Sunday, January 31, 2010

Another Day, Another Block...

Sunday...lovely weather, to be sure! It won't be much longer and I'll be taking the pieces that are going to have to be done by hand with me so that I can work on the quilt while we're camping! I can't wait for camping season!! We have a nice little camper...they call it a "hybrid" because while it's a "hardside", it has tent type fold outs that make the beds. It's got a little double sink, stovetop and oven, fridge, and most important, it has a potty with a shower! :) We take the camp ovens and cook with them...I wonder if Mrs. Stickle used a dutchoven? You'll have to meander over to my other blog ( You can see pics there of the camper, and of some of the places we've camped. I'm looking forward to our dinner party at the lake this year...will have to get the menu planned!

I wonder if Mrs. Stickle smiled slyly to herself as she stitched her quilt? Did they have competitions "back then"? I know that I myself have won blue ribbons at the county fair simply because I was going to PROVE that my needlework was better than Mrs. So and So's... I have to wonder about Mrs. Stickle and her motives for doing such tiny almost HAD to be to prove a point, I think! I don't know to who, or what it might have accomplished, but she did a fine job of proving it! :)

Today's block is I9 on the chart that I hope to have up soon. I put the penny in the photo so that you could tell just how small these pieces are! Thank God for paper piecing so that I'm not having to try to handle a 3/4 inch piece of fabric and sewing it!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

K-9 Revisited

Well...I'll share with you that it's a good thing that I remade this block! It seems, that in my inexperienced way with paper piecing, I either trimmed too short, or I didn't allow enough seam allowance to begin with...but as I started to take the triangles off of the corners of the old block, it fell apart. Yep. At the seams. That wonderful Moda fabric that I love so much...frays like there's no tomorrow!

I can only imagine how I'd have felt after this quilt was put together to find that out! So...mental note...NO 1/8 inch seams...make sure they're all a 1/4!

Hannah and I are having some issues. She needs a new needle, and the Schmetz that I have don't fit her. The needle that she has is way smaller than the newer needles. I'll have to research a bit and find out what to buy for her. There's also an issue with making her sew in a forward motion. I'm positive that's my fault and not hers...but I was actually pleading with her to PLEASE straighten up and sew right! Good thing she's forgiving...I'd probably have a needle hole in my fingernail if she wasn't! I hope I didn't hurt her feelings too badly with the name or two that I uttered when she didn't automatically do things the way I thought they should be done... ;)

I feel a bit more confident now that this block is done, even with it's imperfections. I at first thought I was going to have to remake it, since I couldn't get the corners to line up. And then I thought, if I follow through, and make a quilt with over 5000 pieces of fabric, WHO is going to notice that this block in particular has a few "junction" issues? Well... *I* will, and William will...just because that's the kind of guy he is...but I seriously doubt that too many will even care! I've already decided that if anyone DOES look at K-9 and says something to the effect of, "Oh LOOK!! Not all the corners match!!! How SHAMEFUL!!" then I'll simply fold the quilt up and put it some dark corner of the closet.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Making Plans and Gathering

Well, I've sorted and added links so that you can see the "real" quilt that was made by Jane A Stickle...and there's a link too, to her genealogy. I love history, and the history involved in this quilt fasinates me...I so wish we knew more about her and her life!

We know that she completed the quilt in 1863. The Civil War was going strong. When tho, did she start the quilt? I haven't seen where anyone knows that answer. Considering that it's a slow build for modern quilters that have all of the benefits of today's technology, and the blocks are already designed for them, I can only imagine that Jane took more than a couple of years to piece those 5602 pieces of fabric together, quilt the top, and bind those scallops (a challenge in itself!).

For my own "Journey with Dear Jane", I'm planning to use the reproduction fabrics that represent the Civil War era, fabrics that Jane herself would have included in her masterpiece. I don't plan to use Jane's color placement, and I may not use Jane's block placement. My reasoning? It's MY quilt, not Jane's. I'm going to make it as "Dear Jane" author and artist Brenda Papadakis says, "In the style of Jane".

My method of sewing? Hannah is going to help me. Hannah is a gift from my loving husband, who knew I wanted her to come "live" with us.

Meet Hannah Elizabeth!

Hannah was born in the early 1900's.  She's a Singer W9, made sometime between 1906 and 1912.  Isn't she beautiful? Yes...I named my treadle sewing machine. No biggie...I named my much newer Janome machine too...her name is "Raquel" because I think she's beautiful and kind of sexy! :) Anyway....Hannah is all oiled up and ready to make this journey with me. I'm thrilled with the idea of using a machine to piece the quilt that is only about 16 years younger than Jane's quilt.

I've done my first block. Three times, as a matter of fact! This relatively simple block nearly kicked my butt! It's not been squared yet...I'll do that later....and the photo makes it look worse than it is...angle of the photo and all that. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) Jane's block like this one was an orange or red with white. Since I'm using what I have, and I happened to have some Civil War charm squares, mine has more colors. I'm happy with it. As I said before, this is MY quilt, not Jane's....nor do I want it to be "Jane's" Beautiful? No...not really. I do think it will add interest in a very busy quilt tho. And I may change my mind and remake it. Who knows what path this venture of mine will take?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Incredible Jane...

I first heard of "Dear Jane" quilts when I joined a quilting chat website. (You simply HAVE to visit there if you're interested at all in quilting! Wonderful people, more help than you know what to do with, did I mention wonderful people?)

Anyway..I digress. I had to find out what a "Dear Jane Quilt" was. So off to Google I went, not wanting to look dumb in front of my new found friends. (They would not have thought me dumb for asking, but well...~shrug~) I find out that Dear Jane is a quilt that was made by what I would consider to be an artist of the first rank. Not that modern quilters aren't also artists of the first rank...I could never do what some of them do. But Jane A. Stickle? That woman had to be something else! How I wish I could sit with her and learn by her side!

Check out the photos on the official Dear Jane website! This quilt is comprised of 225 blocks. The squares are four and a half inches across. The triangles are eight inches. Might seem large to a non-quilter, but consider that some of the pieces in that quilt finish at 3/8 of an inch across! Then imagine trying to handle a piece of fabric that small! "Our" Jane did it without the benefit of brand new fabrics, a sewing machine, or any of our other more modern tools. I'm positive that the quilt that contains so many tiny scraps was most likely pieced together with a needle and thread by hand...and quilted that way too.