leaf quilting – a tutorial

I know I’ve mentioned about nine thousand times already know how much I love Elizabeth’s dogwood quilting pattern. Lately I’ve been wanting to quilt every quilt I make with this pattern, but in the interest in keeping a little variety in my life (not to mention a little variety for this old blog!) I’ve been playing around with the design a bit to achieve slightly different looks.

For my recent Fall Cross quilt I thought a leaf pattern would go well, so I adjusted the dogwood pattern a bit to add the veins of a leaf within each petal arc. Want to try it? Here’s a series of quick drawings showing how this was quilted. (If you haven’t tried Elizabeth’s pattern yet, I highly recommend you do that first, then come back and try this variation!)

First you’ll need to draw a grid of squares on your quilt. For my Fall quilt I used a 2″ square grid. I use a washable marker to draw out the grid, but feel free to use your preferred method of marking!

This is a free motion quilting pattern, quilted in columns starting from the bottom of the quilt and quilting up one column of the grid to the top of the quilt.

Starting from either bottom corner of the square, quilt an arc up to the opposite corner of the square, then quilt another arc back down to your starting point.

Starting from that same point, quilt the series of ‘veins’ through the center of the leaf. You’ll want to quilt outwards from the center of the leaf out to each side (though not all the way to the edge of the leaf) and then back along that line back to the center line. Continue making these little veins throughout the leaf.

When you reach the top of the leaf, then you’ll continue the same way, alternating the direction of the leaves. In the photo above, the arc for the second leaf would start from the bottom left corner and go to the top right, then back down to the bottom left corner.

Continue up the row to the top of the quilt.

Repeat for the next column, though this time the leaves will go in the opposite direction as the previous column.

Once done, stand back and admire the fun pattern!

Any questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll answer there.

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16 Responses to leaf quilting – a tutorial

  1. 1
    Suzanne says:

    What a great variation!

  2. 2

    this is lovely and I’m grateful for your instruction. I like the little whimsy with the teeny loops you allowed with the veins. I could totally handle this. thanks!

  3. 3

    this is such a great quilting motif. I have been practice drawing it first.

  4. 4
    PT in SC says:

    Thanks so much for the instruction, going to give it a try. Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. 5
    Kitty says:

    Great idea!! Thank you for the instruction!!

  6. 6
    Amanda says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial. Can’t wait to try it!

  7. 7
    Joyce Mitchell says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. Even I can probably do this.

  8. 8
    Lynnette says:

    This is beautiful. What a great way to create a new design. Thanks for sharing!

  9. 9
    Jantine says:

    No questions, this is very clear! Thank you very much, I really love to give this a try soon! Know which quilt to use too ;-)

  10. 10
    Mae says:

    All of your quilting is so pretty and consistent and I love to get project ideas from your blog. What kind of foot would I use to do this design? When you say free motion, do you mean you are regulating speed/tension/stitch length? Are the feed dogs down? I’m a self taught quilter and I really only enjoy the fabric shopping/piecing part of quilting but I am trying to broaden my horizons in the quilting department!

  11. 11
    Stephinie says:

    Love This!! I am totally sharing it in this week’s weekend link love post!

  12. 12
    Carla says:

    Nice!
    I need to bookmark this so I can refer back to it when I’m ready to quilt.
    Thanks for sharing

  13. 13
    Green says:

    I love this! I have been thinking about doing the dogwood quilting pattern on some of my squarer quilts and the variation you added with the leaves is just great. It adds a nice natural feel. Perfect with the wonky cross blocks on the front and the fabrics. Just great!

  14. 14
    kris says:

    I love this. I have been toying with doing Elizabeth Hartmans dogwood design but I am afraid to do it and get lopsided circles on the back. My quilt is Elizabeth Hartman’s Birdbath and it is a quilt going to a Relay for Life charity silent auction. I can do fairly nice quilting with my walking foot but only so so work with FMQ. I like the leaf design as I can see how it can be a tiny bit more free form.
    My question is this…if the pieced quilt has clear centers and the design can fit either wholly in the center of the bird bath or split into quarters which I think would be 2 in so 4 would fit in the center…then do you just continue in the design no matter where it falls? I am thinking that I would not hit the centers if I kept it all one size across the whole quilt. I am thinking I would have to make the centers all the same and maybe divide the rest between those center blocks the best I can or just make the whole design bigger and just go all over no matter where it falls. What do you suggest? I feel I have one chance to get this right since it is for charity. Thanks, kris

  15. Pingback: Free Sewing Patterns: Quilting | married to a bmw

  16. 15
    Nola says:

    I have just seen your machine quilting tutorial and I would like to give it a try.

    Please can you tell me do you sew through the paper?

    I hope this is not a stupid question but I am new to machine quilting.

    thanks for your time

    Nola in England

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