Dear Jane - the construction of the quilt

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No, I don't have a finished quilt yet. I've 17 blocks.
But as with Nearly Insane I want to check my colour-selection.

I put all the blocks on green background fabric, I plan to use that fabric for the sashing too.

The result:


Update: A publishing house for sheet music had asked me: They want to use that photo for a cover. Wow!!

you can see the book here:


I still like the green batic fabric very much. But I'm not happy with the medium grey. There is not enough contrast to the green.

The blocks with only a few big pieces are ok. But for example A-01 and A-11 look just confused. I choose (subconsciously, I guess) the light and dark grey for A-02, A-09, A-12 and B-04.

Maybe I made the old mistake again - the two fabric look great and look great together - so I bought them. But they have the same value, medium.
I will sew the rest of the B-row with the medium grey. After that I have to decide if I buy another fabric. I bought only 2m of the dark and light grey, not enough for the whole quilt.

But since I don't plan - again like with Nearly Insane - to arrange the blocks in the same order as the original quilt, it doesn't matter if I add another fabric. When all the 169 blocks are done, I will arrange them so, that everything looks ok. (Did you realize I said 'when', not 'if'?  My first sentence at Nearly Insane was 'I'm not sure if I ever will finish this quilt'.  I have much more self-confidence now!)

When I had 81 (!) blocks I laid them on the floor:

Hm. To be honest, this doesn't blow me away.  :- (
One thing is the blue colour on these photos, I put a single block below which shows the real green. But that is only the photo.
But most of all this looks like chaos! Really, I must add a sashing later. Maybe the green (if there is enough fabric left) or the light grey. Or white. Or something else.
And maybe I have to set the quilt on point. The original layout looks kind of boring.
A boring chaos. Who would have that?

I compared it with Nearly Insane - when I laid the blocks side by side, it also looked chaotic. And later with the sashing just beautiful!

Dear Jane and no end. Right now I am at row L. At this point (today is the 7th of July 2018) there are 23 blocks left. That means I made already 146 blocks. I think this will be the last big sampler-quilt in my quilter-life, I started the blocks 13 months ago. I am just tired of them!

During the past weeks I began to think about what I'm gonna do with the blocks. At the beginning I had planned to make the border-triangles too. But now I'm fed up with Paper Piecing. After all I don't have to prove anything to myself anymore. After Farmer's Wife, Nearly Insane and the 169 Dear Jane center blocks I think we can state than I can do complicated blocks! :-)
ok. I can do complicated blocks as long as they don't have y-seams!

Today I tried several layouts in EQ7. The blocks finish at 4,5 inch.
I always thought I'd make a sashing of 1,0 inch finished size. There are 4 colour options: green sashings with grey cornerstones or grey sashings with green cornerstones. Or everything green or grey.

But somehow I find it all boring as hell. I put the blocks on-point.
Of course, there are the same 4 colour options.

But looking at the layouts in EQ7 I realize that I prefer the completely green version. The blocks are so tiny and have so many pieces  - if I add cornerstones in another colour it is just too messy.

For on-point here only the green version:

But: In this version I can use only 162 blocks. And even if I add these borders the quilt finishes at 83 x 92 inch. That is too small.
I can put the 7 remaining blocks somewhere - in the border as an accent or on the back. But too small? Wider borders?

What now?
Laura Fraga also put one of her Dear Janes (she really made several already) on-point. She didn't use all 169 blocks. But she put alternating solid blocks in between! You can see her DJ here, it is the 3rd quilt from the top.

Again EQ7 - without sashing, but with alternating green blocks. That way I can use all 169 blocks!

Wow - I like that very much!!! And this time the quilt will be 95 x 95 inch. Good size! It will shrink some and than it has the perfect size (we are very tall people).
Let me check if I have enough green fabric left.

Several quilts/byAnnie-bags later:
Yes, I really did have enough fabric! It was enough for two very long borders, 144 squares and 52 side-triangles. I spent one sunday afternoon to cut all the pieces, no fun.

I opened the quilt again in EQ7. I had to decide where to put the 14 dark-grey and the 22 medium-grey blocks in between the 133 light-grey blocks.
Here are two possibilities (I coloured the medium-grey to pink to make it easier to spot):


Hm. I'm still not happy. I know that the middle is very important - somehow I see the middle part mostly, not the border-part. Right now there is too much of that dull medium-grey.

Better like this?


Yes, much better.
Oh Dear (Jane), now I have to lay the blocks down, I have no design wall. Where is enough space to lay 169 + 144 + 52 + 4 pieces? Maybe in the evening in the office after everybody left?

Yes! Two of my collegues offered to help to lay all the pieces on the floor and after that stack them up in order to carry them to the sewing machine:


It was not so bad to sew these long rows together, even the pressing was not so bad. This is the longest row with 110 inches:

But then...
Endless rows have to be sewed and pressed. Endless rows... my ironing board is NOT 110 inch long :-(


Half of the top is done!
I put the very last block M-13 right in the middle of the quilt. This is the only block I really remember, the other 168 are a blurr.

No end in sight. Actually the sewing itself was easy. Beause of the chess-board-pattern with the green squares there is no need to draw lines or to pin. The seams matched easily. But to press these rows...

Finished! The top is too big for my floor, is measures already -without borders- 83 inches. I did not yet trim - I was through with Dear Jane for this weekend.

But it looks as stunning as I had hoped!


By the way - these are my hands after 6 hours of sewing the top and after washing  :-)    Fabric is dirty!

Now I have to add the 3 borders. I need only 12 seams for the 3 borders, but it took me 4 hours with all that pressing.

First border:

2. border:

3. border:


The finished top, ready for quilting!


Now there will be a break. I don't dare to quilt that monster by myself. Instead I will visit Helga Polifka in Sarnau at the end of september.

Right now I think of an overall-pattern. This quilt is not meant to be sent to quilt-fairs so it doesn't need a heavy, dense elaborated quilting. I want to use it at home, so a not too loose overall-pattern should be ok. Let's wait which suggestions Helga Polifka will have!




We discussed options and choose orange-peels for the blocks and 3 different patterns for the 3 borders.


November: Helga Polifka did a terrific job!  That's the view from the back (click on the photo to enlarge it):


And that's the front!!



Beautiful details (click on the photo to enlarge it):


Now the only thing left is the binding. I made a bias binding for this quilt.


And here it is!  I insisted on taking photos before it went into the washing machine - one nevers knows how the quilt will come out.

It's a very stormy day today (8th december), Dear Jane always wanted to fly away.


Because it is huge we took the photos while it hang over a balcony.


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Comments (10)

  • Lynette
    at 20.12.2019
    Hi, Nina! Congratulations on finishing your Starry Sky quilt! (I love the idea of having a ceiling-hanging, and I'm curious about how you hung it up there?) As you can see, I also came to look at your Dear Jane, as I have done one that is still waiting for me to quilt. Did you end up getting a different fabric for the background? About the current fabric, though: WOW! I actually really like it with the low-volume contrast. The effect is quite beautiful in an understated watery way, almost like an impressionist painting. I've not seen one like this before, and I love the unique look.
  • Nina
    at 20.12.2019
    Hi Lynette,
    yes, I love that watery look of the green batic too!!! I hope I will never get tired of looking at it.
    I asked that shop in Austria if they still have that light grey fabric. They don't, but they will order it and it should be there in about 4 weeks. Works for me!
    I still have 2 meters of the light grey, 3 meters of the medium grey and 2 of the dark grey.
    But believe me – the blocks with the medium grey look kind of dull. The medium grey is so muted it takes all the sparkle of the batic.
    I will use all three greys to have enough variation in the quilt.
    I plan to use the green for the sashing – we'll see how much of the batic is left after all the blocks are done.
  • Denise
    at 20.12.2019
    Your Dear Jane is just beautiful and congrats on your photo being used as a book cover. No better compliment than that.
    • Nina
      at 20.12.2019
      Thank you so much, Denise!
  • Cala Prinsloo
    Cala Prinsloo
    at 20.12.2019
    Fantastic! The grey looks like shimmering stars in the must be so proud to have stayed the course!! And congratulations on the book cover! Well done!
  • Laura
    at 20.12.2019
    This is amazing! I love the restricted color palette for the Dear Jane and I really love how you laid everything out in the end. The more I see people play with EQ to help them achieve magic with their quilts, the more I think I need to have it for myself! Anyway, great job on a truly wonderful finish.
    • Nina
      at 20.12.2019
      Thank you Laura!
      Yes, EQ7 helped me a lot to decide the layout. I resisted buying it a long time but I'm glad I gave in last year. Of course as soon as I had bought it they released EQ8... so far I resisted buying the upgrade. I'm happy I know how EQ7 works, I don't want to learn the next version.
  • The Joyful Quilter
    The Joyful Quilter
    at 20.12.2019
    Wow!! You came up with a fantastic solution to a problem that so many of us make. Well done!!
  • Katie Z.
    Katie Z.
    at 20.12.2019
    Wow! I loved reading through your journey, and your Dear Jane is beautiful!
  • Quilter Kathy
    Quilter Kathy
    at 20.12.2019
    Absolutely amazing! I love the photo of the feet helping to bring this quilt together!
    What a truly wonderful accomplishment!

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