Domestic Bliss is the name designer Shelly Pagliai gave Block 8 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt I’m making over the course of this year. It’s also the block I assigned myself for July. (In my previous post I showed you my June block, a month late in the making. I haven’t added the appliquéd center on that one yet but forged ahead with July’s block when I was sewing with my friends last week in Sisters, Oregon.)
Here is Shelly’s original version of Domestic Bliss . . .
. . . and here’s what I have so far:
I love the look of this block on point, as it will be in the finished quilt, so I didn’t rotate the design 45° as I have for the first few blocks I’ve made for this quilt. Here’s my Block 8 on point:
I just got back from eight days in Sisters, Oregon — home of the “Largest Outdoor Quilt Show in the World.” Three friends and I rented a house in town so we could work on our own projects, take classes at Quilter’s Affair (five days of classes taught in Sisters by local, national, and international teachers), enjoy the July 14 quilt show, and have one more full day of sewing before heading home. You can expect my next few posts to be about the quilt show and some of the projects my friends and I worked on.
First up, a block I made to get back on schedule with my goal of making a block a month in Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the stunning samper quilt designed by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts. I didn’t get my June block done so I have two to make in July.
This block is Aunt Ruby’s Choice, with directions in Shelly’s book A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s. Here is Shelly’s original block . . .
. . . and here is my block — minus the white sashing strips around the block, the center appliquéd flower, and the outer appliquéd scalloped border around the block:
As I’ve done with the first five blocks made so far, I redrafted the block so that when it’s set on point (as in the finished quilt) it will look like Shelly’s original design. Here’s the block next to my rough sketch on graph paper . . .
. . . and here it is on point:
I followed Shelly’s color scheme pretty closely on this one. The prints are from two lines of fabric designed by Jill Finley of Jillily Studio. Don’t they play nicely together?
The next block in the quilt is called Domestic Bliss. Do come back soon for a look.
This block, named Best.Christmas.Ever. by its designer (Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts), isn’t quite finished in this shot. The appliqué in the center of the block includes a small circle on top of the black star. More on that below.
That black star represents my third effort. I was having a terrible time tucking the excess fabric underneath the points. My star points weren’t points at all — they were stubs. In despair I contacted Shelly, who suggested I reduce my seam allowance and make sure I snipped the seam allowance all the way to the inside points. Great advice, Shelly!
Two attempts later, I had the star you see above. It’s not perfect by any means. In fact, only one of the five star points is truly pointed but I’m okay with that. As a novice when it comes to needleturn appliqué, I know my skills will improve. My novice status was quite apparent when it came to sewing the circle onto the black star. The circle is tiny — about a half-inch in diameter. I tried three times without success. What to do? Why, use a button instead.
I have quite a collection of new and vintage buttons and it didn’t take long to find a winner:
The button actually has a raised star design on it. Take a look:
Isn’t that the perfect addition? (I’ll remove the button before it’s quilted and sew it back on later.)
Here’s a picture of my block on point, as it will appear in the finished quilt.
My completed blocks so far:
(Confession: that tiny black star in the upper left block isn’t sewn on yet. I just stuck it there to show you what the block is suppposed to look like. I’m seriously thinking about making a star out of black Ultrasuede and fusing it in place.)
Of the five blocks made, Best.Christmas.Ever. may be my favorite. It’s the only one so far that doesn’t include yellow and blue. Maybe that’s a sign I should put it in the center of my quilt.
Here’s a look at Shelly’s original quilt:
Isn’t that a stunner?
I’m a little behind on my self-imposed schedule of one block per month. My block for June is called Aunt Ruby’s Choice and I’m excited about getting started. The first task: picking fabrics. Stay tuned!
Over the last few days my fair city — Portland, Oregon — has filled with thousands of professionals in the quilt industry: fabric designers, quilt shop owners, pattern designers, fabric and notions manufacturers, vendors, longarm quilters, professionals of every stripe. The occasion is International Quilt Market, the big trade show held twice a year. Fall Market is always held in Houston; Spring Market rotates among other cities.
As a quilt teacher and sole proprietor of First Light Designs, I’m eligible to attend. And where am I? Not in Portland. I’m Missing Market, a condition significant enough that others who also cannot go have created a #missingmarket profile on Instagram. But don’t feel too sorry for me. After two delightful days in New York City, the Dear Husband and I have arrived in Spain where we will join a group traveling down the Douro River on a small ship. We start in Madrid, board the vessel near Salamanca, and end in Lisbon, Portugal. Then it’s back to Manhattan for three nights before coming home in early June.
My plan was to bring a hand applique project or two along with me. I did finish piecing Block 6 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt and even got the center of the block marked for the applique . . .
. . . but that was as far as I got before running out of time.
With no handwork to occupy me in quiet moments on board ship, I need something quilt-related to tide me over till I get home, so I packed a book I had ordered from Canada that arrived just a few days before my departure:
This little book has 533 pages and weighs over two pounds! I will surely derive many ounces of pleasure from its pages during the journey down the Douro.
In my last post, I was complaining a bit about doing some alteration work for my husband, only because it was taking me away from doing something I like much more: making quilt blocks.
Happily, I am back at it. In the photo above, you can see the components of Best.Christmas.Ever, Block 6 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt I’m working on this year.
Because I chose to rotate the block 90 degrees, I couldn’t use designer Shelly Pagliai’s directions in her book A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the 1950s. I had to draft a new version. In the illustration below you can see that the redrafted block is made up of four Hourglass blocks in red and white, four Hourglass blocks in green and white, and four blocks known as Cat’s Cradle. To the left of the illustration are the two sets of Hourglass blocks:
For the Cat’s Cradle blocks I was able to use a wonderful specialty ruler designed by Deb Heatherly for Creative Grids. The ruler eliminates the need to sew tiny triangles with bias edges. Instead you start out with two squares, two small rectangles, and one large rectangle. The yield: two Cat’s Cradle blocks, made slightly oversize and trimmed. I needed two sets:
I’m getting ready to work on Best.Christmas.Ever., Block 6 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt I started working on in January. (See the original quilt in my first post about it here.) The plan is to incorporate the four fabrics you see above. I think the green and black holly print will go in the large green triangles you see in my color mock-up.
Don’t you love the addition of the appliquéd flower in the center of the block?
It’s important to note that the block you see above with the scalloped border measures 18″ finished. The star block in the middle finishes at 12″ and then strips of the white background fabric are added on all four sides to bring it up to 18″ before the scallop is appliquéd in place. Remember this, as those measurements will come up later in the post.
As with my first four blocks, I’m reorienting the design so that the block is positioned the way you see it above when turned on point in the finished quilt. Here are the original and modified blocks drawn in EQ7 software:
It’s easier for you to see what I’ve done if I turn the modified version on point:
The block design is the same but the proportions are different: the elements in the modified block are noticeably smaller.
The quilt math on this block turned out to be quite a challenge! The original block was made on a 6 x 6 grid whereas the modified block must be made on a 5 x 5 grid to duplicate the look within the space constraints. I know that sounds crazy but look at the pencil markings on the next photo to see what I mean:
See how the block on the left is a 6 x 6 grid and the one on the right is 5 x 5?
My block is going to finish at 12½” instead of 12″ for the simple reason that the block needs to be easily divisible by five to work with my 5 x 5 grid. Technically speaking, 12″ is divisible by five: 2.4″ is the magic number. But quilters work in eighths of an inch, not tenths of an inch. I didn’t want to go there although I considered it . . . briefly.
Now, think about a block that finishes ½” larger than all the other blocks. Normally that would be a deal breaker. Ah, but I have a plan. Since the 12″ star blocks are surrounded by strips of background fabric to make them finish at 18″, I think I can get away with making the strips a little narrower on this block to compensate for the fact that the star block is bigger.
The other thing I’m going to do is sew my seams with a full quarter-inch seam allowance instead of my usual scant quarter-inch. That should draw the block up by at least a quarter of an inch, meaning that this star block will actually finish at 12¼” — pretty darn close to the size it should be.
. . . and Other Things. That’s the name of Block 5 in Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt I’m currently working on. I’m pacing myself: a block a month. Except that I’m ahead for the month of April.
As I’ve done with all my blocks so far, I rotated the design 90° so that when the block is set on point in the finished quilt, it looks like Shelly Pagliai’s original design.
Here is Shelly’s original Block 5, complete with scalloped border:
She tweaked the traditional Corn and Beans quilt block and added an appliquéd wildflower to the center. That’s the and Other Things part of her block name.
Here is my block sans appliqué, sashing strips, and scalloped border:
Don’t those fabrics play well together? The blue and white print is from Jill Finley’s new line called “This and That.” She designs for Penny Rose Fabrics. The yellow raindrop fabric is from an old line called “Kate’s Umbrella” designed by Felicity Miller for Westminster Fibers. It’s been in my stash for the better part of a decade. I have a feeling this quilt is going to be quite a mash-up of new and old fabrics.
When you set my latest block on point, it looks like this:
Now you can see its position relative to Shelly’s original design.
April’s block was more challenging to make than you might think. For starters, rotating the design changed the dimensions of the individual pieces. My half square triangles (HSTs) finished at 2⅛” and other measurements were equally odd. I was able to determine the sizes of my components by drawing the blocks in EQ7 software:
The drawing is 6″ finished so all I had to do was double the measurements since the actual block is 12″ finished (before sashing). Those squares composed of Half Square Triangles measure 1-1/16″ in the diagram.
Coloring the block in EQ7 helped me keep the blue/white and yellow/white HSTs in proper position for sewing:
Getting all those points to match required careful cutting, pinning, and sewing. And I resorted to pressing most of the seams open (something I rarely do) to get the seams nice and flat.
Now I’m ready to work on the appliquéd center. No foolin’.
Happy Friday, friends! I have a Friday Finish to show you: Coal Miner’s Granddaughter, Block 4 in the sampler quilt known as Hazel’s Diary Quilt:
When I posted this block on my blog earlier in the week, the center of it was empty. Here’s a before-and-after shot:
Quite a difference, eh?
I gave myself the entire month of March to complete this block — and here it is done on the 9th of March. Can you guess why?
The answer: because I didn’t put off working on the appliqué until the end of the month. Can you guess why?
The answer: because I was eager to get to it!
I do believe I’ve turned a corner when it comes to needleturn appliqué. I still have a very long way to go to become truly proficient but I’ve seen an improvement in my skills since starting this project in January. More to the point, I am enjoying needleturn appliqué instead of approaching it with trepidation.
Here are my three blocks completed so far:
The quilt calls for nine blocks, one of which goes in a center medallion. The block at the top is the one Shelly Pagliai, the designer of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, chose for the center of her beautiful quilt:
Once all of my blocks are made I’ll choose my favorite and put that one in the center medallion.
I’m in Month 3 of my own personal 2018 Block of the Month (BOM) program and right on schedule. What you see above is Block 4 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, a stunning sampler quilt celebrating the life of a young woman coming of age in the 1950s in the American Midwest. The quilt was designed by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts.
I’ve made Blocks 1 and 3, skipping Block 2 for now as it’s a heavily appliquéd border around a center medallion. That will come later, after I’ve finished making the rest of the individual star blocks and added their appliquéd centers. I’m using this project to hone my needleturn appliqué skills and I’m still very much in the rookie stage.
My Block 4 is looking a little bare right now without the appliquéd flower in the middle. The individual shapes are all cut and ready to be sewn, though, and I’m eager to get started. Producing just one block a month on Hazel’s Diary Quilt is giving me the time and freedom to work on other projects. It’s also keeping me from feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of appliqué called for in the quilt.
I hope you’ll check back in a few days to see how different the block looks with a lovely flower in the center.