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

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Finished in time for Christmas

The “Great All Breeds Horse Show” quilt is finished, in time to get it wrapped up and delivered for Christmas.  The last remaining side of the binding has been stitched down, and the heavy quilt was lugged outside for a few photos.  A bit difficult as it is too long to hang nicely on the clothesline so I had to drape it over the fence, and it was still too long.  But at last it it finished – oops, haven’t stitched the label on yet, but that will only take five minutes or so.

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Great All Breeds Horse Show

I’ve made this for my grand-daughter Emma, and it will be a surprise for her for Christmas.  We talked colours last year about a future quilt I might make her “sometime” and she wanted black and grey.  So black and grey was what she got, nine patch blocks all with a plain black homespun centre.  But I decided  to add the raspberry batik sashing to give the quilt a pop of colour.

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Emma lives and breaths horses and has several on the family small holding.  So she will love the addition of 18 different named horse breeds, with everything from an Appaloosa to a Welsh Pony.  These exquisite embroidered horse head blocks came from Kings Treasures.

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And the beautiful freehand machine quilting was done by local quilter Paula of Rabbit’s Patch Quilting, didn’t she do a marvelous job!

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One last photo

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Little Jars of Fun

Christmas is coming up fast, and our Sew Wot group celebrated with a lunch out at one of the local cafes for our final meeting of the year.  We like to have a gift exchange and this year we did something a little different – with a jam jar.  The instructions were to fill the jar with either homemade jam, sauce, or pickles.  Or maybe sweets, fudge, or something edible.  The third option was to fill our gift jars with sewing notions, fabric, cotton, buttons or lace.  In fact, anything goes!  We arrived at the café in the pouring rain, settled down, ordered our meals, and placed the festively wrapped jars on the end of the table.  My goodness, they certainly looked interesting.

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A nice assortment of Christmas gifts

The meals were very tasty and the service was great.  Our group had plenty to chat about – who was coming for Christmas,  holiday plans, and the dreaded Christmas shopping.  Sadly, two of our ladies are still unwell and could not attend.

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Sew Wot ladies at the café

After our meal and coffee had been consumed, the fun began.  Mary wrote the names on all participants and we each chose a folded slip of paper.  And received the gift jar prepared by that person.

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Helen choosing a name from Mary

What fun we had unwrapping our jars to see the goodies packed inside.  There was home made lemon honey, a nice assortment of nuts and nibbles in another, and a clever little quilted Tic Tac Toe game and counters all rolled up inside another jar.  The others had all sorts of interesting sewing notions, buttons, thread, pieces of fabric, anything to bring joy to a stitcher’s heart.  It was amazing to see just how much could be rolled and squeezed inside each jar.

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Little jars full of fun

It was such a lovely conclusion to our Sew Wot mornings this year, I have certainly enjoyed meeting up with the ladies (when I could) at our fortnightly meetings.  And special thanks to Carol and Mary for organizing our Christmas challenge.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Club Stitching Day

It was the final Town and Country Quilters stitching day of the year, and I was determined to get there!  But you know how it goes – things sometimes conspire against us and I had another meeting to attend in the morning.  So I squeezed both things in, attended the morning meeting, rushed back home for a quick lunch, and then I took myself down to the hall by 1.00pm.  Whew, life gets very busy, especially at this time of year with the pre-Christmas rush.

There were eight or so members working away on their various projects.  Ladies were pinning, or slicing fabric, a couple were pondering the next step on their work, and the sewing machines were whirring away.  I took along my very large horse quilt, with all the binding carefully pinned down.  My goodness, that quilt is heavy, and rather bulky, so it was just as well I had a nice large table to spread it out on, as I sat quietly stitching away.  By the time I had packed up at home time,  I was up to the last side – almost there now!

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Still stitching that binding!

Ute had recently attended a club workshop on free motion quilting and was practising some of the designs shown by the teacher.  She was doing a great job, Ute’s quilting is wonderful.

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Ute with her free motion quilting

I think one of the secrets of free motion quilting could well be those quilting gloves.  I noticed that Lynne was also wearing them as she machine quilted her Pacifica quilt, using gold thread while making tiny little swirls, no less!  (I’m certainly not that clever.)

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Lynne’s Pacifica quilt

Another lovely design was Gill’s quilt colourful quilt top.  Made with an interesting pieced block with curves, I thought the floral applique border finished it off rather well.

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Gill’s quilt top

It was a lovely peaceful afternoon spent stitching in the company of other quilt club members.  Thanks for your company, ladies.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Camping amongst the Pohutukawa Trees

Finally finished – several projects for our caravan – using up just about all of the remaining camping in New Zealand fabric, featuring cute retro caravans, beach scenes and flowering pohutukawa trees.  With their beautiful crimson flowers tipped in gold, the trees are known as New Zealand Christmas trees.  All that remains of this fabric is just a few tiny pieces, although I have a reasonable amount of the plain grey homespun left.

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New Zealand summer scene fabric

My plan over the weekend was this – to complete two placemats, one apron, and a double handed oven cloth.  So a little after lunch time on a wild, wet and windy Sunday the current number 6 has been knocked off my List of Six UFOs.  In between showers I stepped out to get an outdoors photo, hoping that the wind wouldn’t pick everything up off the wooden bench and blow them all over the fence!  I’m so pleased with another finish, and these items will reside in our caravan and get good use, I’m sure.

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Sewing for the caravan

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Roll the Dice Thursday

Where has this week gone, I wonder?  It’s Thursday, and I’ve only just got around to rolling the dice to see what UFO I’m working on this week.  Monday was spent machining the binding on my horse quilt, after I had dealt with lots of laundry.  Tuesday – spent the morning with the Sew Wot ladies, and then started pinning and hand stitching the binding down.  Wednesday – out and about purchasing fresh fruit and veggies from the market gardens, a trip to the library, then on to the supermarket. And so the days rush by.

And today, Thursday, I finally get to roll the dice, and the number stops at 6.  A quick check on my List of Six reminds me that this UFO is a set of place mats and an apron made from a New Zealand inspired fabric featuring cute retro caravans.  I had a piece of this fabric left over after making a memory quilt for Pauline after her husband Geoff passed away.  They were keen caravanners too and travelled with us on our South Island Odyssey a few years ago. Read about the quilt here.

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Caravan fabric originally used on memory quilt

UFO number six saw the light of day early in the month just before we took our trip up to Hamilton.  And I had made a start by stitching  all the bits I’d previously cut out and pinned – straps for the apron, and started to assemble the pieces for the place mats.   Looking through my scraps, I’ve now decided to make a double handed oven cloth as well, to use up the last of the little bits of caravan fabric.

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Assorted bits cut, stitched and pressed

I’m spending an hour or so at the sewing machine this morning, stitching this bit and that bit together.  And getting into a bit of a mess as I’m using sacking for the outside of the oven cloth, and strands of that gets everywhere. 

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It’s almost time to switch the sewing machine off, as I’m “out to lunch” shortly with friends from our village.  But every little bit helps, and I’m planning on getting a bit more stitching done over the weekend, all going well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sew Wot Tuesday

Helen was the hostess for our Sew Wot morning.  It was a smallish  gathering, with a couple of our ladies unwell and not able to attend,  we certainly wish them well for the future.  Helen’s home has been fitted with a new kitchen, which we all admired.  So much storage, we commented, it looked very nice indeed.

I had taken my horse quilt along to continue with stitching down the binding. It’s a big job and I’m only a little way along, so I’ll just have to keep plodding along till I reach the finish line.  Everyone was most impressed with Paula’s beautiful machine quilting.

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Checking out the horse quilt

Helen had recently attended a machine quilting class and brought her class samples along.  I really admire anyone who can do pebbles, swirls and feathers with apparent ease.

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Helen with her machine quilting sample

There was plenty of Show and Tell in Mary’s bag. She had made a couple of outfits for the grand-daughters Cabbage Patch dolls in trendy pink and purple, all ready for Christmas.

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Outfits for Cabbage Patch dolls

Mary also does lovely embroidery and has completed some pretty doilies which she brought along to show us.  And we loved the Christmas quilt, full of pretty stitchery blocks, going to a family member.  As is the lovely wall-hanging full of inspirational sayings – such a lovely idea.  Mary had machine quilted each family member’s name in the sashings.. 

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Both made by Mary for Christmas gifts

Moira was sitting beside me quietly hand piecing, and Heather E spent the morning removing papers from her hexagon quilt.  And Heather B had recycled some tiny little cross stitch blocks.  They now reside in the middle of crazy patch blocks, which have been embellished with trims, lace, and buttons to make a very pretty bed runner.

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Bed runner made by Heather B

As usual, we enjoyed a lovely morning tea, and discussed our up-coming Christmas get-together.  This is coming up fast, and we are lunching out at one of the local cafes.  Should be good fun, and something to look forward to.  And a first for me - I had forgotten to take my camera along to our get-together.  Many thanks to Heather B for taking photos with her phone, and sending them on to me, much appreciated.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Quilt Binding

Five days away in the caravan for a long weekend can generate a lot of laundry.  Especially when the sheets and towels were added into the mix.  So that was my focus in the morning – get that washing done and hang it out in the nice warm sunshine.  And I even ironed it all in the afternoon – so I’m feeling rather pleased with myself.

With that job done I could finally get on with machining the binding on my grand-daughters horse quilt.  Luckily I had planned ahead and the binding was all prepared and ready and waiting to be attached.  I don’t know what others do, but I stitch it on with my walking foot and then carefully trim the excess backing and batting off.

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Stitching the binding on

So now I’m up to pinning the binding over to the back and and stitching it in place.  This is a large quilt, so its going to take me ages, I’m sure.  But never mind, it’s quite a restful thing to be doing, stitching the binding down, no matter how long it takes.  It will be completed and all wrapped up by Christmas, of course.

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Finishing off “ The Great All Breeds Horse Show” quilt