Monday, July 18, 2011

The Coolest Quilt

I actually have cabin fever from staying inside so much in the SUMMER! The thermometer just hit 98 and the dewpoint has been setting records ...........which just means that we, in Minnesota, are getting a taste of the tropics without leaving home.
But it's never too hot to talk quilts so I tried to find a 'cool' quilt to share with you - and came up with this one because of the pastel colors and the ice cream cone border.
40" Square    Made in 2002

I'm sure many of you recognize the blocks as Dear Jane  blocks. In 1996 Brenda Papadakis grabbed the attention of  the quilt world by telling the story of an amazing quilt made by Jane A. Stickle in 1863. She got permission to draft the blocks from the original quilt and published them to challenge quilters of today.
The original quilt is featured in the Vermont state book Plain and Fancy  and is currently in the collection of the Bennington Museum in that state.
Original Quilt 80" square
There are 169 blocks which finish at 4.5" and the border is made up of elaborate pieced triangles. The corner piece is what we would love to find on all old quilts - the maker's name and date she made the quilt. Jane even included the number of pieces and the words "In War Time".
Her signature is faint  ( bottom right )
I had played with some of the blocks when the book first came out but after I finished the 'easy' ones the project stalled. I lost interest until a friend put together a class to help people break down the construction of each block. I was her test case! She divided the blocks into groups requiring specific skills and asked me to choose some from each group.She encouraged viewing each block as a project in itself to prevent feeling overwhelmed!  I learned that I could do it! This was a great way to work with the blocks without trying to reproduce the entire quilt.
Some of my templates
I chose a very different look than the original quilt. I used fabrics from my vintage stash as well as some reproduction prints c. 1930-1950. Can you tell which are repros?

Here's a look at the pattern for one border triangle and a section of the border of the original quilt.

Working in a small size I was forced to simplify the border ! (phew) 
Hand quilted

I'd love to hear from any of you that have worked with these blocks! There are numerous clubs devoted to Dear Jane. (some refer to these passionate folks as Janiacs!)

I'm exhausted just thinking about it. I need a treat!

Until next time: Stay Cool! 


  1. It is a cool quilt, in color and overall appearance. I have the "Dear Jane" book, but as yet have not ventured to try any of it. This quilt gives me hope that I can make use of the patterns even if I choose not to do it all.
    I really like your rendition. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. It is a really cool quilt and would go well in my part of the world. I too have the "Dear Jane" book and cutting tools but this project will have to be left for another day. Happy stitching.

  3. Thanks for your comments Janet and Frances. I've joined your blogs now and they look wonderful...I see I have lots of reading to do to catch up!

  4. When I saw the quilt in person it blew me away. In 2007 I took my reject blocks and made a small quilt like yours. I still want to create a complete large one. I like how you designed the broders. That was a neta idea.


Thanks for adding your comments!