In this visit we get to see not only the lovely coverlet sewn by Jane Austen, 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. In this little house we get to see that she, along with her mother and sisters, were accomplished sewers.
The stunning coverlet is made entirely with English Paper Pieced patchwork. It’s not a quilt because there is no wadding. 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 symmetrically 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 project. Plus, there were so many blocks made that a second quilt was created.
Local children as well as international patchworkers and quilters were invited for the first project. They created blocks inspired by Jane’s life and works. The second project 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 result is the Admirals Quilt which can also be seen in the house in the room next to the coverlet. It is 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 Activities Project Manager
Stories in Stitches – Reimagining Jane Austen’s Quilt, Edited by Lucy Bailey, Elizabeth Betts and Sue Dell is a book that brings together the story of Jane Austen’s House Museum’s collaborative community quilt. It is available from the Museum website. www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk
Satnav address is GU34 1SD