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

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Calicoe Garden – the Birthday Quilt

The big day finally arrived – surely it can’t be 50 long years ago since my beautiful daughter arrived?  Just where have those years gone, I wondered?  We were having a small family lunch at the rather grandly named Orlando Country Club in Palmerston North.  Before we sat down at our table, there were gifts to open.  I had organised one of those on line photo books and Nicky and her best friend Heather had a laugh looking through all the old photos.  Especially the one where she took part in a school play dressed up as a pine tree!
P8280034 Heather and Nicky looking through the photo book
Then the birthday quilt was unwrapped and studied.  Nicky had asked for dusky pinks and grey-green tonings, with plain cream calicoe on the alternate blocks.  I had decided to appliqué some leaves onto the plain blocks in various green fabrics, and am really pleased how it all came together. 
P8280037 Nicky’s husband Robert, Heather, and Nicky
P8280042Three generations - Grand-daughter Emma (I don’t like getting my photo taken so I’m I’m not going to smile), Nicky and me.
We had lovely tasty lunches – our choices ranged from Eggs Benedict, Burgers, Paninis.  And we couldn’t let the celebrations go by without a big piece of cake each, mine was Lemon Cake and was so delicious.  After lunch we went our separate ways, Robert and Emma went back to work, Nicky’s Dad (my ex) and his wife travelled on to Tauranga, Nicky and Heather were continuing on their girls day out with a massage each, and Robin and I made our way back home.
P8260009 Calicoe Garden
I was really pleased with the commercial quilting done by Paula of Rabbit’s Patch Quilting.  I had asked for each green leaf to be quilted with veins, and then left the rest of the quilting up to her.  Paula quilted a large flower in each of the nine patch blocks, did half a feather around the edge of the calicoe blocks and then stippled the interiors.  The outside floral border had feathers, and all the quilting was done free hand.  I think she did a wonderful job!
P8260010 Close up of the quilting
Now that the birthday quilt is completed and gifted – what shall I work on next?  I’ve got plenty of UFOs to choose from.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Getting Ready for the Big Day

The years have rolled by, and it seems hard to believe that my little girl was born nearly 50 years ago.  Tomorrow is the big day, when the birthday quilt will be presented.  But first I needed to stitch the label on the back.  It was such a lovely Spring day today  that I sat outside in the sunshine to complete this last task.  Muffy came outside to join me for a few minutes, but now she is such an old cat, really prefers the comforts of being curled up inside.

P8270021 Stitching the label on the back of the quilt

There were a few spare blocks left over so I added them to the quilt backing. 

P8270024The back of the quilt

P8270028All wrapped up for the birthday lunch tomorrow

There will be an extra gift as well.  I organised a photo book on the internet using photos from baby days, school days, teenage years, up to the present time.  A bit like “This is Your Life”, and it’s all about her, as it should be on such a big occasion.

P8270026   Photo book

We are meeting up tomorrow for a family lunch – I do hope she likes her new quilt!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Symposium Suitcase Exhibition at Levin

The touring Suitcase Exhibition has stopped off at our local Te Takere Library at Levin.  What a great opportunity to see a variety of small quilts selected from recent Symposium Exhibition.  I have been several times to feast my eyes on these lovely works of art, and here is just a taste of what was on show.  The overall winner of the NZ Suitcase Exhibition was “Opulent and Elegant”, by Valda Sutton, who adapted the design from the book Turkish Motifs, by Cahide Keskiner.

P8110027 Opulent and Elegant, by Valda Sutton

I love New Zealand inspired quilts and “Aotearoa Blooms”, by Nancy Neilson was inspired by her love of New Zealand flowers, showcasing five original machine appliquéd blocks of native plants.

P8110029Aotearoa Blooms, by Nancy Neilson

And still on the New Zealand theme, “Still Being Followed”, by Ruth Wheeler focuses on the plight of the Godwit population which sadly is in decline.  Ruth created her own pattern for the birds, inspired by a newspaper photo.

P8110025 Still Being Followed, by Ruth Wheeler

You couldn’t help but smile at “Bee Sunny”,  by Mathea Daunheimer.  A tiny appliquéd bee sits on top a beautifully machine quilted sun flower.  The design was inspired by a photo taken by her friend, who lives in Maine, USA.

P8260006Bee Sunny, by Mathea Daunheimer 

We are fortunate to have these quilts on show locally for the last few weeks, and they will be moving on to their next destination at the end of the month.  Keep an eye out – they might be coming to a town near you sometime soon.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Birthday Quilt is back home

I’m so pleased to have my daughter’s birthday quilt returned home from the quilter.  And I just love how Paula from Rabbit’s Patch Quilting has quilted it for me.  I had a couple of requests, but the rest was up to her. As it is for a gift, I can’t show the quilt in all it’s glory yet – but here are a couple of peeks.

P8190023 The back of the quilt – all freehand

My job today was to machine stitch the binding on.  I know I carefully measured it when I prepared the binding – but this quilt is big, and I was terrified that I would run out of the binding before I got to the end.  That didn’t happen, of course.  Now I have to fold it over, hand stitch it down, and add the label.  And I’ve got a week to get it done – so I should have plenty of time to get this last part of the process finished. 

P8190024Stitching the binding on

We are having a Birthday Lunch for my daughter’s 50th birthday next week, and I will present her with her new quilt then.  Nicky had some input with the colours and design so  I’m sure she will love it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Just a little Stitching

I’m slowly working on the front of  my bag which I started at the Nostalgia Class using doilies last week.   Perhaps I’ll add a few pretty blue flowers on this corner of the bag, I thought.  The flowers were machine appliquéd in place, and I added a button in the centre - then just a little hand stitching to link the flowers together.  The front of my bag needs a lot more stitching, and I’ll be doing “big stitch” quilting using perle cotton.

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But I needed to take a trip to the quilt shop and buy some more thread for the couple of stitchery projects I have on the go.  This is what I bought yesterday.

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I’ve also prepared the bag back and the straps so I’ll be ready to assemble the bag when I finally get the front finished.  So that’s another step done.  Being creative certainly takes time, but is most enjoyable.  I tend to flit from one project to another – guess most crafters are like that?

P8170004

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fox’s Cottage

Fox’s Cottage is a cute little quilt shop newly opened in Foxton, about 20km up SH1 from our home.  Owner Robyn Blandford is a keen knitter and quilter and has finally achieved her dream of opening her very own craft shop. 

P8160009

I received a very warm welcome from Robyn when I entered her shop in the weekend, and she was quite happy for me to take a few photos.   Her aim is to offer good quality products, from fabric, sewing threads, books and magazines, patterns,and lovely cosy balls of New Zealand wool. 

P8160001 Robyn behind the counter in her new shop

We had quite a conversation about knitting socks.  Although I have already bought sock wool, needles and a pattern, I have yet to attempt my first pair of knitted socks.  It is just that it seems so hard, with heels and toes to worry about.  Perhaps I need a sock tutor!

P8160002Knitting wool

And I couldn't leave empty handed, could I?   After looking through the fabric, and being drawn to lots of pretty colours, I gave myself a good talking to.  My next big project will be a quilt in blacks and greys, colours requested by my grand-daughter Emma.  So that is what I bought, a piece of black with newspaper text, and another of grey, black and white.  Much more sensible to get something I will actually use, rather than just adding to the stash.  Plus one of those pretty fat quarters too.  I wish Robyn well in her new enterprise.
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P8160024 My purchase which will be used for Emma’s quilt

With my quilty fix taken care of, we went next door to the Foxton Villa Cafe for Sunday lunch.  And what a lovely lunch it was.  Seared scallops and King prawns for her, and slow roasted leg of lamb for him, both delicious.  With coffee and a chocolate profiterole to finish, we were certainly well fed.

P8160007 Our tasty lunches

After that delicious lunch we needed a little exercise, and went for a walk along the Awahou Bush Boardwalk.  This Boardwalk is a project of ‘Keep Foxton Beautiful’ and has been constructed with the help of many local citizens.  The ground is very boggy, and the boardwalk meandered over it through native bush and tall flaxes.  Birds were singing, and it was a lovely, peaceful walk.  Soon we arrived at the Manawatu River, and sat down in the sun on a handy picnic table for a photo or two, with the river behind us.  The boardwalk is only about 0.5km long, with plans to extend it in the future.

P8160015Selfie at the picnic table, next to the Manawatu River

What a lovely afternoon it was.  What with discovering a new quilt shop, followed by a delicious lunch, it was a great way to spend a Sunday - lucky me.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

All things Vintage at Woodville Pioneer Museum

What I love about these museums is the peek into domestic life of bygone years.  And vintage abounded at the Woodville Pioneer Museum when we visited a few days ago.  Lots of lovely old china, the table set for tea, interesting furniture, and beautiful linens – each room was beautifully presented.

P8120032 The parlour

P8120029 Bedroom

P8120033Beautifully stitched baby clothes and old feeding bottles

I even discovered a quilt.  And when the volunteer on duty found out I was a quilter, she unhooked the cord across the door and let me in for a closer look. The pastel squares seemed to have been made from satin, and  I wondered if it was a fund raising quilt, as there were signatures on the blocks.  What a treasure!

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P8120042 5th Ruahine Battalion Band quilt, Woodville, dated 1903

There were treasures in every room, including cabinets full to overflowing with the Bessie Spinett Teapot Collection.  Bessie’s collection started as most collections, do, with a single purchase, a small one cup tea pot.  But it quickly grew over the years, with Bessie buying teapots throughout New Zealand, and on overseas trips.  Many were also received as gifts. 

P8120036 Just a small portion of the teapot collection

There was a huge back shed filled to the brim with all sorts of machinery, tools, gigs, wagons, and even a fire engine – everything that blokes would drool over.  But I found plenty to get my heart racing too. 

P8120048Time to do the ironing

P8120050After the washing has been done, of course

P8120047Old sewing machines too

It was great to glimpse back into the past – but I wonder how I would have coped in those bygone days.  With looking after big families, milking the cow, churning the butter, and baking bread,  I guess the women just rolled up their sleeves and got on with it.    It must have been a very busy life for them.