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

Monday, April 23, 2018

Slow Stitching and Stirring the Pot

It’s nice to sit and relax with some hand stitching.  I like to sit at the dining table when I stitch during the afternoon and the Autumn sunshine comes through the sun filter curtains.  Nice and warm, but not too hot.  I did a little hand quilting on my Winter Quilt Festival panel, stitching around the teeny tiny printed block patterns which surround the centre panel.  I’m not the world’s best or fastest hand quilter, so this could take me a while.  But no hurry, I’m quite enjoying this project.

Quilting around tiny blocks

Then I made a start on block number five (of nine) of the New Zealand Botanical designs I’m doing – another slow stitching project.  This is the Alpine Buttercup block, and I have just started stitching the base of the wreath.  I like to take this type of stitching away on caravan trips, and to the Sew Wot morning get-togethers.

Alpine Buttercup stitchery block

Then I had a stint of jam making, stirring the big stock pot full of feijoa jam.  It’s feijoa season here, and feijoa trees in home home gardens (not us) usually have fruit to share and give away. This fruit is not to everyone’s taste, Robin doesn’t care for them, but I rather enjoy them.


I had an awful lot of fruit to cut in half, and scoop the golden/caramel coloured  flesh out with a tea spoon.  You can’t weigh the whole fruit, only the flesh.  Quite a long, slow job, but finally it was done.  And this is the result, several jars of yummy feijoa jam.   I like to use the fancy jars, such as these square of six sided ones – doesn’t really make the jam taste any nicer, but I like the look of them in the pantry.  Just another of my little foibles!

Feijoa jam

So along with washing, ironing, and preparing an easy evening meal cooked in the crock pot, that was how I spent my Sunday.  What did you get up too?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

1930s baby Quilt–Finished

It’s good to have a finish, and I have to admit that this one was an easy finish.  With the quilt top and backing layered and pinned, it didn't take to long to do some simple machine quilting with my walking foot.  Then stitch the binding on.


Last night I sat and stitched the binding down by hand while Robin was engrossed in a rugby game on TV.  I quite enjoy doing this step, quietly hand stitching on the back, and watching it get nearer and nearer to completion. 

Blowing in the wind on the trellis

On the wooden patio seat

This is the first time I have used 1930s fabrics, and most of these were a gift from my pen-friend Margaret from Birmingham, England.  Not quite sure what I will do with this cot sized quilt yet, it could go in to my Granny box but I think I’ll be waiting a long time for my grand daughters to marry and have babies.  It’s sure to find a home soon, there has been a flurry of weddings amongst Robin’s nieces over the last year or so.

Back of the quilt

Thursday, April 19, 2018

And the Dice Rolls……Number 3

Another roll of the dice this weeks brings up number 3.  Out comes my list again to tell me that this is my 1930s baby quilt.  I received a gift of assorted 1930s fabrics when we caught up with my pen-friend Margaret in Birmingham, England, way back in 2008.  On our return home I purchased a few more fabrics and made these Cobblestone blocks.  And there they sat, and waited, and waited.

1930s Cobblestone Blocks

Last time this UFO surfaced some months ago I had put all the blocks together.  I’m happy with the white sashing between the 1930s colours in the blocks – it gives the quilt a lovely crisp look, I feel.  Then I used up the remaining coloured squares on the pieced backing.  

The completed top

Finally, the layers have been pinned together and I’ve started on the simple machine quilting.  With the bonus of a free weekend at home, I’m certainly hoping to get this project completed this week.

Machine quilting

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Another Sew Wot Tuesday

Another Sew Wot Tuesday rolled around – these days are always so nice to attend.  Sometimes I have to miss them, with appointments and such, so it has been great to get to several in a row.  This time we met at Mary’s home, and as always, stopped to admire her lovely cottagey garden.  Mary loves her garden and  is blessed with very green thumbs indeed.

Mary’s front garden

It was almost a solo Show and Tell, Mary had been on a roll, she told us, and she held up one thing after another.  This quilt is going to a friendly neighbour for helping with animal feeding from time to time.

For a helpful neighbour

Then we were shown not one, but two gorgeous 3 ply baby shawls, aren’t they just beautiful!

Two lovely shawls

We all loved this beautiful table centre, made with Dresden Plates crocheted together.  Another lovely work of art made by Mary.

Table centre

After all these lovelies, my small offering at Show and Tell seemed very ordinary indeed.  I had brought along my New Zealand birds place mats which I had made to use in the caravan, as the ladies hadn’t yet seen them.

Place mats for the caravan

We all enjoyed a lovely morning, sitting and stitching together.  Moira was quietly working on a stitchery,  and Heather E was stitching a Mariner’s Compass block onto background fabric – which looked rather complicated to me.  Heather B was crocheting a pair of cozy slippers, and Carol was knitting a baby jumper to donate to a good cause.

Heather B and Carol

I didn’t seem to achieve much at all, just a little stitching.  I had received a “Quilt Pillow” from pen friend Carol for Christmas, and it needed to be stuffed and then stitched closed.  Finally done, and it is now hanging on the door to my sewing room (spare bedroom).


We all enjoyed stitching and chatting, craft magazines were circulated and taken home, and we enjoyed a delicious morning tea.  Many thanks to Mary for being our hostess.

Friday, April 13, 2018

And the Dice Rolls Four

It’s been absolutely ages since I “rolled the dice” to see which of my UFOs I would get to work on for the week.  Or, make that a day or two, as once again, we had things happening this week, followed by a weekend away attending a caravan club rally.  As you can see, it’s all go at our place.  So what is number four on my List of Six UFOs?  I’d forgotten, so had to check the list to refresh my memory, and discovered that it is my Soul Searching quilt.  Not too much to do on this project, so if I knuckle down, I may well get it all done before the weekend.

You may remember that I had completed the top earlier, after reducing it from twelve blocks to nine blocks,  read about it here.

Nine big blocks in my Soul Searching quilt top

The three pastel blocks which were removed were then stitched together as part of the quilt backing.  So I just had to finish  piecing the backing to make it large enough – now completed.

The start of the pieced backing

It’s good to get this done, and the next step will be to take it to get commercially quilted – this quilt is too big for me to handle at home.  And I’ve been planning ahead, and made some scrappy black binding for when the quilt comes back home to me.

Binding all ready to use

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Town and Country Quilters April Club Night

The weather had turned wintry, the temperatures had plummeted, meaning the the numbers were down a little at our evening Club Night.  But plenty of keen quilters put their coats on, braved the elements and came along.

I love the Show and Tell component of the meeting, always the highlight, I feel.  It’s so nice to see what the members have been working on, and to come away with new ideas.  I was in the queue too waiting to have my moment on the stage, so didn’t have time to take notes as to who had made what,  I’m sorry to say.    Here are a few snaps of the quilts hanging in the Supper Room.

A statement on Elephant conservation

Butterfly quilt

My quilt/tablecloth commemorating our South Island caravan trip.

Amazing hydrangea quilt

Instead of a speaker this month we had presentations from the three local quilt shops, we are so fortunate to have three passionate quilt shops in our local area.  It was gadget night, and what a variety there was, each shop owner brought along completely different items to show and explain.  There was everything from rulers, stencils, frames for FMQ, an amazing super slim light box and photo fabric to use in the printer.  Lots of useful low key items too, such as spray starch, iron cleaner, (I definitely need a bottle of that), double eyed needles, (who would have known they exist) and the good old Hera marker which has been around for a while, but another item I could well use. 

It was a very interesting night indeed, and well worth braving the conditions to attend.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Poroporo Wreath

At last, another finish on the series of New Zealand botanical blocks I am slowly stitching.  These are a series of applique blocks designed by Jenny Hunter and printed in the New Zealand Quilter Magazine some years ago.  I decided to change the applique patterns to stitcheries – and I am treating this as my “slow stitching project ” for the year.

Poroporo Wreath

The Poroporo is a flowering bush and is closely related to potatoes, tomatoes, tamarillos and egg plants.  The Maori people ate the golden fruit and the leaves were used medicinally.  When the European settlers arrived, they named the plant bullibull, and made jam from the berries.

Poroporo bush

So that’s number four of the set of nine stitched – which design will I choose next, I wonder?