Quilters have an enduring appreciation for the simple elegance of leaves. I’m fascinated by the amazing varieties of leaf shapes — from simple curves to complex forms. To honor this bit of nature that surrounds us, I’ve introduced this pattern series, “Foliage”. These patterns draw on trees and plants that are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest as well as leaf forms found throughout the world.
The Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) are part of the maple tree family that develop large, welcoming umbrellas of branches as they mature. The Bigleaf is distinctive for its leaves…..enormous floppy lobbed leaves that reach well over 12″ in size. In the fall, the leaves turn a rich, golden yellow color and wave like a multitude of flags in the breeze. Seldom do I make a pattern life-sized!
This bright red leaf is the Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii), another large shade tree native to the Pacific Northwest found in the Siskiyou Mountains of Central Oregon and along the Cascade Mountains along the Columbia River Gorge. This tree grows well in the burst and bust rainfall patterns of Oregon and Washington State. This leaf’s spikey shape is enhanced by the rich red fall color.
Its fun to see these leaf patterns come to life. The straight seam design captures the distinctive shape of each leaf. Using a variety of different patterned fabrics brings depth and dimension to the leaf, while the printed leaf background fabric lends a sense of the forest floor.
Skill Level: Confident Beginner to Advanced
Pieced Flowers: Supply List
Selection from one of pieced flower patterns in my Flowers of the Gorge pattern series (available in class).
You will see that my patterns combine a wide selection of fabrics that enhance the look of the quilt. The image (such as a chicken, flower or bird) will use anywhere from 6-15 different fabrics, mostly in small pieces. Some fabrics will be repeated in the quilt, others may appear only once. The backgrounds will also typically feature 3-6 different fabrics that have a similar look. In some instances we will be looking for specific features in a patterned fabric — for example something that suggests the shape of an eye, or feathers, or fur or a stem. Patterned fabrics with multiple colors add texture and dimension to the quilt. We will be playing with different combinations to see how these fabrics look next to each other. Having lots of patterned fabric choices from which to choose is part of the creative process for these quilts and helps bring these designs to life. It’s the seemingly odd combinations of fabrics that bring texture and depth to your quilts, and will work well.
BRING LOTS!! Lots and lots of patterned fabric. A fat quarter or less is probably as much as you will need of any one fabric. Bring you largish patterned fabric scraps (though the strips found in jelly rolls are often too narrow). I routinely pull 50 or more fabric choices from my stash for the main subject of my quilts and additional fabric choices for the background. Having a wide variety of fabric choices to key to this style. When choosing colors, keep in mind that a red poppy will also have bits of orange and yellow, and perhaps hints of purple and gold and green in it, so look for fabrics that have hints of other colors. BRING YOUR STASH!! However, note that we will NOT BE USING solid or tone-on-tone fabrics that “read” as solids.
Large prints, medium prints, small prints, batiks, plaids, stripes, prints with many colors, bold fabrics as well as pastels — I pull them all. Each different kind of print will add something different to the overall look of the quilt. Look for printed fabrics where the print clearly contrasts with the background.
Before class, visit my website and spend some time looking at the range of patterned fabrics used in my quilts to get an idea of what to bring. www.AnnShawQuilting.com Also look at Ruth McDowell’s website to look at the fabrics she uses in her gorgeous quilts.
For Freezer Paper Template:
Ruler (18” plastic is ideal)
Blue Masking Tape
Sharpie brand Ultra Fine-line permanent marker (Black only!)
Highlighters (several colors)
Color pencils (7 distinct colors for making tick marks)
(NOTE: Ink pens, Gel pens, Sharpie Markers or Crayons will not work for tic marks)
For large Poppy pattern, you will also need First Aid Cloth Tape to tape the freezer paper together.
Design Wall: Bring to class a foam design board (30”x40” or larger).
They are inexpensive and can be found at your local office supply store.
(Two 20”x30” foam boards that we’ll tape together will also work.)
You will be pinning your Master Design and template pieces to this as you
audition individual fabric selections. Its then easy to carry your project home.
Rotary cutter, 14” or 18” rotary cutting ruler and cutting mat
Pins (LOTS!! Pincushion overflowing with 200+ pins!! 1” ball head pins or longer are ideal)
Basic sewing kit
Several Ziploc bags (quart and gallon size)
Paper and Pencil to take notes
Sewing machine and Supplies: (bobbins thread, needles etc).
Depending on the pattern you choose, you may or may not reach the point of beginning to sew your design together. Most students will be completing fabric selections and some may begin sewing by the end of the workshop. If you bring along your sewing machine, leave it in your car initially. You should be comfortable using your machine. Before coming, check to be sure that it is in good working order
Optional Supplies: Digital Camera
If you have a small digital pocket camera, bring it!
Using the camera on your phone or tablet will work as well to audition fabric selections.
Organizer Supply List:
Table space of at least 3’x4′ per student (a full 30×60 standard size folding table is preferable)
Whiteboard and marker
At least 2 irons and ironing boards
Adequate outlets and fuses
Individual 30″ x 40″ foam boards for each student’s work (or adequate design wall space)