Friday, January 31, 2014

Next Block Please

I gathered all my Chester Criswell Blocks together for a family photo.

The new block is in the bottom left hand corner.  If you have signed on for The Second Year you will be receiving it soon.  If you would like to receive it check the website Two Bits Patches, it will be arriving shortly.
If you are expecting it and it doesn't arrive in you inbox, please check your email settings.  One or two addresses have blocked my email and I can't get through to you. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Too Hot Today

I'm working at home today. It's the fourth day of heat wave conditions and I'm pleased to be in the same room as the air conditioner.  Two days ago lightening strikes started a fire in the state forest about 30 kilometres away but there is currently no threat to private property.  The wind is blowing the smoke away from our house so this morning I washed blankets and hung them out to dry.

I been distracted from the 19th century events in Chester County, Pennsylvania by life in the 1930s at the opposite end of the USA.  I've been working on reproducing the blocks from my 1937 sampler quilt made in Malaga, Chelan County, Washington.  It's a signature quilt made by a group of women for one of their friends.

I bought this quilt on eBay last year.  When I started making the Malaga blocks I wasn't going to research the quilt makers.  Unlike the Chester Criswell Quilt it wasn't made my ancestors so I didn't think that the women's stories would be of interest.

I was wrong.  I created a family tree on so I could see the relationships between the 25 names on the quilt.  There are now 158 people in the tree and I'm about halfway through the names.  There is a mother and daughter pair and also a mother-in law and son-in law's sister's pair.  I have found a woman who made friends with the local Indian tribes; a Scottish migrant who lived in Chicago during the Roaring 20s and a housewife whose son grew up to be a Senator.

The story of this quilt is on my blog Patchwork Bits and Pieces.  You can also see a picture of it on page 58 of the latest Down Under Quilts.  I was asked to contribute to an article on buying antique quilts online and the quilt's photos made its way into the magazine. Again.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Photos of Blocks 15,16,17.... Anything!

The posts for your photos have got a bit behind, so now is a good chance for a show and tell.

Block 15 Alice McClellan
Block 16 Adeline Gibson
Block 17 Criswell Gibson

If you have blogged about your blocks, please follow the instructions to link your post.  If you have finished one of the earlier blocks, why not link it too - the more the merrier!

Do you make New Year resolutions?  I don't really but I do think about what I would like to achieve in the next twelve months.  A lot of people focus on their UFOs  - unfinished projects that have been hidden away. I have as many UFOs as the next person, but I leave them hidden.  Occasionally one surfaces and gets completed but I try not to feel guilty about them.  I had fun making them, and when they stopped being enjoyable I put them to one side.  How do you treat your UFOs?

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 below and paste your link into the box.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year!  Hope your 2014 contains everything you wished for!

In October I received a photo album from my aunt in Tennessee that had photos of the Criswells as well as other relatives.  My sister flew to Tennessee for Christmas and I sent a copy of The First Year as a thank you for the photo album.  It was well received and appreciated by my American cousins.
My aunt and uncle are in the process of moving to a smaller home and their family was told, take anything you want.  My sister happened to see this photo frame on the wall and brought it back to Australia for me.

These are photos of Jesse Jackson Smith and Mary Criswell Smith, taken about 1870 (according to  my grandmother's handwriting on the back of the picture).  I will need to take the photos out of the frame to make a good copy, but I couldn't wait to share them.  Do you see the carpet that Mary is standing on?  It's like one of the applique patterns from the quilt.  How many yards/metres of fabric would it take to make one dress?  And how many petticoats are under the skirt?

Block 17 is on the website now.  The fabric I used is Moda's Collections for a Cause Friendship.  The ring of flowers around the centre was a nice surprise.