Free patterns

Free Pattern Friday

Another free pattern for you is available over on Meadowside Designs. This week it is a handy little bucket-style bag to keep your essential sewing kit in.

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The pattern is available from our Meadowside Designs shop on Payhip and you can find out more and download it here. All the patterns in the shop have been reduced for this period of isolation and are either free or cost no more than £1.

You just need two fat quarters and with the left-overs you could make a matching pincushion, a free pattern for which can be found (along with several others) on the Meadowside Designs Free Patterns page.

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classes, Teaching

Stars, summer, etc

Lots of activity around C&B Towers this week – Barbara is preparing for something called a holiday and Chris is preparing for classes, gardening and running C&B Enterprises yet again.  Class preparation is always helped along by looking at results from previous classes, so we were delighted to have these pics of two tote bags made following our Tumbling Stars class –

Margery bag blue


Margery bag red


and a finished block from the same class – we understand that this might not actually be a finish, more the start of something a little larger …

Karen's Tumbling Star


Chris is often called upon to put her EQ skills at the service of others and rather suspects there may be an imminent request for further drafting.  As part of essential holiday preparation Barbara has been spending some time with this book –


which contains many luscious quilt pics, but one in particular has caught her attention



and a little closer



Sort of a Starry Dresden Plate, which would take in Chris’s Dresden Plate work and Barbara’s hand pieced zigzag triangles and curves…  Then there are one or two pictures on the “Waiting” file with a similar theme –

photo (10)


photo (9)


So, we’ll see what happens – who knows, A Plan may be forming!  After all, planning is what we’re good at, it’s just that procrastination brings everything to a halt!

Spotted on a summery walk was this rather appropriate numberplate – we wonder if the owner has worked out the answer to the question …?


classes, quilt shows, Teaching


New year, new term and classes start in a week. Is it that soon?? So – the irons have been rescued from their holiday home in the cupboard under the stairs and given a good clean and the extension leads have been gathered back from all the places they’d wandered to. Which is when I realised the certificates were on the verge of expiry – all the electrical stuff – irons, sewing machines, extension leads – needs to be PAT tested and the PAT tester (he tells me) is off skiing on Tuesday for a week. We are assured all will be well and the testing doesn’t take long and can be fitted in before Monday evening. In the meantime the ironing boards have been dusted down and given new covers as well – they’re a bit big (and bright), but I’m sure they’ll be ok.

Trentham Gardens in the snow
bright new covers
irons ready for testing

I’ve been and bought Vilene so the Blue Peters for the small bag have been completed ready for next Saturday. The worksheet is passing back and forth through the ether courtesy of e-mail while we refine and edit it before printing out all the copies we’ll need. We’ve worked out how to draw the patterns so they fit on A4 for ease of photocopying. With luck we’ll both be at Tittensor bright and ready for action next Saturday morning!
Then there’s only the evening classes to complete the planning and worksheets for, and the Saturday February classes in both Tittensor and Stone … and there’s the Trentham Quilt Show stand to organise (and let’s hope it doesn’t snow this year) … and … !

classes, quilting

Dithering with Chris

Too much to do and can’t decide what to tackle first. I ought to make some more sampler blocks – especially the Lone Star one – but couldn’t get the fabric choice quite right, then cut it out with the wrong measurements so it doesn’t fit together. Bother. Obviously not in the right mood for cutting and piecing.

block beginnings

Perhaps a little quilting? There are innumerable tops awaiting a little tlc, a border or two maybe, some wadding, backing and stitching. But which one to tackle first? And have I got enough backing fabric? I did have, long ago when I first finished the top … but where did I put it? Or have I forgotten and used it in something else? And even if I do get round to tacking it all together – what design do I stitch? And have I got the right thread? And enough of it?

awaiting quilting

I have made a lot of samples of the small bag for the bag workshop on Jan 23rd. Did those last month – last year, even! But have forgotten to do Blue Peters necessary for class. I’ve found some more fabric and wadding – good start. But, no Vilene. A trip to the shops is required, but the car is covered in snow and its cold out there – isn’t it?! Maybe I’ll just light the fire and find my library book – its nearly due back so I need to finish it, don’t I?

sample small bags for class

And so another day of dither and delay and procrastination unfolds … !

classes, Projects, Teaching

Stitching time

We’ve drunk the coffee, eaten the brownies and written things in notebooks so the displacement activity is over and now it’s time to get on with the stitching.  We’ve also been browsing and visiting lots of other blogs which has resulted in both of us feeling supremely lazy and unproductive – there are lots of seriously busy stitchers out there who produce tremendous work (but you knew that anyway).  Tomorrow could be a day for making a few more bags ready for the next class.   Here are the first mini-bags that Barbara made based on an original pattern from Quilters Trading Post in Whitchurch

These are very quick and easy to make and are the perfect size for all sorts of things – you may think from this picture that Barbara uses hers to store rotary cutters in, and you’d be right, but  there’s another of these bags on her desk and it’s a very handy size for discreetly storing essential chocolate supplies ….

Then we have the Reversible Runners class to make some more samples for – this was a very popular class the first time around and we’re adding in a couple of different possibilities so this year’s class won’t be a straight repeat.  Sharon Pederson’s book is our starting point, although we have vague memories of the technique somewhere back in the 1980s – again it’s quick and a great introduction to the whole process of quilt-as-you-go.

And that’s enough stitching to keep us occupied until at least lunchtime!  Then we come to those Sampler Quilt samples – Barbara has got this far with one of the applique blocks, all she needs is a little time and a good light (and possibly chocolate).

So if the next load of snow does arrive in Staffordshire you can be sure that we will be well occupied.

classes, Sampler Quilt class

Work in progress – ?

Chris has been busy making bags – it’s almost turned into a bag-a-thon!  Several enjoyable visits to our nearest quilt shop, Pollyanna Patchwork, have already been required and there will doubtless be a few more before the class in January.  The requirements list for this class should be available on our website in the next few days, or as soon as Barbara gets down to writing up her part of it.

Some progress from both of us on the blocks for the Sampler Quilt class – in amongst all the general pre-Christmas stuff that we all get sucked into – and we’d actually prefer for all the Christmas stuff to go away and just sew our way through the next few weeks…

classes, Sampler Quilt class

Life gets in the way

Whew!  Can’t believe that it’s so close to you-know-what.  This happens every year, start off with good intentions which are still in place by September/October and then somehow it all goes pear-shaped.  Our evening classes are finished for this year and our last Saturday class is done, we’re working on the Sampler evening classes and STILL trying to find enough hours in the day!  Barbara’s excuse (which is wearing a little thin by now) is that she’s had a 10 day break with her friends in Cairo

and is just back from teaching a residential weekend at Alston Hall near Preston.  Chris meanwhile has been forging ahead with a Grand Plan for our Basically Bags class early next year and has made lots of samples.  We also need to get going on a book project – more news of this soon – which we have to deliver by the end of  April.

So now we should both get down to making all those delightful handmade Christmas presents that we thought we would give to our nearest and dearest this year….  another rush job, rather than the leisurely sewing we’d anticipated.  

Barbara cut up her Wonky Nine Patch samples from an earlier class (see below)  and has now found some yummy Oliver Twists threads from ZigZags in Newport to go with them – some notebook covers may be the result.

Also starting on other handpiecing projects ahead of the Sampler class –

not forgetting machine piecing blocks