Monday, 20 July 2015

Lady of the Lake - Red Sky at Night Quilt

The year I turned 21, I lived by a lake. It was the year I met my husband, the year I shaved my head, the year I realised how much I love learning about history.
We were living on a cotton farm in the desert, 1000km from the coast. Gidgee Lake was a man-made dam used for irrigation, bigger than the nearest town, and named for the dead Gidgee trees that still stood in the water. They were beautiful, even in death, especially when silhouetted against the incredible sunsets and storms that passed through.
I loved that lake. I love the walking around the wall in the evening or first thing in the morning. I loved canoeing with friends to find a tree to jump from, I loved finding a quiet spot to hide along the water's edge when I needed to wrestle with something, or journal, or just be still. That lake heard many of my thoughts and stories that year, my longings and complaints. It always compelled me to take a deep breath and keep going, to be kind, faithful, patient.
So when I imagine a lady of the lake, I can't help but think she must be peaceful, colourful, and welcoming. A lady who knows herself and loves well. These are the things the lake always stirred in me.

The Lady of the Lake originates from the Middle Ages, a character starring in the myths of Merlin and King Arthur. She was as bewitching and mystical as the name suggests, yet her personality is split. In some versions of the legend, she used Merlin's infatuation with her to learn his magic, then traps him inside a stone, in others, she represents justice and wisdom and is the one to give Arthur his sword. Lord Alfred Tennyson rewrote these myths in Idylls of the King.

In 1810, Walter Scott wrote the poem, The Lady of the Lake that drew on the old legend. It became hugely successful through the 1800s, and is believed to be the inspiration behind the quilt block that was first published in 1900.


You will need:

Red: One 9" square cut in half diagonally, ten 3" squares cut in half diagonally (or your preferred method for 2.5" Half Square Triangles.)

White: One 9" square cut in half diagonally, ten 3" squares cut in half diagonally (or your preferred method for 2.5" Half Square Triangles.)

1. Sew the small red triangles to the white triangles. Press seams open, or towards the red. Trim to 2.5"

2. Sew the large white triangle to the large red triangle. You'll only need one of these. Press and trim to 8.5"

3. Lay out as above. You'll notice that all the small HSTs are facing the same way, and the opposite direction to the large HST.

4. Sew the small half square triangles together in rows as below.

5. Sew the shorter strips to the large square first. Press and sew the longer strips. Press.

I do think no matter the inspiration or character of the heroine, it is a great name for this block. When on point, it reminds me of the reflections of the trees and the sky on the water. I think it's beautiful, don't you?


  1. Wow, this one looks very difficult to me, but very lovely! xx

  2. I love the background you're giving, Jodi -- that of yourself as well as the blocks. You're a master storyteller, my friend!

  3. Love this block, I'm busy planning what fabrics to make it in for my scrappy sampler quilt. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Wonderful background stories, both yours & of the block! It has certainly been a favourite block of mine.

  5. I've not been doing this qal with you unfortunately, but I just wanted to say that the blocks are really lovely. But most of all I love reading your posts, I love the way you write and the stories you tell. :0) xx


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx