Thursday, May 26, 2016

CCCQ The Final Stretch

We have had some wintery weather.  It is wet and windy, the first snow flurries are on the peaks and the vegetable garden is expecting the first frost.  It's a great time to be sewing the binding on a big quilt.

The Chester Criswell Quilt is nearly finished.  I do the hand quilting in the evenings while the television is on.  I will have the quilt completed sometime next week so I have to hurry and get another project ready for the evenings - perhaps some knitted hats for the grandkids.

I'm not much when it comes to housework, and we don't have a lot of visitors (after spending all day behind a shop counter we prefer a little peace and quiet at home).  As a consequence the level surfaces in the house tend to accumulate this and that.  If visitors were to arrive I would have to clear the couch.

This week's CCCQ Revisited block is Margaretta Harris Block 20.

The original block is not as round as my reproduction, if I made it again I might go for the wonky look.

Last week was Block 7 William and Harry.

And the week before Block 29 Maria Criswell

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Antique Orphan Blocks

My Mother's Day present (which I chose for myself) was a few dozen quilt blocks, all very old.  I love checking out the different fabrics and finding patterns that don't appear in the books or BlockBase.  Here are a few of my current favourites.

Eight point star, excellent workmanship and a few squares pieced from smaller squares.

Another star with the last of the brown striped fabric

9 patch, with an interesting brown stripe and purple on black.

Another 9 patch - Fireside Visitor / Arrow / Broken Dish / London Roads

Same block, different light and dark

9 patchwork - some sort of Snowball?

Autograph Block in pastels

Spot the difference

Ohio Star - by a beginning seamstress

Friday, May 6, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to you all - and if it isn't happy I hope you have some happy memories.

I am very pleased to say that the last row of quilted blocks has joined its friends.  I still have to quilt around each block in the two bottom rows and add the binding but it's nearly there.

This week's Chester Criswell Revisited is Block 19.  You can see it third row down on the left hand side.  In the original quilt it looks a bit like this.

Same pattern, all in red - well, it use to be red.

Not quite what it used to be - but at 160 years old, what do you expect?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lydia the Dealer in Purple Cloth

This morning at church the Bible reading was from the book of Acts, when Paul sails to Macedonia and meets Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth.  I started to think about purple cloth and wondered what was involved in Lydia's business 2000 years ago.

I know that, once upon a time, purple dye came from murex seashells.  When I need to find out something about seashells I never bother to google.  My husband is a very keen shell collector, and also collects books about seashells and the sea.  I'm quite pleased with my own quilt history library, but hubby's books on shells take up four times as much space as my quilting books.  So I asked, how is purple dye made from shells, and after glancing through four different volumes I can now tell you.

Tyrian purple dye was made from murex brandaris, commonly called the Mediterranean snail.

The Phoenicians perfected the dye process and had a monopoly on the colour purple from 300 BCE to 150 CE.  The high cost of purple dye was due to the hours needed to collect the thousands of shells so tyrian purple was reserved for royalty and the wealthy.

So, how do you get the dye from the shells?  Well, you don't use the shells, you use the secretions from the snail itself.  First, gather the snails from the rocky shoreline.  Then break the shells up to get out the snails inside.  Next soak the snail bodies in salt water for three days, then boil.  Ewww.

At the same time in the British Isles the nucella lapillus or dog whelk was used as a purple dye for illuminated manuscripts.

Enough of  seashells.  I went to my own smaller bookcase and found Natural Dyes and Home Dying, a Dover Publication.  Purple dyes in the 18th and 18th century were made from orchil, a dyestuff derived from the lichen Rocella. 

 Lichens were soaked in fermented urine (?) or slaked lime for about three weeks.  To get the right shade of purple you added either an acid or an alkaline - orchil was not only a dye but was the stuff that litmus paper was made from. If you want to learn more click here.

Once the coal-tar dyes of the industrial revolution were created orchil's use gradually declined.  One of the first of the new chemical dyes was mauve, Queen Victoria was quite amused.

from the blog Chromatic Notes

This week at the Chester Criswell Quilt Revisited - Reuben Stubbs' Block 6.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Duck, Duck ... Brown Goose

Do you remember this signature quilt?  It's my second favourite antique quilt and it was featured in an article in Down Under Quilts in 2013.

Malaga, Washington 1937

It has been a bit neglected but I have returned to the documentation of the blocks and the women who made the quilt in 1937. I have unearthed some more fascinating material about the quiltmakers and their families (but it's a bit of a secret still).

I have also been researching the block patterns.  Last week's search was for the name of this block.

Gussie Herr's block

My block

I tried all my books and BlockBase; the closest name I found was Brown Goose.

Brown Goose or Double Z

It doesn't look the same, does it?  But just turn around the corner half square triangles and the blocks are the same.  I don't think Brown Goose suits my blocks so I have called them Hourglass Star.

Last week's CCCQ Revisited block was Block 18 Mary McKissick and this week's is Block 28 Mary McDowell.

Mary McKissisk

Mary McDowell

 If you don't want to miss out on each week's CCCQ Revisited block you can put your name on the mailing list.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Stash Sale and How About an E-Book

What are you doing next Sunday?  Our patchwork group is having a sale.

We all have stashes and we thought it would be a good idea to clear out our cupboards and try to sell/swap/giveaway some of our no-longer-needed fabric.  The idea has grown like Topsy - there will be twenty-six tables of quilting goodies, included stock from some quilt shops that are no longer trading.  Bring your husbands too; they can go to the Sunday Variety Market while you spend some time with our tempting tables.

I will be in attendance with I Spy fabrics from the Two Bits Patches website. and I still have some Twisted Stitcher Quilt Block socks as well.

In one of the Facebook quilting groups this week the topci of quilting e-books came up.  Do people buy e-books about quilting, the question asked.  Yes, was the answer, lots of people favour e-books because of price and space limitations.  Some folks try out the e-book first and then buy a print book if they like it.  Both Kindle and pdf books are good - Kindle is easy to download if you have a Kindle, and pdf files are usful because you can read them on any device.

I was very pleased to follow the conversation, because I offer my e-book as both a Kindle book on Amazon and a pdf e-book from my website.

You can get it as a Kindle book at Amazon.

Or you can download as a pdf from Two Bits Patches.

This week's Revisited CCCQ is Block 5, the Crazy Nasturtiums.  So you can read about it in the e-book or go ahead and make it from the pattern.

Or you can come to our stash sale and just say hello - I'd love to meet you.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

There and Back Again

My flying trip from Australia to USA and back is over.  Due to some unforeseen circumstances I was delayed in Los Angeles for an extra two days, but I'm back now and over the jet lag.

I was able to do something that I was looking forward to - rummaging through stacks of quilts at the antique malls.  I must say that there are a lot of unattractive quilts for sale and for a while I thought I might have to bring home an ugly duckling.  But I found two that I am very pleased with.

This is a scrappy Tree of Paradise. It's machine quilted and the binding has been replaced.  The fabrics have a lot of variety, I think 1890s for the materials.

I bought a redwork cot quilt too.  It is hand quilted with little or no batting - just right for the bottom of a suitcase.

My cousin showed me her own embroidered quilt made by her other grandmother.  She was a little concerned that I might try to fit it in my suitcase as well, but I assured her that all a needed was a photo.

John's (guinea) pigs

Back to reality.  This week's CCCQ Revisited block is Block 27 Susanna Criswell.  I christened this one Floral Medley, it's a bit of this and that.

Bother reality.  Here's some holiday snaps. Enjoy.

St. Pete's Beach, Florida on the Gulf of Mexico
Santa Monica Pier, California on the Pacific Ocean
Tiled shopfront in Hollywood
Art deco tiles
More ugly ducklings

Sunday, March 13, 2016

CCCQ Block 17

Just a quick post this week.  This week's block is Block 17, Andrew Criswell Gibson, one of the bride's male cousins. 

There are nearly as many men's names as women's names in the Chester Criswell quilt, I assume that women still did most of the sewing and quilting.

This is a quick post because I am flying to the USA in two days time.  I am traveling with a few family members to a memorial service (which is sad) but we will be staying with cousins (which is fantastic). So, no block next week because I won't be around but there should be a block the following week along with the Easter bunny.

Back to packing!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Block 4 Nancy Carlile Smith

This week's block is Block 4.  It was made by Mary McClellan Criswell's cousin, Nancy Smith.

My block with some collectibles

My block, quilted with Block 31

James R. Smith   Nancy C. Smith  East Nottingham

Nancy Smith's block in the Chester Criswell Quilt.

You'll find more photos of Block 4 here and here.

You can get the pattern at Two Bits Patches.

The video clip of the Chester Criswell Quilt blocks is currently playing on YouTube.  The music is from my own band, The Sale City Band (est. 1871).  I'm playing the timpani.

Brass Band Day at Federation Square, Melbourne - the stage slopes and the timpani kept rolling away

Last night I basted the final two blocks.  Once they are quilted and sewn together, then the last row can be attached and the quilt bound.  I find it hard to believe that I'm nearly finished.  I don't think I will hand quilt such a big quilt again, it just takes too long. 

So, what comes next?  I have some ideas.  Like every keen quilter, the next quilt project can hardly wait until the current one is finished.  I better hurry up with those last two blocks.