Oakshott Cotton Challenge


oakshott postage stamp pillow

oakshott quilted pillow | whipstitch blog

I agreed to be part of the Oakshott Ruby Mini-Quilt Challenge with Sew, Mama, Sew mostly because I didn’t really know anything about Oakshott cottons.  I think I had a vague idea that they were crossweaves, meaning that the warp and weft fibers of the fabrics are different colored threads, which can lead to some really cool shifts in shading.  But beyond that, I was pretty much flying blind.  Which, I think we can all admit, is both exhilarating and intimidating.

oakshott samples

The fabrics came, and were just what I’d thought: crossweaves with variations in color and shading depending on the angle and the light.  I love fabrics like this–Moda makes some, and so does Westminster, and they’re always so interesting to look at and work with.  These Oakshotts are fairly substantial, and I don’t think would do well for garment sewing, but they’ve got a nice hand for quilting, and since the challenge was to make a mini, I dove in.

oakshott postage stamp in progress

I was initially inspired to make something like this, but as I was cutting and prepping my colors, realized that (1) I would have to work at a teeeeensy scale in order to make the effect of the inspiration piece, and (2) that the monochromatic palette I was given might not read as clearly as I wanted for a design of that type.  So I shifted gears and decided to used the monochromatic colors to my advantage, in the form of a stylized paint chip layout.


quilted oakshott pillow overhead

The result, if I do say so, is pretty exciting.  I love the way the variations in the threads give a real shimmer and movement to the squares when seen in the light, and I love the way the shades of red and orange and purple work their way across the body of the piece from left to right.  I made this into a pillow cover, thinking that the roundedness provided by the pillow insert would show off the changes in color a bit better–part of me wants to see MORE of the layout, though, and I’m undecided about whether it would have been best left as a mini.

oakshott cottons postage stamp pillow | whipstitch blog

See how at different angles the threads catch the light and change colors?  Look at that bottom right corner, where a single square morphs from red to purple.  I wanted that effect over the whole body of the quilted piece, and think the shades I was given really provided that.

oakshott cottons close up

Construction was pretty straight-forward postage stamp stuff, and after making a zillion postage stamp quilt blocks, took me under an hour for this 14″ square piece.  This shot gives you a good glimpse into the structure of the fabrics: see how the threads running one direction are a bluish color, and in the other are red?  Those are the warp and weft fibers–running perpendicular to one another–and by weaving them in two different colors of thread, the fabric achieves a real dimension to it that you can’t get with a standard one-color flat weave.

quilted oakshott postage stamp pillow

The quilting was pretty basic, too.  I considered quilting on the diagonal, like both my scrappytripalong quilts, but thought that might detract attention from the gradations of color.  Then I thought I’d quilt 1/4″ away from the seams on both sides, but realized after doing the first pass that by quilting on only one side, I had suggested (without mimicking) the lines between the color chips on a paint sample card.  And so I left it with quilting on a single side of the seam.  At 2.5″ squares, that’s more than enough quilting to stabilize this piece, and I think it gives a nice counterpoint to the changes in color.  All the quilting was done in a medium neutral grey.

quikted oakshott detail | whipstitch blog

There are points on the piece where two squares of the same color touch, which is fine–I didn’t want for every single piece to be a different shade, since I wanted to create the illusion that the color was changing gradually across the body of the pillow.

oakshott postage stamp pillow

oakshott cottons cross weave

quilted oakshott pillow cover | whipstitch blog

Special thanks to Sew, Mama, Sew for inviting me to play along–I loved getting to meet these fabrics and see what they can do!  And thanks to Oakshott Fabrics for providing the fat eighths I used for this pillow.  Something tells me it needs a matching partner to play with, and I have just enough left!

Want to win your OWN fat eighth bundle of these delicious red-toned fabrics?  Leave a comment below (or on any of the other Oakshott Ruby Mini-Quilt Challenge posts) and you’re in the running!  Good luck!

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  • Samina
    June 27, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I’ve been following that series on SMS. Those fabrics almost look like raw silk in some lights. They’re absolutely stunning & I love the way that the colors play off each other in your pillow.

    • Deborah
      June 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      I agree! I thought it sewed and reflected light like silk, too. And the colors they sent–because they all have that ruby thread in them–work so well together that it made it easy to sew up a really stunning pillow! So glad you like it! 🙂

  • Allison C
    June 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Love the simplicity of the design and quilting. Of course the fabrics are amazing too!

    • Deborah
      June 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      And it was really fun to lay all the pieces out and arrange (and re-arrange) them to see how it affected the way the colors worked together. Thanks for your kind words!

  • Ariana
    June 28, 2014 at 1:49 am

    It’s really lovely. What did you use for the back? It almost looks like orange.

  • Sallie
    June 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Love your pillow. Great colors and design!

  • Oakshott Ruby Mini Quilt Challenge + Fabric Giveaway: | Sew Mama Sew |
    June 28, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    […] from Whipstitch turned her mini quilt into a pillow, giving the warp and weft threads a chance to reflect light at […]

    June 28, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    HI, I love the simplicity of your stitching on this beautiful pillow;making the fabric hues just stand out! Thanks for sharing!

  • Karen L
    June 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Lovely luminous pillow. Excellent use of the fabric!

  • Lori Morton
    June 28, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    What a creative use of these great fabrics & shades!!! Awesome pillow! Loooove it!

  • Cherie
    June 28, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Another wonderful project sewn by you! The colors are lovely!

  • Debra Kay Neiman
    June 28, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    I love this pillow, you have a talent for picking colors. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

  • Delaine
    June 28, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    I just love this fabric and WOW , your pillow is fantastic! Thanks!

  • Michelle C.
    June 28, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Thanks for helping us understand just how amazing these fabrics are!

  • Anita
    June 29, 2014 at 1:57 am

    I love the Oakshott Cottons; the colors play so well together in this design! The fabric is just amazing!

  • Laura
    June 29, 2014 at 3:34 am

    I love this quilt. It looks so modern and bright. I love the offset you have used for the quilting stitches.

  • Toya Charles
    June 29, 2014 at 6:55 am

    I love the Oakshott Cotton’s! They do remind you of silk. I would like to make a bright table runner out of them. The fabric will speak for itself.

  • Judy
    June 29, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Your pillow is beautiful! I would love to have some of this fabric to play with.

  • jane d
    June 29, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I “sew” love the design on this pillow!

  • Amanda. T
    June 29, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I love your pillow and the fabrics!

  • Kathleen McCormick
    June 29, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Love these shott cottons and love your mini quilt pillow!

  • Sandy
    June 29, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I have always loved the hand of shot cotton, so silky in texture. I really like the gray quilting stitches on the bright fabric. Great job!

  • Tina
    June 29, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I love the fabric and how you put the pillow top together. I agree with how you quilted along the one side of the seams. Very pretty!

  • Sarah
    June 30, 2014 at 2:38 am

    Wow, I LOVE this pillow! Thanks for sharing!

  • Liz Rehrauer
    June 30, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Pillows get more use than minis. Love the color variation

  • KimberJ
    June 30, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Oakshott cottons are my new obsession! I really love your color placement on the pillow. Would also love to win the fat eighth bundle 🙂

  • Quilting Tangent
    June 30, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Pretty pillow. Interesting seeing what everyone comes up with.

  • Mara
    June 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Your inspiration piece is really cool but I love the way you made it work with the more monochromatic colors, great job.

  • Alexis
    June 30, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    The pillow on the yellow chair is so perfect and inviting. I LOVE the colors!

  • Alys
    June 30, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Absolutely love the fabrics! Lovely shimmer and shine. Fabulous pattern.

  • Jane B
    July 1, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Wow, such pretty fabrics. I love the pillow because it really shows off the color change qualities of the Oakshott.

  • Lisa Marie
    July 1, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Great pillow and I love the looks of the Oakshott fabrics.

  • Tami
    July 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I love the simplicity of the pillow, it really lets the fabric shine in all of its glory! Thank you for the chance to win some of this beautiful fabric.

  • Diana
    December 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I think the Oakshott materials are wonderful. Your pillow shows off the shading that be obtained beautifully. Thankyou for sharing the method. . This type of material doesn’t need a lot of quilting.