Fall into a QAL: Block 5 Acorns

Welcome to Block 5 of the Fall Into a QAL, a mystery quilt along by Partners in Design.

If you'd like to quilt along with us, click here to learn more.

The fifth block in our quilt along was designed by Kathleen @ Kathleen McMusing and it’s acorns!

Acorns make ms smile because I can't look at them without thinking of squirrels, and squirrels are funny! I love how they freeze when they see you and then try to pretend they aren't visible. I love how they chatter at you, fluff their tails, and most of all, how they hide acorns and then forget where they are. I can so relate to that! <grin>

This week, Kathleen has given you two options for finishing her block--simple piecing or split applique. I chose to use split applique for my block because I can use more fabrics! <grin>

Here’s my version of the block.

This block uses raw edge split applique to create the four small acorns. If you’ve never used this technique before--no worries! As a quilt along host, I’m here to help.

My Fabric Pull for This Block

As before, I had some goals for this block. First, I wanted to make sure that the background I chose for this block complimented the other background fabrics I've already used. After debuting lots of candidates, I finally hit on the one I wanted to use.

Second, I wanted each acorn to have its own personality. So I started by selecting fabrics in pairs--one for the body and the other for the top. The stems I would think about later. Here's are the four pairs of fabrics I came up with. I loved some of these funky fabrics, but the overall combination just didn't gel for me.

So the next day I started over. I decided that although I love scrappy, I wanted this block to have some order to it. So I decided to break the four pairs into two sets of pairs that would coordinate with each other. That idea seemed to be all I needed, because I quickly hit on the idea of having one set of pairs with red tops and the other with brown tops.

Finally, I hit on a two sets of pairs that not only complimented each other, but the other set as well. And all four pairs looked good on the background I'd selected!

Then I looked at the pattern again and realized there are two backgrounds. Not that I had to go that way, but I liked the idea. So I went back into my stash and found another background that worked with my acorn fabrics and also with the original background I'd selected.

Finally, the fabrics for this new block needed to compliment the fabrics I'd used in my first four blocks so I auditioned them together before making my final decisions.

As usual I laid the fabrics I was considering as they would be used in the block so I could be sure I liked how everything was working together.

Block Tips

Here are my tips for making the block:

  • First, you need to print out the templates on page 2 of the pattern. Be sure to print at 100% and DO NOT scale the pattern to fit. I always measure my printout to make sure it's right. (So thankful when a designer includes a test square you can measure!)
  • Cut your background squares 7-1/4” as instructed. Finishing your applique may shrink up the background a bit, so having a larger than needed background square allows you to trim it to the final size (in this case, 6-1/2") after you've stitched down the edges of your applique shapes.
  • As you know by now, I use the Crafted Applique method for my fusible applique. This method fuses the edges of your applique shapes so they won't fray. It also replaces fusible, so the steps I follow are a bit different. With Crafted Applique, you don't  need to stitch the edges of each shape although I do anyway because for me the shapes only seem to "fuse" to the fabric temporarily. You don't need to stitch the edges to keep them from fraying however. So I just straight-stitch the shapes down (instead of using a blanket stitch or a satin stitch) so it's easy.

So after using the Crafted Applique method to prepare the back of my fabrics, I cut the shapes out as instructed. I should stop here and mention that I tested the stem shape on my fabrics to decide which way was "up" for me. I loved the sweep of the one side, but decided against using it as the top because I thought the straight-across side would be easier to align when I got to the "sew the two halves of each acorn together" part. So I chopped off the curved end of the stem shape to make it easier to cut out (since it was now the bottom of the stem).

  • Next I finger-pressed the background square as directed in the pattern, and "fused" my shapes in place. Now, I normally advocate building a complex shape off the background, fusing those pieces together on a pressing sheet, and then taking the whole thing to the background and fusing it place. However, in this instance, I just thought that that process would make placing the acorn so that the different halves matched up all that more difficult. So I fused the body first, measuring up 1" from the bottom as suggested. Next, I fused the stem, measuring 1" down from the top. I kept both pieces centered vertically by matching the folds.

Then I simply laid the acorn top on the stem, 5/8" down from the top of the stem. I measured this so the acorn tops would also match across the split seam.

  • After I'd fused everything, I decided to go ahead and stitch the edges down. The pattern tells you to cut the blocks in half and sew them together before stitching, but with the Crafted Applique method the fusing isn't exactly permanent so I decided to stitch them in place now rather than later. I also figured it would be easier since I was using so many colors to stitch an entire acorn rather than lots of halves.

For my block, I used Aurifil 80 wt. #2372 (Dark Antique Gold); Sulky 40 wt. #1035 (Dark Burgundy); Wonderfil Invisifil #719 (Copper) and #703 (Tangerine) and #720 (Chocolate); and Mettler 30 wt. #528 (Rust) to finish the edges of my applique.

After stitching the acorns down, I trimmed the acorn units to 6-1/2" as instructed and then cut them in half. Then I laid out the acorn halves in pairs the way I wanted the block to look.

I pinned to match the top edges of the stem and the acorn top, and the point at the bottom of the acorn body then sewed the acorn halves together. Since I'd measured when placing the shapes, I found that they matched up pretty good! Finally, I pressed my seams open as instructed,

Finally, I sewed the acorn units together and trimmed my final block to size.

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.

My Quilt So Far

Here are my five quilt blocks. I'm really loving this!

Where do i get the block pattern?

Drop by Kathleen's blog to download your free acorn block pattern. Remember you have two choices--pieced or split applique.

Visit the other hosts if you want to see their versions of this block and gather ideas for your own version. 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 Acorn block giveaway simply make the block and post it in one of these three places before the deadline.

You have until Monday, July 23rd at 11:59 pm EST to post your block for a chance to win this awesome prize package—one Vintage Kit table runner pattern and one Vintage Garden Wall Hanging pattern from Shabby Fabrics and one From the Chateau charm pack from Wilmington Prints donated by Kathy herself!

Shabby Fabrics, by the way, has tons of fabrics, patterns, and kits. If you want to see all the beautiful items they carry, you can request a catalog.

On Tuesday, July 24th 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.

A Special thank-you to our sponsors

The Final Grand prize package for our quilt along will be announced October 16th.

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Tell me...do you like acorns? Squirrels? Nuts in general?

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!