Fall into a QAL: Block 1 Hedgehog

It’s finally here! Welcome to week one of a mystery Fall quilt along, presented by Partners in Design! Our last quilt along (the I Wish You a Merry QAL) was so popular and so fun, we decided to host another one. So grab your fall fabrics and let's get started!

For my quilt, I’m going scrappy with the goal of reducing my stash. No new fabrics for me if I can help it. <grin> Here's my initial fabric pull--I'll add to this as I need for each block.

To create this pile, I started with that lovely batik at the bottom of this image. Then I pulled fabrics to compliment it. If you need more fabric help or additional details on the quilt along itself, click here.

The first block in our quilt along was designed by Vanda @ Quilting with Vanda and it’s an adorable hedgehog! Here’s my version.

This block utilizes fusible applique, although you can use hand applique if you want (just add seam allowances to the templates when you cut out your pieces.) If you’ve never attempted applique before, don’t worry. As a quilt along host, I’m here to help!

My Fabric Pull for This Block

For this block, I had a few goals. First, since it was the first block in the quilt, I wanted it to set the tone. To accomplish this goal I decided that the hedgehog needed to compliment my focus fabric and really pull some of its colors out.

Second, I wanted the block to be funky and fun and to use a mix of prints and batiks. Finally, I wanted to keep the contrast between the body and the face of the original block so the hedgehog would look just as cute. Here's Vanda's block from the pattern.

For my fabric pull I started with the fabric for the hedgehog's body--a wonderful burgundy with a curly motif that reminded me a bit of fur. Next, I found a golden orange batik with a cute dot that I thought complimented the burgundy nicely and provided that contrast I wanted between the hedgehog's body and its face.

I chose a warm orange for the feet and ears, a blue green for the eyes, and a dark olive green for the nose. I deliberately chose small prints so the features of the hedgehog would not get lost in the design of the fabric.

Finally, I auditioned the fabric pull on my focus fabric to see how well it complimented it. It looked so good I decided to use some of the focus fabric as the background for the block. I think it makes my hedgehog look like he's in a forest!

Block Tips

Here are my tips for making the block:

  • When you print out the templates on page 3-4 of the pattern, make sure you print at 100% and do not scale the pattern to fit. I always measure my printout to make sure it's right. Yep! The 1-inch square measures one inch!

  • Cut your background square 13” as instructed. I’ve found that applique often distorts your block just a bit, so working with a background that's large enough so you can square it up after you get the block appliqued is a good idea.

  • I like to use the Crafted Applique method for my fusible applique, so I went about making this block a bit differently than most people. First, I rough-cut the templates, and use them to cut out the fabrics. For the eyes, ears, and paws, I simply folded the fabric and cut two at a time rather than use two different templates for each eye, ear, or paw. Folding it this way creates to mirror-image pieces, perfect for the eyes, ears, and paws.

Next, I applied Fabric Modge-Podge to the back side of each piece, just along the edges. I use cheap foam brushes and the back side (non-printed) side of some grocery bags to apply the Modge-Podge. You can learn more about this method in the Crafted Applique book by Lara Buccella. In the book you'll learn that there are different kinds of Modge-Podge and that each one works differently in quilt applique.

The Modge-Podge seals the edges of the appliques so they won't fray. According to the book, you can skip the fusible part and simply iron your pieces to the background and the Modge-Podge will make them stay. I think I must handle my block too much because the pieces don't stay for me like they do when you fuse them. So what I do is apply the Modge-Podge and then add a bit of fusible or fabric glue to each applique piece so it'll stick long enough for me to stitch it down. If you read the book you'll get tons of ideas and awesome tips for applying the Crafted Applique method to the way you like to work so that you get good results.

By the way, with the Crafted Applique method you don't need to stitch along the edges of your applique pieces because the edges are sealed and won't fray. I stitch them down because I like the look and because they don't seem to fuse permanently for me. (I'm just too much of a fabric fondler I guess! <grin>)

For my block, I used Aurifil 50 wt. #5013 (Asphalt), Aurifil 80 wt #2885 (Medium Spruce), Wonderfil Konfetti 50 wt #KT402 (Drab Orange), and Sulky 40 wt #1035 (Dark Burgundy) to finish the edges of my applique.

  • If you're not going to use the Crafted Applique method, then trace the templates onto the back side of your fusible and rough-cut the fusible out. I typically cut out the center of each fusible piece to reduce the amount of fusible I apply to my fabric. This keeps the piece from getting stiff. Iron the fusible (glue side down) to the back of each applique fabric, then cut each piece out right on the line. (With fusible applique, you don't leave a seam allowance.)

  • I use Heat n Bond Lite, so I press with a Medium dry iron (no steam).

  • When I have an applique that's made up of several shapes (like this hedgehog), I build the image on a Teflon pressing sheet. With the sheet, you can fuse each part in place without fusing the entire hedgehog to anything.

When you're done building the hedgehog, you simply move it to the background and fuse it in place. Using this method allows you to center the hedgehog on the background as a single unit. So much easier than guessing!

  • If you don't have a Teflon pressing sheet you can use parchment paper. If you think there might be stray glue on the front side of the piece, protect your iron from the fusible glue by using a pressing cloth (between the shapes and the iron) when fusing.

  • If you get fusible on your iron, just rub it off with a used dryer sheet while the iron is still a bit hot. Works like magic!

  • After fusing the hedgehog to the background, stitch around the edges of each applique piece with matching thread. I typically use a straight stitch, although you could use a small zig-zag, blanket stitch, or satin stitch.

  • When I use a satin stitch to finish the edges of my applique, I fuse a wash-away stabilizer to the back of the block before stitching in order to prevent puckering.

  • After appliqueing the hedgehog in place, I lightly pressed my block and then trimmed it to 12 1/2” square. First I trimmed the bottom side, making sure that it was level with the bottom of the paws.

When I next trimmed the right side, I made sure that the nose was centered within the width of the block. Finally, I trimmed the top and left side so that the block was cut to 12-1/2" square.

If you have any questions while making this block, feel free to post them here in the comments. Just be sure to enter an email address when prompted so I can get back to you quickly.

Where do i get the block pattern?

Drop by Vanda’s blog to download your free hedgehog block pattern.

Visit the other hosts if you want to see their versions of this block and gather ideas for your hedgehog. Here are the hosts:

Abbie at Sparkle On
April at JANDA Bend Quilts
Bobbi at Snowy Days Quilting
Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter
Karen at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats
Sherry at Powered by Quilting
Vanda at Quilting with Vanda

If you want to see the schedule for the quilt along and the list of block designers, click here.

How Do I Enter the Giveaway?

First, you must be 18 years old to enter. Then, to enter the Hedgehog block giveaway simply make the Hedgehog block and post it in one of these three places before the deadline.

You have until Monday, May 28th at 11:59 pm EST to post your block for a chance to win this awesome prize package—four half-yards of assorted Boundless Fabric Solids by Craftsy and one PDF pattern of your choice from Vanda @ Quilting with Vanda.

On Tuesday, May 29th, be sure to come back here for the next block in our quilt along! You can follow me on social media or sign up for my newsletter if you’d like a reminder when the next block is posted. You’ll find all the ways to follow me at the top of my sidebar. If you have any general questions about the quilt along or would like to see the complete schedule, click the Fall into a QAL tab above.

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 I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!

I really appreciate your comments. Please leave an email address so I can thank you personally!