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

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Bit of an Oopsy

There I was, sitting at the sewing machine for all of 30 seconds, trying to get on with the memory quilt I’m making for a friend.  When – clunk*#%!  The machine is stopped in it’s tracks.  What’s wrong, I wonder?  Oh dear, the sewing machine needle has dropped out of the shaft and got itself lodged right through my quilt and into the bobbin casing.  First I turned the power off for safety, then tried to pull the needle out.  It was stuck fast, no matter how I wiggled the quilt, the wheel, and the needle.  Help!!  And to add insult to injury, my camera had a hissy fit and wouldn’t let me take a photo of the offending needle stuck fast.

Robin was called in to lend some expertise to the situation, so I left him to it.  And wouldn't you know it, the problem was resolved in just a couple of minutes.  He then proceeded to undo the bobbin housing to see if any damage had been done by the errant needle, (no, thank goodness).  Next he asked for my little cleaning brush and then set to brushing out all the accumulated lint.  Obviously I hadn’t attended to that job in a while!

With the machine put back together, and a replacement needle firmly attached, I did a test run to make sure everything worked as it should.  Thank goodness it did.  I remember changing the needle the other day when I started machine quilting in the ditch around the sashing strips, so can only conclude that I didn’t tighten the screw sufficiently.  Something that needs checking regularly, I guess.

Now I’ve got my breath back I’ll start work on the quilt again.  As you can see, I like to carefully pin each bit before I quilt in the ditch.  Yes, it’s much slower, but I feel much happier with it all pinned securely.  What do others do – are you a careful pinner or not?

PA280044 Memory quilt with the sashing carefully pinned

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another Sew Wot Tuesday

It was lovely to catch up with my Sew Wot buddies again, as I had missed the last get-together due to travelling north to get our caravan serviced.  We met in Helen’s home in the country and settled down to chat and do a little hand sewing.   Rae had recently attended a “Quilt as you Go” class and showed us her reversible blocks.  These were made with hearts on one side and pin wheels on the other.

PA280034  Rae’s Quilt as you Go blocks

Mary does the loveliest embroidery and showed us all the parts she had been working on to make an embroidered  “etui”.  For those who don’t know - a small ornamental case for holding needles, cosmetics, and other articles – or in this case, sewing items. (I didn’t know what that strange word meant, Mr Google told me)   Mary found the  pattern for her Rose Delight in Country Craft magazine.

PA280035 Many parts go into making an etui

What a stunning bag Helen had made, black, white and red is always a winning combination.  Love that Paris inspired fabric too.

PA280039 Helen’s new bag

Two of the group were celebrating birthdays, myself and Heather.  Thanks so much for the cards and gifts ladies, what a lovely surprise.
 PA290001  For my birthday – aren’t I a lucky girl?

As usual, we enjoyed a scrumptious morning tea.  Helen’s fluffy cat was all set to join in too, and sat herself down at the head of the table.  Move along pussy, that seat is needed for the guests.

PA280037 A saucer of milk, perhaps?

Another great friendly morning, I’m so pleased I’m part of the Sew Wots.  Otherwise known as the Eat Alots – so one of the husband’s says!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Parcel in the Mail

We enjoyed a four day weekend going to a caravan rally, not too far away in the beach town of  Foxton.  A sign at the edge of town says   “Welcome to Sunny Foxton”.    Unfortunately there was only one fine day out of the four when it was warm enough to sit outside, and I got on with the job stitching up my little kiddies jumper.  The other three days were cold and windy, with heavy rain on our final day.  Never mind, Spring weather is often temperamental, and we spent the weekend in the good company  of our caravan club buddies.

PA250003Enjoying the sunshine on the only sunny day of the weekend

There is always plenty of fun and laughter at our caravan rally weekends.  Imagine this – everyone sitting outside enjoying morning tea, when in walks the Ebola Inspector!  He is medically suited up from head to foot and had come to check out one of our members who was feeling a bit off colour, carrying a lethal looking length of tube.  Goodness knows where he intended to poke that.  The patient, Eileen, laughed so much she had tears running down her cheeks!

PA250008 Fun at Foxton

We arrived home on Monday to find more birthday cards and an overseas parcel in the letter box, plus a couple of Happy Birthday messages on the answer phone.  Carol from South Dakota sent me an interesting selection of goodies.  A floral pincushion, and a packet of Moda two and a half inch squares, tucked inside the  little gift bag – which was decorated with a floral brooch, and a Christmas pin.  I was pleased she enclosed a letter too, I love getting nice newsy letters.

PA280040 Gifts from pen-friend Carol

Some of my cards were cute too, including these two with a sewing theme, both from quilters, of course.

PA280042 Lovely birthday cards

PA280043Card from my daughter – telling me I’m not as young as I used to be!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to me

It was my birthday yesterday and the postman had brought me a couple of parcels from my quilty pen friends which I had been saving to open on the day.  I had phone calls from my son and daughter too, plus from a couple of friends, so that was lovely too.  Janet from Cromer, UK, had made me a lovely little “mug rug” in pinks and blues, so pretty, and has my name embroidered on it too.  And Glennis from Chipping Norton sent me a cute little fold up shopping bag, from Marks and Spencers. 

PA230013 All the way from England

Goodness knows where my daughter Nicky found this gorgeous little wooden box, with a sewing theme.  Very appropriate for a stitcher, of course.  I love it, and will have to put it pride of place in my sewing room. 

PA230014 Pretty little box from my daughter

Robin and I went shopping for my pressie, and came home with “The Great New Zealand Cookbook” for my birthday gift.  I’ve only had a quick flick through so far, so there is sure to be plenty of inspiration in these pages.

PA230015 From Robin

We are away in the caravan for the long Labour Day weekend, so there is sure to be a few more birthday cards in the letter box when we return home.  And maybe if I’m really lucky, there may even be another parcel waiting for me!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ticking off my List

Its been a busy old day today, but I’ve got a few items ticked off my list, so that’s a good feeling.  The washing is done and hanging outside in the sunny breeze, then I whizzed around with the vacuum cleaner, did some dusting and cleaned the bathroom.  Whew – I needed a cup of coffee after that little lot!  Then I took a trip down to the quilt shop to buy some batting for the Memory quilt I’m making – which took a wee while to get it all layered and pinned in place.  I’m so pleased that job is done, so now it is all ready to get on with the machine quilting  when I’m ready to cope with that job.

PA220010 Memory quilt pinned together

Later in the afternoon I did some baking to take away for our caravan weekend away.  Goodness knows why I decided to try a new recipe which I hadn’t made before?  Guess it will either be very nice or a big disaster.  We will have to try a bit when it cools down, and hope for the best.  I’ve got a chicken roasting in the oven so must put the roast veggies in too.  Robin has had a big trip away helping his mate so will starving hungry when he finally returns home.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Creative Chaos

My sewing room is in a mess, you can’t see the floor,  the iron has been hard at work all day, as has my sewing machine.  Luckily no one came visiting today as I’ve been busy stitching.  I’ve felt a bit guilty as I haven’t had much spare time to be working on the Memory quilt I’m making for a friend – too many trips away in the caravan and other social activities have been cutting into  my sewing time.  So today I made a big effort, left the housework for another day, and just got on with it.

I’m pleased to say that with the addition of the borders, the top is now finished.  And I pieced the backing as well. You can tell I’m a bit pedantic with my backings – I don’t usually piece them at all.  But Memory quilts use fabrics which are very special to the recipient, and I wanted to incorporate what I could.  Not for me the way some people do it their backings - a bit of this fabric here, and some other there.  No, I’m a Libra so that means everything must be balanced.  There is a piece of dark green tee shirting with printed words in the centre, surrounded by a strip of white shirting, then another strip of train fabric.  Our friend Geoff loved trains, model railways and full sized trains too.  Home spun was added to the centre pieced panel to bring it to the right size.

PA210007 Pieced backing for Memory quilt

There was a bit of a problem when I added the borders to the quilt top, because I had used some of Geoff's checked shirt for the sashings.  Not cotton, as it turned out, and it started to fray quite badly.  Oh dear – I quickly changed the foot on my sewing machine and zig-zagged the offending fraying edges – that should stop the fraying.

PA210006 Adding a row of zig-zag stitching to the seams

I’ve been stitching squares together at the start and completion of each seam and they certainly mount up.  It’s a great idea to have  “Leaders and Enders” project cut out ready while you stitch away at something else.  As I’m sure most of you know, Bonnie Hunter came up with this idea.  Mine is a long term project, and a great way to use up all those left over bits we seem to have lying around.

P9010003 Leaders and Enders project

There will be another busy day tomorrow, I’m sure.  I’ll need a trip down to the quilt shop to buy some wadding for the Memory quilt, then I can get it all pinned together.  Need to do a bit of baking so I have something nice to share on my birthday during our four day weekend away in the caravan.  And I really must clean these floors, there is cotton thread and snips of fabric everywhere!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stitching in the Caravan

We have been away all week in the caravan, up to Hamilton, over to New Plymouth, and on to Wanganui.  While in New Plymouth, we stayed at “Pirongia Clydesdales”, a truly wonderful place with the most beautiful big horses.  Do check out our Romany Rambler blog to see what we got up to on our travels.

A lovely place to stay

With all this tripping around, only a little stitching got done.  I worked some more on a secret project.  The hand stitching is now done, and I must make it a priority when we return home to sit myself down in front of the sewing machine and complete it.  Then I can breath a sigh of relief that it will be completed in good time for the gift giving, when all will be revealed.

PA160059A little secret stitching

My knitting bag always comes on trips with us as well, and I’ve found some time to get the knitting needles out.  Up to the second sleeve now, so not much more to go on this little kiddies jumper.

PA160062 Did some knitting too

We will be home tomorrow, and I know what that means.  After the caravan is unpacked, the fridge washed out, the bathroom cleaned and the  floors vacuumed,  I will tackle all the washing.  Most unusually for me, I haven’t done any laundry while we have been away – that will need to be rectified, won’t it!  Wonder how many load it will take to get it all done?