Categories: p&q; art; slow stitch

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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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Once Upon A Time… A Quilter Had A Plan

 

Star patchwork made with 6 point diamonds in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Star progress

The Plan

Once upon a time there was a quilter who had a plan, and the plan was a good one. She really enjoys English paper piecing so she decided to use her scraps to make a simple star quilt. A hand pieced quilt takes months to make, but that’s ok because that just becomes part of the plan. This quilt would be an ‘infill project’, something to work on for just a few hours a week.

Star patchwork made with 6 point diamonds in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

The last diamonds

Diamonds were cut and prepped and carefully put into a little case to take out with her to a weekly lunch date with a friend.  A quilt would take shape over a few months without her really noticing the time she spent on it. Multi-tasking at it’s best. Or so she thought.

The Best Laid Plans…

Do you have a tv? Lots of quilters enjoy a bit of hand sewing in the evenings, sat around the tv with their family. It’s probably the most sociable sort of sewing there is.

The quilter in question doesn’t have a tv but watches the odd film on her laptop instead. She usually sits alone, sewing along to whatever’s on Radio 4. But this week she discovered an old re-run of a tv series online: Prime Suspect. Do you remember it? Part nostalgia, part fascination: she was gripped.

She just grabbed whatever project was to hand to work on. So the star quilt grew. And grew. Until she ran out of scraps in the blue/green colour scheme she’d picked.

When she looked up, a few days later, she realised she didn’t have a ‘months’ long’ project anymore. Oh dear, that’s annoying.

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

Plan B: Plain Sewing

Time for plan B: get on with the ‘Plain Sewing’ circle quilt instead.

Sorry

The comment form still isn’t working. Another plan that’s gone to pot! Drop me a line instead: email me.

Linking up with Judy for Design Wall Monday – and belatedly with Kathy for yesterday’s Slow Sunday Stitching.

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

Free Template And A New Tutorial

PS last week I published a  60 degree diamond template sheet  so that you can make your own star quilt. There are instructions here for sewing too).

I’d love it if you take a look at a new tutorial I published recently How To Hang A Quilt With A Hanging Sleeve. It’s how I made the hanging sleeve for my wall quilt On The Edge. Is there anything you’d add, any tips you’d like to share? Let me know!

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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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Losing Stitching Time To Sleep

Sunday. The one day of the week we deliberately slow down, put aside some time for slow stitching and quiet thoughts. It’s a lazy day for some, resting after a busy week, de-stressing.

My body de-stresses in the most inconvenient way possible and it takes no heed of my head and the things I want to get done. It sleeps for too long, 12 hour stretches or more. This might be ok if I could get to sleep by 10pm, but no, it’s more likely to be between 1 and 2 am. Invariably I wake up with a ‘dehydration headache’, and if not a fury then a deep irritation that I can’t shake off for the rest of the day. Losing an entire morning is, ironically, as stressful as the stress that makes me sleep in the first place.

I woke up at 1.30 this afternoon.

Time, life, slips by. Let it go. I’ll find it again in my Sunday stitches.

Plain Sewing Circles

Plain Sewing, a quilt top in progress. © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

Making patches for Plain Sewing. A reverse patch with reverse fabric and a reverse circle for needle turn appliqué

Plain Sewing Collages

Making a collage from stitched book pages and fabric. (The book is a 1940s needlework book). © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

I’m working on a series of collage artworks alongside my Plain Sewing quilt top. Slow stitching is a big feature.

Making a collage from stitched book pages and fabric. (The book is a 1940s needlework book). © Stephanie Boon, 2017. www.dawnchorusstudio.com

The collage progresses. The black fabric and the transparent fabric are scraps from a childhood dress and the linen on the right is from one of Kim’s dad’s old suits. The book pages are from an old 1940s needlework book my mum gave me.

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching today. Kathy’s started a new project this week, taking one slow, steady stitch a day every day for a year. A reminder perhaps that if you look back over a long enough journey you’ll find you’ve moved forward more than you think.

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

 

 

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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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Slow Sunday Stitching – It’s On The List!

Making New Year Quilting Goals

Have you made any quilting goals for 2017? I read Kaja and Ann’s hopes and plans recently and I was inspired. Since then I’ve sat down and filled reams of notebook pages with goals, ideas and hopes for quilting, blogging and personal stuff (like exercise and reading). Making lists is pretty scary, I tend to over do it then berate myself for not completing anything.

Making plans for 2017 - list of quilting projects. www.dawnchorusstudio.com © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved

List making begins. I was surprised (and relieved) that my ‘tops in progress’ list is relatively small (There are 8 in total).

I can do without giving myself an ear-bashing so I’m sticking to ‘SMART’ goals this year, I’m sure you’ve heard of them? (I think I’ve gabbled on about them before.) Try this method if you didn’t tick everything off your 2016 list (ahem, no comment!).  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.  It’s basically a checklist to help you get things done.

SMART Stitching

Take a very simple example: one of my blogging goals is to link up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching every week. I’ve linked up as often as I could in 2016, but I want to make a bigger commitment because it’s a really inspiring marker in my week.

So I asked myself:

  1. Is this goal specific? Yes: tick.
  2. Is it measurable? i.e. can I track my progress? Yes, I just need to check my publishing dates. Another tick!
  3. Is it achievable? Probably… I worry that I’ll be posting the same old thing every week and bore the pants off you (as I’ve mentioned before). So I made myself a promise that even if I feel I don’t have anything interesting to share I’ll pop over to Kathy’s and see what you’ve been up to (I know that’s something I overlook). A tentative tick then?
  4. Is it realistic? This is the one I have endless problems with! My goals are realistic in and of themselves, but I have a tendency to try and achieve about a million of them in a week! So I’m going to qualify this question from now on: is it realistic and compatible with everything else I want to achieve? (I guess that’s asking myself to prioritise). This goal is high up on the priorities, so yes, it’s realistic…tick!
  5. Is it time-bound? i.e. how long am I going to give myself before acknowledging success or defeat? I reckon if I look back over a 6 month period I’ll get a reasonable picture of how regular my posts are, so yes, it’s time-bound. Woohoo! I’ll give myself the go-ahead then.

I often do the checklist in my head, but this time I’m writing it out next to my goals so that I get a really clear picture of what I’m trying to achieve. It’s working so far – I’ve already noticed I’ve tried to cram waaaay too much into January and had to make rather a lot of adjustments to my expectations!

Making plans for 2017 - pile of notebooks. www.dawnchorusstudio.com © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved

A very long to do list for January – it got a bit of a culling!

Follow up your goal setting with some goal tracking! My follow up post includes a tracking sheet for you to download and use.

Navel Gazing

Life’s thrown a lot of crap this way over the past couple of years and I feel like I’ve just been drifting along. I don’t really have anything concrete to look back on and say “well, despite all that you still achieved x, y and z”. I focus on the things I haven’t done instead, get worried and anxious that life’s racing by. So I’m curious to find out whether putting my thoughts in black and white will actually free up space in my head, so that when I sit quietly and stitch I know everything else is taken care of.

I always think there are so many high achievers out there (I mean people that get lots done) and I wonder how they do it, then I compare myself and question why I’m not one of them. I ask what is it that productive people do that I don’t. I ponder why I want to achieve more and question whether I’m really that unproductive, or just don’t acknowledge what I have done. This tick list is designed to give me the evidence. As long as I don’t lose it…

This time of year is all about the questions isn’t it?  So much navel gazing and not really any answers.  Do you indulge, or is it just me?

On The Edge in December

On that note I’m going to turn my attention to the last thing I actually achieved in December 2016!

On The Edge (Floating Squares) is on today’s to-do list. I’ve claimed the comfy chair in a cosy corner of the house and I’m going to tackle the knife edge binding and plan a hanging tube. Some quiet stitching to start the new year off the way I mean to go on: relaxed, calm and in control! (hahahaha!!!)

A cosy armchair for hand sewing. www.dawnchorusstudio.com © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved

My cosy corner set up for some Slow Sunday Stitching.

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching, but check out Kathy’s 2016 quilt review and her UFO list for 2017 too. What are your plans for this year – and how did you get on in 2016?

Happy New Year – and happy goal setting! (Don’t forget to download your goal tracker here.)

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

 

 

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