Dear Jane, I am making progress

I set myself a goal of trying to finish the 169 square blocks of my Dear Jane quilt before the end of 2013. The blocks are finished, and I am only a few days late!

In fact, I made 170 blocks, not 169, by 2 January. A slight miscalculation, I confess. I got carried away.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt blocks

All 169 blocks – and one spare – have been sewn, and half of the triangles are cut out.
They are in no particular order, just randomly placed on my design wall.

I did not like L10 Nan’s Naiad, so I made another small block to replace it.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt – a substitute block

I made this block in place of L10 Nan’s Naiad.

Then, after three attempts at G9 Mary’s Journey, which involved a lot of unpicking and swearing, I gave up and decided to make a different block, but I could not choose, so I made two blocks to replace it.

I still do not understand what I did wrong that made G9 consistently too small.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt – a substitute block

I made this churn dash block after my third unsuccessful attempt at G9 Mary’s Journey.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt – a substitute block

I made this four T quilt block as a ‘spare’.

You can download PDFs of the flower block, the churn dash block and the four T block patterns.

I think I might leave J12 Rebecca’s Basket out, as the basket always strikes me as slightly out of place. I will decide later.

I had a few successes with assembly for the following blocks, and I thought I would share what I learned:

If you are not a Janiac, stop reading now as it could get boring!

A11 Pebble’s Protest

I redrew this block to avoid the narrow border, and I then hand pieced it. My redrawn block can be downloaded as a PDF.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt A11 Pebble’s Protest

Dear Jane A11 Pebble’s Protest

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A12 Framed Fancy and C8 Hani’s Crown

I made A12 Framed Fancy and C8 Hani’s Crown both in the same way: by foundation piecing from the centre out, pausing partway to appliqué triangles before continuing to paper piece. It is possible to appliqué while a block is sewn to paper. I am rather pleased with the results, as A12 was a block that I had been eyeing with a considerable degree of trepidation.

I think this method worked a treat!

Dear Jane patchwork quilt A12 Framed Fancy and C8 Hani's Crown

I used the same ‘cheating’ method on both A12 Framed Fancy and C8 Hani’s Crown. I foundation pieced from the centre out, pausing to appliqué the circled triangles.

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B6 Wild Goose Chase

I got clever here! I am so very pleased with myself! So pleased, in fact, that I took photos to show how it was done.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt B6 Wild Goose Chase

Dear Jane B6 Wild Goose Chase

Dear Jane patchwork quilt B6 Wild Goose Chase

I started by tracing the block onto paper to use for foundation piecing. I crossed out the centre section, which I made separately. Later, I will appliqué the oversized square in the centre.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt B6 Wild Goose Chase

Start foundation paper piecing on the lines I have sewn in this photo. (Note how I redrew the centre slightly so it became a square with neat points.)

Dear Jane patchwork quilt B6 Wild Goose Chase

Here, I have trimmed the cream fabric to a thread or two less than half an inch, folded it under in half and pressed. (You can also see how I use misshapen scraps when foundation piecing.)

Dear Jane patchwork quilt B6 Wild Goose Chase

I repeated this step with the other two sides. To trim, I drew a line at half an inch and then used small scissors to cut a thread or two’s width inside the line.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt B6 Wild Goose Chase

When the centre looks like this, start adding other pieces (like the two outermost cream pieces), continuing to foundation piece from the inside out.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt B6 Wild Goose Chase

Initially, I thought I could piece everything but the centre in one, but I was wrong. The corner units need to be foundation pieced separately.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt B6 Wild Goose Chase

When you have made the corner units, sew them on. I tend to keep the paper on for stability.
Here, I have also trimmed the centre square.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt B6 Wild Goose Chase

When the corners are in place, add the borders. I made mine oversized so I could trim them neatly for an accurate finish.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt B6 Wild Goose Chase

Tear away the foundation paper and appliqué the centre square behind the main part of the block. Press and trim the block to size. Then, you are done!

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C7 Megan’s Mountain Laurel

After I had carefully pieced M11 Rickshaw by hand, I wondered why I had not just appliquéd seven diamonds in place. Surely, that would have been simpler? So, I tried the appliqué method with C7 Megan’s Mountain Laurel. You can be the judge of the two. (Please do not tell me if it looks bad as it is going in anyway!)

Dear Jane patchwork quilt M11 Rickshaw

Dear Jane M11 Rickshaw

Dear Jane patchwork quilt C7 Megan's Mountain Laurel

Dear Jane C7 Megan’s Mountain Laurel

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F2 Kaleidoscope

I decided to use both appliqué and machine piecing for this block.

By appliquéing the darker red on top of the cream, I was able to lock the seams together neatly on the outside of the star, or circle, or whatever it is.

As always, I struggled with the eight-point centre. If there is a trick to doing these well and avoiding all the bulk, I would love to know it. Please tell!

Dear Jane patchwork quilt F2 Kaleidoscope

Dear Jane F2 Kaleidoscope

Dear Jane patchwork quilt F2 Kaleidoscope

Trace the pattern onto freezer paper, cut it out and iron the paper templates onto the back of the fabric, paying attention to grain direction. Leave generous buffers on the outside pieces (the ones that look like twin triangles) and trim other seam allowances to ¼ inch. Trace around the freezer paper with pencil to mark the seam lines in case the freezer paper falls off. Note how I cut these two triangles as one unit, not as two pieces.
I did not use freezer paper on the four corner triangles. I just cut them generously.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt F2 Kaleidoscope

Appliqué the pieces in pairs as shown, with the dark fabric on top of the light. You will have to clip four points.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt F2 Kaleidoscope

Remove the freezer paper and machine sew the pieces in pairs, carefully matching the seams and inside points, and then sew two pairs together.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt F2 Kaleidoscope

Machine sew the two halves together. (Cursing while trying to make the centre align is optional.)

Dear Jane patchwork quilt F2 Kaleidoscope

Measure and mark the placement of the outside triangles, and machine sew them on. Trim away excess fabric, and you have finished it!

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J10 Chieko’s Calla Lily

Lucky last! I already had 169 squares, but I had cut out the pieces for this one way back in June and wanted to make it as it is so pretty. I was procrastinating as it looked a bit fiddly, but it was easier than I thought.

I have no special tip for this block. I am just posting it as I like it so much.

Dear Jane patchwork quilt J10 Chieko's Calla Lily

Dear Jane J10 Chieko’s Calla Lily

If there is one thing I have learned so far from this quilt it is that I am much better at appliqué than I am at piecing.


28 thoughts on “Dear Jane, I am making progress

    • The cool thing about the Dear Jane quilt is that I don’t think anyone can do it without sharing and swapping ideas with others. It is a lovely big community of quilters – locally and in blogland – helping each other out. Online, I found Aunt Reen’s 13 Months of Jane (site now closed), That Quilt ( and the Dear Jane website ( the most helpful.

  1. I am not a Janiac but I know dedication and perfection when I see it! Stunning Carla! Did you see the article in a recent Quiltmania magazine about these Dear Jane quilts? I will try to find it if you like?!

  2. OK, it’s official, you are the most patient, fastidious, perfectionist person I even vaguely know. There’s no way on earth I’d start a project like this, I simply don’t have the patience, and in any case, it’s not really my thing. But I’m lost in admiration that you have, and do, and will continue to until this epic is completed.

  3. What a work of love and dedication. Each square will be so meaningful because you took so much care to make it look beautiful in its own right, and as part of the whole. This quilt is certainly a work of art!

    • It is far from finished. I still have more than 50 triangles and corner bits to do, and then I need to quilt it, probably by hand. Have I mentioned that I don’t really know how to hand quilt? I like to set myself challenges.

      • Hand quilting is the perfect way to finish this beauty…and worth the effort I think. Good luck with it and I look forward to seeing your progress updates through out 2014.

  4. Wow, these are all amazing! Well done on finishing the blocks, they are all beautiful, both the applique and the pieced ones. And thanks for posting all the pics and info, as always, very helpful to the rest of us Janiacs out here.

    • The middle, eh? Then you are through the worst of it! I found by the middle I was feeling braver, even when I knew I had saved the tricky ones until later. No matter how daunting a block looked, I kept telling myself, ‘If someone else has made this block before me, it must be possible.’
      Now I am working on the triangles and missing those pesky little squares.

  5. On C7, those diamonds are pieced so perfectly. Can you explain how you applique them to get them square, with good points, and placed perfectly?

    • Hi Ann! Have you had a look at my appliqué post? The link to it is found on the tips and tutorials page, which is listed in the top menu. I think it might answer some of your questions, but feel free to ask me again for further clarification if it does not.

  6. I’m hoping that by the time I get to J10 (I’m doing the quilt in order) my applique skills will have improved and my block will look as perfect as yours! So perfect for such a difficult block. When I think of my struggles with A03 which only has one circle and J10 looks like A03 on steroids!

    • I think you are brave doing them in order. (Creo que usted es valiente para coserlos en secuencia. Testing my dodgy Spanish!) I just sewed whichever I felt confident enough to tackle each day. I started on the easy ones and gradually made more difficult blocks. You will notice I did J10 much later on!

  7. Pingback: Mice Attack – UK City Crafter

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