These are going together so much easier now that I'm cutting the templates in half. I'd made two more and was considering whether to make a third one, and I was feeling pretty smug about crossing off their numbers one by one. Then, I made the mistake of checking the pattern to see how many leaves I'd need to finish off this section (15 of R and 11 of S, in case you're wondering).
In the process, I noticed this:
And since I had completely overlooked this from the get-go, I was rather shocked to discover that flowers and leaves were only the smallest part of what I had left to do. In addition, there is this list of half-square triangles, rectangles, and other assorted shapes.
Well, Smitty and I laid our ears back at that discovery. (I think Smitty was appalled at the four-letter words I uttered.)
Sadie was shocked!
That realization killed my motivation to make any more for the day. When I left off, I'd made this many.
Also, I'd miscounted how many of these I needed. There is one large flower and TEN little ones...and there I was thinking there were ten total. Even though I only miscounted by one, it might as well have been a hundred. I'm determined to finish all the pieces for this quilt at this go-round, but clearly, I won't have them finished before the end of the month. Oh well...no bonus points for me in December.
On a brighter note, the bannetons I ordered arrived yesterday. I'd already done some work on seasoning them when I took this picture.
Mine came with linen liners, but as I was learning more about how to season them for first usage, I realized that people seem to prefer them without the liners. They're formed with cane, and those ridges put decorative ridges on the loaves that are proofed in them. I posted a question on a couple of Facebook bread-baking groups and was given this link to learn more about seasoning and usage. After reading that, I kind of decided to keep the linen liners as a cover to keep them clean when they're not in use. Also, folks swear by rice flour to keep the bread dough from sticking, and so I need to get some of that before I use them.
Since I have no idea how these will perform, I decided I wanted to try them out at least once before January 3rd when those of us participating in the Virtual Sourdough Bake will be baking our loaves of bread. Since I've been maintaining my barm of several weeks ago in the refrigerator, I decided to get it out and make a firm starter today in preparation for trying again to bake two loaves of sourdough tomorrow. Recall that when I tried this before, my very soft dough just wanted to spread out on the baking sheets. That gave me the idea to acquire the bannetons for the final rise.
Also, I'm keeping my second sourdough starter going for the virtual bake, and it's still bubbling away on the countertop. It has lots of bubbles, but I'd like it to see more movement from it. Some of the ones I've seen online look almost like a milky soda with their bubbling action. Here's how mine looked this morning.
I discarded half and then fed it again. Within an hour, I was already seeing bubbles.
Keeping a warm enough environment has been a struggle. I've tried different things. Following the lead of some of my fellow bakers, I tried setting it on a heating pad this morning. The heating pad is set at its lowest setting. After half an hour, the heating pad was only at around 72°F. I tried turning it up to the middle heat setting and checked it about 20 minutes later. It was at 105°F. Yikes! That is too hot, and so I turned it down again. Now I have the whole shebang (with both starters) sitting inside my warming drawer. The warming drawer is too hot to use (around 170°F. when it's turned on), but I'm hoping the heating pad will warm the interior a little more and make the yeast a little more lively. We'll see. It's an experiment, as everything seems to be with bread baking.
Remember my proofing box?
Well, I'm very sad to say that it quit working last time I used it. No warning...it just didn't heat any more. The Resident Engineer applied his probes and plugs to see if he could figure out what was amiss and fix it. Without a schematic, his options were limited, and so he wrote an email to the manufacturer, Brod & Taylor, to see if they would repair it. (It's well past its one-year warranty expiration, but I've only used it about half a dozen times.) They responded quickly and said they would repair and return it at no cost. They just need the base unit and the cord, and so it's boxed up and ready to go to the post office this morning. I'm hopeful it will turn out to be more reliable, because it was working great to provide a warm environment...until it wasn't. Sigh. I'll keep you posted on this.
So with that in mind, I'm heading out to the post office. We're above the clouds here at the Three Cats Ranch, and so I'll get out for a walk today when I get back. Despite yesterday's demoralizing discovery, I'll continue on with the Quiltmaker's Garden. It's something of a grudge match now, and I'm very determined to defeat it.