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

Challenging Coins

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

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

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

Colour In The Landscape

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

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

Across the valley – Scawswater, 1

The colours…

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

Across the valley – Scawswater, 2

The shapes…

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

Across the valley – Scawswater, 3

The light.

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

Patchwork Inspired By Drawings

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

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

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

Beginning with some small strips

 

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

Inserting some small verticals.

 

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

And some bigger verticals!

Coins In The Landscape

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

Thinking about sashing

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

Thinking about colour transition

 

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

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

 

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

Playing with the strips

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

Love the orange strip!

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

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

No Comment

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

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

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

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Plain Hand Sewing For Slow Sunday Stitching

Break Up

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

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

Work In Progress

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

Plain Sewing

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

Enlarging the panel

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

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

A string section

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

Different Weights

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

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

Remedies

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

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

Iron on Vilene from the back

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

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

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

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

Slow Sunday Stitching

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

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

Drawn threads on a linen circle.

What will you be working on today?

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

Happy Sunday

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

Comments

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

The No Measuring Quilt Size Method For The Numerically Challenged

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

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

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

That gap wasn’t meant to be there.

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

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

Fill that hole!

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

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

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

It’s 66.5″ tall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy stitching

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

 

 

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Stitches That Hold Me Together

2017 looks set to be another turbulent year for Kim and me. Only one week in and everything’s upside down and uncertain again. I’m bracing myself, head down and quietly stitching our troubles away. For a few moments at least. I haven’t had as much time for quilting this week as I’d hoped.

Getting through the day can be a struggle at the moment and it’s often overwhelming. All I crave is a period of stability so that I can concentrate on those goals and plans I make, but it never seems to happen.  I end up putting them aside to deal with one crisis or another, and I’m running out of fight.

Crisis Number 1, 2017

It’s only a week into the new year and crisis number 1 has struck. Kim had to leave college this week due to ill health (for the second time), which might scupper his hopes for university. It boils down to finance: free education stops at 19 regardless of circumstances (he’ll be 19 early this year) and he needs the intermediate qualifications he was studying for to get onto a degree course.  We’re incredibly lucky to have free education at all, of course, but this is where we live and you don’t get far without it.

In the mean time we have to deal with the short-term financial fallout. All financial support for him will stop, and he’s too ill to work. We may have to move again. I just don’t know what will happen and it’s knocked me sideways.

Tracking The Week’s Progress

© Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall UK All Rights Reserved. Plain Sewing, hand stitched patchwork work in progress. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Tracked. I’ve managed to make the backgrounds for more circles on Plain Sewing this week. Almost enough for a second panel.

It’s at times like this my ‘project tracker‘ should be useful. If I manage to get through this period of instability I want to look back and remind myself of the sewing I achieved. No matter how small.  It’s made me feel better already this week. I feel like I’ve done nothing, but I can see I’ve stitched something everyday.  I’ve been making a little progress on Plain Sewing.

Finding Meaning

This patchwork’s becoming more and more meaningful to me and takes me on thoughtful journeys whenever I pick up a needle to stitch on it. It’s about glimpsing the things that hold us together. The repairs we make, the seams, the darning, the patching – to ourselves, and our relationships. It’s about the things we don’t usually see or share with anyone else (unless you’re like me and overshare everything!). I suppose I think of it as a kind of excavation really, or at least turning ourselves inside out to expose hidden truths.

© Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall UK All Rights Reserved. Plain Sewing, hand stitched patchwork work in progress. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Crude stitches mimicking darning over a blue shirt patch. I use black thread to make it visible.

What Is Plain Sewing?

‘Plain sewing’ is a term you don’t hear much anymore (the link takes you to the text of beautiful old needlework encyclopaedia). It refers to the simple, practical stitches we used mainly for sewing garments, household linen and the like. Running stitch, oversewing, backstitch and hemming. I’ve always loved this kind of stitching. If you turn an old handmade shirt inside out you’ll see the drawn thread and the tiny straight, even stitches making a perfect seam. Narrow, neat hems seem to hold themselves up and fine imperceptible darning gives new life.

© Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall UK All Rights Reserved. Plain Sewing, hand stitched patchwork work in progress. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

More crude stitching in visible thread. It’s not so easy to sew this badly, haha!

Then there’s the workaday, get it done, get it mended kind of stitching; the rough hewn stone, rather than the polished gem.

© Stephanie Boon, 2017. Cornwall UK All Rights Reserved. Plain Sewing, hand stitched patchwork work in progress. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Wonky circles and wonky backstitches.

The deft stitches of the maid, the seamstress, the poor worker – I feel connected by these threads.

And I hope the stitches I make over the next few months will be strong enough to hold me together.

Linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching.

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

It’s Black And White – An Improv Bag

Hello! I hope you’re ‘having a wonderful Christmastime’! Things are good here, peaceful and very quiet. I realise that’s what I need more than anything else. Time to quieten the thoughts, find some serenity and lose myself in stitches. It’s been good for the soul. Time well spent.

On The Edge (Floating Squares) is all but finished. I’m quilting close to the edge now, fittingly, steadily filling in some gaps where the edge will meet the wall. I’m confident it’ll be ready to hang (hanging sleeve tutorial) by the start of the new year. And there it will be, in the centre of the wall like a beacon, a reminder of new beginnings.

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 just after we moved home (hence all the detritus hanging around)

A Random Anecdote

Bear with me on this one… I had a blood test a week or so before Christmas due to a few minor infections in quick succession – my GP wants to make sure there’s no underlying cause. I’m still waiting for the results. Dr Bolton asked if I’d been feeling run down lately, I said no, but then remembered how stressed and anxious I’d been for the last four or five months and proceeded to give him the full unabridged details.

Eventually we discussed anaemia and I mentioned that my mother has a rare form of anaemia which has led to lots of blood transfusions and an intravenous drug called Rituximab. I tried to recall what the condition’s called and all I could think of was AHIQ! “Er, no, that’s not it, that’s a quilting thing”. He must have thought I was a complete idiot: she has a condition called AIHA (autoimmune haemolytic anaemia)!

Ahem, AHIQ!

It’s the last AHIQ link up of 2016 over at Ann and Kaja‘s this week, so maybe that’s why it was so prevalent in my mind. Or maybe it’s because I actually have some improv quilting to show you! I’ll save On The Edge for another day, today I thought I’d share a little improv Christmas gift I made.

© Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All rights Reserved Graphic patchwork tote bag in black and white.

Ad hoc improv tote bag. The black and white and strong shapes reminded me of early 20c Russian art, and constructivism in particular – have a look at Liubov Popova’s fabric designs and drool!

I don’t think I’ve made anything in just black and white before so it was a good challenge. It was an unexpected way to focus on shape and rhythm and I highly recommend it as an improv exercise. I say unexpected, but of course it’s not when you think about it. You’re paring right back down to the essentials; it’s like drawing in a way.

© Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All rights Reserved Graphic patchwork tote bag in black and white.

A simpler reverse side. It’s like a loose version of piano keys.

Check out my tutorial on monochrome colour schemes if you’re interested in experimenting with a limited colour palette too. The exercises show you how to experiment with one colour plus black, white and neutral grey. Maybe you could make your samples into a tote bag?

And One For Me!

I was really pleased with the way the bag turned out and plan to make one for myself next. I seem to do a small fresh-food shop every other day or so, now that I’m living in town, and it’ll be more than useful.

A proper shopping bag feels like shopping ‘back in the day’. I remember my mum used to struggle with bags and bags of shopping and one of those trollies on wheels that you pull behind you (they seem to be making a comeback lately, and not just with the oap’s!). I reckon the struggle was her own fault for having to cater for a family of 6, but she’d rope us in as packhorses anyway. It’s memories like this that make me feel my age – even the little things have changed significantly since my childhood. And it all happened so imperceptibly. I quite like the idea of going back in time a bit (not too far though), carrying my homemade tote bag, French loaf sticking out, fresh fruit and veg nestled inside.

What were your shopping days like ‘back in the day’, was it very different in the US I wonder? We could create a shopping revolution with our handmade improv tote bags – are you going to give it a go?

I’m linking up with Kaja and Ann for AHIQ and Lorna for Let’s Bee Social, pop over and say hi.

Happy stitching

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

 

Time To Get This Quilt Off The Easel

hand made quilt in progress hanging over the side of an artist's easel. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

The design wall, aka my easel covered in some wadding!

The improv quilt for my sister’s 40th birthday has been hanging over the top of my ‘design wall’ most of  the weekend while I contemplate how much bigger it should be. It’s about 50″ wide at the moment and another row or two will bring it to about the same size as my August Rain lap quilt which is 51″ x 59.5″. It’s a nice size for a small throw or for one person to snuggle under…but is it really big enough? Would 60″ or 70″ wide (and correspondingly longer) be more practical? What do you think?

Fete - a handmade quilt in progress. Inspired by summer bunting the quilt is made with improv triangle shapes in red and related colour prints. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Fete, state of play at the weekend. It’s moved on just a little since Sunday.

This is how the quilt looked at the weekend (minus the yellow cast in these pictures) and I’m happy with how it’s progressing visually.

Y-Seam

Fete - a handmade quilt being pieced. Inspired by summer bunting this quilt is made with triangle pieces in reds and related colour prints.

This detail shows a small section in the centre that had to be fitted in place with a ‘y’ seam. It’s fiddly work!

The last couple of rows created a ‘dipped curve’ in the centre, which I decided to fill with a ‘mini row’ (top row in the picture above). The awkward shape meant I had to stitch it in place with a ‘y’ seam variation. It’s a fiddly job, but not difficult: you just find the centre of the piece you want to attach, match it up to where you want to fit it in, then sew out from the centre towards the end. Then you turn your work over and sew the remaining half from the centre outwards in the same way.

The finished mini row looks good and fills the dip, but I’m getting a bit concerned that the top’s becoming a bit ‘bubbly’ overall. The more small rows I add the more I notice it. When I square it up on the floor with masking tape it lays flat enough so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it stays that way when I come to baste it.

Designing A Bit On The Side

I decided the design needed a bit more oomph so broke up the rhythm of the horizontal rows by adding a couple of short vertical rows to the sides. It makes the surface pattern more exciting, and the deliberate addition of complimentary greens in one of the rows draws the eye further up the quilt. It’s probably my favourite part of the quilt at the moment!

Fete - a handmade quilt in progress, inspired by summer bunting. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

A detail of the left hand edge where I’ve added a small section at 90˚ in complimentary greens.

I’m pretty sure where I’m going with this now so I just need to get on with it – once I’ve decided on the finished size. Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts on that.

Fete - a handmade quilt in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.dawnchorusstudio.com

And here’s the right hand edge where I added a longer section of pennants at right angles to the main rows.

Makower For Maxine

In spring of 2018 my other sister turns 50 (there are a lot of years between each of us!). She’s getting a quilt too. But with my track record I decided I need to get started sooner rather than later. I’m not planning on starting the quilt yet (see above!), but I thought I’d make a start on gathering some fabrics and scraps in the colour way she’d like: pastels, people, pastels!!! You don’t see many of those around here.

I was browsing in the fabric shop the other day (too much time on my hands obviously) and came away with this lovely print from Makower’s Heartwood Range (it’s called ‘Scenic’). I felt guilty for spending money as well as making an acquisition of new fabric, but I had an idea…

Piece of Makower printed fabric saved and sealed in a clear plastic bag, ready for a new quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Thinking ahead and starting a new stash for my other sister’s 50th birthday quilt!

Pastels look great with greys (well, everything does, as I discussed over here: Design a Monochrome Colour Scheme). I can definitely work with pastels and grey without feeling I’ve overdosed on sugar. Which is good, because it means my sister will get her pastels and I’ll get to use a print I love!

Print from Makower's Heartwood range (called Scenic), 2016. Woodland scenes in grey on cream background.

Print from Makower’s Heartwood range (called Scenic), 2016

The lino/woodcut style is right up my street, and just look at the wee birds. And the fox and the rabbit! I’m not sure which direction the quilt itself will take just yet but I have a few starting points I’d like to explore. I’ve got about 4 leisurely months before I need to start piecing in earnest, so plenty of time for percolation to occur. In theory any way. Best laid plans and all that. I’m curious, what’s the furthest ahead you’ve planned a quilt, and did you get it finished on time?

I’m linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday, Kaja and Ann for this month’s AHIQ, Lorna for Let’s Bee Social and Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday. I’m looking forward to catching up, hope to see you there.

If you like a link party have a look at some more favourites:

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

Happy stitching everyone.

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

Improv Triangles, The 40th Birthday Quilt

Fete

‘Fete’ is my improv triangle quilt and people seem to love it, even my sister – the birthday girl! I decided to let her in on my progress because I lost so much quilting time over the summer, which means she’ll receive it late. I planned it in plenty of time, as you do, but life has a habit of getting in the way doesn’t it? I feel sad that it won’t be a surprise on the big day, but I hope it’ll be a memorable 40th birthday present all the same. And I’ve made fair progress this week despite the summer set backs.

I posted this picture of work in progress on Instagram about a week ago:

and this is how it looked the night before last:

Fete - a handmade improvised patchwork quilt in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK. All Rights Reserved Patchwork quilt in progress.© Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK. All Rights Reserved Patchwork quilt in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2016, All Rights Reserved. www.DawnChorusStudio

This picture shows the addition of two more rows at the top and the vertical triangles on the right hand side.

Hiding My Bulges

It doesn’t look like much more piecing has gone on, but each row can take about 4 hours, sometimes more – and it’s been one of those weeks! It takes longer to make a row if there are lots of small triangles to fit together, or I have to restitch the seams to make the top lie flat. Sometimes bulges appear a couple of rows below the one I’m working on, which come about due some over zealous pressing on the bias of the curves! (My can of starch is disappearing fast and stay stitching is my best friend.) They’re easy enough to sort out with a dart or a bit of unpicking, but it can be fiddly and time consuming. So, I’m pleased to have passed the half way stage this week, another small milestone ticked off.

Today’s Fete

It’s been raining cats and dogs all day so I’ve been getting on with some more piecing. All this colour has been a good way to shake off the blues.

Fete, a handmade improvised patchwork quilt in progress. Bright colours and shapes inspired by summer bunting. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Finishing up the row at the top

I made another row (the top one in the picture above), which is ready to shape and stitch to the one below. A few more hours at the sewing machine this evening will see the next row under way (hopefully!). And, I get to play with some new prints too…

Fabric Choice

I had to buy more fabric this week. I’m using as many scraps from my scrap baskets as I can but there seems to be a dearth of scraps in this colour range, and the bits I can find are only really big enough for the small triangles. The 5 prints I bought were by Lewis and Irene. I love their fabrics, but I don’t like making ‘matchy matchy’ quilts (it’s not fulfilling for me). Why did I buy them then?! Because my local shop doesn’t stock much else. I went to the new quilt shop I mentioned the other day (where I got to try out and buy a Hera Marker) hoping to pick up something a bit different, only to find it had shut up shop already. Gone in the blink of an eye. Such a shame.

Selection of Lewis and Irene quilting fabrics. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Lewis and Irene prints. I’m not sure the colour of the puppy dog one is perfect, but the dog is just like my sister’s little mutt so it’s perfect from that point of view!

Necessity is NOT the Mother of Invention!

I need to grow my stash again: I’ve worked it down to virtually nothing over the last 6 months. Paucity is the mother of invention when you’re improv quilting, but there comes a point when there’s nothing left to be inventive with and the acquisition of materials is the only way to get the job done. I was too impatient to order online and wait for a delivery so I took a wander down the road to my local fabric shop (oh the danger of living in town!). Lewis and Irene line the shelves, with a smattering of Makower for interest… Oh well, needs must!

Your Thoughts

Have you ever had to overcome the lack of something essential, like fabric?! I’d be really interested to what creative solution you came up with, over dyeing maybe? Or cutting up your spouse’s clothes?! Share your experience in the comments.

I’m linking up with Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday and Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social. You can find more of my favourite link parties listed on the page below:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy sewing!

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

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