Thursday, October 31, 2013

Block Round Up

Here are some photos of CCCQ blocks that have recently been finished.  It doesn't matter if you are working on Block 3, or if you are completely up to date with Block 14 - the quilt has been around for 160 years and another year or two won't make any difference.

Carole at Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus has been sewing in tropical far North Queensland.

Wendy from Legends and Lace has finished Block 9.

Quilting at the Farm's Chris also finished Block 9, but she gave it away.  Chris finished Block 1 and she gave that away too!  Visit Chris's blog to get the whole story.  Here is her Block 4.

Scrap Happy Wanda has a gorgeous Block 12.

And this is the block I'm working on.  I'll tell you more in a few months.

If you haven't entered the competition to win The Second Year patterns, be quick!  You've got one extra day to guess the buttons.

Block 14, Alice McClellan's block, is about to jump into cyberspace.  I wonder what Alice would think to see her handiwork flying though the ether?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Win!! Free!! (have I got your attention?)

Now that The Second Year of the Chester Criswell Quilts is underway, it's time for a competition.

This competition is now closed and we have a winner. 

Block 13 - the centre of the CCCQ

The prize is easy.  The winner will get all eleven patterns of The Second Year.  Blocks 13 and 14 are already released, Block 15 will be available on 1st November and the rest of the patterns will be sent on the first of each month.
If you are the winner and you already have already signed up for The Second Year, you can nominate to have the patterns sent to a friend's email address.

Now, how do you enter the competition?  I'll look around the house for inspiration (mind the dust...)

Okay, I'm getting warmer...

Here we are.  It's a guessing competition.

How many buttons in the button jar?

In the jar pictured there are a number of buttons.  One clue - it is more than 100. The person whose answer comes closest without going over is the winner.  If more than one person is correct then each winner will get a pattern prize.  

To enter, comment below with your numerical guess.  You can also tell us about one of your current projects.  That won't help you win but it will make the comment list more interesting.  The competition closes at midnight 31st October.  You can only enter once, your first guess is your only guess. 

I will contact the winner after the 31st October.  If you are registered with Blogger or Google it's easy, I can send you an email.  If you comment as Anonymous there is no way that I can contact you; I will post on the blog that you are the winner but you will have to contact me within one week.  If  I don't hear from you I will choose the next best answer and so on.


I almost forgot the free part.  Block 1 of the quilt is always free.  You can get it here. You will need to register on the website, but you don't have to make any payment.  Don't hesitate to share the free link with your friends, it is

I have been asked about printing the downloads in Australia and the USA.  Paper sizes are different around the world.  Australia commonly uses A4 paper which is longer and narrower than the US letter size.  This can cause real headaches if you are printing a pattern designed on the other side of the world. 

The Chester Criswell Quilt patterns have been designed with this in mind.  You can happily print the patterns anywhere and the size will be the same as the original. When I print the pattern here in the Land of Oz there is extra space at the bottom of the page; if you print it in the USA there will be extra margins on each side. 

On your mark, get ready, Go!  Hope you win!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Family Treasures

I sent an email to my aunt in Tennessee telling her about the work I was doing with the family heirloom quilt.  She sent an email back - she had an old photo album with pictures of the Criswell family, was I interested in looking at it?

Was I ??!!  I didn't know these photos existed.  I had some from my maternal grandmother's father's family but none from her mother's family. We organised to post the album to Australia.

While I was waiting I tried to imagine what photos the album would contain.  Would there be any wedding photos?  What would Mary Smith nee Criswell look like?  Would she be as lovely as the Long sisters from Kansas City? Maybe she would even look a little like me.

The album arrived the other day.  It is quite heavy.

Full of promise

The album front-piece

The recipients of the CCCQ

Mary McClellan Criswell

Well .... I'm happy to say that I don't look much like my g-g-g-grandmother.  I don't know how old Mary was when this was taken, I hope she was a schoolgirl in this photo and not a bride-to-be.  Not the most flattering hairstyle.

There are about thirty photos in the album, fortunately all labeled in my grandmother's handwriting.  I like this photo of Mary's daughter Alice Smith.

I wish I know what colour the dress fabric was.  The dress must be homemade because little sister Hannah Mary has the same material.

Good looks aren't everything.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Back to Block 14

Block 14  Twin Tulips
Mary Wilson was 16 and living with her mother when she signed her block for Mary Criswell's quilt.  Mary Wilson then disappears from the census records.  She probably married but there isn't an easy way to trace her once her surname has changed.

I decided to follow Mary's siblings to see if there were any clues to Mary's timeline.  I used one of my favourite genealogical sites, and discovered the grave-site of her sister-in-law Elizabeth Wilson.  Included with a photo of the tombstone was this intriguing historical snapshot.

"Elizabeth was the mother of Martha (Ella) Long, wife of R. A. Long, the lumber baron, who started his Long-Bell Lumber Company in the small community of Columbus, Kansas.
She was a Quaker and a woman of great courage and foresight. She moved her nine children from Pennsylvania to the new and primitive town of Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas following her husband's death in 1868."
Martha Ellen (Ella) Long nee Wilson

I googled 'R A Long timber baron' and was introduced to the R A Long Historical Society.

Robert Alexander Long grew up in Kentucky and migrated to Kansas as a young man. He tried his hand at a number of enterprises and failed at each.  R A Long spent one season making hay which he stored in timber sheds; the hay was cut at the wrong time and proved worthless.  Long consequently dismantled the sheds and sold the lumber at a profit.  Selling timber led to buying a sawmill, then a coal mine, then a railroad and the successes never stopped.

R A Long built his home Corinthian Hall in Kansas City Missouri.  It now houses the Kansas City Museum.

Corinthian Hall

R A Long also built Longview Farm, a model farm of 1,780 acres with 60 buildings, a chapel, a hotel and 175 employees.  Longview Farm was famous for its show horses.

Show Barn at Longview Farm

R A Long married Elizabeth Wilson's daughter Ella in 1876.  Their first child, a boy, lived for only a few weeks.  Robert and Ella Wilson then had two daughters, Sallie America and Loula.

Sallie America Long

Sallie America Long went to finishing school in Washington, D.C. and then went on a world tour.  She met and married Hayne Ellis, a naval officer, and established a home in Washington D.C.  When her husband died she returned to Longview Farm to live with her sister Loula.

Loula Long

Loula Long was a horsewoman.  She was one of the first women to compete against men in horse and carriage events. Loula was well known for the horses she bred at Longview Farm and for her hats.  She married Robert Combs lived with him and her children at the Farm.

Loula Long Combs driving Capitvation

I found the story of the Wilsons and the Longs fascinating, I hope you have enjoyed this brief glimpse into their amazing lives.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

House Quilts Down Under

A few months ago the editor of Down Under Quilts, Linda Robertus, asked for photos of house quilts for an upcoming article.  My 1937 signature quilt made the grade and it appeared in the current issue No.160. Hooray!

This quilt was made in 1937 by the ladies of Malaga, Washington.  I've started to reproduce this quilt, I have six blocks finished, and I am going to tell its story on my blog Patchwork Bits and Pieces.

Also included in the article was my little cottage quilt.  The pattern Honeymoon Cottage was designed by Ruby McKim in the 1930s.  McKim was a prolific designer and her quilt blocks and embroideries were influenced by the Art Deco movement. After I made my cottage I found the red and white one on eBay, and now they live happily side by side.

This house pattern really speaks to me.  It reminds me of my favourite holiday spot when I was 10 years old, Lake Hope State Park, Ohio.  We stayed in a cabin just like this one...

After last week's visit to Quilts in the Barn, I've been inspired to try something new.

Who likes hexagons?