Danger, Will Robinson:  picture heavy post ahead!

I have had the Dear Jane book for many years now, and I’ve made a block here and a block there.

I have never allowed myself to start, because I have so many other projects on the go!

But I have finally got my big hexies together and basted (photos as soon as it’s not pouring rain outside) and It Is Time.

Not to mention, Dan and I had a week off.  It rained.  He wanted to show me the Lord of the Rings movies.

He insisted on the extended versions.

I’m not making the blocks in any particular order and I’m not following a colour plan: I’m choosing things from the stash on a whim and assuming that I can make 225 blocks of anything go together if I move the placement around.

Some of the blocks aren’t as enjoyable or visually pleasing as the others, so I’ll redraft or replace them with something else.  Or leave them out. ZOMG these are so much fun.

Seriously, has anyone ever taken such a scrappy, lazy approach to the Big Quilt?

Save me from the Quilt Police.

It needs an iron.

Since the Baby Janers have been making this block, it’s high time to fix mine.  Sad, though, that fixing a block doesn’t get me any higher in the patch tally 🙂

Time to celebrate with a progress shot, no?

They’re all wrapped up in plastic so that they don’t collect dust and who knows what else in our crazy house before I’m finished making their neighbours!

After all that palaver over the Sarah Morrell appliqué, I needed to sew something easy but very satisyfing. Plus, I’ve had a little extra sewing time whilst the family have been moving my Grandma out of hospital (at last!) and into a lovely, freshly painted room of her own in a ten-bed house with a full time nursing staff. It’s even backing on to the little shopping centre, so they all go and buy a coffee each morning without crossing any roads. Public nursing homes aren’t what they used to be. Praise be.

Hence: sewing, finished. Another Jane Stickle, because they’re so addictive!

This is one of my very favourite Jane Stickle blocks. Simple, but elegant.

Patches in this block: 33

Patches so far: 257

Get the pattern as PDF

I like this one. Not too taxing on the mind (I needed a break after that Indiana Puzzle block!) and not too long in the making. Plus it seems to dance somehow. Not sure why the photo sees a shadow on the right hand side, because there isn’t one.

The next block will be different, promise – not a Jane Stickle block. Maybe a cookie cutter or a Sarah Morrell Album Quilt block.

Patches in this block: 24

Patches so far: 198

Get pattern as PDF (please read the user info first)

This block is also known as “C-12: Family Reunion” to those who make “Dear Jane” Stickle quilt reproductions.

We had a lazy Sunday indoors this week (no moving on account of the heat), so I got to use my new Chaco liner. What a difference a fine line makes in miniature blocks! This time I used a new method of cutting and marking (of which, more when I finish the Indiana Puzzle) and the marks couldn’t be tinier. So it all went together with nary a thread out of place: you can see how precise the Chaco tool in this upside-down shot of the wheel. It’s a tube filled with chalk dust which falls down when the wheel is turned. The resulting mark is less than 1mm thick.

So I was able to keep my seams under control, unlike last time:

And I’m quite pleased with the result:

I have a few niggling concerns here. Is it OK to have those wavy little puckers on my seam lines? If they’re not something that’s desirable in hand piecing, how can I get rid of them? I’m blogging so that I can get better at this, so please help. Also, I tried to hand quilt a little gift-sized piece with this patch size last night, and it was a struggle. Is this the way it goes for miniatures? Will quilting be a chore rather than a pleasure, what with so many overlapping seams?

In any case, I’m pleased with this.

Patches in this block: 49

Patches so far: 70

Otherwise known to ‘Dear Jane’ quilters as ‘B-3: Mirror Image’.

This is one of my all-time favourite block patterns. And it can be done in so many different ways. One of the best was on show at the AQC – ‘Circles of the Past’ by Judy Day:

Isn’t that pretty? And it’s a charm quilt, too, which means that every fabric in it is different.

So, for my simple block, I chose the traditional two-colour scheme, and cut in much the same way as for the Four Patch. Now that I blog about it, I realise that I didn’t take progress shots, and therefore deserve your wrath. This is supposed to be a warts-and-all process blog. Well, for now, here’s a description on how to do it. And to make it all up to you, I’ll make an Indiana Puzzle as soon as my chalk comes, which is four of them in the space normally allocated to one – and take embarrassing progress shots of me piecing really tiny curves.

Patches in this block: 8

Patches so far: 21

Here’s what I’d like to start this weblog with: a new quilt with new possibilities. Let’s call it the ‘Sampler Quilt’, until it grows into something with an obvious name. It’s been too long since I started a new project with the express aim of learning how to do something new, and I think I’ve hit upon an idea.

The plan: To make a sampler quilt in the style of the Jane A. Stickle Civil War era quilt which lives at the Bennington Museum:

Jane A. Stickle's quilt, Civil War era

and the anonymous Sundial Coverlet (dated 1797 by the maker, though heaven knows it must have taken longer than one year – I’m guessing she finished it in 1797) held at the Victoria and Albert museum:

Patchwork Quilt, maker unknown, 1797. Victoria and Albert Museum collection

Mine will be a sampler with many small blocks (probably 15cm each), each of which presents an individual challenge. To learn how to sew and quilt neatly by hand. To learn new styles of patchwork, applique and quilting which lie outside the range of your traditional American quilt (but certainly not excluding that style). To figure out how to make the blocks work together elegantly without planning every block and colour before I begin sewing (boring!). To do it all without buying an armoury of new tools and dooverwhackies. I have a computer with drafting capabilities, a cutting mat, scissors, differently sized needles, threads, thimble, quilting hoop, and I don’t want to buy much more. Above all – to put it all on the web and ask for your advice and help as I go along – to benefit, I hope, from knowledge that lives a long way from my home in Melbourne, Australia.

One more ground rule – I won’t be updating regularly, because I have work to do and quilting is a temptation which could take over if I set myself posting deadlines. If I make three blocks in a day, I’ll post them all. If I make one a month, that’ll have to do.

So, here we go.