Article on Jane Austen's Quilt in PieceWork Magazine


Cub Reporter Heather L. reminded us about this article, which we meant to post a week ago. We subscribe to PieceWork, having a deep interest in historical needlework, and when we received the September/October 2008 issue, we were delighted to see an article on the quilt (which, the article informed us, is not really a quilt but a coverlet) that Jane Austen made with her mother and sister, which we (and no doubt many of our readers) have seen displayed at Jane Austen’s House Museum.

The article says of the coverlet:

The Austen coverlet, one of the few surviving examples of Jane Austen’s needlework, is a variation on the English medallion style, in which a central motif cut from a single piece of chintz is surrounded by multiple borders. . . . diagonal rows of more than 200 lozenges (diamond-shaped pieces) surround the central medallion, itself cut into a diamond shape around a printed basket of flowers. The lozenges are set in a trellis pieced from rhomboids made from fabric that is cream spotted with black. A deep border of more than 2,000 tiny lozenges, one-ninth the size of those surrounding the central medallion, edges the coverlet. Each patch, large and small, has been cut to display the fabric’s best advantage. . . . The Austens used sixty-four different fabrics in the coverlet, most of them in the small diamont patches of the border. The central motif was cut from a piece of chintz drapery fabric. The smaller patches are of calico and probably came from dressmaking scraps and worn-out clothing.

Muslin can never be said to be wasted. 😀

There also is a sidebar about a replica quilt pieced by members of JASNA’s Illinois Region, which will be on display at the AGM in Chicago next month.

If you would like to read the article (and the whole magazine, which is usually excellent and very interesting, especially if you are interested in historical and cultural needlework), it is available in many fabric, quilting, yarn, and needlework stores, and you can probably purchase one from Interweave.