Not one to shirk at a challenge I thought a song title quilt would be an interesting one. Esp in the lead up to one of my fav times of year. So I accepted Sylvias call out to the bloggeratti. Excitement mounted as I waited for my title.

It plummeted to below ground when I read what it was.

Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello.

I was floored. What do I know about army’s and wars? Couldn’t get far enough from me if I tried!

Well I said I liked a challenge and this certainly has been. It was time to research who Oliver and his Army was/is. I knew nothing about it. From what I remember of my research, the song is about the troubles in Northern Ireland. So political, again not my interests at all. Then I found out that the Oliver of the title was actually Oliver Cromwell. So my research took me to what an army in the time of Oliver Cromwell would look like. Took me back to the Cavaliers and Round heads of school history days. My brain then made the connection to Rembrandts Night watch.


Yes I was up for this. Still not into my comfort zone then all of a sudden genius struck.

Oliver’s Army,………….. rhymes with…………..

GULLIVERS ARMY. Now why didn’t I think of that before!

Now how to turn Rembrandts Night Watch into a Gullivers Army! Easy, beaks and web feet.



I found a drawing of the painting on line and adjusted it.

Our Blog retreat was coming up so I decided to make this the weekend I really got down and stitched this piece.

I decided to stitch out the drawing with black thread, making the alterations as I went.


Once the stitching was completed I used InkTense pencils to give it a tonal background, coloured beaks and a red sash which stood out in the original work.


Finished. Or so I thought, no I got to thinking about Gullivers Army and what that would really mean. A feral flock of Seagulls. What would their objective be? What is it everyone complains about? Not stealing your lunch but Poop! They drop rather a lot of Poop. So off I went again. This time drawing out my own design and working from the reverse which is my go to technique.


I created the background,


Then went on to stitch from the reverse, then cut the fabric up to the stitch line until the design was complete.


So I’ve done as much as I wanted to during the Stitch Retreat weekend. It will be finished when I get home. There’s lots more sewing to do before then.


Once home I had to decide how to finish each piece. Bind individually or maybe together. If together which order, or even side by side, then what colour binding? Both quilts are very different in colour and technique. First job was squaring them up to the same size. Joining them and binding them. Job done. I’m very happy with my two designs. Hope you like my interpretation of Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello.



  1. Teresa Barrow

    As always incredibly inventive and well executed. I live in a town which had the last battle of the civil war. We no longer have a spire on our church as that got destroyed in the battle, but still have a canon ball embedded in the wall!