Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt
2014 Finished Quilts, Quilts

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt

I am going to be working on the design of a queen size quilt based on a beautiful multi-colored stained cocoa leaf light fixture. Thankfully, I have access to this fixture in person, and I was able to take my Kona color card over to color match earlier this week.

Cocoa Drum Lamp

Cocoa Drum Lamp

I particularly love the strong lines of the veins in the leaves, and I like how the leaves do not necessarily come to a point along the sides of the drum. If you have been following along my blog, you might know that I have a slight aversion to curved piecing. I don’t know why. I have successfully sewn circles together before!

To explore the possibilities for design inspiration, I decided to make a mini quilt to see if I could do a reasonable job mimicking theses beautiful cocoa leaves. To start, I pulled out a rainbow of Kona solids from my stash (they don’t match the light fixture, but are a good enough approximation for me right now).

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt Fabric Pull

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt Fabric Pull

I had the least amount of orange, so I cut all the fabric down to match the stripe of orange fabric I had on hand, and I pieced together strips to make a set of rainbow gradients.

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt Rainbow Stripes

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt Rainbow Stripes

From there, I decided to use pure white as the background, and I cut swooping curves into one of the rainbow strips at the same time cutting the arc into the background fabric. I then sewed them together, and it worked really well! I am pretty happy with how flat it ironed out. Basically, I read several tutorials by Lily’s Quilts and Red Pepper Quilts about cutting and sewing free hand curves and it worked out very well for me. I will say that I used an over sized background fabric (extra long compared to the rainbow stripe) to be on the safe side in terms of not trimming away all of one of my rainbow colors.

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt Pieced Curves and Pin Basting

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt Pieced Curves and Pin Basting

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt Pieced Curves and Pin Basting

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt Pieced Curves and Pin Basting

Using an off-white Aurifil thread, I quilted the rainbow leaf to have a strong center vein and then offset branches. I quilted loose, meandering spirals in the background of the white beside the leaf.

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt

The Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt finishes out at 21″ wide and 22″ long.

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt

It took me just under 3 hours from start to finish. Well, I still need to put the rest of the fabric back in my stash, but clean up doesn’t count, does it?

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt Quilting Detail

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt Quilting Detail

Yes, I quilted some insanely small meandering loops up the center vein of the leaf. I actually quite love them and like how they play with the meandering loops in the negative space surrounding the giant leaf.

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt View of Backing

Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt View of Backing

I always love how quilting pops out on a solid fabric!

This was a really great exercise for me. I do not really plan on making the cocoa leaves rainbow stripes for the queen size quilt, but it was a fun exercise for me to play with the colors and make something that I can take to my customer to discuss potential design options. Have you ever made a sample piece like this before as a tool to discuss design and as an exercise in skill building? I have one more rainbow stripe left over, and I am debating whether I should make a second mini quilt with it or set it aside.

0 thoughts on “Cocoa Leaf Mini Quilt

  1. Beth S. says:

    I have never made a practice or skill building piece but wish I would have on the piece I’m currently working on. I’m doing a new for me FMQ design on a baby quilt – I’m almost finished and am just finally getting the hang of it. 🙁 Even though I make small practice pieces it’s different than doing it on a bigger quilt size.

    I can’t wait to see the design you come up with for the quilt – that light fixture is amazing! The mini is soooo cute.

  2. Ruth says:

    I made a mini curves project to test out a design for an idea I had about stars and colour gradation. Problem was once I had made the mini and figured out the design I wasn’t motivated to make it big!

  3. Renee says:

    What a pretty quilt! I love the way you interpreted the lamp shade for this mini and can’t wait to see the queen sized version. The quilting really brings it all together, and the stem is my favorite part!

  4. Liz says:

    This is really neat. I don’t usually make samples, although I’m about to embark on a curved pieced quilt of my own, and I think I’m going to have to make some practice blocks out of some of my less loved fabrics before I commit to my design. Lovely mini, and (by the way) INSANELY small meandering spirals might be an underestimation! I’m continually impressed by your quilting skills!

  5. Jasmine says:

    I love trying new things on mini quilts. This turned out beautifully.

  6. Audrey says:

    That light fixture is all sorts of awesome, and I love the mini! This is really, really fun. How is it that a rainbow color scheme makes everything better? 🙂

  7. Shauna says:

    so cool, I love the colors and the quilting is awesome

  8. Megan says:

    Yvonne, I am speechless. This turned out SO well that you almost make me want to make one! This would make a GREAT wall hanging! Either way… wonderful and beautiful work!!! Eye catching for sure!

  9. Super cute!! The quilting detail is so sweet up the vine. I’ve always found larger curves to be easier but I’ve never tried a free hand cut curve like that. It on my “learn this technique” to-do list 🙂

  10. Your post reminds me of how fun freehand curved piecing can be. And, I think you’re definitely on the right track with your cocoa leaf shape. What a fun fixture your client gave you to work with!

  11. Love this! Great design, well done!

  12. Great inspiration and wonderful quilting!!

  13. Knitters often make test swatchers, but we quilters just charge in! A few make test blocks, but the rest of us …
    Oversized backgraound. Yes. That’s the trick!
    It looks great! I look forward to the queen version! That lampshade is a beautiful thing to use as inspiration.

  14. Cheryl says:

    I love the lamp shade you used as your inspiration and I love your mini! The rainbow is wonderful and your curves came out perfect.

  15. So cute! I’m a little scared of curved piecing too, though I have done it successfully once. I should give it a try again sometime soon. I’m looking forward to seeing the larger quilt.

  16. sally says:

    I love making mini quilts to try something out, and yours definitely was a perfect time to do it as well as end up with a gorgeous mini quilt. I love your quilting of the stem, really gorgeous and such a brilliant idea. And that light is amazing in the first place, what a great idea to use it as inspiration for a quilt, I’m sure you’ll do it justice in the queen size version too and then someone will have a really beautiful bedroom.

  17. Kathy Hoback says:

    Hmmm , wonder if the mini quilt would work as a pillow sham? It really is beautiful . I ‘m always in awe of the many things you accomplish, seemingly all at the same time!

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