Archive for the ‘Quilt-Along’ Category

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.


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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!

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When It Rains, It Pours

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!

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Nearing a Milestone

I can hardly believe it’s been nearly 10 years since I started this blog, and the first quilt-along ran all during the year of 2010 — 9 years ago! Wow, time really flies! And a lot has happened since I started the blog.

One thing that I don’t want to change is the offerings of the free quilt-alongs and tutorials here on this blog. So . . .

I know I’ve been promising a new quilt-along for a long time, but I never got it started for a couple of main reasons:

  1. I couldn’t decide what quilt to offer up for the quilt-along.
  2. There are so many quilt-alongs out on the internet right now, I felt the glut of choices didn’t need one more option added to it, so I drug my heels about it.

And a third reason . . . time. Time to decide what to offer, make samples, test the pattern, write the instructions and posts and tutorials, take, edit, and upload all the photos, and on and on. There’s a lot of work that goes into offering the quilt-alongs, and when it’s all being done for free . . . well, I kinda let it take a back seat to the work that pays my bills and allows me to eat and live indoors!

But I’m gearing up to get one started finally!

Reader Karen F. suggested that I should maybe do a quilt-along from the time period of World War II, since Hazel lived through that time, even tho she wasn’t writing in the diary then. So I took that suggestion to heart, and I’ve got something in the works for you, so stay tuned. I’m hoping to get it started sometime in March.

I still have lots of other things to write about from Hazel’s life and times, more recipes to offer, more stories, pictures, and news, and some give-aways and other surprises. So if you’re interested in those things, too, stick around, visit often, check back . . . I’m hoping to get back to posting regularly again.

I’ve also been promising a line of patterns related to The Life of Hazel Ilene, and I finally hope to get that going this year as well. These will be patterns for purchase, some from past quilt-alongs, and some new ones that have been inspired from the diary that either didn’t make it into the book, or that I don’t intend to turn into quilt-alongs. So keep an eye out for those. I hope to have the first one ready sometime early spring.

I also think we should have a big 10-year celebration of some sort, so maybe I can plan something for that later this year when the time gets close. I’m excited about that — so stay tuned, and I’ll be back real soon with more news!

Thanks for reading!

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Quilt-Along Trunk Show

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!

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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!

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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!

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