Monday, September 21, 2020

The Leaves Are Beginning to Turn

Recently the Canadian Quilters Association launched their new website and a gorgeous new logo that incorporates a beautiful maple leaf quilt block, traditional and contemporary at the same time - iconically Canadian. I've seen the block over the years but never really felt the need to make it. Until now. As the leaves begin to turn and it got me in the mood to give it a try.

There are lots of different leaf blocks out there but it took a while to find a seven-pointed layout where the tip was pieced rather than foundation pieced (for whatever reason I didn't want to go there). At the end of the day, I decided to draft my own pattern.

I have batiks that I use for journal covers; their rich colours seemed perfect for this project. If you give this block a try, feel free to experiment. I've seen some lovely monochromatic leaves and terrific scrappy ones too.

7.5" Maple Leaf Block Tutorial

For the leaf cut:
(6) 3.5" x 2" rectangles
(1) 2" x 2" squares
(1) leaf tip cut from template

For the stem cut:
(1) 1.25" x 5.5" strip, cut on the bias


For the background cut:
(2) 3.5" x 2" rectangles
(6) 2" x 2" squares
(1) 3.5" x 3.5" square
(1) triangle cut with template
(1) triangle cut with the template reversed



Make the leaf tip and triangle templates:
Draw two 3.5" squares on paper and mark the quarter inch seam allowance on all four sides. Mark the center point of two sides and draw a line from each point to the opposite corner. You will have two identical squares.



Cut the templates as illustrated, leaving a quarter inch seam allowance. 













This is what the templates look like without the cutaways. The template on the left is for the leaf tip and the triangular template on the right will be used for the leaf tip background. When cutting the background triangles, cut one then flip the pattern piece to cut the reverse.



Make the leaf tip block:
Sew the two background triangles to the leaf tip. Trim to 3.5" square.





Make the stem:
Fold the bias stem strip wrong sides together and sew a narrow seam allowance, about 1/8", the length of the strip. Press, centering the seam down the back of the stem.



Machine or hand appliqué the stem to a 3.5" background square as shown, leaving the left edge of the stem a quarter of an inch from the left edge of the block. Trim. (I forgot to take a photo at this stage but here's an idea of the stem placement.)




Make the leaf:

Draw a diagonal line on the back of the six 2" background squares.

Place one square on each of the six rectangles, right sides together, and stitch along the diagonal line. If you are using three colours for your leaf like I did, create pairs of opposites; if your leaf is scrappy sew the squares randomly.



Trim the seam allowances to 1/4" and press.






Lay out all of the elements of your block. 







Assemble in three sections...






and then sew the sections together. Voila! An autumn maple leaf.

I am really happy with how it turned out - love those rich colours. It's going to become a potholder so that I can enjoy the changing leaves year round in my kitchen but I think that I need to make a second block so that I can have a pair. There is talk of a virtual Holly Bazaar craft table this year so maybe a pair or two will find their way there as well....M

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Cool Stitches

As much as it's been lovely to have the sweltering heat of the summer behind us it seems as though we have missed the lovely days of September and jumped ahead to the cooler days of October already. We've had our share of rainy days, too. And the football season has started again. It all spells the perfect weather to get back to the hoop.



Earlier this year I had such high hopes that with the pandemic lock down I would just fly through to the finish line with the hand quilting on Candied Hexagons but this quilt is proving to be a lifer. I do bits and pieces and then say goodbye to it for a good stretch of time.




Oh well, I'm back at it and have knocked a few more hexies off the list. My trusty painter's tape keeps me on the straight and narrow; I love not having to remove the quilting marks.





I'm really looking forward to quilting this hexagon; I think it's one of my favourites. It's good to be back...M

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Laying the Foundation

Jane is never far from starting a new quilt and her latest doesn't disappoint. She has worked through her collection of neutrals that she bought at Quilt Canada when it was in Ottawa last year and her Kaffe fabrics and has a solid foundation for a new Log Cabin quilt in the works. It. Is. Spectacular.

I mean really, with this gorgeous collection of prints how could it not be?





She didn't start that long ago but you wouldn't know it from the pile of blocks that I saw. 

In the back of her mind she thought that there might be close to 60 blocks made but I did a quick count and came up with 74. Now I believe that there are over 80.


Like the majority of her quilts she pieces them by hand, and for this one she works on three at a time.





Initially she had all of her 1.5" strips tossed into a bag and would dig through to find the ones that she needed, but that quickly became a frustrating mess. So she sorted them by colour and pinned each group with a large safety pin, both coloured...



and neutral. So much easier to work with the bundles.





She's played with lots of different layouts and is leaning to diagonal stripes. The final decision has yet to be made.




Either way, she's having a grand time playing with all of this gorgeous colour. Wouldn't you?....M


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Baby Steps

For a variety of reasons, it's been a tough summer to get any traction with my quilts, but on the weekend I decided that it was time to stop staring at a couple of flimsies and prep the backings. There was an extra incentive for the first one because it is for my niece who is expecting her first child towards the end of September. Time to get the lead out!




Appropriately enough, this one is called Hugs 'n Kisses. I think that I bought a small bundle of fabrics called Posh on eBay (when I did that kind of thing) and just made it up because I liked the fabric. When it was finished it was large enough for a good sized baby quilt - 45" x 55" - so I tucked it away until I needed it.



It will be backed with these sweet little pink cherries and I think that I might look to see if there is any pink gingham to be had for a bias gingham binding. It was pressed and the backing assembled in good time so I looked to make a second backing and get two quilts off to Roberta to quilt. 



Snippets has also been languishing for a while, but not nearly as long as Hugs 'n Kisses. I had been saving a backing piece just for it but when the tape measure came out I realized that I was going to be short. Ugh.




For whatever reason, I'm having a tough time figuring out what I want for a backing; I think it's because of the yellow border. It's an Art Gallery fabric and I just love it, but somehow that mint green in the centre of the flowers is just outside my colour range. 




This blue would have been terrific.

I don't want a pieced back and I also didn't want to hold up Hugs 'n Kisses anymore, so off it went to be quilted and I am back to pondering my Snippets options. I could make the borders narrower as I I'm short only about a half meter, but I love that border and don't want to lose any of it. A quick online browse didn't turn up anything earth shattering either so maybe it's time for a trip to Stedmans - I usually have great luck there. Oh well, at least one got to the quilter. Little victories....M