Category Archives: appliqué

Kitchen Remodel — Week 8

How I wish I could report the kitchen remodel is done. But no, we had a setback. On Monday morning of Week 8, my contractor inspected the crown molding that had been installed on the refrigerator wall the previous Friday and insisted that it be redone. (Is that not a sign of a good contractor?) Because of scheduling issues, the redo didn’t happen till the end of the week. That meant that the painting of the trim and the touch up on the walls and ceiling had to be pushed forward to Week 9.

In addition, we are waiting for delivery of a hood liner for the range hood insert. When I ordered the insert there was no mention of a hood liner. How vexing is that? We didn’t discover a liner was necessary until the insert was actually being installed. Result: the part didn’t get ordered till the end of May. I was hoping it would be here by now.

At least my husband and I are back in the kitchen making meals, getting accustomed to the new appliances, and admiring the new look. My twin sister Diane surprised us with a Cuisinart “Coffee on Demand” coffeemaker:


(Thanks, Nubs — we love it!) And how do you like my new ceramic canisters? I found them online and ordered them because they looked to be the same color as the lower cabinets. It’s a pretty good match!

Here’s a look at the west wall (sans crown molding):

I am loving the gleam of the stainless steel appliances and polished nickel bin pulls and the crisp contrast of the blue and white cabinets.

My sewing/quilting life may have been put on the back burner (so to speak) during this remodel but I am gearing up for more appliqué on Hazel’s Diary Quilt. I’m auditioning fabrics for the corner flowers on the center medallion and have cut out a few petals and leaves:


That’s a start. As a reminder, here’s a look at the center medallion from the cover of Shelly Pagliai’s book which contains the directions for Hazel’s Diary Quilt and several other quilts and small projects:


(You may remember I picked a different block for the center of my quilt.)

I’ve prepared the bias stems that wind around the light grey strips surrounding the block in the middle of the medallion and have cut out a few leaf shapes:

Progress on this project has been admittedly slow but I have given myself a deadline of July 31 to complete the top. That’s the day I’ve arranged to turn it over to an accomplished longarm quilter for custom quilting. Nothing like a deadline to get one going!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, home dec, needleturn appliqué, update | 6 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt: My Layout Revealed

Before I show you the arrangement of my nine pieced and appliquéd blocks in Hazel’s Diary Quilt, let’s review the blocks in the order in which Shelly Pagliai introduced them in her book A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s (C&T Publishing/Kansas City Star Quilts, 2016).

The blocks are set on point, as they will be in the finished quilt:

Row 1 (top center): Block 1, Missouri Farm Life.

Row 2: Block 3, Canasta, and Block 4, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter.

Row 3: Block 5, Corn and Beans and Other Things; Block 6, Best.Christmas.Ever; and Block 7, Aunt Ruby’s Choice.

Row 4: Block 8, Domestic Bliss, and Block 9, Fancy Farm Girl.

Row 5 (bottom center): Block 10, Fair Weather.

Did you notice Block 2 is missing? That’s because I haven’t made it yet. The block, called Summer of ’51, is a vine of flowers and leaves around a square that will create a medallion in the center of the quilt. One of the nine pieced blocks will go in the very center of the medallion. To see Shelly’s original quilt, click here.

Shelly designed this quilt in memory of her mother, Hazel Ilene, who received a little red diary as a Christmas gift in December 1950 when she was a freshman in high school. Hazel wrote in the diary every day for almost four years, with her last entry written the night before her wedding in October 1954.

The blocks Shelly designed were inspired by Hazel’s diary entries and her life as a teenager growing up in rural Missouri during the early 1950s. For each block Shelly chose a traditional design, sometimes modifying it a bit, and added a floral appliqué in the center. Then she added a scalloped red frame around each block, appliquéd in place.

Without further ado, here is the final arrangement of my blocks:


The last block I pieced, Fair Weather, turned out to be my favorite, and that’s the one you see in the center.

There’s a lot left to do on this quilt but it’s very satisfying to be at this point!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 7 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt, Block 8: Done!

That last red scalloped frame took forever. Once I got started it didn’t take all that long to finish the needleturn appliqué. The hardest part, for some reason, was taking the first step. I simply could not make myself get going. I’m pinning the blame on our kitchen remodel, which has proven to be a mighty distraction.

But finally Domestic Bliss, Block 8 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, is ready to show you:


And here it is on point, as it will be in the finished quilt:

What next? Why, more appliqué, of course! Of nine pieced blocks, one goes in the center, to be surrounded by four flowers and dozens of leaves to form a medallion. As a reminder, here is designer Shelly Pagliai’s original rendition of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, which I was thrilled to see in person at the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky in March 2017:

At the moment, I’m having fun moving my blocks around on my design wall trying to get just the right balance of color and scale. Do check back as I will be revealing the layout, including my final choice for the center block.

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 7 Comments

Happy Mail #1

Question: What could be more wonderful than finding a happy surprise in your mailbox?
Answer: Finding two happy surprises.

Last week a package arrived from my friend Deborah, a fellow member of our small quilt group the Quisters (Quilt Sisters). Look what was inside:


It’s Bertie!!

If you are a fan of wool appliqué and the designs of Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night, you will surely recognize this as a block from Bertie’s Year, introduced in 2014. Bertie’s Year is made up of a dozen 13″ x 17″ wool applique projects, one for each month of the year.

The Bertie Deborah made me is the May block. Here’s the entire year:

In the past few years Deborah has made me two other blocks in Bertie’s Year, January . . .

. . . and September:


They never fail to make me smile.

I had never done wool appliqué before but I was so charmed by Bertie that I bought the pattern for July . . .

. . . and wrote this post about it. That was back in 2014.

This is how far I’ve gotten:

I can’t believe it’s been five years since I started this project. I need to bring Bertie out of the closet (so to speak) and get back to work on him. He will definitely be in good company. Thank you, dear Deborah, for the lovely Happy Mail!

Oh yes, I did mention a second surprise in my mailbox. I’ll tell you all about Happy Mail #2 in my next post.

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Quisters (Quilt Sisters), update, wool applique | 5 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt: Block 8, Revisited and Revised

Procrastination, thy name is Dawn!

Back in August of ’18 I finished the interior of Domestic Bliss, Block 8 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt:

Even as I moved on to other blocks in this retro sampler quilt, I knew I needed to come back to Domestic Bliss and redo the four outer hearts. I had chosen Fairy Frost fabric and found that the metallic finish made the fabric a little stiff and difficult to needleturn. In addition to the curves not being smooth, I had drawn around the templates with a silver gel pen, which showed on my finished block. No amount of dabbing with a damp Q-tip would lift the ink. I now had two good reasons to redo the hearts.

But I didn’t return to Domestic Bliss until the other eight blocks in Hazel’s Diary Quilt had received their red scalloped frames. That took the better part of four months. Finally I could put it off no longer. Off came the hearts:

I wish I could tell you that the replacements hearts went on easily. Alas, no. Over a couple weeks I probably appliquéd — and then removed — each heart at least twice. Today I managed to get the last one on to my (almost) satisfaction.

But I felt the block needed one more thing. Can you spot it?

Now I’m ready to get started on the last red scalloped frame!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 7 Comments

Saved by the Bell — er, Button

Work continues on my version of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the lovely sampler quilt Shelly Pagliai designed in memory of her mother. I finished appliquéing the red scalloped frame on Block 1, Missouri Farm Girl, yesterday. All that remained was sewing a tiny black star in the center of the yellow flower.

Missouri Farm Girl was the very first block I made when I started this project at the beginning of 2018. I’d been postponing affixing the tiny star until I had many more hours of practice in with needleturn appliqué.  I thought I was ready. Nope. Not ready. (Did I mention that star is tiny?)

After a couple of failed attempts, I turned to my button collection, rifling through several antique spooners and celery vases to find a button that looks like it belongs in the block. I think I found the perfect one:

What do you think?

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 12 Comments

Fair Weather . . .

. . . 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. . .

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 11 Comments

Fancy Farm Girl Has Been Framed!

But in a good way.

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?

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, cats, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 8 Comments

Scalloped Corn and Beans

We have scalloped potatoes. Why not scalloped corn and beans?

Kidding, of course. It’s just that I have Corn and Beans and Other Things, Block 5 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, completed and ready to show you. Here’s the block with its red scalloped frame, set on point:

I must confess that after all that moaning and groaning about needleturn appliqué in my last post, the handwork went pretty smoothly on this block. Maybe I am getting the hang of it.

I now have four blocks framed:


Four down, five to go!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 5 Comments

Little By Little . . .

. . . 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.

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 4 Comments