Saturday, September 26, 2015

Her First Quilt

"Oh Dear!" by Christine Yi, at the 2015 Northwest Quilting Expo 

"There's a lot to be said for not knowing what you 'can't' do." 

-Mary Kate Karr Petras, Quilters Newsletter Magazine.

Today, as I was heading for the exit after spending several hours at the Northwest Quilting Expo, a friend waved me over to meet someone who made one of the quilts in the show. It turned out to be Christine Jiun Yi, who made the magnificent yellow, white and gray "Dear Jane" quilt, third-place winner in the Large Quilts category.

It was her first quilt.

Yes, you heard that correctly. Her first quilt.

I just looked at her, mouth hanging open, shaking my head, and said, "You're insane." Of course, I meant that in the nicest possible way, and was simply trying to find a way to express my amazement before actually bowing down to her. Her first quilt. A Dear Jane. And she made it modern!

The Original "Dear Jane" quilt, 1863, Jane Stickle,
Bennington Museum, Vermont
For any readers who may not know about "Dear Jane" this quilt is the quintessential test for a quilter. The original Dear Jane quilt, completed by Jane Stickle in 1863, is part of the collection of the Bennington Museum in Vermont and is regarded as one of the all-time great masterpiece quilts. Making a Dear Jane is usually an epic saga. It's the type of quilt that takes years to make, even for the most experienced quiltmakers.

Christine Yi completed her Dear Jane top in a year.

A year!

When I heard that, I didn't know what to think. I was shocked, but I wanted her autograph. It was thrilling to meet someone with such an amazing gift, who had absolutely no concept of how extraordinary her accomplishment was. She wasn't intimidated by Dear Jane because nobody told her to be. She just did it. On top of that, she made an excellent choice when picking a long-arm quilter, and Nancy Stovall did a terrific job with it.

I posted a picture of the quilt with a brief description on Facebook, and the comments started rolling in immediately. Mary Kate Karr Petras of Quilters Newsletter Magazine said, "There's a lot to be said for not knowing what you 'can't' do." And I couldn't agree more! There's something to be said for being fearless, having fun, and doing what you enjoy. Kudos to Christine Yi. I can't wait to see what else she's got up her sleeve. May she thoroughly enjoy her quilt journey. 


  1. I am so proud of my mom for completing this quilt. I watched her work day and night on this, redoing squares over again after making mistakes, but never once complaining. I am so happy about all of the comments and praise that she is receiving because she worked so hard and deserves every word of it.

    1. The quilt is an incredible start to what will be an amazing journey for your Mom and your whole family. Be proud! She's done really well!!

  2. I love Christine's 'Oh Dear' quilt, wonderful choice of colours! Magnificent work.

  3. This is seriously gorgeous! I LOVE the modern take!