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Monday, 19 March 2018

blue pots

As I mentioned in one of my previous post,
I have been planning my new quilt project - my own design.

This is  "work in progress" on the first block.
I am calling this quilt "Blue Pots" (a working title, for now anyway), because the plan is to make 4 blocks with the same blue pot.

I am using both needle turn and raw edge applique (some of the leaves are very small, 
too fiddly to needleturn).

 On Saturday morning I made a quick trip to Midsomer Quilting
(before the snow came - they are right on the edge of Chilcompton and it could had been a problem getting back up the hill once the snow was down).
I wanted some new fabrics for this block. 
The nice people at Midsomer Quilting will cut min 10 cm of any fabric,
which is all I need for small applique.

This as far as I have got so far, using the new fabrics.
The blue fabric is "Hungarian Blue Print" from my stash;
I have several of these in various designs.
I bought them from Kekfesto Cotton some time ago,
and they gave me the idea for "blue pots".
The background fabric is a rather non de-script grey/green, hard to photograph.

Although we had some more snow during the night, today is much warmer and most of it has gone already. 
Lets hope that was the last of it! 

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2018

Sunday, 18 March 2018

and it snowed....

Only two days ago I was posting the first spring flowers in our garden, 
and this morning we woke up to this:

All signs of spring covered up.....

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2018

Friday, 16 March 2018

Spring in the air and baking Friday.

It has been feeling more like spring this past week, 
and there are little signs of it in our garden.

Unfortunately we are supposed to get a cold spell again this weekend; 
lets hope it is not going to last very long.

Today I decided to make a carrot cake; this is about the best recipe for a carrot cake I have ever tried out; 
made with vegetable oil, spelt flour and lots of carrots.

The huge lemon is a present from our English friends, living in Greece, who visited last week.

While the cake is in the oven, it is time to make some hummus.

This is a very quick job; I am using a very basic classic hummus recipe, but with an addition of some ingredients of my own - 
like fresh coriander and little peppers from a jar. 

I love home made hummus on some fresh toast or a piece of crispbread.
I find that it can keep well in the fridge for nearly a week (but very rarely does ūüėČ).

By the time I clear up, the cake is ready to come out of the oven.

I usually make a simple lemon icing for the top; 
it lasts much better than a cream cheese topping which the recipe suggests. 

Cut up into squares, it keeps well in an airtight container for several days
(well, that's the idea anyway, LOL).


Not very much sewing is going on here right now, I seem to be "between the jobs". 
Yes, there is the "Quilter's Patch" quilt to work on, but I don't feel I want to get tied to the machine right now, and Quilter's Patch is very much a machine job.

So, I have been doing a little bit of cross stitch on the "Santa's Village" project, and some "doodling " on my machine, to practise machine quilting; 
I will get hang of it one day!

I got very inspired by Gardenhurst, and by Irene Blanck's designs on a whole,
so I have decided to have a go at making my own design.
It is loosely based on an idea from her book, 
I plan to make 4 main applique blocks (about 16 in), but every one different. 
 I have been playing with some ideas.
I can't draw to save my life, but some loose idea is developing for the first block.

Have a wonderful weekend!

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2018

Friday, 2 March 2018

and it snowed

We had a snow blizzard yesterday afternoon and evening, 
and this is our garden this morning.

What came down the rest of the night was rain, which froze when it hit clear surfaces;
our windows this morning.

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2018

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Gardenhurst top is out!

And here it is, my Gardenhurst Quilt top!
(Thankfully, I took this picture outside a couple of days ago,
because right now there is a snow blizzard out there!)

The pattern is from Irene Blanck's book "Focus on Applique".

I now have 2 quilt tops to make into quilts, this one and St.Germain....

Just a quick note on applique threads and needles.

You know how you pick up various bits of knowledge along the way -
in this case about sewing applique by hand.

I have always used Milliners
(long, straight, thin needles) for the job.
Just before I started on Gardenhurst,
I "discovered" Tulip applique needles, made in Japan.

I love these little needles, I don't think I will ever use anything else;
this one little needle, just a fraction over 3cm,
stitched all the applique on Gardenhurst.

As for the threads, I always used normal sewing threads.
Last autumn, at the workshop with Dawn Cameron-Dick, I learnt about the right threads for applique.
Normal sewing threads are usually size 50, but for applique, thinner the thread, better.
Mettler make cotton thread size 60 (higher the number, thinner the thread), which is good for hand applique, and I have started to build up a selection of neutral shades.

By the way, Aurifil make cotton thread size 80, but that one is quite a bit more expensive.

Interestingly, in my thread stash I have a set of Janome machine embroidery threads (which I bought at the same time as the machine, no idea why...)
Although they are size 50, and polyester, they feel much thinner and very silky, lovely to hand stitch with.
I used them on Gardenhurst when a stronger colour was needed.

As for any sewing, having the right scissors is so important.
I have Karen Buckley's 4 inch scissors, small and sharp, which are just the right size for cutting out applique shapes.

But of course, we all have our preferences, but this works for me....

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2018

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

baking Tuesday

It is COLD ( -8 C last night here) and it will get even colder, when the "Beast from the East" (as the weathermen call it (a very cold weather from Siberia) hits our part of the country, probably tonight or tomorrow. 
It has brought lots of snow to many parts of UK already.
Time for hot soup and some home baking!

I haven't done any "proper" baking since Christmas and our biscuit jar has been empty for some time; it is time to put something in it!

These are quick and easy biscuits to make.

Besides vanilla I also add some cardamon, to spice them up a little.

The prepared dough is made into a roll, covered with a cling film, then chilled in the fridge.

In the meantime I start preparing the bread.
I usually use the same recipe, but I like to experiment with various mixes of flour, adding some seeds or nuts.

Little kneading ( I know there are all sorts of machines around to do that, but I like to knead my bread by hand).
Cover the dough with my patchwork "baking cloth" and let it rise in the warm kitchen.

While the bread is "doing its thing", out comes the biscuit dough roll from the fridge;
I slice it into rounds, brush with egg white and cover with chopped nuts (I use mixed nuts, not just almonds) and sugar, and bake.

                    before                                                                                               after

The biscuit jar is full again (for a while, anyway ūüėČ).

In the meantime the bread dough has done very well in the warm kitchen; time for "knocking back" and second rising.

 This amount made 3 loaves,
one for now and two for the freezer.
And yes, there was the soup also, 
from the freezer, made a while back.

Job done!

And the kitchen is not only warm, but smells heavenly too ūüėč.

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2018

Sunday, 25 February 2018

last Gardenhurst block

Today is cold, but clear and sunny Sunday; 
last night I finished the last Gardenhurst block.
I left this one to the end for a couple of reasons; when preparing the background fabric, I cut this one too small 
("measure twice, cut once" and all that ūüėí) and because I did not have enough fabric to cut another piece, I had to join a bit to it.  
It isn't probably going to show in the grand scheme of things, but I know it is there .....

Secondly, from the picture you can see that this is where Irene Blanck signed her quilt, but I don't want to do that; 
I prefer to sign my quilts on the back, so I had to slightly "redesign" this block.

So, this is it;
all the blocks will now have to be trimmed to size
(which I forgot about and was very free with the space I used, so it could be a slight problem when joining the blocks together; we'll see...), and I also need to think about the border.
The original pattern has a wavy border, which I don't want. This quilt will hang on the wall and it is easier to hang it with a straight border.

I am very pleased that most of the applique fabrics, and some background fabrics came from my stash.
As for the border, I just might have something in my stash also; I'll see if it works when the blocks are stitched together.........

Thank you for visiting my blog,
I wish you a busy stitching week!

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2018
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