My current active project is Edyta Sitar’s Thousand Oaks Quilt (you can find the pattern on her website and in her book, Patches of Blue).

Sitar has based her design on the very old appliqué block often called Oak Leaf and Reel, which has a history in the United States dating back at least to the 1830s.

Oak leaf and reel block, 1860s.

Barbara Brackman has a brilliant, short history of the block’s design on her blog. It’s a block that got more and more complex as time went on and quilt artists came up with variations, as you can see in the image below, taken from Brackman’s blog. It’s traditionally done in red and green or in solid colours for each block.

I really like Sitar’s take on it. It’s very clean and modern looking, which was what drew me to it in the first place (and it made me buy her book, because it’s featured on the cover!) Her use of printed fabric is always brilliant– here there’s an organized scrappiness to it, because she uses nine blue fabrics which combine to make the 9 blocks. Also it’s in blues (although of course it could be any colours) and blue and white are my jam.

My version will have the nine main blocks but I’m leaving off the top appliquéd border and adding a 5″ print border all around the quilt.

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