C&B Towers has shut down for a few days while the British winter does its worst – not the numbing polar blast our US friends are experiencing but grim enough that the best remedy is a steaming mug of coffee next to a warmed-up sewing machine and a nest of batting to keep out the draught.
At the Overseas Office however the sun is shining and the skies are blue….
We’ve both been very inspired by the Hannah Hauxwell quilts we talked about in our previous post. Chris has drafted templates for one of the quilts, Barbara has made test blocks and is now frantically rummaging through the Overseas Stash to find just the right fabrics to make some more. We’ve also revisited our extensive files of vintage quilts including some from the depths of The Cupboard at the Rural Office – we predict that several new patterns will be available before too long! Here’s a quick glimpse of just two of The Cupboard quilts –
Both of these quilts are particular favourites of ours – the first one starts at the centre with a 4inch block and then grows out in traditional frame style with very simple pieced borders; the second one is far more elaborate with a centre panel of pieced blocks and a series of pieced borders. We’ll show you some more of both quilts once Barbara returns to the Rural Office and rummages in The Cupboard.
And in other news, our Electric Quilt Doodles have been updated and you can download a colouring page here – feb doodle
Hannah Hauxwell (1926 – 2018) was an amazing woman who lived on a remote farm in Yorkshire almost entirely cut off from the outside world until a TV documentary was made about her in 1972. She died in February last year and next month Tennants will be auctioning the quilts from her house. You can find out a little more about the quilts (and Hannah) in this blogpost from UK Quilters United.
We think most of these quilts were most likely made in the late 19th century (1890s). In her book Seasons of my Life Hannah says –
“Both Grandma and Mother were clever with their hands, making mats and quilts. Grandma laboured for years with her frames and turned out all the mats for the house. I have still got two quilts that she made, which have been in use for as long as I can recall. Mother knitted a white cotton quilt before she married, which I treasure to this day. I have done a bit myself, but possess neither the ability nor the patience to do fine work. I prefer thick wool which gets done rather more quickly, and during the war I unravelled some of Grandma’s things and knitted them up again“.
This ‘Grandma’ was probably her paternal grandmother Elizabeth Hauxwell (nee Bayles) (1862 – 1940) as one of the quilts has the initials EB embroidered on the back. Her maternal grandmother was Ann Sayer (nee Tallentire) (1853 – 1930) and it is unlikely Hannah would remember her as she would have only been about four when Ann died. Hannah’s full name by the way was Hannah Bayles Tallentire Hauxwell thus showing her ancestry through her middle names – an absolute gift to genealogists!
We rather liked this six-pointed star quilt from the ones being sold and as Chris has drafted some templates to make something very similar (download them here) Barbara may have a go at making if not an entire quilt then perhaps a cushion or table runner. Rumour has it that a stash has been picked through, fabrics assembled and pieces cut for a test block or two. You’ll notice that the original shows identical fabric placement from block to block but we think this charming star and square pattern would look just as good in random scraps.
All the festive stuff has been packed away and the corridors of C&B Towers have been swept clear of tinsel ready to be replaced with the usual random pins and bits of thread. Over at the Rural Office it’s a similar story but with added suitcases and project boxes – there’s a short visit to the Overseas Office in the offing and a healthy level of supplies needs to be maintained.
There are new doodles over on our Doodles page for you to scroll through plus a link there for a downloadable colouring page. The IT Department is working overtime on a number of changes and improvements to various aspects of our web presence – we’ll post updates here when work is complete.
A quick glimpse of a corner of Barbara’s desk – some EPP looks to be under way. Chris’s desk is too overloaded to take any pics – a large quilt is being finished so watch this space!
Keeping this post really short, more soon!
We seem to have reached the last month of this year in somewhat of a rush. There may be snowflakes falling across the blog pages but we haven’t yet managed to acquire much festive spirit. Barbara is packing up her desk at the Overseas Office ready to make a quick return to the Rural Office and Chris is hurtling around at C&B Towers putting the finishing touches to class plans, Web Wandering, class samples and other essentials.
Breaking news of the gloomy sort is that our beloved HQ may soon be closing its doors so we are going to have do undertake extensive research to find a replacement. For more than 10 years it has been our preferred venue for coffee, lunches, executive meetings and general hideout – a very hard act to follow. Fingers crossed that it is one of those rumours that occasionally sweep through the town but turn out not to be that accurate.
Our Electric Quilt doodles page has been updated – you can find a printable download for a colouring page here.
Tentative steps are being taken this week to host internet linked classes at The Corner Patch. Barbara has been connecting wires to cameras and laptops and turning a bedroom in the Overseas Office into a mini studio – the not-yet-finished quilt on the bed looked rather fetching (and seasonal) –
Seasonal greetings and happy stitching to one and all.
One of our high level executive meetings at HQ last month generated a lot of furious scribbling in notebooks – to-do lists, class topic lists, ideas lists, lists of lists, and lots of impromptu diagrams and quilt plans. And then we had the bright (?) idea that we might, from time to time, share a glimpse into our notebooks right here on the blog. Just because we could. So, striking while the proverbial iron is still warmish, here’s the first showing of Barbara’s current notebook, somewhat battered and dog-eared and a random taste of what it contains –
We have had many requests for the return of our weekly Mystery Monday feature and we’re planning on reviving this excellent tradition very soon – it may be a brand new Mystery or one from the archives, we haven’t decided yet – but a Mystery there will be. We went rummaging through the archives in the basement of C&B Towers and had the greatest difficulty in finding any suitable images to post here for Mystery Monday so no encouraging pictures as yet – just have to wait for the real thing to show up.
The Overseas Office is starting to show signs of activity – the first projects look like being English Paper Piecing (EPP) with a hexagonal flavour….
Chris is busy with plans and samples for next year’s classes and was heard muttering something about “houses, houses ….” And of course, lots of houses in our area have lovely Minton tile floors …
Our EQ doodles page has been refreshed and – do click over and take a look at this month’s offering. You’ll find a free colouring page to download here – EQ doodle November.
This is the month of “getting stuff done” – maybe. We are having a high level committee meeting at HQ next week where lists and plans will be presented and approved. Barbara is returning from the Overseas Office specifically for this event (and also to teach some classes at The Corner Patch) and C&B Towers will be closed for the day. Chris is almost fully occupied with her various weekly classes at The Corner Patch (follow @chrisfranses on Instagram for pictures and updates ) and monthly Web Wandering for P&Q magazine.
At the top of this post is one of our Electric Quilt doodles from last October – all suitable autumnal tones and Flying Geese. This month’s doodles are rather different both in style and colourway – check them out on our dedicated page. Click on this link for a downloadable doodle to colour in EQ Doodle Oct
In other news we are hoping to make a special trip to the Jen Jones Quilt Museum before it closes its doors forever at the end of this year. We have made several pilgrimages to Jen’s over the years, starting way back in 1991 – seems like only yesterday! Below is one of our favourite quilts from Jen’s amazing collection – so graphic and stylish don’t you think?
After what seemed like a never-ending winter followed by one of the longest summers we can remember our thoughts are now set on a busy autumn programme of classes and projects. At C&B Towers renovations to an adjacent property are a noisy disruption to the calm required for creativity (and gardening) – all staff have been given leave of absence so Chris is manning the fort (almost literally) armed with noise-cancelling headphones. Barbara has taken off, yet again, for the peace and quiet of the Overseas Office. Maybe what we really need is somewhere that would be a Not-Overseas-C&B Towers, with all the benefits of both locations and none of the drawbacks.
Chris’s classes at The Corner Patch in Eccleshall begin this month, Barbara’s classes are scheduled for October. Samples and worksheets are being put together even as this page goes to press, new EQ doodles are posted on our Doodles page (you can download a colouring sheet here) and notebooks and lists are being consulted. It really feels like autumn!!
Mini Star Sampler quilt top for one of Barbara’s Corner Patch classes –
Rick Rack Star block for October –
A Star Sampler from EQ, recently “discovered” in Barbara’s files. Fabrics might be being selected at this very moment…… just when another project is the last thing you need!
Chris’s next Block of the Month – starting next week – at The Corner Patch is on display on the shop wallRemember Chris’s regular Wandering the Web feature in P&Q magazine, also take a look at the UKQU website and Facebook presence. Happy stitching!