Jane Austen is in my thoughts almost every day, for one reason or another. Today is the anniversary of the day she was born, 234 years ago. She has had a wonderful influence on my life, in several ways.
I have been lucky to visit Chawton a few times, long before I had thoughts of writing and publishing Quilted Diamonds: Jane Austen, Jane Stickle & Friends in 2002. Since then, she has provided inspiration for two more books (QD2 and Jane Austen Patchwork Mystery) and my DVD lesson for Jane Austen’s Writing Table Quilts.
In the early days, I had no intention of making a replica of the famous patchwork, but eventually I unravelled as much as I could of the mystery with the help of Mr. Tom Carpenter and the Jane Austen Memorial Trust, and published the first ever comprehensive pattern for the coverlet. Quilters around the world are making replicas of her patchwork, some by hand and some by machine, and some of them are enjoying her books for the first time.
“It appears to me the most desirable arrangement in the world.” (Emma, Ch. 19)
Jane Austen Patchwork Mystery also includes a pattern for a smaller variation of the original. There are sample pages of the book on my web site, and also photos Bath, Chawton, Hampshire, and Winchester, which you might enjoy on this special day. You can find the photos under “Jane Austen” in the top menu bar, and the books and sample pages under “Shop.” Monkey says, by the way, Jane Austen’s Writing Table Quilts (DVD hand piecing lesson) is on sale too. “It was a plan to promote the happiness of all.” (Emma, Ch. 53)
Jane Austen wrote or revised all of her novels with a quill pen in the dining parlor at Chawton. It is no mystery that her novels have been admired for almost two hundred years, or that she is compared favorably to Shakespeare. Her novels offer more than romance. They can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, but are also studied by academics worldwide. Even with modern advantages and her perfect examples before them, novelists struggle to reach her high standard today. For a writer to be compared to Jane Austen is high praise indeed!
Today is a good day to take a few stitches on your Jane Austen Patchwork, or spend a few minutes reading one of the novels, and to give thanks for the influence of this brilliant writer.
Happy Birthday, Jane!
Linda & Monkey