36 free quilt blocks, one a week with a guide to Jane Austen's England and posts about the people in her life.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Block 19: Cross Patch for Mary Lloyd Austen

Block 19: Cross Patch for Mary Lloyd Austen by Bettina Havig

Mary Lloyd Austen (1771-1843)

Mary Lloyd was an Austen family neighbor in Steventon. After her father died in 1789, young Mary moved with her mother and older sister Martha to the parsonage at Deane, a house rented out by Reverend George Austen.

The house at Deane

When Mary married James Austen in 1797 she became Jane’s sister-in-law, although those were not the words commonly used for the relationship in Jane Austen’s England. Jane would have probably called her my sister Mary.

Jane often discussed sister Mary with Cassandra in the letters and was not often kind. We guess Cassandra destroyed the frankest of Jane’s letters so Jane may even had worse to say. What was the problem between Jane and Mary?

James Austen

Speculation is that in the year before marrying Mary, James had courted his cousin Eliza. Both James and Eliza were widowed and close in age, but Eliza made a good choice in James’s charming young brother Henry. James then made a good choice in friend Mary whom Eliza described as "not either rich or handsome, but very sensible & good hu­moured." 

"Domestic Happiness"

Mary’s good humor did not extend to Eliza after her marriage. The James Austens do not seem to have joined the family circle when the Henry Austens were visiting. Jane, Eliza and Henry were close, so the rift may have begun. “She is in the main NOT a liberal minded woman,” wrote Jane to Cassandra.

Cross Patch by Becky Brown
(Another brilliant fussy-cut!)

Jane, who'd lived there all her life, was unhappy
to leave the Steventon rectory in 1801.

When Jane’s father retired from his two parishes at Deane and Steventon, resentment seems to have increased. As eldest son, James took over the parish and parsonage at Deane, evicting the Lloyds. James then took over Steventon, evicting the Austens. The gentle evictions (or, perhaps, not so gentle) were standard procedure but Jane blamed Mary for taking advantage of her parents move to get their furniture at a good price. Oh, to be a fly on the wall!

Cross Patch by Becky Brown

We’re taking sides here in a family quarrel but Cross Patch seems a good block to remember Jane’s sister-in-law Mary. This name for an old pattern was published in 1930 in the agricultural periodical The Rural New Yorker.

It’s BlockBase #2414 .

Cutting a 12” Block

A – Cut 2 squares 2-7/8”. Cut each in half with a diagonal cut to make 2 triangles.

You need 4 triangles.

B – Cut 2 squares 5-1/4”. Cut into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts.

You need 8 triangles.

C – Cut 10 squares 3-3/8”.

D- Cut 1 rectangle 3-3/8” x 9”.  

Cross Patch by Georgann Eglinski

UPDATE: Cross Patch by Dustin Cecil


  1. This is a great story sounds like my sister-in-law. I love all these stories. It is amazing that back then with slow delivery of letters tension was so high. More time to dwell I guess. I guess with the high speed transmission of email or phones today no wonder people are so upset. Thanks for the good stories and the blocks. Back to quilting.
    Barbra you're the BBE = Best Blogger Ever

  2. Thank you for this series. I am really loving the blocks and the stories behind each. My soon to be daughter in law loves anything about Jane Austen. I am making her a lap quilt with these blocks. Thanks for all the work you put into this for us. I cant seem to find block 14. Did I miss it? Hmm
    quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

  3. Really enjoying the history and stories!