Disappearing Nine-Patch for a Wedding

Well, I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I have been sewing! My best friend from college got married this past weekend, and I couldn’t resist sewing up a quilt to celebrate the occasion.

Untitled

Tiggy and her fiance Jonathan are both in grad school working on doctorate degrees in history, so I wanted the quilt to be the right size for curling up with on the couch with a book. The quilt measures 64×56– not huge, but a nice size for the living room.

McLaughlin Quilt

I used a simple disappearing nine patch block, which creates a fun patchwork effect from a pretty simple block. Tiggy’s favorite color is green, so I tried to incorporate a good bit of it in the quilt– I used a few green fabrics, green binding, and green thread for the quilting. I included a bunch of other colors to make the quilt bright and modern, even though I used a number of traditional fabrics. The lovely Sarah Russett quilted this for me. I’m still a little scared to quilt a quilt this size on my machine!

Nine Patch Mosaic

The wedding weekend was a lot of fun, and it was great to be a part of Tiggy and Jonathan’s special day.

Posted in Stitch | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Lucky Stars

I posted one of my Lucky Stars Block of the Month blocks in January, but a few months have passed and I’ve made a few more blocks. These blocks are foundation paper pieced, one of my favorite methods of sewing up blocks with sharp, precise angles.

January:

January Lucky Stars Block of the Month

February:

February Lucky Stars Block of the Month

March:

Ninja!!

April:

April's Lucky Stars Block of the Month

I got a little behind in April, but am planning on sewing up my May block before June. Despite my love of paper piecing, I’ve only ever made blocks and am really looking forward to a finished quilt out of these blocks at the end of the year. I’ve been trying to use coordinating fabrics so that the blocks all work well together.

Elizabeth’s blocks come in two sizes, 6.5″ and 12.5″, so when I’ve had time I’ve sewn up a few baby blocks that I’m planning to use to help make the quilt a nice throw size. I’m planning to put the blocks on point (rotated 45 degrees to they stand up, like they are in the picture below)– I just love the effect of rotating them a bit!

Pretty much obsessed with the idea of a quilt full of stars on point. #luckystarsbom

Everyone has been sharing their photos in Elizabeth’s Flickr Group and it’s really fun to watch people sew up the same block with so many different fabrics. Stay tuned for more blocks!

Posted in Stitch | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Instagramania!

Hi there! I’m not even sure where to start. I haven’t posted in months, which is sad, and I’m not sure I can get this place completely caught up overnight, but I did want to check in. I know I haven’t been updating Stitch & Simmer, but my sewing and cooking life is alive and well over on Instagram. If you’re so inclined, you can follow me @yespositively.
That being said,, the one drawback of Instgram is that all of my sewing photos wind up cellphone quality, even when I wish I were taking photos with my snazzy DSLR, which I am still learning how to use. I’m hoping to become more diligent about pulling it out and taking nice photos of my projects, but in the meantime I do want to continue posting.

It's official. I have sewing ADD. #swoon

In March I began working sewing up some Swoon blocks using the lovely Camille Roskelly’s pattern. The blocks are a pleasure to sew up and measure just over 20″ square. The blocks are really quite simple and use two of my favorite quilt blocks — half square triangles (HSTs) and flying geese — to construct the block.

Swoon Progress

I’ve sewn up seven to date which leaves two go to! I tend to have a few projects in progress at once, so I’ve been making these blocks slowly but surely. They truely are a nice project to sew up, particularly if you have some smaller scale (read: smaller pattern) fabrics you’re looking to use and want a bright, summery quilt! Katy (I’m a Ginger Monkey) started a Flickr group for people to share their Swoon blocks. It’s great quilting eye candy and inspiration.

Well, I might have an addiction.

In the meantime, I’ve also sewn up a few small zipper pouches. These are a pleasure to sew and sew up quickly, and sometimes quilters need a little gratification between long projects.

That’s all I have for now– I went to a great sewing retreat last weekend that I really want to share with you, but I’m off to do a little homework. I’ll be back soon (much sooner than three months, I promise!).

Posted in Stitch | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Room for Squares Grey & Yellow Quilt Top

Room for Squares Quilt Top

Today we *finally* got some snow in Chicago. I took the opportunity to stay in and work on a patchwork quilt. Grey and yellow have been all over the blog world lately and I decided to get in on the action. I start putting together a little stack of fabrics and became completely fixated on including pink in the mix. I added the purple feathers later (when I cut out more squares to make it bigger) and couldn’t be happier with the final mix.

Plotting. I think I'm in love.Square happy. #quilting

I cut out a nice big stack of 6″ squares and put together a simple patchwork. Squares are pretty simple compared to some of the smaller piecing I enjoy (especially with paper piecing)– I focused on making all of my points line up nicely. The quilt top measures 77″ x 66″ and I’m a bit scared of how I’ll quilt this with my machine. I’m calling this my Room for Squares quilt since the album kept me company while I sewed. For now it’s safely folded up and waiting to be quilted. It won’t sit too long, I already wish it were done and on the couch!

Room for Squares Quilt Top

Posted in Stitch | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter Weekend Beef Stew

Beef Stew

If you happen to live in the Midwest, you know it’s been really cold for the last few days. We’ve been keeping warm with extra quilts and the help of our nifty space heater. We have central heat, but it just doesn’t make sense to run it if everyone is sitting on the couch.  Cold weather means comfort cooking, such as stews, soups, chilli, and anything else that helps warm up the kitchen.

Beef Stew

I won’t claim credit for this recipe– I grabbed off Pam at For the Love of Cooking’s website, which is full of excellent every day recipes. The only big thing I did differently was that I cooked the stew on the stove the whole time rather than using the oven. I simmered my meat, tomatoes, stock, onions, and garlic for about 2.5 hours, adding the potatoes and carrots for the last hour. Next time I’ll probably only simmer with the veggies for 45 minutes. I’m also a little heavy handed on the thyme and garlic, but that’s just me.

Beef Stew

Posted in Dinner, Simmer | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Color Stacks — Grey & Yellow

It’s hard for me to sew during the week because of school, but it’s not hard to make pretty fabric stacks! I think I’m planning a patchwork.

Plotting. I think I'm in love.

Posted in Stitch | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Chicopee Quilt

Sometimes I think I suffer from sewing ADD. I start one project, another catches my eye, and I abandon the first project. The cycle continues and I end up with quite a few works in progress but nothing complete. I was fortunate enough to have today off for MLK Day and took the opportunity to finish up a quilt I started back in November.

Chicopee Quilt

This poor quilt has been half quilted and unbound since early December,  so all I had left to do was a little bit of quilting and binding. The binding (border) is mostly a black print with green dots called “duet dot” with a green paisley and a pink print (both are in the quilt) thrown in for variety.

Chicopee Quilt Mosaic

I machine stitched the binding instead of hand sewing, which I’m not perfect at, but my wonder clips were a huge help. Lots of quilters hand sew their binding but I don’t quite have the patience for it and I like the sturdy stitching of the machine binding anyway.

Chicopee Quilt

The back of the quilt is a pink paisley, which looks great with the black binding and makes me happy. (:

Chicopee Quilt

I machine quilted the quilt using my new machine, which has a built in walking foot– let me say this process went quite smoothly compared to my old machine. I’d like to try free motion quilting next, but I’m a little nervous!

This quilt will be living on our couch and keeping us warm. I finished this up just in time, since the low is 3 degrees tonight! I hope you’re keeping warm wherever you are.

Chicopee Quilt

Posted in Stitch | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

2012 Bee Block Wrap Up

Today I thought I’d share my last few bee blocks from 2012. I was in quite a few bees– two of them made blocks from the 99 Modern Blocks book, one was a charity bee, and in one we made paper pieced blocks for each other.

do.Good Stitches November Block

Each month I made five different blocks, which was a great way to try blocks I wouldn’t have made otherwise. I struggled a little with precision, but it taught me patience. I have a tendency to want to sew up a bunch of blocks quickly, but slowing down certainly has its merits.

The 99 November Block

One of the best things my bees exposed me to is paper piecing, which I love! I really enjoy the sharp points and straight lines that paper piecing yields, as well as the process of putting the blocks together.

Modern 99 December Block

In 2013 I’m not completely quitting bees, but I’m slowing down a little. This quarter I’m in the paper piecing hive of the 4×5 Modern Quilt Bee. I’m also participating in Don’t Call Me Betsy’s Lucky Stars Block of the Month group. She will be sending out a new block on the first of each month for us to sew up and share at her Flickr group. I’ll be keeping these blocks for myself and sewing them into a quilt at the end of the year. I’ve already sewn up my January block and am ready for February!

January Lucky Stars Block #luckystarsbom

Posted in Stitch | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What’s for Dinner Wednesday

What's for Dinner Wednesday

Turkey sloppy joes with clementine cuties.

Posted in Simmer, WFD Wednesday | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork

Pork Tacos

In case you haven’t noticed, we eat a lot of tacos. Most evenings, we’re in the market for a quick dinner, and tortillas are much faster than rice or pasta, which takes while to cook. We also happen to love eating red onions and cilantro on just about everything.

This recipe is a staple around here; the result is tender shredded pork that’s not too spicy, which allows each diner to add whatever flavors he or she wants to each taco. You can also increase the size of this meal by doubling all of your ingredients if you have more than two people to feed.

Pork Tacos

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork

  • 2lbs pork shoulder
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs Frank’s (or other hot sauce or your choice)
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 black pepper
  • 1 c chicken or beef stock

Chop your pork shoulder into medium sized cubes and place it in your slow cooker or dutch oven. Add all of your ingredients and stir so that they are distributed evenly.  Cook on low for about 5 hours in a slow cooker or 2 hours in a dutch oven, until meat is tender. If using your dutch oven, cook on high heat until your liquid simmers, then reduce your heat to low, stirring occasionally.

Once meat is tender, drain excess liquid, leaving a few tablespoons of liquid to keep the meat moist. Using two forks, shred pork. Since the meat was initially in cubes, your shredded pork should be very taco friendly.

Pork Tacos

Assemble your tacos using your favorite ingredients– I personally prefer corn tortillas, red onions, shredded cheese (usually cheddar and pepper jack, but I’ll use whatever’s on hand), cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.  Enjoy with a seasonal margarita or your beverage of choice.

Pork Tacos

Posted in Dinner, Simmer | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment