Monday, 1 September 2014

Stitching - Day 2

I woke really early this morning, so rather than lying there trying to go back to sleep, I got up, made myself a cup of tea, turned the computer on and checked out the current Threads of Memory block.  I usually have problems with downloading the templates so once again I drafted the pattern up in EQ7 and printed out a copy ready for use later in the week.

Some actual stitching was done again today, I made another Threads of Memory block, this one was a fairly easy block to put together. I knew that I wanted a stripe in the outer border, so auditioned a few fabrics before I found the one, after that it didn't take too long to pull the rest of the fabrics.  I used this tutorial to make the four flying geese for the star, it has a PDF with dimensions for different sized FG blocks and I've used it a few times when I've needed odd sized geese.  Once the geese were made the rest of the block came together quite quickly as it was just strips and squares.

Day 2
Achieved - 1 block completed (nearly caught up now)
                   marked more blocks for Museum Medallion

Reading - Make Modern the first issue of a digital quilting magazine

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Stitching - Day 1

Meredithe  is inspiring herself  (and me)  with a bit of a contest - to spend 1 hour  a day  (just 60 minutes, not much really)  doing something sewing related, whether it be prepping a block, choosing fabrics for some blocks, some hand applique, hand stitching, quilting, embroidery,  (I'm sure you can think of other things)   and if you have a blog you can post about it too.

I have plenty of free time but sometimes a day or more will pass where I have done no stitching at all because I've been a bit caught up in domestic things, or just frittered away time on the internet, so I'm going to play along with Meredithe too.

False start 1 - wrong fabric choice for the little triangle

I'm a few blocks behind in Barbara Brackman's Threads of Memory BOM so thought I would do a bit of catch-up with those blocks.  Yesterday I drew up the  Oberlin Star block in EQ7 and printed out some templates, and appliqued the quarter circles down so I could do a bit of piecing today.

 False start 2 - right fabric,  just in the wrong place :(

I had a couple of false starts with the piecing, but once that was sorted I was away and it didn't take very long before I had a complete block finished and for a change it finished at the correct size :)

Day 1

Achieved - 1 block completed

Friday, 29 August 2014

Looking at this photo, I'm having second thoughts about the fabric that I've used for my border on the Museum Medallion, although it does look different in real life, and it is lacking the striped border which will lift it a bit. I think I need to wait until I've finished all the outside blocks and then see how that looks. 

I managed to get some photos of the baby lorikeet today, the first one was taken fairly early this morning. it was a bit shy and kept ducking back inside, which made it hard to get a decent photo.

This photo was taken in the late afternoon, (there is quite a difference in the light quality as the sun was shining towards me) and it was right on the edge of the box, another few days and it will be outisde on the perch, although I have seen the parent birds giving it a bit of a nudge when it gets too enthusiastic.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

A bit of organisation

I bought this little dish from the Asian supermarket a while ago and asked the Mister to glue some strong magnets on the underside so I could use it for keeping my pins in.  It works well and there have been no lost pins for ages now.

Previously all my Kaffe Fassett (KF) fabrics were crammed into two large tubs (the same as the one with the red lid on the top of the shelving unit) and I had been finding it difficult to keep them under control.  I'm sure they had been breeding in those tubs as I found some fabrics that I didn't know I had.   So I spent a weekend sorting and folding the fabric and now I can see at a glance where they all are, it has made it much easier.  The tubs on the left have assorted KF scraps so I can fossick through them when I need a small piece of fabric, and as the cutting table is in this room, I stored the rulers in one of the cubbies as well, the longer rulers are hanging from hooks at one end.

The Mister climbed the tree again to take a photo of the baby lorikeets, he found only one, where the other one disappeared to is a mystery.  This one has nearly all its feathers now and I saw it peeking out from the box this morning, I hope to get a photo over the next day or so.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


The entry forms for the Quilter's Guild of South Australia 2014 Festival of Quilts are due to be handed in shortly and I intend to enter some quilts again. As a guild member I think it is important to support the show because if we don't, there won't be a quilt show and I know we all love looking  at quilts that others have made.  I know some quilters don't want to exhibit their quilts because they feel their quilts aren't up to show standard but there is an option on the form where you can opt out of the judging process.  I've found it quite exciting going along to the show each year and seeing my quilts hanging there for everyone to see.

a few of the tins in my small collection

Filling out the form isn't very hard, mainly just ticking boxes, name and address etc  but I struggle with finding the words (no more than 40 of them) to describe my quilts which is why I keep putting off completing the form each year.

I won't be posting any photos of the completed quilts I am entering this year (although photos of them may or may not have appeared on the blog previously) as we have been informed that it is preferred that photos of quilts are not published prior to the show.

* think deeply about something

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A parcel

Last week a small parcel arrived in the mail, it was from L'uccello, a haberdashery and fancy goods store in Melbourne, who also stock a small range of quilting fabric (including Liberty fabrics) and other interesting bits and pieces.  I have yet to visit the bricks and mortar shop but it is on the top of my list when I get to visit Melbourne again, I've read several good reports on it from several bloggers.

The parcel arrived in the usual Australia Post envelope and inside was a little parcel tied with string and an envelope.  As I wished to save the envelope,  I opened it carefully and discovered that it was actually a piece of paper that had been folded into an envelope.  My order of course was in the nicely wrapped parcel,

Nothing very much, just some buttons for using on a bag I am part way through constructing, Liberty bias binding to pretty up a summer top and a small tin of soap, which I bought because I liked the tin. (I'm a bit of a sucker for a nice tin and I seem to have a small collection now)

Monday, 25 August 2014

In a ferment ...

At our last Quilt Guild meeting Lara gave me a Herman the German Friendship cake  starter, which was quite spooky as I had just been talking about this starter (and sourdough and Kombucha) with Chris as we were driving to the meeting.

So I took Herman home and followed the instructions, feeding him etc. I didn't want to make a cake with Herman so the second feed, I didn't add sugar, just flour and water as I hoped that would reduce the sweetness of the starter a bit.

The bread recipe I used was the Artisan Bread in Five minutes a day  the proportions of flour were 2 cup flour and 1 cup wholemeal (mainly because I need to use up the wholemeal flour) and 1 1/2 cups Herman starter, I also added about 1 cup of water,  and used yeast and salt as per the Artisan bread recipe.  I stirred it all together at lunchtime, and left it to prove till the next morning, when I baked it.

The bread rose fairly well, had a great crust on it and was nice to eat although a bit too sweet for my liking, this was the Herman starter effect. 

For comparison purposes I also made another loaf on Saturday but this time I didn't use the Herman starter, I used the same proportions of white flour and wholemeal flour and same amounts of yeast, salt and water.

I noticed that the dough was a bit slower rising this time, and didn't smell as sweet,  the Mister and I preferred this bread to the other loaf because it wasn't sweet.

I've also noticed that the Herman starter isn't quite as active as it was a week or so ago, although it has been colder which I know can slow a sourdough starter down.  I found this blog where there is a post about using Herman in pancakes so I may try that sometime soon as we like pancakes.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Stitching Thursday

Ever since we connected online in March 2011, Sheila and I have been getting together at least once a month for a Stitching Thursday.  We usually start with morning tea and a catch up,  a bit of sew and tell and then settle down to stitch and chat, other times we might visit a local quilt shop or an exhibition. This year our Stitching Thursday has expanded to include Chris and sometimes we are joined by Ali as well.  I really look forward to these days as we often bounce ideas around and they are a great incentive to make progress on or even finish a project, (something we all need help with sometimes.)

Our morning tea this time was  Pear Tart and we had Brown Onion soup with fresh bread for lunch, the Mister especially likes these days as he knows he will usually have a really nice morning tea, although this time he had gone out for the day so it was leftovers for him :)

Our most recent homework from our Sweet 16 group was a Feather project, I decided to do a Feather sampler, (still to be finished), I really love quilting on batik fabric but sadly the quilting doesn't always show to the best advantage,

the back of the sample really shows up the quilting and I can see the places where I need to improve. I used minimal marking on these feathers and let them develop as I quilted,

this feather had a elongated figure 8 marked in the centre and then I worked the feather out from that.

for this feather I marked the beginning curve and then worked along to the end.

for this feather, I marked the two large S shapes and then quilted the feather plumes off them.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Creating New Fabric

Back in June I attended a Guild workshop - Creating New Fabric with Suzanne Gummow, it was held over one day and was quite intense, Suzanne got us to work quite quickly with selecting our fabric choices for the background and before long everyone was at their machine stitching away.

By days end I had the background finished and the "flower" petals made ready to be stitched down.  The fabrics I used for this piece were all from my scrap bin (bonus) and I thoroughly enjoyed the fast pace we worked at.

This is my (nearly) finished piece, I need to put a facing on as I think a binding won't look quite right/

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Crunchy granola (with chocolate)

When I go to Central Market I usually pop into one of the shops that sell bulk products (there are actually three), to stock up on chickpeas, rolled oats etc.  This time I was browsing around the shelves to see if there was anything new and came across a Raw Cacao, Quinoa granola so I bought a small amount (it was an outrageous price) as I wanted to see if I could duplicate it.   There are plenty of similar recipes for this floating around the Internet, but these are the proportions I used and what I did. 

 1 cup of slivered almonds,
1 and a 1 /2 cups of coconut chips,
 1 and a 1/2 cups of buckwheat
 4 cups of puffed quinoa in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, put the following:

 1/2 cup coconut oil,
 1/2 cup cocoa*,
 1/2 cup rice malt syrup*,
 1 tsp vanilla extract, 
1/2 tsp salt
and cook over a gentle heat,
 stirring until it is well combined,
then pour over the dry ingredients.

 Mix well, it will take a little time
 but you want to make sure that the dry ingredients 
make an acquaintance with the cocoa mixture
Spread out in a large roasting pan, lined with baking paper
Bake at 175°C ( 350°F) for approximately 20 minutes
after 10 minutes you will need to take it out to give
it a bit of a stir.
Because of the dark colour it is hard to tell when
it is ready, but I've found 20 minutes is about right, 
check the almonds or coconut flakes for toastiness.

The granola I bought in the shop had raw, organic cacao powder, organic maple syrup, Himalayan rock salt and organic vanilla extract which no doubt boosted the price.

* You could substitute cacao powder instead of the cocoa, maple syrup makes a sweeter granola, you could probably try honey as well. 

I'm trying to cut back on our sugar intake so I tried rice malt syrup for the second batch instead of using the maple syrup, it was definitely less sweet but the Mister still gobbled it up happily.