Offset Diamond Baby Quilt

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

My Offset Diamond Baby Quilt is the most viewed post in my 9-year blog history.

After several requests for a pattern from new quilters, I have finally pulled one together.  The quilt pattern is now in my shop and can be found here.

It's a simple HST pattern that is self explanatory for accomplished quilters.  For newer quilters, it provides a bit of detail on HST construction and a layout plan for the quilt.

I keep remembering back to how long it took me to put the design together.  Back then, I didn't have a design wall, just a queen-size bed that I laid all my quilts out on.  It seems like I rotated HSTs for hours before I finally got it right.  And then I forgot to close the door and discovered the next morning that one of the dogs had decided to jump up on the guest room bed and make a nest out of all the nice HSTs that someone had left there for her 😐.

The initial version of this quilt was for a friend who was having her first girl, Haley.  That little girl will be 7 years old in May—my how time flies!  The quilt moved from Haley's crib, to her toddler bed, and now sits at the end of her twin bed.  Every time we go over to visit, Haley takes my hand and brings me up to her room to show me her quilt .  This is definitely a quilt that can grow with them.

For the back, I pulled a Kaufman Cozy Cotton Circles flannel out of my stash, which I married up with some white flannel to fit.  

The quilt by the numbers:
  • — Finished size 40"x50"
  • — 80 HST squares -- 5.5" trimmed
  • — Front - various blue, green and gray prints and Kona White
  • — Binding is Kona Sprout
  • — Quilted with white Aurifil thread in with 3/4" straight-line quilting.
The pattern includes layouts and instructions for 3 sizes:  40"x50", 48"x60", and 56"x70".

Second quilt finish over the weekend ... feels so good!

All the best,

Baking Bread

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Another Saturday musing ...

My husband LOVES multi-grain bread and had been a big fan of the fresh bread he could buy at Costco.  I thought it a bit pricey and had tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to bake it at home.  In January, Costco cancelled the bread and no longer sell it.

But that was a problem to solve later, as we were off to New Zealand in early February to visit family and explore a fair amount of the South Island on our own.  We spent 12 of our 29 nights there with family and, lo and behold, each morning they served us home-made, whole-wheat bread.  It was fabulous!

So ... once we got home, I got the itch to start baking!  

A quick search on Pinterest yielded a recipe for a multi-grain baked, and this is key, in a dutch oven.  

I tried it ... and was successful first time around!  

So, apparently the key really is the Dutch oven!  It holds in the moisture that the dough gives off, allowing it to 1) keep the surface of the dough supple so that it can continue to grow and 2) the moisture helps keep the yeast active longer.  

And this particular recipe is brilliant because, if you own a mixer with a dough hook, you don't need to do any kneading at all!

The bread dough before it starts rising

And talk about multi-grain ... this recipe has rolled oats, flax seed, sunflower seed, bulgar wheat, whole wheat flour and rye flour.  

Multi-grain bread before baking
From start to finish, it takes just over 3 hours to make a loaf of bread.  

I felt the dutch oven was interesting enough to give it a try on a different type of loaf.  I made a great loaf of Crusty Bread.  

Though I must admit ... this loaf is simply made from flour, salt, water and yeast ... and while it tasted great ... I was a bit dismayed that all I was really eating was flour and water.

One thing to note, while I am convinced that the bread from the dutch oven is great, I did find the bottom of the bread a bit dark and dry.  A little research suggested two potential solutions.  Put a pizza stone between the heating element and the dutch oven to deflect the heat (tried and worked well) or put coarse corn flour in the bottom of the pan (haven't tried that yet).  

I used parchment paper with the multi-grain loaf.  But didn't with the Crusty Bread and it still lifted out of the pan easily.  So I may save that step going forward.  

Anyway ... if you're looking for a great loaf of multi-grain bread ... this is definitely worth a whirl.

Reflecting on our trip to New Zealand in the wake of the act of terrorism this week ... it is an amazingly beautiful country with some of the friendliest people we have encountered in our travels.  We are gutted at the events this week and our hearts are with those who are targeted because of their beliefs, the people of Christ Church and all New Zealanders.  

All the best,
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