Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Weird Maple Leaf Quilt

Some time ago, maybe as long as five or six years ago, my friend Lori shared a picture of some leaf blocks she was making.

They are called Ozark Maple Leaves and came out of a book published in 2002 called Nickel Quilts: Great Designs from 5 Inch Scraps

It caught my attention, you know how that goes with butterfly brain, "Oooh pretty!" quickly followed by "I want!" I had the book so a quick rummage in my scrap box allowed me to get started on yet another new project.

These are not your standard Maple Leaf block, they tessellate, or interlock. Two little triangle wedges of the background in every leaf and two triangles of the focus fabric in the setting squares. Not as complicated as it sounds because you make them in pairs, or four patches.

I made quite a few blocks from the scrap bag, put them away and forgot about them. I rediscovered 20 of them last year, I could have sworn there were more and they may show up one day yet as these things do when you live in one place too long.

After throwing two away as beyond ugly (and warped) this was the best setting I could come up with so as not to have to make more. I didn't buy any fabric, setting triangles and borders came from stash.

I think my quilt (above) looks weird because the blocks are set on point. The strong and dark outer side setting triangle fabric overwhelms the blocks while making the light setting squares pop, but not attractively. The sample quilt in the book, shown at right, is approximately 74" x 98" and much prettier. Her blocks are the same size as mine, they just look much less clunky in a straight setting. I have seen a beautiful table runner made from a similar block too.

Lori quilted it and bound it for me, she likes it. I think she has to say that because she is my friend and doesn't want to hurt my feelers. I will let you know what I think about it when I get to South Dakota next month! I do know the quilting will be flawless and the binding will have invisible hand finished stitching because that is what Lori does.

Y'all come back!


  1. You're being entirely too hard on your quilt. You used what you had and I think it looks just fine. Us quilters are our own greatest critics too often. If you don't like it you can always donate it somewhere. I'm sure someone would be very happy to get it.

  2. The quilt looks exactly perfect -- nothing needs to be changed!

  3. The Ozark Maple Leaf pattern did not originate with the magazine you mentioned. According to Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns it was first published in the Ladies' Home Journal magazine in 1900, where it was called "Maple Leaf Design." Other names for the block are Broad Arrows, Arabic Latticework, and Fig Leaf.

  4. Thank you for sharing that information Annie! Do you think the original pattern in the Ladies Home Journal was smaller than the 6" finished size commonly used today?