No cooking…but some patchworking and quilting

So, the quilt was completed the day before Christmas Eve. A special present to me and Big Man made by my own fair hands. And the terrible thing is that now I’m hooked!

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It was made entirely by hand apart from the strips I added to widen it and the first run round of the binding.

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The strips are green, not blue as they look in the photo – and just look at that binding…thanks Kate!

 

Ok, so it’s not perfect and I had to restitch the initial quilting as it was so awful. But I did keep one line of it in, next to the final attempt to show myself that practice makes better (but not yet perfect!).

 

Dodgy Big Stitches next to slightly less dodgy and a bit smaller stitches...
Dodgy Big Stitches next to slightly less dodgy and a bit smaller stitches…

There are plenty of wonky lines, but hey, that adds to the charm. And I’m sticking with that (wonky) line.

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For details of the quilt pattern and fabric, take a look here and here.

And now that I’m hooked, I just couldn’t help myself when these fabrics on sale called out to me…was it Oscar Wilde who said “I can resist everything except temptation”?!

The Road to Health Quilt (1)

A big thank you to both Kate from talltalesfromchiconia (especially her quilt binding tutorial) and Evie  (check out the link for her Chateau Quilt) over at Pendle Stitches for their advice and encouragement, especially when I started the hand quilting of the quilt top – I was all set to give up, but thanks to their kind words I pushed on and gradually became addicted…

Patchwork Progress

I apologise for the lack of cooking and recipe posts recently. I have made some new dishes, a wonderful beef casserole a few days ago but the photos – not so good…

Anyway, some of you know that I am a crafty Chica (of the creative rather than sly kind) when I’m not cooking or renovating. My latest project is a patchwork quilt, which almost follows a pattern and is being made by hand. Time for a big thank you to a new blogging pal, Kate over at talltalesfromchiconia, who has an amazing blog full of beautiful projects and a lot of quilts! She has been giving me, a humble novice quilter, some really great tips – thanks Kate!

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So, just to give some “technical” details for anyone interested, the pattern is based on one called Garden Walk from the book Jelly Roll Dreams compiled by Pam and Nicky Lintott. I used a Moda Jelly Roll (I think the colour was called Holly Wishes which turned out to be quite Christmassy!) plus extra fabric.

The blocks are now completed but I want to make the quilt wider to properly cover our King Size bed, so will be adding a contrast of sashes vertically between the rows of four blocks.

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The next step is to assemble the quilt block and then make the quilt “sandwich” and start hand quilting…

Spicy Pumpkin and Pear Soup…and a little sewing

So, remember our pear tree? Yes, the one with an awful lot of pears on it. We’ve been really enjoying eating them in crumbles, purées, stewed but mainly au naturel and sometimes with cheese. Delicious. But they don’t store. I know, I tried it out. I spent ages wrapping a load up in newspaper and storing them somewhere cool and dark only to find a horrible, stinky mush a few days ago. Nasty.

Luckily we really did make the most of them and one of the dishes I made was a hearty soup using some of the crisper, under ripe pears left at the very end.

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Ingredients (serves 4 as a main course)

  • About 1kg of pumpkin or squash (peeled, seeded and cut into cubes)
  • 3 medium pears (peeled and cut into cubes)
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
  • 1 level teaspoon of hot chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed)
  • 1 tin (400g) coconut milk
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Smoked pimenton to serve

(Inspired by a recipe from the book Economy Gastronomy)

Heat the oil and add the pumpkin. Fry on a medium heat until it starts to colour a little (you may need to do this in batches) then add the spices and garlic. Cook for a minute then add the pear, coconut milk and stock. Simmer for about 30 minutes, blend to a texture you enjoy (I used a stick blender) season to taste and serve with a sprinkle of smoked pimenton.

For any of you who are wondering what the heck I’ve been up to in the absence of great cooking facilities (and apart from house renovations), I decided to set myself up with a little winter project. I am hand making a patchwork quilt, following (sort of) a design pattern.

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Am really enjoying making the quilt top but may back out of hand quilting it myself. We’ll see.  Perhaps next year I’ll be eating this soup snuggled under my quilt!

Going to the Wedding Dress 2

Sewing Alert –click away now if you´d rather read a recipe!  Why not try this one for a change of scenery.

The second dress, a Butterick Pattern (B5556) was finished in time for the wedding last night. Ooh it was a typical late night, so am feeling rather jaded today.

As I stood in the garden asking Big Man to take some snaps for the blog, the wind whipped up and you can´t really see  the general soft meringueness of the skirt with the petticoat underneath (with a layer removed).

I did a few twirls to show off the five, yes five, metres each of skirt and lining which I finished the same way at the Going to the Wedding Dress 1.

Give us a twirl!

I hand stitched the zip, which turned out well and was very happy with the dress apart from having needed to be a little braver in taking the waist in a little more. I loved the stand up/fold down collar.

Elvis Collar

Hey ho, at least it meant I could eat in comfort.

And there was plenty of room in the dress for hugging and kissing the bride and groom, most of the 500 guests (gulp…that´s not a wedding, it´s a Corporate Event) and eating cake.

Going to the Wedding Dress 1

Sewing Alert –click away now if you´d rather read a recipe. Why not try this one for a cold, rainy Saturday?!

So, the Vintage style dress is finished and I have to say I am really very pleased with the way it has turned out.

The pattern is Vogue V8789, view A.

Wish I had a waist like that!

I have also made a silk shawl with a hand rolled hem to go with it, to cover up my shoulders.

I tried out a few new techniques (well, new to me). A horsehair hem, hand stitched to finish it off. This adds a little body to the hem. I had bought a net petticoat to wear underneath but when it arrived I looked like a giant meringue so back it went into the wardrobe.

I sewed a satin bias binding in a contrast colour to the lining.

I hand stitched the bodice lining to the bodice. I really enjoy sewing by hand.

A grosgrain waist stay (I think that is what it is called) was hand stitched around the inside and this really adds shape to the waist when it is worn.

But…the weather has turned cold and damp. The wedding is next Saturday so I have started work on the other Vintage style dress I had planned to make as it has sleeves. It´s the Butterick 5556…hopefully I´ll have it finished this week and then depending on the weather I can decide which one I´ll wear.

Meanwhile, the dogs snooze in the not so sunny sun room while the rain comes down, and I´ll get on with my sewing.

Yes, that is a jamon bone on the sofa which they had clearly dragged in out of the rain and which I only noticed when I downloaded the photo! Naughty pups...

And now, if you enjoyed seeing my Going to the Wedding Dress, why not check out my blogging pal Evie´s Actual Wedding Dress.  What a very talented and beautiful bride!