Autumn in the USA

I attend Grassroots quilt group and at our January meeting we were asked to make a quilt that is inspired by autumn.

I was in the USA in 2012 during autumn!  Here @ home we don’t really see the change of seasons like the northern states of the USA.  I spent most of my 5 week trip in the states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Texas.

Well this is my autumn quilt inspired by a photo I took in Salomonie State Forest at Hominy Ridge Lake in Wabash County, Indiana.

I didn’t want my quilt to be bigger than an A4 as I am donating it to Luscious Little Layers.

I will show you step by step how I made my Autumn Inspired quilt.


A4 colour photostat of the photograph to determine the colours and size of each piece of fabric and to use for basic placement.

A4 black and white photograph – to use to get basic shapes that I used as templates.

Various fabrics, the size and colour of each fabric are determine by the colour photostat and templates.

Sewing machine: should preferably have the following features, this will assist you in *free motion quilting or sewing:

  • The needle should be able to stop in the down position.
  • Your machine must be able to stop immediately and NOT stitch a couple more stitches.
  • You should be able to control the speed.
  • The feed dog should be able to drop.
  • Or have a stitch regulator.

Cotton batting and backing fabric that is about 1” bigger than the finished size of the quilt, fabric for binding, Appliqué paper, Threads – brown and variegated cream/brown cotton thread for your sewing machine, Iron and ironing board, teflon sheet or quick release paper,  cutting board, ruler, rotary cutter with straight blade and one with a pinking blade and general sewing supplies.

Iron appliqué paper on the back/wrong side of all the fabrics including the background fabric, dry iron on cotton setting, moving iron slowly from right to left over the fabric pieces. NO STEAM. Leave to cool, trim each piece, remove paper.  All ironing is done in this way, if not stated otherwise.

Iron the background fabric onto the middle of the cotton batting.  Using the black and white photostate templates I cut out the tree trunks from the brown fabric pieces and placed it on to the background fabric, eyeballing placement and ironing into place.

*Free motion quilted the tree trunks down, with brown thread, using the same brown thread in the bobbin, adding more branches by moving back and forward to fill the space.

*Free motion quilting: In free-motion quilting, you will move the quilt in all directions, without turning it.  You will be in control.  The issue here is to co-ordinate the needle speed and how fast to move the quilt under the needle.

  • Feed dog must be dropped or covered with masking tape.
  • Use a darning foot which gives you the most visibility.

Start sewing

  • Move quilt sandwich under the needle.  Make one stitch, hold on to the top thread and pull the bobbin thread to the surface.
  • Hold both threads firmly in left hand start sewing.
  • The length of the stitch is controlled by the speed that you move the quilt sandwich and also the speed of the machine.
  • Move backwards, forwards, and to the side without turning the quilt.

Now place your iron on a steam setting and steam the work protecting it by placing a cloth between the iron and the work.

Cut little ¼” to ¾” strips, using rotary cutter with straight or pinking blade using the fabrics with appliqué paper on back from the leave colours, then snip them into smaller pieces with sharp little scissors and place them on the section using a tweezers to help with placement, make sure that the appliqué glue side is down. Using the coloured photostate of the photograph as a colour guide.  Iron into place by using a Teflon sheet or quick release paper between the work and the iron.  Working in small sections, until the piece is filled with leaves.

Tip:  Don’t be tempted to not use a Teflon sheet or quick release paper or to place all the leaves on the whole piece at once.  You are going to end up with an iron with lots of little pieces of fabric stuck on the bottom of it and lots of bald spots on your work!

When you are happy with the placement using the variegated cream/brown cotton thread, using the same thread in the bobbin,*free motion quilt the leaves down on to the background, I used a basic leave shape.

Finally steam set the completed work, protecting the work by placing a cloth between the iron and the work.

Place the backing fabric on the back of the work and square the quilt and the backing fabric to the same size, using ruler and rotary cutter with straight blade.  Place a hanger on the top if you choose and bind.

On another day I will show you how I did my binding using appliqué paper.

Have an awesome week!



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