I Make Bread

The other evening Husband and I were on a hot date to the grocery store. You understand that is sometimes how it is after nearly 20 years of married life.  We were wandering along when he said, “I left my glasses in the car.  Surely that doesn’t say $5.39 a loaf.”  It did say $5.39 on the little tag under the loaf of bread he was pointing to.

“That,” I replied, “Is why I make our bread.”

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Beside that, it makes the house smell good and gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.  And, it only costs about a $1/loaf.

Here is my basic recipe.

BASIC, GOOD BREAD

Makes four loaves (easily make two with a half recipe–good for rolls, also)

4 c warm water

2/3 c sugar

4 c whole wheat flour (You can make with all white flour, too, or even a higher proportion of whole wheat.)

2 T yeast

2/3 c vegetable oil

1-1/2 T salt

1/2 c powdered milk

6 c all purpose flour

Mix first four ingredients.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Then add the remaining ingredients to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth.  Let rise until double.  Divide into four sections. Shape each section into a loaf and place in greased pans.  Let rise.  Bake in preheated 375F  oven for 35 minutes.

If I make this while people are at home, one loaf gets eaten right away, hot with butter and jam or honey.  One is for sandwiches and the other two are frozen for later in the week.

If you want to have the fancy tops, score with a sharp knife just before putting in the oven.

Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM Preview

***GIVEAWAY CLOSED***

WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED

SEE YOU BACK HERE NEXT WEEK WITH THE BLOCKS!

Just to get you really fired up, Jacquelynne is sponsoring a Blog Hop showcasing the many variations being created based on her Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM pattern.  Yes, I am one of those lucky people.  Yay me!

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While I loved the pattern, the color scheme didn’t meet my needs right at the moment.  What do you think of these colors instead?  I pulled all sorts of dark blue, green, brown and gold fabrics to make a scrappy, masculine quilt.  The background is a creamy off-white.  I am so excited to see the blocks come together.

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You can join us.  Just visit the Art of Home to sign up. The first block pattern will be released October 27–you have time.  Just sign up and decide:  Do you want to make 4 blocks or 6?  Or, like me, make a couple of each and create a larger quilt?  (We’ll see how that turns out as we go along.)  And, there are more fun decisions to make:  Do you prefer straight piecing?  Applique?  Embroidery?  Yes, there is a variation just for you.

And giveaways, too.  Books, fabric, thread–who doesn’t need more of those?! In fact, let’s have a giveaway RIGHT NOW.  Jacquelynne is sponsoring a giveaway of her patterns–which are wonderful.  Leave a comment to get your name in the hat for a Digital Pattern Bundle worth $40.   I’ll draw the winner Monday, October 20, only a week before this great sew along gets started.

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Stop by regularly to see the blog hops scheduled throughout the project to keep you inspired.  Everyone is doing something different and interesting.

Great project.  Fun times.   Plenty to see and do.  Sounds SWEET to me!

Help Name This Quilt

This is a new little project that just happened to happen in the sewing room this past week. The scraps had been sitting around, and the idea came. But, no name came with them…very sad, a little nameless quilt.

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I plan to write a tutorial for the pattern. What shall we call it? Please share your best ideas…this quilt does not want to be just called “Quilt” for the rest of its life.

To help with the process, it is 37″ square–appropriate  for a baby wrapper or table topper.

Thanks! I have the best readers in the world. You are sure to come up with something perfect.

More Information On Charitable Quilt

I, too, was pleasantly STUNNED by the amount of money raised by the quilt/pillow set that was donated to a local charity.  I had set a reserve of $200, feeling that it should make that much or I would donate cash and give the quilt away.  Yes, giving away something people can’t afford to buy makes perfect sense to this quilter.

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My original understanding was that the format was a silent auction, but they did something different this year.  People attending the event (lunch or dinner) could purchase raffle tickets.  I think they were $1 each or 6/5$.  Then, they put the tickets in a jar by the item they were interested in.  If the jars (quart Mason jars) became full they were emptied into boxes in the back room.

People seemed very willing to spend one dollar, or even five dollars, to get a chance at something they wanted.  According to the event organizer, at the end of the evening $2140 was spent on raffle tickets and a very happy person got to take a quilt home.

As the maker of the quilt, I am thrilled.  While I was willing to make a donation, I could not possibly donate $2140.  But, you can bet I am already considering what I might be able to share next year. :)

If there are further questions, please let me know and I will try to answer them.  Maybe a format of this type would work in your area, too.

More Than Worth It

A while back I mentioned that I donated a quilt to a local charity.

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The results came back today:

$2140.

I’d say that was more than worth it.

TUTORIAL: Spool Shuffle Quilt

This quilt will use the narrowest strips of scraps you can’t bear to throw away.  Dig out that bag or box of skinnies and make a sewing treasure.

SPOOL SHUFFLE QUILT

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36″ x 36″

MATERIALS

scraps–some at least 1″ wide and 3-1/2″ long.  Get out that bag or box of skinnies

2/3 yard for spool bodies and binding (here brown)

1-1/2 yard background (here white)

1-1/8 yard backing

batting at least 40″ x 40″

CUTTING DIRECTIONS

1. Set aside a bunch of skinny scraps at least 3-1/2″ wide.  You might want to sort by color.   If you are cutting, 6 pieces 1″x 3-1/2″ will nearly exactly make the “thread” part of each block.

2. Set aside a bunch of skinny scraps 1″ wide.  Enough to make 130″ for the narrow colored border.

3. Cut 50 rectangles 1-1/2″x 4-1/2″ for the spool bodies.  They can be all one color, or, here I used two different browns to give subtle variation and interest.

4. From background cut: 100 squares 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″ (stitch and flip on the spool bodies), 50 rectangles 1-1/4″ x 3-1/2″ (sides of the spools), 5 rectangles 1-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ (sashing), 25 rectangles 2-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ (sashing), 6 strips 1-1/2″ x 31-1/2″ (sashing), 2 strips 2-1/2″ x 32-1/2″ (outer border), 2 strips 2-1/2″ x 36-1/2″ (outer border).

CONSTRUCTION

1.  Let’s make the spool blocks first!  I sorted my scraps by color, deciding what the colors would be as I went along, but you could also do one to match your sewing room, or in significant colors for a special someone, or, and I really want to try this some day, a monochromatic one that shades from lightest to darkest scraps–wouldn’t that be striking?!

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The scraps need to be small strips at least 5-8″ wide and 3-1/2″ long.  I used mostly straight cut strips, but angled ones would give a desirable wonky effect.  I also settled on mostly strips about 1″ wide.  Six such strips make a good block.

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For each spool block you  will need your colored strips, two 1-1/2″x 4-1/2″ rectangles (brown), four squares 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″ (background), two rectangles 1-1/4″ x 3-1/2″ (background).

2. Stitch together enough small strips to make a section at least 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″.  I give a little extra wiggle room on the width because your ends might not match up exactly and this allows you to trim the block square.

3. Square up the block to 3″ wide by 3-1/2″ tall.  This will be the thread section of your spool block.

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4. Using a 1-1/2″x 4-1/2″ rectangle and two 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″ squares, put the squares on the corners of the rectangle as shown, one on each end.

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5. Stitch along the diagonal

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6. Trim off the outer corners 1/4″ away from the stitching.

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7.  Iron open.

8. Repeat for the other half of your spool body.

9. Using two 1-1/4″ x 3-1/2″ rectangles and your colored spool body, stitch one rectangle to each side of the spool.  Press open.  Stitch the prepared spool ends made above to the top and bottom of the spool body.  Press open.

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10.  Ta-dah!  You have made a darling spool block.  It should be 4-1/2″ wide and 5-1/2″ tall.

11.  Repeat 25 times.  I had such a good time sorting fabric and playing with color.  If you look closely at the quilt you will see, for instance, that there are three green blocks, but they are different greens.  One  limey, one mossy and one more up-the-middle hunter green.  The blues are similar in their differences.  I enjoyed the challenge of matching-without-matching.  Enjoy yourself.  Quilting is supposed to be FUN!

12.  After you finish the blocks, have a really good time sorting and arranging all those beautiful gems.  Once you have a 5 x 5 arrangement that pleases you, it is time to join them up.

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13. Each row requires one  1-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ rectangle and five 1-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ rectangles of background fabric.  These are your sashing.  Starting with the narrow background rectangle on the left, alternate background and blocks, ending with a wider piece of background on the right.

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14.  The next row should be the opposite layout.  Again you will need one  1-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ rectangle and five 2-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ rectangles of background fabric, but this time start with a wide piece and end with a narrow one.  Alternate assembly order each row.  This is what makes the spools shuffle in the end. Hopefully the pictures help to make this step clear.  I am also open to suggestions.

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15.  Using the six strips of background 1-1/2″ x 31-1/2″, join the rows to assemble the top, with a strip top and bottom and between each row. I intentionally made these strips one long piece to further the offset appearance of the blocks.  More shuffle! You may, however, want to sew each time for the opposite direction to keep the entire top square and not distort it.

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16.  Time to make the scrappy border.  Using scraps 1″ wide and a few inches long, sew together enough to make two strips 1″ x 31-1/2″ and two strips 1″ x 32-1/2″.

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17.  Attach the two shorter pieces to the sides and the two longer pieces top and bottom.

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18.  Time for the final border.  Using the background strips 2-1/2″ x 32-1/2″ and  2-1/2″ x 36-1/2″, attach the shorter pieces to the sides and the longer pieces to the top and bottom.

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19. Ta-dah!  You have finished a Spool Shuffle Quilt.  Isn’t it darling!

ps–See that yellow “used” spool in the lower right?  It was my ugly orphan block.  I just recut the spool body and used it anyway. If you want to imitate the look, the body decreases to  2-1/2″ wide and the background strips increase to 1-1/2″ wide on that block.  Sneaky me!

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SPOOL SHUFFLE GALLERY

…your beautiful creation HERE!

Spools Top Complete

It isn’t very large and it isn’t very fancy, but it makes a quilter heart happy!

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The spools top is complete.

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Thanks to all of you who shared ideas on the border. After much debate, a single narrow border of scrap strips seemed best. I do like the result.

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I am working on the tutorial now. If you like what you see and want to try one too, get out your little scraps and start sorting colors. That was my favorite part of the quilt–just playing with fabric!