I’m on a mission to finish more of my vintage UFO projects. I finally dug them all out last year and counted them up. As my friend, Barb, might say: “WHY would you DO that?” It’s a depressing statistic, for sure. But it spurred me to action!

I’m hoping to finish one a month (at least), so in January, I chose this Scrappy 9-Patch Baby quilt.

I bought these blocks at Peecher’s Mercantile in Arrow Rock, Missouri, in May of 2017, while I was at the Arrow Rock Quilt Camp for the week.

Since I was teaching handwork classes, I had time while my students were sitting and stitching, to do some stitching of my own, so I hand stitched them together while we all chatted.

Then I brought it home from Camp and it has languished in my to-be-quilted pile since.

In the interest of finishing older things, I got it out and paired it with a vintage fabric from my stash for the backing. At first, I wasn’t sure about it, but now that it’s done, I love this backing on it.

I quilted it very simply with an X in each square. I don’t like to ditch stitch vintage tops because it might weaken the seams further.

I put a cotton batting inside to give it an old-fashioned look and feel.

I chose a blue solid for the binding.

It’s been washed and dried and is now perfectly soft and crinkly and ready to be loved. And it warms my heart that another set of blocks has been saved from sitting around somewhere without their full potential being met!

I sure hope someone takes pity on all of my UFOs when I’m gone!

Last year, when I designed a BOM quilt for Sew Sweet Quilt Shop, I used various tree blocks, and the quilt was named Brunswick Forest. Each month, I post a bit of information about each block and show the versions that I made.

When we got to Block Seven, I had been rummaging through all my vintage bins, and had come across these blocks:

The timing was perfect, as they were nearly identical to the Brunswick Forest Block Seven: Apple Tree.

So I decided it was a good time to finish them up.

There are 16 of these partial blocks, and I’m planning to finish them and put them into a quilt together. All I have is the tree parts, and one of them is missing part of the tree, but basically all I have to do is add the background and the trunks, and they’ll be finished!

I’m using some vintage muslin from my stash for the background, and a new brown solid for the tree trunks. Isn’t it cute?

This block is just like the Apple Tree block in the Brunswick Forest quilt, only smaller, finishing at 9″; so since I had to re-draft my own pattern to make it fit these tree tops, I thought I’d also offer this optional version of the block to you. It’s a free download you can grab right here: Apple Tree.

While my vintage blocks were hand-pieced, and I’m intending to finish them all with hand piecing, the instructions are for machine piecing, which will go much faster. I’ll probably also set mine together on the machine once my blocks are all ready. And I want to do a pieced border, but I won’t be doing that by hand, either. There’s nothing at all wrong with using a combination of hand and machine piecing, just in case you were wondering!

I had to make a block to test my instructions, so look at this cutie:

I have two blocks finished, and all the background and trunk pieces cut out and ready for the other 14 blocks. Since I’m busy recovering from elbow replacement surgery right now, a handwork project might be just the ticket. Maybe I can move these along over the next month or so?

Don’t forget — if you want to make some of these, too, the free pattern is right here: Apple Tree Quilt Block.

I’ll be back later to show you my progress on these and what I’m doing for a border as I go along.

Vintage Melons

If you saw my introductory post yesterday, you saw that I confessed that I’ve been rummaging through all my vintage stuff this year. I’m trying to re-organize it all and take stock of what I have, and what I want to keep and work on. Then the ultimate goal is to actually DO the work on the ones I want to keep and finish.

One of the tidbits I unearthed in one of the bins was this pile of already-cut melon pieces:

There are 98 melons in this pile. Lots of interesting fabrics, but also lots of repeats, and I’m not sure what the original maker intended to do with them. However, this template set was in the same vicinity, so maybe they were intended for an Improved 9-Patch quilt? The pattern clearly states that only 42 melons are needed for the Improved 9-Patch, so she must have been planning to make more than one! Or more than two, even!

I contemplated piecing them into a Double Wedding Ring as a full melon version, and Victoria even offered to help me draft the concave piece I’d need, but then I decided that it would be much less stressful for me to just appliqué them down onto backgrounds. Each of these melons needs a 10″ square for the background, and I happened to have a layer cake of solids, so I grabbed it and cut the extras from my stash of solids, and started to appliqué!

I decided to use this as my next “100 Days Project”, so that I would be motivated to stay at it until they’re finished, rather than letting them languish even longer in a bin. So here are Days 1-16, up on my design wall, in no particular arrangement:

I will have some fun later arranging them to get the solids distributed evenly, and to decide on a layout for the melons themselves that seems interesting. I’m on Day 29 today.

I’m adding in two extra melons from my vintage fabric stash so there will be an even 100, and I plan to set them 10 x 10, so this will be a fairly large quilt when I’m finished (and quite possibly not a very pretty one, either)!

If you’re interested in making some blocks like this for yourself, you can download the template pattern I’m using here: VintageMelonTemplate

There’s a full template, and one that’s cut in half, so you can choose whichever one your printer likes best. There’s also a gauge for getting it the exact same size as the one I’m using, but feel free to enlarge or reduce it to fit whatever project you want to do.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress of my melon quilt, and together, we’ll see how it turns out!

For many years now, I’ve collected vintage quilt blocks, vintage fabric, vintage unquilted tops, vintage linens, and all sorts of other quilting-related vintage items. My goal when buying them was to someday finish them into projects so that they’re not laying around in drawers or bins, or languishing in antique shops and flea markets, waiting for someone like me to take pity on them.

I have several bins full of blocks and projects, and several bins of tops that simply need to be quilted. Over last Christmas break, I began going through all the tubs and re-organizing all these tops and projects. My hope is to pick up the pace of working on them, so that someday my daughter isn’t having to consign them to yet another flea market! I’d love to do them justice.

The last several years, I have pretty much stopped collecting, except for an occasional rare find on Etsy that I can’t pass up. And I’m not completely finished going through my bins of stuff here. Yet so far, I have counted 34 projects, PLUS 41 unquilted tops that all need to be finished! That’s quite a collection, and did I mention I’m not quite finished gathering things up?

Since a lot of these projects remind me of my grandmothers and my mother and their quilting, and some of my projects were inspired by them, or by my mother’s diary, I’m starting a series of blog posts to talk about all these projects as I work on them. Some will have patterns to go along with them, some will have free tutorials or templates, and some will simply have general information to maybe inspire you to do your own thing. Some will have interesting stories, and some are projects that will make their own stories going forward.

So tune in tomorrow for the first peek at my current project — I think this will be fun!

Fancy Farm Girl

One of my all-time favorite quilts I’ve ever made is my Fancy Farm Girl quilt.

The pattern can be found in my book, A Simple Life, which is now out of print. However, it IS still available in the e-book version, which you can purchase HERE.

If you already own the book, then you have this pattern! Please be aware, however, that there is a correction to this pattern in the book, which you can find HERE.

Or you can buy just the block pattern in my Etsy shop. It’s the Month 9 PDF pattern of the Hazel’s Diary quilt. (More info HERE.)

Even after all these years, I’m still so in love with this quilt. I made mine out of all scraps that had a retro 50s feel about them (some of the fabrics actually WERE from the 50s), and for the background, I used the newsprint print from Zen Chic’s Modern Background Paper fabric line by Moda. I bought nearly an entire bolt of it, I loved it so much. I used it for the background of the blocks, and then used it for the backing on my quilt!

My sister made a version of the quilt, too. While she used the same background as I did, all of her block fabrics are Kaffe Fassett prints that she had collected over the years. She also must have purchased an entire bolt of the newsprint print, because that’s also what’s on the back side of her Fancy Farm Girl quilt! You, too, could buy an entire bolt of that fabric, as it is now a Moda basic, and is still available!

The quilts are so busy that I quilted them both with a simple all-over meander. Nothing really shows up, so it wasn’t worth a highly custom quilting job.

This block was chosen because of, and this quilt was inspired by, my mother’s cousin, Peggy Rector, and this photo I found of Peggy being an actual Fancy Farm Girl!

I’ve been sorely tempted to make another version of this quilt, and someday I might. Or if I could talk any of you into making one of your own, and showing it to me, then I could just live vicariously through you while I keep working through my current backlog of UFOs!

Hello! Are you surprised to hear from me? It’s been awhile.

I’m finally back to post the finishing instructions for the Vintage Christmas Ornaments Wall Quilt. This is the setting version I’m talking about:

The sashing has changed a tiny bit from the original layout drawing. I opted for keeping it simpler because it ended up looking cleaner. This change also makes it possible for you to arrange your blocks differently than I did mine, giving you a bit more freedom with your arrangement, if you need it. Here’s my finished quilt!

Hopefully, after all this time, I’ve given you enough time to finish appliquéing all your ornaments! Don’t forget to trim all your finished blocks to size.

We’ll start with the cutting instructions for the sashing.

From the solid red, you will need to cut the following strips:

(4) 1 1/2″ x 35 1/2″

(2) 1 1/2″ x 23 1/2″

(9) 1 1/2″ x 7 1//2″

(4) 2 1/4″ x WOF for the binding

From the solid yellow, for cornerposts, cut:

(4) 1 1/2″ squares

For the outer borders, determine if your fabric is directional or if the direction makes no difference. If your fabric is directional, you will need to cut your borders so that everything is pointing the right direction, so be sure to figure that out before you cut. If direction doesn’t matter, you can cut all four of the outer border strips from the width or the length of the fabric, whichever works best for your particular fabric. For example, I used a stripe for my border, and I wanted the stripes to be running the same direction from each side (see the photo), so I was able to cut them all from the width of the fabric.

In addition, if you wish to miter the corners, add an additional 8″ to the length of each of your strips.

For the sides of the quilt, cut:

(2) 3 1/2″ x 37 1/2″ (45 1/2″ if mitering)

For the top and bottom of the quilt, cut:

(2) 3 1/2″ x 31 1/2″ (39 1/2″ if mitering)

OK, now that you have everything cut, you first need to determine how you will be arranging your blocks. Here’s the layout I chose for mine. You can arrange yours to suit your own preference.

Now it’s time to attach the short sashing strips. Sew one to the bottom of each block except for the bottom block in each column. Press the seams toward the sashing strips. Then sew all the blocks in each column together (like the one shown in the middle and on the right).

Next, add the vertical sashing strips. Sew one to each side of the center column of blocks. Sew one to the outer edge of the left and right columns, as shown.

Now you can sew all the columns together. Sew a yellow cornerpost square to each end of each of the two remaining sashing strips. Then sew these to the top and bottom of the quilt.

And finally, it’s time to add the outer borders. First sew on the side borders, then add the top and bottom borders, pressing seams toward the borders.

If you have chosen to miter your borders, and need help with that, there is a tutorial HERE that explains exactly how to do that.

And with that, you’re all finished with the top! Next up is the quilting. I custom quilted mine, I did minimal outlining of the ornaments, and chose a different background fill for each block. I did straight lines in the outer borders to line up with the stripes in my fabric.

I chose this related piece for my backing:

And finally, you can bind your little quilt! I used the same solid red as my sashing to tie everything together, but you can do as you please with yours. There’s a binding tutorial HERE if you need it.

And that’s it! All done, and ready to decorate with it for Christmas 2022!

I’m still working on instructions for the other two versions. I still need to post the designs for the hanging strings for the embroidered ornaments. I haven’t forgotten, I just have been short on time; but I hope to get all of this wrapped up before long. Then maybe I can start another new quilt-along! It’s about time, right?

Welcome Back!

I’ve been gone way too long!

Things just get crazy busy, and then something has to give, and for some reason, this poor blog seems to get chosen for the back burner a lot.

But I broke my elbow back in September, and it has made me realize I need to slow down, so that’s what I’m doing, and that should give me more time to devote to posting things here again. After all, I have a Christmas quilt-along to wrap up, and there have always been so many other things planned that I haven’t gotten around to yet.

So I plan to start posting things here again, starting with the finishing instructions for the Vintage Christmas Ornament quilts. I have the wall quilt version finished, and I’ll be posting the finishing instructions for it in a few days.

I’m also still working on the hanging string instructions for the stitchery version, so those will be coming along soon as well. I want to get them wrapped up, so we can start another quilt-along — hopefully one I can keep up with and plan better for. More info on that after we get the Christmas one finished!

I have some quilts made by other people that I’d like to feature so you can see them, and as usual, lots of other things waiting in the wings.

So I hope you’ll stay tuned and check back in. Sorry to have dropped the ball for so long.

Marilyn and My Daddy

There were a couple of special birthdays in The Life of Hazel Ilene this past week. Dale, my daddy, turned 86 on the 9th, and our close family friend, Marilyn, also turned 86 on the 13th.

Born 4 days apart, and just a couple miles down the road from each other, these two have been lifelong friends.

They both started out attending the little one-room schoolhouse in College Mound, Missouri, and their first-grade class had a singing group.

This little group also danced a waltz in a performance at the Macon School gymnasium. Here they are all gussied up for their performance:

Isn’t this the most darling photo ever?

There’s one more boy cut off on the left, and the group is, from L to R:

Mystery boy, Barbara White, Jimmy Powell, Marilyn Leathers, Dale Pagliai, and Frances Powell (Jimmy’s sister).

They’re in pairs, so Dale and Frances were partners, Marilyn and Jimmy, and Barbara and Mystery boy. However, it looks like Dale and Marilyn are holding hands, and it looks like Jimmy wants to steal Barbara away from Mystery boy — hilarious! I love this photo so so much!

How I would love to see that dance performance!!!

A couple years ago, I got the chance to take this photo of Daddy and Marilyn together. Since they were holding hands in their first photo, I made them hold hands for this one, too.

And just last week, Daddy went to visit Marilyn, and they took another photo, holding hands. And yes, Daddy is wearing the exact same outfit he was wearing in the photo from 2 years earlier, right down to the hat, the glasses, and the thing in his pocket! It’s his uniform. Haha! It brings to mind the line from the movie “Lonesome Dove”, when Gus says, “Deets ain’t one to quit on a garment jes’ cos it’s got a little age.” 

I hope they’re still taking these photos when they reach 100, and can still celebrate their birthdays together. And I’m sure Daddy will probably be wearing the same outfit, or one identical to it!

You can read more about Dale HERE.

Marilyn is mentioned several times throughout the diary, as is Marilyn’s sister, Loretta, who was also a good friend of Hazel’s. Marilyn has been in my life for as long as I can remember. Her nephew was a close friend of my brother’s, I went to school with more of her nephews and her niece, and her daughter was my best friend at the time my oldest daughter was born. 

One year ago, I helped Marilyn move into an apartment in a town closer to me, then I broke my foot, took a trip to California, and then Covid hit, so I haven’t been able to visit her as much as I had planned to. I hope that can change in the near future.

If you’re just joining in on The Vintage Christmas Ornaments Quilt-Along, you can click HERE to get started. All the related links are also in the sidebar to the right.

It’s Ornament #12! The final ornament in the set. Our collection is complete. And if I do say so myself, I love them all!

Here’s the embroidery version:

Once again, I’ve explained the stitches and colors I used in the pattern, but it’s only a guideline. Please feel free to do your own thing! There are links in the sidebar to my favorite sites for embroidery stitch instructions (under Favorite Links).

Here’s my appliqué version for the throw quilt option:

Of course, more rickrack! I managed to find a proper rickrack to use on every one of my ornaments, which makes me happy no end! (It’s the little things.)

Also, please note that I fussy cut my center dot from a polka dot print. It kept me from having to appliqué an actual circle that size, and just added a little extra in a simple way.

Here’s my appliqué version for the wall quilt option:

I used fabric strips for the stripes on this one, and once again, I fussy cut the center dot from a polka dot print — a large dot this time.

You could also use any type of embellishment for that center dot, such as a button or charm.

Have fun making them all your own!

The pattern is available as a PDF instant download in Hazel’s Mercantile for $1.75. The pattern has all the instructions for all the versions of the ornament shown above, along with full-size templates, piecing instructions, appliqué tips, the embroidery stitch chart with colors, placement information, and anything else I could think of to include. It’s ready for download, so you can get started right away!

That was our final ornament! I’ve been a long time getting all of them finished and out there (longer than I intended, but hopefully worth it.)

I’ll be back with designs for the hanging strings on the embroidered version, so check back for those. It’ll be a free download.

There’s also a free bonus pattern coming out very soon, that can be used as a stand-alone pattern, or used in the throw quilt version of our quilt-along.

Finishing instructions for all the versions are next. You can choose whichever version you wish to finish out your Vintage Christmas Ornaments project. You can see all the various setting options and possible layouts HERE.

As usual, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me and ask. I’ll be happy to answer. Happy Stitching!

If you’re just joining in on The Vintage Christmas Ornaments Quilt-Along, you can click HERE to get started. All the related links are also in the sidebar to the right.

It’s time for Ornament #11. Past time, really — I’m having trouble keeping up!

Here’s the embroidery version:

Once again, I’ve explained the stitches and colors I used in the pattern, but it’s only a guideline. Please feel free to do your own thing!

The filler I used on this one is called Seed Stitch, but it’s also known as Rice Stitch, if you need to look it up.

You may also notice that I used a different treatment for that top center section on each ornament this time. Cos have I ever mentioned that I like lots of options???

My embroidered version has sparkles embroidered on, the throw quilt has a piece of grosgrain ribbon used to make an extra stripe, and my wall quilt version has polka dots appliquéd on.

Here’s my appliqué version for the throw quilt option:

I found some fancy rickrack to use on this one! All the rickrack I’ve used in all these ornaments is vintage rickrack that came from my grandmother’s stash of trims. I’m honored to use it on this quilt, and it’s been fun matching all the colors and pieces up with the various ornaments.

Here’s my appliqué version for the wall quilt option:

No embroidery on this one, and I used bias strips for the stripes.

Have fun making them all your own!

The pattern is available as a PDF instant download in Hazel’s Mercantile for $1.75. The pattern has all the instructions for all the versions of the ornament shown above, along with full-size templates, piecing instructions, appliqué tips, the embroidery stitch chart with colors, placement information, and anything else I could think of to include. It’s ready for download, so you can get started right away!

Only one more ornament to go! And then there’s a bonus pattern coming out, that can be used as a stand-alone pattern, or used in one of the options for the quilt-along. We’re about to wrap this up!

I was pretty late with Ornament #11, so Ornament #12 is coming out in just a few days. I need to get caught up.

As usual, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me and ask. I’ll be happy to answer. Happy Stitching!