Thursday, February 28, 2019

Little Bear Quilt - Finish for OMG February and Q#1 Finish-Along

My February OMG goals were to finish the Eternally Yours pattern test for Julie at Running Stitch Quilts and the baby quilt for our future grandson. The pattern test quilt is sandwiched and ready to quilt and will be detailed in a later post. I did finish the baby quilt, which was not only a February OMG goal as well as a first quarter Finish-Along goal. Our daughter, who is expecting our second grandson in May.

This baby quilt is done in the colors my daughter requested, navy, gray, mint green, dark kelly green, mustard, and burgundy, and in the same simple style as for our granddaughter's quilt.

I found a fabric called "Sleepyheads in Blue", which featured a cute little bear.

The back is a pieced combination of flannel and cotton.

My daughter has nicknamed the baby "Little Bear".

I free motion quilted this quilt, using my "new" (used) Janome Horizon Memory Craft 7700QCP, which I purchased last year. This was my first time trying FMQ on this machine. It was so much easier than previous FMQ attempts with my old Janome, and I was happily surprised to find there was no "eyelashing" on the back of the quilt. I used a Supreme Slider beneath the quilt, which helped move the quilt around. I watched a Leah Day video on stippling several times and practiced before I worked up the courage! I have a lot of practicing to do before I feel truly confident. There are really tight stitches and really big stitches, but overall I am feeling much better about free motion quilting!

Jack has given his stamp of approval.

Size: 36" x 45"
No pattern, simple patchwork

Front fabrics:
Triangle Tokens Metallic from AGF
Enchanted Pond from Moda
Panache Profundo from AGF
Black Forest Hunter from Cotton + Steel
Elk Family in Sun from Birch Fabrics
North Pole Forest from Dear Stella
Sleepyheads in Blue from Blend Fabrics
Pandalicious from AGF

Sleepyheads in Blue from Blend Fabrics
Flannel from Hobby Lobby
Gray solid from my stash

Reminisce Meadow Gold by Bonnie Christine for AGF

So Fine Genoa Gray and Pearl by Superior Threads

I am linking to Patty's OMG Finish for February link-up. Click to see other quilters' amazing finishes!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Countdown to Christmas SAL February Blocks

Here are the completed February blocks in my monthly goal to have a Christmas quilt before Christmas by participating in Mama Spark's CTC (Countdown to Christmas). The blocks are from the Moda Countdown to Christmas for 2018, and the links are found here. Warning: some of the instructions are not crystal clear! But the patterns are free, so I can't complain - lol! I am picking and choosing my blocks instead of making all of them in order, and the blocks I chose for this month are Prairie Christmas Star, Wrapped Up, and Reindeer Games.

Prairie Christmas Star

Wrapped Up

Reindeer Games

Jack (tail pictured) is glad Mama Spark initiated this sew-along.

I am enjoying sewing for Christmas early in the year, with no holiday pressure! I am linking to Mama Spark's February CTC Sew-a-Long Link-up. It's not too late if you'd like to join in. You can do as many or as few as you like, even just one for a pillow!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL Dorothy Block

This week's block for the Hand Pieced Quilt Along is an Ohio Star block with half square triangles in the corner. The two hosts of this QAL, Patty and Kristin, named this block "Dorothy", after one of the quilters in the novel Friendship Album 1933.

We are finally beginning to combine blocks we have already done, and this block involves half square triangles and quarter square triangles. Again, I did not mark the quarter-inch seams, and the block is a near-perfect 6-1/2 inches. So weird!

Patty hosts the link-up each week, and if you click on this link you can see many pretty blocks done by other participants.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL Quarter Square Triangle

Week 4 of the Hand Pieced Quilt Along features the Quarter Square Triangle. Patty supplied the video and instructions (and encouragement!) This block is also known as the Hour Glass block, and all pieces are cut individually and pieced together.

This time I did not mark seams prior to sewing. I simply eyeballed the quarter inch seams, and lo and behold I finally achieved a 6-1/2 inch square. Lol! Although it was a little bit challenging in the middle of each unit and at the center of the block, I enjoyed sewing these triangles together.

I am linking this post to Patty's Hand Pieced QAL link-up where you can find some very pretty versions of this block!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Loaded Potato Soup and Outback Steakhouse Bread

When the weather turns cold here (not often enough!), my thoughts turn to warm comfort food such as potato soup. My regular potato soup recipe is very simple and has been our favorite since early marriage, so if I'm going to vary from the old stand-by, it had better be good. I was perusing Pinterest late one cold night when a bowl of potato soup caught my eye, and I was led to this recipe on blog of Damn Delicious. I have made several recipes from Chungah's website, and all of them have been good, so I decided to try this one. The next day I adapted the recipe slightly and served it for dinner. One bite, and my husband declared "best ever". I loved it too, so I guess my old recipe has been replaced! It is creamy, savory, hearty, and just delicious.

During the same late night Pinterest fest, I found a recipe for copycat Outback Steakhouse bread, the warm, dark bread provided on a cutting board to keep you from starving while waiting for your dinner. I have tried other copycat recipes for this bread with varying results, but this one from the blog of It's Always Autumn was spot-on. It is dark and sweet with soft crumb and light chew, and I could easily eat an entire loaf with butter. I served it with the soup, and we were almost in a food coma. (I used 1/2 teaspoon Wilton's Brown gel paste to deepen the color.)

Here are both recipes. I have included links to the originals along with my adaptations. (I named the soup "Loaded Potato Soup" instead of Loaded Baked Potato Soup, because the potatoes aren't baked.)

Loaded Potato Soup
adapted from Damn Delicious
Serves 4 (but we ate all of it!)

4 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon bacon grease
1/2 onion, chopped
4 tablespoons salted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
4 cups milk
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instant mashed potato flakes, if needed

In a large skillet over medium heat fry bacon until brown and crispy. Remove from skillet and blot grease with paper towel. In remaining bacon grease brown onion until tender. Add butter to skillet and whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened. Pour mixture into dutch oven, add potatoes, chicken broth, and milk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Stir in cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes slightly. If the soup is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached. If soup is too thin, add 1/2 cup instant potatoes to thicken.

Serve immediately, garnish with bacon, green onion, and more cheese.

Outback Steakhouse Bread
adapted from It's Always Autumn

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon brown gel paste (for color)
2 to 2-1/2 cups unbleached or bread flour
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt

Sift together 1 cup unbleached flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. Mix water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon honey in mixing bowl; let sit for about 10 minutes. Whisk together egg,, butter, molasses, honey, and gel paste (if using), and stir into yeast mixture. (I had to whisk vigorously to get the gel paste to dissolve.) Add flour mixture and mix until smooth. Switch to dough hook and add another cup flour. Let mix until dough pulls away from side of bowl and dough is soft and supple, adding a little more flour if necessary.

Place dough in greased bowl and cover; let rise until doubled, an hour or more. Shape into rounds or rolls and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes or more. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes for loaves or 20 minutes for rolls.

Makes about four 6-inch rounds or 16 rolls.

Hand Pieced QAL Flying Geese

This week's block for Hand Pieced Quilt Along is made with Flying Geese. Kristin at Simple.Handmade.Everyday provided the easy-to-follow tutorial this week. Patty at Elm Street Quilts showed an alternate method called "Stitch and Flip", which is the process I normally follow. And I believe there is at least one other way to make flying geese called the No Waste Method.

These flying geese units are placed in pairs in a pattern called Dutchman's Puzzle. Sewing all these intersections took more time for me, but I still enjoyed the slower pace of hand stitching. My block measures at a slightly wonky 6-3/8 inch, so I'm getting closer to 6-1/2 inches.

I am joining the link-up on Patty's blog, where you will find much more information about this quilt-along as well as links to a growing number of participants' blocks. It's exciting that so many are joining in!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

One Monthly Goal for February Is Two

My primary goal for February has a deadline of February 8. It is a pattern test quilt for Julie at Running Stitch Quilts. I am using a hoarded bundle of Gooseberry fabric by Lella Boutique, and I am really enjoying putting this project together. The pattern has Xs and Os separated by sashing with cornerstones. I elected to do the lap sized throw, but it is turning out to be a larger quilt than I anticipated. I may only complete the flimsy by the deadline, but I would love to get it quilted in time!

In order to have plenty of time to do the pattern test, I laid aside the baby quilt I had started for future grandson #2. That was my OMG for January, so I will add it as a goal for February. The blocks are cut and arranged, so piecing is next.

I am linking to Patty's link-up for One Monthly Goal.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL Half-Square Triangle

Block 2 of Hand-Pieced QAL is Half-Square Triangle. Patty's suggestion in the tutorial was to make one at a time, but I was a rebel and made them two at a time as I always do. Fortunately there are no Hand-Pieced Police monitoring this QAL!

Last week my block measured 1/4 inch less than the suggested 6-1/2 inches square. I was hoping this block would measure correctly, but it is still about 1/8 inch off all around. But it is getting better! I am much more relaxed than I was last week, and I actually look forward to stitching time in front of the TV.

I'm adding this post to Patty's link-up, and you can check out other versions of this block by clicking on it. You can find more information about this QAL by clicking on the logo above. It's never too late to join in the fun, and it really is fun.