Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Baby Blanket Re-visit

The number of babies (new and upcoming) in our family keeps increasing, which means I might have to spread the baby blankets out a bit - rather than 2 4x4 blankets, I will have to make another 4 blocks and make 3 3x4 blankets (but it is important that all cousins have the same sort of blanket, right?)

I have been working on it.  It is a lot of fun to be able to try random, crazy stuff without worrying about the overall impression.  Plus, I can repeat patterns I really like!

I now have:

For this one, I thought I would see how tight a spiral I can make with a walking foot.  Turns out not very.  I decided to fill the space with some spirals.  Kevin thinks it looks unfinished - I may come back to it and put something in the corners.

I just wanted to see if I could do something really easy to fill the space.  I really don't like it - I didn't even bother finishing it when I ran out of bobbin string!  At least I tried...

Pointsettas from Leah Day / 365 Free Days of Free Motion Quilting.  A bit season-specific, but I really liked working on this one.

Another one by Leah Day.  Ok, but I don't like my "beads".

Stomach lining by Leah Day.  Sorry that the chalk is so bright - I could barely see it on the quilt itself!

Some fun...  I'm considering using this one on my Shattered Dishes quilt.  I've done it before, and I really enjoy doing it.

Peacock feathers by Ferret.  I really should learn how to do feathers... but I'm still intimidated.  Apparently this is how she started.

From Machine Quilting: A Primer of Techniques by Sue Nickels - thank-you for the recommendation, Sylvia!  I think I need to work on making really fine squiggles - this is about as small as I can go. 

Another one from Sue Nickels.  This one is really fun and easy.

An old pattern that I have used before (like 5 years ago, when I first tried free motion quilting!).  Now that I know some other patterns, I don't like this one as much!

I am now half-way there.  Like I said, I can start repeating patterns, which is nice - at least for the patterns that I enjoyed!  I still want to master paisley, as well, so there may be some more variations on that one coming.


Sunday, 6 December 2009

Trying to get ready for Christmas...

I'm having trouble getting into the Christmas thing this year.  It could be the nice weather.  It could be that there are more interesting things going on in my life.  It could be that I just really, really don't want to face the yearly trudge to the Toys"R"Us website to get angry about how condescending toys for little girls are.

We got out the tree.  Our cool fiberoptics have burned out.

We tried shopping.  It required a 2-hour nap to recover, and we didn't manage to buy any gifts.

Finally, I decided to make Nanaimo bars: a very, very Canadian Christmas tradition.  And one of my few skills (making them, I mean). 

Since every year someone ends up calling me asking for my recipe, here it is:

1/2 cu. butter or margarine
1/4 cu. white sugar
5 Tbs. cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 cu. graham cracker crumbs (I use crushed digestive biscuits in Britain)
1 cu. coconut
1/2 cu. walnuts (I usually skip this)

Combine everything up to and including the egg.  Put it in the microwave and cook (stirring frequently) until it has the consistency of custard.  Then mix in the other ingredients, and press into a 9x9" pan.

Make vanilla frosting/icing as you usually do, but add 2 Tbs. of custard powder.  Spread over the base.

1/8 cu. butter / margarine
1 cu. chocolate

Melt the chocolate and butter.  Spread over the frosting.  Let solidify partially, and then cut into 1" squares.

Keep in mind the better the extremes between the bitterness of the chocolate layers and the sweetness of the frosting layer, the better they seem to go over!

To add a bit of a quilting flavour, when I made these for the Cambridge Quilter's Summer dinner, an elderly lady took the last one and wandered around the rooms asking, "Who made this?".  I admitted to it with trepidation, but she sat down next to me and demanded the recipe.  They really are that good!