The most famous Civil War quilt of all time is the Jane Stickle quilt. This quilt was made in 1863 by Jane Stickle of Shaftsbury, Vermont. It stands out amongst other quilts from that era for many reasons.
Many of today’s quilters have replicated Jane’s quilt and made their own versions in a variety of color schemes – everything from traditional Civil War reproduction fabric to bright batiks. Jane’s quilt is known as the most commonly started and least often finished quilt pattern. It proves to be a challenge for nearly every quilter.
Here are ten interesting facts about the famous Jane Stickle quilt.
1. During the Civil War most of the quilts being made were utilitarian. They were made for a purpose. Thousands of nondescript quilts were made to fit soldiers’ cots. Jane’s quilt was anything but that. Jane’s quilt is a masterpiece.
2. Each block is different. There are no two blocks that are the same. There are 169 center blocks that are pieced and/or appliqued and there are 52 pieced and/or appliqued isosceles triangles in the border. A pieced triangle border was unusual and unique. Many of these blocks and triangles contain between 30 and 40 small pieces in its construction.
3. There are four kite-shaped corner pieces. One is embroidered with Jane’s information. “Jane A. Stickle. In War Time 1863. 5,602 pieces.” The fact that she recorded all of this is fantastic and so important. Kudos to Jane for the forethought to do that and for making such an intricate quilt with 5,602 pieces!
4. Each block features a different fabric. No two fabrics are repeated. Jane either had a big stash or a lot of neighbors who swapped fabrics. Or perhaps both.
5. Jane designed these blocks herself. When Jane was a young girl in the 1830s it was very common for schools to teach female students art and geometry. Jane obviously excelled at both. She was quite the artist and a master of geometry.
6. Jane’s quilt has a scalloped edge and binding. That was highly unusual for the time.
7. Jane’s arrangement of color is unique. Her center block is green and from there she arranged the colors to be concentric. Around the center green block are yellow blocks, and then alternating rounds of browns, purples, and pinks. Many of the purples have now faded to shades of brown.
8. Jane entered this quilt in the county fair and you guessed it, she won! She won two dollars as her reward.
9. Jane was bed-ridden. During the time that this quilt was made Jane was listed as a “bed-ridden lady” in the newspaper article detailing her win at the fair. No one knows exactly what her affliction was and sometimes in that time period, bed-ridden could mean never leaving your bed or never leaving your house. Either way, it appears that Jane had some health issues. Therefore, she had plenty of time to sit and sew.
10. Jane’s quilt resides at The Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont, near Jane’s hometown of Shaftsbury. It hangs for six weeks out of the year for museum guests to view it. It is in excellent condition and is truly a work of art. If you have the chance, make plans to see it. Check out their website for more information and photos of the quilt: https://benningtonmuseum.org/.