Categories: p&q; slow stitch; textile art; hand quilting; improv; wip; needle turn appliqué; inspiration;

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Keeping On Top Of Those Quilting Goals

How I’m Tracking My January Progress

It’s 4 days into the new year already! How are your quilting goals going, fallen off the wagon yet?!

SMART goals are my Secret Weapon this year (read about my goals here)- and so far so good. (Trust me, I’ve fallen off the wagon on day 1 before now.) Success comes if you track your progress (allegedly) and here’s how I’m doing it:

I’ve adopted a really simple visual tracker that takes no time at all to fill in. (Secret Weapon number 2!)

Here it is:

Planning and organising goals - January 2017 tracker. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Keeping track of January’s quilting projects, in no particular order. Hmm, not had too much time this week already…

On the left is a list of my ufo’s and up above is the day/date of the month. All I do is fill in the square of the project and corresponding date that I work on it.

Seeing Is Believing

You can see that I’ve worked on Plain Sewing circles every day so far, which makes me a happy bunny. Why? Because one of my quilting goals is to make a circle block every day for the next three months. And I’m on track! (I know it’s only a couple of days but it does motivate me to keep going.) On the other hand I have a dodgy-looking ambition to finish On The Edge by the end of this week.  I need to get my skates on if I’m going sew the binding to meet that goal.

There are other projects on the list that I’ve no intention of working on this month. I could have left them off or put a line through them, but I decided to keep them visible. This way I’ve got a clear idea of what’s in my cupboards… lest I write in any new projects (by hand) along the way!

Complete Your Own Tracker – Download This One!

I’ve saved a version of my tracker for you to download and use if you’d like to join me. The blank sheet is suitable for any (and every!) month of the year. There’s a simple list of dates across the top with a row above where you can write in the days. Above that there’s a space to write the month and a place to make a key if you want. Finally, there’s a blank column on the left for your project list.

It’s A4, so it’s easy to stick into a notebook or onto a pinboard in your sewing space.  I’ve saved it as pdf file, but if you’d prefer it in a different format (Word or Pages) let me know in the comments and I’ll sort it out for you.

Bullet Journals

A complicated tracker isn’t much fun for me, the simpler it is the easier it is to complete it: I don’t want to spend hours faffing about, I’d rather be quilting! But if you’re one of those creative people that’s more motivated by something decorative, or with more details, you’ll find lots of inspiration from the bullet journalists.

They’re a bunch of people dedicated to organising and planning their lives in a ‘bullet journal’. Some of them have a serious addiction (some might call it a fetish) for decorative stationery and colouring in!  Check out Bohoberry for decorative inspiration and free printables.

If you prefer a more straightforward approach you might like to have a look at Ryder Carroll’s website BulletJournal.com. Carroll ‘invented’ the bullet journaling method of organising yourself. He gives really simple, clear instructions for using his “Analog System For The Digital Age” (fancy!) in the most basic way possible. I’ve picked up a few tips that I’ve started using that are transforming my usual scatter-logical note scribbling: indexing is a godsend, but I’m sure librarians came up with the idea first!!!

One Monthly Goal

The One Monthly Goal challenge over at Elm Street Quilts inspires and motivates lots of quilters. It’s a simple idea: you publish your goal/s for the month, link up at the beginning of the month and share your results at the end. Keep at it for 12 months to enter a prize draw at the end of the year, which is open to anyone anywhere in the world.

There’s still time to link up for January’s challenge, you’ve got until the 25th so head over to join in. Have you taken part before? How did you get on? Let us know if it motivated you to finish something in the comments. I’ve not joined before because I’m uncertain whether it’ll motivate me or completely crush me when I realised I’ve missed yet another goal! Maybe I should bite the bullet?

I am feeling pretty motivated to get on with last year’s Plain Sewing quilt top though, regardless of whether there’s a carrot or stick dangling in front of me!

Plain Sewing 2017

Plain Sewing, textile art by Stephanie Boon, 2016 © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Plain Sewing. Work in progress 2016.

In late 2015 I joined in the Quilty365 sew along with Audrey at Quilty Folk. The idea was to make one circle block a day for the next 365 days – enough to make a quilt at the end of 2016. I got carried away – and then got left behind! Life got in the way as it often does, but I managed to keep at it until April/May time I think.

The blocks I made don’t all go together so I’m making more than one quilt.  Plain Sewing (pictured above) has really sustained my interest. It’s pretty small at the moment and I was thinking about making a wall hanging, but ideas change. Over the intervening months I’ve accumulated more fabric, which means I can make it quite a bit bigger.

Plain Sewing, textile art by Stephanie Boon, 2016 © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Using an old linen suit and shirtings for my 2017 blocks. This is from the 2nd of January.

I’ve been given a man’s linen suit in a neutral ‘weetabix’ colour, a blue stripy shirt and a couple of other pieces of dress linens that will make great backgrounds for the blocks. And this is the month I decided to pick it up again: a new start in the new year. I’m planning on one block a day for the next three months to see where that’ll take me.

Plain Sewing, textile art by Stephanie Boon, 2016 © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

This was the first block of 2017.

Sewing a block every day became a kind of mediation last year. I sat quietly for an hour or so, focussing on the hand-stitching and needle turn appliqué, letting everything go. I loved the ritual of it and that’s what I hope to recreate this time too.

Plain Sewing, textile art by Stephanie Boon, 2016 © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Yesterday’s block, 3rd January, looks about as stressed as I was before I started stitching!

I’ve made 3 blocks so far and keep having ideas for another quilt (or three) developed from it. I’ll tell you about the inspiration for Plain Sewing in my next post. In the mean time I’m going to scribble my ideas in my newly indexed notebook and try hard not to invent another project to track just yet!

One Year On

There were so many inventive interpretations of Audrey’s simple idea and a surprising number of quilters made it right through. In her final Quilty365 link-up post for a few months Audrey talks about her year’s journey and progress so far. She’s making a wonderful hand appliquéd centre piece that you should see. It’s the delicious icing on the quilt!  Hop over and take a look.

I’m linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let’s Bee Social and I’ll be back here on Sunday for Slow Sunday Stitching. Until then…

Happy stitching all you organised quilters out there – and to you too, even if you’re not!

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

 

 

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Going Round In Two Circles

Welcome to another Quilty365 update! I’m not sure where I am in the consecutive order of block making – my Quilty365 galleries are completely disorganised at the moment, so is my desk and, most definitely, my mind.  I really need to take a leaf out of Audrey’s book and get myself properly organised. There are well over a hundred circle blocks now and as I mentioned in my newsletter I’m planning to make at least three quilts with them. I’ve begun to stitch some of my Quilty365 circles together and the difference between them is amazing. I wonder if the same person made them sometimes!

Quilty365 – The Bright One

That’s just the working title! When I first put these blocks together (it took well over 4 hours to piece this little section, which is only about 22″ x 18″) I wasn’t sure it looked anything more than a hotchpotch of colours. I wondered whether it might develop a confused appearance as it grows in size? To try and alleviate the potential for that and add some rhythm and stronger repetition, I decided to use white based prints for horizontal fillers and black based for vertical fillers. I still can’t do it randomly though, I have to consider every step, every fabric, every juxtaposition – which explains the hours spent piecing so far!

 

piecing together bright coloured patchwork blocks to make a quilt with appliqué circles. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Piecing together bright coloured Quilty365 blocks

Looking at all the bright coloured blocks I’ve made I thought it might be useful to have some less ‘complicated’ ones to give the eye a bit of a rest here and there. Another thing I’ve become aware of is that there’s not really enough variation in the scale of the circles. Well, not as much as I’d like.

Improv patchwork circle quilt blocks, with buttons to show scale. Bright pinks, greens and purples. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Button size blocks

So for a few days now I’ve been making ‘button’ circle blocks: small and comparatively simple. I like them so far and I can see they’re going to be really useful as the quilt top evolves. This one’s going to be a very cheerful circle quilt when it’s finished.

 

Quilty365 – Plain Sewing

My ‘Plain Sewing’ circle quilt feels as though it’s nearing a conclusion. I want it to be a bit larger, but perhaps not too much. This one feels so intimate and I don’t want to lose that quality. The intimacy is in the small, quiet stitches, you’re really drawn close to the surface to see them.

 

Patchwork improv circle quilt in muted browns, greys and duck egg blue by © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Plain Sewing (in progress March 2016)

Since I last showed my progress on this one Ive introduced some duck egg blue colour, which lifts the mood a little I hope. I’ve used quite a lot of scrap linen in this piece as well as cottons from my scrap boxes. If you look closely you’ll also notice that I often use the reverse of the fabrics to get softer and more muted colours and tones.  I love the fact that it makes those particular prints seem a bit obscure (especially the text ones, which you can’t read anymore).

Patchwork improv circle quilt in muted browns, greys and duck egg blue by © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Plain Sewing – new section (detail)

Patchwork improv circle quilt in muted browns, greys and duck egg blue by © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Plain Sewing, new section with added duck blue colour

All these blocks I’ve made so far are pieced completely from scraps: old clothes, bits and pieces given to me, off cuts from other projects. There are memories attached to almost every piece I’ve used. Then there are the memories of making each one too. I don’t think it’ll matter what they look like when they’re finished really, they’ll still be pretty special.

What’s making your circle quilt memorable for you? For a lot of people it seems to be the diary aspect, but I wonder if there’s anything else that’s keeping you motivated? I’d love to know! (I’m nosy like that!) Why not share in the comments?

I’ll be linking up with Audrey at Quilty Folk for this month’s Quitly365 link up, but before you head over to check out all the other gorgeous quilts in progress, I’d love it if you took a few minutes to read my last post. I talked to Audrey about how she makes the most of her quilting time and she shared so much it really is a great post and I’d hate you to miss it: Make The Most Of Your Quilting Time With Audrey Easter.

Graphic: cHow to Make the Most of Your Quilting Time, with Audrey Easter. A conversation with Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Have a great weekend everyone!

Happy Stitching

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

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Easter Sunday Stitching

Happy Easter everyone!  I hope spring has sprung for you, although you poor souls in the southern hemisphere may have a while to wait before the daffodils pop up again. I love Easter, Read more

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Nine Patch Numbers – Who’s Counting?

Nine Patch

‘Summer Blues’ has reached a milestone…drum roll please! Yes! I’ve finally finished hand quilting all the nine patches on this never ending nine patch quilt. I felt a sigh of relief as I made the last stitch in one of the corner blocks this morning. That’s 70 nine patch blocks hand quilted. 70. It’s the biggest hand quilted and mostly hand pieced project I’ve worked on. And it’s only taken 7 years to get this far, on and off of course. Meh!

'Summer Blues' nine patch hand quilted quilt lying on an unmade bed. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Summer Blues

Next on the Summer Blues agenda are the fussy cut cornerstones in the sashing. I counted them. There are 96 and I’ve already quilted 32 of them, which by my (probably incorrect) calculation means I have 64 to go, roughly equal to another 7 nine patches, aargh! Can I manage this by next Sunday? Hand quilting the equivalent of 1 nine patch a day seems feasible. But didn’t I say that before?!  This week’s diary looks fairly empty, but that, dear reader, means nowt!  Watch this space…

Quilty365 Circles

It’s been a while since I published any quilty365 circles. There are a couple of reasons for this: 1. I thought you’d be bored to death of them by now and 2. I got a bit behind. But as I’m back on track I thought I’d show you a few. These ‘catch up’ blocks are a bit simpler than some of my others, but I think there’ll be room for that in the final design/s.

Quilty365 sew along - making a circle quilt one circle a day for 365 days. 3 finished circles with various shades of purple. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Purple Circles!

 

Quilty365 sew along - making a circle quilt one circle a day for 365 days. 3 finished circles in bright modern fabrics. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

3 circles

There’s a sense of joyfulness in this little batch that I hadn’t expected to see, because I’ve definitely not been feeling the joys of spring!

I was out walking round and about last week and things are still looking a bit bleak.

March Landscape (Field near Treelike). © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Ominous clouds

Don’t be fooled by that patch of blue sky, it was there to tease me between heavy rain and hail showers! It was bitterly cold and there was a pretty fierce wind as well. And then today, on my usual Sunday lunch date with my knitty friend Janie (who was actually crocheting today!), it was so warm that we sat outside in the pub garden for the afternoon…honestly, you never know what to wear!!!

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I reckon there’s another hour or two left for slow stitching this evening, so I’ll say bye for now and leave you with a reminder to pop back tomorrow for the next article in the series about making the most of your quilting time. Last week I spoke to Ann Brooks and this week I’ve got another  wonderful post lined up for you: How Long Does It Take To Make A Quilt? I Asked Kaja Ziesler. Regular slow Sunday stitchers will know Kaja from her blog Sew Slowly, so I’m sure you’ll be as eager as I was to find out how she makes the most of her time – let’s just say I could learn a thing or two from Kaja!

I’m linking up with Kathy for this week’s Slow Sunday Stitching, and look forward to seeing you again tomorrow!

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