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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Dear Janers Anonymous ---

Dear Janer's Anonymous!

There is a raging group of quilt addicts running rampant on the internet!

A Quilter is enticed by many vices, or inspirations as the case may be!
This is one of mine....The Infamous Dear Jane Quilt.

**Note** This is a reprint of a previous website post about my first Jane Stickle quilt adventure! My version was completed in 2003.

The original quilt was painstakingly created by Jane A. Stickle "In War Time" in 1863, and just as equally painstakingly re-drafted and recreated by Brenda M Papadakis,

I have been in love with this quilt (and in hate with it too at times...) since I first laid eyes on the quilt when it was hanging in Houston, long before Brenda published her book. However, it took some prodding from other quilters to join the dear-jane email list, order the book and actually start going on it.

I excitedly met up with several Dear-Janers at the Sisters, Oregon outdoor quilt show in 1998....we all drooled over Lori Dejarnatt's Baby Jane!


from left to right:
Lori D, Maureen Orr E., Barb Cl., Bonnie H.(ME!), Nan P
Behind Lori's 169 assembled blocks

(Click Here to see a pic of Lori's completed top!)

I had approximately 26 of the 4.5" blocks done when my husband's job forced a move on our family from Idaho to Texas. After unpacking I could NOT find my blocks anywhere! I was REALLY wanting to work on the quilt, getting my interest back in it...so I started over!! Then guess what...I found the original blocks :c/ Of course we all knew that would happen....

Now, there are some quilters who are recreating the quilt as closely as they can to the original...colors and fabrics matching breathtakingly close to what Jane used to create her masterpiece. Then there are others who plan color schemes in blue, or green, or batik, or christmas colors....

And then there is ME! Who didnt really have a plan at first, and just wanted a *scrappy* quilt, and began making blocks in whatever colors suited her whim......UNTIL!! Someone mentioned that the blocks in the original quilt were actually designed in color rounds...in a "Trip Around The World" fashion! WOW! COOL! Guess what? I wanted to do that too......so out came the marking pens and a coloring diagram.

One problem......I had already made several of the blocks TWICE! Was I going to start over again? HECK NO!! So....taking creative liberty....I placed the blocks I had already done in the color plan...wherever they fell, and filled in with other blocks around them. My blocks are not in the same position in this quilt as they are in Jane's....at least the first several rows have blocks out of place, or blocks from another row, etc. But that is okay by me! I dont think Jane will care.....

I also don't think she will care that I used brighter colors, and wider black sashing....because her quilt had way too much BROWN for my liking. I'm not sure what I will do about the outside triangles, I will have to alter those too if I do them.. like Scarlett O'hara, I will worry about those another time, Tomorrow is another day!

But that is the great thing about being a Quilter....we are allowed our own creative agency to do *our own thing* and some wonderful growth and suprises happen when we do!

These are the first 8 rows of my quilt center...joined together with the black sashing and red cornerstones:

(And I still think it has too much brown...but I am leaving it since I had so many brown blocks done already!)

There are another 2 rows ready to add on to the center...but before I do, I want to get ALL the blocks scanned. I wish I had thought of this BEFORE sewing them into rows......it is not going to be easy to wad this quilt top up in the scanner and get the blocks to lay flat for scanning! But where there is a will there is a way.

MOST of my blocks have been foundation paper pieced. I hate working with templates! Since I have a xerox machine handy, I simply copied the blocks, cut the blocks apart without seam allowances into workable sections, and then stitched the sections back together again. It worked great for me..and I love the accuracy! If you would like to do the same.....visit my Foundation Piecing Reference Page to see which ones I found easiest to do with this method. (Having your book with you will be helpfull so you can look at the block pictures while you read the descriptions on how to piece the block.)

Many of you may think we are crazy...that there is never enough time in life to do a quilt such as this. Or, you might be thinking that it is something you want to do...but wonder what kind of sacrifice it takes to get it done! Click here to read some wonderful hints by a Dear Jane Friend, Sharyn Mallow Woerz who just finished getting her 169 center blocks together!

**UPDATE!!**

March 5, 2000: I just got back from my guild's Quilter's Retreat in Eufaula, OK! And while there I was able to really crank on my Dear Jane Quilt and got the ENTIRE center together, as well as adding the TOP BORDER of triangles! Yeeeehhhhhawwww!

August 20th, 2000 I AM FINISHED!!! Well, the top is anyway....that's what I love about retreats. I finished my Dear Jane top while at another retreat in Quitman Texas! there is nothing like 3 days away from home and life stress to throw yourself into completeing a project! I finished sewing that last border on the quilt top just minutes before having to pack up and leave!

Now onto the hand quilting! (Watch this take me another 2 years...*LOL*)

2003: The quilting actually took 2 1/2 years, but it was done in time to be displayed in our guild show. The quilt now resides on one wall in my house!

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