Thursday, June 23, 2022

Fourth of July Mini Mystery Quilt

Summer's here! I love making little projects using my red, white and blue fabrics around this time of year. 

Gameboard quilt from my Prairie Children book.

Martha Washington Star quilt

I miss our yearly Patriotic Pincushion Parades. But, honestly, I now have so many bowl fillers and pincushions I don't know where to put them. 

I thought it was time for a Fourth of July Mini Mystery Quilt. Quilters -  grab some of your favorite red, white and blue scraps and join me in making a little patriotic quilt for the upcoming July 4th holiday. 

We'll be making a SMALL quilt (less than 12", depending upon your borders) in three parts. You'll find the first step of the pattern in my Facebook group files or on my website under the Fourth of July Mystery tab.  Step 2 will be posted on Friday June 24. Simple enough to get it done and ready for display by July 4.  Have fun! 

Some of you have asked me about my Patriotic Pincushions patterns from years past.  you'll find the pattern in my Etsy shopQuick and easy. 

                                         Patriotic Pincushions Pattern image 0           

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Dear Jane Journey


I completed the last Dear Jane triangle this past week. All fifty-six triangles are now finished and I'm getting ready to sew them to the body of the quilt. (This might take awhile, LOL.  I mean, honestly, it took me 12 years to get this far . . . . )  I'm glad I have this blog because showing my progress and "talking" about it to others helps motivate me. 


It's been a slow process for me throughout the years. But I've been fine with that. No pressure. I just kept plugging away. I finished putting all the blocks together with sashing this past winter. 

I love this quilt so much I framed a poster of it and hung it in my sewing room. I have to say -  it really has helped motivate me to keep going. (The Bennington Museum in Vermont sells the posters.)

For me, it was all about the journey and the learning. I learned so much making this quilt. Didn't know I could do reverse applique or paper piecing until I tried.  In 2010, I started one block, an easy one. Then another and another. With each one I completed it got a little more thrilling to see them pile up. I bought a special box to keep them in, near my desk. I printed out a list of all the numbered blocks and checked them off to keep track of my progress. The next few years were not exactly great for me and the quilt got set aside for awhile. When I did pick it up again, I challenged myself to make it to 20 blocks by a certain time. Then 35, 50. Checking them off the list one by one. I remember hitting 100 blocks. That was a milestone - almost halfway there. No turning back now. 


                  Sashing the blocks together took awhile. I picked it up, put it aside, picked it up and put it aside again for months. Then one day I picked it up and the third time it stuck.

My blocks are far from perfect. (I don't post pics of the bad ones, LOL.) Some blocks were easy, some more difficult. With some, I had to learn new skills. As I picked up some good piecing skills, the more challenging ones became easier for me. The early blocks leave something to be desired and eventually I redid a few here and there. I knew they would always bug me if I didn't. Lots more I would like to replace but, oh well . . . .

What a journey it's been. I can say now that I was never really sure if I would finish. I wanted to, but you know how that goes. I just persevered a little at a time because I loved that darn quilt so much. I kept the book and finished blocks out in my sewing room so I could be reminded of it all the time. When I had some time I made a block or two. Even when I took time away from it for months, I still managed to get back to it eventually. 

If you have a Dear Jane languishing around your sewing room, stuck in a closet or drawer, fear not - there's hope for you too. If you've thought of starting one but never did, there's more hope. Drag it out or buy the book and make a plan. Believe me, it will be worth every frustrating stitch. Everyone I know who's made one feels so proud of themselves and they deserve to feel that way. It's such an achievement. 

Make sure you take advantage of every website and tip available. Ask others how they did theirs. Maybe find a buddy to sew along with you. Look at Instagram or Pinterest for Dear Jane quilts to get motivated. One thing that helped me was purchasing the Dear Jane software by EQ, which was invaluable. With it I could print out the rotary-cutting instructions or paper piecing patterns for each block. If I had to rely on tracing the diagrams in the book I know I would have quit a long time ago.  It's still expensive though so the website That Quilt is one good resource for making the blocks. Lots of help there with each block if you find you're struggling. There's also an EPP version you can buy. Susan Gatewood has instructions for paper piecing the blocks and triangles. Once you get motivated, just take it block by block, one at a time, and they'll add up. Start with a few easy blocks and then throw in a challenging one. Doesn't have to be perfect. Jane's quilt sure is not and that's part of it's charm. 

New edition of the Dear Jane book. Same basic info as the original with yellow cover (out of print and very $$ now). Still does not give you the patterns, just line drawings for template and hand piecing.  The sample quilts are updated but all the rest of the original info is the same. On sale today!  

I feel like the hard part is done and now I get to play around with fabrics for setting the triangles together. Wish me luck! Thanks for listening!