Friday, 19 October 2007

My Dear Jane Journey has Begun

I started a quilt in September which I said I'd never do in my lifetime :-). I did a round robin project with a group of 5 friends last year and they wanted to do another group activity this year. A couple of the ladies had been eyeing the Dear Jane quilt. To see what the quilt looks like, take a look at the webpage at and you can see why I didn't think I'd ever want to do this quilt! Enter my friend Susan, who has already done a quilt. Her enthusiastic offers of help and encouragement, together with a few other friends joining was infectious and, the rest is history, as they say. I must say, this has been a very enjoyable journey so far and I have learned so much! Susan generously gave a day of her time and a bunch of us got together and she taught us several different methods of applique. These blocks can be done using various techniques; reverse applique, back basting, needle turn, freezer paper, paper piecing, hand piecing, sewing machine, etc., etc. Certainly no chance to get bored. The blocks are 4 1/2" finished and there are 169 in the quilt. You can also do intricate triangles for the border, but I don't know if I will do them yet. I decided to do my blocks in blues and white i.e. Delft's Blue look to reflect my Dutch heritage. Here are the first 7 blocks which I have completed (not in order):

H 12 Hannah Lou's Hearts. I used the back basting appliqué method. The heart on the left is the last one I sewed. You can even see improvement on the stitching as I went along. I also discovered silk thread for the last heart which really helps make the stitches more invisible.

L 11 Caitlin's Rose. This block is technically not finished as I don't like the way the white triangles do not line up in the block! I have traced the block onto paper again to redo it. This time I will pay more attention to putting the pieces on straight! It will go into a collection of 'reject' blocks. If our group comes up with enough of them, we might do our own 'reject block quilt' :-).

D 13 Field of Dreams. This was a very simple block so I figured I could get another block finished really quickly. It was the third one I did and I paper pieced it.

D 6 Challenge. I was on a roll and paper pieced this simple block.

C 12 Family Reunion. This was the very first block that I completed. I sewed this one on my Singer 15-88 Centennial treadle, my favourite sewing machine! You can see the diagram of the block as it appears in the book. I cut my book apart and put the pages into see through page protectors. I store the completed blocks in the sleeve.

G 1 Hattie's Hen House. I did this block using Linda Franz's freezer paper hand piecing technique I learned this for the Psalm blocks (see Oct. 18's blog post) and decided to try a Dear Jane block this way as well. I love the accuracy with this method.
F 13 Tour de France. This is the block we did on Sept. 14, 2007 when we got together with Susan for our lessons. The 'leaf' shapes were appliquéd using reverse appliqué, one of the circles using a cardboard template and starch to tack down the seams, and the other with the back basting technique. I really enjoyed the back basting!

I'm not sure what I got myself into and I'm probably crazy, but I'm having so much fun doing these blocks and making my own Dear Jane quilt and learning so many new skills. I figured this is a long term project. I'm allowing myself 10 years to finish it :-).

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