Dear Jane and the mathematics of quilts

I’m on a quest to understand the mathematics of quilt patterns and be able to reproduce them in code. I am trying to find out what is already available as computerised quilt designing packages and also learning about quilt designs and patterns. There is a lot to learn. I am pretty sure I don’t want to actually make a quilt, but I want to make quilt-like art.

I just do not have the time to keep up and blog about the things I am learning and working out, but I want to keep a record so that I can find my way back again. It is a conflict for me.

This post is a record of some things about quilts that I have found. Partially book-marking. Partly recording some things for inspiration. I also use twitter a little for this, retweeting things that I like for inspiration and I have started a Pinterest board:

I have found that there is a movement of people who follow the pattern of a sample quilt made by Jane A Blakely Stickle who call themselves Janiacs and quilts made to this formula are referred to as Baby Janes. This movement started with a book by Brenda Papadakis. (“Dear Jane: the Two Hundred Twenty-five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt” (1996)). Breand Papadakis’ website (dearjane.com) has lots of information about the book, the quilt and the person who made it, and there is a Dear Jane friends site (janiac.com). On the date of writing this post the dearjane website reported having 1400 members. The Newbie information page is a great read. To make a Dear Jane quilt is quite an undertaking. It has 13 x 13 = 169 different patterned blocks and 13 x 4 = 52 patterned edge triangles and 4 patterned corner pieces. This is a total of 225 patterned pieces, plus 14 x 4 = 56 plain triangles and scalloped edges, and if you made it that far you then need to back it and quilt it together. That is a sewing marathon!

Sampler Quilt by Jane A. Blakely Stickle finished in 1863

Sampler Quilt by Jane A. Blakely Stickle finished in 1863

So far in my investigations I haven’t found anything about the mathematics of the designs for the Dear Jane quilt and the mathematics sites I have found have been so far incomprehensible to me, so for the moment I am pressing on with working out the simpler maths and coding for myself.

Design Theory and Block Designs in Art and Mathematics by Steven H. Cullinane on February 1, 2004 (http://finitegeometry.org/sc/gen/bdes/) has some patterns along the same lines that I have been making so far – so need ot come back to that and see if the maths is explained. The image below is from that page and there is a link to the code used but it is perl so I would have to find out about that program and then unpick the logic of it.

Quilt Block Designs by Mark Jason Dominus using Perl program suite to generate the pictures (click on image to take you to the website it is from)

Quilt Block Designs
by Mark Jason Dominus using Perl program suite to generate the pictures (click on image to take you to the website it is from)

OK that is as much as I can get into this post. Things to do!

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