I was marking. Then I used the pointed end of the blade to make a ‘full stop’ so that I didn’t need a pencil at all. Even so, I still over run.

The Hera marks are visible enough to see under a plastic quilting rule so you can get a good 90° angle if you’re trying to draw a square or rectangle, for example. It’s very easy to run the Hera Marker along a ruler, whether it’s straight or curved. I don’t think it’s suitable for drawing small free-hand shapes, because it’s not really designed to be held like a pencil (especially with the large curved blade). There is, however, another Hera Marker available (not easy to find locally) marketed as a Hera Appliqué and Sewing Marker. It has a smaller blade and a pointed end for more detailed drawing. Needless to say it’ll cost you another 6 or 7 pounds!

Just as Kaja said, it really is very easy and accurate to mark your quilt after you’ve made your initial quilt sandwich. You need to mark your lines on a hard, level surface for the best results. Make sure you use a piece of card or a cutting mat underneath, especially if you’re as gung-ho as I am. Even when you’re marking through 3 layers you’ll easily make indentations in your table, as I found out!

My Conclusion?

It’s a handy tool to have, especially if you like to mark your quilts after you’ve made the sandwich, but no more handy than a cheap clay modelling tool!

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Light weight
  • Good, crisp lines
  • Easy to get rid of unwanted lines
  • Nothing to wash out once you’ve finished
  • The marks are visible for a good while

Cons

  • Price
  • Not good for free-hand drawing
  • Curve of blade is too big for some applications
  • Did I mention the price? I’ll say it again: price!

Do you use a Hera Marker too? Share your tips and experiences in the comments – would you recommend one to a newbie? Thanks for joining in!

I’m linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social today, I hope you’ll pop over and take a look. As an aside, Ive just updated my link party page (Let’s Bee Social is listed of course!), hop on over and let me know what you think – are there any link parties I should add?

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy your stitching.

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

 

 

 

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Finding A New Sewing Space

Stitching has Resumed!

I managed a few hours hand quilting during the evenings this week, which has been bliss. And I’ve found the perfect place to sit and sew in our new home.

We have a larger kitchen/dining room than we previously had. There’s more wall space for sure and much more storage. There are alcoves fitted with shelves either side of what was once a fireplace. It’s not taken me long to fill them up with quilting books and baskets of fabric!

Moving into a new home. The dining area is covered in boxes still to be sorted. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

So much sorting out to do in the kitchen/dining room/sewing room! It’s still a complete mess.

Best of all is the space I have for a large farmhouse table to sit and quilt at – it was languishing in the shed for years back at the old place. I had to make do with a much smaller one, which was always covered in detritus for lack of storage. And now, oddly enough, I can’t get the smaller one into the house! The large table has detachable legs, the small one doesn’t and the front door is very narrow (it’s a Victorian terraced house). The door opens onto a long hallway and there’s no turning space. There’s no rear entrance either so the small table’s gone to a new home: Kim’s dad’s shed! It’s the big old table for me. Serendipity.

Good Company

I found my quilt On The Edge (Floating Squares) shoved into a carrier bag the other day, along with some reels of thread and a needle or two. I cleared the table of boxes and sat down to take a few stitches. It was dark outside and I felt so at home, cosy, warm, content. Then something surprising happened: Kim pulled up a chair and kept me company for the entire evening. I have no idea when this last happened. He usually holes himself up in his room and I only see him when he comes out to raid the fridge. It really was special; the kind of thing everyone hopes for with their children, time to sit and chat, time to sit in peace and quiet, just be. Together. And I got lots of stitching done.

Quantity not Quality

I’m a bit concerned I’ve got this the wrong way round on this quilt. I know I said I was going to forgive myself, but I caught sight of the big stitch quilting on my Norfolk Bricks lap quilt, when I was finding a new home for it, and couldn’t help compare the two. The stitching on Norfolk bricks looks pretty even and regular (I was impressed!), On The Edge doesn’t. At all! But it’s getting done and I think I have the perfect place to hang it: above the farmhouse table.

Moving into a new home. Trying out a red and blue patchwork wall hanging on the wall above the farmhouse table. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Trying out On The Edge on the wall. (And wondering when I’ll have the time to refinish the table, fit more shelves in the alcove, change the paintwork from an insipid pale pink to white, glue another chair back together that Kim broke some time ago, and oh I don’t know…find homes for the rest of the stuff lying about!)

Knife Edge

The blue border won’t feature on the finished quilt, it’s there for a knife edge binding. This quilt was designed as a wall hanging and I want it to have the borderless quality of a painting. It’s the first time I’ve made a knife edge binding on a quilt this size so it’ll be a good learning experience. It’s also the first time I’ve made a quilt this size exclusively for hanging, so I’ve got to consider the best way to do this too. I was thinking about a tube for a rod at the top and possibly one at the bottom to give it some weight. Before I decide on anything though, I thought I’d ask which method you’d use and which methods you’ve tried and had the most success with. Let me know in the comments, I’d love your advice.

I’m getting ahead of myself though: first off I’ve got to finish the quilting! It’s on the agenda for today’s Slow Sunday Stitching with Kathy over at Kathy’s Quilts. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in, and I’m hopeful for some more company along the way.

Enjoy your slow stitching today.

I’m looking forward to popping over to your place to say hello and see what you’ve been up to, but there’s still no broadband here so my online time will be a bit ad hoc for another week or so. Will definitely see you soon!

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

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We’re in!

Time to Stitch Myself a New Home

Last night was the first night we slept in our new home! And this morning was the first time in 13 years I woke up to gas fired central heating warming the bathroom – in the bathroom people, omg that stuff is awesome! No more seeing your breath and freezing to death, oh the luxury!

Who’s the Fittest?

Moving home over two days took 3 Luton van journeys and a lot of hard work (exhausted isn’t a tired enough word). That furniture I feel so sentimental about…it weighs a ton. It’s also been 13 years since I ran a handmade furniture and kitchen business, when I was used to loading the stuff onto vans and manhandling it up and down stairs every day. Perhaps it’s time to admit I’m no spring chicken anymore. Er no, I think not: my 18 year old son made me realise just how fit I am, and how desperately unfit he (and his father) are. The pair of them were shattered after just a couple of hours shifting, his dad falling over everything, Kim looking like a ghost. I’m exhausted because I was running around like a loony to make up for the time they were losing, ha!  Needless to say, it’s almost midday and Kim’s still under his duvet dead to the world. I expect his dad will sleep for the next month.

Resting in an old pub near Truro. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Taking a mid-move break at a local pub with a large enough car park for the van!

 

Now the Fun Begins

Well, that’s if you consider fighting your way through a jungle of cardboard boxes fun. Which I really don’t. I’ve been looking at piles of them for months and can’t wait to see the back of them. Deciding where everything will go is just as much a headache as moving it all in the first place. Priority will, of course, be finding my quilting and art materials. And somewhere to sit – our sofa wouldn’t go through the front door so that may be more of an issue than you’d think!

On the Edge (Floating Squares) patchwork quilt being hand quilted. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Little quilt, little quilt, where are you?! This small quilt needs finishing up asap – it has a wall space waiting for it. First off I need to find it!

Today’s Slow Sunday Stitching will consist of slowly trying to find my sewing stuff! There probably won’t be much actual sewing going on for a few days or so, but I wanted to let all my lovely Slow Sunday Stitching friends know that things are finally coming right and to thank you all so much for your support and encouragement over the last few difficult months. You lot, you’re the best! x

PS Apologies for the late replies to your lovely comments, still no broadband at home yet!

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

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Looking For Peace With Every Stitch

This Quilting Life

My quilting life has almost come to a standstill over the last couple of months. There’s no floor space to work on my piecing and my sewing machine is buried under mountains of stuff to be sorted. But over the last few weeks I’ve managed to carve out a little space for hand quilting, something to calm me between all the packing and panicking. I sit at a small white bureau, laptop in front of me playing a film or some random tv program, thread and scissors to the side. I try and stitch away my worries and low mood.

Moving home and quilting : cardboard boxes piled high against the wall, bookcases and desks stacked out of use and a small bureau used as a place to quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

I’m getting a bit sick of this view now! But I’ve almost finished painting all the furniture you see white (with the exception of the grandad chair which is staying as it is!)

on-the-edge-detail-sept-16

I haven’t got a lot done, but I’ve promised myself to try and quilt at least one square a day on this quilt On The Edge (inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood’s score Floating Squares), even if it’s just a 1.5″ square. It’s quite a small quilt, intended as a wall hanging, so even a tiny amount of hand quilting makes a visible difference. The squares I’m quilting don’t follow the squares and rectangles of the patchwork, but are overlaid on top. They criss-cross each other, linking one square to the next, creating another layer of floating squares. I reckon I’ve quilted just over half the area of the top so far.

You get a better idea of how the quilting design works by looking at the back:

The back of a hand quilted quilt, showing the stitch design of overplayed squares on a plain blue background. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Floating squares on the back – and some wobbly lines.

My stitches are all over the place. A consistent size one day, a different size the next. I’m forgiving myself: I’m mentally and physically exhausted. This has become therapy. I think all us hand quilters find the process therapeutic, but I’m switching off and not striving for anything other than peace. It works, even for a few minutes a day.

Handmade quilt hanging over the back of a chair at a writing bureau. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusSTudio.com

A calm space to quilt amongst the chaos

I’m on tenterhooks waiting for news of a possible place to call home. References have to be got, money has to be found for fees, deposit and rent. And we’re meant to be out of this house by Sunday 9th October. That’s this weekend. It’s not going to happen and all the uncertainty is unbearable. I’m grateful that every small stitch I make is a move forward, helping to build a new picture. It’s a picture I look forward to hanging on a wall. Pride of place. A reminder that quilting can carry us through even the roughest of times.

I’d love to hear how quilting has helped you through a difficult time, share your story in the comments below.

I’m linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social today – and look forward to being social!

Keep on stitching

 

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

Addendum!

I’m really pleased to say we’ve finally secured a new home…at the 11th hour! We found out yesterday, the 5th, and are meant to be out of our current home on the 9th – a close call indeed. I’m not sure exactly when we’ll be moving (we can’t pick up the keys to the new home until the 10th), but I’d really like to thank everyone for all the best wishes you’ve sent and for reading about my concerns, doubts and anxieties over the last couple of months. Friends indeed – and it could just be all your finger crossing that helped! Thank you once again, I really don’t think I could have got through this period without the support of you all. Love Stephie x

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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 New Quilt Journey

Pondering

Back in July I finished Summer Blues A Quilt 7 Years In The Making. It was the end of a long and significant personal journey. When I started the quilt it marked a new start in my life: the end of a relationship, a new home and hope for the future. It feels wonderful to have it on my bed and remind myself how far I’ve come. But now I have to move home again (as I’m sure many of you know).

© Stephanie Boon, 2016 Cornwall UK All Rights Reserved Summer Blues hand made quilt http://wwwDawnChorusStudio.com

Summer Blues. Turned back to show the Phillip Jacobs backing fabric

It struck me the other day that this quilt was started and finished in pretty much the same time that we’ve been living here (8 years). When I was reflecting on the quilt-making journey I said it marked the end of an era, another new beginning full of hope for the next 7 years. I had no idea how prophetic those words would be! This quilt has come to represent a complete period of my life, from start to finish, and this quilt will take the good memories with me into the next one. Wherever that may be.

No Solution

I went to look at a property yesterday that we thought would be a temporary solution to our current predicament, but it wasn’t suitable at all (only 1 bedroom for a start). So we’re back to square one with the clock ticking and only two weeks left to find a new home. I don’t believe it’s going to happen, which, for someone with chronic depression, doesn’t bode well. I’m trying to quell the feelings of panic with the idea of beginning a new quilt.

If we find somewhere it would be a great opportunity to mark another new beginning in fabric and thread. I’ve got plenty of things on the go already of course, who hasn’t, but they’re definitely rooted here. Something completely new might help me to look at the positives of a move I was forced to make, rather than dwell on all the difficulties and heartache it’s presented. I’d like to make an improv bed quilt, something made from a more creative place perhaps. It all feels very amorphous at the moment.

Improv Quilting

It’s been difficult to do much stitching lately, but I plan to show you some more progress on my improv quilt ‘On The Edge‘ tomorrow. It’s Ann and Kaja’s monthly Ad Hoc Improv link up, so make sure you pop by to say hi and see what everyone’s been up to over the last month.

The other improv quilt I’m working on, Fete, is still on the design wall (aka easel).  I like to work on the floor and the floor’s currently buried under piles of boxes, so progress on this quilt has been more in the mind than on the the quilt! It’s a bit worrying to be honest, since there’s a deadline at the end of December – and how fast is that creeping up on us?! I’m barely a third of the way through making the top, let alone hand quilting it. I must resolve to make some floor space and do a bit more before we move. This quilt is on a journey I can’t afford to stop just yet…unless my sister wants it for her 50th birthday instead of her 40th!

Patchwork quilt in progress, displayed on a design board (easel). © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Fete on the design wall (easel!). The dresser’s all packed up and moved somewhere else, the table’s covered in more than just the cat and the floor’s barely visible, but this improv quilt is still up and taunting me!

Friends

Fabric and thread takes us on so many journeys. I’m overwhelmed with all the kind thoughts and good wishes you sent on my last post, and the journey that brought us together is one I really cherish. Thank you so much for being there and listening to my woes!

Back tomorrow (assuming there are no more crises in the mean time!), until then happy stitching every one!

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

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The Lost Quilter

Craving Simplicity

There’s no denying life’s been hard of late. I just want to rest. Rest everything, from my mind to what I see, to what I do and what I feel. I want everything to be white.

Quilty365 - circle patchwork, circle 81 © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Quilty 365, March 2016

It’s funny, a few months ago I was engaged in psychotherapy and I recalled a dream I’d had. I don’t usually remember them at all. But this one comes back to me now. I described going into a shed, a brick outhouse like the one attached to this house. I opened the door and was so angry because someone had filled it from floor to ceiling with stuff. I couldn’t get in and I couldn’t find anything. There was no order just a kind of chaos of broken furniture pieces haphazardly piled on top of each other. But everything was white. I took it all out so that the space was empty and the walls and floor were clear and white again. Light. I put a few things back, my things, slowly and deliberately. It was a small space. Very small, but with a window. I may have locked the door and stayed on the inside.

White Space

I couldn’t make head nor tail of the dream at the time. The therapist asked me what white spaces came to mind. Hospitals. Empty galleries. Prison cells. Institutions. Curious, he thought. He perhaps expected me to describe a calm, minimalist space. Peaceful. Now though, I wonder if the spaces I described are somewhere to retreat to. Empty. No distractions. Not places to think and contemplate in, but places to let go of everything. To be empty. To be cared for. To start again.

I’m starting again. Precariously. Moving home to somewhere I’ve not yet seen, somewhere considerably smaller with no garden: I’ve always had a garden. Two up, two down. Each of the last 4 homes I’ve had have been progressively smaller and this next one feels like a shoebox. I feel squeezed. Squeezed out. Where will my sewing machine go?

Fitting A Quart Into A Pint Pot

The homes have become smaller, but the amount of stuff has stayed the same. I’m deeply worried none of it will fit in. It’s furniture I’m sentimentally attached to. A bookcase Kim’s dad made for my birthday one year. A full height armoire we designed and made for a home we had. A writing bureau, a dresser, dining tables, more bookcases and bedside cabinets…another chair he gave me. All things we designed and made together when we ran a handmade furniture company, and lived in a reasonably large Georgian home. 14 years of our lives. If I got rid of it I couldn’t possibly afford anything else of the same quality.

So I get rid of the inconsequential. The wine glasses I never use, the umpteen mugs I seem to have accumulated, old picture frames, pieces of fabric. Things that don’t take up the space. And now I’m painting everything white. White furniture to meld into white walls.

It seems ridiculous to have such attachments. But being attached to something you’ve invested time and love in is something I’m sure any quilter will understand. They’re not things, they’re tangible stories. The story of my life. A life I feel I’m losing any grip on at all. A life eroded.

Plain Sewing patchwork quilt in progress. A circle a day wuith the Quilty365 sew-along. © Stephanie Bon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Plain Sewing in progress (currently 16″ x 22.5″ / 40cm x 57cm)

Plain Sewing‘, keeps rising in my thoughts. I want to work on it, but it’s packed away in a cardboard box somewhere. It feels lost.

I feel lost.

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

Linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.