Well, I am catching up a little bit with the quilt months. The April quilt is finished earlier in May than the March quilt was in April! My choice for the April 12″ x 12″ quilt was a hedgehog. In April, the wild hedgehogs that live in our garden awake from their winter sleep (in a special hedgehog hibernation house under the hedge next to the tool shed, although they have been known to make a sleeping nest elsewhere in the garden) and start pottering about eating slugs and things in the evenings. This is our signal to start providing hedgehog food in their special feeding house, so that they can put on weight quickly after the weight-loss of hibernation.
So when I saw the quilt ‘Hedgehog heyday’ by Cheri Leffler in ‘Fun-size quilts’ complied by Karen M. Burns published by That Patchwork Place/Martingale, I knew I had to look no further.
The original quilt was of course, bigger than 12″ x 12″ and had four different hedgehog blocks plus appliqué borders. The individual blocks were smaller than 12″ at 8 1/2″ finished size, so the first thing was to choose one of the blocks and scale it up proportionally to 12″ finished size. This was ‘new’ thing no. 1 for this block: to proportionally scale a block to a different size: in this case to increase the size by 141.188%. I choose the bottom right hedgehog for my quilt.
I choose a similar colour scheme to the original pattern with natural colours for the hedgehog, and soft greens, reds, apricots and creams from Fig Tree & Co. and Moda Grunge for the rest of the block.
I fusible-appliquéd the hedgehog and sewed it down with satin-stitch on the machine. Then I added a leaf and flower stalk, also with machine stitching.
Then I added the apricot coloured butterfly to the hedgehog’s back. Also machine appliqué. To make an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’ wing, I used two different fabrics form the same Fig Tree & Co. range: one almost plain and one patterned. The body is Oakshott shot cotton.
And then I embroidered the eyes, mouths and antennae, with two strands of floss for the hedgehog, and one strand for the butterfly. The eye and nose of the hedgehog was satin stitch, the mouth stem stitch. The butterfly antennae are stem stitch with a colonial knot at the tip. The legs are also stem stitch, and the eyes colonial stitch. I was quite impressed with myself that I managed to make the butterfly smile, given that his mouth is about 1/8″ across! I used dark brown instead of the black of the original pattern, as I felt the black was a bit too harsh with my colours.
Then I made the block from strips to cut up into four triangles for the setting corners of the block. Because after cutting all the edges are bias edges, I stay-stitched them 1/8″ from the edge before I sliced the block into setting triangles. Then they don’t stretch and everything stays square. I find this works better than trying to stay-stitch them after they have been sliced apart. The stitched lines are slightly wonky, but as they are all well within the seam allowance, it doesn’t matter.
Then I sewed them onto the base block with the hedgehog. There is then stay stitching right around the outside edge of the block.
The I made a appliqué flower and sewed it on by hand. The flower is a bit three-dimensional, which gives a nice effect, as the seam allowances are turned under and the petals are gathered by hand before appliquéing. This was new ‘thing’ no. 2: I haven’t combined machine and hand appliqué in a block before: always one or the other. I like the effect.
The flower is made of Oakshott shot-cotton, so gives a moire effect in the photograph.
I did the petals by hand, but the centre of the flower with the machine, to anchor everything down firmly, and to link the flower to the stalk in terms of technique. It also makes the petals stand out more.
So at this point the back of the block looked like this (I’m just showing this because I was proud of how neat it was!!):
I found a nice fabric with butterflies in my stash for the backing, and used Quilters Dream cotton for the batting.
I quilted a half-inch chequer pattern around the hedgehog in the cream fabric of the block centre, and half inch stripes in the setting triangles, following the direction of the strips. I used Gutermann cream coloured thread for all the quilting of the background. Then I quilted veins in the leaves and the stem in green. The hedgehog and the butterfly aren’t quilted and are thus allowed to puff.
Then I trimmed the quilt to size. I used a 17″ rotating cutting mat for that: really easy!
Even trimmed the block still has the stay stitching, so everything was nice and firm and stayed true. I was pleased with the lack of distortion.
As is the case with all these small quilts, I made a double-fold binding from a batik fabric: this time I found a nice peachy floral with touches of warm orange and purple that matched my other colours well. The whole quilt is creamier and warmer in colour than it appears on the photo’s: the daylight lighting in the studio tends to bleach things out a bit on camera.
I had made a hanging sleeve and a label for the back, the label went on last, and then the April quilt was done and went onto the hanger in the entry hall.
For May, I feel French inspiration coming on…..