The women who made the quilt weren't professional seamstresses. I can state pretty confidently that each one of them was a farmer's daughter. Many became farmers' wives, some were farmers' maiden aunts or farmers' mothers. A few became schoolteachers, one of the few professions available to women in the 1800s. One became a medical doctor.
For the women of Chester County, sewing wasn't a hobby, it was an essential skill for everyday living. Education for girls in the 1850s included learning and polishing sewing skills. Sewing taught neatness, accuracy, careful planning and patience; it was practical as well as creative. It was an essential part of the school curriculum along with English, reading, spelling and arithmetic. (Source; 'Patches of Time' by Linda Haplin)
The quilt blocks in the Chester Criswell quilt reflect similar sewing abilities. There is one exception.
|Block made by Martha of Oak Grove, Sadsburyville|