Monday, October 6, 2014

Dear Jane: It's Not You, It's Me...

Do you ever find that at the end of the year you start looking at the list of WIPs and working out what you can complete and check off before the new year rolls around? That's where I'm at right now. I'm trying not to feel guilty about the number of WIPs I still have hanging around, and instead I'm concentrating on finishing them up.

One of the things that has always been at the top of my WIP list, under 'Long Term Quilts In Piecing' is the Dear Jane quilt I started way back in, ahem, 2002. Once upon a time I had grand plans of a hand-pieced, reproduction masterpiece that would take pride of place on a wall somewhere in my house.

Then life got busy. We built and moved houses a couple of times. I had another baby. I discovered scrapbooking with a vengeance. I went back to work. I rediscovered quilting, this time modern.

Occasionally I'd pull my highly organised Dear Jane box out from under my bed, complete a few blocks, then get over it. Fast forward twelve years and I've done 32 blocks out of the 225.

At this rate I should get it done when I'm about 120.

Or I can rethink and accept that I will never, ever get it finished. I don't love the whole concept any more, I don't enjoy this kind of hand piecing. I admire the amazing workmanship of anyone who's ever made a Dear Jane, but it's just not for me.

I pulled it out again today and took a look at what I'd done. For a moment I was all sentimental about how wonderful it was, then I realised how much more work there was to complete this quilt.

I've made the decision to use what I've got to create a mini-Jane. She's not going to be as spectacular as a full Dear Jane, but she's still going to be beautiful. It's a very manageable amount of work - I have two more blocks cut out that just need piecing, and then I need to put it all together. Hand quilting it will also be manageable due to its size. I used to panic about how I might possibly ever hand quilt it after I finally finished it. You know, my fingers will be pretty arthritic when I get to 120.

Once I'm done I'll sort the fabric reserved for this project - a small amount will go into my colour stash, some will go in my art quilts stash, and I expect a lot will go to a friend who loves reproduction fabrics.

And then I'll be able to check another project off my to-do list and take a huge weight off my mind. Sometimes quilting with no guilt is all about finding solutions.


  1. I think that's a very wise decision. It's a huge amount of work to finish a full quilt if your heart isn't in it anymore. At least you have good uses for the fabrics and can make use of the blocks you've already made. Our lives are so much busier that the original Jane's. She didn't have to drive her kids to sports practices, music lessons etc etc etc. She'd probably approve of a cut down version of her quilt for women living in 2014.

  2. The best part about this post is that you acknowledge it and then move on. Thank you for sharing.

  3. That's a great idea to make a mini version!

    I was thinking obut your post (from IG?) about having a lot of tops, I think it was? I started thinking if it were possible to use a top as a backing, making a double sided quilt, especially if some tops you're not as excited about over others which could help knock twice as many WiPs out of the way too!

  4. I'm looking ahead and thinking about 2015 already and that's a little scary! I would have loved to have made this quilt but in the end decided I couldn't commit to it - wish I'd been smart enough to think of making a Young Jane version and just picked the blocks I liked. Great idea! Can't wait to see it when it's done!

  5. Haven't thought that far ahead yet! Love your idea to finish it as a mini and get it off the mental checklist!

  6. I think your solution sounds practical and wonderful. It is awesome to be able to acknowledge the joy and excitement of a project has changed and be able to honor it by finishing it where it is today. :)

  7. Well it is a sampler quilt after-all and this mini will be your sample of it :)

  8. Quilting with no guilt us the way to go. I think a mini will be lovely.
    As it is, mine is also on hold. Even with only ten blocks to go, I still expect to be hand quilting it into my dotage. I love it, but I think you made a VERY sensible decision.

  9. Excellent decision! You are going to get all your wips finished with this attitude and then who will be laughing ?

  10. I don't assess what needs to be finished as we near the end of a year, but I completely empathise with all your thoughts, I began the Vignette quilt by Leanne Beasley in 2011 and I've completed about one third, but honestly I don't think I care to finish it. I've completely gone off stitchery. It's just too slow! Piecing is my thing. I have a sampler quilt I think I began in 2012 that uses beautiful fabrics, but it's just not my taste anymore either. It was going to be a wall quilt too, but I just don't want those colours in my house anymore.

  11. This is the same decision I came up with! I was all excited to start it with a group of friends, then came to the realisation that not only do I not like the look of sampler quilts I didn't even really like the fabric I'd chosen. So a mini it will be. A baby Jane.