Categories: p&q; patterns;


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Starry Landscapes And My Instagram

Hello and happy Wednesday!


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 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.

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.

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.

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!


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.

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. © 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

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



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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

Happy stitching everyone.

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015


Good Things Come in Threes

Sometimes, amongst all the anxiety and stress, a day comes along that seems so full of goodness it’s hard to believe. It’s like a beacon, something to hold on to while you weather the storm. Monday was one of those days.

When Two Quilters Meet

Meet Roz (on the left), we’ve been online quilty friends for a number of years now and this was our first ‘real life’ get together. Roz lives hundreds of miles away in glorious Yorkshire, but has come to Cornwall for a couple of weeks’ holiday. And not just anywhere in Cornwall, but a mere 3 or 4 miles down the road in St Agnes! (A lot of the photos I share on Instagram are taken around the coast of St Agnes – it’s a beautiful place to escape to. Have a look at my photos and you’ll see what I mean!) It was a rare opportunity we couldn’t pass up.


A photo posted by Roz Elliott (@ell55roz) on

We arranged to meet at a lovely open air National Trust cafe on the beach at Chapel Porth. I cycled there and on the way I was thinking that a few decades ago (more than I care to remember!) I’d have been full of nerves and trepidation, but today I was full of excitement. It was the first opportunity I’ve ever had to meet an online friend. And it was even more special because Roz is a quilter, and I hardly ever meet other quilters where I live.

Give Us A Hug!

I rode to the bottom of a stoney track and spotted Roz straight away, and the pair of us were grinning from ear to ear! I felt so exuberant: it was like meeting an old friend you haven’t seen for ages. The disbelief gave way to huge hugs and when we finally found some words I realised Roz had someone with her.

Roz brought her husband Geoff along and it turns out he’s as keen on the outdoors as I am. A biker, a cyclist, a runner, a traveller – they both had some wonderful stories to tell. And of course we talked about quilting! Roz is an awesome hand quilter and you can find her on Instagram and the Celebrate Hand Quilting group on Facebook. She’s also a keen bag maker and machine embroiderer. In short Roz is an inspiration and a most lovely person to boot. I wished we’d had some stitching with us and we could have talked quilting till the cows came home! I can’t wait to meet up again. There’s just so much to share! And luckily for me Cornwall’s a regular holiday destination for them both.

They Say Good Things Come in Threes

The first ‘good thing’ was pretty hard to beat on Monday and I planned to spend the rest of the afternoon gardening. When I got home I rode down the road to my local saw mills about a mile away. I wanted to find out the cost of the timber to make the first raised bed for my disaster-zone-garden. I was surprised at how affordable it was. I had one of those impulsive moments and decided to buy it there and then. Then thought…hmm, how to get it home?!

Making a raised bed with timber carried home on a mountain bike © Stephanie Boon, 2016

From bike to raised bed!

I had it cut to size and strapped it to the handlebars and seat of my bike (thank goodness for bungees!) and pushed it back: ingenious, I thought. Back home I was sitting on the kitchen doorstep with a cuppa in my hand and feeling pretty pleased with myself: the second ‘good thing’ of the day had just happened.

I was enjoying a bit of sunshine when I heard a car door close and looked up. Another surprise? Oh yes: an unexpected visit from another old friend, Sally! Sally owns Coast and Country Crafts, (a lovely quilt shop) and brought over a couple of big bags of fabric scraps needing a new home.  This day was turning out to be pretty awesome! What an absolutely wonderful gift for someone who thinks scrappy quilts are the best. in. the. entire. universe!!! ‘Good thing’ number three: tick!

Magnificent Scraps!

We chewed the fat for a while and caught up on family life (our boys were great friends in primary school and went to the same secondary school) until Sally had to head back to the shop. I thought catching up with Sally was the third good thing of the day, but I was totally wrong! Sorry Sally but you were relegated to second place and gardening was kicked off the list altogether!

The bags of scraps she’d brought were hiding a treasure inside. There are lots of strips of fabric in the bags (perfect for a string quilt) but amongst them all were a couple of small pieces of a Kaffe Fassett fabric called Lotus Leaf. In red. I was over the moon: a score for my bunting inspired quilt ‘Fete‘! That really was the third best thing of the day. And in no danger of being struck from the list!

Fete – Growing Row by Row

There isn’t a quilter alive than can put off the excitement of using up a bit of fabric when it’s perfect for the job, so I know you’ll understand what I had to do next. I couldn’t wait to get stitching. I spent about 6 hours or more finishing up two rows of patchwork bunting for Fete, the celebration quilt I’m making for my sister’s 40th birthday.

'Fete' an original improv patchwork in progress © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Bringing in some blues and purples

Pride of place in the middle of a row are are two pennant flags in ‘Lotus Leaf’ from Sally’s scraps. The smile on my face was about big enough to go well beyond ear to ear by now!

'Fete' an original improv patchwork in progress by © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Kaffe Fassett scraps (2 large red triangles)

Monday turned out to be an incredible day, unforgettable, all thanks to Roz and Sally. And after such a crappy couple of weeks of raging anxiety it’s wonderful to have some balance restored.

Have you ever met an online friend in real life? What was it like the first time – are you still friends?!?!  Tell us your story in the comments – I’d love to know how you got on!

I’ll be back on Sunday for Slow Sunday Stitching (all being well). Until then…

Happy Stitching!

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts,  My Quilt Infatuation, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Fort Worth Studio


Chicken Fete!

Cuteness Alert

Hello! Come and say hi to my cute new babies! I’ve got 3 new additions to the henhouse, and each and everyone of them was a bit of a surprise…

2 new chicks feeding with 2 hens. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Fluffy bums!

Two little chicks, less than a week old. One black and white, one brown and white. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Less than a week old

If you keep a few hens yourself you know how annoying it can be when they all become broody at the same time: broody hens mean no fresh eggs for a month or two. And no fresh eggs means no cake!

We’ve got three little mixed breed bantams, a mini flock generally keen on demolishing the garden, taking extravagant dust baths and constantly chatting away.  Bundles of feathery fun, one and all. And since they’ve taken to their nests it’s been a bit quiet around here. Then one day last week Kim went out to feed them, heard some curious cheeping and was taken aback to discover chick number one hopping about the place. Why the big surprise? Um, well…we don’t have a cockerel!! Next door’s handsome fellow had taken a fancy to our ladies, abandoning his own brood to follow them around, sadly though he was taken by a fox some weeks ago. Obviously not as long ago as I thought, and not before he’d sewed a few oats!


A photo posted by Stephanie Boon (@dawnchorusstudio) on

It’s rather lovely to think that he lives on. I wonder if those two dark chicks will look anything like him as they grow? It’ll be a while before we can tell whether they’re hens or cockerels though. Do any of you keep livestock? It’s a lovely time of year for it isn’t it?

Considering Somewhere to Grow and Sew

There must be something in the air because home-life, including my garden, has been on my mind for a few weeks now. Maybe it’s the sunshine we’ve had for a while? My garden’s a complete mess, overrun with nettles and brambles and knee high grass, and it’s such a tiny space that that means the entire garden! I gave it very little attention at all last year for one reason or another (illness, flies, the farm incursion!) and I’m paying for it now. I used to absolutely love gardening but the expansion of the farm buildings next door has made a serious dent in my enthusiasm.

Farm advancements around a small garden... the encroaching cow sheds, a new machinery shed going up and a silo just out of shot on the left of the picture. And a dying lawn! © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Farm advancements… the encroaching cow sheds, a new machinery shed going up and a silo just out of shot on the left of the picture. And a dying lawn! (With Daisy sat in the middle of it.) And a missing hedge (I think fruit and veg will need more sun and the hedge had become a straggly eye-sore anyway.)

Since it’s no longer a lovely place to sit in and the neglect’s becoming a bit of an embarrassment I wondered what to do with it. After some cogitation I’ve decided to take a radical approach, start again and turn it into a productive garden with fruit and veg. A mini allotment or kitchen garden: a space I can get dirty in and enjoy in a different way.  There’s some (not too private) space outside the house I can use as a patio to sit in. Sewing outside’s one of the pleasures of a warm, sunny day isn’t it? Not one I’m prepared to forego!

I got off to a bit of an enthusiastic start and cut down a hedge as soon as the robins flew their nest. I decided the only way to get rid of the nettles and unwanted grass was to use a weed killer, something I’ve never used before as I hate chemicals in the garden. I can see why – everything’s dying right back in a matter of a few weeks. And now the weather’s turned. And so have I – back inside until the rain’s passed!


Which is handy really, because I’ve got a quilt top to be getting on with! I seem to remember the plan was to have it finished by the end of this month, so that I’ve got 6 months to hand quilt it. I best get my skates on.

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

Fete on the easel (design board!) and Lily on the table…

Patchwork quilt in progress, 'Fete' inspired by bunting. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Four or five rows of Fete!

I’m enjoying putting this one together. It’s all about the challenge of creating movement. It looks like an exercise in improv patchwork, but to get movement you have to impose some rules and it’s probably more controlled than it first appears. The improv bit is about technique, working out how to fit the pieces together so that it captures the essence of what I see in my mind’s eye. As I’m working I’m constantly shifting and evolving that idea guided by the discoveries I make along the way. And I get lost in the process for hours!

The self imposed rules are fairly straightforward:

  • the colours in the negative space (the background triangles) will be the lightest value
  • the background colours will move from greys to blues (inspired by a cloudy sky)
  • the positive colours (the foreground triangles) will have very limited amounts of white, preferably none
  • the main prints will be contemporary with large motifs (nothing too ‘ditsy’ in the foreground)
  • use as much fabric from scrap bins as possible.

Did you spot any of the ‘rules’ in the quilt top before I listed them? (And if you didn’t can you see them now?!) I don’t want them to be overly noticeable in the finished design so if I have to break the rules to make that happen I will!

Next up is making the transition from grey to blue in the background and from reds to purples in the foreground. It goes without saying that this might change along the way!

Choosing fabrics for a patchwork quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016,

Considering colour transition

What’s Going On

I feel like I haven’t had anything interesting to share for ages: all I’ve been working on, quilt wise, is this one and Summer Blues (which I’m sure you’re sick to death of seeing by now). Hand quilting the borders of Summer Blues is coming together and I’m more than half way through the third one now. A finish feels pretty close. And, I’m getting quite excited by the thought that I can finally stick it in the washing machine after all these years, haha! I’ve also been plugging away at making this blog part of a bona fide website, but it’s a slow process. I’d love to know what you think of the new (almost finished) ‘take a tour‘ page – it’s meant to help new visitors find their way around, is there anything you’d add?

I’m heading over to say hi to Lorna and everyone else at Sew Fresh Quilts for this week’s Let’s Bee Social – Lorna’s got a great giveaway going on, have you seen it?

Righto my lovelies, see you at the weekend for some Slow Sunday Stitching!

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015

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Fete – A New Improv Triangle Quilt

I’ve wanted to make a quilt with improv triangles for a while and until now I couldn’t find a good enough excuse to make one, because I’ve got so many other works in progress. The excuse I’ve come up with is my sister’s 40th birthday in January 2017. It’s a good excuse, right?!  I mentioned her birthday a few weeks ago and asked for ideas, but nothing really grabbed my attention. Triangles had been percolating for a while though and when I saw this fabulous bunting in Truro recently it was like the proverbial light bulb coming on.

Mosaic image of bunting in Truro with a bright blue sky behind purple and orange tenants. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Bunting in Truro spring 2016

It’s so joyous and festive, just right for a birthday celebration. So the triangle quilt got it’s name before it even got started: ‘Fete’. It’ll be a lap quilt.

'Fete' a new patchwork quilt in progress. Improv triangles in pinks and reds prints on a grey print background. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Improv triangles

I decided to have a look at some improv triangle quilts to see what others have been up to; there are a lot of half square triangles out there aren’t there! Not what I had in mind. I had a look through a couple of my books for more ideas. I love Sujata Shah’s triangle quilt in Cultural Fushion Quilts, but I want a lot more movement in mine, not really just the tips of the triangles missing across fairly straight rows. A corner of one of Sherri Lynn Wood’s improv quilts that I saw in her book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters was nearer the mark. It’s definitely creating movement that interests me.

Sewing individual triangles together for an improv patchwork quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Sewing individual triangles

I started off by making the bottom row of small triangles, cutting each triangle individually to get different angles. I soon realised that sewing this way might take a while so decided to have a go at layering alternate light and dark squares and cutting out several triangles at once.

Sewing large individual triangles together for an improv patchwork quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Making some large triangles

The trouble with this method is that you get fairly uniform triangles and not much movement. It’s pretty easy to spot these particular triangles in the top row on the left of the block. I decided to finish the row with individually cut blocks to see what happens. Suddenly the movement came back. Maybe I’ll try a mix of the two methods for a bit of time saving – I’ve given myself to the end of May to get the top finished so that I’ve got 6 or 7 months to hand quilt it.

Detail of improv triangles for patchwork quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016


I plan to use as much scrap fabric as I can, it’s so much more eco friendly and I just love trying to make it work. In the detail picture above you can see where I’ve joined two pieces of grey fabric to get a piece large enough to fit. I think I’ll have to buy a fair bit of fabric though to cut some large triangles. Most of the pieces I’ve already got will result in small triangles like the ones in the bottom row and I definitely need more variation. I actually bought a quarter of one of Tula Pink’s Eden fabrics yesterday and nearly died at the till – almost £16 ($23) a metre. WTF?!?! (Excuse me!) I haven’t used it yet, but it’s going to look great for larger triangles.

Improv Triangle Tips

If you’re interested in having a go at improv triangles I’ve got a few tips that might help along the way:

  • If you’re cutting your triangles individually you’ll get a lot of different shaped bias edges that can easily stretch. The best way to overcome this is to sew them together slowly (make sure you don’t pull them through the machine and let the feed dogs do the work).
  • Don’t press your seams as you go along, instead just finger press them. I’m pressing my seams open wherever I can because it’ll be much easier to hand quilt that way.
  • Once you have a row of triangles stitched together spray the reverse side with starch and press (don’t iron!). Flip the row over, starch and press again. Pressing them just the once gives a lot less opportunity for stretching the edges and you’ll find your rows are less distorted and lie flat.
  • Stay stitch each finished row about 1/8 of an inch from the edge – again it’s all about stabilising the seam so that it can’t stretch. (Click on the 1st Improv Triangle image to enlarge it and see the stay stitching in a bit more detail. I used a grey thread.)
  • If you’re going to use large triangles I recommend stay stitching them individually too.

Have you got any tips for triangles you’d add? Let us know!

I’m linking up with Kaja and Ann for this month’s Ad Hoc Improv Quilters (AHIQ) and hope to see lots of inspiring quilts in progress.

Happy sewing until next time.

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015



August Rain, The Scrappy Quilt Entry

The Bloggers Quilt Festival (BQF) is gaining momentum over at Amy’s Creative Side and today at the Studio it’s all about the Scrappy Quilt category. August Rain (below) is a very scrappy quilt I finished earlier this year.

Scrappy Quilt entry for Bloggers Quilt Festival 2015: Blue string quilt 'August Rain', © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Scrappy String Quilt

Yesterday I showed the quilt I entered in the Hand Quilted category. August Rain could just have easily fitted that category too, because August Rain is completely hand quilted. However, I think the main focus of this quilt is the delightful scrappy centre panel, so, logically, I’m entering it into the Scrappy Quilt category!

Scrappy Quilt entry for Bloggers Quilt Festival 2015: Blue string quilt 'August Rain' Big stitch quilting. © Stephanie Boon, 2014,

August Rain detail (being hand quilted)

August Rain: Scrappy Quilt Details

  • String quilt with the centre panel made entirely from scraps
  • Hand quilted with ‘big stitch’ in perle cotton thread
  • 100% cotton (including wadding/batting and thread)
  • Started July 2014, finished February 2015
  • 51″ x 59.5″ (130cm x 151cm)

August Rain. It’s a very evocative name:

“So, there I was sitting on the studio (er kitchen!) floor, shuffling blocks around in the dull, grey light listening to heavy rain falling and ruminating on what to try next when it suddenly hit me: one of the layouts I’d tried before had reminded me of rain, or a child’s drawing of rain anyway.”  (August Rain and a Design Tip! August 2014).

And that was it, the name stuck. And the finished design developed from there.

Scrappy Quilt entry for Bloggers Quilt Festival 2015: Blue string quilt 'August Rain'. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Scrappy strings becoming August Rain, 2014

What is a Scrappy Quilt?

To me August Rain is a ‘true’ scrappy quilt: it’s made of scraps. It’s not a quilt that’s made to look scrappy by simply cutting up fabric in a myriad of different colours. The fabrics in the centre were never intended to go together. There are some scraps from various previous projects, but a large quantity of them were given to me by friends. They’re either scraps from their scrap boxes, or their daughter’s dresses or partners old shirts. There’s even a pair of shorts in there somewhere! A goodly amount of these fabrics have been used before.

Part of making a scrappy quilt, for me, is making do with what I have, using up that blue that looks a bit too green or a bit too purple, or that print that I really don’t like. Part of the creative process, part of the fun, is trying to make them work well together, even if they don’t want to! I think this quilt shows that it can be done quite successfully. One of the ways to do that is to develop a theme: ‘rain’.

I carried the theme into the quilting too and there are some details in the photos below. I really hope you enjoy them!

Scrappy Quilt Gallery

Scrappy Quilt entry for Bloggers Quilt Festival 2015: Blue string quilt 'August Rain'. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

The finished quilt aptly photographed on an incredibly rainy day in February!

Scrappy Quilt entry for Bloggers Quilt Festival 2015: Blue string quilt 'August Rain'. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

The quilt back has some appliqué flowers drifting from the border

Scrappy Quilt entry for Bloggers Quilt Festival 2015: Blue string quilt 'August Rain'. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Rainy flowers (being quilted, so there’s still basting thread visible and some de-wrinkling to be done at this stage!)

Scrappy Quilt entry for Bloggers Quilt Festival 2015: Blue string quilt 'August Rain'. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

Quilting ‘rain circles’ in the border

Scrappy Quilt entry for Bloggers Quilt Festival 2015: Blue string quilt 'August Rain'. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

A touch of brightness on a dull winter’s day

I hope you’ve enjoyed this ‘tour’ through the process of making this scrappy quilt. It’s been fun to revisit it and remember the people that contributed their scraps and old clothes so that I could make something new, pretty and warm and give them a new lease of life.

Links to Some Previous Posts About August Rain

Please Vote For August Rain!

If you like this quilt too, I’d love it if you’d head on over to The Blogger’s Quilt festival and vote for it in the Scrappy Quilt  category. There are lots of other lovely entries to ogle and inspire you too.

Scrappy Quilt entry for Bloggers Quilt Festival 2015: Blue string quilt 'August Rain'. © Stephanie Boon, 2014

August Rain. A scrappy quilt basking in the summer sun.

If you’ve entered a quilt in the festival let us know in the comments below so that we can head over and give you some support too.  Finally, many thanks to Amy and everyone that’s made such a lovely event possible, I feel really privileged to be able to join in the fun.

Bloggers Quilt Festival 2015 - badge


See my other quilt entered in to the Hand Quilted category in yesterday’s post.

Don’t forget to vote for August Rain in the Scrappy Quilt  category.  Thanks guys!

Enjoy the festival.

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Who needs a deadline?

Slowly but surely this quilt is heading towards a finish…but if I don’t crack on soon I’ll be showing it to you every Work in Progress Wednesday well into the next decade!

Norfolk Bricks lap quilt - texture. © Stephanie Boon, 2015

Hand quilted texture

It was fascinating reading your comments about deadlines after my last post on Slow Sunday Stitching and it seemed unsurprising that most of us don’t function that way when it comes to needle and thread.  We do seem to be in a bit of a minority though!

“A deadline is the best way to get things done.”

says Diane Harris, Sewing on the Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse (Quilty Pleasures)

Really?!  Not for me it isn’t!  A deadline for stitching a quilt is like torture – it takes all the pleasure out of it.  So how generalised was this quote that I came across then? A bit more investigation (via the Google oracle) reveals that machine quilters do indeed have deadlines (and seem to like them), poor things! They’re frantically quilting to meet exhibition deadlines, magazine deadlines, birthday, Christmas, graduation, baby arrival deadlines…you name it, they’ve got a deadline for it!  I only found one article about a hand quilter trying to meet a deadline for an exhibition, and not surprisingly, she got callouses!!!

“I quilted at lunch time, I quilted in the evening. My fingers were sore–I kept quilting.”

Joy Rusonis, The Challenge (Celebrate Hand Quilting)

Hmm, why then do I have the uncharacteristic urge to give myself some tangible finish-line goals for this particular quilt? It feels like Norfolk Bricks has been hanging around for a while now; although that’s probably just because of the hiatus when Kim was in hospital. I’ve been working on it regularly over the last few evenings and have been wondering how long it might take to complete it.  I decided to try and estimate, so I counted up all the un-quilted blocks in the central panel earlier this evening and it totals 41.  I almost freaked – that sounds like such a huge number!  But if I could manage to quilt an average of 3 bricks a day, that would mean I could have it quilted in just 2 weeks. 2 weeks! All of a sudden that doesn’t sound so impossible.  In fact I’d say it’s given me the motivation I need to get it properly moving again.

Norfolk Bricks lap quilt, work in progress (do deadline!), © Stephanie Boon, 2015

Norfolk Bricks

Don’t be mistaken though: I have no intention of making this a definitive deadline! I suggest it’s more a ‘realistic opportunity’: something that could happen if I don’t get too side tracked along the way! And if I do? Well that’s the exciting part of the journey, isn’t it!

 A few articles on quilting to a deadline, if you are so inclined!

Linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social and with Freshly Pieced for Work in Progress Wednesday, where there’s also a giveaway to join in this week.

Happy deadlines!

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Recipe for Slow Sunday Stitching

Cake, friends and hand quilting!

Today has been wonderful: I think I may have discovered the ultimate recipe for slow Sunday stitching: baking; meeting a friend for lunch and of course some hand quilting – accompanied by a slice of scrumptious lemon cake!

Baking a lemon syrup cake on slow stitching Sunday, © Stephanie Boon, 2015

Lemony cake in the making

I had a very relaxing morning today, on my own in the kitchen baking cakes and listening to Desert Island Discs on the radio.  (Today’s guest was Noel Gallagher and the first track he chose was Pretty Vacant by The Sex Pistols – and then he played Hand in Glove by the Smiths, I mean, could the start to the day get any better!!!)

Lemon cake and Norfolk Bricks quilt on slow Sunday stitching,© Stephanie Boon, 2015


When the cakes were in the oven and Desert Island Discs was coming to a close I suddenly realised the time: I’m late. Again. I’d arranged to meet my friend Janie for our weekly catch up, so I packed up some hand stitching and rode to a favourite creekside pub for lunch.  Over a bowl of pasta, a cappuccino and good conversation I quilted a few more octagons on my Norfolk Bricks cushion and surprisingly it’s almost finished.  It’s quilted up much more quickly than I expected so I’m looking forward to having a finish to show you later in the week.

More Slow Sunday Stitching

After Janie left I dawdled around the creek for a while, listening to curlews and watching dogs swimming, and the gig club getting ready for a row. When I finally got home I walked through the kitchen door and remembered the cake! The smell was heavenly. The recipe is Nigella Lawson’s Perfect Lemon Syrup Loaf and it tastes divine. It’s simple, sticky and tangy (and even I can make it taste good) and I highly recommend it.

Kettle on, a slice of cake cut, feet up and I was ready to spend a couple of hours on another favourite slow Sunday stitching project: my very colourful lap quilt.  I’m pleased I changed my mind about outline quilting some of the motifs in the fabrics and decided to go with a regular grid instead.  I think it creates a much better visual rhythm than it had before.

Slow Sunday Stitching, hand quilting 'Norfolk Bricks', © Stephanie Boon, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching on my lap quilt

But now I’m worried I’m going to run out of thread.  Is it just me, or do you often fall short too?  I thought I was being diligent when I ordered it this time round and thought 4 reels would be plenty.  Now I’m not so sure.  It’s at times like this that I wish I was better at maths!  How many reels of no 8 perle cotton would you generally use for a lap quilt that’s reasonably well quilted? Maybe 6 would have been better?

I decided not to fret about it and just carry on quilting – after all, that’s the beauty of a variegated thread: a change in dye lot won’t make much difference!

What’s your recipe for a perfect Slow Sunday Stitching?

I’m linking up with Kathy and look forward to seeing what’s been going on this week.  Until next time.

Happy stitching!

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