. . . is something we are not having in Portland, Oregon at the moment. There’s snow on the ground and “frozen mix” predicted for eight of the next nine days. C’mon, Portland! Where’s that teaser week of balmy weather we usually get in February?
Despite the inclement weather forecast, I can claim a spot of Fair Weather inside the Portland White House, namely in my sewing room:
That’s the name of Block 10 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the gorgeous sampler quilt designed by Shelly Pagliai that’s been the focus of much of my sewing and needleturn appliqué efforts over the past 14 months.
Here’s the block on point, as it will be in the finished quilt:
Don’t you love the swirly motion provided by the stems in the center appliqué?
Seven blocks are now framed in red and up on my design wall:
These blocks measure 18½” square. Set on point, they measure about 26″ across and take up a good portion of the design wall.
Progress is slow, partly because I’m not very fast at needleturn appliqué and partly because I’m working on other projects. One of them: another appliqué design totally unrelated to Hazel’s Diary Quilt that has a special story attached to it. I’m getting very close to revealing it so stay tuned.
And I’m longing to dip into my stash of indigo and cheddar fabrics to make some blocks using Jenifer Gaston’s Churning Stars design. I know I shouldn’t be starting a new quilt but the pull is very strong. I don’t think I can resist. . .
Fancy Farm Girl is Block 9 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt project I embarked on a year ago. Here’s that Fancy Farm Girl on point, as she will be in the finished quilt, sporting her red scalloped frame:
She joins four other blocks that have been pieced and framed:
Progress has been slow on the appliquéd frames. I discovered I can’t work on my needleturn appliqué in the evening while watching television because the light isn’t great. (How on earth did previous generations of quilters do such beautiful work by candlelight?) I’m also hampered by a certain calico cat demanding lap time (and who am I to deny her?).
Four additional pieced blocks are awaiting their frames. One of the nine blocks will go in the center of the quilt as part of a medallion. I’ll pick the block for the center after all of them have been framed. Of the five so far, Fancy Farm Girl is the leading candidate. Do you have a favorite?
. . . the Christmas decorations are getting putting away. Little by little the days are getting longer. And little by little I’m making progress on my needleturn appliqué on Hazel’s Diary Quilt, following the directions in Shelly Pagliai’s book A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s.
Some days are better than others. I run the gamut from feeling like my appliqué skills are visibly improving to becoming frustrated when a curve doesn’t turn out as smoothly as it should. When that happens, I simply put the appliqué aside and do something else. And I remind myself that when the finished quilt is laundered, its soft puckery texture will disguise a multitude of imperfections.
I thought you might be interested in a little change I made to the way the blocks are prepared for the reverse appliquéd red scalloped frames. In the photo below I have drawn around the plastic template with a white pen to mark my scallops:
Did you happen to notice the template doesn’t go all the way to the edges of the red fabric? That’s because I added an extra half inch all the way around. The red square measures 19½” instead of 18½”. I also added a half inch to the sashing strips around the pieced block it goes on top of so it measures 19½” as well.
I discovered with my first scalloped frame that no matter how carefully I pinned and stitched, the layers shifted a little during the appliqué process resulting in a block that didn’t measure 18½” square because the raw edges weren’t exactly even. The solution? Make the block bigger and trim it to size after the scalloped frame is attached.
This is what I did on subsequent blocks. With the pieced block and the frame in place, I machine basted around the outside close to the raw edges to hold the layers together. Next I cut out a big square in the center (yielding a generous scrap of red fabric for another use), revealing the pieced block beneath:
Now I’m ready to trim close to the drawn lines on a couple of scallops and start hand stitching around the block. Instead of using lots of appliqué pins to hold the red fabric in place, like I did on the first block . . .
. . . I can use just one or two pins to hold the layers together right next to the appliqué line because the basting around the outer edges (a little hard to see in the next photo) is holding the frame in place:
When I’m done appliquéing the frame, I’ll take out the basting and press the red scalloped frame nice and flat. It matters not that the edges of the two layers aren’t even because I can measure a perfect 18½” square, draw around the block on the cut lines, machine baste inside the cut lines to hold the layers together, and then trim the block on the cut lines.
When it’s time to sew the individual blocks together, they will all measure exactly 18½” square and the two layers of each block will be held fast by the stitching.
When I started working on Hazel’s Diary Quilt at the beginning of the year, my goal was to end the year with nine blocks completed. That may not seem like a very ambitious goal but these nine blocks came with a significant challenge: a lot of hand appliqué. Not just a different appliquéd floral design in the center of each pieced block but also a scalloped frame around each block applied using reverse appliqué. As if that weren’t enough, I set myself the additional challenge of using the needleturn method of hand appliqué.
I’ve shown it before but you really have to see Shelly Pagliai’s gorgeous quilt to understand what I have taken on:
You can see from looking at Shelly’s quilt that once those nine blocks are completed, there’s a lot more piecing and hand appliqué required to finish the quilt.
As of today I have all nine blocks pieced but only three of them have their red scalloped frames in place. You’ll see those in just a bit. For now I want to walk you through the nine pieced blocks, set on point per Shelly’s design.
These blocks measure 12½” unfinished. Once they have white border strips added and the red frames appliquéd on top they will measure 18½” unfinished. Set on point, they will finish about 25½” wide.
As dramatic as the blocks are above, see how much more striking they are framed. First up, Block 4, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter:
Next, Block 7, Aunt Ruby’s Choice:
And third, Block 3, Canasta, which I finished framing just yesterday:
Seeing these three blocks framed makes me eager to get started on the fourth frame!
Thank you so much for following along with me this year. I hope you’ll follow along in 2019 as I work to complete my version of Hazel’s Diary Quilt.
Speaking of 2019, it is mere hours away! Have a safe and Happy New Year, friends, and I’ll see you next year.
I am so in love with this block! Here it is on point, as it will be in the finished quilt:
I think it may be my favorite of the nine pieced blocks that go into Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the lovely sampler quilt designed by Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts.
Tomorrow I’ll post pictures of all nine blocks. One of them will go in the center of the quilt as part of a medallion, and Fair Weather may be the one. I’ll wait until all nine blocks have their red scalloped frames before making a final decision.
Fancy Farm Girl, Block 9 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, is complete with the addition of the appliqué in the center:
I’m happy to report the appliqué process went well today. A good thing, as a couple of weeks have passed with no appliqué at all. Maybe I just needed a little break.
I departed from designer Shelly Pagliai’s design by rotating the leaves a quarter turn and enlarging the motif by 20%. When the block is set on point, as it will be in the finished quilt, the leaves form an X rather than a +:
I was so sure I would get lots of hand appliqué done on my Hazel’s Diary Quilt blocks during my two-week visit to my sister’s home over Thanksgiving. Instead I found myself occupied with other things. Fun things, to be sure. We experimented with new recipes and baked and went shopping and watched Poldark on Masterpiece Theater and decorated Diane and Ed’s home for the holidays. And we played endless games of Scrabble.
It’s that last thing that kept me from getting more handwork done. My husband and my sister share this obession. Many times the three of us could be found sitting in the living room with our noses in our iPads, playing Scrabble with each other and not uttering a word. Diane’s husband Ed — who does not play Scrabble — looked on, bemused.
I did manage to complete one red scalloped frame (pictured in this post) and got started on another one:
Since returning home almost a week ago, I’ve picked it up a couple of times but keep putting it down. It may look fine from a distance but I’m not at all happy with some of the points and curves. I don’t know whether to keep going or rip it out and start over.
Best to put it away for a while. Not the entire project, though! I still have one more block that needs appliqué in the center (and I still want to remake the last block I pieced since I don’t like my original fabric choices). Maybe needleturning some small shapes will get me going again on those red scalloped frames.
I know: the more I do it, the easier it will become. I need practice — and patience.
When I was at Quilt Camp earlier this month, I made Blocks 9 and 10 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt. Block 9, called Fancy Farm Girl, was quick and fun to make: in the center, a square in a square surrounded by hourglass blocks.
Take a look:
Here is the same block oriented on point as it will be in the finished quilt:
This block is still awaiting its appliqué in the center and the red scalloped frame around it. You can imagine what mine will look like by viewing designer Shelly Pagliai’s original version:
And what about Block 10? I did make it but I am so dissatisfied with my fabric choices that I am going to remake it. You’ll have to wait a bit for that reveal.
In the meantime I have been working on adding that red scalloped frame to the other blocks I have already made. Here is the scalloped frame added to Block 7, Aunt Ruby’s Choice:
This is my second scalloped frame and I am happy with the result. Here is another look at it against a white background:
Given that Shelly’s quilt was inspired by her mother Hazel, who grew up on a farm in Missouri in the 1950s, I couldn’t resist showing the block with my own mother’s 50s-era recipe box, now in the possession of my twin sister Diane:
My fabrics aren’t as evocative of the 1950s as Shelly’s quilt but I am tickled that the fabrics I have chosen are so similar in color to Mother’s recipe box. She died in 2003, a couple years before my love affair with quilting began in earnest, but somehow I know she would approve. Do you think I can wrest that recipe box away from Diane?