Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rising Sun Rises

I purchased a sampler quilt last year which has a late 1800s / Ohio look about it.  My favourite block on it is this Rising Sun.

Rising Sun

The Rising Sun block can be pieced or appliqued.  Ruby McKim says the pieced block "is an intricate pattern, but not enough so to daunt the quilt maker who aspires to a design that is both lovely and unusual."  Fortunately mine is an applique block, all the white space is the background fabric.

I started to make my own Rising Sun last week.  I printed the pattern from EQ7 - BlockBase 3390.  I made plastic templates and traced the pieces, then used my light box to get the positions right.  Everything started quite well.

My original block has the yellow centre circle and the yellow triangles on top of the red segments so I did the same.  Not so good now.

The red peeks out between the two triangles.  I can see that I need to turn under the outside edge of the red segments before I add the triangles. And I need a lighter thread colour - which I have to buy online and the postage is more than the thread. I have put the whole block aside for the moment ...

My granddaughter spent a few days with us this week, a treat for all of us.  We made a quilt for Emma's teddy.  Emma choose some orphan blocks and matching half triangle blocks and arranged them.  She did the pinning and handed them to me to sew and press.  We are both pleased with the result.

If you look at the blogs listed on the left side of this post you will see some Chester Criswell quilt finishes.  Hoorah!  I know that not everyone got through to the finish; some people made The First Year blocks but would now like to make some more. Some folk have just recently bought the patterns and have missed out on the blog posts and photos each month.

I have been considering running another quilt-along for the Chester Criswell quilt.  I'm thinking one block every two weeks, starting with Block 1, then the first block of The Second Year, the first block of The Third Year, then back to Block 2 and so on.  There would be no commitment, just a chance to share your progress and see what others are making.

What do you think?  Love to see your comments here.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Now Appearing at Amazon

My new e-book is now available for your Kindle reader.

If you would like to share this news with your friends, I won't mind at all!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Photos at the Finish Line

The final block of the Chester Criswell Quilt was certainly a challenge to make.

There are two of these blocks in the quilt, one made by Jane Trayner and one by Martha Turner.  I wonder if they chose a difficult block because they wanted to contribute their best to the bridal quilt, or if they were a bit inclined to show off.

I certainly found this block daunting.  I keep putting it off because I was uncertain if I could do it justice.  Fortunately applique is just one stitch at a time and once I started I found that it wasn't impossible.  You can hardly tell that my circles aren't quite evenly spaced around the wheel (that's part of the charm, I tell myself...).  At the end of this post there is a place for you to share your pictures of Block 32 and Block 33.

Have you downloaded a copy of the e-book yet?  It's now in my Etsy store in US dollars as well as the website in Australian dollars.  If you choose to suit your location you can save a little in exchange rates.


Here is the place to share your photos.
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, August 27, 2015

Quilt As Desired

I knew when I started my Chester Criswell blocks three years ago that I wanted to quilt it by hand.  I also knew that if I waited until the top was finished and then started to hand quilt it would take another three years to complete the project.  So I chose to Quilt As You Go - quilt each block as a single block, and then join them together.

Signature quilts weren't over quilted - the blocks and names were more important than the needlework.  The CCCQ has each applique block outline quilted, and then a second quilting line on the inside of each applique.  Each block is also quilted around the edge.  Only the centre block has additional quilting, a feather design filling the background space.

All the quilting on the original was done with white thread.  I didn't like the look of my white stitches on the red fabrics so I have used three colours of Superior Threads King Tut - white, Romy Red and Avocado.

I finished quilting my centre block not so long ago.  The block is four times larger than the other blocks but it took ten times longer to do.

The drawback to Quilt As You Go is joining the blocks together.  I machine stitched the two top pieces together, then overlapped the batting so there would be no gaps and slip stitched one back over the other.  That was okay until I tried to quilt around the block edge.  The overlapped batting was too thick and I couldn't rock the needle unless I made my stitches twice as big.  I have now undone all the backing and batting stitches, very carefully trimmed the batting to meet the next piece and sewn them side by side.  I am happy with the result and can get on with the job.

The official date for the e-book launch is 1st September.  But some of you may have noticed that the e-book is already on the website.  I couldn't wait, I was too excited.  So you can purchase 'Round is the Ring' now.  The prices are in Australian dollars but don't let that scare you.  The Aussie dollar is at a six year low so if you are buying in US dollars you are getting a great deal.  There is a currency converter link on the website so you can check your cost before you commit. Or look at it this way - the e-book is cheaper than a Big Mac.

You'll find the e-book at Two Bits Patches.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

1st September - E-book launch Date.

It's official now.  The e-book "Round is the Ring That Has No End: Stories from the 1852 Chester Criswell Quilt"  will be on sale 1st September.  27 more sleeps!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Antique Show and Tell at Quilts in the Barn

Early this month I attended an antique quilt Show and Tell at Linda Collins' home Quilts in the Barn.
In the morning Janet O'Dell brought some of her vast collection of quilts, particularly English quilts.  I spent more time looking and less time taking photos - which isn't a bad thing.

I love the interesting cut off borders.  I'm a bit of a slap dash quilter myself so I feel validated when I see missing points and not quite right angles.

 A zigzag border and fluro orange centrepiece.

At the other end of the spectrum, a very carefully calculated diamond border corner.

Waste not want not.  The square on the right has three bits of fabric pieced together to make the square.  Some squares had up to seven little fragments.

Some fragments are a closer match than others.

 A young Queen Victoria - probably amused.

After lunch there was more Show and Tell.  Lots and lots of antiques and reproductions, but my favourite came at the end of the afternoon.

Miriam from Yellow Roses brought along her FINISHED Chester Criswell top.  Miriam used the same fabric as me for the infamous Block 33.

I think that Miriam's CCCQ is the first finished top - my blocks are Quilt As You Go so they aren't joined together yet.  I know there are a number of Almost Finished, I wonder who will be next?  Why not add a comment and let us know where you are up to.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Free Pattern ~ Kangaroo Jo

Some habits are hard to break.  I have been sending out patterns every month for the past three years and now it's hard to stop. . .

So here is a new pattern and it's FREE.

Kangaroo Jo and a Shoo Fly Fence

Our town has a local museum which occupies one of the old bank buildings.

(Can you see the band hall to the right of the museum?  That's where I am on Monday evenings, playing percussion in a brass band.)

The doors of the museum/bank are guarded by a pair of kangaroos.

I have been wanting to turn a kangaroo into a quilt block for a while.  When I finished the final Chester Criswell quilt block I realised that now was my chance.  I added a Shoo Fly border.  If you have ever been to Australia you will know why I choose this traditional block; in the USA shoo fly is a lovely pie made with molasses and brown sugar, in Australia shoo fly is what we do all through the summer months.

The block is quick and quirky.  To download a copy for yourself go to Two Bits Patches site by clicking
Follow the prompts - you will need to go through the checkout but there is no charge for the pattern.

I hope you enjoy the block, and you know we love to see your photos.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Home Stretch

In the midst of special birthdays, anniversaries and a family wedding I have been collating the final pattern of the block of the month Chester Criswell Quilt.  The first block was released nearly three years ago in August 2012 and Block 33 will be unleashed in a few days.  Congratulations to all of you that have kept up with the blocks and shared your blogs, you deserve a medal!

The final block doesn't mean the end of the quilt.  The patterns are all available at Two Bits Patches, you can still buy one or two or all.  There are a few surprises still to come, so keep watching this space.

Do you like my new collection?  My aunt has been downsizing and I have been given these family photos.


This is my new favourite.  These are Mary McClellan Smith nee Criswell's daughters; Mary, Alice and Marion. The photo is about 1885.  Marion was my great grandmother.

...changed my mind.  This is my new favourite, Ryan just turned one and we had a birthday party at an animal farm.  Happy birthday Ryan.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mother's Day and This and That

This was my Mother's Day present, a copy of The Ohio Collection by Anita Shackelford.  I have been following Nancy's progress on Tattered Garden, and I wanted a copy of the book myself. 

Some of Nancy's blocks - more at Tattered Garden Blogspot

I often choose my own presents.  I buy something online and when it arrives I give it to my husband, unopened, to be hidden until the appropriate day.  It's the best way to get just what I want.  (One of the local advertising flyers said, Surprise your Mum! with a range of perfumes.  I certainly would have been surprised with a gift of perfume...)

This was my Mother's Day present in 2013. The range was Pomegranate by Blue Hills Fabrics.  It made another appearance at our Primary Patchworker's quilt show last month.

And if you'd like to see some fabulous red and green quilts visit Collector With a Needle. Dawn has pictures from an exhibition with quilts from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Colorado. About halfway down the post is the Osborn Signature Quilt with autographed fleur de lis blocks.  The signatures are around the edge of the block, rather than in the middle like Rachel Dickey.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Time for some Photos

I was reminded that it's been a while since I posted links to everyone's blog photos.  I was amazed to find it's been almost six months since I asked for your photos.  So, if you've finished one of the following blocks now is a good time to share your handiwork.

Block 26 Elizabeth Cummins

Block 27 Susanna Criswell

Block 28 Mary McDowell

Block 29 Maria Criswell

Block 30 Elizabeth Crosby

Block 31 John and Martha Dickey

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, April 16, 2015

Godey's, Patchwork and Fashion

The Godey's Lady's Book was it and a bit for women in the 19th century.  This blog has a few posts on the famous magazine.

Patchwork doesn't get much attention in Godey's.  Patchwork was menial, like mending socks and hemming sheets.  The following entry is typical - one picture with no description.

Fashion, of course, was another matter.  The fashion plates and the current fashion news from the big cities was a feature of the magazine.  I do love these over the top drawings and was pondering about a blog of Godey's fashion plates or printing a set of postcards.  I ran the idea past my editorial staff.  They (daughters and sister) suggested I would need to add some captions to the pictures and offered a few suggestions.

Emily wondered if anyone would notice the excess baggage hidden under her skirt.

Emily hoped that by wearing all her clothes to the weight watchers weigh in they won't notice the extraordinary number of Easter eggs that she had consumed over the weekend.

If I don't move my husband will never find where I've hidden my fabric stash.

After 5 hours ironing her outfit Emily was too scared to move in case her skirt creased.

Emily hoped no-one would notice her clunky orthopedic shoes at the school sports day.

What do you think?