I ventured out to the sewing shed yesterday.  A brave heart is needed when facing the sewing shed.  I cannot remember the last time it was possible to sit at the table in there.  For so long, I’ve simply stood at the door and hurled the fabric in.  Isn’t that dreadful.  It is.  I’m a little bit embarrassed – thank goodness you cannot see it.

Anyways … I opened the door, peered in, thought about starting yet another grand clear out of said sewing shed – with a view this time to only ever using it as a neat and orderly fabric storage area – gave a deep sigh and thought, oh well, you have to start somewhere so pulled out this incredibly plain quilt I pieced together one night several years back.   Squares of blue pinned to a vintage blanket and a few blocks of straight line quilting.  Like those fabulous Indian quilts – so tactile.  However, interest had waned – how many hours would it have taken to finish this?! – oy! – and this poor quilt had wound up buried under so much else, just its corner poking it.   So I pulled it out.  Pushed the escaping fabric back in with my foot, and slammed the door.

That’s a start, right?

where it was at

The straight line quilting was ripped out – I became so efficient at it – the quilt was pressed with a lovely hot, steamy iron – it lightly felts the woollen blanket onto the back of the quilt top and makes it sooo easy to pin – repinned it and got straight to quilting.
closeup of tree

Now I’m not a huge fan of the all over patterning you see with some long arm quilting.  To me it lacks a bit of individuality – looks a bit too computer programmed.  But my quilting skills are limited so I pondered what to do.  No squiggly wiggly.  No straight lines – or crooked ones.  Something that would fill each square but would also allow me to move onto the next one without having to break the thread.

I did spend a while trying to do this with paper and pencil – and a wee sailboat.  It was a complete failure.  Then, as I stared out the window at our messy back garden, it came to me … the oak!  Our lovely huge old oak that fills our back garden with prettiness, shade and colour.  Which made me think of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the oak poem that he holds close throughout his journey, and the tree – first young, then ancient – that was one of the constants in his life.  No matter what happens in our lives – where we go, how we go, when we come back … there stand our trees.

Always growing but never changing.  Little oaks it was.

last row

There are 90 squares – that’s 90 oaks.  By the third row, they’d really morphed into very curvy little oaks.  I unpicked a couple and redid them – but on the whole I’m very pleased with how they turned out.  They’re all slightly different and certainly not perfect but I was sooo into the groove of it by the time I got to the end.

Now I’m planning apples and pineapples and crowns.  I daresay I shall stick to straight lines of them at first … but as my confidence grows I hope to plan more imaginative layouts.  We’ll see.  It’s a slow thing, this getting of quilting :-)


Found a lovely 1930s reproduction for the binding.  Spent last evening hand sewing it down.  So satisfying.  Then into the washing machine, onto the little indoors line for drying – we had a humdinger of a storm last night – hours of lightning and thunder and rain – I was transported back to spring evenings in south east Queensland –

sewing it on

– and finally, when there was more than 30 seconds of blue sky – a brisk dry to finish off in today’s blustery wind … and a wee photo shoot.

wild and windy day

closeup bottom right corner

even closer

floral closeup

I really do love the effect!  Now thinking of gathering some more of those lovely orange and yellow and pink and red spots, piecing more squares, and quilting pineapples.  That would be fun.

with pegs

And on the back – ta-da! – why it’s a vintage blanket – the only one I’ve ever found in these colours.  Very cheerful.

backing blanket

binding on the line


So blue!  So utterly unlike anything else I’ve ever made.  So sweet.  And that quilting!  Huh!  I can’t believe I did it.  I asked Abby what she thought we should do with it.  “What we do with all the rest,” she replied, “Huddle under it!” For now, it’s hanging on the back of my desk chair.  I’ll have to think about it.  Hmmmm ….

In my dreams, our strawbale house has a lovely big guest room with huge windows looking out to the forest. The room has a sweet old bed in each corner and on each bed are cosy colourful quilts with pretty pillows, a wooden chest at the foot of each bed for bags and shoes, a small potty cupboard with a reading lamp beside each bed for clothes and books and spectacles, and a woven rug on the floor.  There’ll be quilts on the walls and quilted curtains too.  We might need to have two rooms like this … or more …


kicking out from the side

bottom with chair

Isn’t it a grand thing, this learning and growing and changing and adding … I love it.


orlando’s blue oak :: a quilt

8 thoughts on “orlando’s blue oak :: a quilt

  • October 27, 2014 at 6:43 pm


  • October 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    This is lovely. You’re really making me want to give quilting a go. I just love the idea of the trees always being there. And the blue…dreamy!

    PS I can only imagine/dream of having a shed full of fabric!

  • October 28, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    It so pretty Lily, not at all like your other quilts but the blues are beautiful. Somehow it reminds me of a winter sky. Especially the pics with the shade falling on it. Aren’t we blessed to have imagination. I often plan interesting rooms in my head. Often with a little fire place in the corner to keep things cosy. Just spent a few days down the coast a bit. Oh!!! that Bega Valley; so very pretty. I thought of you as we drove along and yes I can imagine your little farmhouse nestled at the bottom of one of those hills.
    Blessings Gail.

  • October 28, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Orlando, whoever he is, is a fortunate fellow. There is never enough blue.

  • October 29, 2014 at 1:48 am

    SO lovely! You have such a wonderful mind…and PRODUCTIVE as well! Your quilt turned out just beautiful…but, then, I have come to expect that from YOU:)

  • October 29, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    I adore your blue quilt! I’ve got a quilt basted that I intend to hand quilt as your started….I know myself and can’t even bring myself to begin. :-) I LOVE what you’ve done instead. So very pretty and effective! GOOD GOOD GOOD!

  • October 30, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Oh that’s so pretty – and I love the quilting on it; it doesn’t overwhelm the quilt but it’s so much more interesting than the swirls and loops that I tend to go for!

  • November 1, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I agree! Learning and changing is wonderful and so much fun. Although I do admire you for pulling out all those threads. Phew! I love your oak leaves quilting – a truly wonderful idea that I must try one day ! Thanks for sharing.

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