Pass Three again

Not too much stitching to show yet on Pass Three – I’ve changed my mind on “what to quilt where” at least three times since my last post…………. but decisions are finally made and marked.  Phew!

These nesting circle templates have proved immensely useful in my quest to fill corners and junctions in this quilt.  I think they were an early Creative Grids production in the late 1980s and they’ve been very well used since.  If you peer closely at the pic below you can see some circles marked in blue washout pen –

So, plenty to keep me occupied!  Working on a traditional fixed frame will mean that each circle will be stitched in two sections – from 3 o’clock over to 9 o’clock and then back to 3 0’clock and under to 9 o’clock.  Sounds awkward but it’s less twisting and twirling of a large quilt with a handheld frame.

Another gripping bulletin next week! Happy stitching everyone.




On to Pass Three

The quilting schedule has slipped by a couple of sessions so Pass Three is not as far advanced as I had hoped – but it has begun!  I need to have the quilt off the frame and the frame packed away by the end of next month so there’s still plenty of time.  If plans work out it will be a return to quilting at the Overseas Office in August and there’s already a sizeable stack of projects packed up in readiness.   And, in one of those inexplicable fits of organisation and tidiness, I have managed to empty out and sort out the three bags of essential notions that I seem to take everywhere –

Isn’t it amazing how stuff accumulates and increases with the passage of time?  and it’s all essential!

More of the same

Sometimes progress is difficult to measure – looking back over the past week I can see that I have progressed several projects and picked up a few others that should never have been put down, but overall there’s little to show.   The first two long borders on the quilt in the frame are done –

Decision taken for the sashing border and sashings – this may get an amendment from one curving line to a proper single cable, or it may not.

Behind the scenes activity this week with one or two more quilts from The Cupboard – this time a delightful 1930s Rolling Star and a somewhat older Basket top

And I may have found the perfect bling fabric for mask-making –

Happy stitching!

Zigzags and chalk

It’s been fun trying out different simple border quilting options for the quilt on the frame – my favourite “tryout” method involves lots of chalk lines and standing back, brushing the chalk lines out and making more, standing back …  You get the idea.  And sometimes it’s hard to do simple!  And just how simple can you get?  So far I’ve considered single cables, squares on point, lined twist, and now the game has moved on to zigzags.  This seems to be the most comfortable visual fit to date so the first section has been marked up (more chalk) ready to go.

The marking was made even easier by adapting an existing template (top of pic) with masking tape to give a guideline.  The next round of quilting begins right here!

The Friendship Star and Nine Patch top that was a mini Mystery for my locked down handstitching students is now complete and ready to move on to the quilting pile –

and more quilting choices to be made.  Top candidate at the moment is Baptist Fan – we’ll see!

Old favourite

No quilting this week – which feels odd.  Only excuse I can come up with is I’ve been busy finding my way around various online platforms and seeing how they could work for virtual classes (hand quilting and hand piecing maybe?), helping quilting friends on the same quest, making masks requested by family, and keeping up with students with their current handpiecing project.  Over on the chrisandbarbaraquilts side of things there’s a LOT going on behind the scenes – and, before you know it, another week has gone by!

So, a week with no quilting makes an excuse for showing you one of my favourite not-quilted vintage pieces from The Cupboard.  Foundation pieced Log Cabin blocks which measure 4inches approx, cotton velvet centre squares/rectangles mostly brown in colour, wide range of types and weights of fabrics from shirtings to sheeting,  equally wide range of fabrics for the foundations, blocks stitched together with overcasting stitch (as for EPP).  Rescued from a builders skip and gifted to me after a dark green velvet border had been carefully removed by the keen-eyed quilter who rescued it.

Now I really do have to make some decisions about borders on the quilt on the frame and move that project along…… happy stitching!

Fancy stuff

Update on the quilt in the frame – all outline quilting done and now awaiting final decision on quilting for the sashings and borders.

So while I’m cogitating on this and drawing interesting chalk lines to help the creative decisions I thought you might enjoy some quilted texture from one of the quilts in The Cupboard.

This small wholecloth quilt (47inches x 37inches) was acquired from a general textiles dealer 15years ago, no provenance, no information – as is so often the case.

I just loved the simplicity of it – simple strippy patterns filling the space and a cable border that didn’t turn at the corners, cheap satin front and back, carded wool batting and a stuffed knife-edge finish.  Very showy courtesy of the shine of the satin adding to the loft of the wool batting.


Now back to the frame!

Vintage quilting

One of my favourite things for this post – quilted texture.  The quilt is one I acquired in the USA at least 10 years ago, probably more.  In terms of overall condition it’s pretty decent, some broken stitches, worn binding and serious fading of green fabric to a pale buff colour, no spots or stains etc etc.  I would estimate the date to be circa 1860s .  The pieced blocks are Triple Sunflower.  My reason (if I needed one) for acquiring this quilt was the quilting – super small stitching and lots of it.

The quilting stitches are really alarmingly small, averaging 13 to the inch –

and the familiar classic motif Feather Wreath –

plus a very delectable Feathered Plume –


The borders are quilted with triple diagonal lines – easy to mark and easy to quilt on a frame –

I found it interesting that the pieced blocks were quilted with an allover pattern rather than “by the piece” – again, easier to quilt when working on a frame.

Note to self: I really do have to knuckle down and draft the quilting patterns from this and other quilts from The Cupboard. ( In the meantime there is a simple measurements-and-construction pattern guide for this quilt available at Meadowside Designs ).

And with that it’s back to my quilt frame where good progress is being made – update next week!

On the frame

An update on the activity at the quilting frame and a bit of background info on the whys and wherefores.

I first set the quilt on the frame lengthways and did as much basic outline quilting as I comfortably could.  This was what I refer to as the first pass.  Quilting patchwork is nowhere near as straightforward as working wholecloth!  Seam allowances to deal with and all that good stuff.  But you knew that …..

Second pass comes after taking the quilt off the frame and putting it back on widthways (longer lengths of tape required at either side) and then continuing to complete the outline quilting.

Pass One, row 1

Pass One row 2

Pass One row 3


Off the frame ready to turn to widthways

Pass Two row 1

I still have no idea what, if anything, I will quilt in the sashings and borders but there is plenty of time to think about that.  The lovely thing about having a quilt set up on a frame (and the necessary space) is that you can just go and sit and put in a few stitches when you can.  I’m doing a minimum of 45 minutes each day and making good progress so far.


Bits of quilting

Good progress on the quilt in the frame this week, full update with pics next week.   There’s been plenty of quiet stitching time to think about how to make the best of things in a socially distanced world – videos, YouTube, Zoom, Skype for meeting and perhaps short teaching and sharing sessions are moving to the top of the Must Do list.  Memo to self – just get started!!

Alongside all this stitching and thinking I’ve been trying to tidy and re-organise my sewing room here at the Rural Office.  Not quite so much progress on this task but there are glimmers of hope!  Class samples have been sorted and stacked ready to be filed away, I just need to find space for them in The Cupboard.  I took a few random pics whilst sorting and stacking –  very simple quilted texture, simple lines – just to remind myself how much even basic quilting can add to a piece and how inviting the texture can be.  See what you think – first a quick reminder of The Cupboard and it’s contents –

Last year in classes there was a lot of discussion about Baptist Fan quilting and it was helpful to have a teeny sample to hand –

Simple crosshatching or grid quilting is never going to be the most original or daring choice but it always delivers great texture.

Black on black quilting from the mid-1980s – still a favourite and such a rich texture from this traditional cable pattern

Dark blue thread on pale and mid blue fabric – using a thread darker than the fabric is a great way to maximise quilted texture.

Keeping it simple when quilting small scale patchwork – above you can see that each diamond has been outlined and has a single line bisecting it.

And in a league of it’s own – quilted texture from the hand of Amy Emms MBE, no words needed.

Happy stitching!

Old friend

Such a thrill to be back in contact with so many quilting friends – thank you for all your kind comments.  Having decided to try and make the most of enforced time at home (aka The Rural Office if you follow the chrisandbarbaraquilts blog) and set up my traditional quilt frame I can now report that the project is going well –

This quilt is 4blocks x 3 and I reckon I’m nearly halfway on the first pass.  The plan is to quilt as much as possible with the quilt set lengthways on the frame and then take it off and reset it so that it is widthways on the frame and quilt the remaining lines.  This strategy should mean that all the basic outlining stitching is done and I will then think about what other quilting I want to add.  Pretty much the same strategy as I advocated all those years ago in “Quilt It!” (Martingale /David & Charles, 1999).

I’m really enjoying “time at the frame” again.  This frame is very special to me for all sorts of reasons (see earlier post) and is a complete pleasure to use.  In addition to being set up at home the frame has travelled many miles and been used to demonstrate hand quilting at all the early UK quilt shows – very much an old friend.

Here’s to friends of all types and all ages!