36 free quilt blocks, one a week with a guide to Jane Austen's England and posts about the people in her life.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A High Power Set for 36 Sampler Blocks

Austen Family Album Blocks by Denniele

Denniele is setting her blocks on the square in a grid of pieced sashing .With 36 large blocks, adding piecing to the sashing can make for a l-a-r-g-e quilt so she's pieced in a tiny teal strip for added interest.

Her fabric/color scheme is a limited palette:
one large floral, one minimal white print and two solids.

UPDATE: Denniele tells me the blocks were redrafted to
6 inches--so it won't be as large as I thought.

Sounds simple but she is using the fabrics in challenging combinations.
Blue-green and red are complementary colors, so work well together.

they both have the same value.
Here I've eliminated the color. They are the same
shade of gray---which adds to the challenge.

She also designed a challenging set.
Block parts float in the background.

As Adair733 commented
"High Contrast = High Power. Wow"

See Denniele's Flickr page of Austen Family Album blocks here:

See basic instructions for the straight grid set (The Meryton Set) here:

The Merryton Set
with two-inch sashing and a six-inch border
96-1/2" square.

AnnaMaria's plan. She has carried the sashing
into the border and then added a spacer border.

Here's a blog post on sampler set ideas:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Terry's is Quilted and Keeping Gigi Warm

Austen Family Album 
by Terry at Honas52
90" square

Terry sashed 25 blocks and got this finished, bound
and shipped off to her granddaughter.

The yellow is all in the pieced sashing and the border and
goes great with her blocks in reds and blues.

It's a clever sashing

And this is as much as I can figure out.
UPDATE: See Terry's explanation in the comments.

What is she planning for her other set of Austen Family Album blocks?

See her Flickr photostream here:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bettina's Austen Family Medallion

Bettina's finished her Austen Family Album top

She's been making the blocks with pastels 
punctuated by brights...

and doing some fussy cutting and applique too.

Austen Family Album by Bettina Havig

I  Photoshopped my bad snapshot of her top so you 
could see the set. It hangs much straighter than this.

She set the 36 blocks both on the straight and on point.
There are 16 blocks in the center.

They're sashed with a nine-patch in the corners and
three strips between.
She framed these with a darker strip border.

The next border is 20 blocks set on point.
The setting triangles on the outside are pieced
to make these blocks appear to float on the brown strip.

Note that she pieced a tiny yellow triangle into
the corners to complete the illusion.
She then added a yellow print final border.

You may want to use her clever set but we should warn you that Bettina redrafted her weekly sample blocks to 9". If you set your 12" blocks like this you will have a mighty large quilt.

Bettina's Cutting Instructions for her design, 
modified for 12" Blocks to make a 102" square quilt

The interior section:

For the nine-patch and strip sashing:
  • Cut 72 assorted 2” x 12-½” strips and 81 squares 2 x 2" to make the 9 nine-patch corner stones.
For inner border, the brown frame surrounding the center section:
  • Cut 4 strips 3-¾”x 69-¼” to allow for mitered corners.
For the blocks on point frame:

  • For the yellow inside of the frame cut 4 squares 18-¼” and sub-cut twice for 16 quarter square triangles.

  •  Cut two 9-3/8” squares to sub-cut once for four half-square triangles for the corners. 

  • For the outer portion with the brown stripe cut 5 squares 7-5/8”  and sub-cut twice to yield 20 quarter square triangles.

  • Cut  2 squares 1-1/8” sub-cut once for four tiny little triangles. 

  • Also cut 20 strips 4 ½” x 18 ¼” and trim at opposite 45-degree angle on each end. These are sewn to the triangles to form the brown part of the faux  border. (Bettina added the top and bottom first using the small triangles and then added the side sections using the larger triangles.) Now the top measures about 102" x 102" so adding additional borders is optional. 
  • Final border may be cut to any desired width if you'd like a larger quilt.

You can find some useful math in Bettina's book
Classic English Medallion Style Sets.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Block 36: Modern Envelope for Anne Sharp

Block #36: Modern Envelope by Becky Brown for Anne Sharp
This is the last block in our series of 36 Austen Family Album blocks.

One of Jane Austen's last surviving letters was to her friend, "My dearest Anne" Sharp. They met about 1805 when both women were approaching 30 years of age. Jane was visiting her wealthy brother Edward's estate where Miss Sharp served as governess to Edward's eldest daughter Fanny for two years or so.

Rebecca Solomon painted a portrait of 
"The Governess"in the 1850s.

The women had much in common: age, taste, intelligence and the position of single women. Both perched on a curious step in the social ladder. In the midst of affluence and titles at a country manor, Miss Jane was a poor relation, Miss Sharp an employee, not quite a servant, certainly not an equal to her student's social position.

The elegant hall at Godmersham today

After Anne moved on to teach in another stately home the two remained fast friends through their letters. Anne visted Jane at Chawton at least once, in 1815.

Fashion Plate, 1803

Modern Envelope by Georgann Eglinski

Jane sent copies of her books and welcomed Anne's comments. In 1816 Jane asked the publisher to forward a set of the first edition of Emma, which Anne honestly reviewed. She did not like it so much as Pride and Prejudice.

Anne Sharp's 3-volume set of Emma recently sold for well over £100,000.

Anne signed her name
 above the publishing house clerk's notation:
 "From the author."

In summer, 1817, Anne was teaching in Doncaster and Jane was very ill indeed. She wrote to Anne about the ups and downs of her chronic and mysterious disease and her treatment in Chawton. She announced she was going to a larger city to see the family's doctor.
"I am going to Winchester instead, for some weeks to see what Mr Lyford can do farther towards re-establishing me in tolerable health. — On Saturday next, I am actually going thither — My dearest Cassandra with me I need hardly say — And as this is only two days off you will be convinced that I am now really a very genteel, portable sort of an Invalid."
She closed with:
"Sick or Well, beleive me ever yr attached friend
J. Austen"

The Winchester house where Jane died at the age of 41, 
soon after her letter to Anne, drawing by Constance Hill

8 College Street, Winchester

Entries from Jane's sister-in-law Mary Lloyd Austen's diary, 
from the Hants [Hampshire] website
"17 July 1817 Jane Austen was taken for death about ½ past 5 in the Evening
18 July 1817 Jane breathed her last ½ after four in the morn; only Cass. and I were with her. Henry came.."

Modern Envelope by Bettina Havig

We who love the past and Jane Austen's novels are so fortunate to have Jane's letters available to tell us more about the Austens and their times.

Letter to Cassandra Austen from her sister
In Jane Austen's England, letters were not inserted into envelopes. The writer left space on the sheet for the address and folded the paper to make a self-envelope, an old-fashioned skill. The recipient rather than the writer paid the postage and postage increased with each sheet. Jane was an economical writer, fitting a good deal of eloquence into a single sheet of paper.
When folded and sealed the letter was ready to be posted.

For our last block in the Austen Family Album, "Modern Envelope" can remind us of those Austen letters in their old-fashioned, hand-folded envelopes.This pattern, published in the Kansas City Star in 1945, echoes paper folding.

Modern Envelope is BlockBase # 1266d

Cutting a 12" Block
A - Cut 2 squares 6-7/8”. Cut each in half with a diagonal cut to make 2 triangles.

You need 4 large triangles.

B - Cut 2 squares 7-1/4”. Cut each into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts.

You need 8 triangles.


Jane's obituary

Modern Envelope by Becky Brown

Read more about the friendship here:

And while you stitch your sampler blocks together, listen to Eileen Horne's novel/play told from Miss Sharp's perspective in The Mysterious Death of Jane Austen.