Michael and I have been fortunate to live several places in this world. We grew up in Abilene, Texas, a flat, mostly treeless area in the center of the great state.
We then moved to Lubbock, Texas to attend Texas Tech University. Lubbock is located at the base of the Texas panhandle in the “High Plains” area. There were not many trees there either.
In 1981, we left Texas and moved to Canberra, Australia where Michael studied for his PhD. While a truly magical place, the trees were almost entirely Eucalyptus.
Do you see a pattern to this history???
When we returned to the US, we lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 18 months where most of the trees in our neighborhood were tall, tall pines.
As a result of my geographic history, I had never seen a true Autumn where the Deciduous leaves would turn gorgeous colors and then float gently to the ground. This phenomenon is what caught my eye in the Autumn of 1996.
We were living in Athens, Georgia and I had just begun an exercise regime that had me walking 7 days a week. As the days grew shorter, I started to notice the beautiful colors of the leaves and then watch as they twisted and turned their way to the ground. The change in the color of the sky as winter approached was also noticeable.
These ruminations were the basis for my quilt “Falling Leaves and Flying Geese”
What I envisioned was a quilt where the summer sky and green leaves appeared in the top left….
….. and the winter “white” sky with brown, dead leaves were in the bottom right corner……
Since I was still relatively new to my quilting career, I was so excited to think about designing this quilt from scratch and then actually making it happen.
The first step was to get a piece of scrap flannel and draw out a grid of 2 inch squares and start filing them in with gradations of blue scraps. I didn’t have a huge stash so quickly ran out of fabrics, but it was a case of “Quilters to the Rescue”!! I sent out the call to my quilting bee and everyone showed up to my house with scraps in tow!! We all had so much fun picking out the colors and placing and RE-placing them on the board so that the gradation was PERFECT!!
With the background planned, it was time to decide on the leaves. I found a pattern that I liked but it had stationary stems and this quilt needed movement so I decided to applique a curved stem on each one.
I was especially proud of this leaf since I allowed the stem to break into the border.
Another natural sign of Autumn had also stood out to me as I walked…..the honking of geese as they traveled thru the sky. I decided that the quilt would be bordered with flying geese, some in groups…..
some by themselves and a few that were invisible (ie….only quilted and not pieced)……
Once the top was put together it was time to think about quilting. I knew that it needed motion so finally decided to just do a few simple lines to imitate the wind as it chased the leaves across the yards…..
Back then I only used monofilament thread to free motion quilt and really like that the quilting disappears!!
This quilt hangs in our home every September and is my harbinger of Autumn!!