Bead Table Wednesday: Corset Stitching

A combination of square stitch and RAW, Kate McKinnon’s corset stitch is the most fun I’ve ever had with beads and a needle. Make that needles. I’m currently on my 4th pack of size 13’s and I have just started the second layer of this cuff! Kate is offering the pattern free on her blog, so jump over and download it today.

I was a bit intimidated by Kate’s directions at first glance – they’re narrative with photographs rather than the step-by-step diagram-driven style I’m used to. Once into the project, I realized they were perfect in their fluidity and scale, just like the Corset Stitch bracelet itself! And if you’re into metalwork, there’s a PDF for Kate’s nifty ball-end clasp, too.

That's a look at what's on my bead table this Wednesday. Head over to the BTW Flickr Group to get a peak at more beaders' work in progress.


This is Macaroni and Cheese?

Oprah recently made headlines, admitting that she went into a major tailspin and devoured 30 pounds of macaroni and cheese when her movie, Beloved, tanked at the box office. When I found myself with an extra pound of a very good quality Asiago, I went looking for a mac and cheese recipe to use it in, and found this retooled and spiced-up version in Marlena Spieler’s Macaroni & Cheese cookbook – yep, an entire cookbook dedicated to America’s supreme comfort food. I don’t know what Oprah’s chef dished up, but this healthy and hearty version could send anyone into an eating frenzy!

(Vegetable Soup with Pesto and Cheese) Serves 4


4 ounces ditalini or small shells
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth, homemade or canned
1 cup dry white wine
1 prosciutto bone, or a few ounces diced prosciutto or another Italian cured meat (optional)
4 to 5 cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, or about 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1 zucchini, sliced fairly thickly
3 to 4 ounces fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped, or 1/2 cup cooked and drained frozen chopped spinach
Handful of green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup fresh young peas, blanched, or frozen peas (no need to defrost)
1/2 cup cooked cannellini beans (canned are fine), drained
Large pinch of thyme, either fresh or dried
Salt and pepper to taste
About 6 ounces fontina, Jack, provolone, young (medium) Asiago, or cave-aged Gruyère cheese, cut into thick, slablike slices
1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store-bought
2 to 3 ounces Parmesan, pecorino, aged Asiago, or dry Jack cheese, grated

Cook the ditalini in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente; drain and set aside. Lightly saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until softened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the broth and white wine, and if using, the bone or prosciutto. Cook for about 10 minutes, then add the cabbage, carrot, and tomatoes and continue to cook for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender, especially the cabbage. Add the zucchini, spinach, green beans, and peas and cook for 10 to15 minutes; then add the cannellini and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Into each bowl place a slab of cheese, then a big spoonful of the pasta and a dab of pesto. Ladle the hot soup over it all, and sprinkle the top with Parmesan or pecorino. Serve at once!


Color Challenge - Complementary

Maximum vividness.

David McCullough writes with it. If you watched the Grammy’s last night, you know Mick Jagger, at 67, still performs with it. And you can achieve it in design when you pair complementary colors, as I’ve done in each component of this Carole Ohl Kaleidoscope Quilt Cuff. The sharp lines and combination of crystals and delicas made it the perfect project to work out my complementary assignments from Margie Deeb’s color theory class on craftedu.

My favorite triangle is this chartreuse and red-violet swatch. I love the contrast between the colors as well as the crystal/matte metallic finishes.

The most interesting to stitch was this blue and orange combination. The yellow-orange crystals are encased in a very deep shade (really a muted tone) of blue. When the transparent baby blue delicas were snugged up against the muted tone, they changed their character and became almost silver-grey, themselves. The triangle is edged in a pure Cerulean blue. I will definitely use this colorway again.

On to analogous!



We woke up this morning with our grandchildren, in Indianapolis, to a world blanketed in ice. The house and driveway are encased in a thick, glittering sheen of it, and more is tapping down on our roof again as the afternoon slips away. No doubt tomorrow will be another snow day for the kids, too treacherous to venture out.

But for now, a pan of sloppy joes bubbles on the stovetop, soon to be joined by steaming water for our corn-on-the-cob. I brought Roma to finish, a book which reminds me why I love reading, and I have Kate McKinnon’s Corset Stitch directions and some lovely matte gold seed beads to start the design.

Granddaughter Delaney is snuggled up on the couch, scaring herself with an episode of The Haunted on Animal Planet.

And there’s last night’s game of Trivial Pursuit to finish. Ben and I could have put it away if we’d known Who hurled a no-hitter against the Orioles in his debut with the Red Sox in 2001?

Did you answer Hideo Nomo?

Neither did we!