Maybe it’s May…

… but we’re not convinced. This year is rushing by and we think someone has forgotten to include spring in the plans. The Rural Office is surrounded by tall meadow rather than lawn as it has been too wet to mow, days of strong cold wind at the Overseas Office and all staff at C&B Towers have been issued with new raincoats and wellingtons.

Chris did manage to escape and take a few days to enjoy gardens and tulips –

Somewhere in her travels Chris  managed to pick up a mystery virus which has confined her to C&B Towers for several days – we’re hoping that it will disappear as quickly as it arrived.

Meanwhile, at the Overseas Office, Barbara spotted a new resident –

  • a little stitching has been achieved –

And the most neglected sewing machine ever was spotted in a reclamation yard –

This is probably a timely reminder for us to clean out and oil all our machines and give them an appreciative pat!

Our Electric Quilt Doodles for this month are mega simple, so no downloadable pdf – but do click over and take a look at our May offerings.

We are currently experiencing a number of background technical issues with our blog host WordPress which we hope to have resolved before our next post. 

Also, to comply with new data protection legislation we may need to remove all email subscriptions from the blog – our Technical Department is currently investigating. 

 

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April news

We’ve changed all the clocks and moved forward an hour but, in the UK, we don’t appear to have changed the winter weather.  Chris has been marooned in the Executive Suite at C&B Towers watching the rain, cold and wind sweep over the surrounding park grounds and Barbara has got so cheesed off with snow rain and cold that she has packed up and left for the Overseas Office where everything is a little brighter and considerably warmer. . .

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. . . and the desk is already in use –

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Tucked away out of sight at the Overseas Office are many project bags, plus books, fabric and other sewing basics (chocolate and caffeine perhaps? – Chris).  In fact the Overseas Office will soon be as well stocked as the Rural Office and C&B Towers, we just need to persuade the staff there to sit down and actually use it and make stuff/finish up some of those projects…

Lots of stitching in store for both of us this month as we make samples and storyboards for our Chris&Barbara day at The Corner Patch retreat – Chris started on one of her class samples and suddenly found herself finishing up a quilt top that wasn’t on the list (as you do).  Barbara has fabric to starch, press and cut into a small stack of 10inch squares before she can start her share of the samples and then a whole new Layer Cake can be opened and used.  And rumour has it that a certain Singer Featherweight might be taken out of it’s box and put to work alongside Chris’s trusty vintage Singer machine.

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We’ve refreshed the Doodle page so do click over and take a look at this month’s offering and to download a free colouring sheet (if Barbara has managed to conquer some of the “issues” with Links – Chris thinks it might just be an ageing brain, but the link is now added). EQ Doodle April

Happy sewing!!

March – is it spring soon?

This winter seems to have lasted for quite some time and we’re more than ready for spring.  Barbara is counting off the days until she heads south at the end of this month to open up the Overseas Office.  C&B Towers has remained fully operational throughout the extreme weather although the Catering and Refreshments Suite has been much in demand and staff have been working long hours to meet the need.

We both have classes at The Corner Patch this month.  Barbara will be teaching the first sessions of a Hand Stitched Sampler, plus a hand quilting class and a Star Sampler class session

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and Chris will be teaching her regular Block of The Month and Technique of the Month classes on Thursdays and Saturdays.  Our planning is well under way for the Corner Patch Retreat in June which is a good thing as time is going so quickly that it will be June before you have chance to blink.  Don’t miss out on this event – book your place now!

We’ve updated the Doodles page to reflect a new month (even if we are a few days late!) and kept everything very simple, no commentary, no colouring page download – just a few doodles using our favourite Electric Quilt design program.

February update

If it’s February it must be just a bit nearer longer days and shorter nights and maybe better light to sew by (although it goes without saying that our sewing spaces are wonderfully illuminated with the very best of task lighting….).

Chris has had such a busy start to the year with a full schedule of classes at The Corner Patch – not that much humming of sewing machines over at C&B Towers, just the whirr and clatter of the printing press as worksheets are put together.

From  the Overseas Office there are reports of lots of silent sewing/quilting but very little pictorial evidence so far.  However,  you will note that certain C&B traditions are being upheld –

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In other news our Electric Quilt Doodles page has been updated for the month – why not click over and take a look? And download the colouring sheet for a quiet coffee break.

It’s a New Year!

We’re late in wishing everyone all the best for 2018 – far too much Christmas and assorted merrymaking at both C&B Towers and the Rural Office.  Now we can look forward to a very interesting and busy year of planning and stitching (not to mention the coffee).  Chris has lots of classes booked at The Corner Patch, her monthly Wandering the Web column and quilts appearing in magazines, Barbara has classes at The Corner Patch and a mountain of UFOs to work through while she is in charge of the Overseas Branch.

One thing we are both very excited about is the Grand Quilting Retreat in June to celebrate 5 years of The Corner Patch – we’re going to be teaching over the weekend and generally having a good time.  Jane has opened the bookings list so if you want to be part of this super event get in touch via the website or email jane@thecornerpatch . If you are signed up for Jane’s Newsletter you will have seen the following ad –

Quilting Retreat
Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th June
Yarnfield Training and Conference Centre, ST15 0NL
Spend a fun-filled weekend in the relaxing Staffordshire countryside, patchwork and quilting with expert teachers Chris Franses and Barbara Chainey.
All meals and accommodation are included.
For more information e-mail jane@thecornerpatch.co.uk or ring 01785 859360

Barbara has also made plans for a small handstitching retreat in May at the Overseas Branch – email ourhomesinspain@gmail.com for dates and details.

And as if this all weren’t enough there’s an exciting new website due to launch on January 9th – ukqu.co.uk – if you register before that date then you will be entered for a prize draw to win a truly mega prize. Once the website launches you will find all sorts of things happening there – a Block of the Month, a Mystery Quilt, online shopping, hints and tips, guest bloggers each month (including Chris) and more. Registration is free so go and sign up, you have nothing to lose. You’ll find more information on their Facebook page – but again you need to register to join in the fun.

In the meantime Barbara has managed to do some January EQ Doodles and there is the usual colouring sheet to download as well.

EQ doodle Jan

December already?!

The December EQ doodles have arrived even if Father Christmas hasn’t yet. However we have brought you a bumper colouring pack this month rather than just a sheet. You can download it here. As ever you can print it off as many times as you like, cut it up and re-arrange the blocks to make your quilt designs and generally have fun (in between wrapping presents, basting the turkey, peeling sprouts . . . .).

In breaking news (drum roll) one of our Minton tile patterns will be in the January issue of British Patchwork and Quilting magazine due out mid-December. This one was based on a tiled floor in Uttoxeter and is double bed size.

(Barbara thinks this is one really smart quilt that would look great in any colour way and is thrilled that yet another of Chris’s quilts will appear in print. )

Looking ahead to next year –

News reaches us from the Overseas Office that Barbara is planning a Hand Stitching Retreat there in May 2018 – you’ll find an email link for further info on her website and blog.

Chris has an exceptionally full programme of classes throughout 2018 at The Corner Patch – Block of the Month, Technique of the Month and more besides – details and pics on The Corner Patch website.

Barbara will be deserting the Overseas Office in March, June and October for a mini series of hand stitching classes at The Corner Patch – dates have been fixed and the samples almost finished.

We are also looking forward to being a part of The Corner Patch’s first quilting retreat in June – this will be one event not to be missed!

So, busy times ahead – in the meantime all the staff at C&B Towers, the Rural Office and the Overseas Office wish you a merry Christmas and an excellent New Year.

November?

Far too much excitement at C&B Towers and the Overseas Office EQ8 has arrived!!  Not quite in time for our monthly EQ Doodles – you can find November’s offerings over on the Doodle page – but we’ll report back on the many new features of our favourite quilt design program.  Both of us have used EQ since the very first version and it is difficult to imagine quilting life without it.

However – it has arrived in time to do the colouring page which you can download here. Chris has been playing with it in between gardening and teaching and class prep and all sorts of other ‘stuff’.

EQ8 is very different in layout from EQ7 – all the buttons and menus are in different places which makes it very confusing. Hopefully over time we’ll get used to it, just as we have with the other versions that have had seemingly drastic changes in layout.

Here’s a sampling of Chris’s first impressions – “Of the new features that it has, the lack of a ‘sticky’ line is a good one but as I very rarely use any of the other bits that have been tweaked I haven’t yet noticed anything else ‘new’ beyond the change in menus and buttons, and, of course, a new palette of fabrics and colours. There are supposed to be loads of new blocks too but they must be in the ‘Contemporary Foundation’ or ‘Contemporary Applique’, neither of which I tend to use, as I haven’t found them yet. I had several of my own libraries of blocks and fabrics in EQ7 (many transferred from EQ6) and have managed to transfer them to EQ8 but I find they are now in the main block and fabric library sections – there is no ‘My Library’ anymore only ‘My Favourites’ – and you can’t therefore add more blocks (or fabrics) to them. I will have to start new libraries which I find very annoying. On the plus side it is much clearer for those who squinted at the tiny menu icons before and is (supposedly) more intuitive and ‘user friendly’. I think if you were a new user and/or were used to ipad, iphone or Mac menus you would find it looked very familiar. For those of us who have grown up with PCs and the old versions it is very very different in looks, although not in function (once you’ve found where all those buttons have been hidden). Below is a preview of the quilt design page and the sketchbook. I have moved my menus to the right hand side of the screen as that is where I am used to having them – the default is on the left.”

C&B Towers continues to hum with activity – Chris is teaching a full programme of  weekly classes at The Corner Patch with all the prepping and printing and packing that is involved.  Plus there are important landscaping issues to be attended to – a new lake has been added to the park-like grounds surrounding the Towers.  Sleep has been in fairly short supply!

At the Overseas Office many (smallish) crates of fabric, books and projects have been unloaded and unpacked – sufficient for several months intensive stitching at least.  The major problem will be determining where to start – so many projects, so little time!!

If you do have some time though – The Corner Patch 5th Birthday Weekend extravaganza takes place in Eccleshall on Saturday and Sunday 18th and 19th November. Here’s what Jane has posted about it –

“We’re celebrating in style…by hosting a Quilt Show with craft stalls (for a little Christmas shopping) on Saturday 18th (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sunday 19th November (11.15 a.m.- 4 p.m.) at the beautiful and historic Holy Trinity Church , Eccleshall ST21 6BY.

The Friday morning ladies have made a fantastic quilt to raffle (tickets are available from the shop and will be on sale over the weekend) and the wonderful John Scott from Sewing Quarter is coming on Sunday to draw the winning ticket.

There will be a tombola and refreshments being served in the Parish Room next to the church.”

All money raised will be divided between Holy Trinity Church and The Autistic Society. Hope to see you there!