As the slush and ice of winter fade away and the fresh new buds of spring emerge, combine piecing and appliqué to make a nature-inspired quilt.

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Designer: Jill Finley of Jillily Studio

Materials

• 5⁄8 yard total assorted green prints (appliqués, triangle-squares)

• 1⁄2 yard total assorted brown prints (appliqués, triangle-squares)

• 1⁄2 yard total assorted yellow prints (appliqués, triangle squares)

• 1-1⁄4 yards mottled light green (appliqué foundations, border)

• 1 yard white tone-on-tone (appliqués, triangle-squares)

• 1⁄3 yard mottled green (vines)

• 1⁄2 yard green dot (binding)

• 3 yards backing fabric

• 53" square batting

• 8-1⁄4 "-diameter buttons: brown

• Embroidery floss: green, brown

• Freezer paper

• Spray starch

Finished quilt: 46-1⁄2" square
Finished blocks: 8" square

Quantities are for 44⁄45"-wide, 100% cotton fabrics.

Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

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Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order. Click on "Download this Project" above for pattern pieces.

From assorted green prints, cut:

• 38-2-7⁄8" squares

• Enough 3⁄4"-wide bias strips to total 31" for stems

• 3 of Pattern A

• 1 each of patterns A reversed and B

• 39 of Pattern F

• 2 of Pattern G

From assorted brown prints, cut:

• 37-2-7⁄8" squares

• Enough 3⁄4"-wide bias strips to total 26" for stems

• 2 of Pattern D

From assorted yellow prints, cut:

• 38-2-7⁄8" squares

• 14 of Pattern D

• 2 of Pattern E

From mottled light green, cut:

• 4-9" squares

• 5-6-1⁄2 ×42" strips for border

From white tone-on-tone, cut:

• 113-2-7⁄8" squares

• 4 of Pattern C

• 18 of Pattern D

• 5 of Pattern H

From mottled green, cut:

• Enough 3⁄4"-wide bias strips to total 200" for vines

From green dot, cut:

• 5-2-1⁄2 ×42" binding strips

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Cut and Prepare Appliqués

Designer Jill Finley uses a freezer-paper-and-starch method for appliquéing. Instructions that follow are for this technique.

1. Lay freezer paper, shiny side down, over patterns. Trace each pattern the number of times indicated in cutting instructions. Cut out freezer-paper shapes on drawn lines.

2. Using a hot, dry iron, press freezer-paper shapes, shiny sides down, onto wrong sides of designated fabrics; let cool. Cut out each shape, adding a 1⁄4" seam allowance to all edges (Diagram 1).

3. Spray a small amount of starch into a dish. Place a template-topped appliqué piece, wrong side up, on a pressing surface covered with a tea towel or muslin. Dip a cotton swab in starch and moisten seam allowance along edge of appliqué piece (Diagram 2).

4. Using tip of a hot, dry iron, turn seam allowance over curved edge of freezer-paper template and press until fabric is dry. Press entire seam allowance, adding starch as necessary and ensuring that fabric is pressed taut against template. Carefully peel off template to make appliqué.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to prepare all appliqué shapes.

Prepare Stem and Vine Appliqués

1. Turn under 1⁄4" along long edges of each green and brown print and mottled green 3⁄4"-wide bias strip; press. (To speed up the process, Jill used a 1⁄4" bias-tape maker to prepare bias strips.)

2. Cut prepared green print bias strips to make:

• 1-1⁄4 ×10-1⁄2" stem appliqué

• 1-1⁄4 ×9-1⁄2" stem appliqué

• 1-1⁄4 ×9" stem appliqué

3. Cut prepared brown print bias strips to make:

• 1-1⁄4 ×7" stem appliqué

• 2-1⁄4 ×6" stem appliqués

• 1-1⁄4 ×4-1⁄2" stem appliqué

4. Cut prepared mottled green bias strips to make:

• 4-1⁄4 ×47" vine appliqués

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Appliqué Blocks

1. Fold each mottled light green 9" square in half diagonally twice. Lightly press folds to create four foundation squares with appliqué placement guidelines; unfold.

2. Referring to Block A Placement Diagram, lay out the following shapes on a foundation square: one each of green print A and B leaves, four white tone-on-tone C petals, two brown print D circles, and green print 1⁄4 ×10-1⁄2" and 1⁄4 ×9-1⁄2" stems. Baste in place.

3. Using threads that match appliqué shapes and working from bottom layer to top, appliqué pieces to foundation square to make Block A. Trim block to 8-1⁄2" square.

4. Referring to Block B Placement Diagram, lay out the following shapes on a foundation square: six yellow print D circles, two yellow print E ovals, three green print F leaves, and brown print 1⁄4 ×6" and 1⁄4 ×4-1⁄2" stems. Baste in place.

5. Repeat Step 3 to make Block B.

6. Referring to Block C Placement Diagram, lay out the following shapes on a foundation square: eight yellow print D circles, two green print G leaves, and brown print 1⁄4 ×7" and 1⁄4 ×6" stems. Baste in place.

7. Repeat Step 3 to make Block C.

8. Referring to Block D Placement Diagram, lay out the following shapes on a foundation square: two green print A leaves, one green print A reversed leaf, five white tone-on-tone H flowers, and a green print 1⁄4 ×9" stem. Baste in place.

9. Repeat Step 3 to make Block D.

Embellish Blocks

1. Referring to Block A Placement Diagram, use three strands of green embroidery floss to backstitch details on each white tone-on-tone C petal.

To backstitch, pull the needle up at A (Backstitch Diagram). Insert it back into fabric at B, and bring it up at C. Push needle down again at D, and bring it up at E. Continue in the same manner.

2. Using three strands of brown floss, stitch 11 small Xs on each yellow print E oval (Block B Placement Diagram).

3. Referring to Block C Placement Diagram, use yellow thread to hand-stitch a brown button to each yellow print D circle.

4. Using three strands of green floss, backstitch to connect white tone-on-tone H flowers to stem appliqué (Block D Placement Diagram).

5. Stitch three French knots on each white tone-on-tone H flower.

To make a French knot, pull needle up at A (French Knot Diagram). Wrap the floss around the tip of the needle twice. Insert floss-wrapped needle into fabric at B, 1⁄16" away from A. Gently push wraps down needle to meet fabric, then pull needle and floss through fabric smoothly.

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Assemble Quilt Top

1. Use a pencil to mark a diagonal line on wrong side of each white tone-on-tone 2-7⁄8" square.

2. Layer a marked 2-7⁄8" square atop an assorted green, brown, or yellow print 2-7⁄8" square. Sew together with two seams, stitching 1⁄4" on each side of drawn line (Diagram 3).

3. Cut apart on drawn line to make two triangle units (Diagram  4). Press each triangle unit open, pressing seam toward assorted print triangle to make two triangle-squares (Diagram  5). Each triangle-square should be 2-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with remaining marked white tone-on-tone squares and green, brown, and yellow print squares to make 226 triangle-squares total (you will use 225).

5. Referring to Diagram 6, arrange 12 triangle-squares in four rows. Sew together pieces in each row. Press seams in one direction, alternating direction with each row. Join rows to make a triangle-square segment. Press seams in one direction. The triangle-square segment should be 6-1⁄2 ×8-1⁄2" including seam allowances. Repeat to make six triangle-square segments total.

6. Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out triangle-square segments, appliquéd blocks, and remaining triangle-squares in rows. Sew together pieces in each row. Press seams in one direction, alternating direction with each row. Join rows to make quilt center. Press seams in one direction. The quilt center should be 34-1⁄2" square including seam allowances.

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Add and Embellish Border

1. Cut and piece mottled light green 6-1⁄2 ×42" strips to make:

• 2-6-1⁄2 ×46-1⁄2" border strips

• 2-6-1⁄2 ×34-1⁄2" border strips

2. Sew short border strips to opposite edges of quilt center. Add long border strips to remaining edges to complete quilt top. Press all seams toward border.

3. Referring to photo and starting in a corner of the border, lay each mottled green vine appliqué in a rolling curve on quilt top; baste in place.

4. Using green thread and a small slip stitch, appliqué vines in place.

5. Arrange 36 green print F leaf appliqués on quilt top, making sure leaves cover ends of each mottled green vine appliqué. Baste in place.

6. Using green thread and a small slip stitch, appliqué leaves in place.

7. Place 18 white tone-on-tone D circle appliqués on quilt top. Baste in place.

8. Using white thread and a small slip stitch, appliqué D circles in place.

9. Using three strands of green floss, stitch an X in each D circle.

Finish Quilt

1. Layer quilt top, batting, and backing; baste.

2. Quilt as desired. Carefully avoiding the appliqués, Virginia Gore machine-quilted a swirling design across the quilt top.

3. Bind with green dot binding strips.

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