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.
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!