A Quilt Grows in Oregon

My grocery shopping was finished early yesterday, and so I had quite a bit of time for both sewing and housework. I'm not a person who takes housework terribly seriously...except when I was expecting a visit from my mother. She passed away in 1997, so that'll give you some idea how seriously I take my housework these days. In any case, several chores have piled up in the undone pile, and so it came down to a choice between sewing and housework. True to form, I chose both. I negotiated with my Taskmaster Self and decided I could do one sewing task, and then one housework task, and call it good. First, I laid out all the quilt blocks for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. (You didn't think I was going to start with housework did you?)

When I posted this image to Facebook yesterday, a couple of people mentioned the two red hearts side by side close to the middle. Those two hearts were always intended to be placed side by side. They were made by two women who student taught together. Nevertheless, I did end up rearranging the blocks before I started sewing them together. There is quite a bit of red in the quilt, and so I moved some of the more red ones to each of the four corners.

(Insert boring housework chore here.)

When the blocks were suitably arranged, I started sewing them together. I decided that each time I added a row to the whole, I would do another boring housework chore. Here are the first two rows. The sashing strips were cut to 1 1/2 inches, and so there is a one-inch strip between each block and each row. My plan is to put a little wider white border around the whole quilt when it's finished.

(Insert boring housework chore here.)

Before I was finished for the day, I added a third row, and this is where I left it.

There are eight rows, and it so happens I've been blessed with a rainy day. I still have a few more boring housework chores to do, and so it's probably overly optimistic to say that I hope to finish the whole top today. Consider it a little challenge I'm issuing to myself right now.

Just FYI, for this challenge, there'll be no squatting. Only sitting.

It was a good day for taking sewing right to the wire because dinner was easy last night. And, I'm happy to report that I've found yet another way to love the bok choy included in our CSA shares. This is the dish I made last night: Bok Choy Yakisoba. It was so good, we both had thirds, and Mike took the leftovers to work for his lunch today.

The recipe is adapted from one I found on the "Cook With What You Have" website. The original version was vegetarian. I've grown to rely heavily on those whole roasted chickens you can get in the deli section of your grocery store. Ordinarily, I use the breast meat, and then I'm kind of at a loss for what to do with the dark meat. Yesterday I pulled the dark meat from one I had stashed away and threw it into the mix. Also, I increased the amount of sauce to accommodate the extra ingredients. Here's the recipe I used:

Bok Choy Yakisoba

Adapted from Cook With What You Have
Serves 4

8 Ounces Soba Noodles
2 Tablespoons Peanut Oil
6 Scallions -- green and white parts, sliced and kept separate (green parts will be used as a garnish)
2 Cloves Garlic (or Use Garlic Scapes) -- chopped
6 Shiitake Mushrooms -- sliced
1 Head Bok Choy -- stalks cut in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into thin strips and leaves      thinly sliced, stalks and leaves kept separate
2 Cups Shredded Cooked Chicken
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
6 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Mirin (or substitute 3 Teaspoons sugar and 3 Tablespoons water)
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Prepare soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the white parts of the scallions, mushrooms, bok choy stems, and garlic. Stir fry for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add bok choy leaves and chicken and cook for another 30 seconds, or until leaves have wilted. Add drained noodles and stir well. Cook for about a minute to heat up. Add the sauce, stir well and cook for another minute or two. Serve hot, topped with the scallion greens.

My notes about the recipe: Standing in the Asian section of the grocery store, I didn't find any noodles that identified themselves as "soba" noodles. So I Googled it and found that soba noodles are a thin noodle made from buckwheat. Looking some more, I found some thin "wheat" noodles. That seemed close enough to me, and so that's what I used. Also, I have garlic scapes in our CSA share, and so I used that, but garlic would work just as well. As for the sauce, "Mirin" is a Japanese rice wine and it's available in the Asian section of my grocery store. If you can't find it, the substitution will work fine, but I really love the flavor Mirin adds to the dish. Finally, this dish can be made using any meat. I'd like to try it with shrimp, but it would also be good served with no meat at all.

This morning I worked some more on my big stitch hand quilting project. Oy. I've taken to reminding myself how it felt to return to hand embroidery after being away from it for decades. Every stitch felt awkward, and that's how I feel about this. It's impossible to take stitches like this over and over and over again without improving from the practice. For now, it's very slow going. Also, I'm reminding myself that I've committed to working on it for two weeks at a time, and then I'll do something else.

So deep was my concentration this morning that I stitched right across the different sections there at the bottom. Originally my plan was to stitch each different color separately. For now I'm leaving that since I think no one will notice but me. Besides, I'm told that when the Navajo weave their rugs, each rug is woven to include one small flaw so that that any evil spirits residing in the rug will have a way to escape. Certainly, I don't want any evil spirits residing in this quilt. Nevertheless, if when the quilt is finished, it continues to bother me, I'll fix it then. Fortunately, stitching in small sections also means that fixing a section is easy.

Today I need to water the tomatoes in the greenhouse, and then I'll resume my sew-a-little, clean-a-little schedule. Fortunately, I'm reaching the bottom of the pile where housework chores are concerned.

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

Doreen Auger said...

I support your view of housework 100%!!!! That recipe made me so hungry but burgers on the grill will have to suffice! Had to laugh at your "humility stitches"......looks great!

Kate said...

The Live Love Teach quilt is coming together nicely! Hope you've finished all your chores so you can enjoy the weekend.

Christine M said...

Your live love teach quilt is looking great Barbara.

Renee said...

What a great way to spend your day! (I've alternated between stitching and chores, so I can totally relate.) The Live Love Teach quilt is going to be amazing! Love all of the blocks. And, I believe a flaw in a handmade item simply makes it more uniquely handmade. :)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I do the house chore trick, too. The LLT quilt is coming along nicely and your stitching is looking good.

Dana Gaffney said...

It's so great that you're putting the quilt together, you've been working on that so long, I bet you miss the challenge a bit.

gpc said...

The quilt is going to be amazing. Your friends are lucky to have you in their life, this one especially. :) I applaud your approach to life. Personally, I alternate between slacking and making lists of the things I should be doing in between. My brother says I put the lack in lackadaisical.

Celtic Thistle said...

That recipe sounds delicious it is making me feel hungry just reading it :)
Thanks for linking up to New to Me too!