classes, Inspiration, Teaching

Pop-Up finishes

A few of the Mystery Pop-Up quilts have been finished (or nearly finished).

Mouse and Chris (although this had to be finished in time for the class, so we’re cheating a bit here!) have made runners

Meanwhile Margaret C has completed her little quilt top and Chris has put the ‘Blue Peters’ together to complete her top. Neither of them quilted yet – decisions have to be made!

How are yours progressing? Photos of finishes (or nearly-finished) always welcome!

The design was based (somewhat loosely) on one of the local Minton tiled doorsteps. Where do you find inspiration for designs?


PopUp pics

Later than planned but nonetheless – we wanted to share just a few pics from our PopUp Mystery class last week. All the usual C&B stuff- lots of chat, lots of tea and coffee, lots of humming sewing machines – was in evidence, plus an outstanding colour co-ordinated manicure modelled by Mouse …

We began to wonder if we had sent out a memo to everyone that said “Come dressed to match your fabric choices” –

And here’s Mouse’s blocks ready to be stitched together – another example of matching to fabric choices

A few more pics to come in our next post – see you soon!

classes, procrastination, scraps

Using up …

At C&B Towers and the Overseas Office the current working theme seems to be put all orphan blocks, sample blocks and bits, and UFOs to good use.

In the last few months Chris has resurrected and revived all manner of pieces that she had almost forgotten about and it has been very satisfying to make Something Unplanned out of them. The Photography Department has promised us that we will have pictures of these pieces to show in a future post.

Further south at the Overseas Office Barbara has been conjuring blocks for class samples out of scraps left over from other class samples and that has been a satisfying exercise too. For several years now the majority of class samples Barbara has made have had a similar colour palette, nearly always with a red print or prints included. The useful thing about this strategy is that, ultimately, all the samples should “go” together and can be arranged into some sort of sampler. This is not a new idea but it really does work very well and this year may be the start of arranging the contents of the sample bag. Here’s a quick glimpse of the current class sample plus one or two from 2022 –

This really is using up – the black print above featured in a quilt Chris made a LONG time ago and Barbara purloined the leftovers!

Back to sorting out pieces from the past!

classes, procrastination, Teaching

Long ago . . .

back in 2009 to be exact we ran a Chris and Barbara workshop called Stack and Switch where one of the ideas was to make what we called curvy pinwheels. Some of you may have dim recollections of it, some of you may even have made something after the workshop.

In sorting and tidying and general rummaging through cupboards and bags Chris came across the Blue Peters and complete blocks from that workshop. More rummaging produced some fabrics that ‘would do’ as sashing or borders. For some reason there were only three purple blocks but four multi-coloured blocks so finally two tops have been put together – a runner and a small square thingy –

Let’s hope it doesn’t take another thirteen years to quilt them!

classes, possibilities, Teaching

Popping up in 2023

Even though 2023 has only just begun we are already looking ahead to our PopUp Mystery day on Saturday 18th March. Lots of office work and admin at C&B Towers and quite a bit of fabric cutting and stitching over at the Rural Office.

It’s going to be interesting to see all the different versions of the Mystery. And still on the topic of things mysterious we are going to respond to popular demand and post a vintage C&B Mystery here beginning in March – sharpen your rotary cutter, check your stash and dust off your sewing machine!

classes, Projects

Next PopUp

Our recent high level conferences have been most successful, possibly because we’ve added bacon sandwiches to the essential conference menu ! There has been much scribbling in notebooks, consulting diaries and, of course, making lists. Top of the list was finding a date for another PopUp class and we’re pleased to report that we’ve found a date, made plans and booked the venue for a C&B PopUp Class next March – Saturday 18th March 2023. Although we’ve officially retired ourselves from hosting regular C&B classes we do enjoy these occasional PopUp events which have proven extremely popular (maybe it’s the lemon drizzle cake? – not visible in the pics below).

And now back to the lists and the ongoing finishing/progressing of projects/samples ancient and modern – we’re both trying very hard on this front with varying levels of success!


Conference season

This is the time of year when we usually have several in-depth conferences at HQ and do what we cheerily call “forward planning”. Decisions and conversations regarding PopUp classes, virtual or actual; blog, maintain or discard; articles and patterns, do more or do less – and so on. Quantities of caffeine can be consumed at these conferences and there is much scribbling in notebooks. The first conference is a week away and we will be trying out our new HQ venue. Wish us luck!

Part of our conference preparation is to look back at bygone classes and projects – here are a few random memories from the Rural Office archive –

classes, heritage quilts, Inspiration, possibilities

September bows out

We’ll be auditioning some possibilities for our new HQ very soon (see previous post) as staff transfer from the Overseas to the Rural Office. One of the topics high on the “discuss” agenda is – to pop up or not to pop up? and when to pop up? Our in person and virtual pop up classes have been immensely popular but it’s not always easy to match inclination with diaries and venue bookings. Another topic, lower down on the agenda, is linking “Ragged & Rescued” (Barbara’s 2023 theme for lectures and classes) to our Heritage Quilt series. There’s a fair amount of quilts and patchwork stored at the Rural Office which fall within the Ragged & Rescued category and make interesting viewing.

Looks like we might need several coffees!

classes, quilt shows

Quilts from the past

We enjoyed having a ringside seat at the Staffs Ps&Qs 40th Anniversary celebration in July – lots of quilts we remembered from classes we had taught together or individually and lots of excellent quilt chat (and cake!). Here’s just two samples – first from the 1980s, second from 2009.

Made by Eileen Jenkins, traditional needleturn applique and hand quilting.
Made by Sheila Hughes, machine pieced, longarm quilted

We’re still in the lazy part of August with not much to report – this may change soon!


Popping Up

Much later than planned we’re reporting in on our most recent PopUp class – in person and almost like it used to be before you-know-what. Everyone had a great day and just enjoyed sewing together with ample supplies of coffee, tea and cake. We had chosen a block designed by Jeffrey Gutcheon entitled “Proof through the night” as the creative focus for the class, the practical focus was revising the various ways of making HSTs (Half Square Triangles). Some students turned their HSTs into the class block, some took a different path and made other blocks and a good time was had by all!