Scrappy Sundays – in the pink

Barbara is still stuck in the groove of looking at vintage quilts that link to our Scrappy theme and this is her latest offering.  It’s an interesting US quilt dating from maybe 1890s with some earlier fabrics.  The block is a C&B favourite and we refer to it as Sawtooth Star.  There’s a real mix of scraps in this quilt and plenty of piecing of scraps together to make bigger scraps as you can see from some of the details below.  The scrappy hand pieced blocks have been set with alternating squares of a classic “double pink” print which becomes dominant by repetition.  A great example of pulling random scrappiness together into a coherent whole.  Diagonal lines of machine stitching hold top and back together, edges are bound.  If you feel inspired to try something similar with your own scraps you’ll find a pattern guide for this quilt over on our sister blog Meadowside Designs – look under the Heritage Quilts tab.

Scrappy Sundays – from the 1960s

Another visit to The Cupboard at The Rural Office and another scrappy patchwork top to enjoy.  This was a gift to Barbara many years ago, the background information being that it was begun but not finished by schoolgirls in the 1960s as part of their Domestic Science & Needlework curriculum.  Scraps of all types and weights of fabrics have been used, several different colours of thread, some or most of the papers already removed – this is what some patchwork looked like in the very early days of the UK revival.  We’re including it in our Scrappy Sunday posts because it most certainly is scrappy and also the single honeycomb shape used links back to an earlier Scrappy post about the honeycomb shape. Enjoy the pics!

don’t you just love that blue and white poodle?

and because all quilters like to turn things over, here’s the reverse side –

many of the honeycomb “papers” were cut from embossed wallpaper –

 

Scrappy Sundays – a little bit of vintage

Barbara was recently rummaging through The Cupboard which houses her vintage quilt collection and brought out a patchwork top which seems to fit our Scrappy theme very well.  The patchwork has been made from a wide and charming variety of scrap fabrics and it looks as if the 60 degree diamonds might have first been made up into hexagon units and then put together.

Larger hexagons have been added in at the edges and the hexagon rosette at the centre is, in fact, composed of diamonds (see final pic below).  All very eclectic!

First, a detail of the reverse side – you can see both diamonds and hexagons here.

Notice that the fabric has not always been cut to a hexagon shape before being tacked over the papers;  in some instances there is almost as much fabric on the reverse as there is on the front.  It is possible that the maker began with appropriately sized squares of fabric to make her hexagons which would have involved less initial cutting and preparation of the patches.

Here’s roughly half of the quilt top showing the scrappy random arrangement of pieces and the unexpected selection of fabrics for the centre rosette –

and some details of the many different prints –

 

You can see from the above detail that this is a truly scrappy piece with very little organisation – lower right corner is one of the larger hexagons.

More vintage scrappiness at a later date …

Pop up class filled up!

Just a brief bulletin to say that we’ve been totally amazed and overwhelmed by the response to our PopUp class on Saturday 27th July – there’s only one place left!!

We’re really looking forward to the day.  We’ll have all the traditional C&B things like lashings of tea and coffee, biscuits and cake and plenty of laughs to accompany the cutting and stitching. And we’ll have a tempting basket of fabrics from The Corner Patch…

Onwards to Scrappy Sunday!

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.

 

 

Frame quilts – part 2

 

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Bowing to popular demand (!) we’ve put together our rundown of the basics for making a square frame quilt:-

  1. Make a centre square. This can be any measurement you like and can be cut from one fabric or pieced fabric, strips of fabric, orphan blocks, mosaic patchwork (more usually referred to as English Paper Piecing).  Make a reference diagram for yourself that looks like this and note down what you would like the centre measurement (shaded area) to be.

2. Add the first frame. This can be any depth you like and can be one fabric or pieced or pieced units.  Note down the depth you have chosen on your reference diagram.  Measure your centre square and take care to cut the 4  frame strips to this measurement.  Measure and cut 4 squares to the same measurement as the strip depth – these will be the cornerstones.

Stitch, press and trim.  Measure the new square and make a note of it on your reference diagram.

3. Add the second frame. This can be any depth you like and can be one fabric, several fabrics, pieced units.  Make a note of this measurement on the reference diagram. Measure the new centre square and cut the frame strips to this measurement.  Cut 4 squares to the same strip depth measurement for the cornerstones for this frame.

Stitch, press and trim.  Measure the new square and note it down.

4. Add the third frame. Again, this can be any depth you like and can be one fabric, several fabrics, pieced units.  Make a note of the depth measurement as in previous steps.  Measure the centre square at the end of the previous step and cut the strips for this frame to this measurement.  Also cut 4 squares of the correct depth measurement for the cornerstones.

Stitch, press and trim.  Measure the new square and make a note.

Continue in this sequence until you reach a size that suits your needs.

And that’s it!!  You are making the decisions, you are not following a pattern.  So everything is cut and pieced to fit the measurements of your work rather than working with measurements determined by someone else.

You can make things easier for yourself by ensuring that each time you want to make a pieced border the measurements are a number that is easily divisible – not a prime number – in other words, if you want to put four-inch finished units/blocks in the border then the length of that border needs to be a number that can be divided by four. Unless you do what previous generation of quilters have done and mutter ‘oh bother’ when you get to the end and the border doesn’t fit, and either chop a bit off the last piece or add an extra bit of fabric. Those of us who like symmetry and neatness need to work things out first, those who are happy to go with the flow and improvise just add or subtract bits until everything (more or less) fits.

everything worked out first –                improvise, add and subtract –

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Happy stitching!

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!