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!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Hannah Hauxwell quilts

Hannah Hauxwell (1926 – 2018) was an amazing woman who lived on a remote farm in Yorkshire almost entirely cut off from the outside world until a TV documentary was made about her in 1972. She died in February last year and next month Tennants will be auctioning the quilts from her house. You can find out a little more about the quilts (and Hannah) in this blogpost from UK Quilters United.

We think most of these quilts were most likely made in the late 19th century (1890s). In her book Seasons of my Life Hannah says –

Both Grandma and Mother were clever with their hands, making mats and quilts. Grandma laboured for years with her frames and turned out all the mats for the house. I have still got two quilts that she made, which have been in use for as long as I can recall. Mother knitted a white cotton quilt before she married, which I treasure to this day. I have done a bit myself, but possess neither the ability nor the patience to do fine work. I prefer thick wool which gets done rather more quickly, and during the war I unravelled some of Grandma’s things and knitted them up again“.

This ‘Grandma’ was probably her paternal grandmother Elizabeth Hauxwell (nee Bayles) (1862 – 1940) as one of the quilts has the initials EB embroidered on the back. Her maternal grandmother was Ann Sayer (nee Tallentire) (1853 – 1930) and it is unlikely Hannah would remember her as she would have only been about four when Ann died. Hannah’s full name by the way was Hannah Bayles Tallentire Hauxwell thus showing her ancestry through her middle names – an absolute gift to genealogists!

We rather liked this six-pointed star quilt from the ones being sold and as Chris has drafted some templates to make something very similar (download them here) Barbara may have a go at making if not an entire quilt then perhaps a cushion or table runner.  Rumour has it that a stash has been picked through, fabrics assembled and pieces cut for a test block or two.  You’ll notice that the original shows identical fabric placement from block to block but we think this charming star and square pattern would look just as good in random scraps.