Tea Leaf Quilt Pattern

To celebrate my birthday month, I'd like to give you a gift with a new free quilt pattern! If you remember, back in August, I wrote a post about a quilt I made just because I wanted it. That may sound strange but actually, most of the sewing I do is for other reasons rather than for my personal enjoyment. Not that I don't love everything I make, but my personal wants are not usually factored in when I sew. My Tea Leaf quilt was just for me! My August post has a little tutorial about how to figure cutting sizes for half-square triangles (HSTs) of any size. 

Today, I share the free PDF download pattern for the Tea Leaf quilt along with a little tutorial about how to draw and stitch a fan or Baptist Fan quilting design on the finished top.

Tea Leaf by Sharon Holland

Tea Leaf by Sharon Holland

I've always admired this traditional quilt block called Tea Leaf. I love the movement of the block and have a thing for triangles in quilts. I also have a thing for leaf designs, so when it came time to make a quilt just for me--this was the one!

I used prints from 3 of my 4 fabric lines for a scrappy look and included Art Gallery Fabrics White Linen PE-408 solid. Gossamer, Coastline, and Tapestry prints in soft fall tones are the perfect look for my living room where this cozy throw resides. I used wool batting for drape, warmth, and definition of the quilting stitches. 

I love how some of the prints almost fade away, giving even more interest and energy to this quilt. This is a 60" square quilt--just a small throw-size quilt. If you want the quilt to be larger, just make more blocks and add on. Remember, you will also need to increase yardage requirements for blocks, backing, batting, and binding if going larger. 

The Fan or Baptist Fan quilting design in one of my favorite quilting designs. I feel it goes well with just about any quilt top. I love how it is an independent design placed over what's already happening in the quilt, adding yet another layer to the overall effect.  

Probably the only hiccup with a fan design is that it needs to be drawn out on the quilt top and does slow down the finishing process. However, once it's marked out, the quilting can be stitched in continuous rows and goes relatively quickly so I think it evens out in the end. 

How to Draw and Quilt a Fan Quilting Pattern

1. Use a non-permanent fabric marking tool (I like the ceramic lead pencils that have a screw on tip). Test marks on scrap material to make sure they can be removed with water or washing before proceeding. Read manufacturer's instructions for marking tool, as some can become permanent after exposed to heat such as an iron.

Determine how far apart you want the radiating fan arches. I used 2" spacing for my Tea Leaf quilt but have also used a 1-1/2" spacing on other quilts which I also like. Your batting choice may also influence how far apart your arches should be. 

Cut a 13" length of embroidery floss (light colored works best). Lay the floss out against a ruler and mark 6 evenly spaced segments starting about 1/2" from the end. Cut a 1/2" to 1" tail after the last mark.

Slightly unscrew the tip of the marking tool and wind the floss around the marking tool tip just so the last mark is secured in the tip once tightened. If using a marking tool without a screw tip, use tape to hold the floss in place at the mark. Note: You may need to re-secure the floss as you work, just pay attention if your fan designs start to get a little out of shape.

You now have an odd number of marks showing on your floss. The reason to have an odd number of arches to the Fan quilt design means you will now be able to stitch with a continuous quilting line. See Step 4.

2. With the floss attached to the marking tool. Hold the first mark on the floss at a corner starting point on the quilt top. While holding the floss with one hand, mark an arch with the marking tool. 

Move the second mark on the floss to the corner starting point and make a smaller arch in the same manner as the first. Continue adding arches for a total of 5 concentric rings.

3. To add additional fan, repeat Step 2, starting and the base of the large ring of the previous fan. Continue adding fans till the end of the row. Start the next row directly above where you started the first row.

4. To quilt, begin at the small arch of the first row. Follow the black dashed line arrows. The red dashed line arrows indicate bridge stitching and where you will need to backtrack over earlier stitching to keep a continuous line flow to the quilting stitches. Each arch will be quilted the same direction till you reach the end of the row. Remove the quilt, and start at the beginning of the second row, quilting in the same direction as before. 

5. To remove the marking stitches after quilting and binding, I like to gently wash my new quilt in the wash machine. I use Woolite on wool setting and very low heat dry. Remove when still a little bit damp and hang dry or press top if desired.