January 2011


How many times have you heard the story that the face of Jesus appeared on someone’s grilled cheese sandwich?  Absurd, I know.  Twist it a little this way and a little that way and sure enough–with a lot of room for interpretation–there he is.

My story isn’t nearly so dramatic, but when I made a Chestnut Pear Soup from the Dorie Greenspan book last night, I poured in a little heavy cream for a lovely garnish.  Then my husband made a few sweeps with his spoon and had a delighted look on his face.

He turned it around to show the rest of the family and voila- there was the most amazing image of a mushroom (which is not part of the ingredients I might add).  He quickly whipped out his camera, took a shot for the record and then joined us for dinner.

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Back in the fall, I joined an online group called French Fridays with Dorie where we cook through Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook Around My French Table.  I’ve been faithfully cooking the dishes designated for each month and enjoying it immensely.  Dorie is one of those cookbook authors who makes you feel like you have a friend in the kitchen.  She’s extremely generous with her readers both in her comments, suggestions, and detailed directions.

My co-worker, who loves food, bought Dorie’s book for her mother for Christmas and received one for herself after my effusive comments about my adventures.

Here’s the latest effort- Chicken B’Stilla (I think pronounced ba-stee-yah) which is a savory pie encased in phyllo dough. Now it’s not the prettiest version because I’m a complete newbie in working with phyllo dough, but it tasted pretty wonderful.

My husband and kids were suitably impressed and especially enjoyed the crunchy exterior.

I’ve never cooked through an entire cookbook before, but this online group is helping me get the most from this extraordinary treasure.

Goodness.  I’m embarrassed that it’s been so long since I visited with you. The holidays, work, and a variety of factors kept me away from Between the Threads for over a month.  But I’m back with some nice projects to show for it.

During October, I spent some time at the loom weaving up 5 yards of material from Harrisville Shetland Wool cones.  It was a very nice twill structure and I used some handspun for a contrast.

Then I decided to full the fabric as I prepared to make a coat.  I threw it into the washer on hot, just for a few minutes. And then…. uh, I got distracted by my daughter who “needed to talk.”  Let’s just say that when I ran frantically to the washing machine to pull the fabric, it was felted beyond belief.  It was toast!  The part with the purple handspun was thick enough to use for a horse blanket.  Weave structure- gone! The magenta part at the top of the picture brightened considerably, but shrunk significantly so that a coat was out of the question.

Time to make lemonade:)  I needed a new purpose.  The purple accent fabric was cut off, doubled over, and now makes a nice surface for pressing on my ironing board. Then I went to a workshop one night at my local, independent fabric shop.  It was all about working with wool.  I raised my hand.  “Anyone have any suggestions for a this?”  I told my story and got ideas for a vest.

I’m not a big vest person.  They tend to look boxy on my short body.  But with little else to use it for, I got a nice pattern from Kwik Sew and set about making a vest.

The first order of business was making something flattering out of a thick wool felt.  It was all about reducing bulk.  I spent hours carefully fitting the pattern with added darts in the front and back and using ideas from Sandra Betzina on working with boiled wool.  In this picture, you can see one of the back pieces.  I used a diamond shaped dart to create shape, but instead of cinching the fabric together like a traditional dart, I cut out all the fabric.

I did this because Sandra says it takes out all the bulk.  It worked beautifully when I pressed the edges together and zig-zagged the seam after backing it with fusible interfacing.

You can’t even see the seam on the right side of the vest.  The thread is buried in the felt.  It was a cool trick.

Well, I eventually finished the vest before the holidays by putting a nice lining in it.

And I wore it for Christmas, adding earrings and a pin my husband gave me that morning which he had picked out specifically for the vest.

Tim Gunn always says, “Make it work.”  I think, this time, I did.