One of my favorite annual summer events is the Vermont Quilt Festival, "oldest quilt show in New England." That is where I first saw the Dear Jane quilt and bought the book, around 2000 or 1999. I met author Brenda Papdakis and later bought the templates and started working on the triangles which I used as a border on a quilt in memory of my Tante Jen. I later started working on the blocks and have made several Dear Jane-inspired quilts as well as quite a few very nice friends around the world along the way.
After I looked at a few of the contest quilts, there was an announcement that Brenda herself was giving a gallery talk, so I ran right over. She was just as I'd imagined, soft-spoken and very nice. I wish I had taken a workshop with her when I was into the quilt. There were about two dozen variations on the theme, and here's one by Linda from Colorado:
I love the way it sparkles. Later in the morning, Brenda facilitated a Dear Jane Reunion, for about 100 enthusiasts who told their stories and showed finished quilts and works-in-progress. It was heart-warming, and I continue to be impressed by the way one quilt has brought so many people together and helped so many work through problems and issues in their lives.
I did manage to see all the contest quilts, chat with people I knew, and shop most of the vendors. One of my favorites did not win a ribbon, but I love it anyway.
It's made of candy bar wrappers. My sister mentioned that they all seem to be empty, and I replied that they were most likely eaten while quilting.
This is a terrible picture, but it was a very intriguing Cathedral Window quilt set in a "Trip Around the World" fashion. The blocks were about 2.5" so a lot of hand work went into this! I probably will never do anything like it, but it sure impressed me.
As for the vendors, Sunday is the best day to go in my opinion because you could actually get into the booths. A couple of vendors I know said that Friday was a madhouse. At any rate, I bought fat quarters for a birthday swap, a marking pen, a 60-degree triangle template, a book about the mill girls of Lowell, Mass., with quilt patterns, a vase for my mom, and some Frida Kahlo socks for my friend Yve. Quite a satisfying day!