Hello and welcome to another newsletter from The Quilt Lady. Make sure you have a mug of something and a biscuit or two, and make yourself comfortable.

Thank you all for the wonderful messages when I launched my website. As you can probably imagine, it’s quite a scary step to take, but it feels so much like this is what I am meant to be doing now. I would just like to reassure the person (you shall remain nameless – for now at least!) who expressed concern that I was encouraging you all to eat biscuits and pile on the pounds. And to the other nameless (so far) soul who complained that I only gave you permission to have one biscuit. To you both, I would just like to say “feel free to have as many biscuits as you would like. Just remember to break them in half before you eat them so that all the calories fall out first.”

I have also been asked by several of you where the workshops are going to be held. So, if I could have a drumroll please, I can proudly reveal that the Quilt Lady workshops will be held in beautifully restored Grade II barns at Nancarrow Farm. Just 4 miles north of Truro and set in beautiful, rolling countryside, owners Steve and Lucy Chamberlain are creating a gorgeous new events venue in 2 restored barns and a new green oak building. (www.nancarrowfarm.co.uk).

An artists impression of the barns at Nancarrow Farm.
An artists impression of the barns at Nancarrow Farm.
Looking through the new green oak barn frame.
Looking through the new green oak barn frame.

Their main business will be as a wedding venue, but as most weddings are held at weekends, that leaves the rest of the week to be filled. I am indebted to Tor and Lucy at the Cornish Food Box Company for the introduction, (www.thecornishfoodboxcompany.co.uk) and to Steve for not collapsing in shock or hysteria at the idea when I told him what I wanted to do, and for working so supportively with me to get everything worked out.

There are a total of 7 rooms, twins and doubles, all en-suite, spread between the 2 barns and all but one on the ground floor. Upstairs in the 2 storey barn is an open plan kitchen living room. Additional accommodation is available at Callestock Courtyard, another gorgeous barn conversion of self catering cottages at a farm just 2 ½ miles up the lane from Nancarrow. (www.callestockcourtyard.com).

Workshops will run from Sunday afternoon until Friday lunchtime, to fit around the wedding bookings. Full details of the workshop schedule and accommodation/catering arrangements will be provided once you make your booking, so you will have a clear idea of what to expect. But if you have any questions you would like answered before you make a booking, then please feel free to email me at sara@nullthequiltlady.co.uk and I will do my best to answer them for you.

Quilt of the month

Your eye candy for this newsletter is this wonderful crazy quilt in my collection.
Your eye candy for this newsletter is this wonderful crazy quilt in my collection.

Made in 1885, the blocks contain excellent and prolific embroidery, painted designs, ribbons, a cigar silk and the usual assortment of velvets, brocades and silks available to well to do ladies of the Victorian era. It is in very good condition with only slight grain line splitting in the backing fabric and one area of damage on the front. This damage is limited to one piece of fabric on the edge of one of the centre blocks, and looks as though whatever was there was ripped out. Given the style of the motifs used and the emphasis on symbols associated with weddings, I have speculated that it was made for a wedding that did not take place. (Please note my use of the word speculated.) The date and or initials would have been stitched on the silk before it was pieced into the block and decorated with embroidery, hence the need to remove it.

Centre block showing ripped out area.
Centre block showing ripped out area.
Block with horseshoe embroidered on silk fabric patch.
Block with horseshoe embroidered on silk fabric patch.

Crazy quilts became fashionable in the mid 1880s and were in large part a status symbol, stating clearly to all your ability to afford servants to do the menial household chores and leaving the lady of the house free to pursue time consuming, expensive and detailed handicrafts. The quilts were created for display, not warmth and did not usually contain batting. The fabric scraps were decorated with a motif and applied to a foundation fabric in a flip and sew method. Decorative embroidery was then stitched over the seams. If you are interested in finding out how to make a crazy quilt yourself, you could take a look atwww.alliesinstitches.blogspot.co.uk, Alison Aller"s blog about all things crazy quilt.

So that’s it for this time, thanks for joining me today. If you have made a crazy quilt yourself, please post a picture and leave a comment below, I would love to see what you have made. Please share this newsletter with your friends, and encourage them to go to my website, www.thequiltlady.co.uk and sign up to receive it direct to their inbox.

Until next time,
Sara