Piecing, possibilities, Projects

Free Pattern

Another block in our Sew-Along Sampler has been posted on our website, www.chrisandbarbara.co.uk. This time its Old Maid’s Puzzle – lots of half-square triangles for you to play with. We sometimes wonder whether anyone out there is making any sampler blocks, or quilts from the patterns. Or are you just saving them for a rainy day? Which is what we find ourselves doing with all sorts of patterns, designs and other interesting things we come across, but somehow the promised ‘rainy day’ never arrives. Months later (years, even!) one or other of us finds a folder (that organised?! – Chris) when tidying and remembers, vaguely, meaning to make it when the right fabric was found, or ‘after these classes have finished’ and yet, here it is, still unused. Hey ho. Did you hear the old saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions? We have however been making virtual quilts on Electric Quilt using the blocks from the Sew-Along. Here are a couple of Old Maid’s Puzzles – you will find some others on our EQ Doodles page.

Old  Maid's Puzzle quilt

Old Maid's Puzzle quilt

We’d love to see photos of any blocks or quilts you’ve made from these patterns. A sampler quilt with these blocks in does exist somewhere in Barbara’s quilt cupboard, when she finds it we’ll post a photo!

classes, Inspiration, Piecing, Teaching

Found – totally fabulous hexagons – a must-see

Following on from the vintage fabrics and hexagons we came across some completely luscious hexagon pieces on this blog


you’ll need to look for the February 1st post and scroll down the page but it really will be well worth it! 

First night of the new Sampler Quilt class went really well and we were so wrapped up in what was going on that we quite forgot to take pictures – must rectify that next week!  Everyone seemed to have a good time and the homework we’ve set is to make one block chosen from the 4patch patterns we’ve given them.  Here are our class samples as a reminder –


classes, Piecing, quilting, Teaching

Sampler class starts today

We’re both doing that well-known teaching activity – filling boxes and packing  cars!  It’s the first class of our Sampler Quilt series tonight and it will probably take what feels like hours to get everything assembled and ready to go.  The venue at Stone Station is great, with a very helpful caretaker who will set out tables and chairs for us, and the parking is easy and level.  But there’s so much stuff!  The sewing machines, the display boards, the demonstration things, the handouts, the books and magazines to browse, the fabric basket, the big refreshments bag, the irons and ironing boards – by the time all this has been collected and packed into the cars, unpacked and set out, packed up and back to the car, then out of the car and back indoors we feel like we’ve done an intensive workout at the gym! 

Here are a few more of Chris’s Sampler blocks that will be on the demonstration table tonight –

Piecing, possibilities, Projects

More triangles

Chris’s post about triangles had an unexpected effect on the piles of stuff awaiting attention on Barbara’s worktable.  Here’s a potentially very large ufo that was begun at least two years ago and could be finished up with just one day’s focussed effort  (especially if they were given a darn good pressing first, having spent a long time stuffed into a tote bag ) ….. 

 … lots and lots of half square triangles made from an assortment of reproduction blue prints and already joined into long strips ready to be turned into a Tree Everlasting strippy quilt top.  This was one of those “make zillions of units with no plan and see what happens” projects when the rotary cutter first sliced into the fabrics, and, having been rediscovered (!) it is now sitting on top of all the other projects on the worktable and it may get made into a top very soon.  ( and, once more, pigs might fly!  Chris)

Our Sampler Class starts next week – where did the time go?!  Here are a few of Chris’s blocks  – don’t you just love the bold stripe?

classes, Piecing, Projects

Free Pattern

Just a quickie to let you know I’ve updated the website and put a new Free Pattern there. Everyone seems to be getting very excited about the evening class sampler quilt we’ve been planning so we thought we would share the patterns for some of the blocks we have used in previous sampler classes. First up is the Carrie Nation Quilt block.

We’ve given instructions for making the block at both 8 inch and 12 inch plus lots of ideas for colouring the block and putting several together to  make a quilt using just that block. A couple of ideas are on our flickr page, as you may have noticed from the sidebar, and we hope to update the EQ Doodles page soon to show you some more. In the meantime here’s  what the block looks like in grey scale (in one colouring) and an example of a quilt.  You can of course just make one or two blocks and wait for us to put up instructions for further 4-patch blocks so you can make a Sew-Along-Sampler with us. We may even manage to find the original 4-patch  sampler quilt and take a photo of it.

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.

Sampler Quilt class

Seasonal snow

There’s only one thing to do when it snows – retire to a warm sewing room!  So when the Staffordshire round of snow arrived this afternoon that’s exactly what we both did.  Barbara managed to put together two more Sampler blocks in her room

and Chris was busy writing instructions for our Basically Bags class in January as well as proofreading one of her projects for Patchwork & Quilting magazine, with a few Sampler blocks for company –

classes, Sampler Quilt class

Sampler Quilt blocks

We’re both moving along with the blocks for the Sampler Quilt class.  Having decided to re-visit 12inch blocks ( a size neither of us has worked with a lot since the mid-80s) we’re finding that the blocks are not as huge or “clunky” as we remembered them.  This probably has something to do with the fact that, these days, we have much wider fabric choices available rather than the old adages of “one print, one plain and one background ” or “one light, one medium and one dark” .  We also have MUCH bigger stashes to work from!  So, within a 12inch block , we are now comfortable with using more than 3 fabrics  and the overall result is visually more interesting – or so we like to think!  Here are two more of Barbara’s blocks so you can see what we mean – the Log Cabin block has 13 different fabrics, the first LeMoyne Star variation has 4 and the second variation, all triangles, has 7.

Now it’s time to go and choose fabrics for the next blocks, which will probably include a couple more of those ever-versatile Log Cabins – Chris has found a really interesting  variation which may show up here when she’s had chance to put it together.

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

Sampler quilt class

We’ve started making our plans for the Sampler Quilt class we’ll be offering as a local evening class next year.  The first selection of blocks and techniques has been decided and some settings discussed so now we just have to make blocks, write the worksheets and put a couple of quilts together!  As you might have guessed we’ve both got our own versions set out in Electric Quilt but we’re resisting the urge to show anything in detail here until we get to actually cutting into fabric, but watch this space.

sampler block

Somewhere in the planning for our next Saturday class Double Delight Chris got caught up in one of her Electric Quilt doodles and, now that she has a beautifully tidy workspace, she feels inspired to carry on and make it.  We’ll be showing it here very soon – possibly with instructions!