Thursday, January 29, 2015

On Your Mark, Get Set, ....

Mary McDowell's block was January's Block.

CCCQ Block 28 Mary McDowell

Now January is nearly finished and February is the day after tomorrow.  Block 29 is in the gates and ready to sprint through the ether to lucky computers.

I have been thinking about projects for 2015.  I could finish UFOs but that seems too boring.  The last block for the Chester Criswell Quilt will be released in June so this project will be complete (apart from quilting...) I have spent three years in the 1850s and am ready for a new decade. I am working on a special something, I don't want to give too much away, but I will leave you with some clues.  Ready?









Thursday, January 22, 2015

Digging for Gold - Looking for Those Signature Quilts



This blog has been a little quiet because I have been searching for stories to use on my Remember Me signature quilt digest.  Oh, and there was Christmas and New Year and visitors and grandchildren and all sorts of good things too.

I found a story about a set of old blocks discovered in a flea market.  The blocks were dated 1863 and made during the American Civil War.  The blocks were traced to their original home, and were returned to the local historical society.  Believe it or not, one of the names on the blocks was the great-grandmother of the person who received them into the collection!  You can read the whole good news story at Cape News.

I found the webpage of the Illinois Quilt History group.  They have an index of stories about quilts, archived newspaper articles and links to all sorts of interesting places. There is a detailed article about researching one of the quilts in their collection, the 1933-1935 Schuyler County Signature Quilt.


1933-1935 Schuyler County Illinois Album Signature Quilt


I also found pictures of the infamous "The Sun Sets on Sunbonnet Sue".  Made in 1979 it is a tongue-in-cheek depiction of poor Sunbonnet Sue's demise in a variety of incidents.  But it was also a statement about women who quilt - we are not all Grandmothers and Old Maids and faceless women doing nothing.  This quilt and others are referenced at "In the Shadow of the Quilt: Political Messaging in Quilts" at the Quilt Index.  The article includes a signature quilt that I'm hesitant to list - a 1926 fund-raising quilt for the KKK.

I am on the lookout for more gems of quilts.  If you have a favourite signature quilt in your local museum, or have discovered a great website, or if you have a quilt or some blocks in your own collection that you would be willing to share I am always ready to hear from you.

Have you signed up for the Remember Me When This You See email digest?  It's not a dated newsletter, when you sign up you receive the first email the next day and the second email a week later so you never miss out on the 'news'. It's easy to begin, just jump to Two Bits Patches and fill in the blanks.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A New Sewing Machine for Christmas?

Did you get a new sewing machine for Christmas?  If you didn't, why not check out the latest sewing machine from 1854?



It's so handy - it will with ease sew a yard per minute, and you can drive it by hand, foot, or steam-engine. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Block 27 and an Invitation

What did we do before the internet?  I had no internet at home this weekend and I was at a bit of a loss. Couldn't post on the blog, couldn't check what the grandkids were up to and couldn't print out my next basket block pattern for my patchwork group's challenge.  And it was pouring rain all weekend so the gardening had to wait.



Block 27 of the Chester Criswell Quilt is on the website now.  It is a little unusual, I've called it a Floral Medley. 

I find all signature quilts fascinating, not just the 1850s ones. I've added another 1944 friendship quilt to my collection so now I have about four... or five....or many six or so....  I have also started an email digest to share my research and links to museums and collections with signature quilts.  If you would like to receive an email each week that explores these quilts just fill in the blanks.  You will then get an email to confirm, if you don't see it just check your spam folder.

Remember Me ~ A Short History of Signature Quilts

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

CCCQ Block 26 Elizabeth Cummins

Block 26 of the Chester Criswell Quilt.




The original block says
John Cummins
Elizabeth Cummins
West Philadelphia

The other block in the quilt associated with this one says

Ellen Cummins
West Philadelphia
Humphrey Hood
West Philadelphia

The Cummins family don't appear to be related to the Criswell family.  I have found John Cummins and Ellen Cummins in members' rolls of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.  You know the Methodist Episcopalians, they are the ones that make those fabulous missionary quilts.







Back to Philadelphia.  To research the Cummins I made the assumptions that Ellen Cummins was a school friend of Mary Criswell; John and Elizabeth were Ellen's parents; and Humphrey Hood was Ellen's fiance.

I searched online for references to Humphrey and Ellen Hood.  I couldn't find anything, Humphrey Hood appeared regularly but with the wrong wife.  I eventually searched for Ellen Cummins on her own and made a discovery.  In the 1860 census, eight years after the names on the quilt, Ellen Cummins was still single and was a member of the Dickey household in Chester County.  You may remember Rachel Dickey from Block 10 who moved from her brother's home to Philadelphia to gain her medical degree.  In 1860 Rachel was almost a doctor and Ellen appears to have taken over Rachel's duties in Dickey household.

Humphrey H Hood

What happened to Humphrey Hood who shared Ellen's block?  He became a doctor too and returned to his home state of Illinois with his sister as his housekeeper.  Humphrey served as a surgeon in the Civil War and later married, was widowed and married again.  His descendants are keen on genealogy and Humphrey Hood is easy to find online, but no one mentions Ellen Cummins from West Philadelphia.

If you have made Elizabeth Cummin's block we'd love to see it.



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 (www.chestercriswellquilt.blogspot.com), but the link to the specific post: (http://chestercriswellquilt.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/hows-it-going.html)
3. Click the blue link up button below and paste your link into the box.


Friday, November 14, 2014

A Red and White Fundraiser or Two




This is my red and white fundraising quilt.  These signatures quilt were popular in the second half of the 19th century. 






To get your name embroidered on the quilt each person would pay 10 cents and the finished quilt would be raffled to make further funds.  This type of quilt was used to support the temperance movement, the abolition of slavery and for both sides in the American Civil War.  Later on the Red Cross groups around the world would raise funds during World War I by making a quilt, and church groups would continue the practice between the wars.




I bought this quilt online.  It had no provenance, I bought it from a dealer in Pennsylvania but had no date and no location.  There are over 400 names on the quilt so I started putting a few into Ancestry.com.  I found that the common element for many names was the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Allentown, Western Pennsylvania.  I had the place, now I needed a date.  Using Ancestry.com again I searched for the women on the quilt, checked whether their surname was a maiden name or married name, then looked for the date on their marriage certificate.  The names were put on the quilt between 1934 and 1937.

I take this quilt along when I am giving a presentation on signature quilts.  I was showing it to a group of Country Women's Association ladies a few months ago.  One woman said quite matter-of-factly, our museum had one just like it.

If we had been in the USA this comment would not have created any interest.  I am sure that most American historical museums have one or two or more quilts in their collection.  But historic quilts in Australia are scarce as hen's teeth and I had to find out more.  I interrupted my presentation to ask when the opening hours were for the museum and I paid a visit the following week.



Without a doubt, a red and white signature quilt.  The quilt was a 1918 fund raiser for the Stratford (Victoria) Methodist Church.  The quilt was covered by a plastic sheet which created some issues for my flash.  A number of women with differing levels of proficiency did the embroidery.













The quilt was found in 1999 in a shed in Seaspray, a little town about 40 kilometres from Stratford.  It was returned to the Stratford Historical Museum .... which happens to be in the old Methodist Church.  Happy Ending!



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sampler Quilts

I was visiting Pinterest and typed in" friendship", "quilt" and "antique" (as you do).  Scrolling down the page I came across these two quilts, no information supplied.

Both quilts have similar blocks, for example the school house in the middle.  One of them I really like and the other ... well, it's just not what I look for in a sampler quilt.  I wonder if you feel the same.  Before you see my answer, look and them both and decide which one is your favourite.

 Now you can scroll down.



Quilt Number 1



Quilt Number 2


For me, Quilt Number 1 is the winner.  Quilt 2 is definitely made out of square blocks while in Quilt 1 the blocks appear to float, the edges aren't well defined because the light background fabric flows from one block to the next.

Quilt 1 looks a bit like my Ohio quilt I shared in July's post.



In fact, it looks a little like the CCCQ.







Hmm, I can see a theme here.

I was very pleased to see the new post on Barbara Brackman's Material Culture blog, it's all about sampler quilts too.  Her blog is always worth a look.






Thursday, October 30, 2014

Photos of Sarah's Laurel Block


Sarah Stubbs' Block was Number 25 in the Chester Criswell Quilt.


The laurel wreath was used with signatures in a number of the quilt blocks.


Ellen Cummins and Humphrey Hood

Did Ellen and Humphrey live happily ever after?  You will find out in Block 26....


According to Wikipedia, the laurel wreath was a symbol of victory, a sign of graduation and is a common motif in architecture, furniture, and textiles.

Grave goods portrait, Romano-Egyptian, 100-110 CE




Escola Eliseu Maciel, Centro, Pelotas, Brasil







You can add your own laurels here.


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 (www.chestercriswellquilt.blogspot.com), but the link to the specific post: (http://chestercriswellquilt.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/hows-it-going.html)
3. Click the blue link up button below and paste your link into the box.




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quilts in the Barn 2014

Earlier this month I visited Quilts in the Barn at Wonga Park.  QITB is one of my favourite events.  The quilts are spectacular, of course, but I also love the way you can start up a conversation with the person next to you and the talk just flows - there is a lovely sense of community in the Barn.




This year's theme was Inspired by Antique Quilts. 

This quilt is Mrs. Billings' Coverlet, it is on my to do list but I don't have the collection of fabrics for it.  Yet.












I liked this one, the blocks are a collection from a number of different patterns.  Good for those of us that like to start new things before we finish the last project.








And of course, Dear Jane was there.  No, I really mean it, Dear Jane was there.  Brenda Papadakis was at QITB.  I wasn't able to attend any of her workshops but I did meet her on the day.  She follows this blog!! I was very excited and a little bit pleased.





Dear Jane is not on my to do list.  Please don't throw anything, the workmanship and patience of those who have made a Baby Jane is admirable, I love the finished look, but it doesn't say 'make me.'  However, what has caught my attention is the first blocks from the lucky people that did get to the workshop.  I'm itching to have a go at these lovely little blocks. Brenda might be right, everyone comes to Jane in the end. :)

Sew Many Quilts, So Little Time

Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus

  
Quilts in the Barn


Quilts in the Barn is a fund raiser for breast cancer research and over $16,000 was raised on the weekend.  Thanks you to Linda and her wonderful team, I can't wait until next year so we can visit again.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

CCCQ First Year Finish

I received a photo this week from Kathleen Connor in the north west hills of Connecticut.  She's a CCCQ fan and has made this quilt top from The First Year patterns.  Not only does she have a finish, two of these blocks are Kathleen's own design.





I asked Kathleen about her journey with the Chester Criswell Quilt.  She says,

"I've enjoyed every stitch I took for this quilt! The first Chester Criswell block I made was Jane Wilson's block, #1. I found that I loved doing the one piece, papercut style block with needleturn applique. Next up was Block 2 which reminded me of the traditional leaf and reel blocks found in many antique quilts. Sharon's patterns were a joy to work with, well drawn and not difficult to stitch. At that point I thought of making a 9-block quilt with the leaf and reel style blocks balancing "square-shaped" blocks like Block #1. I knew I wanted to put the circular Block 4 in the center; this is my favorite block though it's hard to choose a favorite, isn't it?
I designed two new versions of reel blocks for the quilt.  I thought I'd design an applique border for the quilt, but when the blocks were put together with the sashing, I visited a new-to-me quilt shop and found the perfect large scale paisley. I'm going to hand quilt around the edges of each applique motif. Then I might do echo quilting in the background of each block, or I'll do diagonal quilting lines across the backgrounds and sashing. I had better decide soon!
I've had a great time with this quilt, and I plan to use more Chester Criswell blocks in a future quilt."

Thank you very much Kathleen, for sharing your work.  I'm impressed with the way Kathleen's new designs blend with the old.  Every one has favourite blocks ... and not so favourite blocks.  If you don't like the block you have to make next just replace it with one of your own. 

Another CCCQ fan, Wanda at Scrap Happy aka Blended Quilter, is looking for a swap partner for Block #24.  If you're interested just hop over to her blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Turn in the World Blog Hop

If you are blog hopping around the world, welcome to my blog.  My name is Sharon Barnes and I'm writing from a rural area called Longford in the state of Victoria in the land Down Under. I wasn't born in Australia, I was born in Florida and grew up in Ohio and immigrated with my parents and siblings in 1970.  My own children have left the nest long ago and my grandchildren are beginning to visit under their own steam.  By day my husband and I work in our own retail store selling electronics; by night I fondle my sewing machine and follow flights of fancy through social media.


I'm a little late for the World Blog Hop, but I've been tagged by Carole from Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus. Carole named her blog after her daily commute to work, and she put the bus travel time to good use practicing her applique.  You must check out her blog, Carole's work is amazing.  I've borrowed my favourite photo, it's Carole's Morrell quilt.  If I could make a quilt like this I would be very happy.



There are questions posed in the World Blog Hop, I've made up some answers.

What have I been working on?

When I am at home I spend much of my time in my sewing room.  All I make is quilts, nothing else.  I have turned some quilt tops into kids' quilts with a fleecy backing. I will be donating them to a local charity for Christmas presents.






I work on quite a few different projects at the same time.  I recently coped with all my UFOs (UnFinished Objects)  by packing them into boxes and starting something new.  The new project has some Ohio Stars:







I want to use these blocks in a medallion quilt, so I next made the centre block, this patten is called Flying Swallows.  Most of the fabrics are from Judie Rothermel's Peace and Unity range.  I don't have a finished picture in my mind, I hope the quilt will just grow and end up lovely.




My most important project is the Chester Criswell Quilt, now in its third year.





How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have become a fan of reproduction quilts.  The Chester Criswell Quilt was made as a bridal quilt for my great-great-grandmother in 1852 and I began to trace the blocks and re-create them in the middle of 2012.  Not content with just teaching myself applique, I also taught myself pattern making skills and offered the quilt as a block of the month to other interested applique fanatics.  The quilt is a signature quilt made by family and friends of the bride Mary McClellan Criswell, so I include a story about each block maker. It has been a roller coaster ride but also tremendously fun.  I have a small collection of antique quilts from the 1800s and the 1930s and I hope that this pattern collection is the first of many.  


How does my writing/ creating process work?

I don't actually like writing.  I like the idea of writing, I like to imagine what I would write about and I like to read my finished work.  But I do not like that moment of sitting down at a blank monitor or a blank piece of paper and trying to find the opening sentence.  I set myself small goals and try to write at the same time most days.  If I use a pen and paper instead of a computer then I don't get distracted by Facebook and Pinterest.


Now tag three more bloggers to continue.

Ahh.  I contacted a few bloggers but did not get any takers.  Everyone was too busy in the real world to spend time in the virtual one.  I'm not disappointed, I'm glad that real life takes precedence over the virtual.   Thank you for your time, hope to hear from you soon.

Cheers,
Sharon

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Photos of Alice's Oak Leaf ~ CCCQ 24

A work in progress, but the end is in sight.



If you look carefully you will find next month's block.  Block 25 will be ready for the 1st October.




Alice's Oak Leaf has been a popular pattern.  When you finish, why not share your photo?  You can link up your blog post below, or send me an attachment and I'll add it to this post.


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 (www.chestercriswellquilt.blogspot.com), but the link to the specific post: (http://chestercriswellquilt.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/hows-it-going.html)
3. Click the blue link up button below and paste your link into the box.