A Study In Purple

I swear there was a reason I’ve been absent the past couple of weeks of posting here. It involves me, some friends getting married and the fact that they didn’t register anywhere for gifts. So, 3 weeks ago, I started to panic a little bit about what to get them for a wedding gift (Sean was blissfully unaware of this as most guys are when it comes to wedding gifts). That was when I decided to make them a small quilt. Just something to snuggle underneath on the couch, but big enough to use.

Jeff is a Kansas State alumn and Suny’s favorite color is purple, so it became obvious what color the quilt would be.
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I didn’t want to do anything terribly difficult because I knew I’d be on a deadline with little time (read: weekends) to work on it. Strip quilt! I had 7 fabrics all based on a batik that I already had in my fabric stash. After hanging those on my design wall, I decided to shake it up a bit and added an 8th strip to repeat that was a combination of the other 7 fabrics. So, each strip repeats 3 times in the quilt.

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To frame out such a continuous amount of color, I decided to just go for a simple black border. It’s 4 inches in width which gives it a nice frame and increases the size of the quilt decently enough.

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I went with a simple black backing as well, but to keep it from being boring and since I was going to have to piece the back anyway, I tossed in a strip of the concentration fabric from the front.

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I used the stippling method for quilting so that the curves would keep the quilt from being too straight and boring. It was fun to quilt using that method, but definitely hard. After that, it was just a matter of binding the edges and I was done. A little of the batik found it’s way into the binding as well. 😉

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Overall, I’m really pleased with the results. I’m still learning and this is the first time I’ve used a machine to quilt in ages (the past several quilts have been hand quilted), but I’m pleased with it and I’m sure my friends will enjoy it. Hope you guys like the pics! Hopefully this weekend, I’ll resume my weekly menu posts at the very least.

The Brewing Cycle

Last year at Christmas my lovely wife was nice enough to get me started in homebrewing beer. We have a couple of local shops so she was able to get me one of their kits and actually thry this out.

Why might you ask?

Well duh, it’s beer.

I guess the better reason is that we have started finding that our palate is getting more sophisticated, and while we do lots (almost all) of our own cooking, we tend to get beer and alcohol from the store. So while distilling spirits is illegal even for home use, brewing is not thanks to President Jimmy Carter. So why not be able to brew your own beverages and allow for some experimentation at the same time.

Our local stores are Brewer’s Connection (which has a really tough site to navigate, but the store is good) and also Brew Your Own Brew (closer to my office, so I have been going there more often). And both stores have been very helpful. I also have ordered from some online sites, as well as getting some stuff locally from other homegbrewers.

Currently we are still doing what is known as extract brewing, which is about the easiest way you can get into brewing your own beer. Most places have a decent kit that can get you started for around a hundred bucks, but the sky’s the limit after that. Eventually we will move in to all-grain brewing, but that requires some equipment that we do not have right now, but soon, possibly by this spring we can start down that path.

So what have we brewed so far?

In order of brewing:

Vanilla Porter
Fat Tire Clone (amber ale)
Hard Cider
Coffee Porter
Heffeweisen
Wild Wheat Beer (Heffe recipe with lemon zest and a different yeast)

Most of that was brewed in the Spring, during the summers here it is too tough to keep the fermenting temps at a reasonable level. But come the cooler temps we will be starting right back up. Most likely the next recipe is going to be a Roquefort 8 close. Our friends back in Huntsville that go to the Nook will know what we are going for. A dark Belgium beer with about 9% ABV (alcohol by volume, Bud and the like are around 4-5%)

So that we what we do to homebrew, honestly it is one of the best things that we have ever started, and this is a joint operation out here not just me, Kat is involved at every step and appreciates and helps out along the way, it is a great thing. I highly recommend that if you can, you start (Alabama, sorry, it is still illegal to homebrew)

Now I just need to figure out how to be able to do this for a living and sell our beer along side our friends at Truckin’ Good Food, French food and craft beer? Yes Please!!!!