After staring at this quilt for seven years, I feel like I know it very well. On the other hand, I feel like I'll never truly know it, never discover all its secrets. My first introduction to this quilt was through Brenda's website: Dear Jane. There you can read about Brenda's journey, find tips on making the blocks and purchase the book, templates and/or the computer software. I have the book and I love being able to take a closer look at each block (although I do wish the photos of each block were larger and more detailed).
Two things to know about the book:
1) There are no directions on how to put the blocks together, although each block has a template drawn to the correct size.
2) Not all templates exactly match Jane's original blocks. (From what I can tell from pictures, it looks like some are corrected in the software.)
The good thing is that there are lots of tutorials online. By far my favorite site is That Quilt written by Anina of Twiddletails fame. She shows how she assembles each and every block, triangle and kite.
When it comes to choosing fabrics, I beg you to use your favorite and very best fabrics for this quilt. I speak from experience here: you will very quickly become annoyed with your fabrics if you don't love them or if they are of poor quality. If this happens, you might end up hating everything about your quilt and throwing all your blocks away like I did. Maybe you aren't as temperamental, maybe you'll play it cool and keep on making blocks. But maybe, like me, you'll have a fit and cry a little and vow never to sew anything ever again. Choosing the right fabric is seriously important!
Part of that is choosing colors and how you want to arrange them within the layout. The original quilt is arranged in a Trip Around the World pattern. The center is green, the next ring is yellow, the next brown and so forth. Anina's Rainbow Jane shows this off to perfection.
You can also go random like her 1930's Jane version...this is what I'm going to do! Searching Flickr for "Dear Jane Quilt" brings up lots of quilts with different color combinations and layouts.
For my Dear Jane quilt, I've decided to do a random color layout using my precious Liberty of London stash:
I bought some of these when I was in London two years ago and the rest came from Purl Soho. I actually just ordered a bunch more prints...this quilt takes a lot of fabric and I want it to be really scrappy. Except there will be little to no purple or yellow...I just couldn't do it, you guys! You know how I feel about purple. I'm totally cool with other people liking it but it's just not the color for me.
Anyway, there's another facet to my DJ plan that I'll reveal once I figure out if it'll even work. My package from Purl should be here soon and then I'll know for sure. There is excited waiving of hands going on over here!