Thursday, November 5, 2009

All 169 Center Blocks Done!

Well, I finally finished re-drafting all of the center blocks. Since I'm only so-so at applique, I've made a pieced version of EVERY block.

I made a second version using applique for 15 blocks, and I could do about 15 more with applique just to have a more complete block library, but it's good enough for now.

I have to say that this really gave me a much better appreciation for the variety of blocks, and got me much more familiar with them all.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Starting Over With 5 inch Blocks

I started by scanning in the Poster I purchased at the Bennington Museum. In Paint Shop Pro I increased the contrast and other settings to try to make the sewing lines between the blocks show up as much as possible. Then I drew blue lines where the blocks were joined to make it easier to see each block individually.

This is a section of the poster with the added lines.
Center 25 blocks on poster with drawn lines

Then I used photos I took at the Museum (lots of which are taken at an angle, since the quilt is displayed on a slant board) and added lines again.

This is a section of a photo showing the added lines.
Sample cropped photo with blue lines added

Between the photos and the poster, I tried to get as close as I could to what might have been the original patterns that Jane used.

Jane's quilt is absolutely marvelous to behold in person. The stitch work is also quite well done, with lovely quilting. But the thing that amazed me on close inspection was that it wasn't "perfect". The strips that are added around lots of blocks are not always the same size on all sides. Pieces on one side of a block are not always the same as the pieces on the other side, seams don't always match perfectly. And yet, it's just wonderful and fascinating to behold. In other words, the quilt blocks don't have to be precision perfect in order to make a stunningly, beautiful quilt. So I've decided that even if my blocks don't turn out exactly as planned, I'll add them to the quilt as a record of my progress in quilt-making. Hopefully, later blocks will look better than my beginning blocks.

It's pretty difficult to guess what the original patterns Jane used might have looked like since the blocks aren't all exactly square any more. The quilt seems to have stretched over time, and the piecing isn't always exact. Pieces of a design may "touch" in one area, but not in others. These re-drafted blocks are my attempt to re-create Jane's quilt as closely as I'm able to given the circumstances.

I'll still be using a Trip Around the World layout like Jane's, and I'm still planning to do it with the 7 colors of the Rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). I think I might name the new quilt "Trip Around the Rainbow With Jane" ("TATRWJ" for short).

I had already started making blocks for a quilt when I saw Jane's quilt at the Bennington Museum. I have about a half dozen blocks I sewed at 4 1/2 inches in size, that I can't use in this quilt since I'm now going to be making 5" blocks. Maybe I'll put them in a wallhanging or something.

Wow! Saw Jane's Quilt in Person

After seeing Jane's quilt "In War Time" at the Bennington Museum on October 4th, the thing that surprised me the most was that the quilt has NO sashing, but many blocks have border strips around them, and when the quilt is viewed from a distance, it APPEARS to have sashing.

Photo taken at Bennington Museum (VT) in October 2009
Jane A. Stickle's quilt, "In War Time"

To see more photos that I took at the Bennington Museum in Vermont of Jane's quilt, go to my Flickr albums.
My 2009 Photos on Flickr
My 2010 Photos on Flickr

The quilt was displayed rotated 90 degrees to the right. When viewed this way Rebecca's Basket (J-12) is upright, Papa's Star (G-6) doesn't look upside down to me any more, and the hearts in the triangle blocks (RS-7 Fedelia's Hearts & RS-8 Love Forever) are also upright. Going by the differences I just noted, I prefer the way it looks displayed like this, it just looks "right" to me.

Since the various sized strips around some of the blocks makes some blocks appear larger and some smaller, it seems to tie in with the "variety" theme of the quilt. Since they're all different patterns, done in different fabrics, why not different sizes.

I've loved the random look of Jane's quilt so much that I've decided to re-draft the patterns in EQ5 to more closely resemble the original, while keeping the rainbow color scheme. So far I have 2 rows re-drafted. The re-draft is being done in colors that are similar to the ones in the original quilt. I'll have to import my blocks into the DJ software and re-color them for my rainbow design.

The changes are very suble, and only a slightly insane person such as myself might bother with it, but I really like the slightly more "hodge-podge" appearance without the evenness of the sashing.

So here's to starting over!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

F-6 Deanie's Daisies

F-6 Deanie's Daisies
32 Pieces
Connie-Jane 7,0,0,162

The corners of the block were paper-pieced. Each section had a diamond, with the four triangles added to make the square.

I pieced the center. Curved piecing seemed preferable to appliqueing at the time. But after sewing it, I think next time I'll go with applique. I think some background fabric around the outside of the applique would look better than this pieced version.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

F-5 Parcheesi

F-5 Parcheesi
17 Pieces
Connie-Jane 6,0,0,130

Block #6 completed, I'm still not great at curved piecing. I almost decided to applique it, but that seemed even harder. Those tiny curved pieces were quite a challenge. A larger curve is much easier to piece!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

G-9 Mary's Journey

G-9 Mary's Journey
33 Pieces
Connie-Jane 5,0,0,113

Here's my 5th block. It was nice and straight-forward, and I paper-pieced it. Not perfect, but not bad. The fabric color is more coral-colored in real life, though it does have some pink.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

G-5 Poof

G-5 Poof
8 Pieces
Connie-Jane 4,0,0,80

While on vacation in Cape Cod, I completed my first Jane A. Stickle applique block. I sewed the background for this block on May 18, and did the applique to finish the block on May 19. One of the reasons I chose to start the Jane A. Stickle quilt was to force myself to do more applique. Applique is not my favorite thing, and I figured that doing a block here and there I could find a way to make it easier.

I'm trying different things to figure out how to get a piece placed exactly where you want it and in the right shape. After a couple of false starts, I finally got it done. I'm still not sure how I'll do the next one. I debated on cutting out the background under the "poof", but ended up leaving it in.

My least favorite part of applique is the inside corners you have to cut, and then trying to sew where it frays. At this point there's a LOT of applique in Jane's quilt, and I'm thinking I'll piece as much of it as possible so as to not get discouraged and keep going...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

G-6 Papa's Star

G-6 Papa's Star
31 Pieces
Connie-Jane 3,0,0,72

I used freezer paper and paper-pieced by hand through the paper. It actually went a lot better than I had anticipated. I re-drafted the block in EQ5 to make all of the points equal in size then tilted it. I thought the star in the book was tilted a bit too far, and almost looked upside down to me, so I titled mine a bit less.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Quilt As You Go

These are my first two blocks, quilted and sewn together.

G-7 & G-8 Quilted & Joined - Front

And this is the back.
G-7 & G-8 Quilted & Joined - Back

Hopefully if I quilt as I go, it will get done faster...

I tried machine sewing first, but the seam must have been a smidgen too large. Then I ripped out and sewed by hand, and it seemed a bit big. I could feel a tiny bit of separation under the sash strips. Then I opened it up and sewed the 2 blocks together through all the layers and batting to make them stay flat and connected, then re-did the last seam and I like it a lot better.

Monday, April 13, 2009

G-8 Justin's Comet

G-8 Justin's Comet
16 Pieces
Connie-Jane 2,0,0,41

I ran across some intresting math for the Lemoyne Star at I used this info to double check the cutting directions from the DJ software and decided to print the block onto freezer paper and then cut it out and iron pieces onto fabric to make sure to get the correct size patterns.

G-7 Indianapolis

G-7 Indianapolis
25 Pieces
Connie-Jane 1,0,0,25

I chose to go with the variation of this block that had the narrower strips, and then I added the 4 corners back to look more like the block in the quilt.

I completed my 1st block on April 8, 2009. I wonder how many years till the last one is done....

It seemed like an interesting idea to start in the center with G-7 and work my may out. I'm still not sure if I want to do the random blocks on ThatQuilt or the Janiac's Block of the Week and Triangle of the Week or work in sections. I'm guessing my decision will change as I go along, for now I'm starting in the middle.

I've never used freezer paper before and I'm planning to do all hand piecing. This project is about the learning experience of trying new techniques and working with applique that I've only done a bit of before.

I used regular paper to paper-piece the center, then tried the freezer paper, tried sewing beside the folded paper (my seams weren't where they belong, tried sewing through the paper (that's a bit better). So many decisions, whether to cut the paper on the sewing lines or cutting lines, when to take the paper off and mark the pieces around the paper, or leave the paper on, leave it on but take it off for curves? Anyway, it was quite an adventure for the 1st block. Next time I'll make sure any pencil lines are much lighter so they won't show through.

Note: The numbers below the picture of the blocks stand for my progress so far. You take your name, and since you're making a Jane A Stickle quilt, you add "-Jane" to the end of your name. The 1st number is how many of the 169 center blocks I've completed. The 2nd number is how many of the 52 triangle blocks I've completed. The 3rd number is how many of the 4 corner blocks I've completed. And the 4th number is the total number of pieces in the sewn quilt blocks. (I won't be counting the sashes between the blocks until I'm done, just the block pieces.)