Scrappy Sunday – more squares

We thought we’d take a second look at squares and scraps – this time with examples from EQ to show just a few possibilities.  One simple block composed entirely of squares, nothing could be simpler and it’s a perfect way to put lots of different scraps together without too much angst as to what goes with what.  Start with lots of squares, say 2 1/2inch ones, and divide them into two piles, one dark and one light.  It’s the dark vs light distinction that makes this scrap control process work because it eliminates the constant question “does this fabric look good with that one?”.  Most of us find “random” and “scrappy” very challenging concepts and the dark vs light division makes a good place to start.  Here’s a 16square grid for us to play with dark and light scrap values –

The first, simplest and most traditional arrangement for this grid would probably be a checkerboard –

and it’s fairly easy to predict what a whole quilt made from these blocks would look like, so we won’t!  But if we tweak the arrangement of lights and darks (remember, we’re ignoring colour here) the same grid might look like one of the blocks below –

 

 

 

And, yes, we have used one more value – medium – in some of the examples above.  That’s because once you have divided your scrappy squares into lights and darks you are sure to find that some darks are just darker and some darks are almost medium when compared with the light pile.  Now take a look at some quilt plans using the above blocks in a straight edge to edge setting –

And here’s one of the blocks set with sashing and cornerstones rather than edge to edge.  Giving scrappy blocks just a little breathing room with simple sashing can actually bring everything together really well –

We’ve just looked at arrangements of scrap squares of the same size – what if (our favourite question!) you mix scrap squares of related sizes in the same block? Here are two of Barbara’s scrappy square blocks finished into cushions.  Notice that there are very few, if any, fabric duplications – these really were conjured from scraps!

More scrappiness next Sunday – happy stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

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Scrappy Sundays – Squares

Organised folk often cut their smaller scraps into squares and store them in clearly labelled boxes or bags; others of us just tip out the scrap bags and chop various bits into squares of the right size when inspiration strikes. Whichever side you fall on – organised or haphazard – here’s a few ideas for using up those square(ish) bits or that charm pack you can’t think what to do with.

This first quilt is an old one and made from shirtings – scraps or samples from a local factory perhaps. The squares are not quite square and have been joined into rows then the rows joined together. But the initial size may have been too small as others rows were added around the centre and are running the other way – so the centre rows are horizontal and the outer rows are vertical; but it makes the design more interesting.

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The back is made from strips of the same fabric. There is no wadding, the two layers have been roughly stitched together with some straight(ish) lines down the quilt – with several tucks and pleats. Another reminder to us all not to fret about mistakes but to be happy you have finished a useful article.

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This next quilt was made from a pack of Laura Ashley squares back in the early 1980s – I fear it could now be classed as vintage. Just squares joined into 9-patch blocks with simple crosshatch quilting it made a quick and useful quilt for a new home.

Laura Ashley squares CF

Ann Jermey always has excellent ideas for using up her scraps (she is organised and keeps them in labelled boxes and bags!). Here are a few of her quilts using up some of those squares – notice how she makes the most of a small number of pieces by turning things on point, or using a tilted setting.

If you have a charm pack or a more organised set of squares you could consider setting them on point with sashing between and grading the colours to make a quilt like this one. The idea originally was to try to make a leaded window looking out into a flower garden – with the view distorted by the old glass panes. I’m not convinced it worked but it still makes an interesting little quilt.

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Through the magic of EQ we can bring you this idea to use up charm squares or layer cake squares or something in between. Use the ‘square corner’ method to make snowball blocks from your squares and stitch the left-over triangles together (you can do this before you trim them from the square). Use these triangles to make pinwheel blocks as cornerstones in a sashing and border.

snowballs

And finally this big quilt uses up yet more jelly roll bits – these ones were too small for anything except squares, but sewn into blocks and separated with two contrasting sashings they turned into a large bed-size quilt.

Sbends CF

The pattern for this quilt was first published in British Patchwork and Quilting magazine in July 2013 or you can buy the pattern here.

Flaming June

– at least that’s what it feels like at the Overseas Office where at last the temperature has settled in to the traditional summer reading of 30 degrees C or higher.   At C&B Towers however the story is a little different and work on the park-like gardens has been interrupted by blustery wind and rain.  So, for different reasons, we are both busy with indoor sewing and planning – samples to finish for the next round of classes at The Corner Patch are high on the list.

We’ve refreshed the EQ doodle page again – another simple block this time but a straightforward and quick make if you felt so inclined.  Download a free colouring sheet here June doodle and try out your own variation without any fabric being involved.  As many of you already know, we are both keen advocates of EQ and can’t imagine our quilting and teaching life without it.

The main desk at the Overseas Office has been fairly productive and a number of projects have been “progressed”.  This is our new preferred description, it sounds a lot more positive than “still not finished”….. Here’s a quick glimpse of just four of the projects – 


C&B Towers – before the rain

and at the Overseas Office –

Happy stitching!

 

Maybe it’s May …

Welcome to May!  There’s a considerable buzz in the corridors of C&B Towers as preparations get under way for the Corner Patch Retreat in June.  Sounds a long way away but actually only six short weeks to go.  (Perhaps we should count the time in long weeks instead? – Chris.)  We’re really looking forward to doing our teaching double act again for a whole weekend and there’s a lot of “stuff” we need to get ready.  Chris has already made a great start on the main class sample and, at the Overseas Office, Barbara is busy cutting up fabric and making kits and step-by-step samples.

In other news we have refreshed the EQ doodles page and the traditional free download colouring page is here – May Doodle. If you would like templates and instructions to make this block then head over to the Meadowside Designs blog. This month we are featuring a block that we’ve both used several times in Sampler Quilt classes – it’s a Goose Tracks variation (which pieces very quickly if you are a handstitcher) and Barbara is currently working with a further modification to this block which looks like this –

This modification of a variation is going to feature in an upcoming Heritage Quilts pattern (release date scheduled for early autumn).  The original quilt has been in The Cupboard at the Rural Office for more than thirty years and was one of the very first vintage pieces that Barbara acquired.  In its day this was undoubtedly a very handsome quilt.  Sombre colours of furnishing weight fabrics were used and the arrangement of blocks and borders makes it an excellent example of a Frame Quilt (see our two previous posts).

Last month Chris managed to sneak away to the Quilt & Stitch Village show at Uttoxeter for a whole day of quilty fun.  Quilt shows are just as much about meeting up with friends old and new as they are about quilts and retail therapy and Chris was delighted to spend some time chatting to the family of one of our favourite students Maggi Birchenough.  Maggi was a very gifted textile artist in her own right and great fun to be with.  She left detailed instructions for her family as to how she wished her textile work and supplies to be dispersed after her death, and Chris was able to secure some of Maggi’s hand-dyed fabrics so that both of us could have a tangible memento of a very special person.

Very latest and very good news is that our beloved Corner Patch shop has a new owner!  So Janet is taking over the reins from Jane and local quilting life will be uninterrupted. Jane is moving over to The Sewing Quarter tv programme and we wish her the very best in her exciting new post – she has made The Corner Patch a very important “corner” for lots of people and we are all looking forward to supporting Janet as she continues the good work.

 

 

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.

March block c

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.

2019 rolls in

All the festive stuff has been packed away and the corridors of C&B Towers have been swept clear of tinsel ready to be replaced with the usual random pins and bits of thread.  Over at the Rural Office it’s a similar story but with added suitcases and project boxes – there’s a short visit to the Overseas Office in the offing and a healthy level of supplies needs to be maintained.

There are new doodles over on our Doodles page for you to scroll through plus a link there for a downloadable colouring page.  The IT Department is working overtime on a number of changes and improvements to various aspects of our web presence – we’ll post updates here when work is complete.

A quick glimpse of a corner of Barbara’s desk – some EPP looks to be under way. Chris’s desk is too overloaded to take any pics – a large quilt is being finished so watch this space!

Keeping this post really short, more soon!