Monday, 2 March 2015

Red Sky at Night - Maple Leaf

This is a block with two stories. Tales that happened right along side each other. One of conflict and desperation, another of celebration and national identity.

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln announced the Union Blockade against the South, bringing a halt to trade, and squeezing the rebellious states into submission. Supplies became severely limited and the South became steeped in poverty. Items like tea and coffee became a luxury, and the root of the Sassafras Tree (also the original base for root beer!) was boiled in water to make what became known as Dixie Tea. This block, named the Tea Leaf Block, was inspired by the three fingered leaves on the sassafras tree.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the maple leaf, long associated with national identity, started to be used in the coat of arms and on coins in the 1860s. Jacques Viger, the first mayor of Montreal described the maple as "the king of our forest; ... the symbol of the Canadian people." In 1867, "The Maple Leaf Forever" was written as a celebration of the Canadian Federation. In contrast to the Civil War in America, the song speaks of peace rather than discord, plenty rather than poverty.

Our fair Dominion now extends
From Cape Race to Nootka Sound;
May peace forever be our lot,
And plenteous store abound:
And may those ties of love be ours
Which discord cannot sever,
And flourish green o'er freedom's home
The Maple Leaf forever!

Two trees, so strong and beautiful, yet remembered for such different reasons. I find it interesting that one symbol can have such contrasting meanings, don't you?

MAPLE LEAF BLOCK TUTORIAL: *Edited* - apologies for the mistakes!

You will need:

Red: Four 4" x 1" rectangles, four 2.5" squares, four 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles and eight 3" squares cut in half to make half square triangles.

White: Four 2.5" squares, eight 3" squares cut in half to make half square triangles, and four 3" squares cut in half for the leaf stem.

In a block like this, made up of a few identical smaller blocks, I always make one first to check I've got it right. One maple should measure 6.5"

 1. Make the FOUR half square triangles into squares and trim to 2.5".

 2. Line up one of the leftover white triangles with the edge of the 1" rectangle and sew.

3. Press outward. Line up the other triangle and and sew on the opposite side.

4. Line up your 45 degree line on your ruler through the middle of your stem. Tim to 2.5"

5. Lay out your block as below and sew together in rows. Press.

6. Admire your little leaf, say a little thank you for readily available coffee, and made the other three!

I love seeing all the photos coming up on the #redskyatnightQAL feed on Instagram! Thank you for sharing there! Also, look up the Red Sky at Night tab above to find any of the old tutorials.

I took this photo on my Apple tree chest. It felt like they should go together. Like baked apple and maple syrup. Hmmm...


  1. I love your tutorials, but I think I love the backstories best! You are a great researcher. I love sassafras tea, it tastes like the cereal Fruit Loops.

  2. Another great history lesson. Your quilt is going to be stunning.

  3. yum, baked apple & maple syrup.. great visualization happening here! Oh, and I love your red & white blocks, this is going to look great! Linda

  4. Hi Jodi, loving this quilt a long....but just want to ask if there may be an error in the cutting instructions above? The 3" squares...I just laid out my small blocks and I don't have enough of the 3" squares to make the half square triangles. I calculate you need 8 of each colour, not four. And have I missed where the 2 1/2 x 4 1/2 white rectangles go? So to be a pain but just wondering....

    1. Hi Denise! You're not a pain at all, ask anytime! (but just to let you know, you're a no-reply blogger, so I can't reply to your email.) The rectangles were my bad - sorry! I don't know why they are there. I have such a big weekend, I'm sure it was a brain freeze. And I have written four 3" squares to be used for HST and four for the leaves. Oh, no, I see what you mean. I'll change that too. I'm so sorry!

    2. Thought it might have been from your big weekend..hehe. I have never responded on a blog before so will look into this


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx