Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Day at Castlemaine

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a one day applique school run by Threadbear at Castlemaine, Victoria.  I wasn't sure what to expect but I was certain that I would enjoy whatever the day brought.  The two tutors for the day were Margaret McDonald and Di Ford Hall.  Margaret and Di had each designed an applique quilt pattern using the Peace and Unity range designed by Judie Rothermel.  Each pattern featured a medallion centre and a number of borders.  Each participant would receive a goodie bag with fabric and the two patterns, and spend half a day with each tutor.

The goodie bag was overwhelming - look at the pile of fabric!  And the tin is full of mints and chocolate!

My morning session was with Margaret McDonald.  We had a go at needleturned Raggedy Robin shapes

Margaret's green Raggedy Robin in her quilt top

My still unfinished Raggedy  Robin

Margaret showed us some short cuts to save time.  Below is a long appliqued border.  The top sample is needleturn; the second sample has been buttonholed by machine.

Margaret showed us how to hem S shapes to make a woven border.  Hemming S shapes is not easy.

In the lunch break I walked back to the main street in Castlemaine to visit one of the numerous antique/secondhand shops.  This one is called The Restorers' Barn and it deals in all sorts of things that you might use to decorate/restore your home.

The afternoon was spent with Di Ford.  The first technique Di presented was Broderie Perse (which I still can't pronounce).  Broderie perse is an old applique technique.  When printed fabric was very expensive, needlewomen would cut out a flower or leaf or bird and sew it to a larger plain piece of material.  Di's quilt top featured broderie perse flowers and she showed us how it was done.

Blue broderie perse flowers with inked detail
Di makes it look easy

So ... the results of my day's work? Just a few little things.....

But I have added to the collection since I've been home.....

It was a fabulous day, I hope I can book another one next year.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

20 Blocks / 100 Posts

Block 20 is on the website and Post 100 is in front of you.
It has been quite a journey since Post 1 in July 2012 and Block 1 ... and it's not over yet!

Margaretta Harris's block has a piecrust edge.  I know this because Barbara Brackman used a photo of the original block in her post on Pumpkin Patch blocks.

Although this block wasn't especially difficult I had to figure out how to get the pattern onto the fabric.  The concentric rings all completely separate from each other and I wanted to use a single piece for the whole block.  I don't have any how-to-applique books so I usually try to figure things out myself (with a little help from my friends).

I used a large business size envelope to trace the pattern onto.  The envelope already has one fold and I folded it once again.  I cut around the outside of the pattern, and also the inside circle.  I drew around those two edges for turning under line.

For the next circles I cut between the two turn under lines and traced the cutting line on my fabric.  That meant less lines to draw on the fabric.  I wanted to needleturn the smallest channel I could so I didn't mark the line.  I cut one section at a time, traced my cutting line, then did the next circle.

Before I basted the red to the background I cut slots along each circle.  I cut a slot, left a space, cut the next slot.  I left plenty of fabric so the pattern did not distort.  The cut slots gave me a space to slide my scissors under and complete the circles as I sewed.


Basted and ready to sew.

Circles coming along.

I hope these pictures assist you and your block.  You may approach Block 20 in a completely different way, if you do you could leave a comment about your methods.  There are no quilt police on this blog!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Antique Blocks and Tops

Linda and Bev organised an antique show and tell at Quilts in the Barn and I was fortunate enough to get an invitation.  The theme was antique quilt tops and blocks and there were so many delightful things to see.

 There were antique quilt tops and blocks for sale.

 This quiltmaker got better as she went along.  Some blocks fit together better than others.

There were two large trestles set up to keep the display moving along.  Everyone would be gathered around one table; then someone would say, Look at this one! and we all ran to the other table.

I showed a few of my orphan blocks.

Miriam from Yellow Roses brought along her CCCQ blocks.  Mine are on the left and Miriam's are on the right.  We were quite please with our efforts.

Miriam brought along another three projects she is working on.  I am tempted by these Noah and Matilda blocks.  If you are tempted too, the patterns are on Dawn's blog Collector with a Needle.

Another one of Miriam's.

And Miriam's finished Morell quilt.  It has come up beautifully.

By the end of the afternoon our heads were spinning with quilts and talk and good food. It was a great day, thank you Linda and Bev.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Photos of Block 19 Emily Carlile

I was searching through the photos that have been used on the blog already.  It is interesting how these three patterns are similar in form and colour but the patterns are all different.

Block 19 Emily Carlile

Block 2 Elizabeth Cowan

Block 6 Reuben Stubbs

I was also searching through to find some clues about the next few block makers.  I was fortunate to find a family tree that showed that two of the block makers were cousins, and some of my surnames seemed to be attached as well.  A signature quilt is like a family tree.  The big difference is that with the quilt you already have all the names, but none of the relationships.

Have you finished Block 19?  If you have your can share a blog post below.

1. Write your blog post. Publish it on your blog.
2. Copy the link of the specific blog post. This is not just the link to your blog itself (, but the link to the specific post: (
3. Click the blue link up button below and paste your link into the box.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Work in Progress Eye Candy

Kathleen from Connecticut sent a photo of her nine CCCQ blocks.

Well, it's actually a photo of seven Chester Criswell blocks and two Kathleen blocks.  Can you pick the two that she's designed herself? I do like the way the green elements balance the whole set. 

I finished quilting my Block 16. I love the feel of the quilted block.  The applique block itself is nice to look at but the quilted block is nice to hold.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Block of the Month Number 19

Block 19 is on the website now.

Block 19 Emily Carlile

If you are receiving the blocks each month you will have your pattern now.  The pattern is fine but there is a mistake in the story (sigh).  The second sentence should read:
Aunt Margaret wasn't well, wrote Maria, and the springtime farm work was keeping Maria busy.
I put Maria and Margaret's names back to front.  They were sisters, it probably happened all the time.

If you don't have the pattern and would like one, visit the Two Bits Patches website and get a copy for yourself.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Photos of Block 18 Chester Lily

Block 18 Mary McKissick

I spent a bit of time trying to discover what flower was represented by this quilt block. I use Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Applique to search for the Chester Criswell Blocks. I could not find a picture of this pattern but I did notice that lots of floral blocks were called rose, lily or tulip.  I thought a lily was the best choice, so Block 18 has become the Chester Lily.

Did you know that you can write reviews of the patterns on the website Two Bits Patches? If you go to the product page for CCCQ Block 18, there is a Description tab and a Review tab.  You can submit a review about your favourite block.  The review may have to be approved before it appears - I'm not sure because no one has submitted a review before now.

There are a few finished Chester Lily blocks.  If you have blogged and would like to share, you can link up below. Or you can put a photo on the Facebook page.  Looking forward to seeing your work - and reading your reviews!

1. Write your blog post. Publish it on your blog.
2. Copy the link of the specific blog post. This is not just the link to your blog itself (, but the link to the specific post: (
3. Click the blue link up button below and paste your link into the box.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Stroll Around the Blogs

My stitching is going a little slowly, so I'll show you what everyone else is doing.

Carole has had to evacuate her home in the face of bushfire threat - yes really.  Fortunately her home is safe and the wheels are back on the Warrandyte Bus blog.

Yellow Roses Miriam has finished the latest block, belonging to Mary McKissick.

Chris is Quilting at the Farm and has finished Block 16 for a swap with ....

.... Wanda the Scrap Happy Quilter.  Wanda and Chris have been coping with blizzards; Carole and I are watching bushfires.

Nancy from the Tattered Garden has finished the centre block (and quite a few other blocks as well).

Jan of Sew Many Quilts - Too Little Time has been making up for lost time.

How are you going?  Any photos to share? Stay safe everyone!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Next Block Please

I gathered all my Chester Criswell Blocks together for a family photo.

The new block is in the bottom left hand corner.  If you have signed on for The Second Year you will be receiving it soon.  If you would like to receive it check the website Two Bits Patches, it will be arriving shortly.
If you are expecting it and it doesn't arrive in you inbox, please check your email settings.  One or two addresses have blocked my email and I can't get through to you. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Too Hot Today

I'm working at home today. It's the fourth day of heat wave conditions and I'm pleased to be in the same room as the air conditioner.  Two days ago lightening strikes started a fire in the state forest about 30 kilometres away but there is currently no threat to private property.  The wind is blowing the smoke away from our house so this morning I washed blankets and hung them out to dry.

I been distracted from the 19th century events in Chester County, Pennsylvania by life in the 1930s at the opposite end of the USA.  I've been working on reproducing the blocks from my 1937 sampler quilt made in Malaga, Chelan County, Washington.  It's a signature quilt made by a group of women for one of their friends.

I bought this quilt on eBay last year.  When I started making the Malaga blocks I wasn't going to research the quilt makers.  Unlike the Chester Criswell Quilt it wasn't made my ancestors so I didn't think that the women's stories would be of interest.

I was wrong.  I created a family tree on so I could see the relationships between the 25 names on the quilt.  There are now 158 people in the tree and I'm about halfway through the names.  There is a mother and daughter pair and also a mother-in law and son-in law's sister's pair.  I have found a woman who made friends with the local Indian tribes; a Scottish migrant who lived in Chicago during the Roaring 20s and a housewife whose son grew up to be a Senator.

The story of this quilt is on my blog Patchwork Bits and Pieces.  You can also see a picture of it on page 58 of the latest Down Under Quilts.  I was asked to contribute to an article on buying antique quilts online and the quilt's photos made its way into the magazine. Again.