Whew! What a great day we had on Saturday with our first pop up class – a full house of new and familiar faces and the sweet hum of massed sewing machines plus lots of chatter and laughs. We had decided to feature the project Chris designed for The Corner Patch Retreat (and a big thank you to Jane Alcock (formerly of The Corner Patch) for helping out and for providing everyone with a little goodie bag) and there were lots of oohs and aahs when it was revealed –
Everyone got straight to work after the demo.
and we were soon admiring the first blocks in all their variety –
Really looking forward to seeing some finished quilt tops in the next few weeks! It was such a good day with so many requests for more popup classes that we may have to have a high level Board meeting at HQ next week and discuss the possibilities for 2020.
In other news we have updated the EQ Doodles page so do click over and take a look – or download a colouring sheet here – August doodle
This is the week of the BIG quilt show – Festival of Quilts – here in the UK and we’ll be joining thousands of other quilters and enjoying some retail therapy and quilt viewing. Don’t forget to check back here for Scrappy Sunday at the end of the week – see you soon!
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!
Official announcement of our first pop up workshop!
Date: Saturday 27th July
Time: 10am – 4pm
Venue: Chairman’s Hall, Walton Community Centre, Stone, Staffs
Non-refundable deposit: £15 required with each booking
Print out a booking form here and return it with your deposit
There was a lot of disappointment that The Corner Patch Retreat had to be cancelled this year, a lot of disappointment that the date clashed with other activities, we were disappointed because we’d designed a sparkling new project. And so many folk have asked us for another Chris&Barbara Saturday workshop. So here’s your chance!!
Looking forward to 27th July!
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.
After what seemed like a never-ending winter followed by one of the longest summers we can remember our thoughts are now set on a busy autumn programme of classes and projects. At C&B Towers renovations to an adjacent property are a noisy disruption to the calm required for creativity (and gardening) – all staff have been given leave of absence so Chris is manning the fort (almost literally) armed with noise-cancelling headphones. Barbara has taken off, yet again, for the peace and quiet of the Overseas Office. Maybe what we really need is somewhere that would be a Not-Overseas-C&B Towers, with all the benefits of both locations and none of the drawbacks.
Chris’s classes at The Corner Patch in Eccleshall begin this month, Barbara’s classes are scheduled for October. Samples and worksheets are being put together even as this page goes to press, new EQ doodles are posted on our Doodles page (you can download a colouring sheet here) and notebooks and lists are being consulted. It really feels like autumn!!
Mini Star Sampler quilt top for one of Barbara’s Corner Patch classes –
Rick Rack Star block for October –
A Star Sampler from EQ, recently “discovered” in Barbara’s files. Fabrics might be being selected at this very moment…… just when another project is the last thing you need!
Chris’s next Block of the Month – starting next week – at The Corner Patch is on display on the shop wallRemember Chris’s regular Wandering the Web feature in P&Q magazine, also take a look at the UKQU website and Facebook presence. Happy stitching!
Just to announce the arrival of our EQ Doodles for this month and also to remind you that there are still one or two places available on The Corner Patch Retreat later this month. Only yesterday, or so it seems, we were sitting with Jane making plans for this retreat and now it’s just a couple of weeks away. We’re really looking forward to reprising our tandem teaching on the Saturday of the retreat, it will be quite like old times!!
If you want a colouring page for the doodles to while away a few sunny minutes in the garden (in between the thunderstorms) you can download one here.
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!
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 –
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01785 859360
Barbara has also made plans for a small handstitching retreat in May at the Overseas Branch – email email@example.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
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.
“Quietly productive” is the phrase that best sums up the past couple of weeks. Indeed Chris has been so productive that she seems to be almost half a year ahead of herself with class samples, worksheets and magazine projects. We always forget to mention it here but you can often find a project by Chris in the UK quilting press – you’ll find her regular column “Wandering the Web” in Patchwork & Quilting magazine in addition to projects in Popular Patchwork and Fabrications magazines. Chris’s classes this year at The Corner Patch are nearly all full – she’s teaching Block of the Month (two variations – this one –
– or this one -)
Technique of the Month – for instance in April its rotary cutting and making either a Rail Fence –
or a Basketweave –
plus Rollover Quilt of the Month – make 9 blocks, use 5 and save 4 for next time. Here’s the first quilt –
Over at the Rural Office Barbara has been busy with samples for her new class also at The Corner Patch – Hand Stitched Sampler. You can keep up with her progress on Instagram – when she finally gets Windows 10 to talk nicely to her iPhone via her laptop we’ll be able to show you some of the pictures already posted on Instagram. During one of the January tidy up sessions we found a set of sample blocks we’d almost forgotten about –
Nine blocks in all from one of our Evening Classes several years ago. We think it might be time to put them to work again – perhaps a Block of the Month, perhaps a Saturday SewAlong, maybe another Mystery series? Let us know if you would be interested in seeing something along these lines.