Ahhh autumn-My favorite time of the year. Kicking off with the annual Johnny Appleseed Festival the season invokes warm days, crisp nights, high school football games played under stadium lights, and glorious fall foliage. The autumn months signal a time of transition as the hot lazy days of summer become a distant memory and preparations are made for festive Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations.
Autumn is also a great time for quilting. Blocks pieced over the summer can now be comfortably lap quilted. Although larger quilts are often quilted on a standing frame, often it is less stressful on the hands and wrists to use a lap frame big enough to encapsulate an entire block. Quilt frames made of PVC pipes that can be interchanged to make various size squares and rectangles to fit the project are very useful. "Back in the day" quilt hoops were used. Tightly stretched between the two round hoops one can only imagine what this did to the alignment of the fabric's perpendicular threads. Lap quilting also makes smaller projects portable-something to work on during high school marching band competitions.
One of the most popular autumn quilt blocks is the traditional maple leaf. Easily pieced in fall colors each block invokes cozy warmth. The leaves all of uniform size and shape stand alone in their own block like trophies to be admired. Some quilters choose solid fabrics while others prefer various prints.
A less traditional approach is to appliqué maple leave of various sizes, shapes and colors and scatter and/or layer them across the whole piece quilt top. Avid leaf rakers find this design more meaningful as it depicts the leaves in their natural state of beauty.
The two different styles require two different approaches in their making. While the traditional block requires precision cutting and piecing, the scattered design allows more freedom for diversity and accuracy is not an issue. Placement of the leaves though would take more time to determine in order to balance the various leaf colors and sizes. This design also requires the leaves to be appliquéd as opposed to the traditional pieced block.
Which maple leaf quilt design appeals to you either to make or view? Does your preference reflect your personality: uniform, precise and orderly versus diverse, free flowing and scattered? Something to ponder over the next two months while you are raking up all those leaves!
Lois Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts a restoration studio and quilt gallery. She is busy preparing for the open house at the new location 4005 South Wayne Ave – next door to the Friendly Fox. She can be reached through The Waynedale News.