Saturday, May 29, 2010

Home of the Brave Quilt Project

Memorial Day 2010

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave... while the land of the free is the home of the brave.    ~ from the national anthem of the United States of America, The Star-Spangled Banner, 5th stanza,  Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Throughout its history, the United States has remembered its military heroes in many ways, with plaques, parades, statues and memorials. The Home of the Brave Quilt Project was started to continue that proud tradition. We are a nationwide movement dedicated to honoring the fallen heroes of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq by making and presenting homemade quilts to their families. We want to show our gratitude for their service and provide a measure of comfort to their families with our quilts."

 The quilt is modeled on a Civil War Sanitary Commission Quilt, one of the five remaining quilts of its kind still in existence, which is now held by the Lincoln Memorial Shrine at the A. K. Smiley Library in Redlands, California. 

Above, we're showing three of the beautiful quilts made by Jean Loken, who is the Coordinator of the Minnesota Chapter of the Home of the Brave.  For information on the heroes who received the quilts, visit the Minnesota Fallen Heroes web pages.  To contribute to the project with a donation of money, material or time, visit the national project's home page.   Jean says that the project also relies on the occasional request from the families of our fallen to ask for a quilt: "Not all deaths of our service members occur on the battlefield, and when they don't, we often aren't aware of that."   To find a coordinator for your state, see the list of State Coordinators.

Credits and links:  The images are shown with the generous permission of Jean Loken.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Modern Linoleum" and the Quilters Connection

~Quilters Connection 33rd Annual Quilt Show
~June 4–6, 2010, Watertown, MA

~Modern Linoleum, 102 x 85, designed by Denise Konicek, machine quilted by Laurena McDermott

Quilters' Connection is a dynamic group of 400 quilters and quilt enthusiasts in the greater Boston area. The Quilters' Connection 33rd annual quilt show will be held Friday through Sunday, June 4–6, 2010, at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA. The exhibition of over 200 quilts, many of which are for sale, will include pieces ranging from classic to cutting edge. We're smitten with the 2010 opportunity quilt, Modern Linoleum, which will be raffled off on Sunday, June 6. For more details visit the quilt show webpage.

We love visiting the Quilters Connection website for its virtual quilt shows, with hundreds of images of quilts from previous shows: a treasure trove of quilt inspiration. For example, here is Sunset-Moonrise, the 2006 raffle quilt, which is a doublesided quilt designed by Mike McNamara and Sylvia Einstein (how clever is that)!

For more information on Sunset-Moonrise, click here. Also see the links to on-line galleries on the quilt show page. Images were provided with the generous permission of the Quilters Connection.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hawaiian Quilts

Scented with the the fragrance of sugar cane and tropical flowers, the trade winds have blown in an exotic collection of Hawaiian quilts. Come along with us on an island adventure !

Long ago, the Hawaiians learned to make their own cloth, called "tapa" by pounding Mulberry tree bark and fibers tightly together. They colored it with natural dyes from their environment and sewed it into bed coverings, using thin, twisted vines and needles made from fish or bird bones.

When the 19th century missionaries brought cotton to the Hawaiians, they transferred their skills onto cloth, using large pieces of fabric, instead of small patchwork squares. Today, Hawaiian quilts are still made in the wholecloth style, with vibrant curved patterns painstakingly hand-appliqued with thousands of tiny stitches. The applique fabric is usually folded into fourths, then cut into intricate shapes, as one would cut snowflakes or conjoined dolls from paper.

Royal Symbols With Border, by Deborah Kakalia

Every June 11, Hawaii celebrates King Kamehameha Day, in commemoration of the esteemed 19th century monarch who united the islands under one government. Here is a quilt by famed artist Deborah Kakalia, which honors past Hawaiian Royalty. There are four crowns which pay tribute to the monarchy, along with four "kahili", the feathered scepters or staff carried by the kings and queens as they walked in procession. This is a regal and elegant quilt, which the artist presented as a gift to The Bishop Museum in Honolulu

Nanahonua (Angel's Trumpet Quilt), by Deborah Kakalia

Another magnificent work of art from Deborah Kakalia is her Nanahonua quilt, or Angel's Trumpet quilt. The Angel's Trumpet tree produces large, colorful, bell-shaped flowers, reminiscent of celestial trumpets. Nanahonua means "earth-gazing", an apt name since the Hawaiians learned to smoke the Angel's Trumpet leaves as hallucinogens. However, one would have to be perfectly sober to create a quilt this intricate and precise, which almost looks like a beautiful lace handkerchief.

For Kulaniakea, by Nalani Goard

Nalani Goard, who is the granddaughter of Deborah Kakalia, has designed and constructed many lovely quilts, so this fabulous talent obviously runs in the family. Here is a quilt that Nalani created for her brother, Kulaniakea. She writes that he wanted a design of pineapples and guava for hospitality and strength. Nalani's work is an excellent example of large, leafy quilt patterns which reflect the lush vegetation of Hawaii.  Nalani also offers design instruction, quilt kits, and finished quilts at her Hawaiian Quilting website.

Na Ulu O' Hawaii (Breadfruit Quilt), by Nancy Lee Chong, at Pacific Rim Quilt Company

From the Pacifc Rim Quilt Company website comes the pattern for the esteemed and venerable breadfruit. The breadfruit tree is a symbol of abundance and an ancient legend tells us that those who make Ulu their first quilt will always enjoy prosperity. Above, the round shapes of the breadfruit form a "ring of plenty" around the star created by the intersecting branches of the tree. PRQC offers a wide variety of Hawaiian quilt patterns, kits, fabrics, videos, and notions.

Breadfruit(Ulu), Wall Quilt, 18 x 18

Tiki Master, which sells all things Hawaiian, recently featured this arresting dark green and white wall hanging of the breadfruit pattern. The rounded breadfruit here are easily seen here at the base of the outer leaves of the tree. It is said that one day in the 19th century, some Hawaiian quilters were outside, working on pieced patchwork, when one of them noticed that the sun behind a breadfruit tree was casting a fascinating shadow on the grass. The shadow of the breadfruit tree interested them so much more than patchwork, that they immediately went to work on creating a wholecloth image of that shadow. Thus, the first truly Hawaiian quilt was born.

Hawaiian Applique 2008 by Kerry Marksbury

Here's a quilt which is as lushly green and refreshing as a Kauai rainforest. This four block quilt is a variation on the traditional Hawaiian wholecloth quilt. Kerry Marksbury has created a fabulous quilt with blocks depicting the auspicious Ulu, dignified sea turtles, pineapple plants, and tropical blossoms, possibly Hibiscus. The lighter green scalloped middle border provides eye-catching detail to the blue/green batik outer border and block motifs. Notice the innermost aqua border, which provides a fanciful grasslike fringe effect to complement the emphasis on flora and fauna. For more fascinating quilts, please see Kerry's Quilting.

Lava Flow by Cydney Brooks

Using custom dyed Ultra-Sateen fabric from Jeanette Viviano at Jeanette's Fabric to Dye For, Cydney Brooks creates a tribute to another of Hawaii's natural wonders, the volcanoes of the Big Island. Jeanette and Cydney collaborated on the fabric colors, and Janet Fogg quilted this vibrantly colorful work.  The orange and gold glowing embers and flickering flames of the center medallion give rise to the swirling, meandering trails of lava as they make their way down the mountainside to the ocean. This is an exquisite use of contrasting colors, as the orange applique seems to pulsate with movement against the serene aqua background.

Hibiscus Fire by Carol Kamaile

A gorgeous quilt inspired by the islands' beloved Hisbiscus flowers is Carol Kamaile's "Hibiscus Fire". Carol is a well known quilt artist, whose creations are current on display at the San Jose, California, Museum of Quilts and Textiles, through August 10, 2010. Native to Hawaii, the hibiscus plant comprises thousands of varieties, in all flower colors from delicate white, through bright pink, pastel pink, coral, yellow, and red. It is interesting that Carol has made the center of her medallion golden yellow, as the yellow Hibiscus is the State Flower of Hawaii.

Hawaiian Yams by Hawaiian Style Quilts

Allen and Ipo Camara are the owners of Hawaiian Style Quilts, which provides magnificent custom quilts, tailor made to the customer's request. On this elegant gray and white large bedspread, with its artful matching accent pillows, you can see a clear example of the traditional outline stitching done on Hawaiian quilts. The quilting pattern carefully follows the outline of the applique shapes, starting out as parallel lines and turning into concentric rings, until all the background is filled up. Also known as "echo quilting", outline stitching helps give Hawaiian quilts their lively sense of motion and energy.

Books:  For more fascinating patterns, ideas, and instructions, please see the following books: Hawaiian Applique by Vicky Fleming, or Hawaiian Quilting: Instructions and Full Size Patterns for 20 Blocks, by Elizabeth Root.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Treasures of the Gulf States

~GSQA 13th Biennial Quilt Show
~June 18 - 20, 2010~

We love "Treasures of the Gulf States", which is the gorgeous opportunity quilt made by members of the Gulf State Quilters Association in conjunction with their upcoming quilt show. The center medallion is a stately oak tree, representing the strength and determination of the residents after weathering Hurricane Katrina. The tree is surrounded by radiant suns made of New York Beauty stars (and remember, the sun IS a star). State birds and flowers are beautifully appliqued in the corners, by quilters representing each of the Gulf States in the guild: camellia and yellowhammer (Joan Knight, Alabama); orange blossom and mockingbird (Ann Root, Florida); magnolia and pelican (Claire Mehalik, Louisiana); and magnolia and mockingbird (Judy Spiers, Mississippi). The remaining 66 blocks were hand appliqued, pieced or paper pieced by 38 different guild members. Click on the image to see the fantastic details (can you find the boy peeking from behind the tree, and the tree swing hanging from it?)

Don't miss the chance to win this quilt... it is indeed a treasure! The quilt has an appraised value of $4350.00, and the lucky winner will receive the documentation from a certified quilt appraiser, along with photos for insurance purposes. Print these raffle tickets and send completed tickets with check to: Ilaine Hartman, 4617 Henican Place, Metairie, LA 70003. And, if you're going to be in LA the weekend of June 18-20, don't miss this show (that's LA as in Louisiana, folks, not L.A. as in Los Angeles.) The show location is Northshore Harbor Center, Slidell, LA.

Credits and links: The quilt was designed by Jane Ramee, Judy Holley and Sherry Herringshaw. Judy Holley constructed the central oak tree. The quilt was long-arm machine quilted by Joan Knight (Pratville, AL). The photo is by Ilaine Hartman and is shown with generous permission. For complete information on the guild, visit their home page.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FantaSea of Quilts

~June 5-6, 2010
~Beach Cities Quilters Guild, Southern California

June is nearly upon us, along with several outstanding quilt shows (and opportunity quilts!) Today we're featuring the annual show of the Beach Cities Quilters Guild in Southern Orange County, California. The Beach Cities Quilters are known for their outstanding applique work, as evidenced by "FantaSea of Beauty", below. This magnificent opportunity quilt was designed by Sheryl Smith-Bailey and machine pieced, hand appliqued, and hand quilted by guild members.

Notice the intricate detail on the floral bouquets, and the perfect white-on-red sashing between the blocks (click on the image for an even larger view). And, you can participate in the raffle - and perhaps win this masterpiece - even if you can't attend the show. What an opportunity! Raffle tickets are only $1 each, or 6 for $5 (which is less than the cost of a fancy cup of coffee). It's easy: contact Elaine Pappas-Puckett at 949-831-1072 and she will give you the address to mail a check. The quilt will be awarded Sunday, June 6, 2010, at 3 pm. For complete details on the FantaSea of Quilts show, visit the show website.

Image credits: Thanks go to the Beach Cities Quilters Guild for the photos, and for the inspiration.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Opportunity quilt!

~West Virginia Quilters, Inc.

We're excited about this glorious 1930's style Round Robin quilt. The quilt will be proudly exhibited - and quilted by hand - during the West Virginia Quilters Quilt Festival, June 24-26, in Summersville, WV. The design and piecing of this beauty was done by five different guilds from around the state. The center medallion features a feathered star, with a LeMoyne star in the middle. The feathered star is surrounded by four borders: delectable mountains, with maple leaf motifs; appliqued flowers and vines; half Dresden plates, with sunny yellow centers; and double log cabin blocks, set on point. The rounded shapes of the Dresden plates echo the curves of the leafy vines. The colorful prints, which are set against a white background, help to create a vibrant design. The entire quilt, which will be approximately 93" square when finished, will be hand quilted during the Festival. And if you can't attend the show, you can still participate in the raffle!

Why we love quilt raffles

1) The odds of winning a quilt are 7,000 times better than the odds of winning a lotto jackpot.*
2) 6 raffle tickets cost less than one coffee drink.**
3) The purchase of raffle tickets helps support a fellow quilting guild.
4) Wouldn't it be fun to win?

To purchase a ticket ($1.00 each or 6 for $5.00) send a check or money order payable to WV Quilters, along with your contact information, to:
•Cathy Sowa
•HC 69 Box 11A
•Frametown, WV 26623-9302

* The odds of winning a lottery jackpot are 1 in 14 million. The odds of winning a quilt are 1 in 2000, if 2000 raffle tickets are sold. Therefore, the relative odds of winning a quilt vs. winning a jackpot are: 1/2000 divided by 1/14,000,000 = 7,000-to-one. The odds of winning the quilt will vary with the number of raffle tickets that are sold, and the number you purchase!
** The price of a triple grande soy vanilla latte is now $6.25. See the coffee story here.

Credits: Credits and thanks to the West Virginia Quilters for the inspiration, the photo, and for their generous assistance. For more information on the guild, visit the WV Quilters website.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life is like a cup of tea

"A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Teapots make delightful collectibles. Plus, teapot quilts remind us of the joys of tea parties, tea ceremonies, and tea for two. We've been collecting tea-themed quilts and have been dying to share them with you. As they say, life is like a cup of tea... it's better when shared with friends!

China, 50 x 50, by Laurel Anderson, at Whisper Color

The "China" quilt by Laurel Anderson displays a complete tea set in Delft blues, surrounding a blue floral platter. Laurel explains that the quilt was made in honor of her grandmother, Charlotte, who loved beautiful things. The quilt is made on paper foundations except for the hand appliqued plate and platter.

TeaTime Floral III, by Holly Holderman, at LakeHouse Dry Goods

TeaTime Floral III is one of Holly Holderman's glorious designs; it has teacups in pale blue or ivory, hydrangeas, roses, and a songbird with speckled egg. The pattern for the Star Maker quilt, above, can be downloaded at the LakeHouse project page.

Cupsey Turvey, 45 x 56, by Karen Brow, at Java House Quilts

Can a quilt be both beautiful and whimsical, at the same time? If the quilt is "Cupsey Turvey", then the answer is 'yes'.  All fourteen cups are dancing, sliding and tumbling around the quilt, and some are even upside down! The cups are flanked by tossed spoons and the occasional flying teabag. "Cupsey Turvey" reminds us of this proverb: "A wise husband will buy his wife fine china, so she won't trust him to wash the dishes."

Tea With The Empress, 40 x 40, by the owners and staff of Always Quilting

We love "Tea with the Empress", above, which features 16 shapely teapots from Kay Mackenzie's bestselling and definitive book, Teapots 2 to Applique. The teapots are rendered in peacock feathers, lotus flowers and Japanese maple leaves in jewel tones of teal, purple, and garnet.  You can see the original quilt and read about the teapots at Kay Mackenzie's website, here.

Corner Tea Shop, 32.5 x 28.5, by Connie Cerdena at Jenny Creek Designs

Connie Cerdena's classic and classy "High Tea" designs are inspired by her own collection of teapots; she began collecting at age 15. "Corner Tea Shop", above, replicates the cheery windows of an English tea shop, with its chintzware-like background and checkered tablecloth... notice the steam rising from the spout of the teapot! For more inspiration, see High Tea, Sweet Violet Tea, and Tea with the Earl. All of the patterns are available at Jenny Creek Designs.

Teapots, as seen in Royal Dutch Tea, by Liz Schwartz and Stephen Seifert at eQuilt Patterns

If applique is not your cup of tea... (get it?) ...then you'll love this versatile collection of six different teapots designed by Liz Schwartz and Stephen Seifert. Use one, or mix and match them to create a teapot quilt with your own fabric stash.

Full Bloom Collection, and Garden Tea Party quilt, by Bari J™

We're smitten with the "Garden Tea Party" quilt, above, which has a border decorated with collaged teapots and flowers from Bari J's earlier fabric line.  The pattern is free at Bari J Online.

Dancin' Teapots II quilt by Virginia Anderson for In The Beginning Fabrics

"Dancin' Teapots II", above, is one of our all-time favorite teapot quilts. It won a blue ribbon in the small wall quilts category at the 2006 AQS show.  For a downloadable foundation piecing pattern, click here. Dancin' Teapots II has inspired many quilters... see the brightly colored Funky Teapot quilt with its piano keys border.

Oriental Teapot, 15 x 20, by Verona Flint and Kay Mackenzie; and Delicious Tea, 24 x 10, by Kay Mackenzie

"Oriental Teapot" reminds us of a Japanese tea house, with its hand-appliqued batik teapot, Asian-inspired fabric and decorative quilting stitches. To read about the quilt on Kay's site, click here and scroll down the page.

"Delicious Tea" features adorable apple teapots surrounded by apple fabric; it can be seen in Kay's quilt gallery. The teapots are based on the 2008 book, Teapots 2 to Applique. Kay also maintains a comprehensive site called All About Applique which is loaded with tips and tutorials.

Little Teapots by The Cloth Shop

The whimsical Little Teapots quilt, above, was an original Cloth Shop design that uses white and black fabrics for the background and lattice, and wonderful hand dyed Bali Batiks for the appliques. Teapots are shaped like a beehive, a house, and a strawberry, among others, and the teapots are surrounded by stacked teacups and little cupcakes !  A wool applique kit may be found at Out Of Hand.

Image credits and links: Quilt images are shown with the kind permission of the artists.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crazy about Jane

We're talking about Dear Jane®, that is... the civil war-era quilt, made by Jane A. Blakely Stickle in 1863. Jane's quilt had received scant attention until it was 'discovered' 18 years ago by Brenda Papadakis. Brenda spent over 5 years documenting and drafting all 225 blocks (169 squares, 52 triangles, and 4 corners - do the math!) and writing a book about Jane and her quilt. Since then, the book has sold over 100,000 copies and inspired legions of "Janiacs" who have taken the plunge.

Let's put it this way: if they held an Olympics for quilting, Dear Jane® would be the main event. "The Quilt", as it is sometimes called, has inspired such humorous descriptions as "Dear Jane's a Pain", "No Pain - No Jane", "My Insanity", and - somewhat tersely - "That Quilt" (one can imagine that an expletive has been deleted!) On the other hand, the quilt is truly fascinating: each little 4.5" block is a work of art, and the finished quilts we're showing today are breathtaking. If we were handing out the medals, they'd all be gold!

The Quilt, by Jane A. Blakely Stickle

The photo is by Ken Burris, Shelburne, Vermont, and is courtesy of the Bennington Museum and the Vermont Quilt Festival. This is the quilt documented by Brenda Papadakis in her bestselling book, entitled Dear Jane®".

Baby Dear Jane, by Bernadette Camus, at France Patchwork 77

Some of the prettiest 'Dear Jane' quilts we’ve seen come from France, and this beautiful Baby Jane is an example. (In Dear Jane® lingo, all quilts inspired by the Jane A. Stickle quilt are considered to be Baby Janes.) The blocks that create the white “X” design have pieces in the palest blues and grays, providing a focal point and a lovely contrast for the rest of the quilt. The surrounding blocks all have a sky blue background and are rendered in shades of blue, gray, and contrasting prints. The border has a dark blue background, which highlights the triangular shapes of the border blocks and ties in the darker pieces in the quilt. We’re pleased to be able to show this quilt, with the courtesy of Bernadette Camus and Délégation France Patchwork 77 (Marne et Seine). To read about this quilting guild, visit France Patchwork 77 and see their Baby Jane page, here.

No Pain - No Jane, by Cynthia Garcia, at Kwilty As Charged

This fabulous quilt by Cindy Garcia was made with 222 different 1930’s reproduction fabrics, some of which Cindy and her daughter collected together. The black sashing is done in a reproduction print, and the entire quilt is surrounded by a scalloped edge which emphasizes the triangle shapes of the border blocks. The four corners of the quilt are done in lavender and apricot, creating a secondary pattern reminiscent of flowers in bloom.

Detail View of "No Pain, No Jane" by Cynthia Garcia

Cindy Garcia began the quilt on March 31, 2006, and finished it in record time, exactly one year later. The quilt has a total of 5,584 pieces. She says: “It was a daunting task and sometimes difficult when my hands would ache, so I titled it, 'No Pain, no Jane'.” The quilt was awarded a first place ribbon at the 2008 Indiana Heritage Quilt Show in Bloomington, Indiana, a first place at the 2008 National Quilt Association Show in Columbus, Ohio, and 3 ribbons at the 2008 Wisconsin State Fair, including first place in the domestic machine quilting category. For the full story of her Dear Jane quilt, click here; for more information about Cindy Garcia, visit her site at Kwilty As Charged.  (note added 12-28-2010:  this website is now 'parked' and is no longer active.   Cynthia's new site is Cynthia Garcia Quilts).

In the Heat of the Day, by Marie-Suzanne Charlot, at au-fil-de-l-autre

This Baby Jane is simply spectacular with its sunny colors, which reflect the name: "In the Heat of the Day." Marie-Suzanne Charlot decided to work with reds and yellows, "to keep warm in my head!" The quilt is made in cottons and silks, and Marie-Suzanne introduced prints, stripes and florals in order to enhance and magnify the design of each block. We love the distinctive fabrics and charming prints, as shown below.

The blocks shown above are F9, G7, H8, and G8 (in 'Dear Jane' parlance, blocks are designated by row (from A-M) and column (from 1-13)). The F9 block which Marie-Suzanne calls "le poule" (the hen) is a motif that is both cheerful and quintessentially French; note the colorful feathers, which "dance" around the hen and rooster. The G8 block, which is a star ("le etoile") is made of silk from Lyon, the French capital of silk. The detail photos also show the tiny pieces, especially in blocks H8 and G7, and the beautiful hand quilting done by Marie-Suzanne Charlot. She says that the quilt was a true challenge for her. Visit her Dear Jane page here, and her home page here, and note her byline: "Crazy, je le suis!" (spoken like a true Janiac!)

My Dear Jane (aka “Insanity”), by Karen Goad, at Karen’s Quilting

Karen Goad hand-pieced and hand-quilted this beautiful heirloom, which is made of 4,928 pieces of fabric. No two blocks have the same fabric! All the blocks are made from scraps, in all colors of the rainbow, giving the quilt a gem-like quality. Karen Goad estimates that the quilt took 645 hours and 30 minutes of work, spread over 4 years and 9 months. She says that she did not aim for perfection (but you could've fooled us; see the immaculate hand quilting of the corners, below.) For the full story, visit Karen’s Quilting.

2nd Dear Jane, aka “Insanity Revisited”, by Karen Goad, at Karen’s Quilting

Not content with one round of “Insanity”, Karen Goad is in the midst of a second brilliant Dear Jane quilt which she calls “Insanity Revisited”. The first five rows, which are already stunning, are shown above. The ruby red batik is called “Princess Mariah”, and the light color batik is called “buttercream”. Just like the first quilt, this one is all hand pieced. Karen explains that the second quilt is about 50 hours faster in terms of actual labor, but is slower in terms of months. To see the current progress of the quilt, with 9 rows completed, click here.

Dear Jane(s), by Tutu Haynes-Smart, as seen at Marula Imports

These two-color baby Jane quilts are both beautiful and elegant; they were made by Tutu Haynes-Smart, who lives in South Africa. The first quilt was done in indigo blues, using over 100 different Da Gama indigo prints, while the second quilt was done in chocolate browns. Remarkably, Tutu was somewhat of a neophyte when she began these quilts... now, she designs her own patterns using EQ. Both of these quilts were made with indigo cotton fabrics from South Africa. The fabrics are imported to the U.S. by Marula Imports. These richly dyed cottons, which are used in African attire, are known as shweshwe. We love the fabrics, with their deep colors and intricate all-over prints: a few of our favorite 'blues' are shown below. The product line can be found here.

Dear Jane, by Maryellen Sand Bodell

This exquisite quilt was designed, pieced and hand-quilted by Maryellen Sand Bodell. The quilt won a blue ribbon at the 2009 Santa Monica Quilt Show, "Explorations". Maryellen was inspired to make her rendition of 'Dear Jane' after reading Brenda Papadakis’ book: “I was intrigued by the story about Jane during that period of time when her world must have been torn with strife. As with so many quilters there is a tranquility in taking needle in hand and creating images of beauty to be treasured for years to come.” Regarding her design, Maryellen explains that her mission was to maintain the colors and textures of the Civil War era: "My choice of blocks was difficult since all of her ideas were lovely so I placed each finished block on a spare bed and continued to consider versatility and balance of color and texture." The squares were placed on point and alternated with plain quilted blocks, and with half-inch neutral sashing, to allow the viewer a chance to fully appreciate each block and to create movement. The border design beautifully complements the body of the quilt, with the continuation of squares on point and multiple borders. Please click on the quilt image above to bring up a larger image. To view this award-winning quilt at Santa Monica Quilt Guild site, click here.

That Quilt, by Anina, at Twiddletails

We're smitten by "That Quilt", by Anina of Twiddletails fame. In the blog, she details the progress on her Dear Jane quilt, which began two years ago. The first four rows are shown above; you can see every one of her 192 blocks (so far), by visiting That Quilt. The quilt is 85% done and it promises to be a stunner. Anina has also designed a gorgeous "Rainbow Jane" in bright colors on a white background (below, see the first three rows- which have been joined - and the EQ diagram).

For those who would love to make their own Rainbow Jane - without much pain- Anina has worked out all the instructions. They are provided through a BOM program at The Twiddletails Store, here! She has been making each block as she writes the instructions; see the photostream on Flickr. (note: We're also fans of the Twiddletails blog, which is one of the best in the business... it is replete with inspiration and tutorials for projects of all kinds.)

Enduring Freedom, by Dear Jane Friends, as seen at Dear Jane

This patriotic quilt was presented to President and Mrs. Bush for their leadership and guidance following the tragic events of September 11, 2001; it is also known as "The President's Quilt" or "The GWB Quilt". The blocks were made by Dear Jane Friends world-wide, pieced by the Maple Leaf Quilt Guild, Goshen Indiana, and quilted by Cathy Franks of Indianapolis. The quilt contains all 225 patterns. The square blocks are blue-and-white and red-and-white. The triangles are all red on white, as are the corner kites, all set against navy blue sashing, solid triangles and scallops. There is a color photo in the Dear Jane® Manual and in the "Quilt Gallery" on the DJ-CD (more about the CD, below). For a larger view, click on the quilt above; for additional photos, click here.

In Our Time, (aka "Technicolor Jane"), by Judy Doenias and Diane Rode Schneck, as seen at The City Quilter

The magnificent quilt called "In Our Time", above, was co-created by Judy Doenias and Diane Rode Schneck. The quilt is also featured in the Dear Jane® Quilt Design Software, available here. Over the last ten years, Judy and Diane have taught several hundred students in The City Quilter's Dear Jane classroom. As a result, a rather substantial DJ community has developed in New York. And here is another important fact: the affectionate term, “Janiacs”, was coined by Diane Rode Shneck, and subsequently adopted by DJ'ers worldwide!

The City Quilter®, a truly inspiring New York City quilt shop, has more than 150 classes each year, more than 3,300 bolts of quilt fabric, hundreds of books and notions, and patterns, kits, and gifts for sewers, quilters and other fabric artists. (As an aside, we love their original fabric with its New York City themes!)

Broadway Jane, by the Empire Quilters, New York City

And speaking of New York City: the phenomenal quilt known as "Broadway Jane", above, was created by the Empire Quilters guild for their 2009 Show Raffle. The winning ticket was selected by Brenda Papadakis (of Dear Jane® fame). What a raffle that must have been! The patterns for the blocks and triangles come from Jane Stickle's original quilt, but the vivid rainbow of colors were chosen by the Empire Quilters' design committee, with the following dedication: "With this quilt we honor the traditions of quilters everywhere, and the colorful, complex, yet cohesive City of New York."

We can't resist showing the back of the quilt as well, with its beautiful rainbow colors (below).

About Dear Jane®

To read the complete story of Dear Jane®, visit Brenda Papadakis' site, here. For those who wish to create an authentic quilt, Brenda has designed a line of fabric based on Jane's quilt. Her online store has a number of essentials, including the book, CD, and templates. Oh, and don't forget to pick up one or two of these inspirational stickers:

More Baby Janes
: For additional inspirational stories and/or images, see the following web pages: Marcie Thompson, Lyn Brown, Jean Amundsen, Crispy Quilts, and Redwork in Germany.

Credits: Dear Jane® is the registered trademark of Brenda Papadakis and is used with permission. A sincere thanks to Brenda for her hard work and dedication, and for inspiring us all. Quilt images are shown with the kind permission of the artists.

THE SEQUEL (added October 2010):  For more Dear Jane quilts, see our sequel:  Crazy about Jane, Nearly Insane, and Just Plain Nuts
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