Monday, 20 October 2014

The HST Glut Is Further Reduced

I looked at my sewing space today and my eyes landed on yet more HSTs that were a bi-product from projects long since finished. Today I tackled more of the Denyse Schmidt HSTs leftover from the Fruit Loops quilt I made for my niece.

Still on yesterday's no pinning kick I made quick work of sewing them together in a replica of a cushion I made from this same HST glut before the summer holidays.

I am finding my ability to get points to match is about equal without pins as it was with pins - in other words some thrill my heart and others I glare at in outrage. This doesn't mean that there aren't times when pins are essential in my sewing but it does prove to me that I may not have to use them as much as I have previously, and it is mind boggling how much time is saved when you don't bother.

I started this project about 11:30am and it was finished by 2pm. This is great for me as I can usually make a project drag out for days, if not weeks, months, and occasionally years.

This cushion will be a house warming gift for a friend of mine on the Isle of Wight. I backed it with some pink corduroy I had leftover from the recent LPQ quilt. As per usual, I whack the zipper in as a colour 'feature' rather than trying to hide it. I like the bold bit of colour slashing across the back. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I've an idea of what I want to tackle tomorrow. I am a little behind in the gift making department. And the bee block making too. Let's see how much time the world allows me to belly up to my machine and just get on with it.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Don't Tell The Quilt Police!

I had a lot of the 'necessary' to do today so when I finally had some spare time to sew I wasn't in the mood for rules. I just wanted to play. So I picked up the HSTs that were offcuts from Paper Snowflakes and chose a pattern I liked. And I pieced. I just sewed those little buggers together, without pinning or pausing.

This was about relaxing and enjoying myself, not about perfect points. Some of them worked out fine, but others? Well, just don't look too closely.

Don't get me wrong. If this was for someone else, I would have been taking it a lot more seriously and done my best to get those points just right. But this was for me, for fun. Perfection wasn't on my list of requirements at all.

Once I piece this cushion cove to be, I dug around for some backing fabric, and instead found some fusible fleece. Excellent as that meant no need for fabric to back the block. Quilting commenced forthwith.

A quick spiral, where I got the centre right for the first time ever. I drew on the start of the spiral with a water soluble pen and stitched the beginning with my free motion foor, the one with the open front so I could switch over to my walking foot when I had enough of a start. Why have I never done this before? Why?!

Despite a weekend of doing 'real' work (Ha! Like motherhood and sewing isn't enough.) it was nice to get some fabric time in. It's good for the soul.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Paper Snowflakes

Two fabrics in a quilt. Only two fabrics in a quilt. And those fabrics being solids. This is so out of my comfort zone, which is usually the school of  'the more you throw at it the merrier mode of sewing'.

But I am happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone. Paper Snowflakes measures up at approximately 78" square. I have an idea for the backing. The question of how to quilt it on my domestic machine is boggling my mind though.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

One brick block short of a full load finished quilt top.


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

In The Interest Of Science I Made A Cake

Two weekends ago I took a cake I had made to the Brit Bee Retreat. It proved to be a hit with the others and they asked for the recipe. It was a recipe I had used before, from my Pinterest boards. I had never had a problem with it. Well, some of the others have made it and there has been a varied success rate resulting.

It's a cinnamon roll cake and the recipe is very simple in that you put all the ingredients, bar one, into the mixer and combine, and then add the melted butter, combine and the job's done for the batter.

You then make a mixture of butter, sugar, flour and cinnamon and dot it all over the top.

Take a skewer and swirl it through the topping and batter, cutting that cinnamon through the cake but not too much. You to be able to distinguish one from the other still.

When it comes out and has sat for a moment you will have molten craters of cinnamon goodness, and while the cake is still warm you drizzle on an icing.

So what went wrong for some of my friends? First up a mistake by me. I pinned the recipe - twice. The recipes look exactly the same but they are not. One has more butter in the cinnamon mixture, tells you to cook it longer and insists on a glass baking dish. This is not the recipe I have used, but unfortunately the one that did get used by Sarah. Sorry Sarah! I've deleted the recipe from my pin board now. A little too late for you unfortunately. The other slip up in the making involved plain flour and self raising flour. This recipe definitely uses plain flour. Apparently self raising works. It just makes it puff up more and a lot fluffier in the eating.

Sarah also had a problem with the cinnamon mixture bubbling up and caramelising. I can only presume that this was due to the added butter in the mixture for the recipe she used, and the longer cooking time given by that blogger.

So my conclusions, if you ever want to use this recipe - and really you should as it is very yummy indeed despite the problems - are the following:

- a glass baking dish is neither here nor there but having a baking pan that is big enough is. This is a big cake, a sharing cake. You need a 9" x 13" pan, or one of comparative size.

- the baking time for the recipe I use is 28-32 minutes. It could use a minute or two more but if you leave it for longer you are in danger of the caramelising thing happening with the cinnamon mixture around the edges of the pan. Not that I don't mind a bit of caramelised cinnamon mixture mind.

- if you are used to using weight measurements instead of cups then my books tell me that 3 cups of flour equals 15ozs in weight. And 1 cup of sugar equals 8ozs. That being said I weighed the flour I measured before putting it in the mixing bowl and my scales told me I had 18ozs. I do not sift my flour. Can. Not. Be. Bothered. This may have influenced the weigh scales. If you don't have American style measuring cups then you might want to invest in some.

- I think that the full amount of the icing is too much. But that's just my subjective opinion.I like sugar but enough is enough. I make about 3/4 of the amount indicated and am happy with how much icing I have.

- 350F = 180C = Gas 4 = 160C fan oven

I hope this does away with any confusion. After all this, if you are curious, and hungry - here is the recipe. 

You know that it has to be a pretty good cake if four of my friends went home and made it less than a week after having it at our retreat. It's like chocolate flapjacks. Addictive.