Friday, November 7, 2014

Dear Jane x 4

(left to right: me, Mary Ruth, Jane, Marilyn and Cindy)

Yesterday was a wonderful day! The four Dear Jane quilts that are all made from the same blocks got to meet one another for the first time. We had a reunion. The story began like this...

In 2003, an amazing lady named Jane Buckwalter gave a presentation on historical quilts up to and including the civil war. The program she presented featured a lot of wonderful information and dozens of gorgeous quilts. One of those quilts was her "Dear Jane" quilt.

A dozen of us were so inspired that we set up a support and swap group to make and exchange blocks. We each ordered a bolt (yes a whole bolt) of the same background fabric. We then decided that each member of the group would make one block for each member so that once we swapped we would all have identical sets of blocks.

About three months later, we were down to a group of six. Then not long after that, just four. We called ourselves the final four and we were totally committed. We met once a month to audition fabrics (to be as close to the original as possible) and to decide who would make which block. We would make our sets of blocks every month and meet at one another's homes to swap and eat lunch. We are quilters after all, can't sew on an empty stomach!

Years later, we were finished with all of the blocks. We decided that each person would make her own border blocks, and do her own quilting. I cheated. I chose an alternate setting that was shown in the book and finished my quilt with machine quilting. The other three Janes were hand quilted with all of the border blocks.

Yesterday, Jane Buckwalter was coming back to our guild for another presentation, so we surprised her. We gave her all the blame credit that she so deserved! She was thrilled and we finally had a chance to thank her for her inspiration. It was the first time all of the finished quilts were together.

The thing I love best about my "Dear Jane" is that my friends stitches will always be in it. I will cherish the memories we made and the life that occurred while we stitched and swapped.

And after the meeting, we went to lunch of course! I love traditions.

Enjoy every stitch!


  1. Congratulations! What a fun post, you all have a treasure. I know Jane was thrilled with your perseverance.

  2. What wonderful memories you four must have connected to your Dear Jane quilts! I'm always impressed when someone gets a Jane quilt finished--I don't see that happening for me in the near future.

  3. Amazing journey on your quilt tops. What a great time--I hope you took some photos of the different stages to keep in your quilt registries...hugs, Julierose

  4. What a great story - aren't you glad you stayed with it and had such a gorgeous finish? And you are right - they are extra special because of the friendships and shared stitches!

  5. Wow! I'm amazed at your tenacity. I can't even get mine started. It might help if I had a dedicated partner for us to encourage each other. Many months ago, I started ordering the blocks for a blue/white Dear Jane. The only envelope that I have even opened is the first. The BOM had notes someone had written to accompany the selected blocks for the month. Having been a computer programmer and professional system tester for years, I tend to have perfectionistic tendencies - or should I say I obsess for striving that way. Anyhow, I took out the accompanying literature without looking at my book or my computer software and was appalled at the grammatical errors. I couldn't even make it through the enclosed literature. So, I put it in a box and each month as the BOM arrives, it goes into the box - unopened. In the meantime I lost my husband and he loved to see me piece, so it's been difficult to go back to the hobby. Seeing your quilts at least makes me want to put my Dear Jane quilt back on my to-do list. Thanks for a wonderful post. The quilts are beautiful - individually and collectively. As a side note, I went to the Jewish museum in Tulsa today with a group of widow/widowers. They have on loan a collection of 35 quilts that are beautiful. Some of the detail is amazing. Most of the quilts were made by ladies in Israel. If I remember in 2012, there were 300 quilters in Israel. I don't have any idea how they came up with that number. I can only imagine what it is 2 years later. I wasn't allowed to take any pictures in the museum.

  6. Very fun day for all you final four! It sounds like a wonderful way to plow through the entire stack of blocks. Any Dear Jane quilt cannot possibly be called a cheater quilt. How insane is that? lol

  7. I bet she loved seeing your quilts! They are gorgeous!

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