Happy Birthday, Hazel!

Today, Hazel would have turned 81 years old! It’s been 63 years since she was making the last few entries into her little red diary. Sixty-three years since she graduated high school; 63 years since she and Dale were married.

You can read how she celebrated her birthday through her high school years by visiting these posts:

September 19, 1951

September 19, 1952

September 19, 1953

September 19, 1954

By the time she celebrated her 18th birthday in 1954, she was busy planning her wedding, and she and Dale were getting their little rented farmhouse all ready to move into.


It’s Memorial Day weekend! The official beginning of summer, right?

It’s now safe for My Cowboy to wear his white cowboy hat for the season — whew!

To help kick off your own summer in retro style, C&T Publishing is offering up my “Summer of ’51 Tablecloth” pattern for free on their blog this week.

It’s the tablecloth pattern from my book, “A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s“.

You can get the tablecloth instructions HERE, if you don’t already own the book. Or, if you’d like to own the book and have all the patterns, you can purchase it HERE.

Also, don’t forget that the quilting design pattern for the tablecloth is also available for free on the free downloads page for The Life of Hazel Ilene.

For some added entertainment, check out my interview with C&T Publishing HERE.

I’m hard at work on the next Quilt-Along that will begin later this summer, so stay tuned!

We just wrapped up the 7th quilt-along here on The Life of Hazel Ilene.

My sister has made her own versions of nearly every quilt-along quilt since the quilt-alongs started — sometimes more than one version!

So she and I decided that we would treat our guild to a trunk show of all the quilts we’ve made from the quilt-alongs, in hopes of inspiring some of our fellow guild members to give one (or more) of the quilt-alongs a try. They are free, after all!

Thanks to Linda K., I got pictures from the trunk show to share with you today.

The blog started back in 2010, with the diary entries beginning in 1951. With each diary entry, there was a step of a quilt, which was a mystery, and if you followed along, doing each step every day, at the end of the year, you’d have a finished quilt top. Here is the original quilt from that first quilt-along, Hazel’s Stars, made by my sister. Mine is exactly like hers.

There was also an option to make a smaller version of the quilt that year, and here’s what it looks like:

My sister also made a version in purple, for her daughter:

And a version in blues and browns for her son:

The next quilt-along came along in early 2012, and was called Bouquets for Hazel. This quilt featured appliqué, and I wrote tutorials for different methods you could use. Here’s the original of mine:

And my sister chose to do hers in a dark palette — lovely!

In late 2012, the third quilt-along began, called Hazel’s Summer Wildflowers. This time, I featured embroidery for the main blocks. Participants could choose to embroider their blocks simply, or add in lots of details like I did in mine:

There were also lots of bonus projects to go along with this quilt-along, showing other various ways to use the embroidered blocks.

My sister again chose a dark palette, creating this very dramatic version, which I love:

The quilt-along for 2014 featured a quick and easy scrap quilt called Happy and Scrappy:

In 2015, the Hazel’s Diary quilt was featured in the Kansas City Star Sunday paper monthly, so I let that serve as our quilt-along for that year. Since my original version is gone to Paducah to hang in the AQS Show this spring, my sister brought her pink and black version of the quilt along to show, which we named Hazel Meets Elvis! I love this color version a lot.

2016’s quilt-along was called Triangle Salad, and featured 5 different tutorials for making half-square triangles in all different sizes. After the tutorials were finished, we used the units we had made to make blocks and set them into this modern quilt. Here’s mine:

And here’s Katy’s, done in an all purple scheme with white background. She’s named hers The Grapes of Wrath!

And the quilt-along from early this year, called Canning Season, which we just wrapped up, also used a lot of half-square triangles. Here’s mine:

And here’s Katy’s colorful version:

I have taken down most of the instructions for the 2010 quilt-along, and will be offering the Hazel’s Stars Sampler quilts as a pattern soon. All the steps and instructions for all the other quilt-alongs are still on the blog, and still available for free. Just scroll through the sidebar at the right to get to the one you’d like to visit.

I’m planning the next quilt-along for later this year; I’m hoping August at the latest. My sister says it’s not allowed to have any half-square triangles in it! So stay tuned for more information!

I know a couple of you are done with your Canning Season tops, and several more of you are moving along quite steadily. I hope you send me pictures when you’re done!

We’re wrapping up this quilt-along today, and I had hoped to be able to show you how I quilted my quilt, but alas, that is not to be. I don’t have mine quilted yet, but I hope to soon. I’ve been a bit under the weather, and had more important deadlines that I had to attend to when I did feel like working, so I just keep getting further and further behind, as usual.

So I’ll save that for another post later on, and we’ll move on to binding.

Once you get your quilt quilted, which may be sooner than I get mine quilted, you’ll want to bind it. I’m using one print for my binding; it’s from the collection of fat quarters I used in my blocks (Vintage Kitchen by Andrea Muller for Riley Blake Designs), so it matches perfectly:

But you could certainly make your binding scrappy, too. I love a good scrappy binding!

There’s a tutorial here on Making Scrappy Binding. This tutorial will work for making your binding from all one fabric as well, you’ll just be using longer strips.

And there’s a tutorial here on Attaching Binding to Your Quilt.

And one final tutorial that talks about how to whip the binding down on the back, and how to make and attach a label, if you need help with those things: The Final Touches.

If you have any questions about anything we’ve covered, don’t hesitate to ask.

And now, to celebrate the end of the Canning Season Quilt-Along, I’m having a give-away!

In some of my travels, I stumbled upon a cookbook exactly like the cookbook Hazel used when she was a young wife and mother and homemaker. I can remember standing on a chair at the kitchen table helping her make brownies from the recipe on page 195. I was 5 years old, and I wore a little red and white polka dotted apron she had made me, and I got to stir the batter, and lick the bowl when we were done!

I still have her cookbook and use it sometimes — it’s one of my most treasured possessions. This one is in much better shape than Hazel’s is!

If you love old cookbooks, and if you’d like to own a cookbook just like Hazel’s, here’s your chance to win one. Simply leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win. It doesn’t matter if you participated in the quilt-along or not — the give-away is open to anyone reading.

I’ll draw for a winner on Monday, March 20th.

If you’d like to read about my visit to Cotton and Chocolate Quilt Company in California, please visit THIS POST on my main blog. I presented “The Life of Hazel Ilene” program to their Saturday Sampler group.

Don’t forget that this coming Saturday, March 18th, is Worldwide Quilting Day — I hope you’ll be quilting!

UPDATE: The winner of the cookbook is Mary!

Some of you are whipping right along on your Canning Season blocks, so you may indeed be ready for these border instructions by now!

By the way . . . borders are optional. You may decide that you don’t want borders on your quilt. Either way, this first step needs to be completed before you add your borders or otherwise finish your quilt top.

Since the setting and corner triangles we used were cut oversized to make the piecing a little easier, you probably now have a bit of an uneven edge on your quilt top. This needs to be trimmed so that the quilt is ready for the borders.

We’ll be trimming the edges of the quilt 1/4″ outside of the intersections where the triangles meet, so lay your quilt top on your cutting surface and position your ruler along the edge as shown. The 1/4″ mark is at the point of the block, and the straight edge of the ruler is along the outer edge of the triangle. Line up with the point of the next block in the row with the 1/4″ mark on the ruler. You’ll have to do this in little sections all along the sides of the quilt.

Trim carefully to straighten the edges of your quilt. Do all four sides.

When you come to a corner, use the edge you’ve already straightened, and line up that 1/4″ mark against the block, and trim the corner square.

After you’ve done the first corner, you can use the trimmed edge of that corner as an additional line to line up with to make the corner nice and square as you start trimming the next side.

If you decide to add borders, here’s how . . .

Cut eight 3 1/2″ by WOF (width of fabric) strips of background fabric, and remove the selvages from each strip. (You might need nine strips, but we’ll start with eight, in case you don’t. You can always go back and cut one extra if you need it.)

First, I measured my quilt from top to bottom right down the middle (not along an edge). Make sure when you do this, not to stretch or pull your quilt top. Mine measured 86 1/2″.

Sew two of the border strips together, end to end, pressing the seam to one side. Then measure it. If it’s long enough to cut your border strip from, then cut the length you need from this longer strip. If it’s not long enough, sew one more strip onto the end to make it longer, then cut your border strip. You will need two border strips this length, so you’ll need to repeat this to get a second strip. Locate the center point of each of these strips and mark it with a pin or by finger pressing a little crease at the midpoint of the strip.


We’re going to sew these two long strips to the sides of the quilt top.

Locate the center point of one long side of the quilt top, and the center point of one long border strip. Match them up, right sides together, and pin.

Then pin the end of the strip even with the end of the quilt top.

Place pins in between until you have the border strip securely pinned to the quilt top, then do the same for the other half of the border strip. First pin the end, then fill in with pins in between the end and the middle.

Sew the strip to the quilt top, and press the seam toward the strip. Repeat for the other long side of the quilt.

Now you’re ready to add the top and bottom borders. Measure your quilt from side to side through the middle, being careful not to stretch. Mine measured 74 1/2″.

Sew two of the border strips together, end to end, pressing the seam to one side. Then cut the length you need from this longer strip. Repeat this to get a second strip this length. Locate the center point of each of these strips and mark it with a pin or by finger pressing a little crease at the midpoint of the strip.

Again matching up the center points of the quilt top and the strip, pin a border strip to the top of the quilt, right sides together, and sew it on. Backstitch at the beginning and end of this seam, since it’s along the outer edge of the quilt. Press the seam toward the strip.

Repeat with the final border strip on the bottom of the quilt, and you’re all finished!

Next week is the wrap-up! I’ve moved it to Wednesday, too, since I moved this post back a couple days. I hope to talk about how I quilted my quilt, provide information on binding, answer any questions you may have, and host a give-away to celebrate being finished!

So if you have any questions, let me know. Meanwhile, happy stitching!

I’m still traveling, so I’m pushing back the next installment of Canning Season a couple days. Instead of posting on March 6th, I’ll post the border information on March 8th. I imagine most of you are still sewing your blocks and planning your layout, anyway, so this shouldn’t set you back any.

Some of you have been posting your progress on FaceBook and Instagram, and I love what I’ve been seeing! Keep on stitching!

I hope you’ve been getting along OK sewing all those triangle squares!

I’m back today to post the setting instructions, so when you’re ready, they’ll be available. And if any of you are already ready, you won’t get held up any longer waiting.

When you’re done making all your blocks, you should have 14 leftover block sections. We are going to use these for the setting, but first we need to cut some additional background pieces.

From your background fabric, cut nine squares 10″ x 10″.

Cut two of these squares in half on the diagonal to make a total of 4 triangles. Set these aside for now.


Cut the remaining seven squares in half on the diagonal twice to make 28 triangles. We’ll use these first.


Also cut nine strips 3 1/2″ wide x the width of fabric. Set these aside for the borders we’ll be doing next week.

Using two of the triangles from the group of 28, lay them out with a block section as shown here, making sure you have your block section turned correctly (the triangles are pointing down):


Sew the short side of one setting triangle to one side of the block section, and press the seam toward the triangle. Make sure you are not stretching the triangle piece as you sew it on, as there is a bias edge on it.


Sew the other triangle to the adjacent side of the block section, again pressing the seam toward the triangle.


Make 14 setting sections like this. Don’t worry about the triangles not fitting just right. We’ll be trimming it all even before we add the borders. They should be a bit oversized, so they’re easy to sew and you don’t have to be too careful (even tho mine don’t look too oversized in this photo).

Now you can start arranging all your blocks into a layout that you like. Since I made all my sections from one color, I had to put them on my design wall in order to get all the colors evenly distributed across my quilt top. If you’ve done completely scrappy (or two-color), this part will be much easier for you!

The blocks go on point, four across, five down, and blocks fill in between all the gaps as well. The setting units go along the edges, and the four leftover triangles go in each corner. Follow this diagram to get them arranged:


The next step is to sew them together into diagonal rows. You can press your seams however you choose.


Then join all the rows together to complete the center portion of your quilt top.

I’ll be back on March 6th with information on adding your borders, so happy stitching this week!