Quilting with Cats

There's never a dull quilting moment when my furry friends are here to help out. What follows is a compendium of cat photos dressed up as quilt photos. First, I moved the hoop on Mumm's the Word yesterday and lo and behold, there was a cat on the quilt...and not just one cat.

When I finished up my last embroidery block, I promised myself I'd work on this hand quilting for two weeks. At this point, I've nearly served all the time in that sentence. I'll probably finish up the two blocks on the right and the cat and then move onto something else. On the bright side, nearly the whole center of this quilt is quilted now. 

After that, I wasn't quite sure what to work on next, but decided to go ahead and finish quilting the Poinsettia Sampler. Then I got it trimmed up and my binding strips sewn together (I used the same fabric from the quilt back). When the binding strips were ready, I turned around for the quilt and saw...oh, well there seems to be an impediment to my pawgress.

But I plied him out of the way with some dried catnip and managed to get the binding sewn on by machine. This morning, bright and early, I had it all finished. When I laid it on the floor to take its picture...uh-oh.

Of course, you've laid this down here so that you can take my picture.

Which do you think is my better side? This one?

Or this one?

And with some purrserverence, I was able to get this shot of it. Actually, I took this one with my phone, and it seems to have achieved the truest color of that red.

Here are a couple of close-ups of the quilting.

I went around the outside with two rows of wavy lines and then a row of holly leaves and berries between the two.

After finishing the quilting yesterday, I got a pretty good start stitching down the pieces for the Barn Quilt. The Invisifil thread is working great. I really like it. It's very fine and strong, and I've had no trouble with it whatsoever...unless you consider the difficulty my eyes have threading my sewing machine with it. I'm using a 60/8 needle, and so I can't use the automatic threader on my machine. The eye of the needle is too small. This one has to be done the old-fashioned way, and my eyesight isn't as sharp as it once was.

Most of the pieces are stitched down now...just the smallest ones remain, and then I'll start filling in details with some machine embroidery thread.

Finally, after a week's wait, the specialty flour I ordered was delivered.

Here's what you need to know about it.

The next bread I'm making is "Artos" which is a Greek celebration bread. I'm starting with the basic loaf. This bread begins with a seed culture made from the pumpernickel flour and water, the idea being that I'll be capturing wild yeast from the environment. For this first of four days, I mixed 1 cup of pumpernickel flour with 3/4 cup of water. Presumably the wild yeast jumped into the mix.

Isn't it weird thinking that there are little yeast beasts floating all around us, lounging around on the surfaces where we eat and prepare our food? I suspect they're listening in on our conversations, hiding our eyeglasses in places we'll never think to look, and ordering fabrics online. Imagine the mischief they can get into. Peter Reinhart, the author of the Bread Baker's Apprentice tells me that they account for the powdery sheen you find on plums and grapes. Yeast...who knew?

So after I mixed that up, I was told the put it into a four cup glass measure and mark the top so that I can see how much it rises. I'll check it again tomorrow, although I've been told not to expect much after just one day.

Tomorrow I'll do something else to it and let it sit for another 24 hours. Isn't this exciting? The seed culture takes four days, and then it will take another two days to make the starter. Then and only then will I be ready to bake some bread. Like I said...it falls somewhere between watching grass grow and watching paint dry. 

Sue and I had dry weather for most of our walk this morning, but it started raining when we were about halfway back. We got plenty wet. I foisted off the last jar of apple pie filling on her, and we also picked the little key chain pouches Sharon V. gifted us. This picture is for you, Sharon, and we sure had fun taking it.

Sue sends her undying gratitude. Surprises are so much fun.

Usually we start at the far end of the trail, but today we started at the opposite end. It's been raining enough that we fear the other end is flooded. This end is more forgiving, and so we parked at the library and then set out. Fanno Creek is running pretty high, but we didn't encounter any flooding.

Neither of us visits this end of town much any more, although I used to live nearby. They've been engaging in some "urban renewal" which mostly seems to involve the purchase of undeniably expensive and seriously ugly art work. Nevertheless, we were smitten with these little sidewalk sculptures. No idea what their purpose is, but we liked them anyway.

Padsworth, this one is for you.

And then I ran some errands, and then I came home. And then I iced my knee, and then I wrote this blog post.

And now, I think I'll take a nap. I've walked over 7 miles so far today, and the day is still young. Definitely...a nap will be good just about now.

14 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lyndsey said...

A little nap seems a good idea. I'm exhausted reading what you've been up to, you certainly pack a lot into your time. Love the cats and quilts photos and the bread sounds interesting.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

You cracked me up!! Glad to see you and Sue together (she looks an awful lot like one of our guild members which really threw me). Yes, my 'furs' have been great squatters of quilts and fabric today too - so helpful. Pumpernickel and Irish Soda Bread - make me weep.

claudia said...

I keep saying to myself I will take a nap, and then never do it. (Throw back from my kid days...Dad told us if the sun was shining we were to be doing "something"...anything. My sleep doctor said a nap is healthy, get over how I was raised!
And so now I know where all those missing socks are! The yeast beasts are taking them, not the washing machine like I originally thought!

Lana Ku said...

Cats and quilts.....or is it quilts and cats...or cats on quilts....or....whichever.....it doesn't get much better! Oh and then top it off with bread talk! Yum....except for the yeast beasts. 😲

Brown Family said...

I remember that Mom used to have bread starter in the fridge. She had some that was potato roles. I wonder what happened to those recopies.

That is interesting about yeast on the plums and grapes! I had always wondered what is was, but not enough to research it!

Quilting Babcia said...

Yeasted breads are so interesting. I'm assuming you can keep this starter going if you really like it, of course then you'd never get around to all the other recipes because there would always be a loaf of bread already hanging around just waiting to be eaten! I really need to resist buying this book and just live vicariously through your bread adventures!

Michele said...

I really love how that quilt turned out.

Debbie said...

Love the yeast detail....floating around us and causing mischief. Indeed they do hop into the batter. I did sourdough this way a few years ago. Your quilting looks great.

gpc said...

Yes, the concept of wild yeast was mind blowing for me when I first learned of it. Magical. :) Love those little sidewalk sculptures!

Dar said...

Great quilting on your quilt. I love that you informed us about the yeast beasts. I make my own Kombucha and I do know that there are yeast 'buddies' in the area and I think mine hang out mostly in the kitchen. I am still resisting getting that book, but it's getting harder and harder to resist. I love most any breads, especially the ones you have been doing. How in the world can you find time to walk 7 miles and still have lots of time left to sew, quilt, bake bread, play with cats, write a wonderful blog post and make dinner for your DH. You are WONDER WOMAN WITH CAPITOL W's


Ohh--I do miss me a cat helping me to quilt, knit, and put puzzles together--and don't forget all the help they give in the kitchen with cooking--
love and laughter, di

Snoodles said...

Ribbit! Looks like my third cousin Hoppity...we heard that he had headed west. He must have posed for that portrait!

Kate said...

Stitching and bread making, you've definitely been busy. Glad you are just about to wrap up your barn quilt.

quiltzyx said...

Smitty & Sadie both look quite good on that color quilt. No wonder they both posed on it.
I never realized that Pumpernickel was "whole rye". And now you're making bread with wild Oregon yeast! Cool!
Fun pic of you & Sue with your key pouches.