Monday, January 10, 2011

Meet Dear Jane...

Long before I ever discovered scrapbooking I was a quilter.  I made baby quilts, quilts for my kids, quilts for our bed, quilts for gifts, quilts for charity...but making a quilt is a huge undertaking.  I think that's what I love about scrapbooking - you can produce a finished result in a relatively short period of time.  Making a quilt is a long process no matter the size of the quilt.  In fact, I currently have 10 quilting projects sitting in various stages of completion waiting to be finished.  One of these is my Dear Jane quilt.

I learned about Dear Jane back in the 90's when I discovered the book "Dear Jane, The Two Hundred Twenty-Five patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt" by Brenda Papadakis.  Dear Jane has a large following of quilters from around the world, each making their own version of the original quilt.  If you'd like to read more about this you can visit the official Dear Jane website.

I started my Dear Jane quilt in 1998.  It is made from 169 square blocks each measuring 4-1/2 inches, 52 pieced border triangles, 56 solid border trianges and 4 kite-shaped sections for the corners.  Each pieced block/triangle/corner is unique, uses a different fabric and consists of as few as 2 pieces or as many as 74.  The total number of pieces in the entire quilt top is 5183.  I sewed it entirely by hand.  This was to be the ultimate quilt I would make.

I started quilting it but then, with just four rows completed, I put it aside in 2007 when I went back to work for two years and didn't have as much time for my hobbies.   Dear Jane has sat folded inside a pillowcase on the top shelf of a closet since then.  After so many years of not working on this quilt, it seemed a daunting task to get into again.

Then a couple of days ago, I was looking at quilting websites and came across this little motto that another Janiac (Janiac = a person who is a maniac about making a Dear Jane quilt) had come up with - "One Thread Each Day".  Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the prospect of completing such a huge project so we tend to put it aside for another day...and another day...and we don't accomplish anything.  But, if we strive to sew just one length of thread each day, before we know it those individual threads add up and we're on our way to finishing.

So, with the motivation of those four words - one thread each day - I took my quilt down from the closet shelf and am gathering my quilting supplies together so that I can sew a daily length of thread and get this project done.  Thirteen rows of thirteen blocks, thirteen pieced triangles for each border, all started thirteen years ago.  Lucky thirteen.  This will be the year I finish this quilt. 

Until next time...
Susan :-)


  1. Susan, this is soooo beautiful! I kept meaning to ask you to see what you had finished on it so far. I did buy the magazine years ago that talked about the quilt which I think you made a block for. What an amazing goal for this year. Love the one thread a day idea!!! It is all about baby steps. Think how beautiful it will look laying on your bed!!! This blog of yours is getting very crafty!!! Great to see all of your creative talents featured here! :)

  2. Wow, Susan! What a project! Just listening to you add up all those little pieces made me a little anxious, I have to admit! I love quilts, but just don't have the patience to be able to see one through; if I don't see results quickly I'm likely to give up. I once made a patchwork quilt (just squares - is that what it's called?) that turned out beautifully if you didn't lie it flat and notice the lumps and bumps. :) I can't wait to hear about the progress on yours - I'm going to live vicariously through you! :)


Thanks! I appreciate your comments.