In this visit we get to see not only the lovely coverlet sewn by Jane, with her mother and sisters but also the community quilts it has inspired.
Jane Austen is well known and much loved today as an author, but in this little house we get to see that she (along with her mother and sisters) were accomplished sewers.
The stunning coverlet (it’s not a quilt because there is no wadding) is made entirely with English Paper Pieced patchwork; it is also particularly unusual because despite being made with recycled fabrics, it has a medallion style of setting, set on point and uses over 3,000 diamonds which are symetrically placed.
We also get to see and learn more about the community project quilt(s) that this inspired; over 180 people were involved in the first and then there were so many blocks made that a second quilt was created.
The first invited local children as well as international patchworkers and quilters to create blocks inspired by Jane’s life and works; and the second was the result of so many enthusiastic sewers in workshops, using the EPP method and indeed creating the templates from copies of Jane’s letters (what a great idea). The resulting Admirals Quilt is also housed in the house, in the room next to the coverlet, and was long-arm quilted with a simple wave design, which was felt to echo the naval connection of the family.
Our guide throughout the day was Lucy Bailey, Heritage Activiities Project Manager
Stories in Stitches book – Reimagining Jane Austen’s Quilt,
Edited by Lucy Bailey, Elizabeth Betts and Sue Dell
Brings together the story of Jane Austen’s House Museum’s collaborative community quilt – and is available from the Museum website. www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk
Satnav address is GU34 1SD