Random again

This time our random spotlight falls on two student worktables from a Chris&Barbara class circa 2014 –

Nothing art-y or artful here, but we both enjoyed taking random shots of work in progress as we patrolled (!) the classroom and sometimes we remembered to take a “Happy Class” photo too.

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!

classes, Piecing, possibilities, Teaching

Saturday’s class – Four into Sixteen

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our Saturday class at Tittensor.  Having had to cancel the previous class due to snow and adverse road conditions we all enjoyed being able to set things up with warm sunshine, birdsong volume turned up and the gentle clack of bowls from the bowling green at the side of the car park.  Full house again to discover and explore a very simple technique with lots of potential and possibilities.  There were even samples, instructions and a demo! The technique part was based on Billie Lauder’s “Quick Tricks Squared”  and it begins with two 10inch squares. (Think Layer Cake).  Simple stitching and slicing leads from these two squares to two 4patch units –

starter 4patch

starter units

and then on from here with some further stitching and slicing

first slice

to arrive at something like this

finished block

So far so good.  Lots of fun and several blocks made.  But one of our favourite things is “What if?” so we went back to the start with the 10inch squares and instead of 2 fabrics, some of us tried out 3 different fabrics, some of us tried out 4.  And cutting at different intervals, and swapping slices around ……………… it was all very absorbing, and probably one of the quietest classes we’ve ever had!

finished block


two sets of blocks

definitely blue

more blocks

carried away

hands on

hands on

4 fabric blocks

4 fabric blocks

2 block combination

variations on a theme

more blocks

4 fabric block

more variations

3 fabric block

Maggi Birchenough had brought in a small selection of her yummy hand dyed fabrics and threads

Maggi's fabrics

hand dyed threads

we had a basket of fat quarters from The Corner Patch  and we put flyers out for Staffs Patchworkers programme and also the British Quilt & Stitch Village Show  which is (gulp) less than a week away.  So while we wait for everyone to rush and stitch their blocks together into wonderful quilt tops we need to put things together for our demo spot at Uttoxeter – perhaps more caffeine is called for?

classes, Piecing, possibilities

Still puzzling

Chris’s Puzzle Quilt classes at Pollyanna Patchwork were full of returning homework this week.  “Beginners’ and ‘Improvers’ turned up with lots of blocks.  After two blocks last time some of the Beginners were quite disappointed to be given only one block design this week and requested others be e-mailed.  We think the pictures just speak for themselves – first a sample from Beginners :

Chris didn’t manage to get many photos – beginners are shy and don’t think their work is worth photographing. How wrong can they be?! We love how different these pairs of blocks look – they are pairs of the same design, hence ‘Puzzle Quilt‘.

The ‘Improvers’ – and some are really Beginners – have been getting two different blocks to make each class so their piles of blocks are growing even faster. Again lights (or blocks) have been hidden under bushels (or in bags).

Saturday’s students had time to make blocks and speedy ones even quilted.

The others made the London Roads block first and will make their Mystery Flower Garden blocks at home.

Chris and Alison aren’t sure they can wait for a fortnight to see what comes in from this week’s ‘homework’. Some of the blocks are now starting to look like ‘proper’ quilts as students begin to quilt-as-they-go and everyone is getting excited at the prospect of having a finished quilt by the end of term.

classes, Piecing, Sampler Quilt class

Holding the fort

Well, life at C&B Enterprises is never predictable – or dull! Chris had done a wonderful solo turn while Barbara was quilt-hauling in the US last week, only to find that a nasty heavy cold took charge of her almost minutes before Barbara landed back in the UK. We did some urgent re-shuffling so that Barbara could take over the solo bit while the patient stuffed herself with mega strength cold remedies. The first evening class was probably not our finest two hours but everyone was very forgiving of Chris’s absence and Barbara’s jetlag – no pics from this session but we’ll try to do better on all fronts next week. Barbara managed another impromptu solo turn to cover Chris’s Sampler class at Pollyanna Patchwork today – and remembered to point the camera bit of her favourite iPod gadget at some of the work being done, and at least one of the students. .. a Grand Time was had by all, and the good news is that Chris is beginning to feel just a little bit better!







classes, Piecing

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)