Sunday, July 17, 2011

Contemporary Jane or Thoroughly Modern Millie?

I have decided to join Jovita's Patchwork Atelier's Contemporary Jane group. Hurrah! For those of you who know what a Dear Jane quilt is, you know what an undertaking this is. For those of you who don't, let me piece it together (pun intended).

Jane Stickle created a quilt in the Civil War era comprised of 169 squares in the main quilt & 52 triangle blocks around the quilt for the border. Sounds like a fun project, right? Well, the blocks are only 4-1/2" square.  Smallest blocks I have ever made! People have been making “Baby Janes” for years and now it is my turn.

When I decided to join, I thought the Dear Jane book by Brenda Papadakis would have all the instructions for constructing the blocks. Not really the case. I got the only copy from my local library & started flipping through it. OMG! There are only pictures of the blocks, one at a time & Brenda’s interpretative drawings of the blocks. No cutting instructions, no sewing instructions, nothing but her sweet letters to Jane while she was interpreting the patterns. This presents either a creative opportunity or total disaster for me!

When I got home with the book yesterday, I sat down with my Electric Quilt program, rulers in hand & started my versions of some of the blocks. I worked into the wee hours of 11 o'clock (late for me) and found myself mesmerized by the scope of the project. And that’s just to draft the blocks into the program. I still have to make up my own instructions for cutting & assembling the blocks. (If I had the EQ-Dear Jane program, I wouldn't have to do this, but I am now creating my own. However, if someone wanted to get me an early Christmas present, I really wouldn't object!)

When Jane created her quilt, she hand-pieced & hand-quilted it. I am looking at ways to create the blocks in a thoroughly modern way. As I was drafting the blocks into EQ, I thought about ways to assemble them quickly and by machine. I hate handwork, so I will try to create as many of them as possible by machine. My goal is doing as little appliqué as possible! I know that I will have to do some paper piecing, but I am not excited at the prospect of building appliqué blocks. Some blocks are quite simple, but others are very challenging.

Next problem is deciding fabrics & colors. I don’t anticipate this project going very quickly, so if I buy some fabrics now and don’t buy enough; it may not still be available when I get to the lower blocks. There are pictures in the book of different quilts that contributors have made, using different themes. I could make it completely scrappy & just use stash fabrics. Maybe I will do that, but I am leaning toward doing one in shades of purple (big surprise, huh?). It looks like Jovita’s group is going in order. I may do that or I may randomly pick some squares throughout the quilt so if I run out of certain fabrics, it won’t look so funny.

Under the Willow Tree is already 4 blocks in. I will need to hurry & catch up, in between all the other projects I am working on. As with others in the group, I will try to post my methods & instructions on my blog so that I can keep up.

As I understand, many who have taken this journey find it self-revealing.  I don't know if that is what I am looking for or if I am just needing a challenge.  I may get totally bored with the project after a few weeks, but I am going to try to persevere.  I don't know who I will find in this process, but I hope she is up to the challenge.

Wish me luck!

Piece out!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You blow me away with how far you have come in your quilting ability!!! I'm so proud of you! xo Aunt Cheryl
    PS - just love the picture you posted with this blog page! xo again