Granna Judy Meets Dear Jane (R)

A chronicle of my Dear Jane (R) journey

Location: upstate New York, United States

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wow -- it's been a long time since I updated the blog! It's been a long time since I did a Dear Jane block, too. I really have to get back to this. I miss it.

Hunter Husband and I went to Vermont last week to see the Mother Quilt. It was wonderful to see it -- actually rather unbelievable to be standing right there in front of it. I took a bunch of pictures, some of which are worth having -- it was a little tricky, because photography is allowed but not with flash; that means the shutter speed is slow, and that means I've got to have a steady hand. Well, some of the pictures are ok, and that's better than none.

Two big surprises in seeing the quilt in person:

First, it's not as big as I had expected. Not surprising, I guess, since beds back then weren't as big as beds now, but somehow I was expecting a larger quilt.

And second, it was wonderful to look at it up close and personal and to see the little things Jane did to make it work, probably things only another quilter would notice. For one thing, her blocks are not all the same size. SO, to make them the same size, she just sashed the smaller ones in muslin. And in at least one spot I noticed that she must have had two smaller pieces of muslin, so she sewed them together before sewing the sashing onto the block. It makes her seem so much more human, to see this.

It appeared to me that she did all her backgrounds in muslin. The materials I am using include shirtings (very neutral shirtings) for the backgrounds. I'm a little sorry I didn't see the Mother Quilt before I started; I think I'd have done just plain muslin for backgrounds. I will definitely use the leftover shirtings to sash the blocks, though, and no cornerstones. I want mine to be as similar to Jane's as I can make it.

After seeing it, I am all inspired again. I REALLY need to get back to it!! In November we'll head out on our annual fall hunting trip, to Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. I'll have to get some blocks prepared to take along.

What a wonderful quilt Jane Stickley made! How fortunate I am to be working on one too. Now to get going . . . .

Judy-Jane in upstate NY
Humility Jane, 8-2-0-192

Thursday, November 30, 2006

TR2: Australian Pines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Second triangle done!! What a lovely feeling -- and what a nice triangle! This one I really couldn't see any way to do except to paper-piece it, so that's what I did. It wasn't fun to sew through the paper, so I removed paper as soon as I could as I went along. Came out pretty well, I think. Of course, once it was scanned I saw that the balance is off -- in every case, the left "branch" of the tree is a bit higher than the right "branch." I suppose I had it a little crooked when I trimmed it. Oh well -- only God is perfect. Or as the Janes say, finished is better than perfect. I'm happy with it, even with that little dimple at the top of the tree.

The back isn't bad either. A few lines are a little crooked, and the fabric is kind of bunched at the top of the tree, but overall it's pretty much ok with me.
These 8 blocks and 2 triangles are the entire first month of the Block of the Month supplies I ordered two or three years ago. I can't believe I've gotten this far -- and it's been fun!! It'll be a while before I post another block, though -- tomorrow is a busy day, with a 2-hour drive to a quilt shop to meet my sister and her friend for a BOTM there, and Saturday DD and family (including our two grandsons) are coming up. I hope to get the tree up before they arrive, so that the boys can help me decorate it.
And of course before I sew any more blocks, I have to prep more blocks. So it'll be a while. But I shall continue!
Tonight after I finished the block I looked at the block tips for the upcoming blocks, on the Dear Jane (R) website, They look hard. I have to keep reminding myself that I thought these would be really hard, and now I've done them. One stitch at a time and I can do this. My mother didn't read me The Little Engine That Could over and over when I was little for nothing!! Right, Mom?
So -- onward!
Judy-Jane in upstate NY
Humility Jane, 8-2-0-192
Dear Jane (R) is the registered trademark of BrendaPapadakis. It is used here with permission.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

TR1: Spanish Moss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Triangle accomplished! Pretty amazing!! I was really intimidated by the thought of doing a triangle, but it's done and it's pretty much right. This was a nice easy one to start with, and that helps.
I checked all the tip information I had for it before I started, and everything I came across seemed to indicate paper-piecing. (Did they even HAVE paper-piecing when Jane did hers?) Anyway, that seemed like overkill to me, so I did it my own way -- measured the stripes and added 1/4" seam allowances on both sides, then cut a bunch of strips the right size (3/4" and 7/8"). Then I just used the picture (printed from the official DJ Software) to judge how long to make the dark stripes and how much background to put on the ends of them. I had to kind of guess how much longer to make them to allow for the 1/4" seam allowance all around, but I got lucky and left just enough.

I don't know how I'd have managed without the official DJ Rulers. The 5" square is helpful enough, but the triangle ruler is invaluable! I would still be fussing over the trimming if it weren't for that ruler.
I see now that I look at the back (wouldn't you think I'd look before I scan it?) that I folded one of the seam allowances the wrong way and caught it in another seam. Oh well!
I do have a question, though. I"m hand-piecing, and I'm using a "cut it big and whack it off" style. That means some of my thread-startings and thread-endings are going to be cut off when I trim to size. If I were working on a sewing machine I wouldn't worry about that, but with hand-piecing I wonder if there's something else I have to do. Guess I'll ask my fellow Janers.
Oh! And one more exciting thing: I am now listed on the website! It links back to this blog. I think there are five Janers named Judy -- I'm the Judy C. Very cool!! The problem with all this is that I'm having so much fun, not much else is getting done in the evenings -- I really need to think about Christmas and other things, and not just sit and piece blocks and triangles. Well, maybe soon . . . .
On to the next triangle -- hooray!

Judy-Jane in upstate NY
Humility Jane, 8-1-0-172

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A-8: Florence Nightingale . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And another nice, easy, straightforward block!! I love it! Nice corners, and it mostly meets just where it should. (Of course I finger-pressed the bejabbers out of it -- you can still see the crease lines in the pictures, even though I've ironed it more than I would have thought possible!) I like this one -- bright fabric and a good, bold design.

And looking at the back of it, of course, I forgot to trim threads -- too bad! One folded corner, too, but that's ok -- I can press that down. This one came out pretty close to right, but it also helps that the directions I'm using are the "make it big and whack it off" type.

OK -- first eight blocks done. The next two things are triangles!! Eek!! But a month ago I didn't think I could do the blocks, so I guess I'll just muddle through and see what I can do with the triangles.

This is really fun!! I hope Jane had as much fun with hers. Of course, she had to do the creativity part too, and all I have to do is the sewing. Big difference.

Triangles, here I come!

Judy-Jane in upstate NY

Humility Jane, 8-0-0-149

A-7: Dad's Plaids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Well -- my first applique block. It's way less than perfect, but honestly if it were anyone else's I'd think it was just fine, so I'm going to take that attitude on my own too! Take a look:

Pretty sweet little block, I think. Points aren't too bad, some of the curved sides are pretty smooth. I like it.

I had to take a look at Jane's block to decide whether the stripes in the appliqued melons should be in the same direction as the squares, perpendicular to them, or at a 45 degree angle to the squares' stripes. I was thinking 45 degrees, but Jane did it perpendicular, so I did too.

The back isn't bad either, I think. (And I remembered to trim away the loose threads! ) The hand piecing and applique turn out to be a lot of fun and very pleasant. I like this block. And maybe the next applique will be a little better; after all, I did the background melons after the stripes, and I think they are a little better. Good job.
Florence Nightingale (A-8) is finished too but no time to post now -- going to a grandson's birthday dinner. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow.
Judy-Jane in upstate NY
Humility Jane, 7-0-0-138

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A-6: Uncle Homer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Bless Jane for tossing in a 9-patch! I am having a good time with these, but it's always nice to Get A Block Done, and good old Uncle Homer let me do that today -- all in one day! The corners meet quite well, the lines in the background fabric are reasonably straight, and it's just a sweet, simple block. A 9-patch with a twist, since the nine patches aren't all the same size and shape. I like it.

I started this block (after I finished A-5) in the car, coming across NYS's beautiful Southern Tier. We stopped for lunch in Arkport NY and I took it into the restaurant with me; within half an hour after lunch it was finished, and all it needed was to come home and get pressed and trimmed. How nice to make such quick progress!! (And maybe someday I'll remember to trim straying threads before I scan -- ya think?)

I can't help but wonder what Jane was thinking when she did this quilt. How imaginative she was! Did she plan ahead? Did she work as the mood struck? Did she do a whole bunch of 9-patch-based blocks and then move them around till the arrangement pleased her? It would be so interesting to know!!

In any case, she was quite a woman, and she has quite a following. I am glad to be one of them.

Judy-Jane, happy to be home again in upstate NY
Humility Jane, 6-0-0-130

A-5: Cathie's Campfire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This was a lovely block to work on!! I started it in Bismarck ND, worked on it on the way home when we spent a night in Elyria OH, and finished it off in the car today, coming across New York's Southern Tier.

I did mine as a 9-patch, with four of those nine patches consisting of two flying geese. It was fun to do -- I like flying geese. Standard directions for FG state, I think, that you should cut out the middle layer (or even the middle and back layers) leaving a little less bulk. I don't do that because I don't like the dark showing through one layer of light; with a double layer of light fabric, the dark doesn't show through. I might be sorry when I go to quilt it, though. We'll see -- if I live that long! I am happy with the way the pattern of the dark fabric fell in the blocks. It's not perfect, but it's nice, I think.

What I didn't realize till I scanned it, though, is that NONE of the background fabric shows on the back! Very funny. And now looking at the picture up close and personal, I can see that a few of the seams are a little bit curved.

Well, Humility Jane lives on :-)

Judy-Jane, back home in upstate NY
Humility Jane, 5-0-0-121

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A-4: Courtney's Stethoscope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Finished another block! Craig, Colorado, is turning out to be a pretty productive place! These are so much fun -- kind of like popcorn. Here's today's block -- Courtney's Stethoscope. It's a cutie, isn't it? I wish the plus sign in the center were really in the center, and I'm not sure yet what I did wrong to get it off kilter, but I can live with it, at least for a while. If it bothers me when I've finished ALL the blocks, then I'll re-do it. But somehow I think it won't!

The back is pretty good too -- amazing how these tiny little pieces work so well together. When I first thought of doing a Baby Jane, I didn't think I could handle the little pieces, but so far it's going pretty well. I love doing it by hand.

So -- new numbers, and on to the next block! Hunter Husband got his mule deer last night, so we'll be moving on tomorrow morning, heading toward Wyoming and then North Dakota before we head home. I hope I can find time in the next place to continue on my Journey with Jane.

Judy-Jane in Craig, Colorado
Humility Jane, 4-0-0-92

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A-3: Hunter's Moon

Finished this one tonight -- but I wonder if I'd have done better to applique it. My friend Pam does all of these blocks with curved piecing, and I wanted to try it. It's done, and the front isn't too bad:

I could criticize it but I won't. Finished is better than perfect!

The back leaves a LOT to be desired!! It would look a lot neater if I had appliqued it, but I wouldn't have learned as much, so I'm fine with it. Once the quilt is backed, no one will see this anyway, right? Actually, I think if I'd done it in a different order, it might have come out better; next time (egad! Will there be another time??) I'll try piecing the melons to the center "square", piecing the four outer sections together, and then piecing the center "circle" into the square. I bet that would turn out better than this did.

But after all, the name of my Baby Jane is "Humility Jane," and this block's back simply demonstrates the appropriateness thereof.

I learned about a Hunter's Moon today, from my Hunter Husband. A Hunter's Moon is a sliver of a moon, so named because if the moon is a sliver, the animals won't feed at night, which means they'll feed in the daytime and be available for the hunters to find. (If the moon is full, the game can see well enough to feed at night, and therefore they sleep during the day, making it very hard for Hunter Husbands to find them.)

I guess this block has FOUR Hunter's Moons on it!

And I must keep reminding myself: Finished is better than perfect (although I wouldn't mind being a little less imperfect!).

Judy-Jane in Craig, Colorado, where Hunter Husband is looking for a mule deer

Humility Jane, 3-0-0-69

A-2: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Another block done! Finished it the other day in Valentine, Nebraska, but didn't have a chance to photograph it till tonight. This one really stymied me, but it was me, not the block. First I started to put it together and thought I'd cut the first Half-Square Triangles the wrong size. So I went through all the leftover fabric, and for this block there just isn't much! A few schnibbles, a few small strips, but nothing that would let me cut a 1.75" square. Nothing at all. So I mulled that over for a couple of days (more like, I chewed on the problem and frustrated myself) and then pulled it out again -- and lo and behold, I had cut those little things exactly right.

Then I got the scraps and the required pieces mixed, and it took a while to sort out what was scrap and what was a strip that I needed to keep and use.

Once I got my own head in order, the block came together pretty well. I think the back even looks good!

Color me happy :-)

Humility Jane, 2-0-0-60