I’ve been quilting away and honestly, dealing with problem after problem and a thread shortage. The quilt is done though, and it’s off to the baby shower tonight.
Yep, the second row is upside down.
What is it with me and my spacial issues? I swear nearly every quilt I make has something upside down.
Guess it’s a good thing I’m not Amish. The old quilting story goes that Amish quilt makers put in an intentional error “because only God can make something perfect.” If I were an Amish quilter and tried to put in an error, I’d probably end up correcting the wrong thing and getting shunned out of the quilting group for my uppity ways.
Oh well, I’m sure the baby won’t mind. I tell myself it’s how people know my quilts really are hand made and not store bought with the tags picked off.
For the sashing stripes I quilted down the edges of the rick rack and then top stitched closely along the edge to separate it from the white. On the white areas I did a medium sized stipple over it all – yes, even the hearts. I thought it would wear better and I don’t think it takes away at all from the pretty fabric hearts.
See what the less error prone are working on this Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. There’s always lots of good quilting inspiration there.
Here I am hanging out in Sisters, OR last summer at the quilt show.
Next month I’m headed to Austin to QuiltCon and I’m super excited about it. They’re having a linky party and asking us to post 5 things people might not know about us to help us all get to know each other better, so here goes…
1. I’m left handed but do pretty much everything except write with my right hand.
2. Not a fan of visiting “no shoe houses” yet 2 minutes after I get home my shoes are off. I’m logical that way
3. I will die before wearing yoga pants any place other than yoga class. It’s probably the only fashion rule I have for myself. I know if I go down that road I will never again wear real clothes.
4. Dolls totally creep me out.
5. I have this cookie problem. Eating a dozen while baking the rest of the batch totally happens every time. Then I innocently arrange 6-8 on a plate for our dessert and my husband eats one (maybe two) and I devour the rest.
As for QuiltCon, I’m signed up for the Friday lecture series and Improvisational Patchwork with Denyse Schmidt. How about you?
- – marcella
I’m slowly getting my energy back and spending some time in the sewing room.
Lately I’ve been working on a little baby quilt for a friend who is having a baby in February. Nothing like the last minute, right?
I’m using a free Moda bakeshop pattern called Candy Hearts for the quilt. I had a charm pack stashed away and the colors are perfect for a little girl.
Naturally, I had to make a change to the pattern. Instead of just placing a raw edge heart shape on the background and stitching 1/4″ from the edge to give a frayed edge to the hearts, I decided to finish the edges.
After making the heart template, I traced it onto the wrong side of featherlight fusible interfacing. The hearts were roughly cut out and each was place fusible side to right side of the charm squares. Then the shape was straight stitched along the drawn line. I trimmed close to the seam with pinking shears.
Ok, here’s the part where you have to be careful. Lift the interfacing away from the fabric and slide the tip of your scissors through the interfacing. Then cut a slit in the center back of the interfacing heart shape. Now you can turn the heart right side out and the edge is neatly turned under. Because the hearts are now backed with fusible interfacing, the shape can be ironed onto the background fabric and it will stay put while you sew it down.
I chose the sew the hearts down with a machine blanket stitch using a variegated thread in pinks and yellow.
I think this will be a longer lasting way to appliqué the hearts onto the quilt and the baby quilt should look really nice through lots of washings and last a long time.
A few days of appliqué and the rows are all done.
Apologies for the floor photo, but my design wall is still filled with Hopscotch triangles.
Next up the rows are sewn together with sashing topped with big, fat rick rack and then bordered in more white. I’ve got a lovely pink and white flannel for the backing.
Lots of sewing ahead for me this week as the shower is next Wednesday!
Take some time to see what everyone else is working on this week over at Freshly Pieced.
- – marcella
I’ve been sick.
I had such great plans for quilting this past week, but instead my time was spent sleeping. Clearly I am not keeping up with the Work in Progress Wednesday quilters. However, I did manage to drag myself into the sewing room to make my weekly block.
Can I blame my inability to make any of the seams intersect correctly on the decongestants? Oh well, it’s still cute and I’m glad I was able to sew a little bit this week.
- – marcella
We’ve been wanting to bake pretzels over here for a long time.
Some really delicious pretzels were shared at the bread baking conference. They were really, really awesome. However, neither of us had been able to attend that particular class. We did wander over to see if there were any recipe sheets left and well, the formula was all they were given. A little sparse for my first try.
Then came a post from Michael Ruhlman that showed some really beautiful pretzels too. That got us to the ordering of lye and pretzel salt stage.
However, those ingredients sat in the cupboard neglected.
Next I read the recipe in the Bouchon Bakery book, and once I decided to bake my way through the book we knew we were finally going to try pretzels over here.
I got my very neglected in the back of the refrigerator sourdough starter revived. It took a few days to get going.
Once it was happily and predictably rising again I mixed together the stiff levan needed for the pretzel dough. After 12 hours it was nicely puffed and bubbly.
The ingredients are mixed and at that point I was stumped. The directions called for mixing for a few minutes to combine the ingredients and then to mix for an additional 30 minutes. Seemed like that had to be wrong. Maybe autolyse for 30 and then mix for a shorter time? Maybe just mix for a longer time, but surely not 30 minutes.
So, I began to google and could not find one link of anyone having made these and blogged about them. Then to the bakery web page but there were no notes about the book or a corrections page or anything. Off to the publishers page with the same results. At this point I’m totally second guessing things. I finally decided to contact Michael Rulman (whom I do not know, but I do love reading his blog and books and I digress) and ask him. He was very kind and confirmed that indeed the dough is mixed for a full 30 minutes.
Onward. After all that mixing, the dough gets a quick fold and a 15 minute rest and then the pretzels are shaped. The book directs how to make the traditional twisted pretzel. It also mentions that they make small (just one ounce) mini-batards. I divided the dough in half and made some of each. The shaped dough is then refrigerated for a few hours.
Next a solution of lye and water is stirred up and the pretzels are given a dip and then a sprinkle of salt and into the oven they go.
The first was eaten with mustard and was really delicious. More were nibbled along side the soup we had for dinner.
These will definitely be made again now that we’re over our pretzel fear.
- – marcella
The Hopscotch blocks I’ve been working on are hanging out on the design wall. Every now and then I shift some blocks around and let it sit some more. Eventually I’ll stop fiddling and be ready to set them together into the top. Do you fiddle like that? Or are you bold and just lay them out to your liking the first time and sew them right up?
Meanwhile, I decided to play. I have a favorite block book and sometimes I like to just flip through it and try something out just for fun. This block had four patches in the corners and I swapped them out for nine patches instead because I liked the way the sashing then blends in to make “t” shapes where the sashing meets the middle row of the nine patch.
It would probably look better with fabrics with a bit more contrast, but it was fun and might actually turn in to something someday. Or not.
I also played with this fun little block.
Lots of squares and just a few triangles. Because the book only has drawings it was fun to puzzle out the most efficient method to piece. Cutting individual squares is not fun for me. I love strip piecing. I’m also thinking that if the blocks were sashed with a dark cornerstone, that something fun might happen with the triangles in the corner.
And because I have no willpower, I decided to join Pam Buda’s pocket patchwork project. She’s posting a 4 1/2″ block pattern each Friday for five weeks. It’s a surprise what they will be and what they will turn into in the end. Here’s the first one:
I’m using up my 30′s reproduction scraps and some kona snow for the background. Hopefully with just 5 blocks to sew I won’t get behind and will end up with some blocks for a teeny baby quilt to donate.
I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced, take a look over there and see what others have been creating this week.
- – marcella
Somehow Friday got away from me. Baking has been happening even if the posting is slow.
Just before Christmas I made the Cinnamon Honey Scones. Cinnamon honey bits are made by mixing together flour, cinnamon, honey, sugar and butter. This mixture is patted into a square and chilled. Then when cold and firm it is cut into little cubes which are folded into the scone batter.
After the scones are cut into shape they are frozen and baked in their frozen state. I baked up four for our breakfast with the plan to bake up the rest on Christmas morning if we loved them. They were very tasty and were eaten up before a photo could be taken.
Oh well, I thought. I could always take a picture when the rest are baked. Great in theory, but it didn’t actually happen.
The scones are delicious, and since they are made with a mixture of cake flour and all purpose they are very, very delicate. While I am not a fan of the dry and crumbly scone these are almost too cake like and delicate.
Also, they spread.
The top half of the scone rose beautifully, but the bottom half spread out into an oddly shaped base as though the scone had melted. Not so attractive. I wondered if it was just me, but after looking through the book a couple of times I realized there are zero photographs of a baked scone in the book. Only photos of them in their raw state. Maybe it’s not just me with the slumping scones.
So I set about to make the plain scone (the better to eat with the jam I’d just made) and decided to bump up the proportions of all purpose to cake flour and see what happened.
As you can see the bottom still spread but it is much better than the first batch. Also – to confess – this is the scone that spread the least out of the four I baked. The scones are still moist and delicate so I think I’ll continue to increase the all purpose to cake flour ratio in future batches.
They were indeed delicious with the jam, and I’m happy there are more in the freezer for a future baking day.
- – marcella
A very little work in progress has been happening here over the holidays. For the last week my sewing room has looked like this:
A couple of times I was able to sneak in there and sew a few pieces together but no big progress.
Yesterday I finally got my chance. I sat myself down and was determined to finish sewing on that last piece of each block and get all the blocks pressed. Here they are slapped up on the design wall.
I’m sure there will be some shuffling as the days go by, but I’m getting pretty close to having a finished quilt top. I’m really glad I replaced half of the polka dot centers with the linen. I think it makes the quilt more about the various prints and less about the dots.
- – marcella
We’ve made these muffins twice already.
The first time I followed the measurement recipe (I’ve been following the weights on all the recipes until now) just to see how things would turn out. Like the lemon muffins the batter is quickly mixed and then left to rest in the refrigerator for up to 36 hours.
We had these muffins for dinner and my husband loved them. I liked them. I’m not a fan of corn kernels in my muffins so I knew that would be an issue, and it was. Also, I found them too sweet. I like honey butter or even jam on corn muffins, but they were too sweet for that.
I also have to say I’ve not been having much success with the muffin recipes instructions to preheat the oven to 425 and then reduce to 325 once the muffins go into the oven. They do get a nice spring but they do not brown well at all.
The second time I made the muffins I left out the corn kernels and reduced the sugar to 1/3 cup. I was much happier with the flavor of these. I know the husband liked them because he immediately packed two of them up to take to the office for breakfast the next day.
I played around with the baking temperature this time as well. Most of my other muffin recipes bake at 375 so I gave that a shot. The muffins rose straight up like a soufflé rather than a pretty domed muffin. However, they did brown much better. I think next time I’ll try 350 and see what that does.
Corn kernels or not, more or less sugar, they were a tasty muffin with a very cake like texture. Give them a try and let me know what you think.
- – marcella
I’ve been happy to find some time to sneak into the sewing room and work on a quilting project. I’ve been working on the Hopscotch quilt I started a while back. Half of the blocks are finished and hanging out on the design wall looking cute I think.
The other half are close to finished and will soon be up there too.
Take a peek over at FreshlyPieced and see what others are working on this week.
- – marcella