All change

Not much chance, it seems, of settling in for some peace and quiet at the Overseas Office – looks like we will be returning to the Rural Office in the next fortnight. Nothing dramatic, just a routine but essential medical appointment for Himself with a short recovery period afterwards. Time to review the projects and stash here in Spain and decide how much/many can stay until our return – this is never an easy decision!

During the last few weeks I’ve been busy with Zoom stuff and putting July’s work of measuring a variety of quilts from The Cupboard to good use –

It’s been great fun to virtually share some of the contents of The Cupboard – even from such a distance! For 2022 I’m developing a series of online talks and classes with the theme “Ragged & Rescued” – more details in due course, website to sort out first.

Not much obvious progress with the longterm diamond/hexagon project but it is moving along and is the ideal travel companion –

Hope you are all safe and well – happy stitching!

Overseas Office

… meanwhile, back in southern Spain, life is busy and not much stitching seems to be happening.

The current project is long term, no deadline and just because. Actually that describes most of the projects that are “in progress” ….

Strips of fabric have been cut, papers acquired (in bulk), glue pen refills gathered, patches basted and sorted into bags – quite the production line. Even though I say not much stitching has been done, it has been very easy to pick up a few diamonds for some mindless basting or lay out twelve diamonds for one hexagon block and stitch them together.

Pioneers sessions started again this month and we will be looking in detail at one of the old Ragged & Rescued quilts from The Cupboard

I’ve issued a challenge to the intrepid Pioneers based on this quilt – we may open up the challenge and, if so, I’ll post details.

Two Zoom lectures in the diary for this week and a Chris&Barbara PopUp class next month – lots of preparation to finish so I’d best get back to it – happy stitching!

All good

It’s been a week filled with lots of good things and a lot of positive energy – not before time!! A day at the Festival of Quilts was such a boost – quilts, traders, quilting friends galore. Fabric was acquired with the excuse of it being “needed” for the ongoing diamond project that began like this –

More cutting of strips and preparation has happened –

Further planning for vintage treasures stored in The Cupboard – this particular project is scheduled for some serious attention later this year.

And heading for the Overseas Office to be progressed further is the vintage project you saw last week –

Happy stitching!

Time flies

Can’t believe how quickly time is going! I’m getting a good start on at least 2 long term projects. Project One is based on quilts etc stowed in The Cupboard which I’m aiming to grow into a series of Zoom lectures –

Project Two has been picked up from one of last year’s class samples and progressed with lots of prep, cutting and basting. Just the teeniest dent in part of the stash! No deadline but a few thoughts on how this might go together –

And there’s a re-make project that’s been sitting quietly in The Cupboard for a Very Long Time and may get moved on a couple of stages this week –

Happy stitching!

Still here!

The letup from lockdown seems to be a perfectly weird set of almost new experiences – switching between feelings of things being normal, not normal, really difficult, almost forgotten and a hefty dose of detached chaos. No stitching, I still can’t settle or focus – so I’m substituting garden chores instead. Thank goodness for the reliable Pioneers and the Thursday at Three crew. The past couple of weeks the Pioneers have been looking at corded and stuffed quilting, boutis, trapunto, Italian quilting and we’ve enjoyed touring through history, costume, techniques and equipment. So, with no new stitching to show you, I’m referring back to corded samples from several years ago. First, part of the reverse and then the front of a favourite piece I did based on the centre of a Welsh wholecloth quilt followed by a detail of one of my designs worked as Italian quilting using muslin backing and a very soft twist wool to “cord”.

I really should remove all those tacking/basting threads!

Not quilting

I think I am very close to setting an all-time personal “worst” for not quilting, not sewing, not stitching for what feels like a LONG time. One worn shirt collar was turned yesterday and that’s about it for another week. Sad face. I’m putting the blame entirely on myself and being unduly influenced/overwhelmed by being in the presence of crates of ufo’s/wips/PHDs and a very full Quilt Cupboard. Just too many things requiring attention. So just some random pics from The Cupboard to look at while I wade back into the organising quagmire –

This quilt is about halfway down the front stack of quilts in The Cupboard, shown here is the reverse side.
This quilt is also in the front stack in The Cupboard – hoping to launder it in the better weather.
This quilt is near the top on my “record the pattern” list. The first quilt I bought and the first quilt I bought from Jen Jones in the very early 1980s.
This quilt is at the top of the second stack in The Cupboard – also on the launder list.
A “compare” shot – quilt by Amy Emms MBE, quilt by Unknown. Polyester satin fabric, polyester thread, polyester wadding; cotton sateen fabric, cotton thread, cotton wadding.
Another quilt from the second stack – will check re. laundering requirement.

Happy stitching!

Good light

Sometimes, even in a gloomy cold Spring, the light is just right to capture quilted texture. Even the most elusive white-on-white quilting –

This is a very worn and almost shredded vintage strippy quilt that I bought for pennies in the 1980s. Strippy quilts are most often pieced from strips of contrasting fabrics by colour, value, print and plain. In this quilt both front and back are pieced from strips of different widths and weights of white household cotton, a thin cotton batting, and the simple quilting patterns are Lined Twist and a Bellows variation.

White on white quilted strippy style like this would be a great way to make a wholecloth quilt without the angst and terror of design, marking etc. Just a thought ….

The light was good enough to take a quick shot of the 1845 quilt too –

I know I commented before about the sharpness and precision of the hand piecing of this quilt – take a look at the scant seam allowance that’s visible here. Our standard seam allowance is 1/4inch, this measures a very scant 1/8inch. Imagine stitching with so little room for error!

Happy stitching!

More settling

Quarantine is over and first vaccination tomorrow – important milestones! It’s been a really slow week, hard to find motivation to finish unpacking and the quilt cupboard remains in need of a thorough working over. But I have brought a long-standing (a mere decade) project to the surface ready to be moved to the batting and basting pile –

Keeping this really short and hoping that this coming week is more productive!

On the move

Almost all packed up and ready to roll! I’ve been reflecting on the last 12 months as I’ve gathered quilts, books, projects, notions together to head back to the Rural Office. Lots of challenges and changes for everyone, everyone found their own ways of coping and, for many of us, quilting, stitching and handwork became more important than ever. I will admit that I thought I would be more productive but can see that a lot of time has gone into (literally) the air instead – Zoom, FaceTime, Skype – adapting to different teaching platforms as well as staying in touch. So for this last post from the Overseas Office here’s a quick look at just a few of the starts from March 2020 to March 2021 –

Finishing up with a detail (above) which shows what I hope to be doing more of once we are back at the Rural Office. See you soon!


New-fangled stuff imposed by WordPress has made this week’s post almost impossible to put together.  One long-standing and now VERY unhappy user.  So forgive me if this is short and the images disproportionately sized –  I need to do some background research to see if/how I can revert to the system that didn’t need fixing.  

Quilting thoughts and activity this week have been based around the current project, shown below under construction last year – 

Initial tight-to-all- the-seams quilting is now under way (First Pass) and I’m starting to look ahead to what might be next (Second Pass). I’ve marked out about half the block using my Chaco-liner. You can probably see that all the perimeter of the main shape and the inside edge of the block has already been quilted.

This is going to be quite a lot of quilting for no obvious effect, but I have found over the past decade or so that this is what I prefer and I feel it is worth doing. So “on the ditch” rather than in it! Once this Second Pass is complete I will consider adding quilting 1/4inch away from the seams on the larger shapes (Pass Three). Regular readers may recall that I used this strategy for the sampler quilt and diamond table runner finished last year –

Hoping to be reporting more positively next week!