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!