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.
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!
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.
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.
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 –
– 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 . . .
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.
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).
Time to get back to those samples . . .
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 –
or this –
or this –
or even this –
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 –
– 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 !
It’s only a few days to go, too many things to do or think about so Chris has been holed up in the sewing studio (aka her spare bedroom) making a random quilt with no final purpose in mind. Sensible? No. Fun? Kind of … ! Anway, it is finished. Hoorah. So here’s a couple of pics to prove it.
Not the usual thing Chris makes. But its out of her system for now. The (vague) idea was to take a block (the one in the centre of the above photo) and ‘explode’ it, scattering its units across the background – as in the top photo. Reminds Chris a bit of her brother who delighted in taking things apart to see how they worked – “It’s not broken, mum, its just in bits”. It proved horribly difficult to be random in tilt of the units and their ‘scatter’. Chris does not do ‘random’, nor asymmetric.
So the rest of the year can carry on now … and then there’s next year waiting in the wings. Worksheets are being written, Needs Lists prepared. The next class is much earlier in the year than usual – on January 18th (just before the show at Nantwich, not clever planning on our part) and is called ‘Merged Blocks’. The needs list is available on the website. And there’s secure online booking too…
In the meantime our brochure has had a bit of a facelift courtesy of Chris’s daughter who has been playing (her word) with a desktop publishing programme. We’re quite impressed. Have a look.
How can you run an empire without technology? Chris has been finding out the hard way these past three weeks – no laptop, no desktop, no internet at C&B Towers. The entire IT department has had to close while solutions are found for the unbelievable effects of a new cyber supervirus. Over at the Rural Office there’s internet and iPads but no laptop for important things like Electric Quilt and all the Microsoft Word files. When all this is over the IT budget for the next five years will have been wiped out – so far the tally is one new laptop, six visits to the IT fixers and two further items returned to factory settings, which means lots of backing up and re-installing which takes longer than you’d like. There may be more to come, but let’s just say that this has been one heck of a persistent piece of malware.
So, any delays in our timings for class preparation, blog, Meadowside Designs etc are not the result of our habitual procrastination – the empire is being kept on track (just) courtesy of the local library and an iPad, plus a lot of caffeine. And we are both getting a lot of sewing done, which is a Good Thing. Here’s a quick shot of Barbara’s “almost finished” stack (Chris is still buried under mounds of quilt at her machine) –