PopUp pics

Later than planned but nonetheless – we wanted to share just a few pics from our PopUp Mystery class last week. All the usual C&B stuff- lots of chat, lots of tea and coffee, lots of humming sewing machines – was in evidence, plus an outstanding colour co-ordinated manicure modelled by Mouse …

We began to wonder if we had sent out a memo to everyone that said “Come dressed to match your fabric choices” –

And here’s Mouse’s blocks ready to be stitched together – another example of matching to fabric choices

A few more pics to come in our next post – see you soon!

classes, procrastination, scraps

Using up …

At C&B Towers and the Overseas Office the current working theme seems to be put all orphan blocks, sample blocks and bits, and UFOs to good use.

In the last few months Chris has resurrected and revived all manner of pieces that she had almost forgotten about and it has been very satisfying to make Something Unplanned out of them. The Photography Department has promised us that we will have pictures of these pieces to show in a future post.

Further south at the Overseas Office Barbara has been conjuring blocks for class samples out of scraps left over from other class samples and that has been a satisfying exercise too. For several years now the majority of class samples Barbara has made have had a similar colour palette, nearly always with a red print or prints included. The useful thing about this strategy is that, ultimately, all the samples should “go” together and can be arranged into some sort of sampler. This is not a new idea but it really does work very well and this year may be the start of arranging the contents of the sample bag. Here’s a quick glimpse of the current class sample plus one or two from 2022 –

This really is using up – the black print above featured in a quilt Chris made a LONG time ago and Barbara purloined the leftovers!

Back to sorting out pieces from the past!


Conference season

This is the time of year when we usually have several in-depth conferences at HQ and do what we cheerily call “forward planning”. Decisions and conversations regarding PopUp classes, virtual or actual; blog, maintain or discard; articles and patterns, do more or do less – and so on. Quantities of caffeine can be consumed at these conferences and there is much scribbling in notebooks. The first conference is a week away and we will be trying out our new HQ venue. Wish us luck!

Part of our conference preparation is to look back at bygone classes and projects – here are a few random memories from the Rural Office archive –

classes, quilt shows

Quilts from the past

We enjoyed having a ringside seat at the Staffs Ps&Qs 40th Anniversary celebration in July – lots of quilts we remembered from classes we had taught together or individually and lots of excellent quilt chat (and cake!). Here’s just two samples – first from the 1980s, second from 2009.

Made by Eileen Jenkins, traditional needleturn applique and hand quilting.
Made by Sheila Hughes, machine pieced, longarm quilted

We’re still in the lazy part of August with not much to report – this may change soon!


Popping Up

Much later than planned we’re reporting in on our most recent PopUp class – in person and almost like it used to be before you-know-what. Everyone had a great day and just enjoyed sewing together with ample supplies of coffee, tea and cake. We had chosen a block designed by Jeffrey Gutcheon entitled “Proof through the night” as the creative focus for the class, the practical focus was revising the various ways of making HSTs (Half Square Triangles). Some students turned their HSTs into the class block, some took a different path and made other blocks and a good time was had by all!

Inspiration, Teaching

Monday Miscellany

Things have been relatively quiet at C&B Towers and also the Rural Office – we’re still tidying, pruning, re-organising, making lists and all activities associated with Good Intentions and Planning.  It has been great fun working through 15 years worth of pictures and worksheets from our Saturday classes – here’s our first Monday Miscellany selected at random, hope you enjoy!





Piecing, Teaching

String Quartet class report

Over at the Rural Office internet connectivity has been a fragile fleeting thing – sometimes there, most times not.  So battling against the odds, here’s our report on the String Quartet class last Saturday.  Everyone seemed to have a really good time (with the possible exception of Chris who was doing sterling duty supplying vital teas and coffees).  Usually we begin classes with a demo and instructions, this time we dived right in to sewing and stitching little bits of fabric together to make Friendship Star blocks.  Everyone made at least one of these blocks and we rather think that the random piecing technique may prove a popular option – we even had a few mutterings about “good thing to do for a Linus day” “think I’ll do this again” etc etc.  The first few finished blocks are below –



After the Friendship Star blocks we moved on to a quick demo of piecing strips and strings of fabric down onto a paper shape and worksheets were handed out.  Chris’s Monster Scrap Bag made a guest appearance and was carefully picked through as the day progressed – it really was somewhat reduced by the end of class!






So, well done everyone!  Our next Saturday class – Double Delight – is in September.  We’ve got a lot of 2016 planning to do in the summer break and maybe a little more beautifying of the grounds of C&B Towers.


Drunkards Square

– is the title of our next class. September is here and a new term starts any day now so here at C&B Towers the sewing machines and computers are whirring as we attempt to finalise worksheets and class samples. September 21st will arrive before we know it.

And – Drunkards Square? What’s that all about?

Everyone knows the traditional Drunkards Path pattern and a lot of us dread those curved seams (but they are really easy when you know how (or know how to cheat – Chris)).

Drunkard's Path block

Drunkard's Path

But a Drunkard’s Square??

Let’s just say we have a Cunning Plan. Yes, it is based on Drunkard’s Path. No, you won’t have heard of it. Why? We dreamt it up over one of those high-powered discussions at HQ last year and it’s a C &B original.

another conference

It’s simple, it’s different and, most importantly, you won’t find it anywhere else. Shall we say – it adds an extra dimension to this fascinating and versatile block.

Book a place now. Be there and be Square!