Dear Jane Quilt History: http://www.thebluecatcreations.com/dearjanehistory.php
In 1863 a woman named Jane A. Blakely Stickle completed a sampler quilt. Her name would be unremarkable today except for one thing that she did; she signed her amazing quilt.
The quilt was passed down through the family. During the depression years a relative in St. Louis, Missouri found the signed quilt and knowing Jane was from Vermont sent it to the Bennington Museum. The museum is one of the finest art and history museums in New England and well known for the largest collection of Grandma Moses paintings and memorabilia.
The quilt appeared in Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts magazine, Winter 1983 issue which featured quilts and quilters from the state of Vermont. Jane's quilt was shown draped from a bowfront chest so it was not seen in its entirety. But what really put it on the road to becoming world famous was when it was pictured fully in Richard L. Cleveland & Donna Bister's book Plain and Fancy: Vermont's People and their Quilts as a Reflection of America, published in 1991. That is where and when Brenda Papadakis saw "The Quilt".
The geometry of the block designs quickly captured Brenda's attention. She spent the next five years researching Jane Stickle's life and times. She drafted the patterns of the 169 four and a half inch blocks, the 52 triangle border blocks, and the 4 kite-shaped corner blocks and then published those in the book Dear Jane, The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt. Later she made the Dear Jane®; CD Rom available making it possible to customize one's own version of the quilt from a computer.
Sue Monk Kidd was inspired in writing her book by the story of Harriet Powers and her story quilts:
And now to my part in the story. Pondering, only pondering at this point, in challenging myself to make my own quilt, based on my own life, documented in each quilt square. For Dear Jane quilts, aside from the book, there are a CD, templates, and block of the month series (which, yes, would make even this intimidating project much easier), the challenge is there to finish all 225 blocks. My problem is....if I'm going to live with a quilt project for years, I want it to be in colors I love (BoM kits come in original (faded, blue, red, or bright colors).
So I'm contemplating (not committing to it as of yet), making a quilt using the different patterns from the Dear Jane book, but made in my color (TEAL, of course), and personalizing each block with something from my own life. Crazy idea? Absolutely. Intriguing? Yup. Challenging? For sure. ( But just think of all the tools we have now, like printing photos on fabric, as just one idea.)
I just might be crazy enough to try this. If it doesn't become a full size quilt, it might just be an interesting lap quilt. It definitely would help highlight this year and celebrate my life in a very interesting way.