Electric Quilt just released the Dear Jane Add-on for EQ. As I have been playing with the new software this week, I have also been reflecting on my Dear Jane journey. In this post I will share a part of that journey (and a few of my Dear Jane quilts). I will also share a really cool new feature from the add-on software in my EQ8 video tutorial.
My Dear Jane Journey
My love of Dear Jane began in June 2000 (almost 20 years ago) when a new guild was being started by JoAnn Atikins (now the owner of Four Seasons Quilt Shop)..
My original plan was to do a few blocks and make a small quilt based on the blocks in Brenda Popadakis' book Dear Jane: The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt.
I ended up creating my own layout, including thirteen original triangles and five additional blocks. There are a total of 174 blocks, 68 triangles and 4 corners – not including the unused duplicate triangles as a result of a tracking glitch. (I needed the new add-on software back in 2000.) There are 421 separate fabrics. Based on a purchase of a fat quarter for each fabric, I estimate the quilt cost $950 in supplies alone. All blocks were redrafted using Electric Quilt 4 to aide in my construction. The quilt took five years to complete.
Those in the Dear Jane Minnesota Quilt Guild became some of my closest quilting friends. One year we did a road trip to Shipshewana for a Jane Stickle retreat.
We also began doing our own retreats, in the winter at Four Seasons Quilt shop and in summer at St. Bens College. We also had numerous exchanges and challenges that had a Dear Jane aspect to them.
As I was writing this post, I attempted to track down some of my quilts inspired by Dear Jane. Here were the ones I could locate in my stacks of quilts.
In this exchange, each participant did the same block All blocks needed to be signed and dated. Each participant was required to produce a block that was representative of their larger “Jane quilt”. Since there were many different fabric themes, the biggest part of the challenge was figuring out how to put them all together.
For this exchange each participant picked a Dear Jane block (we eliminated many of the “easy blocks” from the options) and made 16 blocks (6” finished). These blocks were exchanged in May 2009 and by August 11 of the 14 participants had their quilts completed (in time for our first Dear Jane show).
Blue and Yellow Exchange
In 2001/2002 there were a series of exchanges with approximately 10-15 participants in each exchange. Each person chose a different block from Dear Jane and made one for each of the other participants.
This particular quilt was featured in the original Dear Jane software released by Electric Quilt in 2003.
Being a huge Dear Jane fan, I was super excited to hear that Electric Quilt was updating their Dear Jane software. The new version is compatible with EQ8 and can be purchased for either a MAC or a PC.
Dear Jane Project Tracking
My latest Dear Jane adventure is attempting the blocks at 2.25" finished size. I've been stalled on this for a long time (more than care to think about). I am not very happy about the quality of some of my completed blocks and trying to decide if I should redo some of them or possibly even abandon the project. But I pulled out my finished blocks and decided to use them to test the new Dear Jane project tracker feature included in the Dear Jane Add-on Software just released by EQ.
I laid each of my pieced blocks on a piece of foam core board and then just snapped individual pictures on my phone.
Everything else was done in Electric Quilt as shown in this video tutorial.
Dear Jane Add-on for EQ8
Electric Quilt has informed me that they have a special introductory price for the new add-on software through April 30, 2020 and gave me permission to share their offer with you. The regular price is $49.95. The introductory price is $32.47. You can purchase directly from EQ here.
Electric Quilt Expert and Educator and Pattern Designer.