Fall into a Quilt Along: Acorns

Welcome back to Fall into a Quilt Along! We're rolling right along with block 5 today. You can find all of the information and links to the past blocks on my quilt along page.

This week, we get to make acorns! Kathleen McCormick at Kathleen McMusing has designed two lovely blocks for us to choose from - a split applique block with four little acorns, or a pieced block with one large acorn. You can find the patterns on her post here. All of the block patterns will be free until the quilt along ends on November 13, 2018.

For myself, I really liked the pieced acorn, but I was in love with the idea of four little acorns instead of one big acorn. So, I adjusted the scale and made four small pieced acorns. If you'd like to make your acorns smaller like mine, keep reading! There's a section below all about adjusting the size of a quilt block.

Tips and Tricks

Seam Test

My first tip is to test your seam allowance before you start. That way you can be sure your block will come out the right size.

To test your seam allowance, cut two 2" squares and sew them together. Press to one side, and measure the resulting rectangle. The rectangle should be 3 1/2" long. If your rectangle is shorter, you need a narrower seam allowance. If your rectangle is longer, you need a wider seam allowance. Adjust your seam and try again. Once the rectangle is exactly 3 1/2" long, you're good to go.

Stitch and Flip Corners

Important Note - The bottom of the acorn is the longer side of the rectangle. Don't let the optical illusion trick you!

Stitch and flip corners are super versatile for making all sorts of blocks. The secret is to draw a line diagonally across the corner square, and stitch just outside of the drawn line. The line you drew isn't the stitching line - it's actually where the fabric needs to fold! By stitching just outside of the line, you give yourself the extra fabric you need to reach all the way to the corner when you flip it over.

Just to be safe, I always test to make sure my corner is covered before I cut away the excess fabric from the back.

Adjusting the Scale

Out of respect for Kathleen's copyright on her pattern, I'm not going to share the cutting chart for my half size acorns. Instead, I'll do you one better - I'm going to teach you how to scale any pieced quilt block. Don't worry, the math is pretty simple, and I'll give you an example at the end.

The basic process to adjust the scale of any block is:

  1. Subtract the seam allowance to find the finished size of each piece.
  2. Scale the finished size as desired.
  3. Add the seam allowance to determine the cut size of the piece.

For this block, all of the pieces are rectangles and stitch-and-flip corners. That means all of the seam allowances are 1/2". I wanted each of my acorns to finish at half the size of the original.

For this block:

  1. Subtract 1/2" each direction from every piece to get the finished size.
  2. Divide the finished size by 2 (to get an acorn that's half the size of the original).
  3. Add 1/2" each direction on every piece to get the cut size.

Example:

The instructions say to cut the top pieces at 2 1/2" x 5 1/2". Let's scale this to half the size:

  1. Subtract 1/2" each direction to get the finished size:
    2" x 5"
  2. Divide the finished size by 2:
    1" x 2 1/2"
  3. Add 1/2" each direction to get the cut size:
    1 1/2" x 3"

This means that I cut the top pieces 1 1/2" x 3" to make my half-sized acorns.

Pressing

If you're making the big acorn, you can really press any way you'd like. For my baby acorns, though, I needed to make sure the seams would nest at the hats. In each row, I pressed the seams on the darker acorn towards the hat, and the seams on the lighter acorn away from the hat.

When I sewed the acorns together, I pressed the top row one direction, and the bottom row the other. That way the center seams would nest. I pressed all of the rest of my seams in the direction of least resistance.

A Bushel of Acorns

Fall into a Quilt Along is being hosted by 7 fabulous quilters. We've each made our own version of the acorn block and written up some tips to help you succeed. Be sure to check them all out for loads of inspiration!

Abbie Danahy at Sparkle On
April Adams at JANDA Bend Quilts
Bobbi Bridgeman at Snowy Days Quilting <--- That's me!
Jennifer Fulton at Inquiring Quilter
Karen Thurn at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Sherry Shish at Powered by Quilting
Vanda Chittenden at Quilting with Vanda

Prizes

As always, we have some fabulous prizes this week. Anyone over 18 is eligible to win, including international participants. To be entered in the drawing, simply share your completed sunflower block  by 11:59 pm Eastern time on July 9, 2018. You can share on Instagram with the hashtag #fallintoaqal, in the Partners in Design Facebook group, or in the linky party on Kathleen's post.

Our first sponsor this week is Kathleen McCormick at Kathleen McMusing. She has provided a pack of 5" charm squares from the line From the Chateau by Lisa Audit for Wilmington Prints.

Our second sponsor is Shabby Fabrics. They've donated two patterns - Vintage Kite table runner, and Vintage Garden wall hanging. If you enjoy thumbing through a physical catalog of beautiful fabrics, you can request a copy of the latest Shabby Fabrics catalog right here.

quilt along prizes

At the end of the quilt along, we will have a grand prize drawing for anyone that has made a complete quilt top with all 12 blocks. There's no need to have it quilted for the drawing. To be eligible to win, finished quilt tops must be posted by 11:59 pm Eastern time on November 12, 2018.

Question for You

I'm excited about the options for this week's block! Do you think you'll do the applique version or the pieced version? Are you considering adjusting the scale? I can't wait to see what you make!

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