Discover the Dear Jane Quilt

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Quilting | Comments


Most, if not all, quilters have heard of the legendary Dear Jane Quilt. Jane A. Stickle, who was born on April 8, 1817 in Vermont, is the creator. Jane made the quilt during the Civil War, completing it in 1863. It is a sampler quilt, comprised of 169 square 5” blocks, each one different. There are also 4 pieced corner triangles, 52 pieced border triangles, and a unique scalloped border. Altogether, there are an astounding total of 5,602 pieces in this quilt! The Jane Stickle Quilt is a well known and much loved masterpiece.

dear jane quilt

Photo via Dear Jane website

In 1996, Brenda Manges Papadakis published a book called Dear Jane: The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt. Thanks to Brenda and her informative book, quilters around the world have been able to recreate their own unique versions of the beloved Jane Stickle quilt.

How did this Dear Jane book come about? After seeing the quilt for the first time in a book called Plain and Fancy by Donna Bister and Richard Cleveland, the author Brenda Manges Papadakis fell in love. She was completely intrigued by the quilt. The math teacher in her was intrigued by the geometric shapes, while the artist in her was drawn to the unique composition and design. She was fascinated by the blocks. Though Brenda was very familiar and well versed in so many different quilt blocks, there were quite a few included that she didn’t even recognize. The creation of her own Dear Jane quilt (or Baby Jane, as she fondly calls it) began after a friend challenged her to draft the quilt blocks for herself. She did this using the photograph from the Plain and Fancy book as well as other photos people had taken of it. She could only draft so many blocks this way, so she put in a request to visit the quilt in person at the Bennington Museum in Vermont. Brenda’s request was granted, and she spent several days learning the history of Jane Stickle and tracing her quilt blocks.

The result of Brenda’s fascination and utter devotion is a helpful book that has allowed so many quilters to create their own version of the Jane Stickle quilt. To begin making your own Baby Jane, start with her book, which can be found here. Be sure to visit Brenda’s website to find all kinds of valuable tips and resources.

The original Jane Stickle Quilt can be found in the Bennington Museum in Vermont, and people from all around the world travel to visit it. It is on display for a limited amount of time every year in order to preserve the quality of the quilt and protect it from sun damage. This year is marks the 150th anniversary of the creation of this quilt, and it can be seen at the museum from August 31 through October 14. Read more about it here!

Get the skills you need to create the Dear Jane Quilt with Craftsy’s online class Precision Piecing with Norah McMeeking.

In case you missed it, get involved in the discussion around the merits of hand piecing versus using a machine. Then come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow for a behind the scene peek at The Quilt Studio, an inspirational quilting retailer in Omaha.

Comments

  1. Kathleen Gapud says:

    Any chance that Craftsy will ever ever offer a “Dear Jane” class? Pretty please!!!!!!

    1. Sue says:

      Oh, I think I would take that one!!!

  2. azurjaunerouge says:

    I have visited the museum and seen the quilt for myself. It is astonishing and in very good condition. We also visited Jane’s grave and left her a little gift of fiber. I’d be so proud to see a class on this very beloved quilt taught here.

  3. Gabriella Pettit says:

    I would buy a Craftsy Dear Jane class in a second! Oh, do make it happen!

  4. Velia Lauerman says:

    About 20 people M &F meet at VFW, Belleville, Michigan USA house on Bemis Rd. FirstThursday ALL day Sewing. SherryJones brings Her DearJane to hand piece. Others watch and do Their thing. This June RuthAnn Zaroff will also show Her DearJane pieces. Sew thrilling. Thanks Jane & Brenda. This project could Be lifeLong . Therapeutic excersize . I’m in LOVE !

  5. Wanette says:

    Would love a online class for Dear Jane, I have the book and my fabric just so hard to get started. Wait a minute, I did start, just got overwhelmed, put it down and never picked it back up.
    Class please.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I am hoping to start my Dear Jane this summer as a completely hand pieced project. Will give me something to do during long car rides and summer trips!! A class with how to hand piece the most difficult blocks would be great!!

  7. Majken Sellar says:

    I would be very interested in a Craftsy class on Dear Jane. I have started it as well and would like to complete this in my lifetime. Well Craftsy??????

  8. Terri Bushnell says:

    We have just started a Dear Jane quilt group here in Abu Dhabi, UAE and it’s amazing how many ladies we have and how quickly we have all started to work on this challenging quilt. Lots of different techniques to learn and the blog site is especially important to give you the best way to complete the block with the least amount of stress about the method. Craftsy should entertain a class for DJ – it would be a hit!

  9. Leila says:

    I am just beginning to gather my fabrics for this challenge. I would love to belong to a group working on such a quilt. I was wondering how I would manage as I do not have any local Janiacs to rely on for help. Please consider this . I feel like its a two to three year project and that’s only if other things don’t get in the way

  10. Elaine Swatniki says:

    We have a Dear Jane Clinic in Ramona, CA at the Crazy 9 Patch the 3rd Sat. of the month. Susan Axelrod is our teacher and I have to say, my quilting skills have soared taking this class and making this quilt. I have finished almost 40 blocks and honestly could not have done it on my own. It is an amazing quilt and I am in awe of Jane, making it herself without a class, a book or software to help her through-what a woman!

  11. Nancy Reilly says:

    I’ve been wanting to start a Dear Jane quilt too…………pretty please!

  12. Maetha Sturgill says:

    I too have been fascinated with the Dear Jane quilt. I have all the material and started several blocks but laid it aside. I would love a Dear Jane class.

  13. Jane says:

    I’m in the process of sorting my fabric to start my Jane. I just finished a king size Cathedral Window, and Yes, I’ve lost my mind!

  14. Sandi says:

    I would love to see a class for the Dear Jane quilt. What a pleasure and treasure that would be!

  15. okie2tx says:

    Oh I would love to see a Dear Jane class offered! Sign me up.