Hazel’s Diary Quilt: Domestic Bliss

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:


Do you like my fussy cut corners?




Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, update | 3 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt: Catching Up with Aunt Ruby

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.




Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, Quilter's Affair, Sisters OR Outdoor Quilt Show, update | 3 Comments

2018 Pine Needle Retreat: Part Two

Are you ready for more iterations of Corey Yoder‘s marvelous pattern Idyllic? The pictures that follow are of the quilters in my second retreat group last month on Hood Canal in Washington State. (You can see the creations of the first group of retreaters in my previous post.)

I can’t resist starting with a photo of sisters Barbara and Katie playing with their fabric choices. They are going for the super scrappy version of Idyllic and are obviously having fun putting potential fabric combinations together:

Shall we see what they did with them? Here’s Barbara with her first four blocks, using Kaffe Fassett prints and versatile Grunge blenders by Moda for the background fabrics:

Katie is using different Grunge blenders in her blocks, incorporating some delightful Carrie Bloomston prints:

Delia played with several different fabric combos and wound up with three distinctly different blocks:

She’s thinking of making a quilt using the one in the upper right corner. Delia also worked on this original elephant design using a collage technique:

All done but the binding. Fabulous!

Sandra usually works with prints so this striking block made with solids is a departure for her:

It’s going to be stunning!

Sherry is using two colorways of a lovely paisley print to make alternating blocks in her quilt:

Red and green — always a winning combination. One of Sherry’s lucky grandchildren is the intended recipient.

Brenda combines tan, teal, and brown prints against beige and light tan backgrounds for an elegant traditional look:

Julie concentrated on a couple of different projects, including this darling dog made from Elizabeth Hartman’s Dogs in Sweaters pattern . . .

. . . and these colorful wall hangings:

Jan is hiding behind this patriotic runner she made using a freezer paper method for cutting wonky stars:

Candyce’s Idyllic blocks are made from fabrics designed by Tula Pink. Look carefully and you will see what great texture the fabric in her block background adds:

Fran was working on a project begun a few weeks ago in a different Pine Needle retreat in Wyoming, one taught by Pam Raby. The pattern is Thunderstruck by Victoria Findlay Wolfe:


Patti was finishing up a big appliqué project begun in a Block of the Month program. Her blocks are gorgeous! Here’s one of them:

Karen (on the right) was working on the same project. Here’s one of her blocks:

Next to Karen in the photo above is Sue, whose projects were all tucked away before I had a chance to photograph them. She worked on several self-binding baby blankets and I can confirm they were adorable.

Grandmother-to-be Melody finished up a gender-neutral baby quilt using fabrics chosen by her daughter (the expectant mother). If memory serves, the quilt will include an appliquéd elephant:

Virginia spent the first two days of the retreat cutting, cutting, cutting for a quilt of her own design. When she started sewing on the third day, beautiful scrappy blocks appeared very quickly:

Janna planned to make 12 blocks — and finished them all. Here she is with a few of them on the wall and a few in her arms. She is thinking about putting her blocks on point — how dramatic! Take a look:

Linda gets the prize for finishing her quilt top! Here she is with 16 blocks sewn together:

The lively background print adds movement and drama to her quilt.

Sharon S. worked on several projects she brought from home and this little one she made at the retreat:

(I showed the students how to make inset circles using a freezer paper method — no pins!) Sharon’s block highlights an image from the Disney movie Frozen.

Sharon R. also worked on projects begun earlier. Here she is with several blocks from a Block of the Month sampler that’s going to be a beauty:

Here’s a picture of our group taken at the end of the retreat. Did we get a lot done? Did we have a good time? I think the answers are in the smiles on the faces:



Posted in Pine Needle quilt retreat, quilt retreat, update | 2 Comments

2018 Pine Needle Quilt Retreat: Part One

Happy Fourth of July, friends!

I was tempted to name this post “Sparklers” because the pattern I taught at this year’s back-to-back Pine Needle quilt retreats — Idyllic by Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts — reminds me so much of fireworks. When you look at the quilt blocks below, tell me if you see starbursts in the sky too.

The blocks were made by quilters in the first of two groups I taught last month on Hood Canal in Washington State. If you follow me on Instagram (@dawn_at_first_light_designs) you’ve already seen photos of the first blocks going up on the classroom design walls. Before I show you the blocks, let me show you the makers:

Isn’t that a happy looking group? Geri Grasvik, organizer of the retreats and owner of the Pine Needle, is in the second row, far right, in a black T-shirt. I’m in the top row, far right, also in black.

Here’s what the group started with:

This block looks great in two colors and in a variety of fabrics for a scrappy look. In terms of construction the pattern is all about precisely made star points made from Flying Geese units. I taught students how to make four Flying Geese units from two squares using a method that’s been around for quite a while but doesn’t seem to be very well known. A couple of specialty rulers made squaring up the units fast and easy. You won’t find any star points cut off in these quilts!

And now, in no particular order, here are the blocks and their makers . . .

First up is Frances, whose outfit perfectly complements her blocks:

Here’s Patty, who chose bright florals and prints against solid green for her quilt background:

Donna’s more limited but very colorful palette with aqua for the quilt background is equally striking:

Carol’s version includes different neutral fabrics for each block background for an extra scrappy look:

Roxanne is making a two-color version but is actually using two pink fabrics. Her quilt background and sashing fabric is a pale pink Fairy Frost that is going to make her quilt practically glow:

Check out Carolyn’s three blocks on the left, noting how the solids and subtle prints she chose for her star points are set off by the lively batik print of the quilt background:

See Lynn’s middle block? She used a blue batik instead of white in her corner blocks by mistake. We all liked the effect so much (and so did she) that she decided to keep it!

As someone whose favorite color is green, I was struck by Coeta’s choice of greens for the block and quilt background fabrics:

I can’t wait to see her completed quilt! (By the way, check out Coeta’s T-shirt. It’s just like the ones Geri and I are wearing in the group photo above but you can’t see the logo on ours.)

Diana’s quilt is going to be so dramatic! The bold graphic batik print she chose for the quilt background is the perfect foil for her star points:

The deep metallic red Denise chose for her block background sets off these other Asian prints beautifully:

Denise changed her mind about her quilt background fabric so she concentrated on creating the centers of the blocks instead.

Lana did the same thing. Her scrappy version is destined to be a fundraiser for her grandson’s school:

Peggy’s soft version is highlighted by light and medium-value aquas:

The bright colors in Claudine’s Idyllic blocks look wonderful against the neutral gray:

Such strong graphic appeal!

Gale chose beautiful William Morris prints for her soft muted version:

Mary went with batik prints in the same color family for her star points and a lovely sage print — not a batik — that works perfectly for the quilt background:

The medium dark brown Pat is using for her block background emphasizes the octagonal shape of the Idyllic block and looks so dramatic against the green of the star points and print in the block background:

Until she got to the retreat, Missy didn’t realize her fabrics were designed by Corey Yoder herself! These are from the “Pepper and Flax” line Corey designed for Moda fabrics:

Susan is incorporating a print with a border stripe into her quilt, with very striking results:

While most of the students were working on Idyllic, a few were working on other projects  — and that’s perfectly fine. The whole point of being at a retreat is for quilters to work on whatever their hearts desire.

Kim was working on a queen-size version of Jacob’s Ladder using gorgeous batiks:

We all loved watching her blocks on the design wall multiply.

Janet was making Flying Geese blocks not for Idyllic but for a different quilt:


And Cynthia was enjoying being out on the deck while binding this quilt:

She originally planned it as a quilt backing but it clearly deserves to be on the front.

I think you can tell we were all having a lovely time. Spectacular setting, delicious food,  and all the time in the world — for four days, anyway — for each quilter to to sew to her heart’s content. Just what a retreat should be, wouldn’t you say?

The blocks my second retreat group made are equally sparkling. Please stop by in a few days to see them.




Posted in Pine Needle quilt retreat, quilt retreat, update | 2 Comments

Salute to Summer

I was out of town last week on June 21, the Summer Solstice. That was the day I was planning to switch out the wall hanging in our master bath. Back in April I hung Under Paris Skies, the spring version of my pattern Season to Taste, so named because I envisioned a table runner or wall hanging for each season of the year based on fabric choices. (You can see my spring version here.)

Up went the summer version today and it couldn’t be more, well, summery:

Sun Flowers, 2015 (18½” x 55½”)

For a fun little touch I added a “flower” (two stacked buttons) in the center of each block:

I finished Sun Flowers in 2015 but it’s been hanging in a quilt shop. Now I get to gaze at it every day in my own home. I’ll enjoy it until it’s time to change to the fall version, made in 2014.

I never got around to making a winter version, though it’s been planned for years. If I’m going to have one ready by the time this winter rolls around, I’d better move it up on my project list!



Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, update, wall hanging | 6 Comments

On Hood Canal

Greetings from Washington State! I’m spending the week teaching at back-to-back quilt retreats in a tiny town on Hood Canal. Such a lovely location.

The pattern I’m teaching is Idyllic by Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts. Here’s my class sample:

I floated three of the center stars in octagons to add a bit more visual interest.

The first group of 21 fabulous women left yesterday. Here are some of their first blocks, each one measuring 14-1/2″ square:

Isn’t that a delightful profusion of colors? So many possible combinations! Next week when I’m back home I’ll post photos of each student with her blocks, along with those of the second group, arriving this afternoon.

The setting for the retreats is nothing short of spectacular. Check out this sunset:

That’s the view of Hood Canal from the long back porch of the retreat center and from the deck of the little house where I’m staying.

Lucky me!






Posted in update | 4 Comments

Hazel’s Diary Quilt: Best.Christmas.Ever. (Block 6)

Here it is, Block 6 of Hazel’s Diary Quilt:

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!




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

More Quilty Inspiration . . .

. . . coming to you from the streets of Portugal.

It’s been a week since we flew back to the states from Portugal. Fortunately, I have many memories and lots of photos to remind me of the delightful time my husband and I spent cruising the Douro River and the many shore excursions we took to medieval hill towns and modern cities. Everywhere we went, images appeared that made me think of quilt blocks, appliqué designs, and even free motion quilting motifs.

When we got to Lisbon, our final destination in Portugal, the amount of gorgeous tile work I was seeing made my head spin. These three designs were on the walkway outside our hotel:

This one was on the floor of the main entrance to the hotel:

On the north bank of the Tagus River near the Monument to the Discoveries there’s a huge tile wind rose and map of the world charting Portuguese explorations. The map is embellished by wonderful designs that would look right at home on a quilt:

We visited the National Tile Museum dedicated to the azulejo, a glazed colored tile traditionally used in Spanish and Portuguese buildings. The museum houses examples dating from the 15th century to today. With the battery in my cell phone running low I took very few pictures but they’re enough to give you a sense of what I was seeing:

Tile work from the 21st century evoking a sampler quilt (a modern take on Dear Jane, perhaps?):

Half square triangles! Four-patch kaleidoscope blocks!

Inside the cafe at the museum:

Looking for the restrooms? They’re in this hallway:

Taking a city bus back to our hotel, we spied more contemporary tile work that may well have been made by the same artists whose work we saw at the museum:

Looking at these photos makes me very eager to get back to my various and sundry quilting projects. I hope to have something to show you very soon.




Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, appliqué, Dear Jane, faux-kaleido quilts, free motion quilting, kaleidoscope quilts, machine applique, needleturn appliqué, update | 9 Comments

I See Quilts

Bom dia from Portugal! My husband and I are in the heart of the Douro River Valley on a river cruise. Everywhere you look the terraced hills are covered with vines. We have visited some lovely wine estates and sampled some delicious wines and ports.

I’m finding plenty of inspiration for quilts. Here’s a small sample beginning with a photo taken while we were still in Spain.

An exterior window in the old Jewish quarter of Toledo . . .

A lovely motif, reminiscent of fleur de lis, at the Mateus Palace near Pinhăo, our second docking stop in Portugal:

Tile from the interior wall of a cafe in Lamego where we stopped after a museum visit for a glass of champagne (our Friday night tradition):

A cork-backed ceramic trivet from the Museu do Douro gift shop in Régua:

I’ll be on the lookout for more . . .

P.S. If you are on Instagram, check out the hashtag #iseequiltseverywhere. You’ll see a few of my posts.






Posted in appliqué, family, update | 6 Comments

Missing Market

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.






Posted in appliqué, Hazel's Diary Quilt, needleturn appliqué, Quilt Market, update | 3 Comments