The dandelion's leaves might be my favorite part of the plant. There's not a ton of variation in dandelion flowers or puffballs, but the leaves are unabashedly individual: one plant's leaves may look so different from another's that you'd wonder if they were the same plant at all! Sometimes the dentate edges are neatly serrated, other times cut in giant swoops all the way to the center vein. They make a sun-hogging circle around the base of the plant to claim that land from any encroaching grass or enterprising wildflower. They are ugly, demanding, and wonderful. They are even edible: blanch them for a minute to get the bitterness out, then wilt them in butter, and they're delicious.
To design my leaf appliqué, I fold a 24" square of paper in eighths, as if I were about to cut a snowflake. I draw half a leaf on each folded edge. But eight layers of fabric is a lot to cut at once, so I open up the last fold to get my pattern. Taking a 24" square of green fabric, I fold it in quarters, and lay the pattern on it, with the corner of the pattern in the folded center of the fabric. I add quarter inch seam allowances as I cut:
The finished leaves are a delight! Rosanne wondered whether the colors might be too similar, and the effect of the appliqué lost in the green, but I don't think it'll be a problem. For one thing, it's part of my original vision for the quilt to be light and airy at the top and dense and cluttered at the bottom. For another, the final quilting might highlight the leaves and make them pop. I don't intend to to ask for echo-quilting; I think I'll ask for custom designs in the appliqués.
Next up: the appliquéd flowers!
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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