Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Sourdough Baking--A non quilt related post

Disclaimer: This post contains no quilt related information!

The cookbook
Goal number 10 on my July list was to document the recipes I've made from the "Artisan Sourdough Made Simple" cookbook by Emilie Raffa. Heidi, from my Mystery Mavens group, recommended this cookbook several times. After seeing some of her photos on Facebook of the recipes she made, I decided I would check it out.

Checking it out is exactly what I did. . .from the library! I had to wait almost a month before it was my turn because it is a popular book! If someone recommends a cookbook, I like to check to see if the library has it. I can read it and note how many recipes I like and would make. I can also make some of the recipes to see if they are as good as they sounded!

When I was a kid, my grandmother baked a lot with sourdough. She gave me starter when I went off to an apartment as a junior in college. I managed to keep it mostly going for many years. Early in the process there were a couple times when I forgot to save some and baked all the starter. Lucky for me, she was there to replenish me!

About three years ago, I did lose my starter. Somehow, I contaminated it. It actually developed mold! Yuck! I was sad because the people I had given starter, hadn't kept there starter going so I was out of luck. Then, my friend Alvera offered me a start of hers. This was how I came into the starter I currently have.

Over the last almost fifty years, I've baked my starter into biscuits, pizza dough, muffins, English muffins, bread, waffles and tons of pancakes. It took a lot of affirmative reviews for me to add another cookbook to my shelf! 

Every Day Sourdough
The first recipe I made was the first recipe in the book. I figured why not bake my way through the book! Every Day Sourdough had a super chewy crust because it is actually baked on the oven rack sans a pan a few minutes. We liked it.

High-Hydration Sourdough turned out similarly to Every Day Sourdough. I likely handled the dough too much to get the big air bubbles which when baked gives the bread large holes. Again, we liked it; but decided that moving forward, we'd like a more tender crust. For future recipes, I baked the bread at a little lower temperature for a little longer time and left the bread in the pan.

Stuffed Croque Monsieur Focaccia with Ricotta and Swiss
Stuffed Croque Monsieur Focaccia with Ricotta and Swiss was a later recipe in the book. The recipe sounded delicious. We decided that we would pass on making it again. As a non dairy enthusiast (dairy upsets my stomach), we don't purchase ricotta cheese. The Swiss cheese set up quickly as it cooled. I anticipated eating a gooey serving; but, it wasn't gooey.

I next baked Dill with White Cheddar except that I only had yellow cheddar; but, it was a great loaf. I didn't snap a photo of it though! At this point, I decided that I would purchase the cookbook. Heidi had recommended purchasing a spiral bound edition which was a great recommendation. I purchased my copy through an online company named, Lay It Flat. Spiral bound is more expensive than the traditional glued spine; but, worth the cost because the page really does lay flat.

Olive, Thyme and Parmesan 
Olive bread is a favorite of mine so when I read that recipe, I knew I'd be making it. I used regular black olives and dried thyme because that was what I had on hand. Definitely, I'll bake this loaf again. 

Sourdough Key Lime Ricotta Cookies
Sourdough Key Lime Ricotta Cookies enticed me because wrapping my head around using sourdough in cookies was a big leap! These were easy to bake. Because I transported the cookies to share with my small group, I didn't add the lime icing. They were soft and delicious! I froze the leftovers. Like all the sourdough recipes, they were best eaten the day that I baked them. I would make these again.

Sourdough Zeppoles
Because I had half a container remaining of the ricotta, I next made deep fried the Sourdough Zeppoles. I shared these with the Sew Happy group. They were good reheated in the microwave for a few seconds. They reminded me of the times I ate Indian Fry Bread that was made on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation that is located in Central Oregon near Madras. I'll likely not make these again; but, only because they are deep fried. I don't deep fry often enough to get the most out of the oil.

Skillet Greek Yogurt Flatbreads
My friend Theresa was coming over one afternoon and asked if I would have hummus on hand. She likes my hummus recipe and we have made it together so she knows the secrets. I decided I would make the flat bread recipe to accompany our lunch. These were delicious. Although, if I were serving a crowd, I'd be using two pans to cook them. Best eaten warm; but, good the next day when heated a few seconds in the microwave.

Soft Honey Whole Wheat loaf
Next I baked a loaf of bread. Early in our marriage, I baked all of our bread. I made a lot of sourdough bread in those days. This loaf was tender and light. Although, I need a bigger loaf pan. I'd bake it again.

The last recipe I made was Ciabatta. This was the easiest of all the recipes because I used the dough hook on my mixer to combine the ingredients. This was the stickiest dough that I have encountered.I was glad I had a dough scrapper to help me form the loaves. These baked wonderfully and were also delicious.

Overall, there is little kneading of the bread dough. The recipes are well written and easy to follow. Of the ten recipes I've tried, only one recipes was a one and done. The author shares many helpful tips about shaping and producing a good loaf of bread so in the end, I'm happy with my purchase.

When it cools off in a few days, I'm going to bake some crackers. Stay tuned for another round of photos as I bake my way through more recipes! If you would like to order the book, check out Lay It Flat. If you use the discount code, TERRY65832, you can get 15% off of your order. I'll also receive a little something back as an affiliate. 

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Pieced Back for Transparency--post 5


Cutting the leftover fabrics into rectangles
Goal number 13 on my July list was to document the pieced back that I made for the Transparency quilt. First, I cut the leftover fabric into rectangles. 

Auditioning the pieces on the design wall.
I placed all of the pieces on the design wall to view all of the available scraps. Next, I began piecing the smaller pieces together. I try to put the smaller pieces toward the inside of the quilt back. 

Pieced sections hanging out on the design wall
I sewed the fabrics together with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. I pressed the seams open to reduce  the amount of bulk when quilting. After I pieced a section together, I returned it to the design wall. When the top was smaller, the lime green fabric would have been large enough for the backing. After I extended the top, I didn't have enough of the green. I did use it to sash the leftover pieced back.

Checking the back size
When I think I've a section that is about the correct length, I lay it on the top to check. Then I continue piecing sections until I have completed the back. As I piece, I also square up the sections as I stitch. In the photo above, I inserted the '"legend" which is the second pieced section.

Pieced sections 
Piecing a back, while rewarding in the number of scraps that can be inserted into a back, takes time.  I do like how a pieced back can make a quilt two sided! 

Finished back 61 inches x 67 inches
I like how this back looks. I love that the remaining scraps are small and few! I've sandwiched this back with the Transparency top and some 80/20 batting. I have an idea of how I will quilt it.

Linking to Alycia at Finished or Not) Friday; Frédérique at Patchwork and Quilts; and Cynthia at Oh Scrap,

Leftover scraps: mostly strings!

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

June Updates and July Goals

Press this back
My June goals were:

✔1. Cut and begin stitching the last two borders on the 2022-2023 temperature quilt.
✔2. Stitch selvage squares in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month.
Document recipes made from this cookbook
✒3. Complete the May and June embroidery software lessons. I didn't get to June; but, I will this month!
Quilt "Play"
✔4. Continue planning a mystery quilt along for the next year. Mid June, I shared a slideshow of the progress of participants with the Indigo Way mystery from Bonnie Hunter. After the slideshow, I presented some options to those who had come for the presentation. The group came to the conclusion, that they weren't interested in a sew-along. I shared the postage stamp sew along that Alison Glass fabrics is currently running. While participants like the idea of a quilt as you go mystery, they weren't at all excited about Improv being the thrust of the mystery. Improv was my initial plan for the mystery. The group liked the idea of following another designer. They liked the idea of making a modern quilt. I shared with them my experience with Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle of Modern Quilt Studio and the Transparency mystery. So that decision has been made.   

✔5. Piece the March, April, May and June days for the 2024 temperature quilt
✔6. Get back to quilting the Farm quilt.
✔7. Layout the blocks for Indigo Way and begin piecing them together.
✔8. Work on the improv piece I began in the Cindy Grisdela class which I'm calling "Play."
Document how these pieces became a back
✔9. Continue my PT. At the end of June, I had made little or no progress on the range of motion for my knee so I'm taking a few weeks off. I'll do the exercises on my own and see if I can get to where I want to be on my own. A PT session costs about $200. My insurance covers all of the cost. If I'm not making progress, however, it isn't a good use of the money. When I explained this fact to the therapist and receptionist, I was met with an awkward silence. 
✔10. Begin to decode Rita's plan for her temperature quilt.
✔11. Determine if it is possible to add a couple borders to make the Transparency quilt a little longer.

A participant's Indigo Way progress

In June, I made great progress towards my goal list.
Moving forward, I am making an extra effort to finish a top or finish a project each month. If I'm going to reduce my UFOs and WIPs as well as my stash, I need more finishes!

My July goals are:
1. Complete the June embroidery software lesson, Maybe stitch out the January lessons.
2. Press the top of the 2022-2023 temperature quilt.
3. Make the back for the 2023 temperature quilt.
Maybe stitching with this granddaughter
4. Document the Farm quilt finish.
5. Process the Farm quilt scraps.
6. Work on the border for Indigo Way.
7. Keep up on the 2024 Temperature quilt.
8. Figure out the filler blocks, sashing and binding for Rita's temperature quilt. Purchase fabric if needed.
9. Stitch selvage squares in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month.
10. Document the recipes I've been making from a sourdough cookbook.
11. Update my knee surgery progress as well as my cataract surgeries.
12. Finish the improv piece I began in the Cindy Grisdela class which I'm calling "Play."
13. Document the pieced back I made for the Transparency quilt.
14. Share the photos from the guild participants' Indigo Ways.
15. Sew with a granddaughter should she be available.

This is a huge list, especially considering I'll be working about a week and half. Work tends to cut into sew days! I will need to utilize my Zoom sew days to the maximum potential to make progress this month. I've also asked Gertie, my inner squirrel, to not entice me with other projects! She is currently working on quilting designs for "Play."

Linking to Carol at To Do Tuesday.


Sunday, June 30, 2024

2024 Temperature Quilt--post 2

Border fabric approved
Goal number five on my June list was to piece the March, April, May and June blocks for my 2024 Temperature quilt. Last month, I pieced the blocks for January and February. Gertie, my inner squirrel, whispered to me that I needed to pick a fabric for the filler blocks. I could locate a fabric from my stash that would work for an outer border.

As the completed row of the month blocks grew, I played with possibilities. My oldest granddaughter popped in for a visit and I asked her for her thoughts. She picked a Kaffe print which was perfect. There is a yard which should work for the border. I thought that I could cut it for filler blocks. The print, however, is so large that I would get a different color for each month. 

Inner border and filler block possibilities

Next, I considered adding a narrow inner border. I chose a brown which was okay; but when I shared with my Friday Sit and Sew group, they suggested to choose an orange or a pink instead. In the stash was a dark pink/red purple that was the winner. 

Filler block auditioning
My plan is to add a one inch finished inner border and at least a three inch finished outer border. For the filler blocks, I had a Kaffe jelly roll. I decided I could part with one of the strips to make the filler blocks (Thank you Sandy P for both of these fabrics and the jelly roll!)  

I opened the jelly roll and looked at the possibilities. I chose two strips in the same print. While I liked the bluer print best next to the geese, the greener strip looked best next to the border fabric.

I am caught up with piecing the blocks. I've sewn the months January through May together. I'm excited about how this project is coming together. 

I'm happy that I was able to use stash fabrics for the project! After I made the 
filler fabric and border decisions,I pieced the January through May rows together. 

January through May
I've also determined that once a week, I'll piece the blocks together and add them to the monthly strip. Moving forward, I should be able to stay current! Next Friday, I'll finish the June strip and add it to the group of strips I've already pieced together.

I've loved using these hand dyed fabrics for the temperature quilts. Unfortunately, I recently learned that Vicki Welsh has closed her business earlier this month so if I decide to continue with this project next year, I'll have to source a new fabric line.

Do you have a preference of Bella Solids made by Moda or Kona Cottons made by Kaufman? I'd appreciate your thoughts both pros and cons!

I'm linking to: Frédérique at Patchwork and Quilting and Cynthia at Oh Scrap!

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Transparency Borders. . .Do They Work for Your Eye?--post 4

Back in April, my Transparency project was a top that measured 51 inches by 51 inches. I kept telling myself to piece a back and quilt it. I said to myself: finish it. The problem with my thought pattern was that I felt the top needed to be a little bigger so it could be used as a throw. The issue with making it bigger was that I didn't have enough scraps left from the project. . . or did I? 


Goal number 11 on my June list was to determine if I could add a bit to this project. I pulled out the scraps and had a look. I asked myself, "What if I extended the dark to the top and bottom.?" I looked at the dark blue and dark green scraps. I found I could cut enough fabric to increase the top six inches. If I supplemented the black fabric prints, I could squeeze out another six inches. 

Additional borders 
I carefully cut and stitched the pieces together. The top now measurers 51 inches wide by 63 inches tall. I like the size better. While I may not have maintained the transparency effect, the addition didn't obliterate the technique either. I plan to bind the project in a dark black fabric that I have on hand.

Trimming the scraps 
After giving the top a good press, I began to trim the scraps into usable segments to use on the quilt back. I decided to use half inch seams and to press the seams open to make the back easier for the needle to penetrate. 

Segments for back on the design wall
There were quite a few chunks which I placed on the design wall. Next month, I'll continue piecing the sections into a top. I will have to add some fabric from stash. Using the leftovers for the back will lessen the amount of scraps I'll be putting into my scrap stash!

Advanced applique May lesson
Goal number three on my June list was to complete the May and June embroidery software classes. I got stuck in the May lesson so that was the only lesson that I completed. I spent many hours on the May lesson. There is a challenge lesson too. While I reached a stuck spot, I'm a few minutes away from completing the entire offerings for May. There isn't a July lesson so I'll have a chance to catch up!

Mid way through the May embroidery challenge
I'm linking up to to Carol at To Do Tuesday and Alycia at Finished or Not Friday.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Play--An Improv Piece (Formerly Called Free Hand Curves)--post 2

Where I left off in February
Goal number eight on my June list was to make progress on the piece I began in the Cindy Gridsdela class I took last February. 

Auditioning a curve layout
I left the pieces on the design wall and have turned them in a number of directions looking for the layout that felt "right." I had an orientation that was a long gradual curve; but I didn't take a photo of it. In that layout, I was stuck with what to fill in the space around the curve. Instead, I have a photo of a shorter curve.
Auditioning some parts

I decided that I needed to decide whether I wanted to spend a lot more time on the project or did I want to finish it and move on to another project. Gertie, my inner squirrel, was all in for creating a circle and finishing sooner rather than later.

Piecing the bits as a leader/ender
I began with my pile of scraps. I began piecing more curves and adding length to an insert piece. I continued to audition a fabric and the orientation of the curve until I could live with the result. When I had the quadrants mostly pieced, I auditioned a sashing. A challenge one of my small groups currently has is to make a traditional block modern. There is a size rule and cream has to be used. This is a variation of a drunkard's path block. I wasn't feeling the sashing.

Quadrants mostly pieced

After a few days of adding a piece of fabric, rearranging, adding another fabric, rearranging, I managed to piece most of the quadrants. On purpose, I didn't piece a square nor did I square three of the blocks. I liked the wonkiness of the organic blocks. 

Lower right quadrant needs a bit of green
Next steps are to determine the frame. I was considering a dark frame around the piece; but that plan felt too traditional. The lower right quadrant needs a bit of green. Perhaps, a pieced strip would add some interest.
Green in lower right quadrant; pieced 
strip added to upper right quadrant
The upper right was too boring. I pieced a strip of scraps and liked the results. The upper left quadrant was now too boring. My small group that stitches on Friday, suggested I put some cream in that area. Rosanne even drew me a shape as an example. I love Friday Sit and Sews. The conversation is good and the advice shared is helpful. We chuckle that we are quilting by committee!
Rosanne's suggestion
I cut the shape. I'm becoming more comfortable cutting free hand organic curves! Then, I cut the shape into sections so I could piece a few confetti squares into the area.
Curved shape cut into segments
for confetti
Looking at the section spoke "too much white."  I subbed out the uncut segments for the dark green fabric and that action "felt" better to me.
Beginning to piece the curve
There was still too much white, so I added some green strips on each side of the white segments. The green was a good add. I liked the direction that corner was going. 
Left corner audition
The top half is wider than the bottom half so I pieced another strip of scraps together. I wanted a horizontal orientation for this section. Initially, I placed it on the lower left side of the piece; but, after a group discussion, Su suggested I put it in the center of the two bottom blocks. I liked the suggestion.

Center pieced strip added
The photo above is where I was at the end of Friday. The top still needs some work. I am rethinking the black strips on either side of the bottom half of the project. The lower right quadrant needs a little more interest. Saturday morning, I removed the dark strips from each side of the lower half of the project. I separated the lower quadrants. I plan to insert a fabric next to the green and do something in the gray. Let's see how far I get today! In spite of all the changes, I feel like it will be a finished top soon!

This is going to be a book club quilt for the book, "Prayers for Sale" written by Sandra Dalles. The main character in the book is a quilter. She fell in love with a blue fabric and bought the bolt. Fast forward years, the reader learns that each project has a bit of this fabric in it and that her quilting circle of friends' projects also has some of the treasured blue fabric. Using some blue fabric was my inspiration to create this piece.

Linking to Alycia at Finished or Not Friday; Frédérique at Patchwork and Quilting and Cynthia at Oh Scrap.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Blue Selvages--Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Some blue selvages
Goal number two on my June list was to stitch enough squares for four blocks in the color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I have a lot of blue strings.

Even more selvages
I sorted them into a blue/green pile, a light/bright pile and a dark pile. I noted I had some teal and some aqua strips too!

Some of the wording on the selvages
This month, I remembered to snap a couple photos of the selvages before I started to cut them into segments for the blocks.

A few more selvages with wording
I could have stitched more squares since my pile didn't decrease much after I had finished making enough squares for four blocks. 

Squares in process
We had a bonus Zoom sew day on Monday. A member of one of my small groups moved to Kansas. To stay connected, we've been zooming one Monday a month. It's fun to hear what she found in her neighborhood and who she's met in the quilting world. 

Finished squares
We shared stories and laughter. I finished all of my squares. I'm linking to: Angela at Scrap Happy, Carol at To Do Tuesday.