Stuff & Nonsense: sewing

Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts

28 December 2012

Of Bread & Napkins

I've been baking bread and sewing napkins. It sounds quite cozy, doesn't it? Very domestic diva. Very Martha. If only. My coping mechanisms for grief seemingly swing between "eat everything in sight" and "reorganize everything in sight." I've been trying to focus on the latter, because the former is really not doing me any good in the long term. I tackled my sewing room just after Christmas and, amongst the never-started or never-finished projects, I found a neat pile of squared scraps I'd meant to make into napkins three years ago.

So, I sewed napkins. Haphazardly and with no good grace. If you look not-very-closely, you can clearly see how my stitches wander around the hem, mostly keeping in a straight line, but occasionally veering off to visit more exciting parts of the napkin.

More Napkins

Whatev. They're napkins. As long as they wipe my face clean and launder reasonably well, it doesn't matter how perfectly imperfect they may be. And I made them to pack with work meals, so it's not as if I'll ever inflict them on dinner guests. (Admittedly, I would burn them and shoot their ashes into space before I let my mother see one).

So. Napkins. I sewed some.

And, yes, I baked bread. A beautiful traditional white sandwich loaf baked in a pan and everything. It baked up right and looks like "real" bread aisle stuff. None of that crusty misshapen "rustic" nonsense I'd been baking.

A More Traditional Loaf

How did I get such a perfect loaf? I ... bought a bag of frozen bread dough at the grocery store! Yes, I did. And I'll do it again. Yes, one bag of five frozen unrisen loaves for four dollars is not as economical as scratch bread, but it's waaay cheaper per loaf than the farmhouse-style white I usually buy (when I buy bread) and easier because I can make one loaf at a time and leave the rest in my freezer.

I do love Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but I feel it doesn't work well for a household of two. One loaf can last us most of the week, but in order to use up the dough before it goes weird, I feel I need to bake bread two or three times in a week and that just isn't happening and I end up wasting dough. (Also, that tub of raw dough takes up a lot of fridge space).

So frozen dough is pretty okay. I thawed and baked it according to the instructions on the bag and it turned out beautifully. The instructions said "bread is done when it pulls away from sides of pan and sounds hollow when tapped lightly" and, by golly, they were spot-on. My lovely loaf did indeed sound hollow when I tapped it. It did take longer for the dough to rise than I anticipated, but that was because my kitchen side wasn't warm enough. Next time, I'll tuck the dough in the corner by the toaster where it's always (suspiciously) warm and see if that loaf rises faster.

A More Traditional Loaf

(Brushed it with butter as it came out of the oven, because butter makes it better).

16 September 2012

Celebratory 60th Birthday Quilt

I've been away from quilting for a while -- sure, I''ve spent a considerable amount of time in my sewing room, moving fabric around and dreaming, but I haven't sewn more than a napkin in the past two years.

Then a friend had a baby and a dear coworker turned sixty and quilting took on a certain urgency. Being a bit rusty, I went with rag ("frayed-edge") quilts for both as I knew it was an easy method and would hide most (if not all) of my mistakes.

Rag ("Frayed-Edge") Quilt

I've not quite finished the baby quilt -- still snipsnipsnipping all the seams -- but the lap quilt for my coworker's birthday is done and looks pretty darn cute. I used a kit from Malibu Quiltworks and am quite sure I'll be buying more kits from them in the near future as they have some really lovely fabric assortments for sale.

My mother helped me a bit with assembling this quilt and, between the two of us, it took five (gossipy) hours to sew it together. I snipped the quilt seams while watching television (two episodes of House and one episode of Black Books) and then stuffed it in the washer -- et voilà a quilt was born!

Rag ("Frayed-Edge") Quilt

05 March 2010

Jelly Roll Quilt-Along 2010, Block #1

Finished my first block for Moose on the Porch Quilts's Jelly Roll Sampler Quilt-Along. I started this block in a terriblenogoodrotten mood and was pretty sure I hated the jelly roll I had chosen, but by the time I got to the end of this block, everything was pure happiness and bliss. Hmm ... quilting as therapy?

Used a "9" by Sanae for Moda jelly roll for the body and Fusions 5573 by Robert Kaufman in vanilla for the background.

25 February 2010

Jelly Roll Quilt-Along 2010

I was very excited to hear about Moose on the Porch Quilts's 2010 Jelly Roll Quilt-Along. Since we moved here, two years ago, I have not been quilting as much as I would like. Yes, I've made some pretty curtains and runners, but I haven't made any proper quilts. Indeed, it's been so long that, when I go in my sewing room and start sifting through patterns and fabrics, I become overwhelmed by my choices and start to doubt whether I have any idea what I'm doing.

Yes, thank you, I know I am weird.

So Moose on the Porch Quilts's 2010 Jelly Roll Quilt-Along seems right up my alley:
From March 1 to August 2, every other Monday, instructions for a new 12" block will be posted. All of the blocks will be made from jelly roll strips and yardage.

Each block will be designed by a different person. Every two weeks there will be a guest blogger on my blog introducing herself and her block. At the end, you will have made a fun quilt 58" x 72.
As every block will be different, I am unlikely to get bored and I should get lots of practice with different techniques. With two weeks to complete each block, I have a definite (but generous) deadline to meet so no shirking (I hope) but no panicking, either!

I think I will be using a jelly roll of Sandy Gervais's "Objects of Desire" for Moda, but I have not purchased the background and sashing fabric, outer border fabric, or binding fabric so I do not have a picture for you all yet.

Methinks I shall need to visit the fabric store on Saturday ...