A Good Day

It was one of those rare days when everything goes right. Some days you just have the Midas touch. No gold was produced, unless you count this golden loaf.

When I left you yesterday, it had been rising for a couple of hours on its final 5-hour rise. It looked like this.

Just before I plopped it into the Dutch oven to bake, it had risen over the top of the basket. I'm so proud of my robust starter!

These artisan breads are scored to make them look pretty, but functionally, scoring keeps the bread from exploding. It's scored for the same reason you stab a potato with a fork before baking it. Scoring isn't as easy as it sounds. I've read different techniques for getting nice clean cuts. When my sharp paring knife wasn't working well, I decided to invest in a lame (prounounced luh-MAY). Even with this very sharp tool, I haven't had a lot of luck getting a nice line on the bread. Usually, the blade just drags across the top of the loaf, pulling the dough as it goes. Yesterday, the bread had a nice dry, tight skin, and the cuts looked like this just before I lidded the pot and put it into the oven. Whoa. I had a very good feeling about this.

When it came out of the oven...gorgeous. It's the closest I've come to a perfect loaf. 

It was an hour-long (emphasis on the "long") wait before I could cut into it. Finally...

It doesn't have the large holes I'm trying to achieve. Partly, I think, its density is due to the whole grain flours that were used. At first bite, I could really taste the rye flour, but then it seemed not so strong. Anyway...this set the stage for a really good day.

While I was waiting for the bread to rise, I finished off the quilting on Stars and Stripes. Recall that I had this much to go:

It amounted to about five short rows of quilting and, with one final star, it was finished. Wahoo!

It took approximately three seconds for the cat to arrive when I laid it out on the floor. His response time gets slower and slower.

He wasn't inclined to move, and so I took a few pictures around him.

I'm probably about to show you more pictures than you ever wanted to see.

Check it out, Sadie!

It's really soft! You should come see fur yourself!

When he moved for just a second, I took advantage of the opening and flipped it to the back side.

I'm going to try out your bathing technique, Smitty. I agree with you that quilts make excellent bath mats.

That's true, Sadie. Cleanliness is next to godliness; but then, everybody knows cats are already bordering on godliness, and so it hardly matters.

It's one of just a few quilts I've made where the back turned out as pretty as the front.

This one does a good job of showing off my tummy furs too. I think this will make an excellent backdrop when I run for purresident.

Here's my one stab at showing off the quilt top. Try to ignore the cat.

Here's the pieced back. Sorry for the blur. I was standing on the coffee table in my slippers, holding onto the ceiling, and leaning out to get the whole thing. I was trying not to fall...and not doing a very good job of it.

Oh yes, and remember the hole? I doubt the quilt police will ever see this. After a while, I'll forget about it too.

I took out the quilting in that spot, then put a little swatch of blue fabric between the quilt top and the batting to reinforce the fabric. Then I zigzagged wide and dense back and forth across the hole. Then, I requilted that spot. You can see how it looks from the back in the image below. It was just a happy accident that it ended up on the blue section.

Then I sewed on the binding, and got to work hand-stitching. A journey of 270 inches begins with a single stitch.

A few minutes later, I turned the first corner.

And that's where I'll pick up when I finish writing this post.

At day's end, even the kitties were feeling satisfied. And this is a first. This little scratching post sits next to the fireplace downstairs. Smitty ordinarily claims it as his domain, and he will defend it aggressively. When we went downstairs, we saw this.

He's still the Top Cat, but at least he'll share. They are playing together regularly now, and becoming fast friends. It's good to see them coming closer, and Sadie seems more comfortable in her new forever home every day.

If you can believe it, I haven't yet had my slice of bread, toasted with butta. I think it's time to get to work on that, don't you?

22 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lana Ku said...

Love that the cats have become so comfortable together. Your patriotic quilt has turned out beautiful. Really like the quilting pattern. Perfect! And I REALLY want a slice of that fresh baked bread!

Debbie said...

The bread texture looks great. I can smell it here:) Yay for the quilt finishing. It looks great too!

Elaine Walker said...

Love the quilting you did on this star quilt. The wavy lines work so well with your stars. Bread looks wonderful.

Quilting Babcia said...

You can bake bread for us anytime! And I love the way this quilt has turned out - fabulous quilting.

Vicki W said...

I love the quilting motif you used on that quilt. It's perfect!

quiltzyx said...

I don't know how you waited so long before you cut into the bread! You have more self-control than I do, that's for sure. :)
Stars & Stripes looks great! One of my favorites of yours, to be sure.

Sandra W said...

Great job all round. I love seeing photos of the furry duo. It's amazing how they are attracted to quilts.

Barb H said...

Barbara, I'd say your bread IS perfect! The texture is so even, not smooched together toward the bottom but even throughout the slice. I can hear you Yummmming as you bite into it! Oh, your quilt looks nice too. :) LOL

Beverly Wood said...

A very good day was had by all. I just love your quilting. It makes the quilt for sure.

Kristin in Alaska said...

I wonder if an ulu would work well for scoring the bread dough? (I just suggest not getting the inexpensive souvenir ones, as they're not good quality)

claudia said...

Wow! A winner day all the way! The quilt turned out fantastic. I still had to look for a while to see where you had fixed it!
That bread turned out excellent looking!
As for the cats...it's good they are starting to share the kitty condo, soon you won't be able to separate them and they will be scheming against you!

WoolenSails said...

The bread looks delicious and the quilt is beautiful, really love how you used the special thread and design on it and I see the kitties love it too.


Brown Family said...

Beautiful Quilt and bread. It is so nice to see two kitties getting along so well

Gretchen Weaver said...

Your bread looks so good! I'd like my slice with some orange marmalade please. Your quilting is lovely on the quilt. My machine quilt isn't that advanced but I have conquered swirl quilting! villacrestfarm@gmail.com

Wendy Tuma said...

Oh my, that bread looks amazing! Well done! I finally purchased a lame and it made such a difference. It's one of my necessary bread tools now. The quilt looks so nice. I had to really look to see the fix on the top. Love you two cute kitties.

Dana Gaffney said...

That quilt turned out beautiful! I especially love the little stars in the corners of the sashing, that was a perfect touch.

Teresa in Music City said...

What a satisfying day! You were Susie Homemaker for a day LOL!!! Cats happy, quilting completed, bread fresh out of the oven filling the air with yummy tempting aromas, and a quilt in your lap for binding at the end of the day. Can't ask for better than that!

Susan said...

The quilt looks as good as the bread. Now all you need to do to throw off the quilt police is to go and make a few more of those wide, dense zigzags in a few more places. That will make them think it was meant to be that way :-)

SJSM said...

What a day! The bread looks like it was worth the days it took to make. The quilt! That quilt is so beautiful! Is it yours to keep or are you giving it to a veteran? Either way, it will be appreciated by whomever puts their body under it.

If I ever get my sewing life as organized as yours that would be a quilt I'd give to my brother for his service to our country. You are an inspiration!

FairviewFarm said...

Oh happy day, another finished quilt! Hopefully the resident furry quilt police will cooperate when you want to take a picture after it's bound.

Kate said...

Very impressive bread baking skills! The quilt turned out beautifully, the quilting works so well with the theme. Glad to see the kitties getting along so well.

Celtic Thistle said...

Lovely quilt and a delicious looking loaf, it was definitely a good day on Three Cats Ranch Barbara!