New website further update

If you wish to book online or follow any of the links (they will be working on the new site soon) then you can visit our alternative website. In the meantime Chris will be working on adding booking forms, links, and other delights to the new site – we’ll let you know when it is fully functional.

New website

As some of you may have noticed a new website is being created. It’s partially done  – the bare bones are there. But at the moment you can’t book a workshop online. It is coming soon. If you want to book then send us an email  to info (at)

Chris will be beavering away in the IT Suite over the next few days to reinstate online booking, photos, maps and other little titivations.

Social media …

We’ve contemplated the so-called wonders of Facebook for more than a couple of years now and, it’s fair to say, not been too keen on diving in.  Well, we kind of dipped a toe in but didn’t quite get the set up right. But a number of recent “stiffening” talks from various friends about getting involved in social media has had the desired effect – now we each have a Pinterest and Instagram account.  It may have taken a lot of muttering and grumbling and many heavy sighs (and Chris finally succumbing to the 21st century and getting a smart phone), but we have them!  Eventually we will get around to putting link buttons on the sidebar here but in the meantime, if you’re ahead of us in this respect (and you probably are) please pop over to see us in either place and maybe hit a “like” or “follow” button to encourage us on our way.

You’ll find Barbara at barbarachainey and Chris at chrisfranses – excitingly original huh? 

Chris has also been very busy with Meadowside Designs – a new website , a Block of the Month and new patterns on the blog as well as keeping up with the Meadowside Craftsy page.  C&B Towers has seldom witnessed so much activity in the IT Suite, the coffee machine has had a hard time keeping pace!


Positive negative …

… was the title of Saturday’s class as well as a fair summation of Chris’s state of mind over the last few weeks. However, all is positive once more as the computer is back with all files restored (I very nearly kissed the lad who achieved it, but thought better of it – Chris) and (fingers crossed) virus-free. This is a Good Thing as Barbara was awol on holiday on Saturday leaving Chris with the worksheet and samples and the essential tea and biccies bag. It was a full class but they all played nicely. And ‘play’ was the word of the day as, after a very quick demo of the basic idea, everyone was turned loose to have a go, see what they could do and where they could take it.

Two basic patterns were provided – a large one for layer cakes and a small one for charm squares. As you will see from the following photos a wide variety of designs emerged from just those two as different colour schemes gave different perspectives – from the subdued and autumnal to riotous rainbows, and colour schemes to match the sewing bag (entirely accidental apparently). Different threads and stitches on the machines were played with to stitch everything in place, some blurring the edges of the applique and others emphasising them. Some designed their own shapes and others experimented with splitting the shapes and mixing things up even more. By the end of the day there were at least three bags and four cushions well on the way to finished.

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As an added extra, lunchtime saw a quick show and tell from previous classes – Anthea and Barbara had completed their table runners from the Drunkard’s Square class and Mairie and Maggi both had finishes from Freestyle Piecing which was only a fortnight ago!

Anthea Drunkard's square

Barbara drunkard's square

Maggi freestyle

Mairie freestyle

And so another year of Chris and Barbara Workshops comes to an end. Where did the year go? But we have a new programme of workshops for next year – have a look on the website – and now that the IT Department is up and running again we can get down to designing and writing worksheets.

One thing after another

We’ve reeled from computer emergencies to fabric emergencies this week. The computer emergency is ongoing and has shut down a complete department at C& B Towers and limited the IT scope of our Rural Office too. Fabric emergencies have been generated during all the cutting and stitching that seems to have filled our time while we await the resolution of the computer situation. Chris has begun and finished a full size quilt – so far only this glimpse is available

– designed and finished the sample for her next Machine Quilting class –

There have been several trips to The Corner Patch to find fabric ( who would have thought you could find fabric in a quilt shop!?) to rescue incomplete borders and backing and discover the need to acquire fabric for projects as yet unplanned – so much choice!






Barbara found one selection irresistible and now finds that a new quilt for The Grandson is imperative

Absence of computers = more stitching time for Barbara’s newest hand piecing project

Increasing the size of this sample will result in another fabric emergency as there are very limited supplies in this colour range in Barbara’s freshly-tidied and seriously reduced stash.
Dealing with all this stress and activity has taken its toll and our intake of this vital resource has increased considerably

Time to put the clocks back and enjoy the “extra” hour – and a lack of emergencies next week!

New website

We have a new website!  The content hasn’t changed much but it is now hosted by WordPress so we have been able to make it look a bit more like our blog.  We’ve talked about it for ages; Chris read up how to transfer from one place to another, scratched her head and said huh? and wha? rather a lot and nothing happened. Then came … the new computer. The programme that drove the old website had to be downloaded to the new computer.  Not a problem.  But … the old website was sufficiently elderly by now that the new version of the programme couldn’t talk to it, so no alterations could be made to links and other essentials.  This was an Emergency!  So, favours were called in and resulted in a rescuer by the name of Martin (who rescues USB data among other things). He moved the website for us and, after we’d tinkered about with it and transferred all the content and pronounced ourselves sort-of satisfied, another call was made to ask  – what do we do now??? Back came a text saying – nowt, I’ve just done it. What a star!  Any errors in the website and links are ours – please let us know if you find any as we haven’t finished checking everything doubly thoroughly yet.  All of which means that you can look forward to a month or two of tinkering with both website and blog while we decide which ‘look’ we both like.  And, as two fully-qualified procrastinators, making that decision could take us a while!

So far, patterns, books (including that well-loved “minor classic” Right from the Start) and class payments are available on the website.  Chris keeps trying to bludgeon  persuade Barbara that it would be ok to have her quilting pattern books on the C&B website, but so far no success – these books are only available on Barbara’s website.

While Chris has been dealing with all these weighty technical matters Barbara has had a busy week wearing her Chairman’s hat at the Staffs Patchworkers meeting and finishing samples for our Pickle Dish class –

Onwards! – have a great weekend.