Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Dear Jane Color Scheme

We've been working on making blocks for the Dear Jane quilt in my Facebook group. I've been trying to post a little bit about the background of the quilt each Friday. Last week we focused on color schemes and I mentioned that Jane Stickle did not use colors at random when she made her quilt. When you see the quilt in person you're immediately struck by the  fact that it is so well preserved and the fabrics are so vibrant. It's actually pretty colorful considering it's over 160 years old!


If you look at the photo of the original quilt, you might notice that the blocks are laid out in colored rows in what is called a Trip Around the World (TATW) motif. It’s a way of arranging your blocks made from specific colors so that they radiate outward from the center almost in a diamond pattern. Can you see it? I'm not a quilt historian so I don't know how popular this was when Jane was making her quilt. I do know they were especially popular later in the nineteenth century. But it seems Jane was always ahead of her time.

 At the center of Jane's quilt is a green block, surrounded by a row of 4 yellow blocks, then purple, red, pink blocks. The next row looks purple, although it’s likely that some of the fabrics may have faded to brown over the years. Last is a row of red with a few oranges. The rest of the blocks surrounding them are mostly browns, mixed with a few blue blocks. The four corner blocks are green. The top right block is more of a bluish green. The four corner triangles (kites) are pink (one is rather faded).

My rough coloring so you can see the TATW/Trip Around the World motif. There's a chart to download in the group files so you can cross off the blocks you've finished to keep track of your progress.

I used a blue block for my center instead of green because I love blue more than green and wasn’t even thinking about using the same colors as Jane did. When I did learn about the rows of colors it sounded cool but I had already made more than a few blocks. I wish I had followed her colors a little more closely. I got as far as the yellow blocks and quit after arranging the pink blocks for my TATW. I did do the green corners and the pink corner kites (triangles). One of my corner blocks (A-13, far right, top) was made in pink before I decided to attempt the four green corners so I switched it up with the block next to it in Row A which I had already made in green. I decided to live with the mistake instead of remaking both blocks. I knew someone with an eagle eye would notice someday that the top row was out of order so I am 'fessing up now!  Improvise, improvise. 


My quilt top last year before I added the triangle borders. I need to find some space to hang it before I take a better picture.  The pink and yellow blocks stand out a bit and you can see a little of the TATW scheme that Jane used. 

If you're sewing along in my group, remember that this is your quilt and you can make it any way you like. I’m only giving this information for those who might want to reproduce Jane's quilt closely. It's fun to think about how organized she was, playing around with her fabrics. 

The Bennington Museum website has some nice photos of the Jane Stickle quilt.

Whatever colors or style of fabric you choose, here’s a tip: Make sure you LOVE the fabrics you pick. For me, this was a good opportunity to dig deep into my stash and find prints or favorite scraps of prints I loved and was saving for "something special." THIS quilt is the Something Special so go ahead and cut into some of those fabrics you’re hoarding. You won’t be sorry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see the color arrangement now, how interesting.
With the help of your Facebook page I have put my notebook together, organized squares, and I was just get to work.