The Dear Jane quilt: seeing red, am I mad?

Am I mad? Maybe, but that is not the point of this story. I am writing about all the background colours I’ve chosen for my Dear Jane sampler quilt as an opportunity to discuss fabric and colour choice in quilting.

Jane Stickle's Dear Jane
The original quilt made by Jane Stickle

The Dear Jane is a sampler quilt, meaning consisting of many different patterns, made by Jane Stickle. Brenda Papadakis was inspired by Jane’s original quilt and turned all the blocks into a pattern. Now many quilters all over the world are making the quilt to test their skills, determination and to become better at quilting. I am one of those quilters. Samplers are suitable to learn new skills because they use many different techniques.

Red is the background colour of this post. It is one of the four background colours of the middle squares together with white, green and blue. I use bold colours and combinations both because I think those make exciting quilts, but also to show people how crazy you can get with colours and still make a fantastic quilt. So far, I’ve also written a post about the blue background colour

Dear Jane quilt blocks
Dear Jane quilt blocks

The red background fabric is the only one I actually bought for this quilt. Usually, I use whatever is available. My mom is one of those quilters with more fabric than she can handle, so she always lets me use hers. I was set on red though, so buying I did. My knowledge of suitable fabrics was not very big when I bought it, so the fabric is not ideal and it frays very easily. Maybe it is woven too loosely? I am not sure. It sews nicely though so I’ll keep using it.

Dear Jane quilt block M-9: Fan dance

Dear Jane quilt block M-9: fan dance
Dear Jane quilt block M-9: fan dance

Oh, this was a fun block. It reminds me of Spiderman, a maze and kinds of fun goodness. Also, I like the combination of pink and red. It is a bit unconventional, but it will look very good in the finished quilt. There are a lot of unexpected colour combinations in this post, as you will see. If you take care to have some recurring colour elements in your quilt some unexpected colours will give the overall piece some interest. Recurring themes could be background colours or sashing. I talk more about that in this post where I explain the colour choices of my Dear Jane quilt:

This block is made with the patchwork technique. With a lot of pins that technique always works to get a neat block.

Dear Jane quilt block L-4: St. George’s cross

Dear Jane quilt block L-4: St. George's cross
Dear Jane quilt block L-4: St. George’s cross

This was another fun block! I loved the small red strips and how they are not extended in one line throughout the whole block. It gives the block an interesting look. As you can see, the quilt block is a bit wonky. That is because the light green fabric is too thin and stretches a lot. I used it anyway because I had already cut the pieces. When I’ll sew the sashing or borders on this block I have to be extra careful not to stretch the block. When you pin a lot and take care when sewing you can use almost all the fabric you want to, no matter what other people tell you.

Dear Jane quilt block E-1: Aunt Exie’s phlox

Dear Jane quilt block E-1: Aunt Exie's phlox
Dear Jane quilt block E-1: Aunt Exie’s phlox

First I did not know what ‘phlox’ was -Google tells me it’s some kind of flower. How nice that the Dear Jane quilt has learned us something new non-quilting related.

Now it annoys me that this block has only four petals since the phlox clearly has five petals. I remain that the pattern of this quilt block should look something like this:

Phlox design with five colours
Phlox design with five colours

A  block like looks less symmetrical though, so maybe that’s why Jane went for four petals. The nature theme is nice. There are many of those in the Dear Jane, I even wrote a post about it:

I used the needle-point technique for this block. It is one of the first times I’ve tried it and I’m not sure if I like it or not. Needlepoint applique where you sew the pieces on top of the background fabric seems more difficult than reverse applique where you sew the pieces behind the background to me to get neat pieces. Time and more practice will tell. That keeps being the conclusion when I do applique:

Dear Jane quilt block A-9: cabin fever

Dear Jane quilt block: A-9 cabin fever
Dear Jane quilt block: A-9 cabin fever

The title of this block is clever.  The design with the square on its side with all the little pieces inside of it gives it a claustrophobic sense explaining the name. This quilt block came out neat because I used the foundation piecing technique where you sew the patchwork pieces on a background fabric. Read more about that here:

This is another block with an unconventional colour combination. I would not advice doing a whole quilt in orange and red, and I am not sure whether the block works on its own, but, in the bigger quilt, it will look great.

Concluding remarks

This is the end of the post. With a bit of luck it gave you some daring to use bold colour combinations yourself.  Now, some questions to get to know you:

  • Do you like sampler quilts?
  • How bold do you dare to go with colours?
  • Which block of the Dear Jane quilt is your favourite?

Next week I will talk about the first (mini-)quilt I send in for an exhibition!

Do you want to know more?


See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blogpost every Sunday or Monday.


  1. It’s amazing how different Dear Jane can be with different fabric. I like what you are doing. I’m trying to use similar fabric that is used in the original. Jane is an obsession. So much for saying that I will never make a Dear Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha I love the one that reminded you of Spider-Man. It would be so cool to knit a whole suit, if I had time and the skill set for it. 😛 It’s really impressive what you’re able to accomplish with what you have too. And those flowers are gorgeous! Thank you for sharing, Bella! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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