Archive for June, 2011


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You might have noticed this quilt in my sidebar of UFOs.  OK, it looks a little different. My original plan was to put my first-ever scalloped border on it but I chickened out. I saw a picture of a quilt with a wavy border with much gentler curves and I knew that’s what I wanted to do for my first time.

The time has finally come for me to get this thing finished. I spoke with my longarmer, Sara Parrish, about it and she requested that I mark the waves on the border so that she can quilt right up to it. So I’ve done that and I wanted to share my method.

Since I used Electric Quilt to design the quilt, printing templates for marking was a breeze. I “printed” them as PDFs (although that part of it was not really necessary. Experienced EQ users have learned that if you go ahead and make a PDF out of your templates rather than sending them straight to the printer, you don’t have to go back and re-invent the wheel if you need to re-print) and when you’re doing this, don’t forget to change “page scaling” to none when you send the PDF to the printer. I didn’t the first time so was glad I had made the PDFs.

Here you can see that I had to overlap and tape together two pages for each of the larger templates, which is not a problem because EQ shows you right where they are supposed to overlap. You can’t see it here, but I printed two templates for the corners.

My next step was to trace the templates onto freezer paper.

Once the templates were cut out, I simply pressed them (shiny side down) to the border. I marked the vertical centers on each template (even the corners because I had mitered the border) for correct placement.

You may find, as I did, that the templates don’t exactly line up with each other correctly. If they’re not off by much (maybe you didn’t get them precisely overlapped or the freezer paper shrunk a little when ironed on) and as long as you’ve got each one centered, go ahead and draw around the outside edge of the template with your marking tool of choice (I used a fine point Sharpie as I got a better line than I did with the Pigma pens I own. They’re pretty old.) Take off your templates and freehand a connecting line between the two templates. No one will be the wiser. Because of the versatility of freezer paper, the templates can be re-pressed to all sides of the border.

You can’t see the line very well in this next photo, but it’s there. When I take it to Sara, I’m going to ask her to baste just inside the line for me (I think she normally does that). Then when I get it back from her, I’ll cut all three layers on the line and attach the binding just like normal. With the gentle curves, I can use a straight-grain binding.

This quilt needs a name. The back story is that it was originally intended for a friend who had just gotten a cancer diagnosis. It was going to be a healing quilt. But she had successful surgery, didn’t need further treatments and didn’t need a healing quilt. At 66″ square, it’s probably too big for that purpose anyway. So I think the name should reflect gratitude to God for the outcome, what do you think? Any ideas?


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These are some of my favorite pictures of my Dad. He lives out in California and we try and get out there every year to see him and Mom. Mom isn’t able to travel so far anymore, so they haven’t been out our way since Erin’s wedding in 2007. I am grateful that they were able to make that trip, both for them and for Erin and me.

Bob Hoff, Cuba City High School, 1945, Cuba City, Wisconsin

Bob Hoff, Saipan, '45 or '46

Bob Hoff, 2004

Bob Hoff, 2010

This is my father-in-law who passed away in 1985. He was a gentle man with a goofy sense of humor who was always smiling. He loved to camp, fish and play cards. We miss him. My kids were his youngest grandchildren, Erin was only a year old when he died. Brian was almost 3 and I don’t know how much he remembers. But they would have loved him a lot.

H. George Kaspar, high school?

H. George Kaspar, 1943

H. George Kaspar, undated

Brian and Papa, Devil's Postpile, 1983

Happy Father’s Day!

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Baby Dresses

I’ve taken a short break from quilt making to do something I haven’t done in probably 20+ years: clothing.

My friend Kay,


who is probably the most generous person in the world, loaned me her Bernina serger and spent an afternoon showing me how to use it and how it integrates into the whole process. I had never used one before, and the idea of it trimming your seam allowances is scary and permanent. But I quickly got comfortable with it and just love how it takes away a lot of that “Becky-home-ecky” look of homemade clothing.

Kay hadn’t used the machine in a while and the stitches weren’t the most beautiful, and she’s taking it in today for a cleaning/adjustment. But that’s ok, these dresses are just for size testing for my granddaughter. She’s just now growing into 12 months ready-to-wear and I want to see how close the patterns come to RTW.

Burda 9708--18months size

Burda 9708--12 months size

[Edited to correct the pattern number: it’s 9708, not 9308]

Kay had gotten this machine from her sister and for whatever reason, didn’t get the user guide from her. So she didn’t have any threading instructions other than what’s diagrammed inside the cover. Neither one of us can see that very well in our old age (LOL) so I found a guide for sale on the internet and downloaded it. It is a low-res scan of the user guide and I’m not happy about that, but it’s better than nothing. While making the monkey dress, I had some issues with the machine, so was forced to try and thread the thing myself. I apparently didn’t know what I was doing as I couldn’t fix it. I took it back to Kay last night and we worked on it so that I could get my last 2 seams done. I found in one of the threading diagrams in the book that Kay was missing one step. I swear it doesn’t show on the diagram on the cover. It wasn’t easy to get the thread in that slot, but once she did, the machine made beautiful seams! She’s still going to take it in today and get them to show her how that slot is supposed to be accessed because it’s like threading it blindly.

I want one now more than ever. I shopped around when Erin announced her pregnancy. If I can ever afford one, I’m going to get Baby Lock. The Jet Air threading and no tension disks are very appealing. The Viking dealer didn’t even know how to thread theirs and I don’t remember why I decided against Bernina. I think the Baby Lock just beat out all the others.

Do you have one? Which model? What are the pros and cons of yours?


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Back in 2009 I posted about the trials and tribulations of growing an oak leaf hydrangea that I had been given as a newly-rooted stem:

Oak leaf hydrangea

I’m happy to say that I think the curse has been lifted! This year the plant is bushy and full and blooming!

I’m hopeful that this is only the beginning of a happy and healthy plant.


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Another Quilt Finished

Yay! I have another completed quilt under my belt this week.

“Study in Turquoise” is the lame name of this one. When you look at the picture, you’ll likely say, yeah but there’s more lime green in it than turquoise, something I didn’t realize until I looked at the picture.

It all started when I stumbled upon a fabric that had a palette of navy blue, lime green and turquoise. I loved it! I never would have put those colors together on my own, so I bought enough to be my focus fabric. I supplemented it with lime and turquoise fabrics. I’ve been calling it “Study in Turquoise” all along (I made the top back in 08 or 09) and I just wasn’t clever enough (or was too lazy) to come up with something better. This quilt is for my own use and will probably end up being a picnic blanket because it doesn’t fit into my decorating scheme anywhere in the house. It’s larger than it should be, too. For a quilt that was made  just to showcase the fabrics, it didn’t need to be bed-sized LOL.

Although I know that I pre-washed these fabrics, the color ran when I washed it. But this time I had Synthrapol handy and after 5 washes with it, most of the bleeding has been stanched. I found another spot that I missed before I dried it, so I’ll wash it again and see if I can get the rest of the color out. I’m going to have to pre-wash my fabrics with Synthrapol from now on, so that I can eliminate this stress (hopefully anyway).

This was quilted by Sara Parrish.

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