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?
When I left for Quilt Camp on Sunday I took only one project: Hazel’s Diary Quilt, the sampler quilt that I began in January. I had two of nine blocks left to make. Both blocks got made — to be shown in my next post — but I also added the scalloped red frame to one of the earlier blocks, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter.
Friends, it took hours and hours but I am pretty happy with the outcome:
The block measures 18½” square but set on point, as in the photo above, it measures about 25″ at its widest.
In case you didn’t know, that scalloped red frame is done by needleturn appliqué. I followed the directions of designer Shelly Pagliai in her tutorial That Scalloped Red Frame, posted in 2015 while she was teaching her quilt design as a Block of the Month for the Kansas City Star.
Here’s a shot of Shelly’s original quilt measuring 95″ square:
I’m working on the scalloped border on another block and I can already see that my scallops are looking better and my speed is picking up.
Domestic Bliss, Block 8 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt is finished. I followed designer Shelly Pagliai’s instructions for making the block but changed her appliqué design in order to preserve the fussy cut images in the large dark triangles. I also enlarged the two hearts in the center and changed their orientation slightly. You’ll see what I mean when you look at Shelly’s original block:
I’m happy with the how my block turned out but I really struggled with the appliqué on the four outer hearts. I can see that one of the hearts has a couple of little points where there should be only curves. At first I thought it was fine but the more I look at it the more I know it has to be replaced. The fabric is a Michael Miller Fairy Frost and I’m wondering if the slightly metallic finish makes it harder to needleturn the fabric.
For now, Domestic Bliss is up on my design wall with the other six blocks I’ve made so far:
That’s not the final setting; I just put the blocks up in the order they were made. Two more blocks to go and then I will add white sashing strips and a red scalloped border — needleturned! — around each one.
After posting a picture a few days ago of Aunt Ruby’s Choice, Block 7 in Hazel’s Diary Quilt, I decided to make a change. I replaced the triangles in the outermost row with the subtle black and white swirly print you see here:
I’m much happier with the block now. Why? I think I used too much of the floral fabric in the earlier version. The block had too much going on in it. The red Sawtooth Star is more prominent in this version and the bright yellow seems to be holding its own against the floral print. Take a look at both versions and tell me if you agree:
Lest you think the block has too much black in it now, let me point out that it will have 3″ white sashing strips all around it and a red scalloped edge. That will soften the black considerably.
I’ve also been working on Block 8, Domestic Bliss. The appliqué is prepped and ready to go:
I made some changes to the appliqué design, mainly because of those fussycut corners, and I think I’m going to love the result.
This is Aunt Ruby’s Choice, Block 7 of Hazel’s DiaryQuilt and the sixth block I’ve completed so far in my quest to make the queen-size sampler quilt designed by Shelly Pagliai in remembrance of her mother, Hazel. When you saw this block last month, it was pieced but did not have the flower appliquéd on yet.
I am loving the center blossom, especially with the addition of the bright yellow button in the center. The button may or may not remain in the final version. Shelly’s pattern calls for a small circle (see below) but I’m not there yet in my needleturn appliqué skills. I’m thinking of the button as a placeholder while I move on to the appliqué for the next block.
Block 7 will eventually be surrounded with white sashing strips and a red scalloped border, as it is in Shelly’s original block seen here:
I’ve pieced Block 8, Domestic Bliss, and hope to start work on the appliqué for that tomorrow. Then I need to hurry up and make Block 9, Fancy Farm Girl, the block I planned for August. If I can get that done in the few days left of the month, I’ll be back on schedule.
Then I can get to work practicing those needleturned circles!
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!