Hit the road

It’s a seldom-publicised fact, but we do take our tandem teaching act off home territory from time to time.  On Monday the Chris & Barbara Road Show rolled into Mold to teach Free Motion Quilting to a very enthusiastic group of more than 20 ladies, and a good time was had by all.  Slight hiccup at the start – no caretaker, unable to access booked venue – every organiser’s nightmare.  Problem solved by a very organised organiser who found another hall nearby, led the convoy of cars to the new venue and had us all set up a mere 45 minutes after the published start time.   Phew!!

No surprises in how we tackled the teaching – the usual formula of worksheets, demo and discuss then guided stitching time to try everything out.  We caught several perfectionists unpicking lines of stitching and had to remind them that it’s probably better to keep going and improve by doing rather than trying to have everything perfect from the start (which is almost impossible anyway!).  And, despite the slightly later start, everyone had the opportunity to try lots of different patterns, swoops and squiggles on the scribble cloths we had provided – just a few pics because we were too busy keeping up with a roomful of keen stitchers! –


















Next stop is Tittensor Village Hall on Saturday for our Drunkards Square class – the samples are done, worksheets printed out, demo equipment collected up, just the vital kitchen supplies to marshall and we’ll be ready to go.

Summer holidays

Chris snatched a day or two away recently, thinking that if Barbara could swan off to southern Spain, the least she could do was trundle southwards in dear old England.  It was the usual British summer’s day – ideal for a walk along the beach –

summer at the beach

– howling winds, torrential rain and clouds of sea spray. At least it blew a few cobwebs away. ‘Bracing’ is to put it mildly.

A little bit of patchwork was discovered while away too. There may be another quilter coming along.  Great-niece, who is seven, is making a quilt with Granny. Hand pieced squares over papers.

doll's quilt

It is destined to be a doll’s cot quilt for a younger cousin. No camera (again) so I’m afraid its grainy and fuzzy phone photos but you get the idea. It is a ‘secret surprise’ too, so don’t let on.

And now its back home to classes and more website building – and the weather has turned warm and sunny!  How did that happen!

Activity update

Chris has been very busy re-organising a pond and has had various adventures in the course of finding suitable supplies for said renovation. Now, she says, it’s just a matter of replanting – or will it be that simple? There’s also been much muttering along the corridors of the executive floor of C&B Towers – it appears that a new website is being constructed and the entire IT team (aka Chris) has laboured for days to complete the project.

Barbara meanwhile has been scouting possibilities to move our HQ to Spain – this looked like a good candidate, two chairs are already set out!

The view is good from the terrace

and from the table


Not too far away is the news kiosk

which would mean we would still have reading matter to hand. On the floor inside the church is a lovely Lone Star picked out in tiny squares of marble to make the design (apologies for a slightly blurry pic) –


All this is really in the realms of fantasy and our usual procrastination. Back in the real world the next major event will be Festival of Quilts (eek! in less than 7 days) and Barbara is mentally gearing up and finishing the planning for her spot in the Quilting in Action section of the show. This year she is contemplating selling some of her quilt and stencil design samples – and Chris distinctly heard “selling quilts to make space”. So if you are visiting Festival, stop by and see what the decision was!

In the summertime

We have slightly different views about summertime, when it finally arrives.  Chris has a sun and heat tolerance which stops at 25 degreesC, claiming generations of Celtic heritage are responsible.  Barbara has a particular fondness for desert landscapes and a dry heat tolerance up to 40 degreesC, neither of which are easily achievable in the UK.  So we usually adopt quite different strategies in Hot Weather – Chris takes herself to the further ends of C&B Towers, fans on, and shaded windows, to catch up on light reading, Barbara marches outside clutching sufficient supplies to quilt or sew for days and resolutely stays put.  However, during the last week, Chris found herself sewing outside (and BY HAND too!!)

al fresco stitching

hemming down bindings on a whole multitude of table mats (there must be a class on the horizon somewhere – Barbara).  A couple of hundred miles away, Barbara was sewing indoors – does an orangery count as indoors? – with a lovely group of ladies

indoors - just

Chris was taking a well-deserved day off at Pashley Manor Gardens and some of the pics she took of the fabulous gardens will doubtless show up in coming weeks in our Wordless Wednesday posts.  But there are still samples to be made, planning to be done plus our usual procrastination – various gardening bargains have been acquired and all sorts of things we don’t really need.  Barbara has made a start on some new quilting designs, looked out a few fabrics and has a small corner of her table strewn with coloured pens –

Barbara's quilting sample

cut these up?

ready to design

Chris is adamant that it is far too hot to do anything except get things ready for two classes and check that there will be fans in the classroom.  Wonder how long summer will last?

Another lovely summer’s day!

Yes, its cold and wet and windy. So … Barbara is up in Stirling at a Quilters’ Guild event, teaching and talking. Chris is supposed to be Wandering the Web as its getting near the end of the month and deadlines are looming. There is a note somewhere of the deadline but there are a lot of notes on the calendar and its too far away to read easily right now! Some procrastination is called for (hence writing this post? – Barbara). Rain has stopped play in the garden, but at least the pots won’t need watering tonight.


Time perhaps to continue work on the charm square picnic set from yesterday’s workshop at The Corner Patch.

picnic set

All we’ll need then is picnic weather!

Busy weekends

Monday’s post should have been published on Friday but …. Barbara disappeared to Denver and, as Chris was travelling as well,  between us and technology (or lack of) our plans went astray. So … while Barbara enjoyed the delights of Heathrow and an upgrade on her flight, Chris sat in that huge carpark known as ‘The Motorway’  on what was possibly the hottest day so far this year. Which isn’t saying much, but it felt hot. However, a good weekend was had once the destination was reached and a restorative cup of coffee or two had been drunk. The following morning we explored the town and to our delight it was a special market day with an antique/curio market, a craft market, a ‘local produce’ market and all sorts to look at. No photos (of course) as Chris’s camera was back at the hotel conserving its energies (and batteries) for The Wedding that afternoon. Which is possibly what Chris should have been doing – it might have been cheaper too. Finery donned (yes, even Chris!) a great day was had – the bride looked fabulous, the church was lovely and all went well. The following morning Chris’s brother had suggested a walk – an app exists (?!) with guided walks of the area, so those with smart phones downloaded it and off we went. A ‘flat and easy walk of about 5 miles’.  Which it was – kind of. But probably better if not sleep-deprived. This time the camera did come along –

walk k

walk a

The trouble with this sort of landscape is that not only can you see how far you’ve walked – you can see how far you still have to walk to return to civilisation and a cup of coffee!

walk b

walk c

walk f

walk g

And the inside of this church –

walk h

walk i

And finally – a door grille Chris could not leave unphotographed


And for those who haven’t guessed (or recognised) where Chris was – it was Kent.

And now, for Chris, its back to her garret in C&B Towers and planning classes for the rest of the week. Barbara has emailed to say its warm with blue skies in Denver – for once we’re not envious as we’ve the same here. However she is staying in a place with quilt shop attached. Is this a Good Thing?

Special quilts

Barbara has made it home from the show in Veldhoven just in time to pack her things up again to go to Quilts UK in Malvern next week. She is probably going to be missing from the corridors of C&B Towers for some time, there’s a trip to Denver, one to Stirling, one to S Wales all lined up for the next month. Chris thinks she will be much more sensible and stay home to enjoy the delights of her new roof. Featured at the Veldhoven show was an exhibit of Joyce Dawe’s quilts – Joyce is best known to us as the owner of The Contented Cat, and a familiar face at UK quilt shows for many years.

Many of her quilts have a circle theme, all hand stitched and hand quilted – we’re sure you’ll agree that they are quite special







Chris is teaching 2 classes this week and, somewhere among all this activity, we might find time to post the next “not block of the month”…..