Saturday, 13 July 2013

Jane Austen's quilt (odd piecing) and the outside of the house in Chawton-1st posting of 3

I imagine that most Jane Austen fans, like me, will one day find their way to the house she lived in at Chawton, Hampshire, where the Jane Austen museum is housed.

I will do a blog later about the rooms, their contents and history, but for now, I'll show you the outside and talk about the quilt she made with her sister and mother.

 The door on the left goes to the kitchen area where you could make a lavender bag and have a go at writing with a quill, and the door on the right takes you around the house.

Above the front of the house faces the small road through the village.

Opposite are a small tea shop and a larger pub.  (nb service in both is fairly slow and the food expensive and not brilliant - the pub food is slightly better than the cafe, but we had to wait nearly 45 minutes for ham, egg and chips, and our coffees never arrived. Local residents have made their own Residents Only Parking Signs but the museum assured me that you could park here quite legally providing you left enough space for a bus to pass down the road)

Jane's bedroom is the one tucked above and slightly to the right of the white doorway, and overlooks the courtyard and outbuildings, although you can see some of the garden from there.  She shared the room with her sister, Casandra.

Below:  Looking from the garden at the front of the house towards the road.

The back garden which extends through the hedge and to the right.

The Quilt
I had read somewhere a while back, that there was a problem with the piecing of this quilt so was expecting something obviously wrong.  As I recall it was to do with fitting the pieces around the centre lozenge shape.  I couldn't see anything untowards at all and the piecing looked good to me!

I did have a problem with the borders around the diamond shapes so sketched them out for you.  I thought that if I bought an image of the quilt on a postcard I could ink the shapes in for you, but if you look closely, you'll see the postcard distorts the shapes into squares so it wasn't the easiest thing to do!

I imagine that the black and white spotty fabric must have been in short supply because I can't think why else you'd piece in any other way than between each lozenge to make a strip, then between each strip to make the quilt.

Anyhoo, here's the odd piecing of the black and white material for you........

Here's what the guide books tells us: "The quilt was made by Mrs Austen, Jane and Cassandra.

In a letter to Cassandra on 31st May 1811 Jane writes "have you remembered to collect pieces for the patchwork? - we are now at a standstill".  

The quilts has just two layers - the patchwork top and a backing but no wadding, so is a coverlet rather than a quilt.     

The patchwork uses 64 different fabrics and was created using two sizes of lozenge diamond, and a rhomboid shape of black and white spotted fabric for the latice effect which divides the diamonds.

There is a central diamond-shaped floral motif, which features a basket of flowers, and surrounding this are sequences of four diamond-shaped patches.  Around the edges is a border of smaller diamond patches displaying landscapes and flowers.

The quilt was one of the earliest items in the Museum collection."


  1. thankyou for showing, I really did enjoy reading about this x

    1. You're most welcome, thank you for reading!

  2. I just wanted say how glad I am to have stumbled upon your blog. I have loved the photos of gardens , the Mill and your wonderful quilts, love Life 9. I'm off to look through some more posts.

    1. I'm glad you found me too, thank you for your comment