Hand stitching

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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

 

 

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Festive Robins and Rag Wreaths

Soon after we moved into our new home I began putting out food for the birds. After a couple of weeks they tentatively began to come to the bird table and recently they seem to have permanently moved in. We have regular outsize visitors including a wood-pigeon, at least 3 jackdaws and a crow, plus 2 magpies. They vie for space on the table, shoving each other off with their wings: it’s an entertaining sight. I’m beginning to know their behaviour well enough to give each of them names. When they’ve had their fill and fly back to the roof tops, the song birds come in.

Robin tea lights on a hand quilted red and white table runner

I love bringing out my hand quilted Christmas table runner at this time of year. I think the robins like it too!

There’s a blackbird, a robin and a wren and dozens of sparrows too. The robin sits on the handle of a garden lantern nearby, watching me watching him, making sure I’ll do him no harm before his breakfast. He sits for minutes at a time, picture perfect. If I had a snowy garden he’d be perfectly posed for a Christmas card.

Festive Decorations

But we don’t have any snow, sadly. So I’ve been enjoying the robins on my festive decorations instead. They’re slowly beginning to appear, from a string of fairy lights around the window to the sweet robin tea lights my friend gave me as a house-warming gift. I’ve put Kim’s red and white quilt on my chair and my hand quilted Christmas table runner on an old tool chest I use for storage (in the photo above).

More decorations will come out of the cupboard this week to be dusted off and put around the house. We’ll buy a tree too and bring it inside to decorate on Christmas eve. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can finish On The Edge (Floating Squares) this week to put on the wall above the dining table. Progress has been slow but I’ve managed another peaceful hour or so today. And next time I show it to you it’ll be on the wall!

Drum Roll Please!

The run up to Christmas is busy for most of us and I’ve spent the last week or so making gifts for friends and family.  A little over a week ago I showed you a rag wreath I’d made. Several of you said you’d like a tutorial, so after a week of intense writing and photographing, here it is!

How to make a rag wreath. Purpler rag wreath hanging on the wall. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.co,

Learn how to make a rag wreath like this one – follow the link to the tutorial below

A New Rag Wreath Tutorial

I’d be honoured if you take a look and tell me what you think. Is the text clear enough, the layout ok, the photographs good enough?! I’ve been fretting about it and so focussed on it I can’t see the wood for the trees anymore. Most of all, I hope it inspires you to try your hand at one too – go on, there’s a whole week before Christmas and you know you want to!!! (Let’s be honest, there’s not much else to do now is there, haha!)

The tutorial is here, and over the next day or two I’ll add it to the ‘how to‘ page and link it up elsewhere so that it’s easy enough to find.

Now it’s finish, along with the gift making, I’ll be back again in the week to share a couple of other things I’ve been up to. I look forward to catching up with you too, I feel like I’ve been awol for too long!

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching and look forward to seeing what you’ve been up to too.

Happy stitching

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

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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

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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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Sunflowers and Sewing

You know what it’s like when you’re at a low ebb and it feels like nothing’s ever going to come together and all you want to do is sleep. Then something comes along out of the blue that lifts your spirits and makes everything alright again. I had one of those moments recently. A little parcel addressed to me arrived on the doormat one morning. I wasn’t expecting anything; Kim’s the one around here that gets all the parcels from his Ebay trading. I opened it, wondering what on earth it could be, and got a lovely surprise that made me smile all day.

Remember Roz? How we met on line some years ago and then in real life when she was on holiday in Cornwall this summer? Roz had sent me “a little something”.  A little something she’d made.

Sewing case sent by a friend. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

I’m not going to pretend my desk is tidy!

The Sewing Case

I was so touched when I realised she’d sent me a lovely little sewing case that’s perfect for putting in my bag with my portable English paper piecing (EPP) (follow the link to my tutorials on this technique). It has a pocket for just about everything I need, from scissors and thread to fabric and templates. The cheerful sunflower fabric will always make me think of Roz and how she made my day…again!

Slow Sunday

This Sunday has been all about slowing down and easing the stress. I went out for a walk (the first since camping and food poisoning) and a bit of blackberrying with friends this afternoon, followed by a cool glass of summer cider in one of our favourite pubs.

Friends on the village green!

The blackberries will go perfectly with a big bag of apples they gave me from the trees in their garden. Blackberry and apple crumble is one of my favourite desserts at this time of year, and the rest of the apples should make a good batch of chutney.  Or maybe I’ll pick some more berries and make jam or jelly. That’s yet another lovely and unexpected gift from friends. In return (as it were) I took them on a walk they’d never been on before, a lovely meander through the woods and creeks a few miles from home.

Slow Sunday Stitching

I’m so exhausted that this evening’s slow sewing is going to be very slow and peaceful. I plan to do nothing more than organise my lovely new sewing case and baste some EPP diamonds for next week.  What was the best slow sewing gift you ever received, and why do you cherish it so much? I’d love to know, tell all below!

Inside of a sewing case made by a friend. Pockets for scissors, needles, etc. In sunflower fabric in blues and yellows. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Putting everything in its place

Don’t forget to hop on over to Kathy’s to find out what the other slow Sunday stitchers have been up to today. Have a lovely start to the week and fingers crossed I’ll have some news about somewhere for us to live next week. Until then…

happy stitching!

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

 

 

 

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A Quilt 7 Years In The Making

Summer Blues Is Finally Finished!

© Stephanie Boon, 2016 Cornwall UK All Rights Reserved Embroidering a quilt label http://www.DawnChorusStudio.com

The final stitches

Slow Stitching a Quilt Label

It’s Slow Sunday Stitching with Kathy and I’ll be spending a few special hours embroidering the label for Summer Blues this afternoon. Yes! It’s FINISHED! The final piece of the quilt done and dusted. I’m ecstatic! But true to the spirit of this quilt, I’m making mistakes right until I cross the line! I started a label the other day, then decided it was a tad on the ginormous side so scaled it down a bit and started again.  It’s nothing fancy, but I like to embroider them rather than write in pen. I’ve spent 7 years on the thing, what’s another few hours sewing? I’m using a simple split stitch for the text and I might add a bit of detail around the edges, I’ll see how it goes. I’m just looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet with the needle and thread later on today.

Summer Blues

Want to see it? (Probably for the final time!!! I’m sure you must be sick to death of it by now.)

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

Summer Blues – it looks weird without all the wadding around the edges!

© Stephanie Boon, 2016 Cornwall UK All Rights Reserved Summer Blues hand made quilt www.DawnChorusStudio.com

The flying geese border

The Mistakes: What I’ve Learned

Mistakes? The many, many mistakes! It was my first (almost fully) hand pieced full-size quilt and I was a bit too free with the seam allowances. I don’t mean generous, I mean I didn’t bother to measure them, I drew around square templates and cut everything by eye with scissors. Some allowances were huge, some were very scant as I tried to be frugal with the fabric. I learnt it’s probably better to use a rotary cutter and ruler for something that’s going to be hand quilted; it’s annoying having to quilt through so many layers because the seams are too large. And frayed seams are especially annoying when you’ve cut the seam allowances too small. And a rotary cutter is also much quicker when there are so many units of the same shape.

I’ve learnt that it’s easier to draw on the quilting lines before you sandwich the quilt. I know this and yet I forget to do it every time. So annoying, especially on something this size. I’ve learnt that it’s probably better to have a clear idea of how you’re going to quilt it before you start… making it up as you go along is all well and good until you change your mind half way through and have to unpick loads.

I learnt that the maxim, ‘measure twice, cut once’ is a load of rubbish in my case: I need to measure at least 50 times before I cut anything! I can’t add up to save my life – I even cut the binding twice the width I needed it just last week!

I learnt that I need to cut larger seams for my flying geese borders. Once I’d squared up the quilt I lost so many points along the edge that it’s now a case of ‘spot the point’, rather than ‘spot the missing point’!

I learnt that making a quilt with new fabrics to this size is bloody expensive (several hundred pounds – the backing fabric alone was almost £80.00), but that doesn’t mean I have to worry about it being perfect. I think that was the biggest mistake I made: striving for ‘perfection’ and getting upset and frustrated when I was unable to achieve it.

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

Border detail – spot the point!

Not Forgetting The Good Points

There are so many good things about this quilt, but they’re not all about the the craft. My patchwork and quilting skills have improved 100 fold over the 7 years I worked on and off Summer Blues. I learnt I have tenacity and perseverance and that staying power makes me feel good. I learnt how to use a quilt hoop and rocking stitch on this quilt, after years of managing without one. I learnt to let go of worrying about perfect stitches, irregularities and perfect points. I learnt to accept that ‘I’m at where I’m at’ and that I can only improve with practice. It’s an inspiring place to be.

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

Turned back to show the Phillip Jacobs backing fabric

The Journey

I started this quilt 7 years ago after an amicable split from Kim’s dad (after 23 years). It was meant to mark a new beginning, something just for me. There’ve been so many ups and downs over the years, so much heartache and illness, and this quilt has soaked up the tears and brought some sunshine too. I’ve loved sewing it (for the most part!) and there are many happy memories attached: sewing in the garden in summer, sewing with friends around their huge table, sewing in the pub with Janie over lunch. And this community: with your help and encouragement I’ve finally got here. Thank you!

Today feels like the end of an era, another new beginning. I can put Summer Blues behind me at last, move on from the negative stuff that started the journey and tuck myself up with the good things I found along the way, full of hope for the next 7 years.

A Few Details

  • Started April 2009, finished July 2016
  • Approximately 118″ x 75″
  • Mostly hand pieced
  • Hand quilted in a hoop
  • 100% cotton wadding
  • Fabrics include Kaffe Fassett and Moda
  • Backing fabric Philip Jacobs
  • Binding fabric Jennifer Paganelli
  • Double fold binding cut on the bias (applied by machine, hand stitched down)

Enjoy the rest of the day. I’ll be back in the week with something different to share!

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

PS I’ve just realised this is my first finish of 2016!!

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A New Patchwork Tutorial for Slow Sunday Stitching

Easy patchwork project: making suffolk puffs © Stephanie Boon, 2016 Cornwall, UK All rights reserved. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Hello, hello, how are you? It’s been a while! It feels good to be back for another Slow Sunday Stitching with Kathy this week though. I’m looking forward to heading back into the fold…if you’ll have me. I’ve lost my way a bit over the last month or so and got it into my head that I’ve had nothing worth sharing. But that was yesterday! Today I’ve got a new tutorial I hope you’ll enjoy.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had the urge to make some Suffolk puffs, which felt a bit random to say the least. I wondered if it was a subliminal message to update my Suffolk puff tutorial. Well if it was, it worked! As well as updating the tutorial I’ve also added brand new instructions for how to make the scented pillow below!

The Suffolk Puff Pillow

 

Scented patchwork pillow made with Suffolk Puffs (yo-yos) © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Hop on over and check out the tutorial – it would make a sweet little slow Sunday stitching project I think.

I’d forgotten how satisfying it is to make Suffolk puffs, they look so cute for such little effort! They’re fun to make and I’m tempted to sit quietly this evening and sew some more. But no, the next few hours before bed will be spent slowly quilting Summer Blues. I really need to wrap it up and move on. It’s gone into a lull again and I can’t have that when the finish line is so close. And, I haven’t chalked up a single finish yet this year, so it must be high time I did. I’ll try and imagine the elation if Summer Blues is the first, maybe that’ll motive me to get my needle out!

I’d love it if you pop over and have a look at the new Suffolk puff page and let me know what you think. I spent more hours on the layout and writing the pillow instructions than actually making it…was it worth it?! I hope you think so, feel free to leave me your frank and honest opinions and of course if you have any tips of your own I’d love to share them too.

Have a lovely stitchy start to the week!

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

 

 

 

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Slow Sewing Therapy

Hello lovely friends! How’s it going? It’s not been so great around here for the last few weeks… (Nothing dramatic though.)

Anxiety

Cortisol has been running rampant around my body like an out of control train. A constant tight chest, no concentration, confusion, waking up with feelings of dread: there’s no logic to this anxiety of course.  But when the engine’s on full throttle it can be difficult to step off and work out what’s going on. It’s obvious there are things you have no control over, what will be will be, but how do you deal with it? I’ve been trying my usual de-stressors: exercising until I drop. Cycling, walking, digging great holes in the garden, even pummelling the life out of bread dough! But it hasn’t had the usual positive effect.

Taking out my stress on the garden!

There’s a lot of additional anxiety coming from the political situation in this country at the moment – if there is an out of control train, this is it. It’s unbearable. The two main parties are in free fall, the recriminations, the infighting – we’re descending into total chaos and the uncertainty and feelings of powerlessness are driving my anxiety sky high (and I’m not the only one).

Social media has been shovelling fuel onto an already raging fire, with Facebook top of the list. It’s a constant bombardment and I have to take control somewhere and cut my exposure to it. There are some wonderful things about Facebook: great quilting groups, the lovely people I meet through the Dawn Chorus Studio page – but navigating my way through the stressors to find them is too much at the moment. So I decided to take a break. It’s been a couple of days now and already the tightness in my chest is easing a little.

Role Reversal

Teenagers are well known for their introspective, self-obsessive traits, but they can really surprise you sometimes can’t they? I was in floods of tears the other day (fight or flight mode in full swing) and Kim calmly said to me “You haven’t been sewing much lately have you? I think you should, I’m sure it’ll help”. Suddenly I realised how grown up he is, how perceptive.  He hugged me so tightly and everything seemed to melt away. A complete role reversal – and I’m not going to get anxious about how healthy that is!!!

He was right. I haven’t been sewing much. I’d pick up a needle and thread and then forget what I was doing or why I was doing it. Any progress I made seemed barely perceptible and I was berating myself for getting nowhere. But since I decided to step out of Facebook for a while, take back some control, the needle has become my best friend again. And we’ve been stitching up a storm!

Sewing Therapy

It’s true: slow stitching mends the soul. Kathy over at Kathy’s Quilts often writes about the calming medative effect of taking a few hand stitches on her Slow Sunday Stitching posts, and I agree with her. Hand sewing is like sewing yourself back together really. You just have to trust that even those few tiny stitches, the ones that make you feel like you’re getting nowhere, will add up to something bigger. And probably sooner than you think.

I almost fell off my chair when I realised I’d actually finished the third border on Summer Blues. Just the final short border to go. It’s a good trick, I think, to do the longer tasks first – the short border will fly by in comparison. I’ve needed some staying power to get this far with it after all these years and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself: tenacity’s a good thing to have.

'Summer Blues' hand quilted patchwork quilt. Detail showing the flying geese border. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Summer Blues goes into another summer

Light Relief – Suffolk Puffs

I had the urge to make some Suffolk puffs yesterday, for no particular reason other than I felt like it. I decided to go with the flow and made enough to make a small scented pillow like this one.

Patchwork: Hand sewn Suffolk Puffs (detail). © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Little Suffolk puffs – like limpets!

I noticed my Suffolk puff tutorial gets a lot of regular views and it’s been at the back of my mind to update it for a while.  Maybe this was a subliminal message to get on with it!  If you had a few Suffolk puffs to hand what would you make with them? I had a lightbulb moment and wondered if it would it be useful if I wrote up the method for making the pillow too? Something quick and fun to do with your Suffolk puffs?

Patchwork: Hand sewn Suffolk Puffs. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

A lovely evening’s work

I made a start (in anticipation you’d like it…) and providing I don’t go off the deep end again it should be finished by the end of the week!

I hope you’ve had a great weekend and enjoyed making a few slow stitches today. I look forward to seeing you over at Kathy’s over the coming week – I need her calming influence like I need fresh air!

Happy stitching.

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

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The Neglected Needle

Truth be told, everything’s been neglected around here of late. Kim was given an extension for his photography assignments, which meant another week of stress. This past week I’ve been de-stressing with extra sleep and a bit of time out doors. Today looks like a day of catching up with the very neglected housework and then, finally, the neglected needle will be put to some good use.

Hand quilting a flying geese quilt border. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

A few stitches

I’ve managed to grab a few minutes stitching here and there and the flying geese border on Summer Blues is slowly but surely getting there – and I’ll be slow stitching plenty more this evening! I’m still enjoying it and love the quilt, but I can’t wait to put this one to bed and get on with quilting some other things. I will remain firm though: no more quilting other projects until this one is done! (You have no idea how hard that is!)

Getting Rid of Your Old Needles

If you’re anything like me you’ll go through a hundred needles in the blink of an eye. Blunt. Bent. Snapped. Blunt needles are the bane of my quilting life – I can virtually see the points disappearing before they even touch fabric. I regularly pull one out of the pin cushion only to stick it straight back in again, because it would be a better garden dibber than quilting needle. My pin cushion looks like a porcupine and I pull out each and every needle to inspect under a strong desk lamp. I stick each one back in turn and finally give up and use the only needle I can find with a point, which happens to be an embroidery needle. Great for threading, not so great for hand quilting.

I have a large collection of blunt needles littering my work place, they’re in glass jars, hanging around on the base of a lamp, stuffed in pin cushions, loose in a little box of bits and pieces I keep on my desk. I even found some on my bedside cabinet the other day! Since the demise of the film canister I’ve run out of ideas on how to dispose of them safely. Sometimes my needles come in a plastic package and I can stuff a few back in there and bin it, but it seems to be slow going and my pile of rejects continues to grow. How do you get rid of yours? I ask, of course, with all the impending housework I have in mind!

Out and About

I’ve had some great walks this week and have been sharing some pictures on Instagram (come and join me), here are a couple of my favourites. I love the little Dexter cow I met on a walk over at Mylor yesterday. I used to live in the village, but now I live about 10 miles away so I cycled over on my bike, met a friend for a walk around the creek and some lunch at the pub. A soft mist hung in the air all day, but it was warm and sticky and felt like summer’s on the way.

 

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

Pond in one of the fields I cross regularly on my local walks. #pond #hedgerow #tree #skies #reflection #field #buttercups

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

This cow may have the shortest set of cow legs I’ve ever seen!!! #cow #dexter #noseycow #walk #mylor #cornwall #kernow

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on


I wonder if I can squeeze in another walk today…dare I forego the housework again?!

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching and hope to see you there.  Happy Sunday everyone!

PS let me know what you think of the layout of the new blog/website design so far, still lots to do but I’d love your feedback – thank you!

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