Thursday, January 19, 2006

Close to Nowhere
By Linda Jones

J5 — Take Me Home!

There’s a picture at the bottom of my column this week. You can’t tell much from the small, black and white photo, but its a quilt block — when sewn into it’s quilt, the block will measure 4-1/2 inches square. Right now, it’s 5 inches square.

And the most amazing part of that little block, to me anyway, is the amount of fabric — there are 89 black, green or purple 7/8ths of an inch square pieces of fabric. Yes, 89. Yes, 7/8ths inch square.

I’ve been carrying it around with me since Sunday morning, showing it off. I’m justifiably proud of it (in my opinion anyway). I worked nearly a week on that block, hand-piecing it and nearly going crazy trying to figure out size, etc. to make it come out right.

The block will eventually go into a quilt I’m making — Dear Hannah. If you are interested in quilting, you may know about a quilt called Dear Jane. Dear Hannah is the “sequel” to Dear Jane and the quilt pattern book is also filled with historical, fact-filled letters to Brenda’s granddaughter Hannah.

There are 144 blocks in Dear Hannah. Each one will be finished at 4-1/2 inches. Around this quilt of 144 blocks there are 48 border triangles and four ‘kites’ or corner pieces to tie it all together.

I have hit a big milestone with this quilt! I have finished 52 blocks! I am now ‘gold’ and well on my way to becoming a “goddess,” which is what every good Dear Jane or Dear Hannah quilter aspires to — a completed quilt — quilted and ready to use!

Brenda Manges Papadakis found the Jane Stickle quilt from the 1860s in a museum and faithfully reproduced it — writing letters to Jane as she wrote the book, wondering what on earth possessed her to make a block like that, or wondering what was going on in Jane’s world during the Civil War times when she made the quilt.

The Dear Hannah quilt continues that theme — this time with reproductions of two quilts: one by a woman named Salinda Rupp from Pennsylvania and the other by an unknown quilter.

Oddly enough, the Salinda Rupp quilt has also been reproduced by another quilter, Liz Lois, who titled her book and quilt “Nearly Insane.”

After completing the block J5 - Take Me Home, I know exactly where that name came from!

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