Slow and Steady

This morning I was hoping I'd have fresh baked loaves of brioche to show you, but it's becoming apparent that my loaves are going to need more time...a lot more time. You might be used to seeing brioche baked in these little fluted pans, as this image from the book shows.

While I've purchased a few specialty items for this bread-baking adventure, I'm trying to avoid purchasing a lot more baking hardware. The recipe says I can make the brioche in loaves, and so that's what I'm going. Besides, it'll be better for French toast that way.

So after sitting in the refrigerator overnight, I divided it into three hunks and made a sad attempt at shaping it into loaves. With such a high butter content, it was a lot like working with cold clay. I kind of stretched them out and folded them in half and then placed them in the loaf pans with the seam on the bottom. 

The book advised a two-hour rise from here, but also said that the larger loaves might take longer. The two-hour timer went off just before I sat down here, and there was barely any discernible change at all. That's okay...I've got all day. I'll just wait them out. Hopefully, by day's end, I'll be baking some bread. Or maybe this will be a complete failure like so many of my other bread baking attempts. I certainly hope I'm keeping you amused with all of this.

I was determined to get back into the sewing room yesterday afternoon. The next block for the Chicken Buffet quilt is all fused now. This one is called "Chicken in a Basket."

It still needs top-stitching, and I'll get to work on that very soon.

Also yesterday, the third challenge for Project Quilting was announced. The new theme is "Tune in to Texture." This is a hard one for me. We're treading mightily on the artistic side of things, and I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. This is all way outside my comfort zone. The first thought that popped into my head was of some Saguaro cactus images I took on a visit to Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona, some years ago.

Surely the thorns on the cactus represent texture, right? But what about the rest of it...and the image as a whole, for that matter. Does it show "texture" or "dimension" or "perspective"? These terms started to confuse me, so I even consulted my friend Google about it. And maybe I'm just over-thinking it. Whatever...I only have a week in which to make the quilt, and so I'm going with my first idea.

I know just what to do for the thorns, but for this to work, I need to do some shading to bring out the depth in the cactus ridges. My fabrics were either too light or too dark, as were my selection of Paintstiks. Again, I'm trying not to invest a lot of money into yet more fabric and more art supplies, and more embellishments. So, in addition to the challenge theme, I've issued a personal challenge to use what I already have in my sewing room. To that end, there are these Paintstiks, and none of them were quite the right color. 

But that's okay, right? Because I'm being artistic! (Cough.) So anyway...I started experimenting with these on the selvage edge of the fabric I chose. It's too light, but let's review, shall we? I'm being artistic! (Cough.)

For one thing, the box says these need 24 hours to dry, and so anything I do with the Paintstiks will need a day to dry before I can move on. Yesterday, I tried various methods of applying them to the selvedge of the fabric. The examples on the right and in the middle were done by applying the tip of the Paintstik directly to the fabric. No amount of rubbing would get rid of the dark spot where Paintstik met fabric, and so I got an idea to apply the Paintstik to something else (in this case, a piece of scrap batting) and then rub it on the fabric. The results were much more what I was trying to achieve there on the left.

That was as far as I took it yesterday because I wanted to see how dry it would be this morning. As it turns out, it still transfers to my fingers if I rub it, but not as much as yesterday. It hasn't been a full 24 hours, and so it seems as if it will dry and be smudge-proof given enough time. 

So next, I used the photograph to create a line drawing directly on the fabric. Some of the lines represent lines of thorns, while the others represent the deep wrinkles in the skin of the cactus. All will be stitched with cotton thread and that will be the extent of the quilting.

Now, I'm giving this overnight to let the paint dry. Tomorrow I'll apply batting to the back, stitch in the lines, and then I'll use metallic threads to straight stitch with hand embroidery all the thorns. When the thorns are complete, I'll add the back, stitch a few more lines, and then bind it. There is only one thing I'm certain about: this is the perfect back for it. 

If I remember correctly, I bought this fat quarter when we were at a quilt shop somewhere in Tucson many years ago.

That's all that's going on in the sewing room for now. This morning I stitched almost through to the last of this star. I should have plenty of time to finish this tomorrow morning, and then there is just a little stitching toward the bottom of the quilt. I might get the quilt center finished as I'd hoped.

Today I'll finish top-stitching the Chicken Buffet block, and then I'll get started on the next section for And On that Farm. Next up are these chickens.

The laundry is started, and there's lots to do today. Keeping my fingers crossed about the brioche. It would help if you would cross your fingers too. Oh yes, and don't forget the linky party for the Bag Ladies of the Fat Quarter Club goes live tomorrow.

Cat Patches

Can't wait to see your progress on that.

15 comments from clever and witty friends:

Linda M @ Pieceful Kingdom said...

I love your photo for the Project Quilting challenge and the fabric looks great. I can't wait to see your finished quilt. I'm opting out of the challenge for this week...I have a project I want to finish quilting this week instead. I hope your bread turns out!

works4me said...

I always look forward to Chicken Buffet. This is going to be such a fun quilt when done.

I admire you for persevering with the bread making. I'm sure it all tastes good, even if it doesn't look quite like the pictures.

As you see, I can now post comments. Thanks for the changes you made. They worked for me. I use Internet Explorer and I think that is the issue as I could post if I tried a different browser. Now, all is well, even in IE.

WoolenSails said...

You really are baking up some great breads. I also like seeing various painting techniques and how they work, nice for adding a little touch or shading.


Lyndsey said...

I have everything crossed for your bread, I keep falling over but the effort will be worth it if your brioche works well. The quilting project is a great challenge and your idea is amazing.

CathieJ said...

I'm wondering if either your yeast is dead or you are making your liquid too warm and thereby killing it. I have made a few breads in my time and only once did I have a lot of trouble with rising and it turned out that my yeast was expired. I like your quilting projects.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Good luck with your bread. The challenge looks interesting and you have a nice start to it.

Kristin in Alaska said...

When I saw your picture for this project, my first thought was to hand tie yarn where the spines are!

Brown Family said...

With all of the beautiful free hand quilting you do,i believe you are very artistic! I have used the paint sticks before but I applied it with a stiff stencil brush.

Dana Gaffney said...

Fingers crossed. So far so good with the cactus and remember using that artistic license means you say at the end "I meant to do that".

Debbie said...

Great cactus! Don't forget to save a bit of that fabric for a circle for your traveling adventure quilt....to be made someday! Remember that you can get depth and perspective with the quilting lines. What is densely quilted down---looks far away. What is left open and puffy appears nearer.

Synthia said...

Okay! My fingers are crossed!!!! Love me some home-made bread.
I'm amazed at your cactus project. You are truly amazing and I can hardly wait to see the end result. :-)

Wendy Tuma said...

Read your post earlier today, but haven't been home until now to comment. I've had fingers, toes and whatnot crossed, hoping your brioche turns out. I've had that happen, so I'm curious of your patience was rewarded. Your quilt progress is just clipping along!

Kate said...

You manage to fit so much into one day. I like the start on the art quilt. For someone who claims not to be artistic you've made some gorgeous art quilts. Hope the bread turned out for you.

Dawn said...

I have made Brioche several times but only in the small pans you mentioned. I've never found a recipe large enough to bake in loaves. I've always hesitated to double/triple a Brioche recipe because in my experience bread recipes do not fair well when doubled, etc. So, where I'm going with this is I am wondering if you would share where the recipe came from so that I might purchase the book or recipe?
While I'm here I want to say that I enjoy your blog which I just sort of stumbled upon recently. I am also a cat lover. We have five wonderful kitties that live with us and we enjoy every single moment with them.
Hope the rest of your week is awesone.

quiltzyx said...

LIAR!!!! You are TOO artistic! Stop selling yourself short girlie. You've done a fab job on too many quilts - the pawtraits as one example - to NOT be artistic. And that's all I have to say about that. Humpf.