and let’s get started…
Are you ready to make a beautiful arrangement of gradient leaves? These blocks make a great table runner, wall hanging, mini quilt or larger quilt. The possibilities are endless! Looking for a gift for your Thanksgiving host? This is the perfect family keepsake that can be used year after year!
Let’s dig in and make something awesome together!
You can find the Leaf Peepers quilt pattern, a collaboration between me (Whole Circle Studio) and Leah Day here. We had so much fun designing the pattern and planning this Quilt Along and can’t wait for you to join us! We both live on the East Coast of the United States and the crisp autumn weather along with magnificent scenery of colorful leaves plays a big role in both of our lives.
Any selection of fabric—solids, prints, batiks or a combination—will work well with this pattern. Below are two fabric palettes I’ve used to make my Leaf Peepers blocks.
Painter’s Palette Solids by Paintbrush Studio: Rice Paper (not shown in photo below), Android, Green Sheen, Frolic, Yarrow, Pencil Yellow, Tangerine, Carrot, Tomato and Wine
Uncorked by Windham Fabrics: White/Gray, Light Green, Dark Green, Brown, Gold, Orange, Red, Maroon, Light Purple and Purple
preparing your fabric:
Be sure to check out Leah’s video all about how she prepares her fabric:
Organization is key for this project (and let’s face it most quilt projects)! In the pattern, next to the fabric requirements, you’ll find an area to glue or tape a fabric swatch next to the assigned letter. This is a super helpful reference tool as you’re working on all four blocks.
I also like to use a scrap piece of paper and safety pin to label each of the fabrics. This makes it less likely for me to cut the wrong fabric. The more labeling you can do, the less likely you are to make mistakes!
Sometimes cutting fabric efficiently can be a challenge. Included in the Leaf Peepers pattern are Suggested Cutting Layout Diagrams. You can use these as a guide if you need help figuring out the best way to cut your fabrics. I always recommend cutting the largest pieces first. By doing so, you’re less likely to run out of fabric and you may find even more efficient ways to cut pieces with leftover scraps.
To make sure I’m cutting perfectly squared up pieces, I fold my fabric in half so that the selvages are matching so I can cut 1 strip from selvage to selvage (also known as the width of fabric) with a standard 24″ acrylic ruler. More than likely than not, the sides will not perfect aligned—we’ll be working on that in a minute. I make sure my fabric is well pressed with a hot iron. When cutting strips and pieces that I’m going to handle a lot, I’ll also apply some spray starch to the fabric while pressing.
I then align either the edge of my ruler (or sometimes I actually find it easier to align one of the lines that is parallel to the edge of the ruler) with the fold as shown in the photo below.
Once that is aligned, you can trim the excess fabric to the left of the ruler. If you’re more comfortable cutting with your right hand, be sure to do this in reverse (or walk around the table if you’re able to). Trimming this edge will ensure that you have a clean, well-matched edge that will be perfectly straight when you open up the strips that we’re about to cut.
The first strip to cut in the Suggested Cutting Diagram Layout for our background (or W pieces) is a 7½” strip. If you trimmed the raw edge like we did above, the bottom edge of the ruler should be aligned perfectly with the fold of the fabric when you line up your ruler with the raw edge to cut your strip. After cutting a couple of strips, you might find that it’s not quite squared up. Just repeat what we did previously to trim off the excess. It’s always a good habit to check before you cut!
Once you have your strip cut, open it up and cut off the selvage and then sub-cut your pieces. Again, you’ll want to refer to the Cutting Diagrams and the Cut chart on page 2 of the pattern. The first sub-cuts you’ll make on your first W strip will be the two 7½” x 7½” W-HST2 pieces.
For some strips, you’ll make small strips after you sub-cut some pieces. After you cut the two 7½” x 7½” W-HST2 pieces from the 7½” W strip, you’ll trip that strip into two smaller strips measuring 3½” wide as indicated with the red lines in the photo below. Once those 3½” strips are cut, you can sub-cut those strips into 3½” x 3½” pieces for your W-HST1 pieces.
I can’t stress enough how much labeling your pieces will make your sewing experience so much more pleasant! I use cut up pieces of scrap paper to label my pieces as I cut them. I use either a straight pin, safety pin or clip to attach the slip of paper to the fabric. I find that I don’t have to label every cut piece, but rather one piece of labeled paper for the group.
One handy tip: the HST1 and HST2 pieces will be used to make half square triangles.
Next week, we’ll dig into making Leaf Peepers Block 1.