About Barbara

teacher and writer http://barbarachaineyquilts.wordpress.com www.barbarachainey.com

Super Zoom!

A late report (but better late than never) on our Live Online PopUp class on Saturday 17th October.  This started out as a real class scheduled for March this year, postponed to July, then again to October.  Around September we decided that we would adapt to Zoom rather than keep moving the date and being disappointed. And it worked really well – we had two main demo sessions with a break after each and a short summary at the end when everyone waved blocks around.  Live online classes are the next best thing to the live in person classes that we’ve become so used to over the years, but we appreciate that not everyone wants to make the transition or deal with technology!

Here are Kate & Jane’s first blocks forwarded to us during the class –

And Speedy Helen sent these pics of her FINISHED (as in quilted and bound) quilt on Tuesday –

complete with pieced back!

Thanks to everyone who was with us on screen on Saturday, and particular thanks to our pal Judi Mendelssohn who had been volunteered ( by us ) to help us keep things heading in the right direction.

Happy stitching!

Scrappy Sunday

Another Sunday and a little more scrappiness from the Overseas Office.  Limited progress on these dinky hexagon stars –

but lots of scraps available to make more progress.

Looking for something else entirely in archive files we came across this photo –

this was one of the very first quilts Barbara made.  Before we understood about quilting!  Measurements and templates made more by guesstimate than precision and mathematics, machine pieced with enthusiasm but absolutely no skill or consistency, backed with cheap curtain lining, top composed entirely of furnishing fabric (heavy cotton) offcuts and scraps.  It’s a wonder that any seams met – and if you look closely, most of them don’t!

But it’s still holding together after all these years – a great testament to scraps and enthusiasm.

Scrappy Sunday

We can’t believe it’s more than 12months since we started this series of Scrappy posts.  Barbara was looking through her photos from the past year and was quite surprised at the number of scrappy projects she has started, worked on and taught during that time.  We thought we’d share just a few of them – absolutely no prizes for guessing which ones remain at the “begun” stage!

Plenty of autumn and winter stitching in store!

Scrappy Sunday

At the Overseas Office more scrap sorting and folding has taken place and it has now been determined that there are sufficient scraps stowed away to make several quilt tops, many bags, hundreds of cushions (possible exaggeration there?)  and no new fabric is needed.  Of course, as we all know, there is a difference between “need” and “want” ….  But, for now, Barbara is still finding plenty of scrappy project inspiration from the freshly-organised scraps – you may remember these from an earlier post –

Sorting scraps has led on to sorting the basket stuffed with project bags.  This simple little 4patch piece was put together probably four years ago (not that anyone is counting).  Time to get this out of its bag and quilted then rummage back in the scraps for a binding.  Lots more quilting to be added but it’s looking good so far –

Somehow simple always seems to work really well when pulling together a wide variety of scraps.  Scroll back to see some of our earlier scrappy posts on squares and –

happy stitching!

Scrappy Sunday – stars again!


A few more bags of small scraps have surfaced at the Overseas Office –

– so there may be more sorting, smoothing and re-packing to come.

We started Scrappy Sunday posts almost a year ago and, during this time, we feel we have barely scratched the surface of “Scrappy”.  Barbara has come to realise that almost everything she has made over the past decade has had a scrappy starting point.  And it certainly is the case that sorting and sifting scraps can often lead to a new scrappy project – look lower left in the picture above.  It’s another hexagon/diamond star – EPP this time – which just might be the first of many. 

No plan at this stage for the many, yet to be made, star blocks.  Maybe a variation on the setting of some earlier scrappy star blocks which are a little smaller scale.  The diamonds in this piece measure 1 1/4inches along the side, the newer diamonds are 1 1/2 inches along the side.

Scrap sorting beckons – happy scrappy stitching!

Scrappy Sunday – scrap reduction?

An almost momentous event this week at the Overseas Office – various bags of scraps were emptied onto the worktable with the aim of sorting and reducing the heaps and making them more manageable.








Resisting the urge to press everything   -!! – Barbara spent a happy hour or so straightening and sorting ALL this jumble into categories.

Category 1 – Far too small to be of any use to anyone.

Category 1a – Small weird shapes, 1inch or more

Category 2 – Very narrow strips, any length

Category 3 – Less narrow strips, any length

Category 4 – Slightly wider strips, any length

Category 5 – Wider strips and chunks

Category 1 is covered by scissors, Category 1a is to the right, Categories 2 – 5 middle and above.

Categories 1 and 1a have been combined and are off to a good home with another quilter who collects improbably tiny scraps.  The rest have fitted neatly into one medium ziplock bag –

Overall result of this sorting and organising is that it makes room for more fabric! It may be time for a little online retail therapy…..

Scrappy Sunday – on the table

Sometimes you can overlook the obvious – take a look at Barbara’s worktable at the Rural Office

Concealing the crates that are stowed under the table is a very well worn scrappy quilt placed face down.  The quilting on this vintage piece is fabulously random and bears no relation to the simple large squares of varying weight fabrics that have been pieced together –

An excellent reminder that quilts don’t have to be complex or complicated to be useful and treasured – simple scraps simply pieced and simply quilted = great result.

Scrappy Sunday – a basket case

Much rummaging deep in The Cupboard at the Rural Office this week and this gloriously scrappy (and pink) quilt top came to the top of one of the quilt stacks.  Hand pieced with fabrics dating from 1860 onwards we think this would be a great scrap project to remake in contemporary fabrics and you can find a pattern over at our Heritage Quilts Payhip Shop.

Hard to believe that July is slipping away and it’s almost time to tidy and close The Cupboard and transfer to the Overseas Office for a while.  But Scrappy Sundays will continue – see you next week!


Scrappy Sunday – Rolling Star

Scrappy Sunday takes on a vintage air today as we announce the release of another pattern in our Heritage Quilts series.  The original quilt is tucked up in The Cupboard over at the Rural Office and is in quite a delicate condition so it’s great to be able to share it in pattern form at least.  Very much a scrappy quilt, handpieced (without papers) and handquilted, very well-worn and washed there is still considerable charm to the small Rolling Star blocks which are made from a wide variety of 1930s prints.

This Rolling Star quilt pattern is available via our Heritage Quilts shop on Payhip.

Barbara was the official Template Tester for this pattern and managed to rustle up three scrappy blocks with scrappy sashing and borders to make a  mini table mat –


Scrappy Sunday

Barbara’s scrappy stitching has swerved off in a slightly different direction this week.  Small “apple cores” have sneaked in under the radar and a small teaching sample is under way.  Super easy for handstitchers, more of a challenge for machine piecers perhaps.

The most recent scrappy project for Barbara’s intrepid band of handstitchers featured a Four Point Star block – the blocks finish at 6inches so the project is a very manageable 18inches square without borders.

Over at the Rural Office bags of scraps and crates of stash have been emptied out and re-sorted just because that’s what you do when life gives you lockdown.  At C&B Towers there has been much cajoling of scraps into blocks, backgrounds, backings and battings.  Scrappiness definitely rules!