Did you know that Jane Austen made a quilt? Most likely she made more than one, but there is one quilt of Jane’s in particular that is beautifully preserved by the Jane Austen House in Chawton, England. (I’ve always felt like Jane and I were kindred spirits, but it’s nice to have it confirmed.)
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(I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long!)
The Jane Austen House Museum is housed in Jane’s home in Chawton, Hampshire, where she lived with her sister Cassandra. This is also the home where she revised, wrote and published all 6 of her completed novels. The home also displays many of Jane’s own personal possessions. I had my two girls with me and we loved seeing her home, piano, gardens, letter desk, etc.
But imagine my utter excitement when we walked around a corner and saw this beautiful hand-pieced quilt, made by Jane herself! Probably along with her sister Cassandra, so she deserves a share of the credit too.)
(Pardon the not great photos – it was behind protective glass = glare and bad lighting.)
Here is the information that was posted next to the quilt display.
The whole quilt would have been pieced by hand. And all of those tiny diamonds in the border were pieced using English Paper Piecing techniques.
Again, these are my original pictures I took back in 2014. Aren’t those prints beautiful? I think it’s amazing how the quality of the fabric and colors has been maintained. I’m sure, in part, because the quilt has been cared for meticulously.
Here is a much better close-up of those EPP diamonds in this photo from the Jane Austen House museum.
Here is a flat shot of the entire quilt so that you can see the big picture. Not to mention the sheer number of all of those paper-pieced diamonds!
You can read more about the Patchwork Coverlet on the Jane Austen’s House website and see much better photos. It looks as if the quilt display has been modified since I visited.
Jane Austen at Home fabric collection from Riley Blake Designs
And now, here’s why I’m talking about Jane’s quilt… in 2020, Riley Blake Designs released a new fabric and accessories collection called Jane Austen at Home with prints carefully reproduced using the fabric using design motifs and colors from the original quilt.
One print that is not a reproduction from the quilt is this print called Correspondence – which is a reproduction of a letter in Jane’s handwriting. Many of these prints are still available from various fabric shops on Etsy.
The collection also includes a printed panel version of the the center portion of Jane’s quilt. Also available are printed panels of the diamond borders. So if you want to make a quilt just like Jane’s you can do it without any tricky cutting or English Paper Piecing 1,000’s of little diamonds. I’ve seen both panels (center and borders) still available on Etsy.
And, if you don’t feel the need to recreate the entire quilt, but still want a taste of Jane in your life, there is also a kit to make this charming pillow. Even Lady Catherine would be envious.
You can learn more about the inspiration and the reproduction process for this collection in this video.
And if you don’t need more projects, but still want to feel connected to Jane’s quilt, you can find some of the other coordinating Jane Austen at Home accessories like bookmarks, notebooks, playing cards, here.
I’ve been having fun playing with some of these Jane Austen at Home prints.
Can you guess what I’ve been making with them???
Union Jack quilt blocks. Obvs.
I think they look pretty dang good.
Or maybe it’s more appropriate to say, I think they look positively splendid.
I’ve been pairing the floral prints with these Buttermilk Basin Basics in pinks and red. They match perfectly and provide great contrast for the busier florals and larger prints.
Here’s a more close-up look at how this is going. Isn’t that text print great?!
I feel like Jane and I are sharing a cosmic connection. We are both homebodies after all, as she wrote: “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. Nobody can be more devoted to home than I am.”
Or turns out it was Mrs. Elton (unwanted chum of Emma) who said that…
Either way, it seems like an appropriate gift and talent for the past year of staying home.
Do you have any favorite Jane Austen quotes or characters? (There are so many good ones!) Share them in the comments. I’d love to hear them!