Monday, October 20, 2014

I should be raking Maple Leaves

. . . . but it's more fun to write about making Maple Leaf blocks.
One of my daily tasks for the past 30 years has been to walk a dog.  Most of those walks have followed the same circle around my neighborhood.  One of the blessings of living in Northeast Ohio is the fall tree color.  I come home from fall walks with bouquets of leaves clutched in one hand.  If you don't live in a part of the world where the leaves change colors in the fall before dropping to the ground, this is the short version.

The chlorophyll breaks down because the trees stop manufacturing food in preparation for winter.  So the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their fall splendor. At the same time other chemical changes may occur, which form additional colors through the development of red anthocyanin pigments.
Once a leaf falls, the color begins to fade very quickly and they become dried up, brown crumbly food for the compost and mulching my flower beds.  But for a few hours, their color combinations are inspiring.  So several years ago I began to preserve those combinations with fabric by piecing maple leaf blocks using the leaves from my walks as a guide to pulling the fabrics.  I did not have a particular project in mind, I was just preserving an inspiration.
 
Here is a link to a huge glob of images for all sorts of maple leaf blocks and no doubt some of those will lead you to tutorials and instructions on piecing the blocks so I don't need to rewrite those.  Just keep exploring them until you find one you like!
 
 I will just say that I make 6" blocks as I find that size more versatile.  I use templates #12 to cut the squares needed and #13 to cut the triangles needed for each block from Marti Michell's Set B.  I prefer using the templates (which do take a little more time to cut initially) because I hate trimming HST units "down" to the correct size (which takes the same amount of time as using templates). 

If I used Set A, I could make 4 1/2" blocks . . . . hmmmm?!?   Without actually going through my templates, I'd guess I could perhaps make at least a dozen different sizes with the various sets -- some as large as 15".

This is my scrappy maple leaf quilt that is on my bed right now.  It's 11 by 12 blocks without a border.  Including the squares of the fall prints helped me achieve the size I wanted without the need to add a border. 
By the time I set the quilt together, I had made over 140 blocks but I kept using a few here and there for smaller projects.  Finally, I decided to make a large quilt for myself.  You need a lot of 6" blocks to make a big quilt so I bordered all of the blocks and then squared them up "wonky" style to 8 1/2" squares.  Here are some close-ups with leaves that might have inspired them.
Yellow is actually the predominate color in the trees, but where there are Norway maples there are often shades of purple.
Oranges and reds are abundant but there is a large maple nearby that always has touches of pink in it's fall leaves.
This is one of my favorite blocks in the quilt -- it was inspired by these rainbow like leaves from a sugar maple that my husband and I planted 35 years ago in our front yard. 
I included some plain squares of my favorite prints from the "fall" stash box just for fun -- spiders?  Yes!  I like how the leaves seem to float around the quilt -- that is achieved by the combination of the sashing and the plain squares.
And apples of course. 
So every night during the fall, Willie and I snuggle down under this beautiful quilt and enjoy sleeping in a pile of leaves!!
I'm off to get one more walk in the woods before the rain begins and the wind brings down all the beautiful leaves -- we are on the downhill side of the color peak and there's no time to waste!
 
Mary Huey
 
 
 
 

23 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Patricia and thanks for visiting!!

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  2. I love how you chose your colours for each block by using maple leaves as your inspiration. Nature offers the best inspiration, with fingerprints of the Creator. Your quilt is a beautiful reminder of those many walks and the stunning autumn leaves you enjoy each year.

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    1. Thanks, Karen -- I'm always eager to put this out on the bed for a few months!!

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  3. Just beautiful! Love your autumn leaves and your blocks. Very pretty!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Celia and thanks for the compliment!!

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Nat! That wonky style also hides lots of little imperfections!

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  5. Always loved this block and fall colours !

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    1. Thanks for visiting and the compliment, Bea!

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  6. I like your creative way of picking colors for this one and what I like the most is that you chose to incorporate burgundies, purple and some pink as well. Lovely!

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    1. Thanks, Maryse -- though I have to give nature complete credit for the color palette. There is a large maple tree around the corner from my house that the leaves turn from green to a dark burgundy, almost black, and then they turn red before they drop -- most unique tree on my circuit!

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  7. Just beautiful! I'd have to be really tired when I went to sleep under this, or I'd stay awake looking at the beautiful color combos.

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    1. Thanks, Tammy! A day working in the garden, raking the leaves, generally assures me of a good night's sleep!!

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  8. Fall is looking much prettier in your neck of the woods! Love the quilt!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Sharon and the nice compliment!!

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  9. I love how your pieced leaves are inspired by real leaves! That's fantastic.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and the nice compliment!!

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  10. Your quilt is beautiful and it makes a lovely backdrop for a very handsome boy!

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    1. Thanks, Karen -- he is a handsome fellow!!

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  11. I just love your maple leaves quilt--beautiful job on it...hugs, Julierose

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