I first saw Jane Stickle’s incredible quilt in 1988 while visiting Vermont. I was amazed (as is most everyone who has ever seen it) at its beauty and charm. Although I knew nothing about Jane Stickle at the time, I felt an instant connection with her as I studied the patterns and layout of this special quilt. So, as with most of my quiltmaking promises, I put off starting the monumental task of trying to draft this beauty. Then when Brenda Papadakis’ wonderful book “Dear Jane”, came out, I thought, wow, here’s my chance. But of course once again, I hesitated and the world exploded with Baby Jane’s everywhere. Not being one to jump on any bandwagon, I once again let my thoughts of making this quilt drift away.
Then, while visiting the infamous Pam Weeks (AKA potholder Pam) and Laura Lane (Collections Manager at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA) at Maine Quilts 2014 in July, she challenged us to make a Baby Jane in the potholder method. Both Pam and Laura were working on potholder blocks at the time and something came over me and I said yes!
I decided to make the blocks in the order in Brenda’s book for fear if I varied from the order, I would never finish them. I started on August 1st and I hope to have most of the 5” blocks (mine will measure 5” finished with binding) done by the end of the year and then I will work on the cone border pieces over the winter. I think the cone shape will be a bit of a challenge when whipping them together, but I’ll keep you posted.
Here are the two I am currently working on. I am trying to match the fabrics Jane used as close as I can. Each block has the same backing fabric as the front, so the back of this quilt will be interesting as well (as most potholder quilts are!).
As you can see by the photo, when I am hand quilting the blocks I baste the blocks to muslin to fit into my 14” hoop so that I don’t waste any of the backing fabric. And I re-use the muslin over and over.
I love the format of Brenda’s book and her sweet letters to Jane. I feel another strong connection to Brenda because of her wonderful letters to this special woman. Brenda did a fantastic job of drafting these blocks (from a photograph, I might add) but I have re-drafted many of the blocks to suit my way of quiltmaking. Mostly because I am lazy and would rather applique any day over piecing so, I have adapted many of the “pieced” blocks to accommodate my preference to applique.
I will try to update my progress here as often as I can. I don’t like to take too much time away from quilting!