March – is it spring soon?

This winter seems to have lasted for quite some time and we’re more than ready for spring.  Barbara is counting off the days until she heads south at the end of this month to open up the Overseas Office.  C&B Towers has remained fully operational throughout the extreme weather although the Catering and Refreshments Suite has been much in demand and staff have been working long hours to meet the need.

We both have classes at The Corner Patch this month.  Barbara will be teaching the first sessions of a Hand Stitched Sampler, plus a hand quilting class and a Star Sampler class session

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and Chris will be teaching her regular Block of The Month and Technique of the Month classes on Thursdays and Saturdays.  Our planning is well under way for the Corner Patch Retreat in June which is a good thing as time is going so quickly that it will be June before you have chance to blink.  Don’t miss out on this event – book your place now!

We’ve updated the Doodles page to reflect a new month (even if we are a few days late!) and kept everything very simple, no commentary, no colouring page download – just a few doodles using our favourite Electric Quilt design program.

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It’s a New Year!

We’re late in wishing everyone all the best for 2018 – far too much Christmas and assorted merrymaking at both C&B Towers and the Rural Office.  Now we can look forward to a very interesting and busy year of planning and stitching (not to mention the coffee).  Chris has lots of classes booked at The Corner Patch, her monthly Wandering the Web column and quilts appearing in magazines, Barbara has classes at The Corner Patch and a mountain of UFOs to work through while she is in charge of the Overseas Branch.

One thing we are both very excited about is the Grand Quilting Retreat in June to celebrate 5 years of The Corner Patch – we’re going to be teaching over the weekend and generally having a good time.  Jane has opened the bookings list so if you want to be part of this super event get in touch via the website or email jane@thecornerpatch . If you are signed up for Jane’s Newsletter you will have seen the following ad –

Quilting Retreat
Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th June
Yarnfield Training and Conference Centre, ST15 0NL
Spend a fun-filled weekend in the relaxing Staffordshire countryside, patchwork and quilting with expert teachers Chris Franses and Barbara Chainey.
All meals and accommodation are included.
For more information e-mail jane@thecornerpatch.co.uk or ring 01785 859360

Barbara has also made plans for a small handstitching retreat in May at the Overseas Branch – email ourhomesinspain@gmail.com for dates and details.

And as if this all weren’t enough there’s an exciting new website due to launch on January 9th – ukqu.co.uk – if you register before that date then you will be entered for a prize draw to win a truly mega prize. Once the website launches you will find all sorts of things happening there – a Block of the Month, a Mystery Quilt, online shopping, hints and tips, guest bloggers each month (including Chris) and more. Registration is free so go and sign up, you have nothing to lose. You’ll find more information on their Facebook page – but again you need to register to join in the fun.

In the meantime Barbara has managed to do some January EQ Doodles and there is the usual colouring sheet to download as well.

EQ doodle Jan

December already?!

The December EQ doodles have arrived even if Father Christmas hasn’t yet. However we have brought you a bumper colouring pack this month rather than just a sheet. You can download it here. As ever you can print it off as many times as you like, cut it up and re-arrange the blocks to make your quilt designs and generally have fun (in between wrapping presents, basting the turkey, peeling sprouts . . . .).

In breaking news (drum roll) one of our Minton tile patterns will be in the January issue of British Patchwork and Quilting magazine due out mid-December. This one was based on a tiled floor in Uttoxeter and is double bed size.

(Barbara thinks this is one really smart quilt that would look great in any colour way and is thrilled that yet another of Chris’s quilts will appear in print. )

Looking ahead to next year –

News reaches us from the Overseas Office that Barbara is planning a Hand Stitching Retreat there in May 2018 – you’ll find an email link for further info on her website and blog.

Chris has an exceptionally full programme of classes throughout 2018 at The Corner Patch – Block of the Month, Technique of the Month and more besides – details and pics on The Corner Patch website.

Barbara will be deserting the Overseas Office in March, June and October for a mini series of hand stitching classes at The Corner Patch – dates have been fixed and the samples almost finished.

We are also looking forward to being a part of The Corner Patch’s first quilting retreat in June – this will be one event not to be missed!

So, busy times ahead – in the meantime all the staff at C&B Towers, the Rural Office and the Overseas Office wish you a merry Christmas and an excellent New Year.

November?

Far too much excitement at C&B Towers and the Overseas Office EQ8 has arrived!!  Not quite in time for our monthly EQ Doodles – you can find November’s offerings over on the Doodle page – but we’ll report back on the many new features of our favourite quilt design program.  Both of us have used EQ since the very first version and it is difficult to imagine quilting life without it.

However – it has arrived in time to do the colouring page which you can download here. Chris has been playing with it in between gardening and teaching and class prep and all sorts of other ‘stuff’.

EQ8 is very different in layout from EQ7 – all the buttons and menus are in different places which makes it very confusing. Hopefully over time we’ll get used to it, just as we have with the other versions that have had seemingly drastic changes in layout.

Here’s a sampling of Chris’s first impressions – “Of the new features that it has, the lack of a ‘sticky’ line is a good one but as I very rarely use any of the other bits that have been tweaked I haven’t yet noticed anything else ‘new’ beyond the change in menus and buttons, and, of course, a new palette of fabrics and colours. There are supposed to be loads of new blocks too but they must be in the ‘Contemporary Foundation’ or ‘Contemporary Applique’, neither of which I tend to use, as I haven’t found them yet. I had several of my own libraries of blocks and fabrics in EQ7 (many transferred from EQ6) and have managed to transfer them to EQ8 but I find they are now in the main block and fabric library sections – there is no ‘My Library’ anymore only ‘My Favourites’ – and you can’t therefore add more blocks (or fabrics) to them. I will have to start new libraries which I find very annoying. On the plus side it is much clearer for those who squinted at the tiny menu icons before and is (supposedly) more intuitive and ‘user friendly’. I think if you were a new user and/or were used to ipad, iphone or Mac menus you would find it looked very familiar. For those of us who have grown up with PCs and the old versions it is very very different in looks, although not in function (once you’ve found where all those buttons have been hidden). Below is a preview of the quilt design page and the sketchbook. I have moved my menus to the right hand side of the screen as that is where I am used to having them – the default is on the left.”

C&B Towers continues to hum with activity – Chris is teaching a full programme of  weekly classes at The Corner Patch with all the prepping and printing and packing that is involved.  Plus there are important landscaping issues to be attended to – a new lake has been added to the park-like grounds surrounding the Towers.  Sleep has been in fairly short supply!

At the Overseas Office many (smallish) crates of fabric, books and projects have been unloaded and unpacked – sufficient for several months intensive stitching at least.  The major problem will be determining where to start – so many projects, so little time!!

If you do have some time though – The Corner Patch 5th Birthday Weekend extravaganza takes place in Eccleshall on Saturday and Sunday 18th and 19th November. Here’s what Jane has posted about it –

“We’re celebrating in style…by hosting a Quilt Show with craft stalls (for a little Christmas shopping) on Saturday 18th (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sunday 19th November (11.15 a.m.- 4 p.m.) at the beautiful and historic Holy Trinity Church , Eccleshall ST21 6BY.

The Friday morning ladies have made a fantastic quilt to raffle (tickets are available from the shop and will be on sale over the weekend) and the wonderful John Scott from Sewing Quarter is coming on Sunday to draw the winning ticket.

There will be a tombola and refreshments being served in the Parish Room next to the church.”

All money raised will be divided between Holy Trinity Church and The Autistic Society. Hope to see you there!

 

 

Definitely autumn

Extra high activity levels at C&B Towers and the Rural Office – a full schedule of classes at The Corner Patch and all the preparation and packing/unpacking that involves, plus intensive gardening duties at both locations.  The English summer has been sufficiently watery to promote lots of lovely lush hedge, shrub and tree growth, all of which requires putting into good shape before the winter.  Old fruit trees have unexpectedly broken and fallen in the strong winds and generally there is a LOT of very serous tidying to do.  The sort of tidying that involves filling many bags with garden waste and making lots of trips to dispose of same.  So stitching has taken a little bit of a back seat and it was with some horror that we realised October had started without a new set of EQ Doodles.  And no time to do a lovely new collection.  But, if you click over to our Doodles page you will find that we have posted some selected doodles from previous Octobers so you won’t be totally lacking for seasonal inspiration.  And, just for good measure here are a couple of doodles in sort of seasonal colouring –

May 2014 4

four patch sampler 3

But we have done a Doodle Colouring page that has nothing to do with any of the above quilts – you’re on your own. You can download it here and we can tell you that it contains two different Autumn Leaf blocks and one called Autumn Tints Around. So find those brown, red, orange, yellow (and even green) pencils and enjoy a quiet five minutes of autumnal colouring.

 

September doodles

It seems ridiculously early to be posting our September Doodles especially as summer has been rather limited this year.  However, September it is and doodles there are, so do click over and take a look. The colouring page is ready to download here as well.

Chris is gearing up for a new term of classes at The Corner Patch and has also been very busy creating a stunning new quilt (not sure if this is top secret or not but maybe she’ll release a sneak peek…. Barbara).

Oh ok – Here’s a quick snapshot of it laid out ready to pin the layers together (as its already appeared on Instagram . . . .! Chris). It may also appear at some point as a pattern in our Minton Floor Tile series . . .

Of course what Chris should have been doing is making this coming term’s workshop samples and next year’s Block of the Month etc but somehow the summer has vanished, classes start again at the weekend (Sept 2nd) and very little of what really needed to be done has been achieved.

Barbara has been heroically (!) staffing our Overseas Office in temperatures of 30degrees plus and stitching samples for her upcoming classes.  We have a number of Important Plans on the agenda for discussion at our next meeting at Headquarters so it’s a very exciting time all round.  Happy stitching!

Click on this link to download a colouring sheet of one of this month’s Doodles –

Sept EQ Doodle

August – EQ Doodles

Another two blocks for you this month – All Kinds and Paducah Peony.

We also have a Summer Special to help you while away that time lazing on a sunny beach (we can but dream) – not one, not two but three colouring sheets to download. Sheet One is a combination of the two blocks and the others are the blocks straight set on their own. Don’t forget that you can have a lot of extra fun by cutting up the sheets and rearranging the blocks. Try putting them on point, or overlapping them perhaps? Download All Kinds here  and Paducah Peony here.

EQ Doodle Aug 2017

EQ Doodle Aug a 2017

EQ Doodle Aug b 2017