See the Jane Austen Quilt ‘Stories in Stitches’ at The Festival of Quilts.
The quilt was formed after a museum led a heritage lottery funded programme of events and activities through 2017 culminating in the production of a community story quilt inspired by the coverlet held in the museum collection which was hand-stitched by the Austen ladies.
The community story quilt has been designed and stitched by quilters, artists, embroiderers and Jane Austen fans from across the world including United Kingdom, Brazil, Pakistan, North America and Australia. The quilt tells the story of Jane’s life including the places she lived, objects she owned, her novels and her legacy. In total 180 people have contributed to making the community story quilt.
The ethos of the project has allowed each participating group to produce a unique and individual response to a given theme, with minimal guidelines except the specification their design must fit within a nine-inch square.
The centre medallion has been appliquéd by year six students from Chawton Primary School, placing Jane Austen’s village at the heart of the quilt, whilst the English paper pieced squares in each corner were hand-stitched by members of the public during drop-in sewing workshops.
The finished piece measures 242 x 166.50cm (103 ¼ x 65 ½in).
As a testament to the success of the project, they have also produced a second quilt. We held community sewing workshops, where participants could learn the art of English Paper Piecing, the technique used by the Austen’s to make the coverlet and invited them to send us their completed squares. So many were sent that the decision was made to make a second quilt to be displayed in the Admirals’ Room at the Museum. Over one hundred people helped hand stitch the Admiral’s quilt which measures 134.5 x 180.5cm (53 x 71 inches).