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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Club Stitching Day

It was the last club stitching day of the year, and 18 or so keen and dedicated ladies brought their sewing machines and hand work along to the hall.  I’d decided on hand stitching for the day, and feeling rather ambitious, took along three bags of different projects!  I did a little on this one, a little on that one, then settled down for the rest of the time to work on my Christmas ABC blocks.  Diane’s Nostalgia blocks were so lovely, made of of family doilies, lace, trims and buttons and beads.  This will be a fabulous quilt when it is completed.

PB300001 Just a small sample of Diane’s completed blocks

Sewing machines were quietly humming away, and on the extra large table a couple of ladies were basting a large quilt.  It is always handy to have another pair of helping hands with this job.  There were a lot of different projects being worked on, from a child's bag, to placemats, machine quilting and piecing.

PB300006 Sashiko placements almost finished

PB300005 For a young girl, pretty in pink and purple

It was a lovely relaxing day, and we all sat around the extra large table for coffee breaks and lunch.  There were a free freebies up for grabs – someone brought along a surplus of free range eggs, and another lady had some tomato plants looking for a new home.  I had a great day out, plenty of stitching and plenty of conversation with like minded ladies.  Although perhaps next time I will take my sewing machine and one of my many UFO projects along.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

It must be Christmas

It looks like Christmas has arrived!  A few Santas  have popped up here and there, a trio of golden Christmas trees are arranged on the dining room window ledge, and the Christmas Wreath is hanging up outside.  Festive quilts and wall-hangings have been hung up on the walls, and other treasures have been arranged “just so” on the dresser and other empty surfaces.  Such as my treasured Jim Shore snowman collection.  I had one of these little darlings, then received two more for my birthday.   I believe my pen friend Carol bought a set of four, and plans to send the last one out for a birthday gift next year, if I’m really lucky.

PB290050 Three Jim Shore Snowmen ornaments

PB290052Just hanging about, Jingle Bell Santa

While all the decorations look lovely, the same can’t be said for my sewing room.  That’s where the plastic crates are currently residing, empty now of all the Christmas treasures.  They had been stored up in the loft in our storage area, over the garage.  This is accessed by a drop down wooden ladder, and I didn’t fancy taking the empty crates back upstairs, only to get them down a few weeks later to pack everything away again. So they will stay where they are, in the meantime.

PB290054 Selvedge Christmas Tree wall-hanging

Our snowy village scene gets switched on every evening, and looks so pretty as the lights twinkle and sparkle.  Not that we ever have a white Christmas,  living in our part of paradise.  Here in New Zealand we celebrate the Christmas season in mid summer, so it is sand, sunshine, and barbeques all the way, lucky us!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

My Stitching Bag

Finally finished – my new stitching bag.  What’s not to love – it’s blue, and pretty, I love it.

PB250041 My new stitching bag

PB250043Detail of the wildlife

It all started out with me attending a class way back in August to learn about re-using doilies.  I was very lucky to collect some when my MIL passed away, and had grand visions of using them to make a quilt.  But this one, being blue, didn’t really go with the rest, so I thought it would be just the thing to use on the front of a bag.  It started out like this, after I had stitched some words in the centre.  I needed a little help to get started, but was told, oh no,  you just can't plonk it right in the middle, it must be placed off centre.

P7280003 My blue doily

So I had a change of plan, and with a little help, came up with a different idea.  How about a leafy branch and a bird up here, and arrange the doily artistically  in the lower corner?  By the time I arrived back home, all I had to show for my day out sewing was this.  But the plan was to work away diligently  on my bag, otherwise it will get put away and join the ranks of UFOs already in residence in my sewing room.

P8090011 All I completed in class

Once home I added  a few pretty blue flowers on the corner of the bag.  The flowers were machine appliqu├ęd in place, and I added a button in the centre - then just a little hand stitching to link the flowers together. And while I was sitting at the sewing machine I constructed the straps and machine quilted a piece for the back of the bag.

P8170005 A few flowers in the corner

The doily was trimmed down and stitched in place, as was the cute little butterfly which I found on another of MIL’s doileys.  And then I spent many peaceful hours doing   “big stitch” quilting with Perle No 5 thread.

P9260014 Big Stitch quilting

Once the hand stitching was completed, assembling the bag didn’t take too long at all.  I love how it has all come together, using the vintage doilies, and a combination of machine and hand stitching.  And the best thing is – it’s finally finished!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My turn to host the Sew Wots

We take turns to play hostess to the Sew Wot group and my turn rolled around on Tuesday.  There was a full group, except for one of our ladies who is recovering from surgery.  Our elderly cat  Muffy made a beeline for Pam, and the two of them were squashed up in the Lazy Boy chair, when Muffy insisted on lying down behind Pam, while she was perched on the front of the chair.

Helen had brought along her two entries in our recent quilt club Challenge – a very wise looking owl, and a Tiki.  Check out that red rosette pinned to the owl – Helen won First Prize in the Advanced Section!  Well done, Helen.  And many thanks for the lovely flowers.

PB240035 The owl and the tiki

PB240040Helen brought me a bunch of Sweet Peas from her garden

Carol’s contribution to Show and Tell were two cute little stuffed dogs, made from an Indygo Junction pattern.  They took an awful lot of stuffing, she said.  The red dog is staying with Carol, and the pretty purple dog will be a gift for her grand-daughter.

PB240036Carol with her colourful dogs

You can tell Christmas is not far away when a Tree Skirt makes an appearance.  Heather B had finished this just in time to give to her daughter.

PB240038Heather’s Tree Skirt

And what about these two little cuties?  Heather B was putting the finishing touches on tiny little Father Bear.  Mary decided he needed to have a friend in the photo, and she passed over the pretty dolly hanging from her scissor fob, so they could pose together.

PB240039Two tiny toys

In between chatting  and morning tea, everyone was busy stitching.  Heather E was stitching even more hexagons together, she is a real whizz doing these.  Moira was working on another of her William Morris blocks, and Carol was doing a dainty stitchery.  Mary had found a real Op Shop bargain of a panel - a set of dressing table runners.  She had added some of her beautiful crochet edging, and was now embroidering them.  I didn’t even get my stitching out, much too busy taking photos and organising morning tea.

Our next fortnightly get-together will be rather special, as we will be lunching out at a cafe for our Christmas “do”.  There we will have a big reveal on the surprise gift we have been making.  Everyone was given a name so it will be fun to see who gets what.

Monday, November 23, 2015

More Christmas Stitchery Blocks

I did a little stitching on my Christmas ABC blocks while we were away recently on our road trip.  Two more done now, to add to my rather small pile of completed blocks.  But that’s OK, I’m not in a rush, and I’m enjoying some quiet stitchery time when I get the chance.  These lovely Christmassy designs are from “Rag Tag Stitching, Alphabet Noel” from the very talented designer, Michelle Ridgeway.

PB230034I’m using designs from my Alphabet Noel book

I’ve just finished “E is for Evening (Christmas) Star”, and I did my own interpretation for this letter, with the star shining down on the hills.  Also completed is “F is for Frosty” – he is rather cute, I think, with his warm plaid scarf and top hat.  Would you know – I’ve never made a snowman in my life!  We don’t get snow fall where I live in the winter, only on the high hilltops and mountain ranges, not falling on the ground.  And living here in New Zealand, we celebrate Christmas is in the hot summer sunshine.

PB230033 E and F blocks completed

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Off on a Road Trip

We have been out and about this week, off on a road trip, towing the caravan behind us.  Living in such a beautiful country, as we do, we have seen some marvellous sights, had some fun, and stayed at places we had not visited before. 

PB130048 Looking over Lake Taupo to the mountains

The Jukebox Diner in Hamilton was a delight, full of bright red  Formica, shiny chrome, black and white lino flooring, Betty Boop, Coco Cola, and the waitresses are suitably attired in their 50s style hair and make-up.  It’s just like stepping back in time, and travelling over to the good old USA for an episode of “Happy Days”. 

PB150006 Jukebox Diner

It was rather like stepping into rock’n’roll heaven with paintings of Elvis (I’m a real fan) and his contemoraries hanging from the walls.  I was very keen to try the American Hot Dog for lunch, and Robin enjoyed his Chilli Dog.  With a Coco Cola Soda to complete our meal, we were very happy campers indeed.  Mind you, we call these beverages “Spiders” down here in New Zealand.

PB160012 Lunching at the Jukebox Diner

The Diner was always busy, with a whole bunch of classic car enthusiasts, all dressed in their black club uniforms, and wonder of wonders, what’s this?  A very different type of clientele.  The Red Hat Hamilton ladies arrived, dressed in shades of purple, and sporting red hats, long red gloves, and lots of sparkling bling!  I asked if I could take their photo, and they told me they meet for lunch monthly, and for morning tea every two weeks.  Sounds like a fun group to join – and I know there is a local branch back home.

PB170015 The Red Hat Ladies

And check out the wonderful places we stayed this week.  Here we are enjoying the peaceful surroundings at Lake Karapiro.  The ducks, geese and swans paddled serenely around until the air was split by the sound of high-revving speed boats.

PB140060Camping at Lake Karapiro

Then we stayed off the beaten track on the banks of the Mohaka River.  The cattle are not the least put out when the campers drive into camp, and have been known to enthusiastically rock the caravans while they are busy scratching themselves!  Luckily it didn’t happen to us!

PB180037 With the cattle at Mohaka River

I’ve managed to read two books, do a little stitching, plus a few rows of knitting  - so I haven’t been entirely lazy.  We are now back at Napier for a couple of days, and I do so enjoy sitting outside in the lovely warm air, working away at my projects.  It’s not the most glamorous of photos, but you can see that I’m enjoying myself!

PB190004 Stitching in the Hawkes Bay sunshine

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Town and Country Quilters November Club Night

My goodness, what a night we had.  Our speaker was Shirley Mooney, judge of our Challenge Quilts, and she talked to us about “La Passacaglia”, the millefiori quilts which are taking the quilting fraternity by storm.  Not everyone, but those with the patience for tackling such a huge project and who have a passion for paper piecing and handwork.  Various sized rosettes are made up of tiny, tiny pieces, and are constructed by the English Paper piecing method.  Shirley was assisted in her talk by fellow convert Wendy Welsh.  They talked us through a PowerPoint presentation discussing the pattern, the method, fabric choices and tools.  With a worldwide Face book group of over 4000 members, this quilt is starting to appear everywhere in all sorts of colour combinations.


PB110026 Wendy’s partially completed La Passacaglia

PB110027Shirley is using a palette of grey, black, yellow and white

Do note Shirley’s dress, which she informed us, started off black and white.  She then coloured in some of the flowers using fabric pens, experimenting till she discovered which ones worked best and wouldn’t wash out.  The dress looks rather like a mini La Passacaglia quilt, doesn’t it?

After supper, Shirley presented the awards for the quilt challenge.  Twelve entries were received, with several members forgot to stop and produced several entries.  1st prize was awarded to Helen for her wonderful Owl quilt, 2nd was Paula with her low contrast (grey with white squares) quilt, and 3rd was Luchelle who produced her cute peeping kitten.  Paula scooped the pool winning awards for both Judge’s Choice and Viewers Choice with her little black and white spotted number topped with an orange flower.  We have some very talented ladies in our club, and many thanks to all who entered.

PB110024 The Challenge quilts

It was a busy but fun night, and the meeting format was changed around to accommodate our special programme for the evening.  For those of you who like to “blog surf”, both Shirley and Wendy write a blog.   Shirley’s blog is www.dontwaittocreate.blogspot.com and you can find Wendy’s blog on www.wendysquiltsandmore.blogspot.com