Categories: slow stitch; tips and tutorials

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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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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

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Patchwork for a Starry Night

One Crazy Month

I’ve been in a tail spin as usual, running around and getting nowhere fast. About 5 weeks ago we were given 2 months ‘notice to quit’,  i.e. told to move out of the house we’ve been living in for 8 years. It was a complete shock and I’m still reeling. And in the middle of it all I’d arranged to take Kim on a camping trip for 5 nights. I decided we should still go: two months to find somewhere to live in our circumstances is never going to be easy, so what difference would a few less days make?

Camping on Exmoor

Westermill Farm Campsite, Exmoor National Park, 2016

Peace and quiet at Westermill Farm campsite in Exmoor National Park (that’s our tent and Kim at the picnic table).

None, as it turned out: we still haven’t found anywhere.

Camping was a mixed bag of beautiful scenery, long walks, peace and quiet…and moody teenager! We spent 5 nights at Westermill Farm, a simple campsite on a working farm right in the middle of Exmoor National Park. Exmoor crosses two counties, North Devon and Somerset, with a good deal of dramatic coastline, open moors and rolling countryside to explore.

Kim’s biggest complaint? The fact that we used public transport and carried our tent and everything else on our backs. When we got to a nearby town we discovered the bus service we planned to use to get us to the campsite had been withdrawn. It was 15 miles away – and Kim refused to walk! (To be fair it was late in the day, haha!) We took a taxi. This much he coped with, but it was the realisation that he’d “have to walk 7 miles to get anywhere” that put him in a right strop. (And 7 miles was a slight exaggeration, the nearest village was only 1.5m away!) So he spent the next 2.5 days lying in the tent. We locked horns anytime he refused to go anywhere, because he specifically asked to go walking on Exmoor to take photographs. I went off on my own instead and had a wonderful time exploring valleys and villages. His loss, I told myself, but to be honest I really missed his company – there were so many delightful things to share.

Starry Night

Exmoor was designated Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve and we were lucky to be there on a full moon with a brilliantly clear sky. Even Kim couldn’t resist a night time walk. Discovering the world in the ‘real’ dark is like discovering a whole new landscape: the sky, the sounds, the wildlife, the silhouettes. It was magical and I couldn’t help wondering what life was like before light pollution.

The night-time walk worked wonders, because the next morning Kim was up with his camera ready to take a bus trip to the medieval village of Dunster. We took a walk up to Bats Castle Iron Age Hill Fort where he finally got into his groove and photographed some unusual butterflies and flora. I couldn’t take my eyes off the wider landscape.

Stephanie Boon, walking up a track on Exmoor, uk

On the wooded track up to Bat’s Castle

 

© stephanie Boon 2017. cornwall, UK. All Rights Reserved Exmoor

Watching the changing skies from Bat’s Hill Iron Age Fort

© stephanie Boon 2017. cornwall, UK. All Rights Reserved Exmoor

Blustery walk with Kim

It’s a stunning place. I share lots of pictures of my walks on Instagram, come and say hello and find out where I’be been.

Starry Quilt

Another great thing about a camping trip is the opportunity for some sewing: you can’t go camping without taking along some English Paper Piecing, it’s not allowed! There’s the time to fill on the train journey and quiet evenings in the tent too. I prepped some diamonds before I left, picking out blues from my scrap box and a couple of pieces left over from my Summer Blues quilt. Why make stars? I have no idea, I just fancied playing!

English paper piecing patchwork with diamond shapes. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Night sky?

It occurs to me now though that it was a serendipitous decision. One of my abiding memories of this trip will be the moonlight walk with Kim. Maybe I’ll call it Night Sky or Exmoor Stars (if it ever gets any bigger!) – what would you call it?

Tutorial

As random as the stars seem, it kick started me into updating my English paper piecing tutorial on making 6 point stars. The old tutorial is still available, but I’m expanding it and adding new photographs. I’ll let you know when it’s complete!

From Bad To Worse!

I’d hoped that by the time we got back from camping I’d be feeling refreshed and ready to take on the challenge of moving home, but life never seems to be that easy! The day after we got home I was wiped out with food poisoning and then gastroenteritis. It’s lasted well over two weeks now. I seem to be over the worst of it and finally feel up to decorating and packing up our home (even though we’ve still got nowhere to go). The illness has been a nightmare with trips to a&e for morphine, sleepless nights and generally wishing I could sleep until it was over!

Last night was the first night in weeks I felt up to taking a few stitches – and had the energy to look for the quilt I’m working on under all the dust sheets and boxes! And it’s this improv quilt, On The Edge, that I’ll be working on again today for Slow Sunday Stitching with Kathy. After all the trauma of the last few weeks, some quiet stitching is just what the doctor ordered!

Hand Quilting Floating Squares Patchwork, 2016 © Stephanie Boon, 2016 http://www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Taking some stitches

What will you be working on today?  I plan to get a good stretch of this top done over the next few days, but who knows what else will come along and put a spanner in the works!

I hope to be back soon, but if you don’t hear from me for a week or so rest assured it’s not because I don’t love you anymore, I’ve probably just lost the plot!!!

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

 

 

What’s Next? How about a Hexie Quilt?!

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments about my Summer Blues finish at last weekend, you definitely know how to make me smile! I was in stitches at a comment from Maureen over at Mystic Quilter: “what’s next?” she asked! Well Maureen, there’s a list as long as my arm hahaha! Where shall I start?!

The Project List

  • There’s the piecing and quilting of Fete for my sister’s birthday this January and I’ve got to get my skates on if I’m going to get it done in time.
Fete - an improv patchwork quilt in progress © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Fete

  • There’s the hand quilting of Prosperity
  • And Deepening
  • I’ve got to finish quilting my floating squares quilt ‘On The Edge
  • Then of course there are the Quilty365 circle quilts to consider (try and catch up with about 100 circles or just pick up where I left off?)
  • Not forgetting the Ocean Waves double bed quilt I’m making for Kim from old shirtings. Still rather a lot of piecing to do for this one…
  • And then there’s my hand pieced hexagon quilt, a variation of Grandma’s Flower Garden (below).

And I have a nagging feeling I’ve forgotten something (ahem, many things!). Fete, of course has to be top of the list and although it’s not going to be a huge quilt, the piecing has proved pretty time consuming and I’m probably only about a third of the way through.  I’m itching to get one of my smaller quilts finished up so I’ll be hand quilting On The Edge this evening – which’ll be a breeze after Summer Blues won’t it?!?!

 

Hexagon patchwork quilt on a bed: English paper piecing tutorial. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Hexagon Patchwork – How To Make One Yourself!

The Next Big Thing

The next big quilting project I plan to get started on is my hand pieced hexagon patchwork ‘Winter Garden’ (above). I’ve always had this one in mind for a winter quilt and plan to use a wool wadding to make it good and snuggly. Before I get ahead of myself though I’ve got to make the borders… and that’s where I’ve been deliberating, probably for a couple of years by now! Time to bite the bullet I think. I know I want to applique the borders, but that’s really as far as I’ve got. It would be great to get it finished and sandwiched by the end of the year, ready to quilt in the new year, but I’m making no promises!

Hexagon Patchwork – How To Make One Yourself

Have you ever thought about hand sewing a hexie quilt? Portable projects are the best (no reason to stop sewing just because you’re not at home!) and I enjoyed it so much I wrote a tutorial, which I finished updating last week.  Hexagon Patchwork – How To Make One Yourself starts from the basics of drawing your own hexagon templates to basting and sewing your patches together. There’s also a free pillow pattern to download and try your hand at. Hop on over and take a look!

I’m off to dig out my red and blue quilting thread to take a few stitches before bedtime. Have a great start to the week everyone and see you for next the Slow Sunday Stitching with Kathy!

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 Clear Solution

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

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

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

What I Did

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

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

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

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

Happy stitching

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

 

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Slowing Down The Stress

Stressful Times

Hello lovely friends! What a stressful couple of weeks it’s been, so hectic that I’ve barely had time at all for any (much needed) slow sewing. If you’ve had teenagers going through exams I’m sure you’ll understand! Kim has got so far behind with his AS level assignments (due to illness earlier on in his course), that the closer his deadlines loom the closer my blood pressure is to exploding. He, of course, is so laid back and leaving everything to the very last minute hoping mum (aka The Biggest Nag on the Planet!) will help him pick up the pieces. There’ve been at least two 4am finishes this past week alone. I’m a zombie. And there’s more to come: he’s just been given another week’s extension, aargh!

Sheep and lambs in a rainy lane near Truro, Cornwall. Photograph © Kim Gentle-Boon 2016. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

One of Kim’s photos taken a couple of months ago.

The thing is, if he hands in his assignments ‘as is’, he’ll get a pass, but his tutors say he’s ‘very talented’ (especially in photography) and if he can get it together (in time) he’ll get a much higher grade. Every mother wants their child to reach their potential – even if they don’t seem bothered! So, what are you supposed to do?  How many of us wonder when their child will take responsibility for their own actions; how do you know when to step back and let them get on with it, no matter the consequences? Kim is just 18 – going on 14. I gather it’s a common issue with teenage boys! It goes without saying I love him to bits, but boy this parenting business is ruddy hard work at times. If you think a toddler’s behaviour is a nightmare to deal with, brace yourself!


Refresh and Rejuvenate

When I’m this stressed I need to get out; over the years I’ve learnt that vigorous exercise is the only way to get it out of my system. And this week proved to be the most wonderful time to escape the house. Along with the glorious sunshine has come some spring warmth and an abundance of rejuvenating colour. I’ve walked and I’ve cycled and every time I’ve been out I’ve seen something that’s stopped me in my tracks.

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on


I’m so lucky to live where I do, I can’t imagine how I’d centre myself in a big city. I’m a country girl all the way through, despite (or because of) growing up in London (lots of open spaces there then though, that aren’t there now).


So, Onto Sewing!

I’ve managed to spend an hour or two stitching in the evenings, which is the perfect way to wind down, as I’m sure you all know! I’ve managed a few more Quilty365 circles, a little bit of hand quilting in the borders of Summer Blues and the odd bit of hand piecing half square triangles too.

Hand quilting a flying geese patchwork border. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.om

Summer Blues border

Hand pieced patchwork pinwheel blocks. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Pinwheel Block (repeated three times!)

I’m planning on updating my tutorial for hand piecing half square triangles – it seriously needs some much better photographs. It seemed like a good little project to work on when I could grab a moment in the evenings. I love the way these blocks have turned out, what do you think? The large floral is an Anna Maria Horner fabric, but I don’t have a clue where the little rose print is from – it was just something from the scrap box. I’m going to have to make something with these blocks, they’re too pretty to leave languishing, but there aren’t many of them, so, something small; what would you make?

I hope you’ve all had a good couple of weeks and your projects have been moving on as you’d hope. I’m aiming to try and catch up with everyone over the next week, but just in case I don’t make it you’ll know why! And if I don’t, there’s only one more week of stress to go and then I’ll be back to ‘normal’!

Happy Slow Sunday Stitching!

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

Grab and Go Quilting

Slow Sunday Stitching on Sunday afternoon was a grab and go affair.  I got on my bike and off to meet my knitting friend Janie for our weekly lunch date, on my way out the door I grabbed a pre-packed bag of on the go piecing.  It was a bit of a surprise when I got there and opened the bag to discover some Ocean Wave blocks!  It’s been a while since I pieced any of those. For those that don’t know, my traditional ocean wave quilt, made from used shirtings, will be for my son when he leaves home. It’s a long term project and the way things are going it looks like I’ll have another 10 years to finish it – he’s 17!  I’ve got about 30 blocks pieced so far and they’re a mixture of hand and machine stitching.  Any machine stitching I’ve done has been with my old friend Mary Singer.

Vintage hand cranked Singer sewing machine © Stephanie Boon 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

My friend Mary

As I sat chatting to Janie I searched through the pieces in the bag. Looking at the half made blocks I wondered if they were rejects – if I carry on and finish them there’ll be a mighty load of points missing!  But then, looking at the blocks I finished a while ago I’m not so sure: there are plenty of points missing on those too. Oops!  I have lots of small triangular scraps left from the larger blocks and at some point decided to turn them in to pin wheels for a possible border.  There were a pile of half square triangles (hsts) in the bag so I opted to stitch a few pinwheels together instead, while my tired brain tries to figure out what to do with the half finished blocks.

Playing with the borders for Ocean Waves © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Hand stitched half square triangles

I’ve got enough hsts to make another 17 pinwheels and then my next task is to cut out another large batch of fabric to make another set of blocks. It might be helpful if I worked out how many blocks I need in total, but that involves…maths! Ugh!  I do it visually: when I lay the blocks out of the floor and they come to the overall size I need, that’s when I’ve got enough, ha! Not very scientific – but the maths isn’t that difficult, so I should just get on with it.  I was thinking that if I know how many I need I could work out how many to make each week and get it done by the end of the year. It could be doable?

Playing with the borders for Ocean Waves © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Playing with pinwheel borders

When I got home I stuck a few blocks on the easel and had a play with possible borders – a little premature, but definitely fun.  I’m erring on the side of on point pinwheels, because I like the way they suggest movement. Then again, the straight setting has the secondary diamond pattern.  What do you think, which would you go with?

Later in the evening my plans to write about the afternoon in time for the link up vanished. I got so absorbed in making my circle for the day and hand quilting some more on my Summer Blues quilt that I completely lost track of time.

Quilty365 sew along: make a patchwork circle block a day. Circle 99 © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Quilty365 circle a day

Bedtime had arrived before I knew it!

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching, a day late, but better late than never!  I trust you had a good weekend – and hopefully it wasn’t as chilly as Kathy’s!

I’ll be back on Wednesday this week to share my fourth Quilty365 gallery (link is to gallery 3) – I can hardly believe I’ll be making my 100th circle tonight – time flies!

Have a stitchy Monday

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