Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Secret Crush

I have a secret crush.

Oh, we've never actually spoken, but I love her, and I look at photos of her all the time. She's so pretty.

I imagine all the fun we'd have together, and the time we'd spend together.

She makes me sad though, because I know we'll probably never be together. She needs things I can't provide.

Her name is Dear Jane.

I love this quilt. I love looking at it. I love everything about it. I love everyone who has ever finished it.

However, at this time, I don't think I would make it for three big reasons.

1. I don't applique.
2. I don't paper piece.
3. I don't like 1/8 or 1/16th inch cuts.

The subject of Dear Jane came up a few weeks ago, when I met with Cherri from the Portland Modern Quilt Guild for coffee. She had wanted to see the Freddy quilt in person, so we met up for a chat. We were bouncing around ideas for activities for the guild, and she told me about an issue of a quilting magazine that contrasted photos of traditional quilt patterns with the same-ish pattern done in different fabrics. As we were discussing traditional patterns, I brought up how much I love the Dear Jane quilt.

I then got the idea that it might be fun to make an updated Dear Jane quilt. Cherri suggested that it could be a possible guild activity, but I knew even then that I wanted this project for myself. I always surprise myself when I realize that I'm a control freak in creative activities, but I know that I need total final control over projects.

I went home and mulled it over, and it felt itchy in my brain all day. I had just bought fabric for my next project, and it was sitting waiting to go, but I couldn't let go of this idea of an modern Dear Jane quilt.

So I grabbed a sketch book, and started looking through the modern quilt flicker groups looking for modern blocks. I jotted them down, and went downstairs to start sewing. I pulled all the solids I had (9), and one neutral left over from my last quilt.

I had written Cherri an e-mail telling her about the project through the ning board on May 6th.

After our coffee, I couldn't stop thinking about a modern Dear Jane sampler. I made ten blocks last night! I have 20 more in my sketch book...

Oh well! It's not the first time I've been hijacked by a project idea...

She responded, and here is the text of the first email with photos I sent her on May 7th, two days after we had coffee.

Hey Cherri,

I copied over the questions you asked from the ning board.

Are you using the same block patterns as the original quilt?

Oh no. They're way to much work for me.

All solids? What colors?

All my solid scraps, it ends up being nine colors, including white.

What size are the blocks?

4 in x 4 in finished. I thought that's what the dear jane blocks were, but it seems like they were 4.5 x 4.5 finished, which seems crazy to me because a 4 x 4 grid seems so much easier to plan for!

Can you send me a pic or two?



And there they are! My first set of blocks for a modern sampler quilt in the style of Dear Jane. If you check out my flickr account, you can see that I have far more blocks now, but I thought I'd post the various e-mails that I sent Cherri with photos to sort of document the process of where this came from.

Side note: I have some reservations about using the word modern, because the square has been around forever. I find it hard to believe there are variations that haven't been tried before or are new inventions. When I say modern, I mean blocks that show up in modern quilting more often, or are in fashion now. I really do believe that trends are best explored in hindsight, so it is very difficult for me to describe what modern actually is (meaning, I don't want to sound silly later if I'm wrong).

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