Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Priscilla and Joseph Turner, Wilmington

The majority of the quilt block makers of the Chester Criswell Quilt lived in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Locations such as Lower Oxford, Sadsburysville, East Nottingham, and Londonderry get frequent mentions.  Joseph and Priscilla Turner are some of the minority that did not live in Chester County.  Their block lists their home as Wilmington which is in the state of Delaware.

Turner is not a family name and I didn't know anything about Joseph and Priscilla.  There are two other Turners on the quilt still living in Chester County, so I assumed that Joseph married Priscilla and they moved across the river. I don't know Priscilla's maiden name which is one of the most useful bits of information to have.  So, I put their names in the search engine and this is the first historical record I found.

This is from the church records of the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington.  It appears to be a record of church members visited before the quarterly Holy Communion service.  Halfway down the page you can see 'Presallie Jane Turner'.  The next name is Joseph Turner, who unfortunately is dead.
Poor Joseph.  I wanted to get to know him but this is the only piece of infomation that I have.
Priscilla's life is easier to follow.  She is recorded in the Wilmington City Directory and here is her address in 1867.

Priscilla J. Turner, widow of Joseph.  That is how Priscilla is recorded in the next ten directories.  Even twenty years after Joseph has died, she is listed as Joseph's widow.  The Orange St. address stays the same for a few years, then Priscilla starts relocating and eventually  has a different address every year.  There is no evidence of any children, or any other family members.

The City Directory was a useful book.  It gave the address and occupation of everyone living in the city of Wilmington.  It also listed businesses, council members and city regulations.

Block 4 is due out next week on 1st November.  It belongs to Nancy and James Smith, whose historical records reflect a much happier life than poor Priscilla and Joseph Turner.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Photos of Priscilla Turner's Block

I received a nice squishy parcel in the mail today, all the way from New Jersey.  I found this block inside:

Carolina Lily 1850 - 1860

This is a pieced block similar to Priscilla's Double Tulip applique block.  See those red flowers?  How would you piece them?  I would make four diamond shapes and set in the shirting square.  The maker of this block cut two red chevron shapes and set the backing square into the cut fabric, not into a seam.  I'm looking at the back of the block and I don't see how she did it so well!  The flowers are hand sewn and the sections are sewn on a treadle machine.  The green has faded to blue but the red and yellow are still bright.

I hope you are enjoying Priscilla's Block.  If you have finished the block why not show us all - you can add a photo to the Flickr pool on the left of this blog; if you have your own blog you can link it 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 above and paste your link into the box.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Big (and Bigger) Picture

I do enjoy taking a promenade through cyber space and looking at everyone's blogs.  You are all such talented people!  If I see a photo of one of the CCCQ blocks I try and leave a comment;  if I have missed your blog please wave your hand and I'll come and visit.

The layout of the original quilt made by Alice Criswell for her daughter Mary is shown here.  There are eight by eight 13 inch blocks with a double size centre block.  It is a big quilt.  Take a look at the photo of the quilt on the right of the screen, that's on a queen size bed and it nearly touches the floor all the way around.  Some of the blocks are repeated two or three times.  (I'm using EQ5, the libraries are a bit limited.)

This is the layout I have chosen for the Chester Criswell Quilt.

It is six by six 12 inch blocks with same double size block in the centre.  All the patterns in the original quilt will be in the smaller quilt.  You won't miss out on any patterns.  At the rate of one block each month you should have the whole quilt by early 2015.  The First Year is the first twelve blocks.  The Second Year due September 2013 will begin with the centre block.

I know some people are talking about reproducing the whole of the original quilt.  If you are making the larger original version you will need 8.5 yards of background fabric; you will need 4.5 yards for the smaller copy.  The placement of the blocks is up to you; you can put them on point and add turkey red sashing if it pleases.

Wanda left a comment on the last post, asking if anyone wanted to swap a block.  This has really got me thinking, wouldn't it be great to make the CCCQ a real-time signature quilt with blocks from around the world and the names of friends old and new.  My first plan was to make a reproduction of the original as accurately as I could; now I want to make a modern swap quilt too.

I need more hours in the day.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Block 3 - Priscilla and Joseph Turner

It's October, Springtime here in Australia, and it's time for another block.  If you would like to join us you can get Block 3 here.  It's not too late to order all the blocks in The First Year .  You can make the first three blocks now <G> and be ready for Block 4 in November.

If you have already signed up for The First Year you should have received your download of Block 3.  If you haven't check your spam or junk email folder.  If it's not there let me know and I will send it again.

I've named Priscilla and Joseph Turner's block 'Double Tulip'.  These images in Barbara Brackman's 'Encyclopedia of Applique' are the closest designs I can find.

There are actually three Double Tulip blocks in the original quilt.  The pattern is exactly the same for all three blocks and the same green fabric is also used in each block.  If you are making the 6 by 6 block quilt you only have to make one Double Tulip block.  If you want the challenge of reproducing the original 8 by 8 then you would need three of these.

Elizabeth Wilson
I don't know who Elizabeth Wilson is.  There are about twenty Elizabeth Wilsons in the Chester County census and I may never know which one is represented here.  Elizabeth used three different red prints in her block and I did the same.

Isaac Haines Wilson
Isaac Wilson is the second eldest son of Jane Wilson, Block 1.  His story is part of Jane's story so I haven't told it again.

Joseph and Priscilla Turner
 Priscilla has used the same red for all three flowers.  Notice that the stem piece is reversed to the other two blocks, but the pattern is certainly the same.

When I was working on this block I asked for a few volunteers to print out the first draft.  I was quite thrilled when Jo Morton put her hand up - her name is on the selvedge of one of my fabrics!  Jo commented on the fact that the stem and leaves were all one piece - a modern pattern would have the leaves and stems cut out separately.
Priscilla did her block as one piece, but Elizabeth and Isaac didn't fuss how the pieces were joined together.  A number of the blocks are pieced to make the fabric large enough, in some blocks the background fabric is pieced too.

Jan MacFadyen also proofread the draft for me.  Jan suggested that I include some instructions on using freezer paper for needleturn applique.  That's an excellent suggestion, apart from two points.  Firstly, I'm a beginner at applique and not the person for anyone to learn from.  Secondly, I've never used freezer paper so, ditto.
In September I linked to Carole's blog and her tutorial on using freezer paper.   Nancy  is also making the Chester blocks, also using freezer paper, but her paper goes underneath the fabric, not on top.  She shows her method here.
I am fascinated by the number of different ways people sew their blocks. What method are you using?