As for yesterday's sewing, I finished off the final two blocks for the Precision Piecing Challenge. First, the Friendship Star. This is one of my favorite quilt blocks. As it was being sewn together, it occurred to me that it contains all the fun of a pinwheel in the form of a star. You can't beat that.
It was sewn together wrong on the first try, and so I had to take it all apart. It's bad enough to be sewing such tiny pieces. Unsewing them is even worse.
The last block was the good ole' churn dash.
And there they are...all five little blocks. Each one measures 2 inches (unfinished). The smallest pieces were 3/4-inch squares.
It seemed as if I should do something with them, and so I laid them on this piece of fabric from my scrap stash.
And then what could I do but sew them into this little mini quilt. It ended up at 8-1/2 inches square. It's name is "At a Minimum." It'll go into the camper to be used as a hot pad.
It's a little distorted, but I'm forgiving myself since it's only my first attempt at something so tiny. Those little blocks couldn't tolerate much quilting, and so it's quilted with a simple stitch in the ditch and a straight stitch around the inner border. Here's how it looks from the back.
That was kind of fun. As with anything, practice makes perfect. I picked up a couple of mini quilt patterns a while back, and it would be fun to try one of those. It was nice to be able to dig into and use some of the tiniest scraps.
After that, it was time to work on Block 11 of the Solstice Challenge. Being March 1st, I'd already found some fabric for "In like a lion, out like a lamb." For this quilt, it's best to choose fabrics with a small scale, although it's mostly from scraps in my stash.
Block 11 is called "Quilter's Math," and here's the finished block:
That was all the sewing for yesterday. I hadn't intended to spend the whole day sewing, but then....what else am I going to do? Bake bread? Well, actually, I did bake some bread. It's the same loaf I've baked several times now, and since I didn't take a picture of yesterday's loaf, I'm recycling an old picture.
Initially I was thinking of getting the bread to baking stage, and then refrigerating it for baking this morning. It sat in the refrigerator for about two hours, with me checking it compulsively. I was worried it would deflate and be ruined. Eventually, it seemed as if it was better to run the refrigeration experiment on a loaf I wasn't planning to give away, and so I ended up baking it just before dinner last night. It turned out fine, but I do think refrigerating and baking it at a somewhat cool-ish temperature probably reduced the "oven spring." It didn't rise apart where it was scored, but it still has a pretty face. Matthew will be happy with it.
So here are some notes to self about the bread baking. For one thing, I've come to believe that there is an art to bread-baking. What works in my kitchen won't necessarily work in yours, and that goes for the recipes in the cookbooks. After having baked about a dozen loaves, I've figured out the best places for proofing. The proofing box is my first choice, but sometimes there are reasons I can't use it...too many loaves on a large baking sheet won't work, for example, because there isn't enough room. When the proofing box isn't an option, setting the dough on a heating pad (set on low) in a drawer works well. Also, the cupboard above my countertop is fairly warm because there is lighting under the cabinet that warms the lowest shelf. Others have mentioned setting their dough in a turned-off oven with just the light turned on, although I haven't tried that.
Sitting in my refrigerator are two starters that began their lives right around New Year's Day, and so they are two months old now. They require feeding about every fifth day.
Each weighs 300g and so feeding is accomplished by pouring off 150g, and then adding 75g of flour and 75g of water. If I'm planning to bake bread, I save the poured-off portion, let it sit at room temperature, and feed it daily. The more time I give it, the more vigorous it becomes, and the faster the bread rises. It seems to hit maximum vigor about about three days.
So far, I've only been using the white starter, and so I'm feeling guilty about the whole wheat starter. It always looks so sad and lonely sitting there, and so I'm going to try baking a whole wheat sourdough sandwich bread with it. First, however, I'm going to make a second attempt at the peanut butter and jelly bread. (The whole wheat starter won't mind because the PBJ bread uses baker's yeast.) You might recall that my previous attempt at PBJ bread turned into a bread-centered cinder. This time I'm trying a different recipe and hoping for better results. As a bonus, both recipes make two loaves.
In addition to having breakfast with Matthew, it's a grocery shopping day, and so there won't be any time for sewing. On Friday I'll start working on the EI-EI-OH section for And on that Farm.