Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Using up those fabrics

Lingering after lunch

About a year or so ago we decided to make some small quilts for the childrens' hospice. We have been fairly prolific quilters in the past, and each have a large stash of fabric (show me a quilter who hasn't), so we though we'd use some of it up.

We decided on a bobbin/spool pattern, and to start with we each made as many little blocks as we found time for. When we had made enough to go together attractively one of us would take the blocks home, sew them together, back it and quilt it.

The first pieced quilt and more blocks finished

Then we thought, rather than just meeting up one evening a month, why don't we have a day when we meet together and just work on the little quilts, cutting, machining, sandwiching with wadding etc. in company. These day-time meetings have become great fun, we have made several quilts, made much conversation and generally enjoyed each others company. Until last year daytime meetings were not possible as many of us were still working, but now it is only Anne who is working full time, and as she works term times only we do see her on some of these days.
The hostess for the day makes soup and bread, it's quite a challenge to find a different and interesting soup for each occasion, none of us like lumpy soups. Last time we all met up I have to be honest and say that the weather was so good we sat in Imogen's garden and talked, not a needle was plied, we are full of good intentions for rainy days and winter ones too, but we are considering a picnic for our next day-time event, weather permitting!
Here is my recipe for :-

Spicy Squash and Carrot Soup
Medium-sized butternut squash and carrots equivalent to approx. three quarters of prepared weight of squash.
2 onions.
Ground cumin and small amount of hot chilli powder to taste - or fresh red chilli if you have it
Enough olive oil to lightly coat a shallow roasting tin
Chicken stock, (or cube and water), milk
Roast the vegetables at the top of a hot oven until browned and caramelised. (Carrots may not be cooked all the way through, but will finish cooking in the stock).
Scrape the browned vegetables into a large pan, stir in seasoning, try 2 teaspoonfuls cumin and one half teaspoon chilli powder to start with, you can add more later, swish out the roasting pan with boiling water to make sure you have all the juices and add to the pan with the vegetables. Add enough stock to cover the vegetables comfortably and cook until everything is soft enough to puree.
Dilute with stock and add milk to make it creamier, and to tone down an over spicy soup,check the seasoning, make sure it is not bland, you can heat extra spice in a little olive oil and add to the mixture. Heat to serve, adding salt if you have used home made chicken stock. This should make more than enough for eight.
When I started to make this soup I used Schwartz Moroccan Seasoning, now discontinued, which was a very easy option, but I did use about two dessertspoons for this quantity of soup. There may be other Moroccan style seasoning that would work, Caroline has given me a sachet she bought in Asda, but I have yet to try it in soup. Cumin and chilli works well though.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Caroline, our Quirky Quilter

One Nemo Quilt wrapped around Daughter No. 2

Caroline is the only professional quilter is our group, mad as they come, here is her story of her quilt for Jess.
Thank goodness Nemo is finished!
What a story to tell!
Daughter number 2 asked me if she could have a Nemo Quilt for Christmas. No problem, says I, thinking I could knock up a Lap Quilt in no time. Was I wrong!
No, says Daughter no. 2, I would like to have one that wraps around me! Oh! and don't worry about the material, I will buy it off the Internet so you will not have to pay for it.
Planning ahead, how to use my pattern knowledge, thinks me, easy: - stars, squares, oblongs, no problem.
Material came, oh brother! all that rotary cutting, it took me two weeks before I could even start making the blocks. All blocks done and top pieced took me another 4 weeks, long gone past Christmas I may add.
Trying to iron the 'Darn Thing' with my Jack Russell puppy and my kitten Mr. Tibbs wrapping themselves in it and Moo Cow (puppy) sitting on the bottom of it thinking ' Oh, wot fun!' My temper was not too good...
Then came the sandwich:- Wadding and Backing (I love to pin on the ironing board).
1) Run out of safety pins. 2) Moo Cow sitting on the end of the quilt, dragging it off the ironing board. 3) Mr. Tibbs thinking it is a climbing frame!
FINISHED:- MAY 2007, One delighted customer, 1 Moo Cow in picture, One label on the back.