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.


Minka's Studio said...

I'm in NH and hope to one day see the original quilt. You photos and discussion are very instructive. Thank you.

FYI, I have redrafted some of the blocks to make them more closely match the photos in the book. I've documented my redrafting on my blog and also on Flickr which may be the easiest way for you to find the photos and then link to the discussion:

Connie said...

I started using the software (& book) and noticed a number of differences between the original quilt in the photos and Brenda's blocks. So I used alternates in the program, or re-drew them in EQ and brought them into the DJ program.

But after seeing the original quilt, and noticing that it had no sashing (I never like the sashing for some reason) and all the blocks were various sizes, I knew I had to start over. So I just buckled down are re-did ALL of the blocks from scratch, in various sizes with borders around the smaller ones to bring them up to 5 inches like Jane's blocks.

I've been working on my Harry Potter blocks. I design & sew 5 inch paper-pieced Harry Potter blocks (, so I haven't sewn a Jane block in a long time, but hope to get back to it soon!

Connie said...
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