Quilt Alongs

Fall into a QAL: Block 8 Autumn Leaf

Welcome to Block 8 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 eighth block in our quilt along was designed by me and it's an autumn leaf!

I love fall, especially autumn leaves, because they remind me of my wedding day. Fall was at it's peak that day, and as we rode from the church to our reception in a horse-driven carriage, I remember most of all the beautiful fall leaves surrounding us with color.

So of course I had to create an autumn leaf block for our quilt along! Click the button below to download the pattern.

My pattern uses foundation paper-piecing for its construction and includes two versions. Choose the version that suits you best.

Version A - Confident Beginner

Version B - Beginner

If you’ve never paper-pieced before--no worries! I'll show you how.

My Fabric Pull for This Block

I made the two sample blocks shown above several months ago, when I created the pattern for the quilt along. Since then I've changed the colors I'm using in my quilt so I decided to resew the blocks.

To remind you, here are my blocks so far.

I've got four dark backgrounds so far and three light ones, so I decided my Autumn Leaf block should use a light green background to balance things out.

Here's my fabric pull for the Version A: Confident Beginner block (shown below on the left). For the Version B: Beginner block (shown on the right) I decided to use only two greens, both dark, for my background. I thought that way you could see four different blocks and get an idea of how you'd like your block to look.

The pattern calls for a range of greens, yellows, oranges, and reds but of course you can make your leaf look however you want!

Paper Piecing: A Quick Tutorial

As I said, my block uses foundation paper-piecing. For some of you, paper piecing is the P word and something you may not be looking forward to. All I ask is that you give me the chance--I know I can make it doable. And who knows? You may discover that you love it!

First let me step you through the process in case paper piecing is new to you, then I'll share some tips for success.

1. Place fabric a1 on the back (unprinted side) of the foundation

If needed, hold the foundation up to the window to make sure Fabric A1 covers the A1 spot, with 1/4" to spare on all sides. Pin it in place from the front.

2. Place a piece of cardstock on the line between a1 and a2.

Flip the foundation paper back over the cardstock.

Step 2.jpg

3. Butt the Add-a-quarter ruler up against the cardstock and trim.

4. Place fabric A2 on top of fabric a1, right sides together.

Pin right on the stitching line between A1 and A2, and check to make sure A2 will cover its spot with 1/4" all around. Hold it up to the window if needed.

5. Stitch on the line between A1 and A2

Use a shorter stitch length to make the foundation paper easier to remove later on. I use 1.8. Start stitching just before the start of the line, and end your stitching just after the other end.

I also change to a larger needle (at least 80, but  90 or 100 is better) that's strong and pointy--a Jeans (Denim) or a Topstitch needle is perfect for this. You want a good strong pointy needle to piece the foundation paper and make it easier to remove later on.

6. Fold back fabric A2 and press.

Then simply repeat for all the fabrics in that section. For example, place the cardstock on the line between A2 and A3, then fold back the paper foundation, butt up the Add-a-Quarter ruler and trim. Align Fabric A3 on top of Fabric A2 RST, pin on the seam line and check its placement. If Fabric A3 covers it's space with 1/4" to spare, sew on the line between A2 and A3. Press Fabric A3 back, then start all over with A4, A5, and so on until the section is done.

7. When you've sewn all the fabrics in a section, trim it.

Use a ruler to measure 1/4" seam allowance all around and trim.

8. After all the sections of a block are paper pieced, sew them together and remove the papers.

Sew the sections together in the order given in the pattern. These photos should help you get it right.

By the way, I keep the foundations on until the block is done. I pin at the corners and along the seam allowances as printed on the foundations to ensure that my sections go together correctly.

Version A: Confident Beginner Layout Part 1

Version A: Confident Beginner Layout Part 2

Version B: Beginner Layout

Need more help with paper-piecing? I've got another tutorial here.

Paper Piecing: Tips for Success

Now that you know how to paper piece, let me back up a bit and provide you with some specific tips for success.

  • First, like all things quilting, paper piecing is more enjoyable with the right tools. So the first thing you should do is get some foundation paper to print out your block foundations. Don't be tempted to use printer paper (copy paper). Believe me, I've gone down that road and it's not fun. Printer paper is simply too thick and too hard to remove from your block after you get it pieced. The result of using printer paper is often a bunch of ripped out seams and tiny bits of paper you can't remove. I recommend using Carol Doak's Foundation Paper, but there are many reputable brands out there for you to use.

Looking for a cheaper alternative? Try children's drawing paper (newsprint). It's thin and printable, so it's good for foundation paper piecing.

  • Another tool I highly recommend is an Add-A-Quarter ruler. Along with a simple piece of cardstock such as a greeting card or something similar, this ruler enables you to accurately trim your seam allowance to 1/4" so you can easily place the next fabric for piecing. Placing your fabrics correctly helps you avoid that thing all paper piecers dread---having to rip out the seam!
  • Still, things happen and you may need to rip out a seam or two. What you don't want to happen is to also rip up your paper foundation. So here's a tool you must have in your toolbox: Scotch Brand tape. Scotch Brand won't melt and can be removed, making it ideal for this purpose.

So if you make a mistake, tape the seam on the printed side of the foundation, then rip out the seam from the other side. The tape will keep the foundation from ripping too. To resew the seam, sew right through the tape then remove it right away if you want. (I find that it mostly goes away by itself when I remove the foundation papers so I just leave it.)

  • For pinning, I like to use flower-head pins because they lay flat. Since you often fold the fabric over the pin to test its size, the flatness of flower-head pins makes them ideal for use in paper-piecing.
  • For piecing, I like to use a size 80, 90, 0r 100 Jeans (Denim) or Topstitching needle because they are strong and pierce the foundation cleanly..

Now, even though you now know the secret to ripping out a seam, it's always best to avoid it whenever possible. There are several things you can do avoid ripping out seams.

  • First, make sure your foundations are the right size before starting. I've included a 1" square on each foundation, so measure each page to make each one printed at the right size. If needed, turn off any Scaling options and print at 100%.

Sometimes, the pattern won't print from your web browser. So if you have problems printing the pattern, save the pattern on your computer first then try printing it again.

Also, if you are sewing Version A - Confident Beginner, you must tape the two parts of section G together. Lay the two registration marks on top of one another to align the sections.

  • Be sure to cut your fabric pieces large enough to cover the area each fabric needs to occupy, plus a generous 1/4" all around. My pattern tells you what size to cut your pieces so at least half of this is taken care of. Even so, if you don't place the fabrics correctly on the pattern, you can still end up with fabric that doesn't cover the space it needs to.
  • So be sure to align your fabrics correctly before sewing. To do that, remember to always place the next fabric on top of the previous fabric, right sides together. There's nothing more aggravating then sewing your piece and realizing one of the fabrics is upside down!

Now when placing your two fabrics together (right sides together of course <grin>) you normally center the next fabric on the previous fabric. Sometimes because of the angle of the line you are sewing on however, you might need to offset the fabric you are placing just a little instead of centering it on the previous fabric.

Here are some photos that should help you place your pieces correctly for my Autumn Leaf block. The ones not shown are centered on the previous fabric.

Placing B1 and B2 - Version B Beginner

Placing B1 and B2 - Version B Beginner

Placing C1 and C2 - Version B Beginner

Placing D4 - Version B Beginner

Placing E1 and E2 - Version B Beginner

Placing F1 and F2 - Version B Beginner

Placing D1 and D2 - Version A Confident Beginner

Placing E1 and E2 - Version A Confident Beginner

Placing F1 and F2 - Version A Confident Beginner

Placing G5 - Version A Confident Beginner

Placing H1 and H2 - Version A Confident Beginner

  • Perhaps most importantly, always pin your two fabrics right along the seam line, and then test your fabric placement by flipping the new fabric over your pin and verifying that once sewn, it will cover its area with 1/4" to spare on all sides.

A Paper Piecing Checklist

Here's a quick check list of things to keep in mind when sewing.

  • Use a short stitch length (1.8) and a Jeans/Denim or Topstitching needle that's at least size 80.
  • Place fabrics RST
  • Align fabric correctly, then pin and test that it covers the right spot before sewing.
  • Trim your seam allowance to help you align the next fabric--just be sure to flip the foundation back over your cardstock before trimming so you don't cut it!
  • Stitch the areas in order--start with A1, then A2, A3, A4 and so on.
  • Stitch the sections together in the order given in the pattern. Use the seam allowances on the foundation papers to help you align the sections properly.
  • Remove your foundation papers after the block is sewn

That's all my tips! 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 eight quilt blocks, plus the extra block I made. Aren't they looking good together?

Visit the other hosts!

Visit the other hosts if you want to see their versions of my Autumn Leaf 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 Autumn Leaf block giveaway simply make the block and post it in one of these three places before the deadline.

  • On Instagram, with the hashtags #fallintoaqal #inquiringquilter #autumnleafblock
  • In our private Facebook group
  • To the linky at the bottom of this post

You have until Monday, September 3rd at 11:59 pm EST to post your block for a chance to win this awesome prize package—a six month subscription to Make Modern magazine! Every issue contains 10 to 14 modern quilt patterns plus feature articles from quilters all over the globe.

On Tuesday, September 4th 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.

Island Batik Great Outdoors Blog Hop continues this week!

Great Outdoors Blog Hop.jpg

 

The Great Outdoors Blog Hop continues this week with great giveaways. Click here to see the schedule for this week.

My day on the blog hop is Wednesday, so please come back!

 

 

 

 

 

you might also like

Tell me...what is your favorite memory of fall?

 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!

Fall into a QAL: Block 7 Pumpkin Patch

Welcome to Block 7 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 seventh block in our quilt along was designed by Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting and it’s a pumpkin patch!

Pumpkin patches for me are synonymous with fall. I have many memories of selecting a Halloween pumpkin in a pumpkin patch with my daughter. Too much fun!

Here's my version of the block

This block uses flip corners to create the "round" pumpkins and the twisted stem. 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

I had several 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 in my quilt. I've got three dark background blocks so far, and three light, and I decided this one would use a dark background.

Second, I wanted to use warm oranges that would compliment not just the background but also the other colors I've used in the quilt so far.

Here's my fabric pull for the block.

Block Tips

Here are my tips for making the block:

  • Flip corners are easy if you keep a few things in mind. First, I know you want to jump right in and start making the block, but take the time to carefully mark the diagonal line on the back of all of the flip corner squares. I use a regular pencil, a small ruler, and my sandboard--the sandboard really helps to prevent the square from slipping so you can mark the diagonally correctly.
  • Instead of sewing right on the line you've drawn, sew just a bit to the right of it (closer to the corner) as you see here. Sewing the seam just a bit short of center makes a bit more room for the fold, so when you press the flip square back towards the corner it will fit perfectly
  • With flip corners, you typically trim the seam allowance after pressing the corner back.There are two schools of thought with this. If you don't trim, then you always have the bottom fabric (which is cut to size) to help you construct the block properly. If you do trim the seam allowance, you will have a lot less bulk in the seams. And you can always trim the finished unit to size (which I highly recommend if you do trim the seam allowance).
  • This block is made up of five small pumpkins with a lot of little pieces. For success, I highly recommend trimming the flip corner units to size after trimming the corners, and then trimming each little pumpkin to size (4-1/2" x 5-1/2") after sewing just as the pattern suggests. Doing the measuing and trimming as you sew up this block will help you address any problems before they become a mess, and it will ensure that your block comes out perfectly and to size!
  • After I had the pumpkins sewn up and trimmed, I laid them out as I wanted them in the block, then sewed the rows together. Follow the pressing directions Bobbi provides--although there aren't any seams to match, her pressing directions help the seams to lay flat.
  • Finally, it's always a good practice to press your completed block and then measure and trim it to size (12-1/2" square). Trimming your blocks as you go along helps to ensure that your quilt top will lay flat and be square when it's completed.

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 seven quilt blocks. Aren't they wonderful together?

Where do i get the block pattern?

Drop by Bobbi's blog to download your free Pumpkin Patch block pattern.

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 Pumpkin Patch block giveaway simply make the block and post it in one of these three places before the deadline.

You have until Monday, August 20th at 11:59 pm EST to post your block for a chance to win this awesome prize package—a Tag-Along Craft Storage Travel Tote by Everything Mary. Everything Mary is a family-owned company located in Fayettesville, Arkansas dedicated to providing stylish and clever ways for sewers and crafters to get organized.

On Tuesday, August 21st be sure to come back here for the next block in our quilt along!

Block 8 is designed by yours truly, and I can't wait to share it with you!

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.

Island Batik Great Outdoors Blog Hop starts this week!

Great Outdoors Blog Hop.jpg

The Great Outdoors Blog Hop started yesterday and you simply don't want to miss it! By visiting the Ambassadors featured this week, you'll see the latest batik collections from Island Batik, and get a chance to win some great fabric! Here's the schedule for this week. On Monday I'll post the next week's schedule, along with the name of the collection being featured each day.

Monday, August 6 - All A Flutter - Sharon @ Yellow Cat Quilt Designs and Michelle @ Creative Blonde

Tuesday, August 7 - Birds N’ Bees - Anna @ Ark Angel Creations and Jen @ Patterns by Jen

Wednesday, August 8 - Canterbury Manor - Sally @ Sally Manke and Sherry @ Powered by Quilting

Thursday, August 9 - Eclectic Garden - Jessica @ Desert Bloom Quilting and Karen @ Sew Karen-ly Created

Friday, August 10 - Vintage Morris - Joan @ Moosestash Quilting and Leanne @ Devoted Quilter

Each Ambassador is having a giveaway, so visit them first. Then visit Island Batik's blog to enter their giveaway!

you might also like

Tell me...do you have any pumpkin patch memories?

 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!

Fall into a QAL: Block 6 Pie

Apple Pie 1.jpg

Welcome to Block 6 of the Fall Into a QAL, a mystery quilt along by Partners in Design.

We've reached the halfway point! Yippee!

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

The sixth block in our quilt along was designed by Sherry @ Powered by Quilting and it’s a pie!

I love pie--making it, eating it. My favorite it apple pie, but I also love peach and blueberry pie in the summer and pecan and pumpkin in the fall. I just love pie!

Here’s my version of the block.

This block uses raw edge split applique and embroidery to create the pie, and simple piecing to create the background. If you’ve never used these techniques before--no worries! As a quilt along host, I’m here to help.

My Fabric Pull for This Block

I had several 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. I decided early on that this block needed to have a yellow-green background to compliment two other blocks that used yellow-green. My thought was that I would then have three lighter blocks and three darker ones.

Second, since apple pie is my favorite and I'd used this cute apple fabric in an earlier block, I wanted to figure out some way to use it again.

Third, for the tablecloth, I wanted the fabrics I chose complimented the top section fabrics. In addition, I wanted to make sure that those fabrics maintained the light, medium and dark tones used in the original pattern so I could get that tablecloth effect.

For some reason, I focused on yellow green fabrics for the tablecloth. Looking at the block now, I wish I'd chosen reds for the tablecloth. But I do like how lovely the pie plate looks on my green tablecloth so it's all good.

Here is my fabric pull for the block.

Whenever I do a pull, I take a moment to make sure that the fabrics for this new block compliment the fabrics in the other blocks. So I always audition them together before making my final decisions.

Block Tips

Here are my tips for making the block:

  • First, you need to print out the templates on page 3 of the pattern and check their size. 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!)

You can print out page 4 now if you like--it contains the embroidery template so you won't need it until later if you want to wait to print it.

  • I cut and pieced my upper background section exactly as instructed. For the tablecloth, I decided to use strip-piecing rather than sewing together all those squares. Strip-piecing is sometimes faster, but it may not be as accurate if you have trouble maintaining a 1/4" seam over the length of a long WOF strip. In this case though, my strips were only 7-1/2" long so no worries on whether I could maintain an accurate seam! Therefore, I figured the strip piecing method was the best for me to use for this block.

I cut two light strips, three medium, and one dark, all 2-1/2" x 7-1/2". I sewed two medium and one dark strip together to create one stripset, and two light and one medium strips together to create the other stripset.

Press each stripset towards the medium and subcut into 2-1/2" x 7-1/2" vertical strips.

Arrange the subcuts into the tablecloth pattern and sew them together. Sew the top and bottom sections together as instructed. When pressing the tablecloth section, it helps to press the seams in the opposite direction of the top section so the seams will nest when you sew the two sections together.

  • With the background done, it was time to move onto the pie applique. 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 than you would use with raw-edge fusible applique. 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.

The Crafted Applique method is perfect for what I did next, which was to create a lattice pie top. I'm so glad i didn't have to worry about all those edges fraying!

  • When an applique shape contains a lot of pieces like this one, I like to build the shape on a Teflon pressing sheet, then move it as a solid shape onto the block background. That way, I can center the pie on the background horizontally and place it vertically on my tablecloth exactly where I want, then fuse.

Let me back up here and talk about the lattice top. I wanted to feature my apple fabric, and I originally thought that I could simply make the cut holes in the pastry a bit bigger in order to do that. No matter how I tried, it just didn't look like apples peaking out through those slits. The apples were just too big, and when they were cut small for the slits they just looked like blobs of green, yellow and red.

So after about a half hour of trying to go with slits, I finally decided I had to create a lattice pie top. I resisted this idea because I knew it would be harder to try to control the placement all those skinny strips and to edge-stitch them all down. But if I wanted to use my apple fabric this was the only way so I took a deep breath and continued on.

To create the lattice, I sketched my idea out on the template pages. Once I knew the idea would work, I cut my apple fabric and my pie plate fabric using the templates. Then I cut strips of pastry fabric 1/2" wide.

  • I played with the strips for a while then finally decided the best way to approach this was to build the lattice on the apple fabric and then trim the strips to the pie filling shape. To build the lattice, I worked as I might when making a pie. First I laid out my strips in two directions, then lifted and placed strips under others as needed to get that over and under thing.
  • I arranged strips along the edges of the pie filling because I liked that look. It does look pretty good though with the apple fabric along the edges too, so this was just a matter of preference.

Finally, I fused the strips down and trimmed them to the shape of the pie filling.

  • Next, I fused the latticed pie top to the pie plate. Because of the curvy edge of the pastry and the fact that I wanted as much of the pie plate to show as possible, I found it a bit tricky to make sure that the pie top covered the pie plate everywhere and that there were no empty holes. If I were to do it over again, I might cut the pie plate piece a bit wider. But I don't know. It sure turned out the right size when I was done fusing!

Anyway, to make sure there weren't any holes and that the pie top covered the top edge of the pie plate, I fused the two pieces lightly and then held the pie up to the light to make sure the pie top covered the top edge of the pie bottom. The Crafted Applique method doesn't result in a permanent fuse, so I can do things like this. You might want to pin and not fuse the two pieces together so you can reposition the pie top if you spot some holes between the pie top and the top edge of the pie bottom. After I got them arranged right, I fused the pie top to the pie bottom.

  • Next, I arranged the fused pie on the background. I centered it 1-5/8" from either edge horizontally, and about 3-1/2" from the bottom then fused it in place.
  • Next, I stitched the edges down. Look at all those lattice edges! Oh well. I just took my time and got it done.

For my block, I used Aurifil 50 wt. #2132 (Tarnished Gold) and Sulky 40 wt. #1147 (Christmas Red) to finish the edges of my applique.

After stitching the applique down, I trimmed the block to 12-1/2".

  • Next, the pattern instructs you to print out the embroidery template (page 4) if you haven't already, and to trace the steam lines onto your block background using a removable marker. My tip here is to always test your marker on a scrap of fabric before using it on a block. Believe me, you want to make sure that marker will come out! I tend to use chalk markers for that very reason, because they easily brush away.
  • Use a backstitch to create the steam lines. You might do a test to see if you like 3 strands or 6 strands of floss better. Me, I've decided to stitch the steam lines later when I quilt the block so I didn't do the embroidery although I really like doing it and love the look.
  • If you decide to embroider the steam lines, you might want to fuse a lightweight interfacing on the back of that area of the background to prevent puckering. If you use a wash-away interfacing, you can soak your block after stitching to remove the interfacing completely. The result is a block with a softer feel. I wouldn't use tearaway interfacing in this case because I would be afraid of tearing out my embroidery stitches. You'll find a great tutorial for stitching the steam lines on Sherry's blog (the block designer).

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 six quilt blocks. I love how they are coming together.

Where do i get the block pattern?

Drop by Sherry's blog to download your free Pie block pattern.

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 Pie block giveaway simply make the block and post it in one of these three places before the deadline.

You have until Monday, August 6th at 11:59 pm EST to post your block for a chance to win this awesome prize package—a free pattern of your choice from Sherry @ Powered by Quilting plus four 1/2 yard cuts of Boundless Fabric Solids from Craftsy.

On Tuesday, August 7th 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.

Meanwhile, Back in My Kitchen...

I got so hungry writing this post that I had to make an apple pie! <grin> What's your favorite kind of pie?

A Special thank-you to our sponsors

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

you might also like

Tell me...what is your favorite pie?

 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!

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!