Ah, as in turning over a new leaf? No no. As in making a leaf block. As in starting a new project. And this is happening during the first month of the New Year, when many quilters are going through their bins of Unfinished Objects (UFOs) and Works in Progress (WIPs), making charts and even joining challenges to tick those projects off their list.
Alas, I am not one of those quilters. I do have a few (ahem) UFOs I plan to tackle this year but this particular project has been percolating in my mind since last August, when I first saw Forest Floor, a new pattern from Margot Languedoc of the Pattern Basket, on Instagram. The very same day I saw a picture on Instagram of a quilt by Kim Diehl called Maple Stars featured in her new book, Simple Double-Dipped Quilts, published by Martingale Publishing. Both designers inserted a Sawtooth Star in the center of a Maple Leaf block. The settings are different but the idea is the same.
A few weeks later two fabrics from unrelated lines caught my eye at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego, where I teach. Yielding to impulse — oh, how good I am at that! — I bought some yardage without a clue as to what I would do with it:
I looked at the two prints frequently, waiting for inspiration. A couple of weeks ago my musings on combining these fabrics in a quilt of leaves finally coalesced. I pulled some golds and oranges out of my stash to audition them with the two focus fabrics:
Then I realized I had some barn reds and rusts that might work, too:
For the background I pulled a creamy yellow from my stash that I’ve had for years and years. So far I’ve made only two blocks. Here’s the second one:
I haven’t used the second focus fabric yet. But I have a plan.
After buying a pdf copy of Forest Floor, I decided to buy the Kim Diehl book as well because I wanted to compare the patterns and instructions of the two designers. Martingale has recently ceased publication and print versions on the website are sold out but I was able to purchase an eBook version of Kim Diehl’s book for $9 and printed only the pages I needed to get her instructions for Maple Stars.
Both designers created their blocks to finish at 10″ square. I resized my blocks to finish at 12½” square. That may seem an odd size until you consider that the Maple Leaf block is on a 5 x 5 grid, which means that the finished size must be easily divisible by five. I have a fondness for blocks that finish at 12″ square — neither too large nor too small. It just so happens that a 12″ block is perfect for the front/back panels on a Junior Billie Bag — and 12½” blocks work, too.
Could my blocks be making an appearance on a future Junior Billie Bag (JBB)? Probably not these blocks, because I have a quilt in mind. But I do love the idea of this block design appearing on a future JBB. Time will tell.
In the meantime, I am trying to carve time from what has turned out to be a very busy month to make a couple more blocks before February arrives. Wish me luck!