Friday, November 20, 2009

The Other Quilt Show with THAT Quilt

In the last post I talked about attending a quilt show that featured mostly contemporary quilts and other fiber arts. The next day I attended another show, put on by the Northwest Suburban Quilters Guild of Illinois, that was as different from that one as could be.

Pieceful Gathering Quilt Shop was vending at this show and Carrie, the owner, is always so nice about displaying my books and quilts at her booth. She even has a whole page on her website devoted to kits for quilts from my books, the "Kathleen Tracy Doll Quilts" page, LOL. You can find kits for both of the quilts I show below at her online store.

Here's her version of my little Lincoln's Platform quilt from Remembering Adelia. I like the way it turned out and I think I actually like HER border better than mine.

This is the Calico Comfort nine-patch quilt from the same book.

I met  Dorothy  from Ewe-nique creations and admired her lovely wool Block-of-the-Month Crazy Quilt. I've never been a crazy quilt fan, but lately some have been thrown my way, and you know what? I actually like them now.

This is the little crazy quilt I made that's in my book American Doll Quilts:

Most of the quilts at the show were very traditional and I loved the ones made with reproduction fabrics from the 19th century.

Madelyn, from my SmallQuiltTalk group, made this sampler and the little one below it:

But this is the quilt that stopped everyone in their tracks. A "Dear Jane" quilt made by Shar Snellman:

If you're at all interested in quilt history or quilts made during the Civil War, you probably have heard of the Dear Jane quilt from 1863 made by one Jane Stickle. It is actually dated and signed: In War Time 1863 Pieces 5602 Jane A. Stickle. There are 225 different blocks and it's really an incredible quilt. It's assumed that Jane made the quilt with so many little pieces to occupy herself during the Civil War and, like many women with loved ones in the war, to take her mind off of the anxieties and worries she may have been experiencing. Here's the original, which resides in the Bennington Museum in Vermont:


Brenda Papadakis spent five years researching and documenting Jane Stickle's quilt. In her book, Dear Jane, she tried to reproduce each block as accurately as possible. There are Dear Jane enthusiasts all over the country and other parts of the world making Dear Jane quilts in all sorts of versions. Some try to reproduce Jane's quilt faithfully using the same colors and Civil War fabrics and some make the blocks using contemporary fabrics.

I can see why so many quilters are in love with this fabulous quilt. It's the ultimate sampler quilt, every block unique.  Making a quilt like this would be a BIG commitment, but then I could actually step back and say “Wow, I made this." I've been toying with the idea of starting one for quite awhile and seeing Shar's finished quilt motivated me again. I'm going to do it. Madelyn said it took her 10 years to finish her quilt--it's almost done. What else am I doing in the next 10 years?? If I make one block a week and stick to it . . . maybe it would take me 5 years at the earliest? More likely 15 . . . but that's ok. I'll just make it one of my lifetime goals.

Shar said it took her 4 years to make hers and I can't imagine the work she put into it. But look at that smile now that it's finished!

Right now I have to concentrate on finishing my next book, but after that, in the Spring and Summer, who knows? Can I do this? Am I nuts? Has anyone else finished one and do you have any advice for me? Stay tuned for my excellent quilting journey next year. Unless I chicken out.


Jocelyn said...

woo-hoo, much more my style! Love the quilts. Thanks for sharing them.

Karen said...

The Dear Jane is wonderful. I can see why it is a winner.

antique quilter said...

well I may just join you this is a quilt I have always wanted to make too!

Kathleen Tracy said...

Kathie, you go first and tell me all about it,
LOL. I have to wait until Spring or Summer before I actually begin.
After I posted that I started to get scared because I just ANNOUNCED that I was going to do it! Now I can't go back. I think it would be good for me to discipline myself to improve my paper piecing, hand piecing and applique skills (which are all pretty weak right now). How could anyone NOT become a better quilter after trying that quilt?

Shasta Matova said...

It is a beautiful quilt, and I have started mine a few years ago. There are many many people who have finished one, and so many of them have started another one, or done a Nearly Insane, Sylvia's Sampler, or something similar.I would recommend going to the website and reading all the tips, etc.

The things I didn't know before I started - Jane is using a trip around the world setting. Her colors go in a round. I didn't notice that up front, not that it is that important. The other thing is that the fabric measurement for the background in the book is wrong - people have said you need much more. I'm doing a scrappy background so that doesn't matter that much either.

I find that when I make one, I want to make another one, etc., so I can crank out several in a week. But when I stop, I tend to stop for a long time. I guess the lesson here is "just do it". A little bit a day goes a long way. Oh and I probably have bought enough fabric to make several of these quilts.

I started with the easy blocks and worked my way up to the harder ones. I also try to make similar ones at once. There is also this blog with directions:

Lori said...

I'm so happy to have found your blog! I loved piecing my DJ quilt but it is taking me years to hand quilt it! If you are a slow hand quilter, or just don't really enjoy it, I recommend sending it out to be hand quilted:)

Kathleen Tracy said...


Good for you! I love hand quilting and wish I were at the point where all I had to do was the quilting on it. I am going to hand piece as much of it as I can and many of the blocks will definitely be a challenge for me. Don't tell anyone but I already made my first DJ block the other day! I just couldn't wait to start--it really went together well and I know I'm going to learn a lot. Patience for one . . .

Barb said...

Hi Kathleen -
Thanks for the wonderful quilt photos - I'm originally from Illinois where I was a member of several guilds. This looks like it was a wonderful show - my kind of traditional quilts.

I keep trying not to start a Dear Jane. This version is really striking. Her rich colors are just great. Good luck with yours - you are in good company!

Annette said...

Hi, My name is Annette and I just bought the DJ software and have a great selection of Civil War Era fabrics BUT would like some suggestions. I really want a "scrappy" look and I am thinking that rather than using one fabric for the blocks backgrounds I will use lighter fabrics all different for the background so it doesn't look so "planned." What would anyone suggest about the sashing pieces? It is hard to see online. What about piece as you go verses waiting until the whole top is finished? I am open to any suggestions. Thank you, Annette

Kathleen Tracy said...

Annette - I am also making my DJ blocks with different background prints for a scrappy look. See some of my blocks -

I think I will use plain muslin for the sashing but think I will decide for sure when I get there!


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