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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lunch at Chateau Tongariro

I’m sure that somewhere in my ancestry I was born wealthy and privileged.  Why?  Because of how easily I feel at home at the Chateau Tongariro with the grand furnishings, chandeliers, pianist tinkling away in the corner, and staff to cater for every need.  Then I come back down to earth with a thump, and think, who am I kidding?  If I was around in earlier times, I probably would have been one of those serving wenches, or perhaps a washer woman, not one of the rich and famous.

But we are at the Chateau for lunch, and while there, I made sure I enjoyed the experience.  The Chateau Tongiriro was built in 1929 and added to over the years.  It is a wonderfully romantic looking building, hinting of grandeur and the famous guests of earlier years.

Chateau Tongariro

We were there to lunch with a group from the Levin Lions.  Robin’s brother Gary is President of the Levin Waiopehu Lions Club, and some of the members and spouses were planning a social weekend in National Park.  Gary thought we might be interested in joining them too. And why not – we were on our way to Hamilton so it worked out well.


In the lounge

The buffet lunch had plenty for all tastes, soup, salads, a hot carvery and desserts.  The dining room was full, there was our group of about 20, and two bus loads of Japanese tourists.  Lunch over, and fully sated we said our goodbyes.  While the others were driving back home, we are staying on at our camp site, and continuing our caravan trip to Hamilton tomorrow.

So that means that I will not be home to play my UFO game of rolling the dice on Monday.  But never fear, I have packed  both my knitting bag and my stitching bag to take away with me.  I’ve already done a little stitching, and now that the rain has set in, perhaps a few rows of knitting might be in order. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

First time for number 6

It’s going to be a very short sewing week.  Why?   Monday was a Anzac Day, making it a public holiday and we were enjoying the weekend away in our caravan.  Then blow me down – we are heading off to pastures new again this coming Friday.  I’m just thankful I can squeeze a little sewing time in around the necessary household chores which always seem to hang about.

The dice roll was one day late, but never mind.  And I was excited that number 6 turned up for the very first time.  Number 6 is not technically a UFO, but rather a yet to be started project.  I had previously  gathered the fabric together with the pattern, with the view to making this “sometime”.  And the time to start has now arrived. 

I’m making a new duvet cover for our bed, based on the  “Mega Churn Dash” design from Kathy Doughty’s book “Adding Layers”.  Now this is where I have to admit that I’ve never actually made a duvet cover before.  Once I get the mega churn dash part of it completed, I guess I’ll be carefully studying our current duvets to see just how to put it all together.

Photo from “Adding Layers” book

I’m making mine in green and cream, using a pretty green fabric.  This was  purchased some time ago for a completely different project, but you know how it goes – I never got around to making it, whatever it was.  As  the fabric tones so well with our green bedroom curtains I’m pleased I had it tucked away, waiting to be used.  There are touches of lilac and gold there too.


But then I had a moment or two of procrastination.  What if I haven’t got enough of the green/lilac  fabric to make the whole thing?  And I want to add borders too.  So I bought a little more green fabric, not quite the same of course, but in similar green tones,  and decided to use this alternative fabric to make the two smaller churn dash blocks in the centre.


This is what I have to show for my afternoon cutting, pinning and stitching.  Although I’m not sure if I’ll get any more sewing done this week.  We have a busy day out and about with appointments tomorrow, then we are heading north on Friday, towing the caravan behind us.  But at least I’ve made a start, so I’m very pleased about that.

Monday, April 25, 2016

1000 Posts!

It’s hard to believe, but this is my 1000th post on Romany Quilting, with it all starting way back on October 2009.  That’s a lot of blog posts, and many thanks to the everyone who keeps reading, and making comments.  Writing a blog is sometimes like writing in a vacuum, tapping away while writing about your thoughts, and things which are important to your life.  And hoping that you are perhaps making a difference, that someone, somewhere is reading and interested in your words, brightening up someone’s life, and making a connection all the way from little old New Zealand.

I was a latecomer to quilting and patchwork, although I have always sewn.  There are memories of saving up my pocket money as a young teen, buying yards and yards of fabric, and whipping up a full skirted dress to wear over my stiff petticoats.  Then of course there was the fun of attending the Sunday afternoon youth club, and rock’n’rolling the afternoon away.

Once I started work there was a little more discretionary spending available, and I kept sewing myself new dresses, and buying my first pair of high heels!  Marriage and babies soon followed, and my sewing changed to making sets of pyjamas, shirts, shorts and corduroy trousers for Michael, and pretty dresses and nighties for Nicky.

The years flew by, the children grew up, and I met and married Robin in 1983.  A few years later I took my first quilting class, and made a pinwheel quilt for our caravan. 

Caravan Pinwheel quilt
My first quilt

And as they say – the rest is history!  From that first quilt, I have made plenty more, plus accumulated quite a collections of UFOs, but I’m trying hard to get these in order.

On reflection, I’d like to finish this 1000th post with my thoughts of:

I Love Quilting Because……
  • The fabric – looking, folding, fondling, buying, collecting, it’s all about the fabric.
  • The patterns – whether a commercial pattern, from a book or magazine, or maybe from an idea that has been percolating in my mind.
  • The excitement – of starting a new quilt, choosing the pattern and the fabrics.
  • The process – cutting, pinning, measuring, stitching, pressing, watching it all come together.
  • The joy – of finishing a project.
  • To give gifts – to family and friends.
  • To make quilts – for us, so that I can ring the changes on bed quilts and wall hangings.
  • For Christmas – I love Christmas quilts and decorations.
  • To stitch household items – table runners, place mats, cushions, oven cloths, aprons, they are all a joy to make and use.
  • Individual artistic expression – making the design your very own.
  • Social interaction – my local quilt club, and the Sew Wots friendship group.
  • Relaxation – it makes me feel good, so it’s got to be good for me!
So thank you once again to readers and followers, and thanks also to all the other quilt bloggers out there who I avidly follow.  My life is richer with knowing you all.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

L is for Lantern

Away in the caravan over the weekend, I found time to do a little “slow stitching”, and finished off my “L is for Lantern”  block.  I’m using Michelle Ridgway’s Alphabet Noel pattern book for inspiration – some of her alphabet designs are stitched “as is”, while others have been changed a little. The brass lantern glows in the window with the soft light of the candle, guiding family members home for Christmas– that’s how I like to imagine it, anyway.  The plan is to make a Christmas wall-hanging when all the blocks are finally stitched.  But I’m in no hurry to reach the finishing line, I’m enjoying the process as I go along, one Christmas letter at a time.

L is for Lantern

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Two weeks in a Row

The roll of the dice which determines which of my 6 listed UFOs I’m working for this week, came up trumps again for UFO number 1 – the same as last week.  OK then, I’ve only just put this project away, and was really looking forward to one of the others which is a lot closer to completion.  That way, I just might have a finish sometime soon.  But rules are rules, so out came the caravan quilt again.

As I’m planning a checkerboard border too, I felt I really needed another strip to separate them both.  But before I rushed off to the quilt shop to buy something suitable, I had a look through my baskets.  There – how about this green batik I used in my daughter’s quilt, that should do nicely.  So I sliced strips, measured, and stitched along all four sides.


Next was to make some more of those two patches for the checkerboard border, and start joining them together to fit down each side.  I’ve stitched a few,  – but  perhaps I’ll need more.

I haven’t done a great deal of sewing so far this week, but we had a very important appointment to keep this morning.  My daughter Nicky and her hubby Robert are off to England for their big OE for a couple of months, so we went to farewell them from Palmerston Airport.  First flight to Auckland, then on to Dubai for a two night stop over, and they finally land in Heathrow.  It will be a marvelous adventure for them both, and we wish them safe travels and a wonderful holiday!

Robert and Nicky, off on a big adventure

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Sewing

It’s been rather nice to have the weekend at home so I could get some sewing done over the weekend.  Not just the weekend, I should add, a little sewing has been taking place during the week days, as outings and appointments permitted.  As much as we enjoy going away for weekend caravan club rallies, sometimes I just need some time at home!

Progress is coming along nicely on UFO number 1, the quilt I’m making for our caravan.  I’ve finally stitched down all the applique flowers around the border.  Just as well, as some of the fusing was coming adrift, and they were starting to wave at me instead of lying nice and secure.  And I’ve tied off and sewn all the long threads in too, so that’s a job well done.

Applique flowers and leaves all stitched in place

But wait – there’s more!  I’m planning on adding a checkerboard border too, so have been sewing up lots of these little twosies.  Luckily I had some strips all cut out and ready to stitch and slice.

For checkerboard border

Guess I’ll have to lay everything out and have a play around to see how it all looks together.  It’s Monday tomorrow, so I’ll get to roll the dice again!  It's always a surprise to see which number UFO I'll be working on for the next week.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Town and Country Quilters April Club Night

It was another busy club night with two local businesses showing their wares.  First up was Robyn from Fox’s Cottage telling us of the exciting new classes coming, there was certainly one there which I was very interested in. Robyn also offers several weekly Stitching days which sound very interesting.  Next was club member Ute who has started up an on-line shop,The Lifestyler, and she brought along a basket of her imported fabrics to show us, including some from the Westfalenstoffe range.

Basket of goodies from Ute’s on-line shop

Show and Tell brought along an interesting selection, as usual, from quilts for grandchildren, table runners, and wall hangings. 

Kathryn’s Eye Spy quilt for new grand-daughter

Madalyn’s Spiral Rays

Our speaker for the evening was Chrissie Sheed, President of the Rose City Quilters.  Chrissie told us how a teacher’s unfounded criticism  put her off sewing at school, so she was a latecomer to patchwork and quilting.  Her first few quilts were traditional, and then she branched out and discovered arty quilts, embellishments, and micro stippling, all self taught.  The quilt below is not appliqued, as it appears, but started off as one piece of fabric, and the added colour is from micro stippling, added threads and beads.

Chrissie hiding behind this masterpiece,  all colour is added with stitching and beads

Chrissie’s purple piece, smocked and beaded

Chrissie’s realistic snake in the grass

It was very inspiring to see how her quilting had changed, and she happily passed around the smaller pieces so everyone could have a good look at her techniques.  Another inspiring club night at Town and Country Quilters.