Dear, Dear Jane

March 2, 2010 § 19 Comments

dear Dear Jane...

The week that the Ladies Downhill Skiing race at the Olympics was having a Crash & Burn day, I realized I had a crash & burn Dear Jane month.  I have a total of 6 blocks done and here it is March already. March! How did that happen, I ask you?  While I really want to make one block a week, I am really going to try and not sweat it. It will take as long as it takes. Okay? Ok!

3 steps foward, 2 steps back

These are my first 3 blocks made in January.  The first one went great! The 2nd one I forgot to include the seam allowances. Rats! And the 3rd was a bit wonky and off center. So I made those last two again while watching the Olympics. I really wanted to make more.  But it is what it is. I also came to the realization that I don’t think I want any plain muslin in the actual blocks. Maybe for the sashing, it would be okay. I haven’t decided. But I like all the mix of reds, patterns & textures in the blocks.


The other major crossroad was deciding how to keep track of the blocks.  Those of you who have already made, or are making, Dear Jane… how are you labeling your blocks?  I thought about sticky notes but was worried that the stickiness would leave a nasty spot over time.  And pins, they tend to rust. Especially in our humid, rainy region.  (side note: Last fall I finally cleaned out a box of really, really old unfinished projects and nearly all of the pins had rusted.  I tossed out the whole lot. It felt good to be rid of that box!)

So I finally came to the conclusion that only fabric should be touching fabric. I cut a few 1-inch squares of muslin and wrote the block number on them with a fabric marker. Then I basted them to the back side of the block. We’ll see how that goes. I  was dreading the thought of sorting through all 200-something blocks in the end. I’m hoping this will help.

January & February so far

And… there are my February blocks in the bottom row. Just three.  Including the infamous D-13 (’cause it’s easy).  I’ve only been doing the easy blocks. But I think I’d better start mixing in some of the hard ones.  Someone suggested using the Dear Jane book as a journal. So I’ve been doing that too.  I’ve made little notes with the date finished and sometimes something about the day while I was working on that particular block.  Dear, Dear Jane. You will definitely be a journey… not a project.

§ 19 Responses to Dear, Dear Jane

  • AJ in AZ says:

    Yay for you to do ANY Dear Jane blocks. I am afraid I have abandoned my DJ project in favor of applique UFOs that I am DETERMINED to finish before I start one more project. Yes, finish! A couple of them have been sitting more than 5 years.

  • susan says:

    i like the idea that it is a journey. i wouldnt rush it, enjoy it!!! i see nothing wrong with the pace you are at. :o) give yourself a break, you accomplished lots of other things too. i said it somewhere else, your idea for the labeling is brilliant!

  • wonderwoman says:

    wow that is going to be one amazing quilt!


  • sewplay says:

    I think it’s a great idea to do the mix of red prints without they plain muslins. The quilt will be so interesting. Your blocks look terrific.

  • DebbyMcC says:

    I think we talked before…I journaled in my book as I went along. One thing I made sure to include was the # of pieces in each block so that when I am done I will have that total. I labeled mine by using a pigma pen to write the block number and the date in the seam allowance of each block. I hand quilted 15 blocks and 2 1/2 border triangles during the Olympics. I think it was you who inspired me to work on it during the Games =-)

  • Jackie says:

    I love your labeling idea! Your blocks are looking great. Great fabric color choice.

  • pratima says:

    Anita, your red and white blocks look very pretty. I’m sure you might already know about this blog, but just in case… Anina has been posting tutorials and tips for dear Jane blocks here.

  • Meredith says:

    I turned my blocks into a wall hanging. I was not happy with the muslin type background fabric I was using. Your organization idea sounds great. Have fun with the easy and the challenging blocks.

  • Tami says:

    They are looking really good…despite it being a journey. I’ve still been thinking about the Dear Jane quilt but also about the Farmer’s Wife.

  • Christina says:

    Your blocks are so lovely and I hadn’t even noticed any wonkiness until you pointed it out! Ooooh, can’t wait to see some of the harder ones too. 🙂

  • Liz says:

    O like your blocks in red and white and I agree that plain muslin is too plain.

    For organization – you could buy a box of those top-loading non-stick sheet protectors and put two in each sleeve and then in binders. You would be able to flip through the binders to see what you have done.

    I have the civil war diary book and I am wondering if I should start it.. I did find out that there is a companion CD that prints out the block. But, it might be fun to do all of the calcs myself. Keep the ole brain working!


  • Allie says:

    I think you are amazing for tackling such a major project! Your block are looking great. I love that you are marking the date and info about the day as you go. What an awesome idea!

  • tina says:

    Just checking on your DJ. Did you join the mailing list? I downloaded the spreadsheet and am keeping track with it. I need to be a little more detailed and at least use some dates. Your reds are great. So far I’m 12,3,0, 302.

  • Ranette says:

    Lovely, lovely blocks….red and white, always a favorite with me.

    With my first DJ I put the blocks into a little notebook and when it was full I sashed them and put them together. With the DJ I am making now, I stick them up on my design wall and sash a row at a time.
    It is a journey…sometimes it goes quickly and sometimes it slows way, way down….just enjoy it.

  • WilmaKuin says:

    I love your blocks!!

  • whatktmadenext says:

    Your blocks are really, really lovely. You’ve chosen gorgeous fabric!

    Good luck with your DJ journey. I’ve just started recently and hadn’t thought about labelling blocks until you mentioned it. But you’re right – sorting through 200+ unlabelled blocks won’t be fun so I’ll need to do something about it!

  • Ardis Bucy says:

    I agree with using the tutorial on That Quilt and marking with a pigma pen in the seam allowance and keeping track on the spreadsheet thing. Have fun along the way. Love your reds.
    Ardis in Oregon

  • Caron Mosey says:

    I love your red and white blocks! I store mine in their own little zip lock bag, with the block number written on the outside of the bag. Keeps the dust off them, and they are safe and sound. To each his or her own, huh?

  • Robin says:

    Beautiful blocks! That is going to be a stunning DJ!

    I have been keeping track of each of my blocks by writing the block number on a small piece of freezer paper and then ironing that in the seam allowance. Once I had a bunch, I started grouping them together in little plastic bags by letter.

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