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!


Quilted texture

Don’t you just love the texture of quilting? These details are from the first quilt I bought from Jen Jones (almost 40 years ago!) – it was a faded treasure back then and I still treasure it today.

The quilting design is easier to “read” on the reverse of the quilt –

Quilt 60inches x 50inches dates to circa 1900, twill weave furnishing weight fabric front and back, wool wadding.


Picking up the pieces

Looks like a very different start to April – we are here in the UK waiting out Covid19, hoping everyone is safe and that there are better days to come.   While waiting there will be lots of time for stitching, so I decided that this would be a good idea –

Quilt top made for hand stitching classes at The Corner Patch in 2018 –

It has felt really good to set up my traditional quilt frame again.  8foot long rails and 3foot stretchers, the wood is English ash and despite the size very simple to assemble.  The frame was made for me in the early 1980s by  the late Arthur Warner and was a Christmas present from my husband.

Let’s see where this goes …

Retreat plans

Even though the May retreat at my home in Spain seems a long way away, I need to post a reminder that the closing date for bookings is coming up fast – 21st MarchThere are only 6 places available for this hand stitching special – comfortable surroundings, warm weather, blue skies, home cooked food, local wines and fully kitted projects.  Add in a generous dash of guided stitching and tuition covering the main basics of hand stitching – English Paper Piecing, hand piecing, needleturn applique and hand quilting.  Also a visit to an internationally-renowned embroidery museum.  We think it’s a recipe for a perfect four days of relaxation and really hope you can join us.

IMG_7759 general tools    FullSizeRender (3)

Here’s a glimpse of the quilt that will be the source for some of the projects I’ll be teaching –

IMG_8364 full quilt

needleturn applique – FullSizeRender (8) block

English Paper Piecing –  FullSizeRender (7) hexagon block

and possibly  IMG_7946lucy boston

hand piecing – IMG_8375 honeybee  and possibly IMG_8370 honeybee

hand quilting – cropped-cropped-dscn30491.jpg   DSC05726

(colours and patterns will obviously vary, these images are illustrative only)

With just 6 guests we will be able to make the retreat a personalised and relaxing stitching experience – no deadlines, no pressure and no long requirements list of things to bring, just your own hand sewing kit – we provide everything else!

Email  for a booking form before it’s too late!!

Retreat in Spain

I have lots of stitching plans for the year ahead – much less travelling and teaching generally but with classes at my local quilt shop The Corner Patch in Eccleshall, also at The Bramble Patch.  A Corner Patch retreat in June, followed by a Grand South Western Tour in Devon and Cornwall.

For much of the year though I will be at our home in southern Spain and in May I will be hosting a small hand stitchers retreat there.  13th – 18th May with four days of hand stitching, kitted retreat projects, a visit to a renowned embroidery museum, good weather, good food, all in a private and comfortable domestic setting.  Just six places are available  ……   and bookings close on 21st March.


Email address for further info –