Workshop Reminder

The first workshop of the new term is nearly upon us – next Saturday, September 12th. Please don’t forget if you have booked a place! The Needs list is here and you will be making something that could look a bit like this –


In case you are wondering what to do with yourselves when we stop our workshops at Tittensor at the end of the year – there is a Block of the Month starting on our sister blog Meadowside Designs this week. The first post with a picture of the quilt and a link to the requirements list is here.

This week’s class report

Handpiecing, curved seam strategies and a goodly dash of basic machine quilting were all on the menu for this week’s class.  The Tangled Star block from last week had worked very well and the homework looked great –

Barbara didn’t manage to take pictures of all the homework because she got sidetracked into a discussion on handpiecing in general and some of the historical background.   This is a reference picture of the quilt we were talking about – the Rajah quilt

taken from this book

We did do a little hand piecing in class

and we also managed to take a shot of a quilt in the making – well, it’s got as far as choosing the main fabrics and pattern –

There are two blocks for homework this week – Scrap Violet and Summer & Winter.


Onwards from here!  Chris has 2 more classes to teach this week and is also busy with cupboard construction while  Barbara is sorting and tidying and doing necessary admin. before her trip to Houston.

It’s all a mystery

New comfy chairs at the Village Hall were much appreciated for our Mystery Day.  Lots of sitting and stitching but with no idea of what the result would look like ….

Here’s where everyone began   – the official version followed by the real thing –

Once these first units were made – and there were quite a lot of them! – it was on to cutting more strips and stitching and slicing

At lunch time we had a quick look at a quilt top by Ann Jermey that she had begun in one of our Grow Your Own classes – apparently it is awaiting a final border and then it’s ready for quilting.  We thought it looked terrific –

We did allow pauses for coffee, tea and cake consumption as well as lunch, but there was a slight problem with the cake this time – no suitable knife of any kind could be found in the kitchen, so improvisation with a fork (!) resulted in an interesting display on the plate –

The pattern we had chosen for this year’s Mystery was based closely on “The Wonderland Quilt” design by US quilter Billie Lauder.   When we asked Billie for permission to do this, she graciously agreed on condition that we sent pictures of the day – think we might omit the cake!  The block  for this quilt is very easy to make, just straight measuring, cutting and stitching, but is very versatile, in that the component units can be turned in any number of directions.  Which is why we chose it – it means that everyone will have made the same blocks to the same instructions with their own choices of fabric and then when it comes to putting together there will be all sorts of choices both for the block and its setting.   Here you can see what some of the blocks will look like –

We’re looking forward to seeing the quilt tops we’re sure will follow on from our Mystery Day – everyone had done enough cutting and construction to make 12 blocks each.  Well done to all!

Class report week 4

A busy week for everyone – Chris is sceneshifting, painting walls and re-arranging furniture in readiness for new carpet, as well as putting things together for our Mystery Day class on Saturday, Barbara is packing The Tank with various teaching boxes and bags for the third time this week and trying to maintain a semblance of domestic order at the same time.  Our evening class students have definitely found the answer to making space for sewing in their busy schedules as serious quantities of homework were brought into class yesterday.  Several ladies have made more than one of the set blocks and now have an impressive stack of blocks awaiting transformation into a quilt, and we were able to spend some time looking at easy setting options – framing, sashing, cornerstones, that sort of thing.  Barbara got so carried away with this part of class that she forgot to take pictures and Chris was too busy ferrying various fat quarter selections to and fro the table so she didn’t take any pictures of this part either.  But we did remember to snap some of the homework blocks

This week there was only one block to demo and discuss – Tangled Star.

This block is not really as complicated as it looks.  We thought it would be a good place to start  making templates and handpiecing and we await the return of homework next week to see how that worked out.  Here are a few EQ images that feature the block, starting with an alternative value placement  –

California connections

It’s always fascinating how quilters connect – and how powerful this wonderful internet thing is.  Just recently we had an email from sunny California (ah, the dreams of sun, surf and early Beach Boys music – Barbara) congratulating us on the Links page on our website which had apparently proved most useful in a class project on quilting at Jefferson Library.  So useful that one of the students had felt inspired to put together their own set of quilting links and to send us the one they felt would be of most interest to a wider audience. All of which reminds Chris that she really must look at the website Links page and update it ….

Meanwhile in a hotspot in southern Spain, Barbara is getting to grips with some hand piecing –

(Does this mean we’ll be offering handpiecing classes next? – Chris)

Blame for this journey into hexagons is being firmly cast on our Stoke pal Shirley Sherratt over at Stitcherydo – we’re sure Shirley never leaves home without a little packet of these addictive shapes to work on, which is doubtless how she gets to be so productive.

Chris’s production line has ground to a halt in the meantime. But the brambles in the garden have been given a good seeing-to in between showers. And black currants picked and turned into jelly. Not only that but, courtesy of a singalong with the Bach B minor Mass from the Proms tonight (good job I was home-alone – Chris), the binding is on the blue quilt.

Great results

We love seeing how things work out and there’s often an impromptu show & tell section in the lunch break at our Saturday classes where we get to see all sorts of lovely pieces that were begun in an earlier class.  This top of Val’s is really something!  Started at our January “Grow Your Own” class  (with fabric that everyone wished they owned) Val showed us the current stage of growth – there are 2 more borders to go she thinks

And two lovely Lily pieces well on their way to completion after the same class

From one of last year’s evening class series Dawn brought this stunner to show us

Not to be outdone in the production stakes Chris managed to put this top together amidst all the chaos and confusion of last week

So far this week hasn’t been quite as monumentally disastrous as last, but Barbara’s brain has definitely been declared missing – worksheets that had been carefully printed out for class could not be found on the night, so there was a huge discrepancy between the demo, samples and the formal paperwork and once again the patience of students was tested to the limit.  Maybe the excitement of the cars has been too much!  On the list for this week – Double Wedding Ring and variations thereof

The Fancy Dresden Plate from last week didn’t look too bad either – a Honeybee block has sneaked in at the right too


Grow your own quilt

Well, we’ve survived the first workshop of the year – and we think the students did too, aided by copious cups of tea and coffee, not to mention chocolate biscuits and cake.

This month’s class was another ‘Grow your Own’ – a medallion-style quilt where you start with a centre and add borders until you run out of time/patience/fabric/whatever. But this time we were cruel and started with a couple of borders so everyone could (would?) have a go at Seminole technique to make a zigzag border and a diamond border. Plenty of practice using those ‘funny lines’ on the rulers.

After lunch Barbara moved on to the centre block – a Carolina Lily in a pot. At 20 inches square on point it was a reasonable size for having a first go at Y (or set-in) seams on the machine. We’d thought everyone would opt for one or other of the simple (-ish) centres we’d given as alternatives but most decided to try the Lily. Barbara’s sample-in-bits did look very splendid.

It all took time and Barbara was busy washing up cups and Chris forgot her camera (again!) so no further photos of Lily blocks, or even units, although many were stitched. We did see the start of a splendid simple centre quilt from Val –

And we all admired Jane’s Christmas present from her husband and boys –

– which she soon put to good use (though how she could bear to chop into it …??)

Finally, as everyone realised the day had disappeared and it was time to pack up, we managed to get most of the class together with some of their hard work and looking happy.

Our next class is a Bag day on Feb 11th and the Needs list is on the website. In the meantime we need to get ourselves organised for the start of Evening Classes in Stone on Jan 25th. We can still squeeze a couple more in if you’re interested; we’ll be looking at blocks with a ‘Thirties’-feel. (Another excuse for Barbara to buy repro-fabric – Chris)

End of term report

Our last evening class at The Station for this year (we can’t quite bring ourselves to confront the whole festive thing just yet) and a chance to review some of the topics we have covered and look ahead to our plans for next term.  This time we have done 10 classes, next time we are reverting to our more usual 8 just because we can.  During the interesting process of Chris’s relocation, Barbara rummaged through some of the books in her sewing room and came up with several that we have both looked at many times over the years and now seem “of the moment” again.  So next year our evening classes will focus on hand and machine piecing, applique and quilting but with a nostalgic almost 30s feel to some of the patterns and blocks.   Barbara is currently hiding away in her room, muttering and hauling fabrics out from her stash to get going on class samples, when she should really be helping Chris unpack boxes and paint walls.

Over the past 10 weeks we’ve looked at hand and machine piecing, hand and machine applique, and hand quilting, with a dash of Somerset Star, stained glass and paper piecing for good measure.  Its been a really happy cheerful atmosphere with lots of good-natured banter and support, despite our various individual absences dealing with unforeseen events.  And the homework has been top notch!  Gold stars all round ladies.  (a reminder about entries for the quilt show at Uttoxeter….??)

Here’s a glimpse of the latest batch of homework – Somerset Stars, machine applique and a full set of blocks for Leigh’s handsome quilt

Our next stop is on Saturday for our Tittensor class Chopped Up Circles, then it will be time for the next Mystery Monday instalment.  And coming up very quickly is the Christmas meeting of Staffs Patchworkers – it’s all go!