Maple Leaf Quilt Block Tutorial
Quilt Inspiration From A Photo
The season of fall is a Quilters Paradise. It is our playground for all the bold and vibrant colors it provides. There are the many shades of green, the yellow to gold shades , many shades of orange, red, and brown.If you look at a photo of fall, you can see that reds and oranges blend together beautifully. That goes against anything we were told years ago, when we were told never to mix oranges and reds together. My way of thinking is, if it exists in nature, it's oodd enough by me.I sorted through my fabric stash to see if I had any fall colors, and to my surprise, I had more than I thought. I always have green on hand, as it is one of my favorite colors to design with, especially with shades of purple. I found fabric that I forgot I purchased.I then decided I would make a table runner for that upcoming Thanksgiving dinner, which is a fall tradition. The next decision was which pattern to make. The "Maple Leaf" pattern came to mind. This pattern is made by using a nine patch layout. As you know from my other lenses, I love the Nine Patch Quilt Block, and, no, I will not make this nine patch disappear like I did the other ones.Photos taken by me unless otherwise specified.
Current Fall Fabrics
In this photo, I am showing some of the fabrics I have to choose from. Everything depends on whether I have lots of a particular fabric to make something more than just one quilt block. The "Maple Leaf Quilt Block" is usually made with 2 colors, but, there is nothing in the quilter's rule book that says a person can't use more than 2 colors. I am just going to use 2.I thought these fabrics would be perfect for a fall table runner, until my husband saw the first one I made.
Quilting Fabric For Fall
The Rejected Maple Leaf
When my husband saw this pattern. he liked the pattern, but if I was making a table runner for fall, he did not like the green I chose. He said if I was going to use green, it had to be a fabric with different shades of green in it.I told him that my green fabric was limited. and that the rest of my fall colors were also limited. His answer was " What, the fabric store ran out of fabric".Hey, don't have to tell me twice to make a trip to the fabric store.Once I looked more closely at this block, I am glad it was rejected, because it looks like I will lose the points when finished, and the stem is not made the way I want it to look.
New Fall Fabrics
Here are the results of my trip to the fabric store, or maybe I should say a trip to two different stores. I really wish this particular fabric chain would have a sale at both stores, and not just one. I went to the one on the East side of town, and there was no way I was paying $14.00 per meter, so I went to the store on the West side, and they had a sale on the same fabric for $6.00 per meter.My husband liked the new choice of fabrics, and chose the one he liked best, along with some fabrics from the first stash I showed him.As you can see, I came home with more fabric than I needed, but what quilter doesn't do that?
Cutting Fabric For A Maple Leaf Block - Step 1
The Maple Leaf Quilt Block is a Nine Patch. For the first part of the block you will need to make 4 identical half- square triangle units with 2 colors. Make these units by first cutting 2 Gold and 2 Green squares, each one being 5.25 inches square. Make your units by placing one of each color right sides together, then draw a diagonal line down the center, then sew a quarter inch on each side of the diagonal. Cut on the drawn line. This is shown in the top image of this photo.Next step is to square each unit to 4-1/2 inches, as I have done by using a 4-1/2 inch square ruler bottom middle HST Unit.Also , since you have your 4-1/2 inch square ruler handy, cut 3 squares of Green, and 1 square of Gold.If you do not own a 4-1/2 inch square ruler, you can use any other method to square it up very accurately, as that is very important when making this block.
Making The Stem Unit
You now have to make the stem unit. To do this, cut a 5 inch square of the Gold fabric, and cut it in half diagonally. Cut a piece of the Green fabric, 2 inches by 6-1/2 inches.These measurements may appear a little much for this unit, but you need to make this square as accurately as possible. Once you make the first one, you will get a better idea what measurements to use. Everything depends on how wide you make the stem of your Maple Leaf. This stem will finish at 1-1/2 inches, so, yes, the triangles are too large, but, if you decide to make a narrower stem, then they are the right size.Sew a triangle to each side of the rectangular strip. Press
Quilt Block Stem Unit
Step 2 Continued
After you have sewn your stem unit together, draw a chalk line down middle of the Green rectangle. Make sure it exactly in the middle.Then place your 4-1/2 inch square with the diagonally line on the chalk line. Now cut out your 4-1/2 inch square.
Arranging The Units
Arrange your 9 squares as shown.Sew your top 3 squares together, then the middle 3 squares, and then the bottom 3 squares.You are going to sew these squares together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Yes, you heard right, 1/2 inch. Why, you ask? I did not go through all the trouble of making those squares accurately, and then lose the points when I am finished. I have been there, done that, and I am not doing it again. I am planning on adding a thicker batting then usual, and I want room for that process. Trust me on this.You are also going to skip the step of pressing each row after you sew the squares.Just go to your machine, and sew the squares together, then sew the 3 rows together. I found out the hard way that pressing can warp your fabric. If all the squares were made accurately, then you do not have to press.Press after the whole unit is sewn together. You should not have to square these units, unless they are really off of being square. If you have to square it, be careful on the corner with the stem; if you trim 1 side of the stem, you have to trim the other side an equal amount, or else it will not be centered.
Photo Gallery Of My New Blocks - I made 8 Maple Leaf BlocksClick thumbnail to view full-size
Table Runner - Step 4
Here are the 2 rows of the 8 block sewn together, 4 blocks in each row.Your next step is to sew these 2 rows together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.Again, do not press anything yet, as you can press and square it up after it is sewn together.
Finished Maple Leaf Table Runner
Here is my finished project. I now have to decide on a backing and batting. I only have to square it up slightly.LESSONS and MISTAKES sewing this project are:1. The 1/2 inch seam allowance worked perfectly. Just look at my Points. they are the best I have so far.2. I only have one mistake to correct. It is on the bottom right unit, the 4-1/2 inch square to the left of the sold gold square. I am going to try to correct it by taking in or taking out a seam allowance, as that is the benefit of doing a 1-1/2 inch seam allowance, which will give me room to correct the point not matching up correctly.3. As you can see, I matched up the 4 stem units in the middle. That is why you have to make the Stem units accurately.4. This unit after the backing is sewn will measure 40 inches by 20 inches.5. I now have an appreciation for different shades of brown, but it still has to be the right shade of brown.6. Okay, so you are a traditional quilter, and you just can't bring yourself to use a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Fine, when you are finished your block, just grab a pair of scissors and trim the seam allowances to 1/4 inch, and no one will know the difference.7. I should have planned out the project better, as it is too big our table. I could have cut 4 inch squares instead of 4-1/2 inch ones
The Maple Leaf Quilt Block
As a quilter, have you made the Maple Leaf Block?
Quilted Living Room Mat
Once my Maple Leaf Quilt Project was finished, It turned out to be too big for a table runner for our table. especially if I wanted to use place mats as well, so I decided to add a border on the long end of the quilt, and a narrower border to the width of the quilt. I needed it to be large enough to fit as a mat in front of our couch.. It now measures 23 inches by 56 inches. I used fabric for the borders that was used for the Maple Leafs. I used 2 different fabrics, as I wanted to save enough of each fabric to make a smaller one for in front of the recliner.Our Dining room and Living Room are together, so people can still see the mat from the dining room. I still have some of the same fabric left, so I can still make something to match for the table.
The Square Ruler Question
As a new quilter, my first square rulers I purchased were a 4-1/2 Inch and a 12-1/2 Inch. I only use the large one for squaring off larger blocks, so it did not matter that the markings were not very visible. The 4-1/2 Inch I purchased did not have very clear markings either , and I hated it. I went to another store to replace it, and they only sold the 5 Inch Square, so I purchased it, and I love it, but it had better marking on it. So maybe that extra 1/2 Inch does not matter, as long as the markings are clear. I have a 6-1/2 Square as well, and I enjoy using it.
Do you prefer a 4-1/2 square or a 4-inch square ruler