A happy milestone: Five rows of the Dear Jane Quilt completed!

It’s been a while since I last gave you an update about my Dear Jane Quilt. However, that does not mean I’ve been sitting still! As you can see in the picture above, the top five rows are finished and are now beautifying my living room.

I’ve finished the top five rows of my Dear Jane Quilt in November, which is incredible because that month my parents also came to visit me and my boyfriend in Kenya. We travelled around and thus I wasn’t home a lot. My parents’ visit was vital to finish this part of my Dear Jane though because they came bearing gifts. Part of those gifts where my quilting and embroidery materials.

The Dear Jane Quilt is a famous sampler quilt first made by Jane Stickle. I am re-creating my own version to teach myself to quilt by hand. Therefore every stitch of this quilt is made by my own two hands. Read more about my Dear Jane quilting adventure in this introductory blog post:

When you visit a quilter you bring her materials

As I said, when my parents came to visit me in Kenya they came bearing gifts. The gifts came in the beautiful box you see below which incidentally is also a gift from my mother.  It is that my parents are only two, or I would have thought they were the three wise men considering the time of the year.

However, there is no gold, frankincense and myrrh in the box. This doesn’t mean the contents of the box are less precious though. The box holds the sashings, borders, of my Dear Jane and my finished blocks.


When I moved to Kenya this year at the end of July I could only bring three suitcases. Even though I managed to pack a lot of quilting and embroidery materials, I also had to leave some room for books and clothes. I brought materials to work on the centre blocks of the Dear Jane quilt, but nothing more. To save room I wanted to focus in Kenya on working with African Kitenge fabrics which I could source locally (which I am doing as well: Kitenge Pillow). However, when my parents decided to come I made use of the occasion and told them to bring everything I need to finish my Dear Jane quilt! I wrote about the colours I use for this quilt and the border strips in the post below:

The last three Dear Jane blocks

These are the last three blocks I also sewed in November to complete the five rows. Can you spot those blocks in the big photo on top?

Dear Jane Quilt Block E-11: Wagon Wheel

This block was tricky! I am not a fan of applique quilting at all as is abundantly clear when you see the kind of posts I write about applique below. However, there is a lot of applique in the Dear Jane which is forcing me to practise the technique. And I have to say that the better I get at applique the more I start to enjoy it. Block E-11 is made with reverse applique. Because reverse applique uses bigger pieces I find it easier to sew a neat block.

Dear Jane Quilt Block E-11: Wagon WHeel
Dear Jane Quilt Block E-11: Wagon WHeel

Dear Jane Quilt Block D-5: Cathedral Window

The colour and fabric combination works so well for this block! The calm green works well with the bold purple balancing each other nicely.

This block was straightforward to piece using the foundation piecing technique. This technique was especially useful to sew the small diamond pieces because foundation piecing makes tiny pieces easier to sew. Read more about the foundation piecing technique here:

Dear Jane Quilt Block D-5: Cathedral Window
Dear Jane Quilt Block D-5: Cathedral Window

Dear Jane Quilt Block C-10: Patriot’s Lantern

This design of this block reminds me of the light on top of a lighthouse. Maybe that is linked with the name of this block because a lighthouse guides friendly ships safely to the shore. Or maybe this block is named to honour the American Civil War background of Jane Stickle’s own quilt. What do you think?

This block is made with foundation piecing technique as well because some of the pieces were tiny.

Dear Jane Quilt Block C-10: Patriot's Lantern
Dear Jane Quilt Block C-10: Patriot’s Lantern

How to join the Dear Jane Blocks

According to the book, the square Dear Jane blocks in the middle are joined with a sashing and a tiny square.  However, a lot of people ignore the small square because it means a lot of fiddly work and is not that noticeable. You can see what I mean with ‘tiny square’ in the picture below. They are a bit more than one centimetre by one centimetre.

My Dear Jane quilt does have the tiny squares for two reasons:

  1. I was really into making the quilt as accurately as possible pattern-wise when I started this quilt.
  2. The squares are a nice way to use the background colours again and thus create cohesion in the overall colour scheme of the quilt.


Attaching the sashing and small squares is not difficult. It is a lot of work though, especially because I sew the entire quilt by hand. One thing I discovered while sewing the blocks together is the importance of pinning. Using pins at every point were corners meet is crucial to give the quilt a sleek finished look.


Conclusion: A long way is done and a long way ahead.

That’s it for now! Let me end this post quickly so I can spend the rest of my day staring at my Dear Jane in awe and admiration. Let me finish with some questions for you:

    1. Do you like Sampler quilts?
    2. How did you learn to quilt or how would you go about it if you want to learn?
    3. Is there anything you would like to know about the Dear Jane Sampler Quilt or quilting in general?

A Hand Quilting Along (HQAL) update

This post is also my update for the HQAL I participate in. We are a group of women who motivate each other to work by hand. You can read about it more in the post below. Also, find the updates of the other women in the links below.

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

KathyMargaretEmmaTracyDebSusan,  Nanette,  EdithSharonKarrinGretchen,
Kathi,  BellaDaisy and Connie

Would you like to know more?

Status of the Dear Jane Quilt:

  • 124/ 169 squares finished
  • 0 / 52 border triangles finished
  • 4 of the 4 corner kites in progress


See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) 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 blog post every Sunday or Monday.


    1. thank you for the nice comment! There are many more Dear Jane stories on my site if you are interested (just check the ‘Dear Jane’ tab in the menu on the right). I wish you much luck and fun with your own dear jane adventure. I will be curious to see your colour choices.


  1. Congratulations on the finish of Dear Jane. I think it took me 7 years off and on. Great work! Hope you have a very Happy Holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness this is amazing! That is a beautiful box your parents brought you.
    Oh I did not realize you were sewing the entire Dear Jane by hand, now I am even more blown away – wow! Also I did not realize you were living in Kenya – very cool!

    Liked by 1 person

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