Category Archives: Dear Jane

More Quilty Inspiration . . .

. . . coming to you from the streets of Portugal.

It’s been a week since we flew back to the states from Portugal. Fortunately, I have many memories and lots of photos to remind me of the delightful time my husband and I spent cruising the Douro River and the many shore excursions we took to medieval hill towns and modern cities. Everywhere we went, images appeared that made me think of quilt blocks, appliqué designs, and even free motion quilting motifs.

When we got to Lisbon, our final destination in Portugal, the amount of gorgeous tile work I was seeing made my head spin. These three designs were on the walkway outside our hotel:

This one was on the floor of the main entrance to the hotel:

On the north bank of the Tagus River near the Monument to the Discoveries there’s a huge tile wind rose and map of the world charting Portuguese explorations. The map is embellished by wonderful designs that would look right at home on a quilt:

We visited the National Tile Museum dedicated to the azulejo, a glazed colored tile traditionally used in Spanish and Portuguese buildings. The museum houses examples dating from the 15th century to today. With the battery in my cell phone running low I took very few pictures but they’re enough to give you a sense of what I was seeing:

Tile work from the 21st century evoking a sampler quilt (a modern take on Dear Jane, perhaps?):

Half square triangles! Four-patch kaleidoscope blocks!

Inside the cafe at the museum:

Looking for the restrooms? They’re in this hallway:

Taking a city bus back to our hotel, we spied more contemporary tile work that may well have been made by the same artists whose work we saw at the museum:

Looking at these photos makes me very eager to get back to my various and sundry quilting projects. I hope to have something to show you very soon.




Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, appliqué, Dear Jane, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, kaleidoscope quilts, machine applique, needleturn appliqué, update | 10 Comments

Oh, Dear Jane!


I wish I could say these lovely blue and white Dear Jane blocks were mine. In fact, they were made by Sherri Crisp of Knoxville, Tennessee. (Sherri and I are in the same Reach for the Stars cohort; I posted pictures of her latest sampler blocks in this post about a month ago.)

Sherri is one of those quilters (like me) who work on multiple projects at the same time. It seems to me that Dear Jane is one of those quilt designs that lends itself to working in fits and starts. Something about sampler quilts, perhaps?

The original Dear Jane was made by Jane A. Stickle of Shaftsbury, Vermont and completed in 1863:

original dear jane quilt

(Photograph by Ken Burris, Shelburne VT, courtesy of the Bennington Museum and the Vermont Quilt Festival)

Thanks to Brenda Papadakis, who drafted the 225 designs that appear in the original quilt and compiled them in the book Dear Jane (published in 1996 by EZ Quilting by Wrights), modern-day quilters can create their own versions.

Sherri’s inspiration was this blue and white version she found on Pinterest:

Jane Stickle Dear Jane quilt

(If anyone knows who made this quilt or the source of the photo, please let me know so that I can update my post.) 

Sherri has also made five of the border triangles, employing some clever fussy-cutting:



Breaking it down, the Dear Jane quilt contains 169 blocks, 52 setting triangles, and four kite corners. These triangle blocks finish at 5″ x 8″, and the square blocks at the top of the post finish at 4½”. Can you even imagine how many teeny tiny pieces there are in a finished quilt?

“I’m not sure if I will ever finish this quilt,” writes Sherri, “but I am having fun playing with it. I can make two to three blocks with only one fat quarter, so I am having so much fun buying fabric.” And I am having fun watching Sherri’s blocks come together!




Posted in Dear Jane, Reach for the Stars sampler quilt, update | 1 Comment