I’ve been wanting to do one of these digital panels for some time, and found a leaf one a few weeks ago. I thought this would be a great panel to do for the season. But with Autumn Jubilee starting, it wasn’t time to tackle that project. I promised we’d get to it in November. So, here we are.
I loaded it on the longarm, but the leaves are arranged in such a way that you could do this on a domestic machine without a lot of trouble. It is only 46-inches square. I used wool batting for the nice loft and definition it will give the project.
Yep, there it sat for several days while I went down the rabbit hole of youtube and Pinterest. I was looking for more than just what pattern to put in each leaf, I needed some advice. Should I quilt from top to bottom, or from center out? Should I outline each leaf as I went, or outline them all at once, or just outline all the ones I can reach before advancing the quilt? As usual, there are no right answers, only what works for a particular quilter. So I sent an email to my longarm buddy Sherry, and asked her how she did hers. She was kind enough to not only answer my questions, but sent me some pattern ideas too. This sheet was designed for the flower panel, but it gave me some inspiration.
OK, now to get over the fear of free motion. I stood in front of the machine, and worked on moving it without turning it on or doing any actual stitching. I wanted to loosen up a bit, and get used to the motions while building a bit of muscle memory. I’m using Glide thread on top and Bottom Line in the bobbin, my favorite combination. I decided to simply go over the leaf veins on the outermost ones. Deep breath, turn the machine on and just do some outlining to get started. Following a line wasn’t too hard.
This isn’t a great photo, but it does show the definition that wool batting gives a project.
Some of the leaves will have ruler work, so I tried to get comfortable with that before starting in on those lines.
I chose a different pattern for each leaf, with the idea of doing the same one on the same leaf all the way around.
One design was supposed to be fan shape, but it came out looking like a feather.
I did want to do some feathers, but not on every leaf. I chose the long thin leaves for that design.
The ruler design gave me a chance to quilt in curves, not one of my strong suits.
Wavy lines were quick to do in the large leaf shapes.
I kept working around the quilt, outlining the leaves as I went, then filling.
Moving around the leaves, I switched from ruler work to free motion waves and spirals.
On the leaves close to the center, I did outlining of the veins, again having some backtracking practice.
The center section was perfect for feathers, plus it gave me some practice in quilting in all directions.
The center section went fairly quickly, then I worked on the veins on the next row.
Once I got going, it only took two sewing days to get it all done.
I like the textures and the designs but there are lots of things I would do differently beginning with the thread color. I wish I had matched the colors rather than doing the whole thing in taupe.
I’ll finish it with binding and use it on tablescapes or as a wall hanging.
Hoffman is making these panels in all kinds of motifs now, from nature inspired to more complex scenes. Find them at Fat Quarter Shop, and on Amazon. Get Glide Thread at FQS, too. Bluprint has a class that might help too, see Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine, try Bluprint for free with a free trial. Thank you for using my affiliate links when you can.
Have you done one of these panels, or do you plan to?