Willoughby Quilt - Why Patchwork is Better Than Gardening

I first started to dabble in quilting when my 14 year old was just a toddler. I LONGED for something creative and meaningful to do in a sea of days filled with uneaten food and dirty laundry. 

I tried gardening, thinking it would be the perfect family activity, but I quickly realised that Tully's happy following behind me, pulling out plants as quickly as I planted them, washing my seeds away with the blast of his hose, was NOT going to be the blessed family project I'd always dreamed of! 

We sowed seeds that didn't grow, killed plants I'd spent good money on, and never, ever kept up with the weeds. There were already so many things in my life that died or turned to chaos if not regularly managed - the dishes, the laundry, the toddler. If gardening required the same level of regular attention, it wasn't the hobby for me. 

Then I Discovered Patchwork Quilts

It didn't take long for me to notice that patchwork quilts, no matter how long it was left unattended, didn't undo itself, or become over-run with weeds. It just waited. I could come back to it a few days, or a month, or even a year later, and it was there, ready for me to pick up where I left off. There was no pressure to do a little each day in order to keep on top of it. And when I finished a quilt, it was finished. Not like the dirty dishes that hit the bench the second you empty the sink and hang up your towel. It was done, and ready to be included in our little family. 

It was this realisation that got me hooked on quilting. 

As time went on, I realised I loved lots of other thing about it too. In a season of a million invisible, unnoticed tasks, my quilts could be SEEN (by me, most importantly, but also by others). Before kids, I played music, wrote poetry, tried sketching, but those skills were hidden from view, trapped in my head or in notebooks. I longed for tangible evidence that I'd achieved something that day. My quilts became beautiful markers of a whole season of mothering work that couldn't easily be quantified.

Patchwork Quilts in My Life Today

My life is different now, and my kids are bigger. The days are marked with school time and work time, with pay days and exam results. But during our recent school holidays, I was reminded of this season. Days that would have gone by in a blur, if I didn't have these quilt blocks to show for it. 

Willoughby Quilt

This is Willoughby, the scrappy version I used in my new pattern. I made the blocks while helping Tully with holiday homework, while supervising my 12 year old cook dinner, in the magic moments when no one needed me, but I still needed to be available. 

I LOVED that my hands could be busy, but my head could be here. I could sit and chat, I could tell them where their shoes were (even though, if they spent 30 seconds looking, they'd find it themselves), and I could say no for the 15th time to Tully to his outlandish requests (outlandish requests are his super power). I could take it to the park or over to Nanna's. It filled my days with joy, with something to look forward to, with a sense of progress, with something tangible at the end. 

On the last day of holidays, I trimmed the square blocks, sewed them together, and had myself a quilt top! Just like that! It's all these reasons that I LOVE Willoughby. No demanding colour choices, no mistakes, just easy company.

Willoughby is in the shop now! Grab it today and enjoy tangible evidence of a day well spent, that can't be undone. 


  • Genevieve

    Love that beautiful work

  • Gina Pilkington

    Mmm… quilting, gardening… quilting, gardening… I think the similarities in rewards are too numerous to differentiate! Both jobs are creative, calming and productive. Aren’t we lucky to be able to do both! 💖

  • Gina Pilkington

    Mmm… quilting, gardening… quilting, gardening… I think the similarities in rewards are too numerous to differentiate! Both jobs are creative, calming and productive. Aren’t we lucky to be able to do both! 💖

  • Suzanne Mitchell

    Hi Jodi … long time purchaser of all things Tales !! I have many an epp project that is in my cupboard waiting or in my table half finished …. waiting for glue or the next 5 mins to be stitched together. I love hearing of tour tales of moving house and of school ages children … it reminds me of how important our small gardens are … wether they are fabric or flower.

  • Nancy G

    I love that the blocks are EP, but can be connected via machine. Just knowing how I roll, that is much more likely to be competed one day. The thought of hand sewing all the blocks together is where I get glassy eyed and break out in a cold sweat. I’m excited and bought the entire set yesterday😊 it’s a lovely quilt ❤️

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