Friday, February 5, 2016

Seven Quilts in Seven Days

On Facebook I have just finished sharing Seven Quilts in Seven Days.  Would you like to see which ones I chose?

Day 1 - Ohio Sampler.  This was by project for December, when I needed a break from Christmas hustle and bustle.

Day 2 - Fifty Cats, made for my brother's birthday.

Day 3 - Aviatrix, made for my granddaughter Amelia's birthday.

Day 4- Baskets and Flying Geese, two of my favourites.

Day 5 - Economy Four Patch, with my own layout.

Day 6 - Malaga 1937.  I didn't make this one but I have made most of a reproduction.  I'm just waiting for it to move up in UFO ranking.

 Day 7 - This week's finish.  I got the blue fabrics from Threadbear at Christmas and this was my January project.

Chester Criswell Revisited

This week's block in Block 25, Sarah Stubbs.

The pattern is at Two Bits Patches.  The original blog post is about Laurel Blocks.
Hope your progress is pleasing.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

CCCQ Revisited and Shopping in 1843

This week's block is Block 15, the Oakleaf Pinwheel.

If you would like a weekly email for the block you can add your name to the list.

The pattern is at Two Bits Patches.  The original blog post is here and the link to other blogs is here.

I have been going through one of my old newspapers, looking for advertisements for dress making materials.  This newspaper is the American Sentinel and Mercantile Advertiser, July 1843, and published in Philadelphia.  The most prolific advertiser is T. Sharpless & Son, 22 South Second St.  Mr Townsend Sharpless had a very impressive store.

You could buy all manner of objects at T. Sharpless & Son - double width woolen plaids in blue and black for ladies' cloaks; a handsome assortment of new styled silk shawls; fancy colored Tabby Velvets; white Marseilles vestings and light black Beaver hats.

But the advertisement that surpasses the rest is from the Franklin Clothing Store at 30 Market St. for Men's Bathing Dresses.

I wonder if they were a best seller?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Fabric Dating Sleuthing

I received two old blocks in the mail this week.  The pattern is tulip basket, Barbara Brackman 734.

One of the scraps of fabric in the second block had lettering.  I thought there was a chance of someone recognising this print and therefore getting a date. I posted a photo in the Facebook group, Quilts - Vintage and Antique.

The result was remarkable.  My letters were deciphered as Grant and Wilson.  Ulysses S. Grant became the President of the United States in 1873 and his Vice President was Henry Wilson.  The fabric is most likely a campaign fund raiser.

Fourth Corner Molly even had her own photos of this fabric in a block.  Grant's campaign slogan was 'Let Us Have Peace' which you can also see in this print. 

So my Tulip Baskets blocks are up to 140 years old.  Pretty impressive. I wonder if the quiltmaker was a fan of President Grant or if she was using up what she had at hand.

This week's block is Block 2 by Elizabeth Cowan.

The pattern can be found at Two Bits Patches.

Photos to inspire you are at the Chester Criswell Quilt Pinterest board.

And the original posts are here and here.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Week 3 Block 24

Alice Richmond's Oak Leaf is this week's block.

Block 24 is the oak leaf pattern.  While the majority of the blocks in the Chester Criswell Quilt are unique, oak leaf is found in many quilts.

If you don't have the pattern yet you can download it from the Two Bits Patches website.

(Psst - you don't have to make any blocks.  If you download the e-book  'Round is the Ring'  you can enjoy the stories and quilt block photos without lifting a needle.)

You will find photos of this block pinned to the Chester Criswell Quilt Pinterest board.  If you would like to share a photo you can reply to this email and attach a copy of your work or you can post it to the Two Bits Patches Facebook page.

The original blog posts are here:

Alice's Oak Leaf
Photos of finished blocks

Michelle at Buttontree Lane has been using the CCCQ Revisited to get some more of her blocks finished.  Michelle shared last week's block on the Facebook page,  how do you like her fabric choices?  I love them!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Twin Tulips from CCCQ Revisited

This week's block is Number 14, Twin Tulips made by Mary Wilson.

Mary Wilson was one of Jane Wilson's daughters and was 16 when she made her block.  This block is part of The Second Year of patterns; next week's block will be one of The Third Year patterns. 

I've decided to discount the featured block pattern each week.  If you go to the website you will find Block 14 at a special price for the week.

You will find photos of this block pinned to the Chester Criswell Quilt Pinterest board.
If you would like to share a photo of your Block 14, old or new, you can post it to the Two Bits Patches Facebook page.

The original blog posts are here:

Block 14 Mary Wilson
Photos of finished blocks

How are your New Year's resolutions going?  I like to pick a word for the year but I'm easy on myself.  Many people choose to better themselves by dieting or finishing UFOs or being more of anything.  I'm accepting of myself - I know there is plenty of room for improvement but I would rather enjoy what I am rather than working at being something I'm not.  So my word(s) for 2016 are ...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 CCCQ Revisited - Block One

Happy New Year - I hope some of your wishes come true in 2016.

Today is the start of the Chester Criswell Quilt Revisited Quilt-A-Long. Jane Wilson's Block 1 is the first one to revisit.  Each week one of the CCCQ blocks will be featured, and you can quilt along or just admire everyone's progress.

If you don't have the pattern you can download it from the Two Bits Patches website.

You can visit the Chester Criswell Quilt Pinterest board, I've pinned pictures of blocks that were made three and a half years ago when the first block of the month began.

You can view three blog posts from 2012 when it all began:

I finished my project for December, so I can start something new. Excellent!

Inspired by 19th century Ohio sampler quilts

Saturday, December 12, 2015

End of the Year Projects

December is always busy.  We own a retail store that sells, among other things, remote control cars and helicopters, so business is brisk.  I'm also in a brass band that plays for the Christmas carol evenings, so my spare time is spent on the drumkit. But I also make time to get to the sewing room; it's amazing how making a block or two can reduce the stress.

Here's my CCCQ today.  Rows 1 to 4 are hand quilted, row 5 is quilted and ready to join together.  I still have to quilt five blocks of row 6.

The Chester Criswell quilt-a-long starts in 3 three weeks when it will be next year! You can join the quilt-a-long by following the blog, or you can sign up for the weekly emails.

The 'Round is the Ring' e-book sales are progressing; I'm working on two new books for next year.

I finished a quilt for my granddaughter's fifth birthday.  The pattern by Elizabeth Hartman is called Aviatrix Medallion, so we thought it was a good choice for Amelia.

Our patchwork group makes blocks each month with a predetermined colour scheme, and then at our Christmas breakup we each get a set to make a quilt (or to leave in the cupboard for future use).  My present this year was made in Gelati colours (for non-Australians, think citrus and sherberty colors).

I have a lot of quilts on beds in my house.  When visitors come I have to move piles of quilts to access the beds.  So my thoughts for next year are to make some tiny quilts for the walls of my sewing room.  This month I have been channeling my Ohio ancestors and making some sampler blocks.  It should finish about 24 inches square.

How do you cope with the busyness of December?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

2016 CCCQ Revisited

What's the CCCQ and why does it need another visit?

The CCCQ is the Chester (County) Criswell Quilt.  This quilt is a reproduction of an antique quilt that was a Block of the Month beginning in August 2012.  Signing up for the project required a major commitment; with 33 blocks in all it took 3 years to get to the finish! It wasn't impossible and a number of sewers finished the quilt and are at this very moment quilting the result.  You will probably see some of these masterpieces in 2016 at quilt shows in USA, Canada and Australia.

Not everyone finished all the blocks and a few people have asked for another chance for a fresh quilt-a-long. I like the idea and am personally looking forward to revisiting the blocks.  It won't be a three year project this time, at a Block of the Week we should finish about the end of August 2016 (when there will be a brand new old quilt pattern launch, God willing.)

If you are new to the Chester Criswell quilt ...

 ... let me tell you a bit about the CCCQ.  The Chester Criswell Quilt was a signature made for my g-g-grandmother Mary McClellan Criswell for her wedding in 1852.  The original quilt was used to draft new patterns for each block, and the names on the block were researched to create a story to go with each pattern.  The 33 patterns were divided into The First Year, The Second Year and The Third Year.  The patterns are all available as downloads on the Two Bits Patches website.

The blocks are 12 inch finished with the large centre block 24 inches square.  To make the whole quilt you will need 4.5 yards of backing fabric and about 4 yards for the applique.  The patterns are full size and ready to print on your computer.  The patterns are designed for needleturn applique but could be done by machine; they would suit a quilter with some applique experience as detailed sewing instructions are not included.

Block No.1 is a free download, you can get that one pattern and see if this project would suit your skills.  To get an idea of how the finished blocks look at the Chester Criswell Quilt board on Pinterest.

If you already have your patterns for the quilt ...

... but haven't completed all the blocks then this quilt-a-long is for you. You can pick up the blocks you need to make, and share photos of the ones you have already finished.  The block of the week will rotate through the Year patterns - one block from The First Year, next week a block from The Second Year, the following week and block from The Third Year and then back to the first year.  If you finished Years 1 and 2 but not 3 then you can do one block every three weeks (sounds like a plan..)


If the last thing you need is another project for 2016 ... 

... then that's fine too, you can still follow along. You can still read the blog and sign up for the emails.  You can still Like the Facebook page.  You can watch the video on YouTube.  You can get the e-book Round is the Ring That Has No End: Stories from the 1852 Chester Criswell Quilt

So, what do I do now?

You can add your name to the email list.  Starting 1st January I will send a weekly email to let you know which block is featured each week.  You don't have to sign up for the emails; if you follow the blog or The Two Bits Patches Facebook page you will still be in the loop.

If you need to buy the patterns you will find them at the Two Bits Patches website.  You can purchase them as The First Year, The Second Year and The Third Year.  Each pattern is also available individually but it is cheaper to buy a whole year.  Please respect my intellectual property; you could copy a friend's pattern but a lot of time and effort has gone into making the patterns and the prices are kept as low as possible.  The website is in Australian dollars; if you are buying with US dollars, euros or pounds you will get an even better deal.

You can click Like buttons and share this post.  Each time you 'like' on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest or any other social media site you send the post around the internet again.  The more Likes, the more people see our quilts and the more interest raised in our fascinating, time-consuming, wouldn't live without it hobby. 
 Here's to 2016 and the CCCQ Revisited!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Quilt-A-Long in 2016

It's official - there will be a quilt-a-long for the Chester Criswell Quilt in 2016.


This will give you a chance to catch up with some of those unfinished blocks, or to join in if you have just discovered the Chester Criswell quilt.  The details aren't finalised yet, more information to come.

I have made a button to put on your blog or page.  If you copy the html text below and add it to your blog you can have a button share the quilt-a-long with your friends.  This is new for me, please let me know if the button works or not.

<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /><a href="" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="" / /></a></div><br /><a href="">Come quilt-a-long with the CCCQ</a><br /><br />

 P.S. My Kindle e-book made it up to #33 on Amazon, thank you for your clicks.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#87 on Kindle

I'm very pleased to say that my e-book "Round is the Ring That Has No End: Stories from the 1852 Chester Criswell Quilt" is currently in the Top 100 Quilts & Quilting in the Amazon Kindle Store.

Happy dance. Go me!

Helpful hint: You can still be the first to review this item. ;)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Visit to Castlemaine

I've been quilting these two blocks - Elizabeth Cummins Block 26 and Maria Criswell Block 29.  I have two thirds of the quilting finished on the Chester Criswell quilt.  I was hoping to finish before the end of the year but that's not going to happen.

We traveled to our son and daughter-in-law's home a few weeks ago.  We only visit once or twice a year but we used a long weekend to stay a few days. 

Fortunately for me their house is near Castlemaine, an old gold mining town between Bendigo and Ballarat.  The Castlemaine area has old buildings and trains.

Castlemaine has a lot of nice shops but my favourite is Threadbear. Threadbear stocks a wide range of reproduction fabric; I've done a workshop with Di Ford Hall at Castlemaine too.

I bought some nice things to play with.

I also had a conversation with another quilter at the shop.  I don't usually strike up conversations with strangers, but quilters aren't really strangers - strange maybe, but not strangers.  I gave her one of my new postcards.

I later discovered this stranger's name was Robyn because when I arrived home there was an email waiting for me.

I met and spoke with you briefly when shopping for material in Threadbear on Monday and you gave me your card.  When you mentioned the Chester Criswell quilt it seemed familiar to me and on returning home I looked up your website.  I realized I had previously read about the blocks on a blog. I am so in awe of your history and that you retain the original 1852 wedding quilt with all the signatures. ... I now wish I had asked more questions of you.
How nice!  It was so lovely that someone had made that extra effort to get in touch - it made my day. Thank you Robyn for taking the time to write and all the best with your Baltimore blocks.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A New Family Soap Opera

A few weeks ago I spent some pleasant hours looking online at quilts for sale.  There were a few signature quilts to admire and these blocks got my attention.

Who was Grandmother Reeve? And who was Grandmother Schlenker?  These two ladies were side by side but their signatures suggested that they were two very different women.  Fortunately the price of the quilt didn't stretch the budget (very much) and I opened the parcel on Monday.

The quilt is in good condition, one block has some wear.  I assumed 1930s without looking too closely at the fabrics.  There were a number of Reeves on the quilt including Grandmother Reeve.  I jumped onto to make a start.  I had no location information so I searched for the most unusual name on the quilt.  Unfortunately I found a possible three different Fidelia Hollingsworths.

I tried a few other names without a lot of success but got a hit with this one.

Only one Allo Reeve.  I was then able to locate a few other names on the quilt.  It appears that a previous generation, Quakers in Indiana, relocated to Amarillo, Texas and kept up contacts with the folks back in Indiana.

I choose Esther Reeve O'Rear to get some details.  Esther adopted the common American practice of making her maiden name her middle name so I knew she was married and could search both her single and her married records. 

I found Esther's death certificate.  Hooray!  A death certificate gives plenty of information to fill in the gaps.  I was quite pleased until I found her cause of death.

Carbon monoxide intoxication (self inflicted) sitting in an automobile inside an enclosed garage with motor running.

I wasn't so excited now.  I felt like an intruder into someone's private life.  I finished with the computer and didn't search any more that day.

I took up the search the next day.  Esther's death was over fifty years ago and I was hoping to find out more about her and her family.  I went back to the quilt to transcribe all the names (which I should have done before I started on the computer).

I discovered dates!  There were two 1916s and a 1896.  There were ages too - 22 years, 27 years and 74 years.  1916 seemed to work with the ages of the writers so I looked again at the fabrics.

I spy shirting prints.  The quilt seems to be 20 years older than I first thought. I've never had a quilt from 1916, this purchase is looking promising.

(I just double checked Esther's age .... Esther was 7 years old in 1916 so the quilt can't be this old)

I am now pretty certain than Grandmother Reeve was Ethel Reeve nee Hadley, Esther Reeve O'Rear was one of her daughters and Allo Reeve was one of her daughters-in-law.

But who was Grandmother Schlenker?

to be continued ...