On this blog you can find my ramblings about the baby Dear Jane's® (all 225 patterns).

I will regularly post a picture about the ‘babies’ that have been constructed. Each block is unique and belong to its maker, Jane A. Stickle, they are all derived from the original ‘mother’ quilt:

‘In War Times 1863 Pieces 5602 Jane A. Stickle’.

Dear Jane® Progress

Dear Jane Status

  A-1 A-2 A-3 A-4 A-5 A-6 A-7 A-8 A-9 A-10 A-11 A-12 A-13  
  B-1 B-2 B-3 B-4 B-5 B-6 B-7 B-8 B-9 B-10 B-11 B-12 B-13  
  C-1 C-2 C-3 C-4 C-5 C-6 C-7 C-8 C-9 C-10 C-11 C-12 C-13  
  D-1 C-2 D-3 D-4 D-5 D-6 D-8 D-9 D-10 D-11 D-12 D-13  
  E-1 E-2 E-3 E-4 E-5 E-9 E-10 E-11 E-12 E-13  
  F-1 F-2 F-3 F-4 F-10 F-11 F-12 F-13  
  G-1 G-2 G-3 G-4 G-11 G-12 G-13  
  H-1 H-2 H-3 H-4 H-5 H-9 H-10 H-11 H-12 H-13  
  I-1 I-2 I-3 I-4 I-5 I-6 I-8 I-9 I-10 I-11 I-12 I-13  
  J-1 J-2 J-3 J-4 J-5 J-6 J-7 J-8 J-9 J-10 J-11 J-12 J-13  
  K-1 K-2 K-3 K-4 K-5 K-6 K-7 K-8 K-9 K-10 K-11 K-12 K-13  
  L-1 L-2 L-3 L-4 L-5 L-6 L-7 L-8 L-9 L-10 L-11 L-12 L-13  
  M-1 M-2 M-3 M-4 M-5 M-6 M-7 M-8 M-9 M-10 M-11 M-12 M-13  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two baby Janes completed - G9 & I7

Dear Jane,

It has been a while! I’m sorry about that. This will be a short letter to show-off the blocks that I have completed in November.

IMG_7447_I7_Mac and MuffIMG_6977_G9_Marys Journey

At the moment I’m busy with the next block. I was kind of hoping this would be the third one for November, but as you can see I’ve just laid-out all the pieces and I still need to cut the pieces for the last row. Than I will finally be able to piece them all together.


Once I’ve completed this one. I will have finished my second trip!! We will have to celebrate this by sewing on the sashings. Can’t wait to show you that.

Hopefully I will be able to continue at this pace, and make two baby Janes a month. Wondering how many you completed per month. It is kind of sad that you didn’t document your progress on this quilt. I’m sure all the other Janiacs would love to know.

Helen, the quiltmaker

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Helen's baby Jane blocks

Thanks so much for starting this blog girls. Dawn and Vicki are Janiacs’ who initiated this blog. I though I would mention this in case you are first time visitors. What a great idea to organise this virtual community. So last week I e-mailed Dawn to let her know that I would love to join the journey of finishing a Dear Jane. I sure would appreciate the encouragement of other Janiacs’. So do leave a note of encouragement every couple of weeks. This blog is a great way to be united.

A couple of months ago, last March, I decided to pick-up this project. So far I haven’t regretted my decision. The only thing that worries me is that I don’t seem to be able to find enough time. The progress is ever so slow. The photo shows how far I’ve gotten. As you can see I’m using civil war reproductions.

I also have my own blog for the Dear Jane. On this blog you can find my ramblings about the baby Jane’s I’ve made so far.

I’m hoping by joining this group I will get back to my Jane and continue on this marvellous journey. I really should try to finish the second route!

This is the last block I made end of September, G9 Mary’s Journey.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

G5 - Poof

Dear Jane,

I’m a little late with this letter. Last week Monday I sorted out which fabric I wanted to use for the next 4 blocks and I completed G5 – Poof.

I find appliqué hard. I’m not completely satisfied with the end result so I’ve decided to do a class on appliqué techniques in Houston in November. I thought I enrolled in two but it is this one: ‘the A word – Appliqué for beginners’. Hopefully my skill-level will improve while going along. This is the reason I like your quilt, you challenge me. Although, I’m going at a snail pace, I’m enjoying the journey. You are teaching me so much. You have combined so many techniques and while making the baby Jane’s you are confronted with so many different skill levels. You really should not be a novice quilter when starting on this quilt. Some hand piecing experience does come in handy. I appreciate my teacher, Aagje, more and more every time I complete a block.

Here is a wall picture of ‘G5 – Poof’.


Here is a close-up

IMG_6148   Warm regards, Helen

PS. I’ve finally decided upon the sashings!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Deanie’s Daisies – F6 – done!

Dear Jane,

As mentioned in my previous post, I intended to piece F6 this afternoon. And look, I did.


I found the appliqué of the daisies a little difficult. Not completely satisfied with the result, but it will have to do. Here is a close-up.


I now can start selecting the fabrics for the next four blocks. I’m going to do E7 – Bread Basket, G9 – Mary’s Journey, I7 – Mac and Muff and G5 – Poof. I was under the presumption that you had thought of the names for these baby Jane’s, but now I know that pupils of Brenda Papadakis gave your baby Jane blocks a name.

Hoping that these blocks will be a little less challenging. But before I can start piecing I first have to cut out the templates on Freezer paper and iron them on the fabric. Yes, I'm using the paper-piecing method. 

I’m still wondering when you found the time to piece them. I also wonder whether you did all this during the day or pieced in the evenings under candle light. I know Michael Faraday discovered the fundamental principles of electricity generation during the 1820s and early 1830s. This was before the Civil War. However electricity wasn’t generated by central stations before 1881. This means you used something else for light, unless you pieced during the day, which I find hard to believe. So how were you able to be so precise in your designs and stitchery? What kind of light source did you use?

I bought myself a table magnifying lamp from Daylight TM . Yes, I’m preparing myself for the dark autumn evenings, but the magnifying lens has proven its worth while appliquéing the daisies.

I’m a little late in showing what I’ve done this month. Normally I would post around the 5th of each month. But here are the other baby Jane’s.




Hoping to keep up this pace during August.

Warm regards,

Helen, the Quiltmaker

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Read an interview with the first Janiac.

You can read a interview with Brenda Papadakis here. Enjoy! As you all know she is the author of the Dear Jane book. The first Janiac. This book inspired me to start on this journey. I agree with Brenda, “There is so much to be learned in making this quilt, and all the techniques can be applied to other quilts as well”. It is a real challenge, but one I’m sure to conquer.

If you have some more time on your hands, check out this slideshow.

I too finished another baby Jane this week.


Warm regards, Helen

Friday, July 29, 2011

It’s the end of the month – Dear Jane club meeting

Dear Jane,

It is that time of the month again. This morning I quickly did some necessary preparations, so that I would be able to start on the next baby Jane in case I pieced a little quicker than usual.

2011_07_29_DJclub Zutphen

After lunch I drove to Zutphen. Boy, was it busy on the roads. I think the traffic would freak you out. Summer drivers drive like mad nowadays. The traffic was bad today. Had some hassles trying to get between some trucks to get off the highway. And let’s not mention trying to get back onto the highway on my way home. I really don’t like this time of year. I hate it when truckers are caravanning and drive close together. I find it difficult to put my car between them. The space between them looks so small. But I hate people with caravans a little more. They really make it difficult for us drivers because of their slow pace. I can’t blame the truckers making some unpredictable moves just to prevent an accident. Silly of me, for wanting to go to Zutphen today. I know it is Black Saturday tomorrow, the busiest day of the year when many people go on holiday in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium. I guess lots of people wanted to avoid this. You were lucky to have lived at a time that horse and carriage was the only means of transportation. Although I do realize I wouldn’t be able to go to Zutphen if I had to go on horse back. I wouldn’t survive the 60 kilometres (about 40 miles).

It was busy at Petra Prins Quilt shop too. As you can see there were a lot of quilters busy with their Dear Jane.

2011_07_29_DJclub Zutphen1

I nearly completed my Church Window - F8. Only have to do the outer border.

Petra Prins herself was also in the quilt shop. We were the first ones to admire her new fabric line ‘Josephine’. It is not yet available. If I listened well, it will be available sometime in February 2012. We Dear Jane quilters all received a piece of her own designed fabric so that we can make a baby Jane with it. This is going to be our homework for next month. Will also have to decide which block I’m going to use for this fabric.

Had a lovely creative and inspiring afternoon. It is great to see how each of us interprets your work.

I’ll be starting with my next baby Jane sometime this week. Can’t wait to see how F6 – Deanie’s Daisies turns out.

Warm regards, Helen

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another baby Jane

Hi again!  I’m baaaack!  I would like to present my adventures with the Dear Jane.

Wednesday evening I had a lovely time at Juud’s place. You can read more about it here.

2011_07_13_DJ bij Juud-flowers-boeks

The next day I completed this beauty. Isn’t it stunning yellow? I really like H7 – Bennington’s Star. Have to still look up why it is called Bennington. Will let you know if I discover something worth writing about.


As you can see the Dear Jane is coming along nicely. I’ve finally finished 5 baby Jane’s (blocks)!! As I’m on a roll I thought I would start with an other block – H8, Eaton’s crossroads. This little baby has a lot of appliqué in it.


Saturday I had a discussion with Karin about the colour of this block. She interpreted the fabric being brownish of colour. I though it was more purple. Do you think Jane would mind if it looks a little different to the one she made?

I’m slowly realizing I’ve undertaken a real challenge. One that will keep me busy for the next 5 years, and I think I’m only talking about completing the top. Let’s not contemplate on how many more years it will take to quilt this beauty. Did I mention that I’m hand piecing every block. No, sewing machine is coming near this quilt in progress.

Let’s not start nagging about how small the blocks are. Lets not go there. They are sooooooo small. Sorry, I love to nag once in a while. I think it is hard for people – not quilters - to imagine how small the pieces are. Sometimes you only need 2 stitches to fit two pieces together.

I also ponder whether I should blame Jane or Brenda for this tedious undertaking. According to Brenda not all the baby Jane’s were that small (11,5 x 11,5 cm).

Saturday I travelled with Juud to her sister Karin, who lives in the east part of the Netherlands. It was about an hours drive. I had a terrific time. We worked on our baby Jane’s. Karin also showed her other works. There are so many. You can read about it on my regular blog.

2011_07_16_DJ bij Karin

I brought some brownie cookies. Boy, were they delicious and filling. I had a whole one!! Karin made some soup for lunch. She adapted her recipe to make it a low-salt vegetable soup. She remember reading about it on my blog. I was very surprised that she had been reading my other blog for about 3 years. She finally met the real Helen and it seems that the virtual Helen doesn’t differ much from the real one. 

Juud had some difficulties with Papa’s Star! That makes me soooooo happy. On Wednesday I was sure she would piece this baby together faster than me. But Saturday she noticed when she had finished piecing this baby that it just didn’t look right. I won’t go into it too much as I’m sure she will write about it on her blog. For the observant reader I’m sure you can see what I’m talking about.

Had a great day and looking forward to the next one. In September the quilt circle will take place on a Saturday. My dream to realize a Dear Jane circle will finally come true. I just have to be a little more patient in the future. All things do turn out for the best in the long run.

Helen, the quilter

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Progress with the G8 – Justin’s Comet

The coming weeks Juud and I will be working real hard on our Dear Jane Quilt. We might even make some real progress. It is so much more fun, stitching together. And, it becomes even more fun when others join, virtually. Juud is real ‘vet cool’ (Dutch youth slang) & a very ‘hippe’ woman. See her here twitting with her sister who was showing her progress on her Dear Jane?


Juud is into social media even more than me!!  image‘LZ’ has completed the first route and even put on the sashings!! Some pictures were exchanged. Who would have thought that these modern women would enjoy practising such an old craft and also love using social media.

Recently Updated4

As you can see, looking closer to my hands we are not getting any younger. Lots of wrinkles appearing!! But we act young!!


As mentioned in the header I started on the G8 and have nearly completed this little baby. Another hour and I can show you her.

We were so enthusiastic that we started (dreaming) planning on finishing this quilt. ‘’Imagine if we made 5 blocks a week, we would have this quilt finished next year July. No, no, this is a too unrealistic goal. How about 4 blocks a month? Yes, that is attainable. But this would mean we would have our Dear Jane completed in 4.5 years!! No that can’t be right. Back to math. Yes, the math is correct, it would really takes us that long.’’ So after a little discussion, I regret to have to inform you, that you will be reading about our progress for a long time. But any way, to speed up the progress we planned some extra bee’s for the summer. We don’t want to fall too much behind, as LZ (Juud’s sister) is on a roll.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Don’t you just love….. Civil War Quilts?

I’m absolutely smitten with the quilts from this era and how stories are kept alive through quilt patterns. If you haven’t guessed by now I’m talking about the American Civil War 1861 – 1865. Almost all the inter-regional crises involved slavery. This led to a division in The Union along the Mason Dixon Line into the North (free of slaves), and the South, where slavery remained legal.


But it is not just the quilts that inspire me. I’m also interested in the history of this period. Would love to read more about the abolitionism movement, the women of the American Civil War, and Woman's Christian Temperance Union.  Many quilts were made for both fundraising and for the soldiers' bedding during the Civil War. The soldiers' quilts were generally made with basic fabrics and very simple block patterns. Time was always an issue, so the faster the quilts could be made the better. I know from experience that Jane Stickle didn’t keep all the patterns in the Dear Jane simple. Some are a real challenge. Maybe this provided her a much wanted distraction. To keep the mind from wondering and the hands busy.

Do you want to read more about the different patterns and get a quilt block free? Visit the Civil War Quilts blog that Barbara Brackman publishes. I’m very appreciative of her effort and in awe of the inspiration she provides.

It pleases me that I’m not the only one who is fascinated with the Dear Jane and other Civil War quilts. Cathy from Willow Valley Store (Australia) has also started on the Dear Jane. Do check out her blog. Through Cathy’s blog I surfed on to Marian’s blog (Marian Edwards DreamWeaver). Marian has made some beautiful blocks. You have to see the amazing fabrics she is using for your self, just click on the hyperlink. 

For those who read my blog, if you have any suggestions on books I should read about  this era just send an e-mail with your suggestions. It is very much appreciated. If you happen to know of other quilters who are fascinated by civil war quilts and are in the progress of making a civil war quilt, please provide me the URL of their blogs. Would love to follow their progress.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Drum roll please!!

And than all of a sudden this baby Jane was born (finished). I’m amazed. I puzzled my wits to construct this baby. The middle part – about the size of a 2 €uro coin – was the hardest part. At the Dear Jane Club I all of a sudden saw how I had to fit every thing together. Some things seems to take time – si deve accettare questo! (by the way – I don’t speak Italian, got a little help from Mr Google translator). It sounds nice though.

2011_07_01_DJ-club1-1It was another great time at the Dear Jane club. I’m so happy I joined. Great ladies and great laughs. I finally met LZ!


At the Hema (a Dutch store) you can get these Petits Fours. Gerda treated us.    imageThe pink one with the flower on top was delicious.


It was so good I had to try the chocolate one too, with my second cup of coffee. It was a very successful afternoon.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Update on F8, H6 and H8

Dear Jane,

As mentioned in my previous letter, I planned to do some preparations for a couple of baby Jane blocks.


I intended to prepare 4 blocks, but I only managed 3 today. It is slow and tedious process. The templates are so small. I now understand that not all your baby blocks were 4.5 x 4.5 inch. I’m however sticking to Brenda’s plan, so I better get used to those tiny templates. For I have another 223 blocks to go. Actually a little less than 223 as I now have gotten the F8 – Church Window done, as the H6 – Pie Sale and H8 – Eaton’s Crossroads.




Yes, I use cotton nappies to pin the templates on. This way they won’t stray. I’m able to fit 3 baby blocks on one nappy. I think it is appropriate to use nappies when constructing baby Jane blocks. Another reason is that I can fold the nappy so that it fits nicely between Brenda’s book and the Clover double sided patchwork board. This makes it easier to take it with me. I’ll also be taking some thread, needles, pins and scissors with me. Naturally also my finger pincushion. All this fits nicely in this little box. I hope I didn’t forget anything essential.  


While in the UK I’m hoping to construct some blocks, as I’m expecting lots of rain. I hope to have completed G6 – Pappa’s star, G8 – Justin’s Comet, H7 – Bennington Star,  F8 – Church Window, H6 – Pie Sale and H8 – Eaton’s Crossroads, the next time I write. 

Best regards, Helen

F6, F8, H6 and H8

Dear Jane,

I’ve decided to take some work with me on my holidays. The weatherman is predicting rain and more rain. I can already imagine myself sitting in a nice tearoom and do some patchwork & appliqué. I think hubby will think I’ve gone completely mad. So I might do some patchwork in our room at the B&B instead, if we decide not to go out exploring in the rain. Wondering, were there bed & breakfast places in your time? I think you most probably spoke of inns. Sadly, I can’t find much information about inns during the civil war, except that some functioned as a hospital.

Anyway, I’ve printed the F6 – Deanie’s Daisies, such a pretty block, F8 – Church Window, H6 – Pie Sale (love this one), and H8 – Eaton’s Crossroads. There will definitely be some challenges along the way. Do click on the hyperlinks as the tutorials make everything a little easier. I really appreciate the effort that Anina made to place all those tutorials on this blog. Some of those blocks are real mind teasers. I had forgotten that I put this tutorial on my blog for easy reference, as I knew that some of the blocks would be a challenge when I decided to undertake this project. I have to thank Juud for reminding me. I sometimes think I’m losing my mind (especially my memory)…… as, “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” - Vincent van Gogh. Undertaking this challenge, making a replica of your quilt, reminds me that “Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most”. - Mark Twain. I really need to do something about that. So instead of improving my concentration by playing memory games or doing concentration puzzles, I’ve convinced myself that making this quilt will do the trick too.

I’ve chosen the fabric, out of my rather large civil war fabric stash. A lady can never have enough fabric!! But I do think I need to invest in some more civil war fabric! I think this will satisfy my graving for a while.

A little later in the morning you can imagine me sitting behind the table drawing on the fabric and cutting out the templates, preparing myself to undertake another 4 blocks. By the way, today is a rainy day here in the Netherlands, so what better way is there than to spend my day with your quilt.

kind regards, Helen

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

G6 – papa’s star

Dear Jane,

I just wanted to let you know I’ve found a friend who wants to take on the challenge of making a replica of your quilt. Lucky for me, we will encounter the same challenges together, as we are both in the start-up phase. I thought that the G7 was a challenge but I definitely can now say that this baby Jane was easy compared to G6 – papa’s star.

I’ve undone my work twice now!IMG_4554Somehow ‘template - i’ didn’t fit right. I think the template wasn’t mirrored as the other templates. Did I find a mistake in the ‘Dear Jane Quilt Design Software’ or was it a mistake I make myself? Luckily, Juud was there to help me tackle the problem. I think together we solved the problem.  IMG_4555The turnaround for this baby Jane is about 5 hours now and I’ve only done the centre part of this block. When will I finish this teeny weensy baby Jane? But don’t start thinking that I’ve become discouraged. I will preserver. I absolutely love this quilt and I can already imagine how it will look like many years from now.

Juud was in the States a little while ago and it is nice to see that she found some similar fabrics. She has bought stacks of fat-quarters. There were so many fat-quarters on the table last night. She even bought some doubles by mistake. I understand the price of a fat-quarter in the States can not be compared to the prizes over here. It seems to be so much cheaper there. I won’t mention how much I’ve already spend on this quiltEmbarrassed


I was the lucky girl to get her doubles. Aren’t these green fat-quarters beautiful?


At the end of our evening, Juud and I planned some more get-togethers to work on this beautiful quilt.  In the above picture two of my finished baby Jane’s are displayed!

Regards, Helen

Sunday, June 5, 2011

5th of June

Dear Jane,

It has been some time since I’ve posted. The last couple of months have been challenging to say the least. I don’t know how you did it, finding time to work on this quilt during a very worrying time. Knowing that family and friends were away fighting a war. Fighting for your independence and freedom. You and the other women tending to your farms and going about your life.

There were lots of tensions that led to the Civil War, that lasted from 1861 to 1865. I believe the five primary causes that led to the ‘war between the states’ were: the social and economic differences between the north and south; states versus federal rights (two camps emerged those arguing for greater states rights and those arguing for more control by the federal government); the fight between slave and non-slave state proponents; the growth of the Abolition movement and the election of Abraham Lincoln. I wonder on whose side you were on and what your views were on this war.

I’m realizing that when faced with life changing challenges, this affects my creativity and sewing time. I just don’t seem to be able to pick-up needle and thread and sew those beautiful baby Jane blocks.

You don’t want to know how many times in the past months I planned some free time to finish G6 – papa’s star. I would love some advise on how to create some ‘sewing’ time.

Hoping to pick-up my pace in the next month. But don’t hold your breath as I’ll be focussing most of my attention on getting other things in order first. 

I’m amazed the progress that other Dear Jane fanatics are making. Some do one to two blocks a week. I only can dream!

I’ve not given up on making this beautiful quilt. I will preserver and carry on.

regards, Helen (an admirer of your quilt) 

Friday, May 6, 2011


Only us two showed up today! 2011_05_06_zutphen&balloon2

I worked on the centre part of this new baby Jane. It is really teeny weenie!. To show you how small, I placed a one euro coin next to it. This small block took me 2 hours!

On the way back to the car I thought I would take a scenic route.



Zutphen is definitely beautiful this time of year.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Another 2 baby Jane’s under construction

Dear Jane,

I found time to trace the templates on Freezer paper. Cut out the little pieces and iron them on the fabric. Trace again along the templates and then draw the lines for a 1/4 inch seem allowance. Finally, cut the fabric and lay-out the pieces to be sewn together. This process is soothing for the soul and allows for a meditative moment - quality time. It allows me to dream. It also forces you to focus on constructing the puzzle of this baby Jane block and it allows you to reflect on the puzzle of life in general.  Jane, your quilt takes a combination of skill, patience, and creativity to make. I admire this in you. It is a test of perseverance.  

2011_04_27_DJ 2011_04_28_DJ

I’ll show the progress of constructing these babies in another post.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another Baby Jane done - G7

Dear Jane,

I was able to find some time to work on the G7. It was quiet a ponderous challenge this block.

2011_04_16_hortensias DJ

I’m going to try to finish the G8 this week. I should be able to manage this baby Jane quiet easily. With lots of admiration I’ll continue with this quilt. I’m glad that Brenda Papadakis found your quilt and took up the challenge to draft those tiny blocks. I too am now fascinated, but happy that I don’t have to do the math to figure-out how to construct this block. I’m in awe by the originality of design and the composition of this block. I’m learning lots of new skills and I want to thank you and Brenda.

There is also a European Dear Jane Club. You can join, if you click here. This club is planning a exhibit in 2013 in Brussels. I don’t live far from Brussels! It is only a 2 1/2 hours drive. I’m sure I will make the trip down south and admire the other Dear Jane’s.

My virtual wall isn’t up yet. Hope to get some help from hubby soon so that you can see my progress.