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I’m still running a bit behind, but getting closer to being caught up! I’m here today with Vintage Christmas Ornament #6. That means we’re halfway through already! Woohoo!

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.

So here we go with Ornament #6!

Here’s the embroidery version:

As usual, I show you what stitches and colors I used where in the pattern, but it’s only a guideline. Feel free to do your own thing!

This is the first embroidered ornament on which I did not choose to do a fill in the open areas. I’m trying to decide if I like it that way. For now, I’m leaving it as is, but once I get the rest of the ornaments in place, I may decide to go back and add in some more stitching. Time will tell!

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

I left the stripes off of the Ornament #6 appliqué version, but I wanted to keep my rickrack theme going, so I added one stripe on this version, just so I could still use some rickrack to tie them all together.

And for my medallion piece, I used a metallic fabric and did not add the embroidered embellishment in the center. The jury is still out on that decision, too — I may yet add the stitching if I decide it needs it.

Also, on this version, notice that the tail of the ornament is all one piece. This is a more simplified version of the pattern that you can choose to do, or you can do them all separately, as shown on the next version . . .

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

This version shows the tail pieces all appliquéd down separately. Also, no stripes on this one!

For my medallion piece, I fussy cut a large polka dot, then embroidered the star design on top of it. So for my little bauble piece at the top, I also fussy cut another polka dot to coordinate, which made it rounded instead of square — just one more option for you!

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!

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

Now that we’re at the halfway point, here’s a couple shots of all my ornaments together. The stitchery version:

And the throw quilt version:

I think I’m finally gonna get back on schedule! Ornament #7 comes out on July 2nd.

Happy Stitching!

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Give-Away!

I promised some give-aways during the quilt-alongs, and the Virginia’s Puzzle Quilt-Along is pretty much over, and I haven’t done it yet, so let’s get this show back on the road!

I must confess I recently hit a big slump, in which I couldn’t bring myself to sew or quilt, or pretty much even get out of my chair. But even in my chair, I’m not one to sit still, so I did manage to work on a bit of handwork. I just couldn’t make myself do any of the stuff I needed to do! I hate when that happens.

So this week, I’ve been forcing myself to get up and get at it, and try to get my sewjo back. It’s been tough. I always know it’s bad, when I’d rather clean the bathroom and do the laundry than go into my studio!

Does this ever happen to you? I think I burnt out a bit before the trade show, and when I got back home, the list of to-dos was just so overwhelming, I wanted to escape it somehow. I’ve given myself a good talking to, tho, so I hope I’m on the mend.

And about the list, it helped me to go over it and break it down into the tiniest of baby steps, and only put the first few steps on my daily list, so that I can at least feel like I’m getting some things checked off. If you have any other tips for how to end a slump, they’re most welcome!

And now, for the give-away . . .

The little red diary that started this whole thing, the one my mother used, was a little 5-year line a day diary (you can see it HERE).

They still make these, and they’re cuter than ever! So I got one to give away to one lucky reader:

Maybe you’ll be inspired to start your own little diary, and someday far into the future, your child will make it public in a blog and write a book about it!

All you have to do to enter for a chance to win is leave a comment on this post. You do not have to be a participant in either of the quilt-alongs to enter, just anyone who drops by to read can have a chance.

I’ll draw for a winner on Tuesday, June 11th.

UPDATE: The winner of the diary is Sue Hook. Congratulations, Sue! And thanks to all of you for playing along.

Late again, but I’m really hoping to get back on track real soon!

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.

So here we go with Ornament #5!

Here’s the embroidery version:

As usual, I show you what stitches and colors I used where in the pattern, but it’s only a guideline. Feel free to do your own thing!

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

Just like on my previous ornaments for this version, I made my stripes out of rickrack, to keep my rickrack theme going!

Here’s my appliqué version for the wall quilt option. I’m showing you yet another method for attaching the stripes with this one. I like to give you plenty of options for doing things, cos my grandma always said: “There’s more than one way to skin a cat!”

So yeah, still lots of options here, so 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!

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

I’m gonna try to get myself pulled back together, so that Ornament #6 can still make its debut on June 11th, which is just a week away!

Happy Stitching!

I’m back with a brief post today on adding borders to your Virginia’s Puzzle quilt top.

The borders on this quilt are only added to the sides, not the top and bottom, and they are completely optional. On my traditional version, I left them off:

. . . but added them to my modern version:

Of course, you can make your borders however you wish — make them larger, make them go all the way around, etc. — but I’ll cover how I did mine, then you can do as my Aunt Ruby always said: “Take all the advice you can get, then do as you please!” (My personal mantra!)

First, choose the fabric you wish to use for your borders. Here’s the piece I’m using (which is also my binding):

From it, cut FOUR 2 1/2″ x Width-of-Fabric strips, and remove the selvage edges. This should be enough, but if you come up a bit short, you can cut one more strip, if your yardage doesn’t have a usable width of at least 42″.

Next, measure your quilt top from top to bottom, through the middle, without stretching. It should measure very close to 82 1/2″, if your 1/4″ seams were spot on while piecing.

Measure the quilt top in a couple other spots and see if you get the same number. If not, add the 3 numbers together, and divide that sum by 3 to get a good average number that you can use.

Sew two of the border strips together to create one long strip, then cut this strip to the length you’ve determined you need. (If it’s not long enough, then add another strip.)

To line the strip up easily, locate the center point of your border strip, and the center point of the side edge of your quilt top, and match those up, right sides together, pinning this point in place.

Then match up each end of the border strip with each end of the quilt top, pinning those in place.

After that, pin the border strip in place along the edge, distributing the length of the strip and the quilt top evenly as you go.

Sew the strip to the side edge of the quilt top.

Repeat this with the two remaining strips and the opposite side of the quilt top.

I pressed my seams toward the border strip, and I also backstitched at the beginning and end of each seam.

And that’s all there is to that!

Can you believe you’re all done with your quilt top? Already!?

Now it’s time to quilt it however you wish, and get the binding on. I still haven’t quilted mine yet, because I haven’t had time to squeeze them into my schedule (but maybe soon), and then I’ll be back to show you what I did, and we’ll also talk about binding.

And be sure and tune in on Monday for a give-away to wrap this all up!

Most people are familiar with this historical event — the Great Depression — which began in 1929 with the stock market crash, and lasted 10 years. Those years probably seemed excruciatingly long to those going through it and suffering its effects.

If you’ve ever read the book, The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, you’ve gotten a good look at what life was like for so many during that time. If you have never read it, I highly recommend it.

I’m sure you’ve also heard the phrase, “Depression-era mentality”, used to refer to the habit folks have of hanging on to things “just in case” they might need them after having lived through that time.

While I never heard my grandmother, Hazel’s mother, talk about the depression much, and she was NOT a hoarder at all, she did keep some things with that mentality, yet she was also very organized.

I believe that living where they lived, they were not as affected by the depression as other folks may have been. They already lived in a fairly poor area, so they were already accustomed to being frugal and doing without.

Hazel and her brother, Donald, were both born during the Great Depression. I can’t imagine how scary it would have been to be trying to raise a family when times were in such turmoil. If you’ve ever seen the movie, Seabiscuit, at the very beginning, Toby Maguire’s character is just dropped off at the stables by his parents because they couldn’t take care of all their children, and they knew he could work there, even at his young age. I can’t imagine just leaving one of my children somewhere like that, even if I knew it might mean a better life for him. Thankfully, that never happened in our family!

Here’s a couple of related links about Hazel’s early years:

It All Begins

The Family Grows

I’m also reasonably sure that Mildred and Vern never let on to their children that times were hard, so they probably never knew how bad things were, and thought they had a pretty good life — plus they were so young they might not have remembered much about it. And in so many ways, they did have a good life — a much better life than a lot of other people had in that same time period. Truly blessed.

And immediately at the end of The Great Depression, World War II began . . .

Can you believe we’re already to this point? That sure went fast!

It’s time to put all those rows together. Are you ready?

Instead of putting all that information into this post, I’ve made you a handy-dandy downloadable chart to follow, so you can print it out and take it to your sewing spot for reference, instead of having to refer to a computer screen.

So click here for the chart: Virginia’sPuzzleAssembly. (Both versions are in the file, so you can print out the one you need based on the version you’re making.)

Here are some tips to help you get the rows together:

There are no seams to match up in this quilt. None. Not a single one. So if you find yourself matching a seam to a seam, something is wrong!

However, because there are no seams to match up, it’s important to match up the centers of the rectangles or squares that touch each other, so that your design doesn’t go wonky. Here’s what I mean by that:

You may press seams however you wish: to one side or the other, or open, if you prefer. I tried to press mine to whichever side had the least amount of seams.

In the modern version, if you place a row and find that it’s causing two patches of the same fabric to touch each other and you don’t want that to happen, you can flip the row around and see if that works. Since every row is symmetrical, you can turn it around and it won’t hurt a thing. Like this:

I joined my rows into sections of 8 rows, with the last section having 9 rows. Then I joined these sections together to complete the quilt top. This way, I wasn’t working with one huge section the entire time, which made it way more manageable and less frustrating.

It is also helpful to backstitch at the beginning and end of each row. This will stabilize the edges of your quilt, especially if you do not intend to add the borders. Then the edges won’t pull apart while you’re trying to quilt it.

I hope these tips help you out while you’re finishing up your Virginia’s Puzzle quilt top. I’ll be back next week with a short discussion on the borders, in case you want to add those. Without the borders, your finished quilt should measure 66″ x 82″.

We’re almost done, and I’m gathering up a few prizes for a give-away at the end, so get sewing! And as usual, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Happy Stitching!

Today is Row G day! This is the last row. Are you all caught up? Because next week we do the assembly . . . so exciting!

Here we go with Row G . . .

All seams are 1/4″. Press seams toward the darkest fabric. If you find the diagrams difficult to read, you can click on them to make them larger.

Remember to double check that you’ve done each row correctly by folding your finished row in half, end to end — the two halves will mirror each other, since every row is symmetrical. If not, then something is wrong, and you can fix it before moving on.

I’m giving you the number of pieces you need to make one row, then in parentheses, I’m giving you the total amount of pieces you will need to make all of the rows you need of each type. Also, since all the pieces are 2 1/2″ wide, I’m only referring to them by length.

Follow the instructions for the version you’re making: traditional or modern.

For the Traditional version, Row G (make 6):

Here are the pieces you will need:

Background:
6 1/2″ rectangles: 6 (36)
2 1/2″ squares: 2 (12)

Red:
4 1/2″ rectangles: 4 (24)
2 1/2″ squares: 1 (6)

Black:
2 1/2″ squares: 4 (24)

Follow this diagram, and join the pieces together, sewing them end to end. (In the diagram, the numbers indicate the finished size of each patch.) This row should measure 2 1/2″ x 66 1/2″.

Make 6 of Row G. Use your labels to label these rows.

For the Modern version, Row G (make 6):

Here are the pieces you will need (remember to mix them all up for a scrappy look):

Background:
6 1/2″ rectangles: 6 (36)
2 1/2″ squares: 2 (12)

Prints:
4 1/2″ rectangles: 4 (24)
2 1/2″ squares: 5 (30)

Follow this diagram, and join the pieces together, sewing them end to end. (In the diagram, the numbers indicate the finished size of each patch.) This row should measure 2 1/2″ x 66 1/2″.

Make 6 of Row G. Use your labels to label these rows.

And you’re done with all the rows! The assembly instructions are next, and will be posted on May 16th — we’re so close to the end!!

Happy Stitching!