Scrappy Sunday

We can’t believe it’s more than 12months since we started this series of Scrappy posts.  Barbara was looking through her photos from the past year and was quite surprised at the number of scrappy projects she has started, worked on and taught during that time.  We thought we’d share just a few of them – absolutely no prizes for guessing which ones remain at the “begun” stage!

Plenty of autumn and winter stitching in store!

Scrappy Sunday – scrap reduction?

An almost momentous event this week at the Overseas Office – various bags of scraps were emptied onto the worktable with the aim of sorting and reducing the heaps and making them more manageable.








Resisting the urge to press everything   -!! – Barbara spent a happy hour or so straightening and sorting ALL this jumble into categories.

Category 1 – Far too small to be of any use to anyone.

Category 1a – Small weird shapes, 1inch or more

Category 2 – Very narrow strips, any length

Category 3 – Less narrow strips, any length

Category 4 – Slightly wider strips, any length

Category 5 – Wider strips and chunks

Category 1 is covered by scissors, Category 1a is to the right, Categories 2 – 5 middle and above.

Categories 1 and 1a have been combined and are off to a good home with another quilter who collects improbably tiny scraps.  The rest have fitted neatly into one medium ziplock bag –

Overall result of this sorting and organising is that it makes room for more fabric! It may be time for a little online retail therapy…..

Scrappy Sunday

Welcome to the first (probably) of various posts (probably on a Sunday) about scraps.Before we look at what we/you can or could do with all the accumulated scraps we thought it might be an idea to take a look at organising those scraps. We use the term ‘organising’ very loosely here!

2019-06-23-10.33.10.jpgWe define scraps as those pieces that really aren’t all that big – less than an eighth (fat or thin) – usually, but its a bit of a loose definition. Less than a fat quarter sometimes gets classed as a ‘scrap’, a lone strip from a jelly roll is a scrap, trimmed off triangles are scraps, so are excess units (those ones that get made when you aren’t really concentrating and make twice as many HST units as were required) . . . and trimmings when squaring up a quilt before binding it – those are scraps.

Where do we put them all?

Chris chucks everything into a large plastic sack that hangs from a door, the floor is also a recipient of many of these pieces – her aim isn’t that great! Eventually the sack gets too full and heavy and its time for a sort out. Very small pieces and bits of wadding are either recycled into cushion stuffing, donated to the nursery school for ‘art’, or handed over to the recycling centre. Small cotton shreds are composted. Bigger, usable (possibly) pieces are sorted by colour and chucked into other plastic bags in the cupboard – out of sight, out of mind. Eventually some of these get used: a small piece of a particular colour may be required – there’s sure to be one in a scrap bag, which gets tipped out onto the floor to be rootled through in the (usually) vain hope that a big enough bit in exactly the right colour will magically appear.

Very occasionally the urge to make a truly scrappy quilt arises and all the bags are tipped out, fabric bits are sorted out into different sizes and shapes and usability and then, after a mammoth pressing session, they can be used – providing the urge to make a scrappy quilt has survived all the pre-preparation! If it all gets too out of hand the larger ‘scraps’ get donated (unsorted, unpressed, sorry) to a local Linus group.

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As for storing larger bits of fabric – half-metres, fat quarters, and slightly smaller pieces are stored in baskets, largely by colour. Big chunks of fabric (backings etc) are in another cupboard.

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Barbara is considerably more organised than Chris – as she does a lot of hand-piecing her scraps are sorted into bags ready to be turned into (or already turned into!) hexagons or diamonds or . . . While larger pieces are neatly folded into large crates under the cutting table, fat quarter sized pieces are, again neatly folded, stored on shelves along with pre-cuts.

Some exceedingly organised folk we know cut all all their scraps into sensible sizes – squares, triangles, strips and then store them in labelled boxes. Chris can only marvel! Yet others profess to just binning all left-over pieces. Eek!

So, join us as we try to impose order on the chaos that is Chris’s scrap collection and come up with ideas to use some of it up. (Note – ‘ideas’, not actually do it; never make a promise you can’t keep!)

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!


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!



It’s very nearly June. Already. We’ve just been enjoying ourselves too much. Barbara has been supervising operations at the Overseas Office and getting some hand-stitching done while Chris has been reconfiguring the grounds at C&B Towers – a new pond has been dug and is being planted.

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Added to this has been the excitement of walking in Teesdale and discovering all the wonderful plants to  be found there (not to mention the lovely gardens and plant nurseries).


But . . . as mentioned earlier, it is nearly June and all these fun and games have to stop. We are booked to do the Corner Patch Retreat. Worksheets need to be written. Samples need to be made up. We are getting there. Slowly. Layer Cakes have been cut up and joined back together again (and even joined together and then cut up!), a couple of existing quilts have been unearthed . . .


In addition to the Chris and Barbara Workshop on the Saturday (this may be the last one we do – your final opportunity to experience the fun) Barbara will be delving into The Cupboard and bringing a selection of her antique quilts to talk about on Saturday evening (another opportunity not to be missed).


On Friday evening . . . , well, you’ve heard of the Jelly Roll Race, . . . the Corner Patch present The Log Cabin Race. A lot of fun and a great way to meet everyone. And on the Sunday is an opportunity to learn the basics of hand quilting or machine quilting, whichever you prefer.

We  hope to see you in Yarnfield on June 22nd – 24th, meeting friends old and new!

Still keeping busy

Chris has been beavering away in the IT Suite and Barbara slaving over a hot needle – and computer – with the result that the Needs List for the Orange Peel workshop in October is now available to download from the (new) website. Do let us know if you have any problems with online bookings or downloading the needs lists.

If you’ve been following Barbara on Instagram you will have seen a pic or two of some Orange Peel samples and if you have a look on her Pinterest page you will see she has an Orange Peel board full of pictures for your inspiration.

While Barbara has been on her hols Chris has been minding a few of her quilts and seized the opportunity to take some photos and write up a pattern or two. So if you hop over to the Meadowside blog you will see a post about a quilt Barbara made a good few years ago (machine pieced and quilted, not hand, sorry). Here’s a picture of it – and on Meadowside you can see what it might look like in other colours and get the pattern.


Progress and procrastination

A little more progress has been made on samples for next term’s classes. Barbara is still surrounded by Orange Peel but, having looked at various ideas and pondered . . . but supposing? . . . or . . . what if ?  . . .,  has gone back to the idea she first thought of. Fabric has been cut, possibly even the odd stitch has been made.

Chris meanwhile has been playing with using Electric Quilt to design the projects for September. Too many ideas, so little time! But fabric has been purchased – an emergency visit to the Corner Patch was required when it was realised that an entire cupboard full of fabric failed to contain exactly the right amount of exactly the right fabric. Again.

But there is now sufficient fabric of (more or less) the right colour to back the little quilt that will perhaps become Project One (but I keep having second thoughts . . . – Chris) and hopefully more than sufficient fabric to construct the larger quilt that Project Three is threatening to be. The workshop project will be for a small wall hanging but somehow . . . more blocks keep asking to be made. If you think your workshop projects might ‘grow’, as this one seems to be doing, you might like to consider bringing half-metres or extra fat quarters with you on the day rather than the four we usually suggest. Yes, we know most of you bring best part of your stash ‘just in case . .’ anyway.

miyo prj

But what about Project Two? We have a Cunning Plan. With luck Project Two already exists (possibly in ‘kit form’) as there are a few bits and pieces in Chris’s UFO/WIP/PHD bags that could perhaps be upcycled. The joys of Make it your Own!

In fact rummaging in those bags produced these blocks –

miyo block d

– remember doing this class? A sort of Make it Your Own – Rail Fence windmills with curves. It was destined to be a ‘going to University’ quilt for Chris’s nephew. Then she remembered she still hadn’t started her daughter’s, and she was about to embark on her Masters by that time. And now nephew has graduated too. And still neither of them has a quilt. Worryingly there are now several more nieces and nephews at similar stages – also without quilts. Probably easier not to start any and keep the half-started ones as ‘class samples’. For ‘Make it your Own’??! They’ll never know. Unless they read this . . .


Make it your own?

All those cups of coffee and a few walks in the lovely warm weather have had an effect! Not so much ‘blue sky’ thinking as green fields thinking.

canal 001


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All of which means that a Needs List for the Make it your Own class in September is now available and a start has been made on the worksheet. No fewer than three different (and exclusive) (and easy!) small projects have been decided on for you to choose from. In addition Chris has been hunting around in the depths of her desk and found lots of graph paper with all sorts of exciting grids for those who really do prefer to ‘make it their own’ and want to spend a day designing – who said ‘blocks’ had to be square? – there are polar grids and log grids and hexagons and diamonds and triangles and . . .  well, you’ll just have to come and see for yourselves (but one book said ‘perspective’ on the cover).

Of course ‘all’ we have to do now is make some samples and Blue Peters for the projects. . .  It’s bad enough when there is only one of them – but three?? At least it’s the summer and classes have come to an end for a few weeks so we can all catch our breath, do a bit of gardening and start making things for ourselves. Perhaps.

So to whet your appetites – here’s a snippet of some of Chris’s ‘doodled’ blocks made up (some of you may recognise this from Uttoxeter earlier this year).

mityo blocksTime to get back to those samples . . .





Rain stops play?

Much to Barbara’s relief the weather has returned to normal (ie cold and rainy!) and Chris has been driven indoors and back to the sewing room.  We have a workshop to teach on Saturday – Log Cabin – and Chris is ‘her in charge’ for the day.  Little preparation has so far been forthcoming and Barbara was beginning to panic; but a lot of ivy and rotted sheds have now been removed and ground dug and prepared ready for … ? a new shed perhaps? (or even a Log Cabin?? Barbara).  Which means that Chris can now turn her attention to cutting up fabric and putting it back together again.

So – what will we be doing in the Log Cabin workshop this Saturday? Well, we can offer some clues –  it’s not this –

courthouse steps finsihed quiltor this –

log cabin staror this –

LC tree

or even this –

lc 002

But we promise it will be fun.  And just a little bit different.  And Chris has now made a start on the samples and step-by-steps using these fabrics –

log cabin fabric

– 6 shades of grey plus bright white and a sea green / blue as contrasts.  The worksheet is ‘under development’ as they say and Electric Quilt drawings have been played with.  Chris is getting quite excited now about making stuff instead of digging the garden up.  Just as well really !