Saturday 28 September 2013

Quick Comfort Food

A few days ago I found a draft for a post I made ages ago but didn't post. So I  figured it's time to share. It's a simple cooking recipe - this is the yummiest thing you can eat when craving comfort food, and apples are in season at the moment. It is quick and easy to make, and definitely not suitable if you're on a diet *lol* For ca four portions you need:

2-4 chicken breasts (depending on size, some are huge!)
1 medium size yellow onion
1 red pepper
1 green apple
1 bag of Bearnaise sauce powder
2 tbsp cooking oil
water (according to liquid announced on the sauce packet)
1 tub of creme fraiche (3dl)
salt; chili flakes, any other spice you might wish ;-)

Dice the chicken, onion, pepper and apple. Soften the onion in some oil in a pan on low heat, leave it for a few minutes before adding the pepper - leave it till it's shiny and soft. Remove and heat the pan so you can brown the chicken pieces. Add the sauce powder and water and bring to a boil, add the veggies, the creme fraiche and the apple. You might need to add a tad more water. Season to taste - some salt, and a pinch of flaked chili gives it a nice heat if you like that,. Let it cook till the apple is soft, but not mushy.

I didn't have a pepper in the house when I made it today, so I skipped it. Makes the dish look a little bland, but the taste is still great. There's just something comforting about the richness of the sauce, the softness of the chicken, the sweetness of the onion and the tartness of the apple. I love to serve this with noodles but it works wonderful with rice as well - yummmmmm!!!!

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Thursday 26 September 2013

Loyal Union Sampler - Favorite Blocks

I have changed the header for my blog - now including a section of my LUS quilt. And calling this post "favorite blocks" is a bit risky as I know taste it is a very subjective theme. But when doing a sampler there are blocks that speak more to the maker than others. It might be the over-all look of the block, it might be the fabric combination for that particular block, it might be overcoming the challenge of difficult piecing. Here's a selection of some of my favorites from the LUS:

A-2 Abigail's Swing - was a challenge getting the block looking symetrical, the seams kept pulling and it looked very crooked for a while, but I'm very happy with how it turned out: 

A-2 A house Divided - something just so pretty with the simplicity of this block and I would love to use this block in a two-block quilt someday: 

A-4 Anneke's Choice - just love the illusion of curves in this block:

B-4 Castle Wall - this was a tricky block to do, but I'm thrilled with the result. The Castle wall block is an important block in the Elm Creek Quilt novels, starting with the memorial quilt that is made for Sylvia after her husband is killed in WW2, and it's a block that has fascinated me since I first read about it in "The Quilter's Apprentice":

B-6 Charlie Stokey's Star is a block designed for this quilt - Charlie is a character in the novel and there is a passage in "The Union Quilters" describing the star made by his loved one. This is one of the blocks I keep dreaming of making a whole quilt with the one block repeat:

E-2 Granny's Favorite actually looks a bit simpler than it was to piece (I get confused with over sized pieces that needs to be trimmed after the block is sewn), but I love the simple look of it, the four patch more or less floating against a two-colour background. Another great pattern for a one block repeat quilt: 

K-1 Vermont  came together so smoothly, which I never would have guessed looking at the 36 strange looking triangles that are in this block: 

K-8 Wisconsin is just glowing, isn't it? ;-)

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Monday 23 September 2013

Loyal Union Sampler - Choice of borders

In the description of the sampler quilt in the novel "The Union Quilters" Jennifer Chiaverini paints a picture of an appliqué border with a floral swag. Those who know me and/or have read my blog for a while will know applique isn't my strong point. So when it came time to figure out what kind of border I would do for my LUS it was either a one fabric border or a pieced border.

Remember these pictures from March 2011?

The birds in the air block plays a prominent role in the novels set in the 1800s; stories of slaves escaping to the north. So in honor of Joanna's Birds in the air quilt from "The Runaway Quilt" I chose a border pieced together of 6" Birds in the air blocks.

The smaller triangles are made up of the scraps from all of the fabrics I used in the blocks while the larger ones are all made with the Apple Orchard dark-fabric from The WInding Ways Quilt collection

Still thinking of one day making a Birds in the Air quilt with this layout:

The border blocks are the only sneak-peeks of the LUS I gave on my blog while making the quilt, but I don't think anyone - except Annelies, my quilting buddy who was working on her own version of the quilt - had any idea what the blocks were going to be used for.

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Saturday 21 September 2013

Loyal Union Sampler and Sylvia's Bridal Sampler

Elin posted a question on my previous post about the Loyal Union Sampler wondering if there were some of the same blocks in this sampler as there are in Jennifer Chiaverini's last big sampler quilt, the Sylvia's Bridal Sampler.

With the pattern for 140 blocks in one book and 121 blocks in the other you might think there are some doubles, but no there aren't any of the same blocks. The theme for the two quilts are very different. The SBS being a wedding quilt with blocks symbolizing love, marriage, everyday life and friendship. The love and friendship you also find in the LUS, but the dominant theme is the American Civil war.

However there are blocks that look similar at first glance, and there are some blocks that have the same construction but the colour placement makes them different.

In the SBS there is a classic two colour Ohio Star (M-5):

In the LUS there's a three colour block that is a combination of the star and a cross making the Happy Home (E-4):

There are also variations of this star with different piecing in the corners than the simple squares in the two above. One example SBS B-7: Swamp patch

The pieces for the LUS block Oregon (H-6)...: made up of the same pieces as the LUS block Nevada (G-11), however the corner units of the block are turned the opposite  direction:

In the SBS the Sister's Choice block (C-4) has the same over all look as the Oregon block, but the constructuon is different:

You will also find there are examples of blocks within the same quilt where the piecing is the same and the colour placement is what makes the difference:

LUS Kansas Star (F-5)

LUS Chambersburgh (B-5):

SBS Boy's Nonsense (D-10):

SBS Gentleman's Fancy (K-6):

 There are also some blocks that are very similar in construction and can look rather similar, but still there are a bit of a difference:

LUS New York State (H3):

SBS Key West Beauty (M-10): 

LUS Indiana (F-1):

LUS Gettysburg (D-10):

And, as it should be (in my opinion), several variations of a sawtooth star:

LUS Abel's favorite (A-1):

LUS Diamond Star (C-8):

LUS Missouri Star (G-10):

LUS Pinwheel star  (H-10):

LUS Union Star ((J-11):

LUS Spurs (I-10) has the look of a sawtooth star, but is constructed differently:

SBS Sarah's Choice (H-3):

SBS  Sawtooth Star (J-1):

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Thursday 19 September 2013


These potholders I made for one of my coworker's birthday earlier in September are just about the only thing I have sewn and finished in months:

She is an experienced sewer, but still getting a feel for quilting, and was happy for a bit of inspiration.

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Loyal Union Sampler - the beginning

Some years ago there was a pink/brown swap on the then-existing Sylvia's Bridal Sampler mailing list run by Elm Creek Quilts author Jennifer Chiaverini. Unfortunately I was unable to participate in the swap, so when I got offered a chance to make The Loyal Union Sampler, I fairly quickly decided I would use pinks and browns as my focus colours, and to use the yardage I had from Jennifer's fabric lines The Winding Ways Quilt and Johanna's Collection

During my first little sewing session I went a little overboard and stitched up 11 blocks (not the most complex ones)  in one sitting: 

I-3: Resolution Square, A-10: Broken Path, B-2: Camp Curtain, J-6: Twin Star
F-8: Libby Prison, K-6: Windmill, E-9: Hourglass, H-8: Pennsylvania
D-8: Friendship Square, C-3: Crosses and Losses, G-10: Missouri Star

Looking at the blocks and looking through my stash I found I had pinks and brown pieces from other Elm Creek Quilts fabrics and would bring a bit more life to the quilt if I mixed and matched from the various fabric lines. I also wanted to bring a little sparkle to the quilt so I figured I would add just a touch of gold/yellow :-)
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Saturday 14 September 2013

Quilty news - huge excitement!!!

Yikes, my blog has been soooo quiet for a few months (once again!), but now I have big news to share. Earlier this week I received a copy of Jennifer Chiaverini's newest pattern book in the post - Loyal Union Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts - signed by the author herself .

And featured on the top of page 104 is my quilt made from the patterns in the book!

The book is a collection of block patterns for 121 traditional 6" blocks sewn together into a beautiful sampler. In 2010 Jennifer announced on her mailing list that she was looking for quilting friends to help make blue and white blocks for one sample quilt for her then new book project and I was happy to participate with two blocks.

At the same time she offered me the opportunity to sew a sample of the whole pattern. Of course this was an offer I could not refuse! I had a free choice in colours (obviously except blue/white), and chose a variety of creamy white background fabrics and picked brown/pink/gold fabrics from Jennifer's fabric lines by Red Rooster. I started sewing on September 19th 2010, and had a ball playing with the block patterns! And I'm thrilled with the result!

I will share some of my experiences making the quilt as well as some of my favorite blocks in coming posts ;-) Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida