Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is that a Dear Jane Quilt? ( or Adventures in Comparative Textile Arts)

Brenda Papadakis spoke at my Quilt Guild Meeting last night. She is the author of two books, Dear Jane and Dear Hannah. I own both books, and she graciously autographed them for me! Learn more at Brenda's work in publishing the patterns and the history about this gorgeous quilt has created an entire worldwide community of quilters. It's a remarkable phenomenon. Also central to this story is the women's movement. It's humbling to think of how far we've come, and how far we still have to go for equality ...

I've had her books for a few years now. My intention has been to meld the patterns of Ms. Jane A. Blakely Stickle's gorgeous quilt (above) with Yoruba Adire Eleko (African Indigo dye starch resist) techniques (below) :

This is an Olokun Adire Eleko pattern that I purchased in Nigeria in the summer of 1993. Adire artisans spent hours painstakingly painting a secret mixture of starch (think, corn starch sauce before you make gravy) onto white cloth with feathers. After the starch dries, the cloth is dipped into the Indigo dye vats. The indigo dyes the bare cloth, but "resists" the starched areas. Read more about adire. Last summer, I started a small Indigo pot and did a few Shibori pole-wrapping pieces, but I haven't tried the adire eleko yet. Maybe this summer?

Last fall at a Kaliedescope Quilt class, a few of the students were actually working on 4-Patch Stacked Posey quilts. When I first saw this pattern, I asked, "Is that a Dear Jane Quilt?"

I am fascinated with the idea of making every block in a quilt different, and all the various techniques for making that happen. After I finish the Kaliedescope, the 4-patch posey will be next!

I'm pretty sure the reason this interests me is because I get so bored of doing regular quilt-tops where I have to do so many of the exact same block. These techniques hold my interest. With the Stack 'n Whack Kaliedescopes (Thank you, Bethany Reynolds!), I couldn't wait to see what the next block would look like. Each one was a surprise!

Can you think of other techniques for achieving the same varied and interesting effects?
Leave a comment. I'm interested in learning / comparing more on this topic!

Cathedral Windows

This is the handwork project I took to France in April. I tried to do 1 window a day (I'm not much for handwork, but I couldn't take my sewing machine along ...) I'm a little over 1/2 done with it. It might have to wait for another trip to be finished ... This is just a small table-topper made from scraps of other projects.

I was inspired by Vicky W.'s gorgeous Cathedral Windows bed cover.

One more picture from Issiore, France, to show the pattern is not only in the stained glass windows, but also in some of the stonework :