Welcome to tales of my stitching life, home, family and friends.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Spinning at Hunterville

Now that’s a sight you don’t see very often – a couple of ladies sitting at their spinning wheels on the footpath outside the shops.  They were spinning in the sunshine, chatting away together, while keeping an eye out for any customers who may want to purchase something from their respective shops.  And quite happy to chat to me, and let me take a photo or two.  Spinning always looks a very restful occupation, I think, although I have never given it a try.

PA010005 Spinning in Hunterville

I had a look through the cooperative craft shop, full of lovely things, from quilts, to knitting and crotchet.  I was certainly impressed with this lovely quilt covered in old doilies, what a great way to display your family treasures.


PA010007Cushion with lots of lovely buttons

We made a couple of purchases, some local honey for the honey lover in the household, and I found some knitting cotton going at a bargain price.  Guess I’ll be knitting another cotton duster or two.  We tend to whizz by these small towns but they are always worth a stop to explore what is on offer, I feel, if we are not in too much of a hurry.  But I plan to stop and check this shop out again, next time we are in the area.

PA010029 Purchases at the co-op craft shop

The Sew Wots meet Rosie

It was another Sew Wot stitching morning, and this time Rae was the “hostess with the mostest”.  Goodness knows how I came to be the last one to arrive in the group, probably something to do with my poor sense of navigation and having to stop and read the road map.  Even though I’ve been to Rae’s house before several times, I can still lose my bearings.

This pretty little pin wheel quilt was made by Moira and is a donation for Ronald McDonald House.  Just the right size for a little one to snuggle under.

P9300008 Ronald McDonald House quilt

Most of us were doing hand stitching of some kind during the morning, while Pam was working diligently on her cosy woollen crotchet blanket. Heather’s shadow appliqué blocks are coming along well, she likes to keep her hands busy so it won’t take her too long at all to stitch all her pretty blocks.

P9300009  Moira and Pam hard at work

Mary is another in our group who is always busy on one project or other.  Today it was a set of pretty hexagon coasters in Christmassy colours.  These are finished with fancy hand stitching on the front.

P9300010 Mary’s Christmas coasters

After a delicious Morning Tea (thanks, Rae)  I went outside onto the deck to meet Rosie, the new member of the household.  Rosie is a pretty little dog and after barking soundly at me when I dared to open the door and step outside, settled down nicely for a photo shoot. 

P9300013 Pretty little Rosie

The Sew Wots spent another pleasant morning chatting, stitching, and enjoying a delicious morning tea.  Thanks ladies, it’s always nice to catch up with you all.  There was still a little snow on the top of the Tararua Ranges, I noticed, as I got into my car to drive home.  So out came the camera once again, this is a little different to what I see at home.

P9300014 View of the Tararua Ranges from Rae’s home

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A few more Quilts from Wellington Quilters Guild Show

There were so many beautiful quilts on display to share, I’ll show some of the smaller ones this time.  “Across the Lake” was started in a Chris Kenna Landscape class, by Anne-Marie Cunningham.  This beautiful little wall-hanging in neutral colours has a typical New Zealand flavour to it.

P9270059 Across the Lake

“Antique Afternoon Tea Delight” is another lovely neutral coloured quilt.  Jeannette Orr took a class with Cindy Needham and was inspired to create something special using a vintage table cloth and embellished it with beads and pearls once owned by her Grand-mother. Such beautiful machine quilting, and it is a wonderful way to display family treasures.


P9270075 Antique Afternoon Tea Delight

I can remember watching Cindy Walter demonstrate her “Snippet Sensation” quilts on TV some years ago.  Margaret Pitt made this version called “Blue Vase”  using the techniques of freehand cutting all these small pieces of fabric, fusing them down then quilting everything in place.

Blue Vase

Many of the club members took part in the Portrait Challenge, with everything from real life likenesses to more humorous ones displayed .

P9270080 The Portrait Challenge.

My favourite portrait was another offering by the multi talented Fyvie Murray.  She used her sewing machine to thread sketch  the likeness of Eleanor and Xavier, adding extra ink shading.   It is no surprise this work of art won “Portrait Challenge Viewers Choice”, as well as the award “Merit is Surface Art”.

Eleanor and Xavier

This is just a taste of some of the lovely quilts on display.  The exhibition is on till the rest of the week, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone will phone to let me know I’ve won a raffle basket full of gorgeous fabric.  Dreams are free, aren’t they.

This exhibition was held in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery so I took the time to check out the paintings hung in the entranceway as I left.  Amongst the older portraits from the early days of colonisation, I noticed this one of New Zealand hero Sir Peter Blake holding the America’s Cup.  Regarded as one of most successful sailors in yachting history, Sir Peter Blake was twice a winner of the America's Cup with Team Zealand. In 1995 he helped make Team New Zealand only the second non-American team in the America's Cup's 144-year history to take the coveted silver trophy, winning again in 2000.  Blake was also famous in New Zealand  for his lucky red socks, and wore the same pair of socks throughout the 1995 challenge.  Before the final, team sponsors manufactured 100,000 pairs of Blake's lucky red socks which sold out in days in New Zealand.  With half the money going to the syndicate it proved a masterstroke in subsidising the team's funding.

Painting of Sir Peter Blake at the Portrait Gallery

Monday, September 29, 2014

Wellington Quilters Guild Exhibition

Off we went for a train trip to Wellington, or so I thought.  The trains had all been replaced by buses, more’s the pity.  But never mind, it saved us taking the car into the capitol, and finding a car park.  Our trip by public transport was free, courtesy of our Gold Cards, one of the benefits of being an oldie.  We parted company at thee Wellington Waterfront and off I went to enjoy an hour or two of looking at quilts – what bliss!  My Gold Card scored again at the quilt show, getting me in for a reduced price.  Just look at the lovely raffle baskets, chock full of beautiful fabrics.  I’m in with a chance, and I’d be over the moon to win one of these.

P9270069 Raffle Baskets

I walked slowly around the exhibition, admiring all the different styles, designs and colours.  I’m always drawn to large quilts, so checked them out first.  Here are some which took my fancy.  “Scraps n’ Shirt Tails”  was made by the very talented Fyvie Murray.  A design by Bonnie Hunter from her Art of Quilting Green, it is stitched from old shirts, cotton tablecloths and a discarded bath robe.  This masculine coloured quilt is going to a young male relative.  

P9270057 Scraps n’ Shirt Tails

“Dreaming of New York”  by Heather Uwins-England has my kind of colour pallet in the intricately pieced New York Beauty blocks.  Using batiks plus hand dyed fabrics. it is a wonderful masterpiece and collected a trio of awards – Excellence of Piecing, First Time Exhibitor, and Life Member’s Award.  Well done!

Dreaming of New York

A much simpler design, but still using those wonderful batiks was the work of one of those very busy “White Glove Ladies” on duty, Vera Sullivan.  Made with  Jelly Roll (I’ve never used these yet), the design was “Snow in my Jelly”, a Diane Barnden pattern.  The colours remind the maker of the plants and sunsets of the Arizona Desert.

P9270084 Inspired by the Arizona Desert

“Kermit’s Nine Patch”  was a fun colourful quilt, made by Debra DeLorenzo, one of the "famous in New Zealand" Towrags quilt group.  The group had a nine patch swap, and Debra added to her blocks with pink and Kermit green fabric strips, with the aim to make a fun and lively quilt.  She has certainly succeeded, wouldn’t you say?

Kermit’s Nine Patch

“Julia’s Claris Cliff Birthday Quilt”  was made by Vivienne Ellison for her oldest sister’s significant birthday.  Just lovely, and so many people know, admire and collect the work of Clarice Cliff and her wonderful pottery.  What a wonderful fabric find!


Clarice Cliff Birthday Quilt

“Boro Blanket”, jointly stitched by Philippa Doyle and Marilyn Daly has been made from vintage Japanese fabrics and hand dyes.  So many wonderful and beautiful fabrics used, it is a gift for a friend’s significant birthday.  Simple but very effective, especially for those lovers of Japanese fabrics out there.
P9270086 Boro Blanket

This naughty quilter dared to touch the quilts at the show!

That’s all for today, I’ll share some of the smaller quilts tomorrow.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September UFO Night

What to take along to work on for the monthly Friday UFO meeting?  I’ve lots of machine piecing I really need to do, but the effort of unhooking my Bernina from the sewing cabinet and packing it up was just too much for a couple of hours sewing time.  So it was hand sewing and cutting out for me.  I had traced around the pattern pieces to complete my yo-yo Christmas reindeer, such as the head and hooves, so sat and cut out four of this and a couple of that.  Next step will be to stitch and stuff them, and work out how to assemble the toy - maybe I should read the instructions!   After that I did some more secret stitching for a gift.

P9260050 Cutting out faces, feet, ears and other necessary bits

Kathy had brought her sewing machine along and was busily chopping up a marvellous pair of harem pants in Indonesian fabric she had picked up for a bargain price in the Hospice Op Shop.  Cutting this fabric into 5 sided pentagons, she used this interesting fabric as the middle of crazy patched blocks, adding colourful pieces from her overflowing crate of scraps as she went along.

P9260047 Kathy stitching her blocks

P9260048  Crazy patch block with Indonesian fabric in the centre

The other one working on her machine was Janelle, who was stitching up mini nine patch blocks to add to her Afternoon Delight quilt designed by Susan Garman.

P9260045 Making mini nine patch blocks

Kaye’s French inspired Ooh La La wall-hanging is coming along well.  She trimmed up the blocks and laid them out for us to see.  The colour way of black, white, hot pink and lime green is stunning.

P9260041 Kaye’s Ooh La La blocks

Meanwhile, Mary had been helping Kaye by adding extra appliquéd  leaves and embroidering tendrils on Kaye’s tui wall-hanging.  Then Mary taped the top down and marked out the cross hatch  quilting lines, all ready for Kaye to finish with hand quilting.  That’s a very helpful friend indeed.

Mary lending a helping hand

Vickie is always very well organised with her stitching and had a plastic container filled with completed hexagons, fabric cut out to become hexagons, and the basting papers. She is making Patchwork of the Crosses, designed by Lucy Boston.  I’m certainly impressed, this is all done by hand!

P9260046 Vickie’s Hexagon project

And last but not least, Leigh was stitching the binding down on her quilt, a UFO from a while ago.  It was a large bed quilt, so that kept her quiet most of the night.

P9260049 Leigh stitching the quilt binding down

The ladies bring along a plate for our shared meal, and it is always interesting to see what turns up each month.  We had quiche and cheese rolls heating in the oven, ham, cheese and gherkin open sandwiches, a bowl of cheerios (baby savaloys), bread rolls, and fruit kebabs on sticks, and tea and coffee too of course.  Plenty of delicious food to go around, and friendly companionship while we stitched together for the evening, what more could we want?

P9260043 Time to eat

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pretty in Peach – and a Man in Uniform

There’s an ad which sometimes plays on TV with someone singing “It’s a Coffee Club kind of day”.  I didn’t visit that coffee club today, but to the Cancer Society Coffee Club, held monthly,  which is a support group for patients and family members.  Or in my case, former patients who just like to keep in touch.  My quilt club, Town and Country Quilters, loan quilts to hang inside the house, and these are rotated regularly, so I like to check them out when I attend.  Helen from  my Sew Wot group has taken over the responsibility of supplying Winchester House with quilts this year, and her lovely peach and green row by row quilt was in pride of place today. 

P9230017 Helen’s row by row quilt

Our speaker was Eric, the Station Manager of St John’s Ambulance Service, which covers a large area from Peka Peka Beach in the south, to Shannon in the north. Eric asked the audience how many had dialled 111 for the ambulance, and just about everyone raised their hand – except me.  He went on to tell us that the calls are routed through the communication centre, and the particular procedures which must be followed step by step to collect information.  Generally the person phoning through is upset and distressed and cannot understand why all these questions need to be asked. 

P9230019 Eric the Ambulance Officer

Levin has three ambulances, one is dedicated to hospital transfers for rest home patients, or those who are immobile, and the other two are used for emergency work.  The ambulances in our area clock up in excess of 110,000kms a year, travelling the roads to call outs and accidents, and on to the Palmerston North hospital and back. 

This dedicated man obviously enjoys the challenges of his job, and is pleased that funds will be shortly made available to increase the number of full time paid staff nationwide by 158, with just two coming to Levin. Volunteers often help with double crewing the ambulances, and have the same qualifications as the paid staff.  Eric was full of praise for these people who so selflessly give up their time, attend training sessions, sit exams, and often hold down full time jobs as well.

After answering questions from the floor Eric checked his watch.  Ooops, he was running late,  and had to get back to the station, no time to stop and join us for morning tea.  Like many households in our area,  we have joined St Johns which gives us a push button medical alarm to call the ambulance in case of an emergency.  And peace of mind knowing that help is close to hand if needed.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Off to the Quilt Shop

It’s not a nice day at all here today, it’s  pouring down with horrible squally heavy rain, and we even had a little hail early on too.   There were a few things that needed doing this morning, so out we went to brave the weather.  I needed a trip to the quilt shop, I told Robin, so he sat in the car reading the paper while I rushed into Krazy Cow.  I’ve come to a bit of a standstill on the memory quilt I’m making, and in need of inspiration.  I’m sure to find it in a quilt shop, aren’t I?      

It’s been a while since I had been in this shop, but the owner Trish still remembered my name – isn’t that nice!  So I had a good look around, checking out the great range of batiks in particular.  Silly me – I should have taken the half finished quilt down to the shop with me.  But I made a couple of purchases anyway and will see how the colours fit in with the plan I’ve got in mind.


P9200004 Plenty to see at the Krazy Cow

We had another very important chore to do – go and vote in the General Election.  So we did, and I’ve got a sticker saying “Yes, I have voted”  to prove it.  The school mothers decided to run a cake stall in the foyer as all the voters went in to do their democratic duty.  They were doing a roaring trade, we noticed, and there wasn’t a great deal left as we stopped to check it out.  Robin decided that we really should help the school funds out and buy some date scones to take home for lunch.

P9200012 Yes, I have voted

After dropping my book back to the library, everything on our list was done.  The heavy rain is still coming down but we are safely home, tucked up in the warm.  And we are not moving – Robin has rugby to watch and I’m going to do a little sewing.  Not to mention keeping an eye on the Election results when they start coming in later in the evening.