Frame quilts – part 1

Over the years we have come to love and appreciate one of the most classic quilt styles in the UK tradition – frame quilts.  We’ve taught several classes together and individually featuring this style (one of Chris’s class samples is shown above) and we’ve also re-visited it in several of our series of Heritage Quilt patterns.  What is so appealing about this style is its sheer versatility – it can be as simple or complicated as your time and skills allow.  Lots of piecing, not very much piecing, co-ordinated fabrics or truly scrappy, perhaps throw in some appliqué, hand piece or machine piece or combine the two techniques – it will all work.  We’ve rounded up some examples to pique your interest and Barbara has gone so far as to start up a Frame Quilts board on her Pinterest account.

First, a vintage Welsh “everyday” frame quilt from the house collection of Jen Jones.  Look how simple this is – and how stunning.

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There are several frame quilts tucked away in Barbara’s quilt cupboard –

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This is one of two frame quilts featured in Barbara’s classes at The Corner Patch this year.  Below you can see Barbara’s re-make of the same quilt – quite a difference!

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Another vintage frame quilt from The Cupboard

Again, really simple and so effective.  This would look great in almost any “style” of fabric – modern, reproduction, batiks…

And two more from the Jen Jones collection

A small selection of non-vintage frame quilt tops from our classes –

We’re going to follow this pictorial post with Frame Quilts Part 2, coming soon to a screen near you – tips and guidance on how to go about constructing your own frame quilt.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring

Lots of activity, lots of caffeine and lots of changes – Barbara is transferring to the Overseas Office for a few weeks, our Rural Office may be re-locating, there are new classes to plan and prepare, more patterns and tutorials for Meadowside Designs, The Corner Patch retreat in June requires lots of samples and worksheets, re-launch Barbara’s blog – the list is extensive.  So we’ve made a start by updating our EQ Doodles page – this time we’re featuring the Boxed Star block

Click here  to download a colouring page based on this block so you can doodle your very own variation.

We’ve been rummaging through stacks of boxes in the Archive Department at C&B Towers and found all sorts of interesting stuff including LOTS of pictures of flowers, gardens, landscapes.  We’re all familiar with the advice to find colour (and general) inspiration from this type of image but don’t always put it into practice, so we thought we’d post some random selections for you to scroll through –

We had a similar rummage through some EQ Doodles that we had filed away – it looks like some of our palette choices are influenced and inspired by images such as those above –

March 19 4

September 9 2018

March 2

Sept 17 3

March 16 5

Just a reminder that you can find us also on Instagram as @chrisfranses and @barbarachainey.  Also check out the range of patterns and tutorials on Meadowside Designs.

March Doodles

Where do the days go?! While we actually got around to putting up the Doodles page for March at the beginning of the month, we forgot to do a blogpost about them. This month’s doodle features a block called Birds and Star and you can download a colouring sheet here.

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It has taken a long time to come up with the latest ‘bright idea’ but it occurred to us that as well as doing some colouring you might occasionally actually want to make the quilt – so you would need instructions to make the block(s). So now, over on our sister site – Meadowside Designs – you can find instructions and download templates for our March Doodle block.

We have both been busy teaching at the Corner Patch this month. Barbara is using two of her vintage frame quilts in her hand-stitching classes and you can find the patterns on the Heritage Quilts Payhip site if you want to give them a go yourselves.

Chris’s students are busy making a Block of the Month quilt which this year features blocks on a 5-patch grid by way of a change – you can find photos of progress over on Chris’s Instagram account.

While we are on the subject of the Corner Patch – some of you may have heard some rumours about the shop. Jane has been making a regular appearance as a demonstrator on the Sewing Quarter TV programmes for the past couple of years – she’s been so good that they offered her a full-time job. She’d have have been mad to turn it down, but it does mean that the shop needs a new owner. So, if you have ever wanted your own patchwork shop – here’s your opportunity. The shop is based in Eccleshall, a thriving little market town in the middle of the Staffordshire countryside. It has a busy online presence too, as well as a team of teachers (we’re all excellent of course!) covering a wide range of classes and workshops. You can contact Jane via the shop website.

December!

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.

 

November – so soon!

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.

Happy stitching!

 

On to October

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?

It all starts again

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!