Friday, October 17, 2014

Back in the saddle!

I am back in the hand quilting saddle, and loving it! I was inspired by Sujata over at the Root Connection (she has a new book!), and also by Tim Latimer (see his blog here. So far I have completed hand quilting a set of coasters, and a small pillow top. 

This is an OLD project, called a bulls-eye quilt, I think. You can judge the age by all of those plaids and stripes that were popular many moons ago.  I do love this quilt, even though it is somewhat dated.  But something Sujata said - about how all of your quilts, made over the years, are all a part of you...I really love that, and it is so true.  I was looking for another hand quilting project, and was going to make some kind of new, small project - in my spare time...but then I remembered this quilt top.   Sometimes what you are looking for is right in your own backyard, right Dorothy? (Wizard of Oz reference)
I am quilting in a hoop, with very few pins for basting, as Tim does.  I am using a wool batt, perle cotton #8, and a Big Stitch needle.

Another Tim was keeping me company while I quilted - Tim Gunn from Project Runway.  Anyone else out there a fan?

One block finished in less than an evening! I am loving this!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

New Recipe - It's a Keeper!

Just tried a new recipe (found in the Chicago Tribune) - Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples - and all I can say is wow, you must try this!  If you had this at a restaurant, you would go back!

As you can see, Scott and devoured half of one the tenderloins for lunch today! 
SPICED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH ROASTED APPLES

3 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. allspice
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T. maple syrup
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each ( bought one package, about 2-3/4 pounds, and it had 2 tenderloins inside)
4 tart apples (I used 3 large Gala apples))
1/4 c. white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
1.    Oven to 425. Combine olive oil, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt and maple syrup in a large bowl. Add tenderloins and toss to coat.
2. Heat large oven proof skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add enough oil to just coat the surface; then brown tenderloins on all sides.
3. Meanwhile, toss apples in the bowl with any remaining spice coat. When meat is seared, remove pan from heat. Scatter apples around tenderloins.
4. Put pan in oven; roast 20-25 minutes or until desired doneness.
5. Remove pan from oven and transfer meat and apples to platter or cutting board to rest. Place pan on stove over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any browned bits. Stir in chicken broth and simmer until reduced by about 2/3 and slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Removed pan from heat; stir in butter bits to further thicken sauce and add a nice sheen.
6. Gently toss apples with sauce to coat; place apples on platter. Slice tenderloins; arrange with apples.
NOTE: I doubled all of the spices because, after I mixed them in the bowl, it didn’t look like enough.  The result was great! Also:  I omitted the salt, because of my dietary limitations, and I did not miss it. Scott added a bit of salt to his plate at the table.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Getting it all together! Sewing quilt blocks together tutorial

How to sew all of your quilt blocks together - accurately, and without using pins. 
A friend of mine, Wanda over at Exuberant Color taught me this method years ago.  She has many tutorials on her excellent blog, including one on this subject, but I thought I'd try creating a tutorial of my own.
Step 1 - Lay out all of your blocks for your quilt, either on the bed, or the floor, or on your design wall. Then, take all of the blocks in the far left vertical row and put them in a stack, with the top row block on top of the stack. Are you with me so far? (sorry forgot to take a picture of that! top photo shows blocks sewn together)

Step 2 - Here are my vertical rows, carefully pinned together.  I place the pins at the top edge of the blocks, so I remember the orientation.  And since I have to remember when is Row 1, Row 2, and so on, I just use that number of pins.  You could label them any way you wish, but just do it!

Step 3 - Sitting at your sewing machine, start sewing together the top block from Row 1, and the top block from Row 2, right sides together.  Here is Row 2 waiting patiently. Continue until you have chain-pieced all the blocks from Row 2 onto all the blocks from Row 1, top to bottom. No pressing yet.

Step 4 - Start adding the Row 3 blocks, starting with the top row. Above - the first block of Row 3 in place, as it will look in the quilt. To sew to the block at the left, flip it over to the left, like you're turning a page in a book.

Step 5 - This shows after I've flipped that first block over, and lined up the edges - ready to sew.  Lower the presser foot and the needle and take a few stitches, stopping with the needle down.  Then I grasp the other end of the blocks and hold tightly, and sew to the other edge.  This will ease in anything that needs easing! (notice, no pins!)

Step 6 - Keep adding vertical rows of blocks, top of the quilt to the bottom.  Don't cut those little chains of thread between the horizontal rows!

Can you see the thread chain between the horizontal rows?

Step 7 - After all of the vertical rows are assembled, go over to the ironing board.  Press the seams in opposing directions, as shown.  NOTE: Although I am showing you the wrong side in the photo above, I always press from the right side, for the best accuracy and appearance.
Step 8 - Sew all of the horizontal seams.  For this, you can use the same "no pinning" method, or you can pin to match the seams.  The fact that you pressed the seams in opposite directions makes it easy to match the seams and sew accurately.  Sorry I don't have  a picture of this step.  Then I press the horizontal seams either all up, or all down - so I can sew the two parts of the quilt together easily, and those seams just nestle together nicely. 

This is the first section of my zigzag quilt, assembled and pressed.  I decided to sew it in two sections, and then I will sew the two large sections together.
I hope this makes sense, and that you will try this method.  It works for small blocks, like in this quilt, or  of course for a quilt with larger blocks.  It also works with a quilt block with many pieces, like a 16-patch block.  

Balance, New Quilter, 4th of July

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