Two of my Favorite Teas

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Jasmine Chun Hao

Two of my favorite teas: above is a jasmine chun hao (a jasmine green tea), although I'm often consuming jasmine green tea in the form of jasmine pearls (from Margaret's). It's a super flowery tea. Below is a Quanzhou milk oolong which tasts like a bit of dairy has been added to it, even when there wasn't. A flavorful tea that cannot be found in tea bag form.

Quanzhou Milk Oolong

Step 4: Machine Quilting the Triangle Quilt

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Triangle Quilt: Quilting

I really liked the quilting design from Saroy's Triangle Quilt, with some triangles having the quilting inside all three edges, and others having no quilting within their edges at all. So I followed that basic design, giving me something slightly different from perfect isosceles triangles on the back. I think it came out well. I also decided to use some Coats Star Mercerized Cotton Thread Variegated (1200yds in Blue Clouds #845). It was a lot of thread and I still have about half the spool left over! The thread occasionally broke, and since it was variegated, doing color-matching made it difficult/impossible to fix errors completely seamlessly. The whole purpose of this quilt is to have something that can be used everyday without having a heart attack if that cat attacks it or it needs to be washed. I'm trying not to sweat the little stuff, especially not the wonkiness of the quilt lines caused by using a standard domestic sewing machine with not enough table space!

So a couple things you should know before/while machine quilting:
  • You really need a 'walking foot' for your sewing machine. It has feed dogs that pull the top of the fabric, working in conjunction with the feed dogs in the bobbin bed. You want all the fabric to be pulled along simultaneously. Installation of these suckers can be a bit tricky, here's a video tutorial for using a Janome quilting (walking) foot.
  • Go slowly or your stitches will go all over the place.
  • Start in the center and do ~3 lines of quilting in the same direction, before spinning the quilt around and working in the other direction for ~3 lines. This prevents the quilt from shifting in one direction only.
  • When starting in the middle of the quilt (i.e., not off edge), pull the bobbin thread up and secure your stitches by using a super tiny stitch length for the first quarter inch. No reverse sewing! There's a tutorial for this process, here: Kathwylie's Tutorial for beginning and ending machine quilting stitches
  • You need a really large working space just to hold the weight of the quilt. A lot of the errors in my quilting come from the quilt being pulled downwards off the edges of the table. Maybe a full table in front of you and another to the left.
  • Only stop to fix fabric with the needle in the down position, otherwise, your stitches will have a tendency to jump around as the fabric shifts.
  • Pull out your thread-basting as soon as it becomes redundant, so it can stop getting caught in your machine.
  • Iron the back of your quilt, especially where you plan to sew. You can't see the back as you sew, which makes it more likely to develop pintucks and puckers. For the last stage of my quilting, I ironed rather severe wrinkles into the backing, but nowhere near where my stitches will be, so they're not permanent.
  • Maybe make your quilt lines more than 1/4" away from top seams, so that if your lines do get wiggly they're not as noticeable.
  • If your quilt top is not pieced precisely, it will be very difficult to sew quilting lines that make sense. Give up on perfection. It'll look sloppy up close, but fine from afar.


  • Hold onto all hope that wrinkles caused by washing/drying in a machine will lessen the obviousness of all your errors. Oh please, make it so!
Triangle Quilt: Quilting Triangle Quilt: Quilting Triangle Quilt: Quilting My Quilting Set Up - tables to support the weight of the quilt, fabric rolled tightly in the machine's harp Coats Star Mercerized Cotton Thread Variegated (1200yds in Blue Clouds #845) Close Up of the Walking Foot A Pucker Not Worth Fixing Cat on a Quilt!

  1. How To: Cut Isosceles Triangles Without Templates 10/13/2013
  2. How To: Assemble an Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top 10/16/2013
  3. Step 1: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top Completed 10/18/13
  4. TARDIS Applique 10/27/13
  5. Coordinating Pillowcases for the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 11/6/13
  6. Step 2: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Backing Assembly 3/18/15
  7. Step 3: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Sandwich-ing 4/1/15
  8. Attaching the TARDIS Applique 4/8/15
  9. Step 4: Machine Quilting the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 4/15/15
  10. Step 5: Binding the Isosceles Triangle Quilt
  11. A Review of the Isosceles Triangle Quilt

Success: Dutch Baby

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dutch Baby

It's been awhile since I've attempted a Dutch baby. And now, armed with a cast iron pan and the Dutch Babies II Recipe from AllRecipes.com, I had immediate success. Sometimes, you've just gotta eat a giant fluffy pancake for dinner.

Dutch Baby
Dutch Baby

Triangle Quilt: Attaching the TARDIS Applique

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Step 10: TARDIS Applique is done

Awhile back I made a paper-pieced TARDIS applique from scraps leftover from making the triangle quilt top. This in turn inspired the wobbly quilt back. So what was left? Attaching this darn thing to the quilt sandwich. I suppose I could've attached it before the quilt sandwich, but the applique is rather thick, so it made sense to attach it to the thicker quilt sandwich.

  1. You'll need: Wonder Under, a fabric applique, needle, thread, scissors, pen/pencil, iron, damp cloth, and an embroidery hoop. You could do all this without the Wonder Under (and use pins instead), but I feel like that's introducing too much misery. The Wonder Under ensures that the applique lays completely flat.
  2. Place applique right side down on smooth side of Wonder Under.
  3. Trace around applique onto Wonder Under.
    Step 1: Trace applique right side down on smooth side of Wonder Under.
  4. Cut Wonder Under about 1/4" inside of tracing. You don't want any peaking outside of the applique.
    Step 2: Cut Wonder Under about 1/4" inside of tracing. You don't want <i>any</i> peaking outside of the applique
  5. Place rough side of Wonder Under onto wrong side of applique and iron, 5-8 seconds over each segment.
    • You can find the instructions that come with Wonder Under here.
    • I essentially followed the process from when I made my Don't Panic banner, here. I even used my leftover Wonder Under from that day!
    Step 3: Place rough side of Wonder Under onto wrong side of applique and iron, 5-8 seconds over each segment.
  6. Using an invisible marking pen or white fabric pencil, mark where on the quilt you want to place the applique.
    Step 4: Using an invisible marking pen or white fabric pencil, mark where on the quilt you want to place the applique.
  7. Peel off paper Wonder Under backing and place on quilt.
    Step 5: Peel off paper Wonder Under backing
  8. Place a damp cloth on top and iron each segment for 10-15 seconds, overlapping where iron was placed.
    Step 6: Place a damp cloth on top and iron each segment for 10-15 seconds, overlapping where iron was placed.
  9. Remove damp cloth and iron applique to remove excess moisture.
    Step 7: Remove damp cloth and iron applique to remove excess moisture.
  10. Place quilt/applique in a quilt hoop.
    Step 8: Place quilt/applique in a quilt hoop.
  11. Using a ladder stitch sew the applique to the quilt.
    • Start with a quilter's knot (easy peasy).
    • Pull your threaded needle through the back of the quilt, bringing up the needle in the exact spot you want to start (right underneath the applique, near the edge). Give a slight tug so the knot goes through the quilt fabric but doesn't pull all the way through the applique. This way the knot will be hidden in the interior of the quilt.
    Step 9: Using a ladder stitch, sew applique to your project
  12. Iron out any wrinkles caused by the hoop.
  13. Done!
    TARDIS Applique

Since the TARDIS applique was made with scraps from my quilt top, it coordinates the back with the top now. It's not a detail that will be seen often, but I think it's a nice little personal addition.
TARDIS Applique on Back of Quilt Complements Quilt Top Color Scheme

  1. How To: Cut Isosceles Triangles Without Templates 10/13/2013
  2. How To: Assemble an Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top 10/16/2013
  3. Step 1: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top Completed 10/18/13
  4. TARDIS Applique 10/27/13
  5. Coordinating Pillowcases for the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 11/6/13
  6. Step 2: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Backing Assembly 3/18/15
  7. Step 3: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Sandwich-ing 4/1/15
  8. Attaching the TARDIS Applique 4/8/15
  9. Step 4: Machine Quilting the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 4/15/15
  10. Step 5: Binding the Isosceles Triangle Quilt
  11. A Review of the Isosceles Triangle Quilt

Earl Grey Teas

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Cream Earl Grey Tea

My earl grey tea marshmallows were made with some cream earl grey loose leaf purchased at Margaret's Imports. And while most may be familiar with earl grey tea as a general flavor, there's many different types of earl grey that you only get to experienced by getting into loose leaf. Earl grey is my favorite and at the moment I have both a cream earl grey and a dorian earl grey in my cabinets. I cannot decide which I like more! Cannot. I've also gotten through some Russian earl grey which had bits of orange peel in it, and I've seen a Game of Thrones earl grey that had smokey lapsang souchong added.

The possibilities are endless. And tasty.

Dorian Grey Tea

Triangle Quilt: Thread-basting the Quilt Sandwich

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Step 4: Baste three layers of quilt sandwich

When you have the quilt back and the quilt top done, there's an obvious next step: QUILT SANDWICH.

I've written considerably more detail here, when I made the hexagon quilt and the process is fairly similar this time around. Although, I will note that thread-basting may not be the method of choice when machine quilting, as the sewing feet have a tendency to get caught up in the basted stitches. If you're mindful of that, it should be okay.

  1. You'll need: quilt top, quilt back, batting, safety pins, needle, thread, scissors, masking/packing tape, and most importantly: a large enough space to work. Be sure you don't mind if a sewing needle hits your work surface hundreds of times!
    Step 0: Gather Materials & Clear Space
  2. Iron & starch the quilt back.
  3. Mark the middle of all four sides with safety pins.
  4. Lay backing right side down in the middle of a large enough surface (very important).
  5. Tape in place with masking or packing tape, making sure to gently pull the fabric so it is completely flat. Do not stretch too much!
    Step 1: Lay Quilt Back Down, Right Side Down
  6. Iron quilt batting if necessary.
  7. Mark the middle of all four sides with safety pins.
  8. Center batting on top of back fabric, using safety pins as a guide.
  9. Ensure the batting is completely flat. I do this by picking up an edge and lifting up and down in quick, "parachuting" movements.
    Step 2: Center Batting Over Quilt Back
  10. Iron & starch quilt top.
  11. Mark the middle of all four sides with safety pins.
  12. Center quilt top on batting right side up, using safety pins as a guide.
  13. Ensure the quilt top is completely flat, as before.
    Step 3: Center Quilt Top Over Batting, Right Side Up
  14. Baste three layers of quilt sandwich.
    • Start in the center, and do one quadrant at a time.
    • Each line of basting should be about 12" apart.
    • Stitches should be about 1.5" long.
    • Always secure the end of the thread off the quilt top on the batting. This'll make the stitches easier to remove.
    • Baste both horizontally and vertically.
    • Baste near the edges of the quilt, too. You'll be thankful when you attach the binding.
    1.5 Inch Stitches
    Please ignore how imperfect my triangles are.
  15. When done, flip quilt over and fix any large wrinkles you may have basted in.
    Step 5: Check Back for Puckers

It turns out that you can also baste with safety pins or using a spray adhesive. I just keep thread basting for some unknown reason. Maybe I like the blisters. Maybe I feel it's a little more secure when stitched together? Who knows.

Dizzy Enjoys the Triangle Quilt Sandwich

  1. How To: Cut Isosceles Triangles Without Templates 10/13/2013
  2. How To: Assemble an Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top 10/16/2013
  3. Step 1: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top Completed 10/18/13
  4. TARDIS Applique 10/27/13
  5. Coordinating Pillowcases for the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 11/6/13
  6. Step 2: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Backing Assembly 3/18/15
  7. Step 3: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Sandwich-ing 4/1/15
  8. Attaching the TARDIS Applique 4/8/15
  9. Step 4: Machine Quilting the Isosceles Triangle Quilt
  10. Step 5: Binding the Isosceles Triangle Quilt
  11. A Review of the Isosceles Triangle Quilt

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