Welcome to the Vintage Christmas Ornaments Quilt-Along!

Today I’m posting the fabric and supplies you’ll need to make your Vintage Christmas Ornaments project.

First, you’ll kind of need to know what project you want to make, right?

So here are the three possible options for that . . .

You can choose to hand-embroider your ornaments, and your stitchery wall quilt will end up 48″ wide by 16″ tall:

You could also turn this project into a bench pillow, and I’ll provide instructions for that in a bonus project later on.

You can choose to appliqué your ornaments (using your favorite method of appliqué), and make a throw quilt that measures 52″ x 63″ (which can also hang on a wall).

This throw quilt can also have the bottom section left off, and be made into a 48″ x 30″ wall quilt (an extra option).

And finally, you can choose to appliqué your ornaments, and make a 31″ x 43″ wall quilt, featuring the ornaments in blocks. Here’s the layout for that:

You wanna make them all, don’t you?

Next, you’ll need to know what materials to gather up for your chosen project.

You will need basic sewing supplies for every project:

Sewing machine, in good working order
Thread to blend (I’m using white and light gray)
Pins, scissors, and hopefully not, but possibly a seam ripper!
Iron and ironing mat/board
Marking pencils
Rotary cutter, ruler, and mat (I’m mostly using my 6″ x 12″ and my 6″ x 24″ rulers for this)

If you’re doing hand applique, you will also need basic hand-sewing supplies:

Applique needles
Your favorite thimble (here’s what I use)
Threads to match your appliqué fabrics
You might also find that a 1/4″ bias tape maker will come in handy, but it’s optional

And if you’re doing embroidery, you’ll need:

Embroidery needles
Your favorite thimble (here’s what I use)
Embroidery floss in your chosen colors (I use DMC embroidery floss, and I’ll give you the color numbers I’m using)
Your favorite embroidery hoop (scroll down to see the one I like to use)

Now, for the fabric . . .

I’ve put the fabric requirements in PDF files (these are free to download), so you can choose the one for your project and not have all the rest to sort through, and you can print it out and take it to your sewing room or take it shopping with you. Also included in these files is the instructions for cutting your background fabrics for the quilt projects, so that you can have that part done by the time the first pattern comes out, if you so desire. (I will write a separate post in a few days on how to prep the background fabric for the embroidery project.)

If you’re making the embroidered wall hanging (or bench pillow), click here: VCOLayout1

If you’re making the throw quilt (or the wall hanging based on the throw quilt), click here: VCOLayout2

If you’re making the wall quilt with sashing and borders, click here: VCOLayout3

Here are the floss colors I’m using, along with the possibility of some black thrown in:

And here are the fabrics I’ve gathered so far to make my appliqué ornaments from. This is way more fabric than I will need, and I will certainly not use every one of these, and I might along the way find others I want to add in. I also plan to use little pieces from my scraps as much as possible. This is just a start:

Notice that these are all fairly small-scale, simple-geometric prints. I don’t want the fabric to take away from the design of the ornament, so I didn’t pick busy prints. In fact, I’m hoping that some of these choices play up and accentuate the ornament’s shape and design, so we’ll see how it goes. These decisions can be adjusted on the fly!

It’s entirely possible, too, that you don’t want this vintage-style color palette for your ornaments, so you can definitely choose something more modern or traditional — I have a friend that likes lots of blues in her Christmas decorating. Or you could make a collection of white ornaments on a dark background. There are endless possibilities — make it your own!

There is also an option to embellish your ornaments with a little extra something, including bling, if you like, so if you want to have on hand various trims and doodads, feel free to gather up some of those. I’m using some rickrack, and while I may not get any fancier than that, you may want to consider pretty ribbons, buttons, beads, charms, hot-fix crystals, metallic threads, etc. Just some more ideas for you to make it all your own.

And, finally . . . as I like to do, I’m offering up a free download for a sheet of labels you can use to help you keep things organized as the Quilt-Along progresses. You can get that by clicking here: VCOLabels

I think that’s it — this might keep you busy for a little while — so I’ll give you a few days to get everything together. The first ornament pattern comes out next Tuesday, the 26th. Before that, I will publish a post on prepping the embroidery background, so check back soon.

As always, if you have any questions, or if something isn’t clear, or I’ve left out something important, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can leave a comment here, or use this contact form to send me an email, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

PS: Here’s the embroidery hoop I like to use. It’s a French General embroidery hoop, and this is the 6″ size. It’s also available in a 4″ and an 8″ size.


American Beauty

On this day in 1951, Hazels mentions that she’s reading the book, “American Beauty.”

My first thought was that it was a book that the movie starring Kevin Spacey was based on, but when I researched that, I found that the movie was actually written as a screenplay and is not based on a book.

So I had to dig a little deeper, and found that the “American Beauty” Hazel is talking about is a novel written in 1931 by Edna Ferber. I bought a Kindle version from Amazon and read it. And I liked it!

It’s not very long, and it’s got an overall sad feel, and really, all I can tell you is that it’s about a house, a wonderful house in Connecticut that I’d love to take a tour of if it were real.

I’m not a fan of new writing — I prefer the classics and the older stuff, so this was right up my alley. If you’re looking for a quick read, this one won’t set you back too much. I’ve read lots better and more riveting things, but I’m still not disappointed with this one. I may have to check out some of Edna Ferber’s other novels.

Hazel loved Christmas. So did her mother, Mildred. They both went all out with the Christmas decorations every year, held to lots of traditions, and made sure that everyone in their family always had a wonderful Christmas every year.

Hazel always wrote a lot about her Christmases in her diary . . . days she went shopping, things they did with family, where they went, who they saw, what gifts she bought for others, and what gifts she got from others. She participated in lots of Christmas concerts and programs at school, and went to lots of Christmas parties.

This is why I included a Christmas block in the Hazel’s Diary quilt, and made a Christmas quilt as a bonus project in the book.

Now, I’m back to host a Christmas-themed Quilt-Along.

A Vintage Christmas Ornaments Quilt-Along

During this Quilt-Along, we’ll be stitching a collection of vintage Christmas ornaments! You will have two options for how you want to construct your ornaments, and three options for what project to make from them — lots of options . . . I always like lots of options.

For many, many years, Mildred put up an aluminum Christmas tree, and had the colored light wheel shining on it that made the tree change colors. Oh, how I loved that tree! And on it, she hung glass ornaments, which were not vintage at the time, but are now definitely considered vintage!

I’ve based my ornament designs for the Quilt-Along off of some of Mildred’s vintage ornaments from her aluminum Christmas tree, and ornaments I can remember Hazel having on her tree as well.

Here are the details for the Quilt-Along:

• There will be twelve ornaments and a special bonus pattern.

• You can choose to embroider your ornaments for a stitchery project, or appliqué them for one of two different quilted projects.

• There are three different projects to choose from:

  1. A 36″ x 16″ embroidered wall quilt (which could also be made into a bench pillow, if you prefer)
  2. A 52″ x 63″ lap quilt (which can be made into a 48″ x 30″ wall hanging, if you prefer)
  3. A 31″ x 43″ wall quilt

So that’s actually 5 choices! Have I mentioned I like lots of options? I hope you do, too.

Here’s the catch . . .

My main goal with this blog is to provide FREE Quilt-Alongs and teaching tutorials so that it’s all available to anyone who wants to visit. However . . .

This particular set of patterns, since it’s appliqué and embroidery (with lots of options), will have lots of instructions, and lots of templates (obviously). Furthermore, it will be much easier for participants to follow along and avoid confusion if they have all the instructions in front of them for their particular project, all in one place, while sewing (instead of having to scroll through multiple blog posts for the information needed).

So I’m making each ornament pattern an individual PDF download for a small fee, available in Hazel’s Mercantile on Etsy. Each pattern will have separate instructions for each project, so you can download the file and print off only the parts you need for your chosen project. Full-size templates and patterns will be included, so you can print those off, too, as many times as you need to.

I’m not showing you the ornaments ahead of time — each ornament will be a surprise! But I’ll be back on Thursday to show you the possible layouts, and give you the yardage information for each project. Then you can decide what you want to make, and begin gathering your fabrics. The first block pattern will come out next week. I’m planning to release each step on a Tuesday, with a few weeks in between each one so you can stay caught up.

Here’s the schedule for the Quilt-Along as I’ve planned it. It is, of course, subject to change along the way, but I’m gonna try to stick to this as closely as possible, and my intent is for us to be finished in time to enjoy these quilts for this coming Christmas.

Feb. 21: Layout Options and Materials Requirements
Feb. 26: Ornament #1
Mar. 19: Ornament #2
Apr. 9: Ornament #3
Apr. 30: Ornament #4
May 21: Ornament #5
June 11: Ornament #6
July 2: Ornament #7
July 23: Ornament #8
Aug. 13: Ornament #9
Sept. 3: Ornament #10
Sept. 24: Ornament #11
Oct. 15: Ornament #12
Oct. 29: Bonus Pattern
Nov. 5:  Finishing Instructions

Links to all the steps will appear in the sidebar at right, once we get going, and I will also try to remember to make each link live here in this post as well, so you can easily find each step.

Along the way, I’ll have tutorials, give-aways, bonus patterns, and other goodies, along with the regular Life of Hazel Ilene posts, and some of Mildred and Hazel’s favorite traditional Christmas recipes, AND the other Quilt-Along that also starts in early March, so be sure and check in often so you don’t miss anything!

Royal Star

On this day in 1951 is the one and only time that Hazel ever mentions quiltmaking in her diary.

She was a quilter, and made several quilts, and had several started at the time of her passing; but she evidently did not do much quilting during high school.

During our very first Quilt-Along here on The Life of Hazel Ilene, I offered up a bonus block that participants could use in place of any of the other blocks, in case there was one they didn’t like and needed to substitute.

I chose the traditional block “Royal Star” for our bonus block.

Since I’ve removed most of the instructions for that first Quilt-Along from the blog, the link to this bonus block has long been lost, but in honor of Hazel’s one and only mention of quilting in her diary, and the fact that it was “star quilt blocks” she was making, I’m posting an updated link to this free pattern today.

You can find it HERE: Royal Star Quilt Block.

Wouldn’t this be cute with a fussy cut center square? There’s a lot you can do with this one! I think it would be wonderful to make an entire scrappy quilt out of these.

And I need to shut up now before I talk myself into a new UFO! Happy stitching!

A few days ago, I announced that there is a new Quilt-Along starting soon. Well, guess what?

There’s not just one new Quilt-Along starting soon, but two!

Can you tell I’ve been trapped inside because of our horrific weather, so I’ve had lots of time to cook up new ideas? Haha!

The Quilt-Along I mentioned earlier is inspired by the World War II time period. We’ll be making a quilt similar to a quilt from 1943. This Quilt-Along will only run for about 3 months, so it’s a quick one. And it’s free. I’m planning to get it started during the first week of March, so watch for the announcement coming soon about fabric requirements, schedule, etc.

The second Quilt-Along is a Christmas-themed Quilt-Along, and it will run for about 9 months, ending in time for us to have our projects done so we can enjoy them this coming Christmas season. I think you’re gonna like it. The only catch with this one is: it’s not free — but it won’t cost you an arm and a leg, either.

This Quilt-Along has several options for what you can do with the patterns, and the project you end up with, so following along in blog posts would be confusing for participants (especially with two quilt-alongs running at once). Also, it has lots of templates, which are not easy to include in blog posts! So I’ve decided to make each block available as a PDF file for a very small fee.

The patterns will be listed in Hazel’s Mercantile on Etsy, and I’ll provide more information as we go along. This Christmas-themed Quilt-Along starts next week, so keep an eye peeled for the announcement! I’ll include information on the project choices, fabric requirements for each, and a schedule for the quilt-along. That way, you can make up your mind what type of project you want to do, and gather your supplies before the first block comes out. So be sure and check back in!

Hazel mentions in her diary that they listened to the boxing match between Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta on the radio on this day in 1951.

She said they were planning to go to the hardware store where there was a television set, so they could actually watch the match, but they didn’t. They really should have, because the fight was historically dubbed “The St. Valentine’s Massacre of Boxing,” named after a real St. Valentine’s Massacre from exactly 22 years earlier, also in Chicago.

The historic boxing match was held in Chicago Stadium, and during the especially brutal 13th round, the crowd was calling for the referee to stop the fight. To quote the announcer: “Some of the crowd yelling ‘Stop it,’ but you don’t do that to a champion — you have to go out fighting.” To his credit, LaMotta never went down, but in this 6th and final match between the two of them, his title was lost to Sugar Ray.

You can read a good article about it HERE.

You can watch the 13th round HERE.

You can watch the entire match HERE.

You can read more about Jake LaMotta HERE. (His career after boxing was quite colorful! Did you know he was actually a stand-up comedian for awhile? He lived to be 95 years old. The movie “Raging Bull”, starring Robert De Niro, was based on Jake LaMotta’s life.)

You can read more about Sugar Ray Robinson HERE. Sugar Ray Robinson passed away in April of 1989, nearly 30 years before LaMotta.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hazel’s Mercantile

I’ve opened up a new Etsy Shop! It’s called . . .

This shop is going to have all things inspired by Hazel, her diary, and the time period of her life.

Right now, there are only a few things listed, but eventually, Hazel’s Mercantile will be offering finished handmade items inspired by The Life of Hazel Ilene, patterns and kits for you to make your own projects, and some one-of-a-kind vintage items, such as sewing boxes, linens, quilt blocks, etc. It takes time to get everything ready and listed, so I’ll be adding more things in as I have time.

The shop will also carry the line of patterns inspired by the diary that I’ve been promising, and the first ones are coming really soon, so keep your eyes open for something fun and exciting in the next few days.

If you have an Etsy account, you can add Hazel’s Mercantile to your favorites, and it will notify you when new items are listed. If you don’t have an Etsy account, you can still visit Hazel’s Mercantile and purchase things as a Guest.

You can also subscribe to the blog to be notified when new posts are added, so that you don’t miss out on any of the news about the new Quilt-Alongs coming up — more on that real soon!