Briarside Lane

Frequently Asked Questions:

Briarside Lane is a Mystery Quilt Project focused on inspiring your artistic spirit, but there have been similar questions from our family of friends,  so here are some little hints to help you on your journey.


  1. How many blocks will there be? There will be 6 applique blocks and the some patchwork blocks to tie them all together.
  2. How big will the blocks be? They will vary in size depending on the "Stops" we make down Briarside Lane. Again, this is a mystery project, but there are no blocks bigger than 18". In the instructions you are given the size of the block before it is cut down for piecing. You don't have to cut it down now. You can just make the block and set it aside.
  3. When will the finishing instructions be given? The finishing instructions, including the instructions for the patchwork blocks, will be given July 1st.
  4. What size is the finished project? It will be a large wall hanging, roughly 40+ inches wide. 
  5. What fabric are you using for the background of the wool applique? As shown on the supply list on the last page of the pattern, I am using cotton. I have TONS of tone on tone cream cottons in my stash and I am using them up. The supply list for each individual block will be given as you may not want to make an entire quilt. You might just want to make a block that appeals to you and turn it into a pillow or the centerpiece of your own quilt design. We encourage you to think outside the "block." hee,hee,hee.
  6. What if I want all my applique backgrounds to be the same color? How much fabric do I need? If you would like the backgrounds the same, you will need at least 2 yards for the applique blocks. I would get another yard if you want your patchwork blocks to have some of the same color. Again, I am using up some of my stash. 

The Journey Begins

Welcome travelers!

The journey down Briarside Lane is not only about completing a project, but inspiring your artistic spirit -- the spirit that seems to get lost as we grow older.

In a world where everything moves so quickly and things are simply "reproduced," our wish is that you take time to stop and enjoy the moments and peacefulness which comes from making something with your own hands.

The patterns, as well as the photos of our work, are meant to guide you as you build the quilt blocks. However, we encourage you to use other methods of stitching, colors and even fabrics to create an individual piece. A piece that is a reflection of your own creativity.

So come and join our journey down Briarside Lane. A quiet country road that meanders gently through the British countryside, with hidden surprises around every corner. It's a rather special place.

We'll be walking, but don't worry, there's no traffic here! We may go miles and miles through different counties of Britain and many changing landscapes. We never quite know where we're going to stop or what we might see next. We just know that it will be worth stopping for!

The Back Story: Britain's varied landscape, nature, and historic past have always captivated Jules. Traveling along Briarside Lane is a journey from her imagination, but it's full of real life places and events which reflect some of the unique treasures of the British Isles. All of these special memories make her heart beat a little faster. We hope some of that magic appears for you , as you stitch a little bit of Britain in the USA. 

Bumblebee Cottage - our first stop on the journey.



It's been a beautiful day, hiking along the lane. Sitting at the bottom of the wooded hill, is the cottage. Its freshly thatched roof gleams golden in the sunshine on the warm, summer evening. The air is full of enticing scents -- the fresh, clean smell of new mown grass and the heady perfume of the old rambler rose that clambers over the worn wooden porch. Nothing can be heard but the "thrum" of the bees as they meander through the borders gathering pollen, and the gentle "coo" of a wood pigeon hiding in the tall conifers.



We stop, leaning a little on the garden gate and drink in the scene. Then we open the gate and go down the path. A delicious supper awaits, then a retreat to the garden and later a cozy feather bed before we continue our journey.



The Back Story: Years ago, out walking along a country lane in the beautiful Malvern Hills of Herefordshire, Jules rounded a bend and discovered a tiny, ancient cottage with a picturesque garden. The whole image looked as if it had been pulled straight from a book of fairy tales. Next to the front gate was a small post box, bearing a polite notice for the postman, "Please do not use the post box until further notice. It is being used by a family of nesting Chickadees." The house was called "Bumblebee Cottage," which she thought was simply delightful and just the place she would love to live!

Briarside Lane will be a mystery quilt, but as mentioned above, we want to inspire your artistic spirit. So, when you purchase the e-pattern, you will not only receive the instructions to make the block in wool (or cottons if you like), but you will receive an embroidery version for FREE.



We also have Valdani size 12 perle cotton kits available. This kit will be used for all the blocks.



In addition, we will be offering National Nonwovens blended Wool Kits for each of the blocks.



The e-patterns, thread and wool kits will all be sold separately. Pick and choose as you like. So hop on over HERE to the SHOP to get what you need for Bumblebee Cottage. While you are there, you can also pick up Soft Fuse fusible web and embroidery needles if you need them.

Here is what Jules did with her "Bumblebee Cottage."





Norfolk Windmill - the next stop down Briarside Lane

We have come to the next stop on our journey down Briarside Lane! This month we are excited to bring you the Norfolk Windmill.



Norfolk Windmill by Jules Woolford

On a clear, cold early morning in late autumn, the salt marsh is waking to the sound of birdsong. The reeds have turned from bright gold to a tarnished hue. We can hear the sails of the old windmill creak and grind. Many of the struts are lost and broken, but still the windmill turns.

Suddenly, a movement catches our attention; to our right, a barn owl flies home from its nightly hunt. It glides, ghost like, across the winding river. We stand, transfixed, watching this feathered beauty pass across the cycle of the great sails. A single beam of sunlight pierces the cloud above. For just a moment, the worn, old bricks glow and the giant windmill gleams, standing proudly against the soft colors of the autumn marshland.




The Back Story:

Jules is fascinated by windmills. Her favorite can be seen on a hike that crosses the salt marsh at *Cley, an eastern seaside hamlet located in the county of Norfolk. Walking this way for the first time, Jules had an amazing experience. As the majestic windmill came into view, the white shape of a barn owl flew across the footpath in front of her, a ghostly silhouette beneath the sails of the mill. It was an instance of pure magic and one she has never forgotten.

For those who know of the beautifully renovated Cley Mill, don’t be confused. The Norfolk Windmill remains untouched, harking back to an older, more romantic time!

* Pronounced Kly


Here is Jules original watercolor piece. Isn't it beautiful? I must say that I am having so much fun creating wool and embroidery versions of her incredible work.



Just like Bumblebee Cottage, there is a FREE embroidery version of this design.



We have a National Nonwovens wool blend kit available for this block.


and we also have the Briarside Lane Valdani perle cotton collection, which includes all the colors we will be stitching with on this adventure.



The e-Pattern, Wool kit and Valdani kit are all available in the SHOP. So hop on over!

Please feel free to post your creativity on The Raspberry Rabbits Facebook Page. It's been so much fun seeing what everybunny has been inspired to create! Be sure to visit the Briarside Lane tab at the top of the blog for more inspiration.

We hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Norfolk Windmill. Our next stop down Briarside Lane will be March 1st when we debut the third block of our journey. Until then, hoppy stitching!

Sunflower Caravan - Block 3 of Briarside Lane

Welcome travelers! Our journey continues down Briarside Lane. This month is the Sunflower Caravan! I must say, I got carried away stitching details on this block! hee,hee,hee.




A Caravan of Sunflowers by Jules Woolford

On a pleasant evening in late spring, the road leads us through the lowland hills of Scotland. The lush green hedgerows are full of birdsong, and the roadside verges are dotted with gold and silver buttercups and daisies. A tang of wood smoke scents the air.

We hear voices in the distance, and the “clip clop’ of hooves; then we see a piebald cart horse being    taken to pasture in the fields beyond.

Rounding a bend in the lane, we spy a gaily painted caravan at rest! A campfire has been set, and an old copper kettle hangs over it. Soon it will be boiling, ready to produce steaming mugs of hot tea for the travelers. Here they come, ready for dinner after a long day’s drive; their horse has been rubbed down and is already enjoying his meal of delicious hay.

Seeing us admiring their lovely old wagon, they wave, and invite us to stay for supper, stories and songs around the fire.



The Back Story:

It was a June evening. While exploring the beautiful hills of Galloway in Scotland, Jules saw her first Romani caravan or “vardo,” with a friendly piebald horse to pull it. A vardo is a traditional horse-drawn wagon used by the British Romani people from the mid-1800s to about 1920. These wagons were     heavily decorated with beautiful carvings which often included flowers, vines and elaborate scrollwork.

The travelers Jules met were living out of the vardo through the summer. Their camp was set and a fire was burning, just like the Sunflower Caravan, and there was even a battered old kettle which had seen a lot of service over the years! It was a thrill for Jules as such sights were rare, even 30 years ago.

Today most of these lovely old caravans are used for show at the British Romani horse fairs held throughout the year. They are also very popular as holiday homes!


This is Jules' original painting, which inspired my Folk Art Fusion and embroidery designs. 





We do hope you are enjoying this journey as much as we are! Remember, we would love to see your creativity and invite you to share your photos on The Raspberry Rabbits Facebook Page. 

We have the e-pattern (PDF download) and wool kits available in the SHOP. So hop on over. 



Don't forget, the pattern includes a FREE embroidery version for all our friends who love all forms of stitching. A special thank you to my dear friend, Babs Fullerton for stitching the embroidery version. 



A million hugs of thanks for being a part of our family of friends. You have no idea how grateful we are to have you in our lives.


Packhorse Bridge - Block 4 of the journey down Briarside Lane

Hello travelers! We are delighted you have joined us as we make our way across the Packhorse Bridge, the fourth stop on our journey down Briarside Lane.



The Packhorse Bridge – by Jules Woolford

On an early autumn morning, we are wrapped up warmly against the frosty air. The lane is leading us through the wooded valleys of Exmoor, where a tumbling stream murmurs and chatters as water flows over moss-covered rocks. We need to cross the creek – but how?
The answer lies ahead of us. Framed against the purple and gold of the distant heather moorland, is an old, stone, packhorse bridge.
Today, it’s a beautiful remnant of the past, bedecked with moss and lichen, wreathed in wild flowers and clambering ivy. Once though, centuries ago, this was a much busier crossing place; many travellers walked and rode across the cobbled arch. We follow in their footsteps, pausing a moment to take in the tranquil scene. Almost on cue, a heron, standing like a sentinel on the far bank, silently takes flight across the water. It’s the final touch of wonder in this lovely, peaceful place.


The Back Story: Jules’ favorite place in the world is the beautiful Exmoor National Park. It’s a unique landscape of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland, shaped by people and nature over thousands of years. Medieval, packhorse bridges are common here. Today they are used by hikers and horseback riders… and much photographed! This stop on Briarside Lane is based on the famous ‘Robbers Bridge’ which crosses the tumbling Weir Water. A magical place where brown trout swim, heron fish and Red Deer roam over the moor.

Here is Jules' original painting that inspired my wool and embroidery version.


Here is how the block looked before I stitched it. Isn't it amazing how much life the embroidery and Valdani threads add?


My dear friend, Babs Fullerton, stitched the embroidery version. I love seeing how she is inspired to stitch each piece.



The Narrowboat - Block 5 of the Journey down Briarside Lane

Hello travelers!

We are delighted you have joined us on our next stop down Briarside Lane. This stop takes us to see The Narrowboat.

The Narrowboat – by Jules Woolford
 
On a fine summer afternoon, the lane runs straight alongside a tree-lined canal. Long ago this waterway was a alive with industry. We are walking along the towpath, where horses once pulled heavily-laden, narrowboats full of goods. Today, though, it’s just us and the wildlife that enjoys the peace and quiet, and tranquil beauty of the waterway. Ducks swim by with sleek heads bobbing, and swans glide past gracefully. Dragonflies swoop and dive above the water -- their iridescent wings glimmering in the sunshine.

Ahead of us, a narrowboat approaches. We can hear the engine chugging and a ‘swishing’ sound as it ploughs through the water. It is a merry little boat which someone has made into a home. We can see it is much loved. It’s brightly painted and transports its own, carefully tended garden on the roof. What a wonderful way to travel along the old waterways of Britain, seeing the countryside at such a gentle pace!



The Back Story
In the 18th century, canals were the freeway system of Britain and used to transport goods between towns. Originally horse-drawn like a wagon, many people lived and worked on narrowboats.

Named after the “narrow” channels by which they were designed to travel, it became common practice to paint ‘roses and castles’ on the fixtures and fittings of narrowboats.

Today these boats are mainly used for leisure purposes, although many people still choose to make them floating homes – but with many modern conveniences on board!


Some of Jules’ ancestors were canal structural engineers and boat owners in the 1700’s and 1800’s. Canals hold a special place in her heart. Since childhood, she’s lived near the Gloucestershire canal and always loves to see a narrowboat go by!

Here is Jules' original painting that inspired me. Isn't it beautiful? I have been having so much fun with these!!! I have received many emails regarding the purchase of prints of Jules' originals and I think once the journey is over, they would make a lovely set of note cards. What do you think? Should we talk her into it?


I got a little carried away again with stitching.


It's really hard not too. I think it adds so much detail and whimsy to plain wool. 





Remember, each design comes with a FREE embroidery version. A special thank you to my dear friend, Babs Fullerton for stitching all the embroidered versions. She had lots of fun with this one too! 

1 comment:

Chickadee Sue said...

Hi Michelle
Hope you had a Merry Christmas, the designs looks great!
I'll be back Jan 1st.
Sue