Oak tree quilt

This was one of the many Christmas presents that I made this year. It's a quilt for Mr Teacakes: not a quilt for our bed, but a quilt for lounging under on a Sunday afternoon watching films with the children. He told me he was happy with anything...but then said that it had to be neutral enough to blend in with the colours of our sitting room so that I didn't try and tidy him away whenever he got the quilt out; that he didn't want it backed with quilting cotton as that wasn't warm enough; and also that it mustn't be at all girly. Mmm. I spent two evenings researching fabrics and then declared that his brief was impossible. Until I suddenly remembered Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow range (sometimes it helps to think of male designers when trying to find a more masculine print), which makes up the bulk of this quilt...and then I found that the colours from that range are a perfect match for those in Cloud 9's Beyond the Sea and My Happy Nursery ranges (the use of the latter should not imply that my husband is a giant baby, rather that the Happy Nursery range is stylish enough to transcend the baby's bedroom boundary and make its way down to the sitting room).

I was feeling utterly confused about the backing until I realised that Anna Maria Horner's Forest Hills in Moonlight had the beiges, golds and soft turquoises in that I was looking for and comes in an incredibly soft cotton flannel.

So here's the finished quilt, being held up in the remnants of the snow (which has all melted away now). The inspiration for the tree comes from Material Obsession's The Seasons quilt, which I've loved since first seeing it (I've only just discovered this morning that the Material Obsessions girls have a blog- if you haven't seen it then do go and take a look, as it's overflowing with quilty inspiration). The quilt in the book features four seasonally changing trees, however, for Mr Teacakes I wanted a simple, lone, solid tree, as he has a distinctly Oak tree feel to his person.

This is a picture of the reverse of the tree as I pieced it together - the way that the Material Obsession book suggests that you construct this is so clever and means that while it looks like a complex thing to make, it's actually far easier than you'd think. You can find the book on Amazon here - it is a really wonderful book.

Mr Teacakes was delighted with the quilt and I can see exactly why he said that he wanted it backing with something other than quilting cotton - the flannel is so snugly. And the quilt does actually look at home in our sitting room too, which is a relief - the main colours in the room are the light coloured sofa and the faded turquoise rug...other than that it's all shades of cream.

My favourite bit of the quilt is actually the bit that shouldn't really be in there. Fran and Jo of Saints and Pinners (where I bought many of the fabrics for the quilt) very kindly sent me some samples of flannel from the Forest Friends range which I didn't end up using, as I decided the dark lines that surround the owls would be too heavy for the room that it had to go in, however, when the tree was finished I caught sight of the sample and thought how nice an owl would look perched in the branches...so here it is.

The owl felt just right for the quilt, because my husband, as well as having an Oak tree feel, also has an owly feel at times too...sort of tawny, fast and sharp-eyed...with a thick neck (his footballing friends tease him that he must spend hours secretly doing neck crunches to have cultivated such a neck...I had never noticed this until they pointed it out).

The quilt patch message features one of Joel Dewberry's trees, as well as the other owl that I managed to salvage from the fabric sample (thank you so much Jo and Fran).

I quilted this on the machine in simple diagonal stripes to go in the same direction as the leaves that are being blown from the tree.

I was a little sad to finish making this quilt - I adored every minute of its construction.

Oh, and the fabrics, for UK readers: the Joel Dewberry fabrics came from three different shops as no one place had all the prints that I wanted, but between M is for Make..., Saints & Pinners and River Fabrics I found them all. The Cloud 9 fabrics are also from Saints and Pinners, as well as the flannel owls. The wonderful Anna Maria Horner Forest Hills Moonlight flannel is from Seamstar.

Florence x


  1. An utterly calm and beautiful quilt- makes me feel like I am at a pebbly sea side- I know it should be a forrest but it is the colours, they are transporting me there.

  2. Florence it is beautiful, and I can understand your feelings once it had been completed.

  3. Wow, this is so, so beautiful. I agree with the Kerry above-- it is so calm and peaceful.
    And I love the little personal touches-- the symbolism of the tree, the owl... perfect.

  4. Oh, so many things to talk about here, I hardly know where to begin!

    I think using the AMH flannel for the backing is a genius idea - I used some for my daughter's quilt last year, and may have to back all future quilts with this fabric from now on. It is so cosy and soft - just perfect for quilts. And of course the patterns and colours are all delicious too!

    I have both the Material Obsession books and love to use them for inspiration, although I have never followed one of their patterns precisely. The books are so beautiful and energising. I didn't know they have a blog, so thank you muchly for sharing that link.

    I too am making a man quilt for my man this year (and did you know there is a Flickr Group called Manly Quilts - v good for inspiration). I am both relishing the challenge and rather intimidated by it. You've done a fantastic job with yours!

    Nancy x

  5. I always think that turquoise, beige and gold are made for each other, your quilt is stunning. I made a quilt for my daughter when she was about 12. It has gone everywhere with her and now sits on the arm of her sofa to be pulled out for story time with her daughter. I just wish I had known where to get such beautiful fabric then!

    I love the idea of making a message patch on the back, perhaps it is traditional but I have not seen it before.

    You are so clever.

    xx c

  6. What a beautiful quilt Florence clearly made with love.

  7. Oh, thank you, lovelies.

    Nancy, I have beetled off and joined that group immediately - thank you so much for the tip. Jolly good luck with your own man quilt.

    Catherine - I've always thought it's very traditional. I think quilters are encouraged to do it as it gives a good historical indication for future generations(what prints and fabric substrates were around at the time etc). However, I don't tend to create patches for future historians though...rather because I love personalising them and I like that they all have the date on them too.

    Florence x

  8. Beautiful! You are so very talented.

  9. I have some of the Joel Dewberry fabric, too. I particularly love the tree design - and the whole range has a good masculine feel. I've bought a double flannelette sheet in a sale to back my quilt, I agree with Mr T, it has to be cosy.

  10. So so beautiful and a wonderful choice of colours. This must be one that will be passed down through the generations.

  11. It's perfect! I love the palette and the pieced tree with the owl in its branches. Brilliant to have flannel for it's backing - the men in my household prefer on their quilts too.
    What a beautiful gift for your hubby to enjoy!

  12. Beautiful quilt, Florence! I do love those Cloud 9 prints and the flannel sounds perfect for a lap quilt. It must have been such painstaking work piecing it all.

    Happy New Year to you and all the teacakes!

  13. It just goes to show that sometimes a really difficult brief results in a wonderful piece. My compliments to Mr Teacakes for providing the inspiration, and to you for the fantastic execution!

  14. Such a beautiful quilt! I love the subtle colors. And the flannel back is genius.

    And thank you so much for the hint re combining the Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow range and the Cloud 9 ranges.

    K x

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  16. Oh dear, spam above...

    What a lovely quilt, Florence! Really good colours, and a cosying-on-the-sofa quilt is such a nice thing to have.

  17. This is gorgeous!
    You've inspired me to order the book and have a go - I've never done a quilt before and I think 2011 could be the time to do it!
    Nicky x

  18. Oh wow, you did such a great job! My favourite bit are the little leaves falling off the oak - just perfect!

  19. What a fantastic quilt! I love the colours. It looks really good with the one solid tree, I think I prefer it in that way. And the owl detail is to die for.


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Florence x