Monday, February 27, 2012

Pride and Prejudice story book quilt

My first semester at Temple University I took a course on literary criticism. The professor told the class we should be sure to take three courses. Each was an honors course: John Milton, James Joyce's Ulysses, and a year-long, two semester course on Jane Austen. I took them all before my graduation in 1978. 

Joyce was not my favorite course. I was the only female in the class. The guys all liked to puzzle out Joyce. The professor was a Freudian. Still, I managed to get an A based on my 50 page paper on Bloom in Nighttown, with a Jungian interpretation. 

I came to really enjoy John Milton. I think I bored many a person with my yammering on about him. 

But Jane Austen I loved. I have read all of her books, complete or not, many times since then. And it is great that she has become so well known thanks to the many movies and television mini-series on her books.

                                                          Little Women quilt

After I made Marian Cheever Newton Whiteside's 1952 Storybook pattern of Little Women I was inspired to try my own Storybook quilt. I chose Pride and Prejudice. I researched images for inspiration: art, fashion plates, dance instruction books, and 19th c book illustrations. I turned the images into line drawings to base my patterns on. 

Each block shows an important scene from the novel. The sisters Jane and Lizzie; Darcy telling Bingly that 'she's tolerable enough' as Lizzie overhears; Rev Collins brashly introducing himself to Darcy; Lizzie visiting Charlotte Collins; Darcy's cousin telling Lizzie how Darcy saved Bingly from an unhappy marriage; Darcy rushing off to intervene between Willoughby and Lydia; Darcy handing Lizzie his letter of explanation that reveals how Willoughby seduced his sister Gerogiana; Lizzie realizing she loved Darcy and would never see him again; a triumphant married Lydia returns home; Darcy's aunt confronting Lizzie about being engaged to Darcy; and Darcy proposing to Lizzie.

I was uncertain if I liked the pink background and blue border on this quilt. So I did another version, all in Redwork!

Here is Lydia with Willoughby and another soldier.

And here is Darcy flanked by Bingly and Bingly's sister.

Some day I hope to make another Storybook quilt. I have Pinocchio and two other Whiteside patterns. Or I may make my own favorite book again!

Update: Patterns for the Pride and Prejudice quilts are now available at my etsy store Rosemont Needle Arts found here.


  1. Your interpretation of Pride and Prejudice is right on. Love it! I have a pattern for "Little Women". I am not sure if it is the same one. It is an old one from a magazine.

    1. The pattern was offered through Ladies Home Journal magazine. So it is likely the same pattern.

  2. Likely you have the same pattern, as they were sold through magazines.

  3. I love your Little Women quilt (I've always admired that pattern), and your Pride and Prejudice quilts (both the applique and the redwork) are equally beautiful. How clever of you to make up your own storybook quilt. My younger sister is a huge Austen fan, and I can't wait to show her your quilts.

  4. I discovered this post while searching for a source for the Little Women pattern.

    Oh, how I love your Pride & Prejudice quilt! You have captured the spirit of the book so well.

    Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott are two of my favorite authors. I would so love to make a Pride & Prejudice quilt. Is there any chance at all that you would be willing to sell me a copy of your pattern? I would have contacted you privately, but I don't know how. Clicking on your profile takes me to Google+ and I don't know how that works.

    1. I am sorry, I am not very savvy and found I have missed all kinds of comments. I have considered making the pattern available. I just have to get around to all the work.