Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autumn Leaves Quilts

Autumn is one of the best seasons to enjoy the glorious colors of our changing environment. Mother Nature brings out her prettiest deep greens, sunny golds, and vivid oranges and reds before beginning her winter repose. We've assembled a collection of quilts to celebrate the beauty of autumn leaves as portrayed in the textile arts.

Third Weekend in October, 85 x 110, by Ruth Powers, at Ruth Powers Art Quilts

A well-loved favorite at quilt raffles and shows, "Third Weekend in October" captures the very essence of sun-dappled warm hues. Ruth sprinkled fabrics with lighter values diagonally across the quilt and placed some leaves overlapping the borders. This technique gives the quilt a very natural, realistic, outdoors look, much as we might view a display of leaves on our front lawn. We think that this artistic, unstructured look is one of the many keys to this quilt pattern's success. Ruth writes that "Third Weekend In October" was released in 1997 and has consistently been Innovation's best seller, having sold almost 28,000 copies in the first 10 years that it was available. For the pattern, visit Ruth's pattern page. A wall hanging version of the quilt is also available; see New Leaves.

Autumn Wind Art Quilt With Embroidery, 32 x 34, at Advanced Embroidery Designs

The three very creative designers at Advanced Embroidery Designs, Sophia, Venelina, and Helen, combine their talents to produce some of the prettiest and most elegant embroidery patterns we've ever seen. Here they have combined their patterns of Lady Autumn, the FSL Autumn Leaves, and the Maple Leaves to fashion a lovely tribute to the changing season. They encourage quilters to use their imagination in adding small embellishments to this art quilt, such as beads, charms, cords, ribbons, and floss.  In the quilt shown above, they have couched a sparkling gold cord over the individual pieces, especially Lady Autumn's graceful garments. To see the detail and obtain the pattern, visit the Autumn Wind project page.

Scrappy Leaves, 77 x 83, by Ilene Bartos, at Ilene Bartos Designs

If you love the idea of an autumn leaf quilt, but you want to add in some summer and winter colors in addition to traditional autumn hues, then this Scrappy Leaves pattern will be perfect for you. Ilene used purples, pinks, blues, and greens to fashion this rainbow colored quilt. She selected 132 different leaf fabrics and cut them into 2.5 inch strips.

Scrappy Leaves is the gorgeous cover quilt for Ilene's book, Maple Leaf Quilts. Her book includes 12 different maple leaf quilt projects, and focuses on imaginative and original ways to construct Maple Leaf blocks.  Ilene offers very helpful suggestions for creating the sharp, accurate points which gives this pattern its well known crisp and clean look.

Ilene shows several other beautiful quilts on her Gallery of Leaves page, including the bright and sunny "Scattered Leaves" quilt below.

Indian Summer, 60 x 69, by Judy Niemeyer, at Quiltworx

In this quilt of the energetic color combinations of orange, teal, burgundy, and olive, the clean geometric lines create delicate pinwheel images. As the eye glides over the pinwheels, they seem to rotate gracefully, symbolizing the dance of leaves as they drift in the breeze to the ground.

Artist Judy Niemeyer remarks on her Quiltworx website, " Indian Summer was designed as a tool to teach foundation paper piecing in an afternoon class. I wanted to design a quilt that did not require figuring  yardage or picking out color. This quilt is surprisingly fun and simple to make. "

For another glorious quilt in fall colors, also see the Autumn Splendor design by Bradley and Judy Niemeyer.

October, 48 x 64, by Barbara Persing and Mary Hoover, at Fourth and Sixth Designs

Award-winning quilt artists from Jersey, England, Barbara and Mary were born the 4th and 6th children in their family. After moving to the United States, they developed their quilting talent into a full time career. They now travel extensively, giving workshops and seminars on quilting. Barbara Persing also provides long arm quilting services. They are proud to announce their first book, Strata Various Quilts from C and T Publishing.

One of Barbara and Mary's trademarks is their successful use of dazzling, pure colors against a contrasting background. You can see this skill applied in the "October" quilt, as the brilliant leaves are appliqued on a background of soft neutrals. Background strips of off-white and ecru evoke an image of a pale yet luminous landscape, as nature reposes for the season. The muted background tones cause the vibrant orange leaves to pop off the quilt with almost a three-dimensional effect. A stunning reminder of the beauty of autumn and winter, the "October" pattern is available at JWD Publishing and also from the catalog at 4th and 6th Designs.

Below, you can see the beautiful fused applique technique and thread painting on the close up of one of the leaves of "October."

Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of the artists.


  1. "Third Weekend in October" has always been one of my favorite quilts. Going to check out the wall hanging version right now.

  2. It's funny reading about autumn (fall) when we are about a month into spring here. As always beautiful quilts, love them all but my favourite(s) would be the October and Indian Summer quilts.

  3. Thanks, Cheryl! "Third Weekend in October" is one of our favorite quilts also, as the arrangement of the leaves is so pleasing and pretty.

  4. Thanks, Pip ! Your point is very well taken, as half of planet earth is now enjoying the arrival of springtime. That reminds us that everything in nature is part of the "circle of life." :-)

  5. Wow, those area great examples of machine embroidery designs and so complicated! How do you learn to sew like that?


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