Friday, June 28, 2013

Photos of the Lyre Block

Mary Criswell made two lyre blocks for her daughter's quilt, this one has Jane Criswell's name on it.  The lyre is the same as William's block but the leaves in the corners are different.  (Jane, not James - my mistake)

Jane Criswell's Block

Can you believe that The First Year has only one more pattern to go?  The first Introduction blog post was 5th July 2012 so the blog's first birthday is next week. Block 12 will be online in a few days, I'm sure you will like this one.  And we have a guest blogger too!

Looking forward to your photos.

Instructions for Linking Up Your Blog:

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.

Friday, June 21, 2013

QAYG, or for the uninitiated, Quilt As You Go

You may have noticed that my lyre block is already quilted.

I've decided to Quilt As You Go - QAYG.  I was concerned about finishing all 30 plus blocks and then beginning to hand quilt the whole quilt - I had already decided that it had to be handquilted to go with the needleturn.  I worried for a short while about authenticity and then decided that this quilt is My Quilt and I can finish it any way I like.

Hand quilting is much more enjoyable when you don't have the whole quilt in your lap. There isn't much quilting on the original.  Quilting wasn't the important part of a friendship quilt, the blocks and signatures were the main attraction.  Each applique piece is outline quilted and then a second quilting line is 'inline' quilted.  I tried all the quilting in white thread but I didn't like the look of the white not-quite-even stitches on the red and green. I'm using King Tut quilting thread in Romy Red, Avocado and White.

The backs look alright. The red and green thread bring out the pattern a little more.

And it was such a nice day I included a shot of my photographic studio.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A New Quilt for the Collection

Look! A package!  It's almost my birthday, could it be for me?  Yes, I bought it for myself.

The description is just right ...

Looking good ...

Looking GREAT!

Check out those 1930s prints.

Sunbonnet Sue's country cousin.

And fortunately, a location and a date.

Malaga, Washington is a little country town in the mountains where they grow great apples.  The recipient of the quilt is Lena Wallace, the other twenty-four ladies are neighbours and friends.  I wonder what life was like for these women in 1937? I hope to find out.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What's in Today's Mailbox?

I received two lovely parcels in today's mail.  The first was from Nancy in Georgia at Tattered Garden.

Nancy is a regular contributor to the photo gallery and we arranged to swap a signature block.  Nancy's stitches are so tiny!  Even DH was impressed with the workmanship.  Thank you Nancy, and the signature is excellent.

My other parcel had some greens for the collection.  I like the Party of Twelve range, the wide range colours are nice and clear.

What have I been doing?  I've been practicing my penmanship for my next swap block.  I belong to the Primary Patchworkers group in Sale and we've been donating small quilts to the local nursing homes.

And I've been making another fleur de lis block.  Should be finished next week.

Actually, I received a really big parcel last Friday but it deserves a blog post of its own. Next week.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Family Tree Jigsaw Puzzles

Detail of The Wister Family Tree Quilt
International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2005.059.0001

Researching the names on the Chester Criswell Quilt is a lot like researching a family tree.  The big difference is that with the quilt you already have all the names, you just have to figure out how they fit together.  Imagine all your family history records put into a big pile, and then you have to put them back in the right spot. Warning: Don't try this at home!

There are fourteen Criswells on the quilt. Last year I had about half of them in  place but there were still some mystery people. There were a number of Criswells located at Woodland that I just could not find.  I searched through census records on, checked the family Bible again, followed up Criswell cousins that had migrated to Ohio, no success.  I looked for Woodland as a place name, it was nowhere near the other quilt locations.

Then I had one of those eureka moments.  I logged on to that favourite genealogy site,, and located James, William, Jane and Elizabeth Criswell.   They were the siblings of the bride Mary Criswell that had all died before the year that Mary and Jesse Jackson Smith were married.

William Criswell's block made by Alice Criswell

Alice Criswell made the bridal quilt for her eldest daughter and had included blocks for each of her deceased children.  In the 21st century we keep death and dying at a distance and leave the management of death to professionals. If we experience the death of a child or a young person - or even someone our own age - it feels wrong and unfair.  In the 19th century death was closer.  People died at home, women died in childbirth, children died from illnesses that we never experience.  I think Alice was saying to her daughter Mary, your family is larger than the people you live with, don't forget the rest.

The mystery is not totally solved.  The dates attached to Elizabeth aren't right unless Alice became pregnant again when she was 58.  Susanna Criswell shares a block with Elizabeth.  Susanna was living in 1850 but there is no record of her after that date.  I think if she was living in 1852 when the quilt was assembled that she would have her own block.  Woodland could be a cemetery name, but Margaret Criswell, Woodland was definitely alive so I think Woodland is the name of the family farm.

William son of Andrew G and Alice Criswell
Born 1836    Died May, 1848
Manor Presbyterian Church Cemetery