Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quilting Skill Building; 1/4 seam allowance

Jaya with training fabric. I bought some fabric with 1/4 inch strips. I will use this the practice sewing a 1/4 inch seam. The idea is to train the body to sew consistence accurate 1/4 inch seams.

Each time you set down at the machine whip out the practice fabric and sew a couple of long straight stitches 1/4 inch from the last stitch.

Pinwheel Star, getting started

As I plan for my hip replacement surgery I am once again thinking of quilting. It must be because I will have time available that is currently scheduled for work, commuting and karate.

I want to do some complex creative project that require additional quilting skills. To the end of having a full set of tools I will be doing small project each focusing on developing my skills.

Started by checking out a bunch of books from the library and looking through them. I've already blogged about Michael James, that is the kind of stuff I want to do artistically. The book that grabbed me for learning technique is Teach Yourself Visually Quilting (2008) by Sonja Hakala. I have learn stuff and remembered other things, nice to see that my quilt teachers passed along a lot of solid tips (include in this book).

In order to learn to sew triangles with sharp points I will be doing the Pinwheel Star Quilt Project on page 128. This finished quilt picture is from the book. Below are the fabrics that I picked for my project.

Picked out the fabric today. This quilt will be machine quilted and bound.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tiger Cry Beef

This Thai dish feature a rare steak cut into thin slices served over lettuce with a wonderfully complex sweet and astringent sauce. I love the sauce and intend on testing it with both steaks and grilled chicken.

Tiger Cry Beef Sauce

  • Juice of 1 lime (2 limes if you like)

  • One fresh chili, seeded and finely sliced.

  • Small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped

  • 1 teaspoon sugar (any sort, honey)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced/pressed

  • 1+ tablespoon Thai fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the steak to the bowl and rub with the marinade. Leave in a cool place for 20 minutes.

Preheat a grill until hot, and lightly grease a grill rack.

Grill the steak for 1½ - 2 minutes on each side, if you like your steak rare. Cook it for about 3-4 minutes on each side for well-cooked steak.

Rest the meat for 5 minutes before slicing into strips.

Serve with the dipping sauce on a bed of lettuce with fresh tomatoes.

Deer Sighting

I saw a deer in the neighborhood this morning on my way to work. My first sighting on our street although I have seen them in the woods and dead on I80.

This photograph resembles what I saw, but I didn't take the picture.

Initially I was going to title this Doe Spotting but she was to mature to have spots and the previous wildlife entry was Fox Sighting not Fox Spotting :)

Now you too can have dear in your yard.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quilt Assembly & Thread Choice

Yesterday I blogged about Inspiring Quilts. This posting contains the technique stuff I learned from Michael James's book.
  1. Stretch the backing, good side down, tightly and pin down the sides.
  2. Lay the batting over the backing. No pinning.
  3. Cover with the top, show side up.
  4. Smooth out the top and adjust the seams. Pay particular attention to the seams that define the pattern. Pin these key seams to the backing so they'll remain in the correct position during the rest of this process.
  5. Use a tailor's basting stitch to secure the principal seams to the batting/backing. This extra basting step will take longer than the final quilting but the accuracy it affords is mandatory IMHO. (I want to look into using basting gun instead.)
  6. Unpin the backing and roll up the quilt.
  7. Quilting Thread & Foot—Nylon mono-filament as the surface thread with cotton-covered polyester thread in the bobbin. Walking foot prevents creeping of the top layer relative to the backing.
  8. Quilt from the outside edges inward. This method helps reduce the distortion in the overal shape of the finished quilt.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Inspiring Quilts

Michael James is an artist that works in the quilt medium. I check out his book Art & Inspirations from the library and fell in love with his images. I like the color play on the strips of fabric. The depth of the image as one changes yo's focus. Must learn how to do curved pieces. Struck with his earlier works. They are the kinds of thing I want to create now. The newer stuff he did 20 year into his career are art more then quilts. Examine his archive and you will see what I mean.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Andouille Sausage Dressing

Here is Chef Paul Prudhomme's Andouille Sausage Dressing I intend to make for Thanksgiving this year. I've made it before and love it. It is going to go under the butterflied turkey along with some oyster dressing that Sharon like to make. I copied this recipe from his website. I first make it on 11/20/01 from his cook book, Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen (1984), page 226.

Makes about 12 cups Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, in all
5 cups chopped onions
3 cups chopped celery
2 1/2 cups chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup minced garlic
3 cups very fine dry breadcrumbs, unseasoned (preferably French bread)

How to Prepare

  • Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 5-quart pot over high heat.
  • When the butter is melted, add the ground andouille. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom frequently to prevent sticking, until the andouille is beginning to brown and the oil is beginning to render from the andouille, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, but not brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the celery, bell peppers and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping frequently, until the celery and bell peppers are faded in color, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the Magic Pepper Sauce and Meat Magic. Stir and scrape until mixed in well and the brown crust on the bottom of the pot is dissolved.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and add the remaining butter. Stir until the butter is melted.
  • Fold in the half of the breadcrumbs, using a bottom to top folding motion.
  • When mixed in well, fold in the remaining breadcrumbs. Continue to fold until the breadcrumbs are evenly moistened but still somewhat dry and cakey.

  • Remove from heat and spread on a sheet pan as thinly as possible.
  • Refrigerate sheet pan in the coldest part of the refrigerator until dressing is very cold. (Note: The goal is to chill the dressing as quickly as possible. Spreading the dressing in a thin layer on a sheet pan allows it to cool very quickly. In our refrigerator, this took a little over 1 hour.)

NOTE: If you are not using Andouille, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic® for a fuller flavor.

Thanksgiving 2009: I used 12 oz of chorizo and three links of cooked andouille sausage sliced because the raw/fresh sausage was not available. Next time we should remember to turn the bread pieces into bread crumbs. Also, cooking under the turkey sounds good but my cheap roasting pan and the high heat over cooked/chard the dressing on the bottom. Safeway was out of the Meat Magic so I used Poultry Magic instead. I also forgot to put the hot sauce in :(.

Here is the morning after breakfast, sausage dressing (hot) with plain yogurt topped with hot sauce. This is now my favorite breakfast!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Therapeutic devices

At the Pre-Op Total Joint Replacement class yesterday the PT showed us a CPM commonly used after knee surgery. Some doctors prescribe the CPM after hip replacement as well.

My surgeon does not use the CPM for either hip or knee replacement patients (in general). Recent studies do not find significant impact of using the device six weeks after surgery.

However, as I am a trained therapist myself I have identified a couple of external devices that could be advantageous to my particular surgical recovery.

Racing Wheel with foot pedals for the PS3. This along with the appropriate software can be used to measure pre-op and post-op automotive braking abilities.

The Tony Hawk Skateboard for the PS3. A new device and supporting software should develop balance and fine motor muscle control of the hips.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sashiko Quilting

Sashiko sampler, click to enlarge.To date all of my quilt tops have been sent out to be quilted by a professional on the large commercial quilting machines. I am very pleased with the results and enjoyed getting the tops done. I have little interest in the labor of quilting the top to the batting and backing.

As I contemplate another life phase of quilting I am thinking of doing my own quilting, sewing the top batting and back together, on my Elna. The free motion techniques are not very appealing to me. However, the linear designs of Japanese Sashiko is aesthetically pleasing and feels like the thing for me to do.

My intent is to stick to straight line sashiko patterns and use a sewing machine. There will be 5 to 7 straight stitches per inch with an extremely heavy thread.

Sashiko (刺し子?, "little stabs") is a form of decorative stitching. This functional running stitch technique is now also used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. My Jujitsu gi has sahiko stitching on it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Circle of Quilters

This week I am listening to Circle of Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini. I am thoroughly enjoying it (currently half way through) and find that she effectively captures the pleasure and personal fulfillment of quilting.

The chapter about the Russ hits home. I have personally experienced the social bias and sexism he encountered. However, the quilt shop where I got started was very inviting and encouraging, not once did I feel unwelcome (mahalo! Mel and Margrit). After reading this chapter I think I may check out some Internet quilting bees when I get back into serious quilting again.

Some of the women in the book are a bit whiny such that I wish I could grab them and tell em' to brace up and move on, Fuggedaboudit!. But as Matt always says, "it's in the script." This is just effective storytelling that has sucked me in, allowing me to care about these women.

Ms. Chiaverini has over a dozen Elm Creek Quilts novels. I look forward to reading more.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Meatloaf

This recipe is derived from the American's Test Kitchen (ATK) meatloaf recipes. One is for an all beef meatloaf (season 7) and the other is a bacon-wrapped meatloaf (season 1) that uses veal and pork. But my Safeway doesn't carry ground veal or meatloaf meat. So I combined the two substituting turkey for veal plus using the gelatin to keep my loaf moist.

Traditional meatloaf may also include lamb, rice, scrapple, etc. and is baked in a loaf pan and served with tomato ketchup. ATK developed their bacon-wrapped recipe to reduce the grease and produce a tasty dish that was not dried out or rubbery.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Red Sweet Glaze

Servers 6 to 8.

Red Sweet Glaze (Double if you want sauce for serving.)

  • 1/4 cup chili sauce (substitute ketchup)
  • 2 T Light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cider or white vinegar


  • 2 ts Vegetable oil
  • 1 Onion, medium; chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves; pressed
  • 2 Eggs, large
  • 1 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 ts Ground fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Hot red pepper sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk; low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 lb Meat-loaf mix; (2 parts chuck, 1 part ground veal, 1 part ground pork) (substitute ground turkey for veal if you have no choice)
  • 24 Crushed saltine crackers
  • 1/3 cup Minced parsley
  • 6 oz Thin-sliced bacon
  • Sweet Red Glaze


Mix all the Red Sweet Glaze ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Meat Loaf Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Build a baking rack. Cookie sheet (or shallow roasting pan) lined with aluminum foil, wire rack sprayed with PAM, meatloaf tray made of 2 or 3 layers of aluminum foil about 5" by 9". Poke holds in the try to allow grease to drain. Spray tray with PAM.

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and garlic, saute until softened, about 5 minutes; set aside to cool.

Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worchestershire, pepper sauce, and milk or yogurt. Add egg mixture to meat in a large bowl, along with crackers, oatmeal or bread crumbs, parsley and cook onions and garlic; mix with a fork until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to bowl. (If mixture does stick, add additional milk, a couple tablespoons at a time, and continue stirring until mixture stops sticking.)

Turn meat mixture onto the foil tray and form into a loaf. Smooth the sides of the loaf with a wet rubber spatula.

With wet hands, pat mixture into a loaf approximately 9 by 5 inches. Cover a wire rack with foil; prick foil in several places with a fork. Place a rack on a shallow roasting pan lined with foil for easy cleanup. Set formed loaf on rack.

Tuck ends under.

Brush loaf with the glaze. Then arrange bacon slices, crosswise, over loaf, overlapping them slightly. In order to prevent curling, allow the ends of the bacon to hang off the loaf then trim the excess bacon of so that you have about half an inch of the bacon to tuck under. Tuck the ends in under the meatloaf.

Ready to bake.

Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour.

Reduce the remaining sauce over medium low heat. The heat will sterilize the sauce that has become contaminated by contact with the raw meats.

Optional: Just before removing from the oven put some of the reduced sauce on the bacon and put it under the broiler to glaze.

Remove from oven/broiler. Rest for 20 minutes. Slice and serve.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Inversion Therapy

Our new inversion table arrived and we set it up on Sunday after the concert.

Here is a video of a nice couples inversion therapy. I have some experience with it and it is wonderful. I suggest including these postures in your couples yoga sessions.

However, finding a partners that can support each other is a non-trivial task. :)

We got a table off EBay that I have used in the past. The following table is made by another company but I like the demo the gentleman gives.

After the hip replacement I will NOT be doing full inversions shown above, just down to 45° so that table friction holds me up, not my ankles.