Scrappy Sundays – from the 1960s

Another visit to The Cupboard at The Rural Office and another scrappy patchwork top to enjoy.  This was a gift to Barbara many years ago, the background information being that it was begun but not finished by schoolgirls in the 1960s as part of their Domestic Science & Needlework curriculum.  Scraps of all types and weights of fabrics have been used, several different colours of thread, some or most of the papers already removed – this is what some patchwork looked like in the very early days of the UK revival.  We’re including it in our Scrappy Sunday posts because it most certainly is scrappy and also the single honeycomb shape used links back to an earlier Scrappy post about the honeycomb shape. Enjoy the pics!

don’t you just love that blue and white poodle?

and because all quilters like to turn things over, here’s the reverse side –

many of the honeycomb “papers” were cut from embossed wallpaper –

 

Frame quilts – part 2

 

IMG_9441

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 –

jade frame    DSC05344 - Copy

Happy stitching!

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.

end of January

C&B Towers has shut down for a few days while the British winter does its worst – not the numbing polar blast our US friends are experiencing but grim enough that the best remedy is a steaming mug of coffee next to a warmed-up sewing machine and a nest of batting to keep out the draught.

At the Overseas Office however the sun is shining and the skies are blue….

We’ve both been very inspired by the Hannah Hauxwell quilts we talked about in our previous post.  Chris has drafted templates for one of the quilts,  Barbara has made test blocks and is now frantically rummaging through the Overseas Stash to find just the right fabrics to make some more.  We’ve also revisited our extensive  files of vintage quilts including some from the depths of The Cupboard at the Rural Office – we predict that several new patterns will be available before too long!  Here’s a quick glimpse of just two of The Cupboard quilts –

Both of these quilts are particular favourites of ours – the first one starts at the centre with a 4inch block and then grows out in traditional frame style with very simple pieced borders; the second one is far more elaborate with a centre panel of pieced blocks and a series of pieced borders.  We’ll show you some more of both quilts once Barbara returns to the Rural Office and rummages in The Cupboard.

And in other news, our Electric Quilt Doodles have been updated and you can download a colouring page here – feb doodle

Happy stitching!

 

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.

Heritage quilts

Chris has been beavering away in the IT Suite updating the Chris and Barbara website. It now sports a new drop-down menu for patterns with a separate page for our heritage quilts patterns. To buy these you have to visit our Payhip page (for the EU) or our Craftsy page but you can get a preview and information about the quilts on the new C&B page.

Some new patterns from Ann Jermey’s quilt collection have been added to the Payhip page (coming soon to Craftsy) and another quilt from Barbara’s collection has been added to both pages.

Ann’s quilts are this lovely1940s Windmill design (spot the mistake in it?)

Blue Windmillsand this little red and white quilt which (with our usual talent for stating the obvious) we have named Red Bricks.

bricks2Ann remade this quilt using some left over 2 and 1/2 inch strips in various reds and neutrals –

bricksThe quilt from Barbara’s collection is a Triple Sunflower. This is hand-pieced and Barbara has been remaking the block (but we don’t yet have a photo – or I can’t find it, Chris). One of these blocks would make a lovely cushion, or just make a few for a table runner.

DSCF3023The colours have faded somewhat – the green leaves and stems have all but disappeared – but it is still a lovely quilt.

More quilt patterns to come before too long, and maybe even some of Barbara’s quilting designs . . . !?