Cocoa Leaf Quilt - Playing with Layout

Cocoa Leaf Quilt

I have friends who have commissioned me to make several quilted items for them in the past: Fall Placemats (which they use in their home) and Lighthouse Lens Placemats (which became a Christmas gift for family last year). They have now asked me to create a queen size topper quilt for the other side of their family. The quilt will be going to live on the big island of Hawaii at a Cocoa farm when it is finished, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when they said my previous Cocoa Leaf Medallion Quilt was interesting to them as an inspiration launching point.

One of the early focuses of our discussion was on the colors for the quilt. To our delight, Kona Cotton has a Cocoa brown that is pretty much perfect, and we selected other bright colors with meaning to compliment: Persimmon, Kiwi, Canary, Stratosphere, and Bone (for the background).

My focus over the last day and a half has been to create the cocoa leaf shapes for the quilt top and determine the layout for the quilt top, and I thought I would talk a bit about that process.

I started this quilt by creating new cocoa leaf shapes as compared to the first Cocoa Leaf Medallion quilt because I didn’t want the 2 quilts to be identical. They will obviously be similar enough (as you will see further in the post). I also knew that I wanted the top and bottom border leaf shapes to be larger than the first quilt.

Cocoa Leaf Paper Templates

Cocoa Leaf Paper Templates

I started by looking at a lot of cocoa leaf images on the internet and then hand drawing and cutting out shapes on paper templates. Because I had already cut a wide cloth piece of Kona Bone to the size I desired for the initial size of the quilt top (~72″ x 92″), I was able to lay the templates on the quilt top to get a feel for if the size I had made was appropriate or going to work.

Preparing Leaf Shapes

Preparing Leaf Shapes

After getting the paper templates created, I then traced them onto posterboard and cut the shapes out of the thicker material. Then I used the posterboard as a template for the fabric and cut about 1/2″ to 1″ larger than the marked line from the fabric. I then placed the posterboard template back on the fabric and ironed the excess fabric around the edge of the template.

Preparing Leaf Shapes

Preparing Leaf Shapes

I am still loving my Oliso iron, and I have gone to using a dry iron. If I need “steam” or a bit of water, I now use a spray bottle. It’s not that the Oliso was having trouble with water, it’s that the water in my area is just really hard. Even the filtered water I was using quickly built up minerals in the iron.

Cocoa Leaf Quilt - Playing with Layout

Cocoa Leaf Quilt – Playing with Layout

Once I had all the leaf shapes pressed, I could then play with the layout for the quilt top. The fun part! The center medallion swirl was determined early in the design, but my clients and I wanted to play with the border color arrangement a bit. Right now this is the layout I think we are leaning toward. Time will tell if it changes!

18 thoughts on “Cocoa Leaf Quilt

  1. Liz says:


  2. I loved the original, and this one is going to be just as nice. Those shapes are fantastic, and ALL that negative space for quilting – yum!!

  3. Vicki in MN says:

    A very interesting quilt and you will have loads of fun quilting all that background.

  4. Alison says:

    This is looking awesome! Do you plan to trim out the extra layers of fabric behind your large motif since there are multiple layers or will you leave that intact??

  5. I love it and can’t wait to see the quilting on it. I need to challenge myself with a negative space quilt for next year….maybe one of the new quilt theory patterns. One thought – sometimes I like bed quilts to have two top sides so it doesn’t wear out too quickly on one side.

  6. jayne says:

    It’s going to be another beautiful Cocoa Leaf Quilt! Thanks for sharing your process for this, it’s so interesting to see. Lucky friends too!

  7. aquilterstable says:

    wow. Good for you! This looks challenging to me. So nice your friends so appreciate your work!

  8. Paula S. Pike says:

    This is a very interesting design. I’ll look forward to seeing the finished quilt.

  9. Lena says:

    How wonderful it is that not just the fabric colors, but also their names fit with your theme. It’s already looking lovely and I am looking forward to see it quilted.

  10. Another beauty on the way. You will have fun quilting all the negative space.

  11. Cheryl says:

    Very cool! I really liked the original and so it is very fun to see a variation on the theme.

  12. This is awesome. Can’t wait to see it come together.

  13. This looks like a fun project to work on. Who knew there were so many cocoa farmers who needed quilts?

  14. Paige says:

    Nice twirling action of the cocoa beans. Looking forward to it’s progress.

  15. Elizabeth E. says:

    I just went and read your other Cocoa Leaf quilt post, and can I just say how impressed I am with both of them. This one will be terrific as well, and oh, my! on the size of those center leaves. [I think we live on the same side of the country, with that horrific hard water. What finally works for me is a mix of half-and-half of distilled water and tap water. The irons seem to need some minerals for proper steaming, but you are so right–our regular water is like applying calcium with a paintbrush!]

  16. Love the swirl in the center. Looking forward to seeing the finish.

  17. Jasmine says:

    This is so pretty! Monkey (who is reading over my shoulder) thinks it is really cool and that I should make one for him.

  18. It’s going to be beautiful! I love that it’s going to live on an actual cocoa farm 🙂

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)