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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sew Wots Tuesday

The Sew Wot ladies welcomed me back to the fold after I had missed a couple a couple of meetings with my hospital appointments.  There was another birthday to celebrate – this time it was for Heather B, and lots of lovely gifts were coming thick and fast.

We all love “Show and Tell” and Heather started off and showed us the table runners she had made using some interesting “toile” type fabric featuring patchwork scenes.

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Two table runners made by Heather B

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Close up of fabric used in table runners

We all loved Mary’s “Domestic Bliss”  quilt top, showing scenes from the life of a housewife.  There's certainly a lot of humour in these stitcheries and we had a chuckle or two as we looked at all the blocks.

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Domestic Bliss stitched by Mary

Mary loves anything with a vintage flavour and brought along a tray cloth she had recently completed.  Her work is always so beautiful, and we all commented on how the black stitching sets off the rest of the design. 

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Stitched by Mary

Our hostess Carol had some Show and Tell too, another item in the stitchery mode.  This was a lovely red Sunbonnet Sue quilt top, and she is keeping this one for herself, she declared.  Sunbonnet Sue has been around for a long time, but she is definitely a classic design.  Lots of lovely pieced blocks to complement the stitchery blocks.

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Carol’s Sunbonnet Sue quilt top

Grunge fabric seems to be all the rage these days, I had seen it mentioned on various overseas blogs, although most of us had never seen it before.  Moira had been shopping recently and brought along a selection of Grunge fabric to show us.

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Grunge fabric, so that’s what it looks like

There was plenty of chit-chat going on, a little stitching, reading magazines, and generally catching up with everyone’s news.  Just a normal stitching morning, and another delicious morning tea, served up by our hostess Carol.  Including freshly baked scones with jam, yummy!

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Mary and Heather B

And there was one more surprise, as some of our members were not aware that we have a “Cover Girl” in our group.  Heather E does volunteer work at the local library, and her photo is now gracing the latest issue of Elderberries Magazine.  Good one, Heather!

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Our cover girl, Heather E

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Saturday was Stitching Day

Saturday was Stitching Day and I was all packed up and ready to go.  Due to health reasons I hadn’t been to many club activities lately, so it was something I was looking forward to.  I joined a dozen happy quilters gathered together at the Red Cross Rooms on Saturday morning.   I was happy to be there too, and took my sewing machine along and one of my many UFOs to work on. 

Which UFO, you may well ask?  This particular one hasn’t made it to my list yet, so it is a bit of a mystery to all who follow the weekly “roll of the dice” project.  I’m making a bed sized log cabin quilt, stitched over printed tissue paper patterns.  This is a really good method for me, as although it is straight line stitching, it keeps the blocks nice and even.  I’ve already made a gazillion log cabin blocks, so I’m up to piecing the scrappy borders.

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They start off like this

Paper piecing is slow.  It’s a matter of stitch, flip, and press, and I like to do a bunch of these at a time with chain piecing.  And yes, its another burgundy quilt.  I’m very fond of this colour in quilts and furnishings – it’s a lovely, warm colour, I feel.

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And finish like this

Most ladies were working on their sewing machines, a couple of quilts got pinned out, and there was a little bit of hand stitching going on too.  Janneke makes many quilts for Ronald McDonald House, and was pinning up her latest one, ready for machine quilting.  Some little one is sure to love this.

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Janneke’s charity quilt

Wendy has joined a little group of club members all busy hand stitching their own version of the fabulous La Passacaglia quilt.  This is surely a labour of love, and Wendy said that planning the fabrics and colours is so much fun.  These quilts take a lot of time and dedication, and we look forward to seeing the finished products some time in the future.

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Wendy busy hand stitching

A quick look around the room brought up these lovelies. Madalyn was stitching up these cute little Eye Spy blocks for one of her lucky grand children.

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Madalyn’s Eye Spy blocks

And Ute was machine quilting her lovely black, cream and grey quilt.  Ute’s machine quilting is wonderful and the colours in the quilt all go so well together.

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Ute was busy machine quilting

I decided to take myself off home after lunch, as the energy levels were starting to flag a little.  As I told the ladies when we all sat down to eat lunch together, I’m still in recovery mode.  I was pleased with what I had achieved, went home and put my feet up for a little.  With Robin on kitchen duties for the evening meal, I could relax without feeling guilty.  It was lovely to catch up with everyone again, and have a bit of “me time”. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Daffodil Day Today


The daffodil is one of the first flowers of spring, whose bright yellow blooms remind us of the joys the  new season will bring. It represents the hope there is for the 1 in 3 New Zealanders affected by cancer.  As well as providing an opportunity to raise awareness of cancer in New Zealand, Daffodil Day is a major funding source for the Cancer Society.  I was more than happy to help with my purchases of two bunches of these pretty spring flowers from one of the many Cancer Society stalls dotted about our town today.

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Purchased for a good cause – daffodils on Daffodil Day

I had left Robin helping out on a stall at one of the local Supermarkets for a couple of hours – no doubt enjoying the chit chat with all the customers as they walked by.  And encouraging them to purchase some Cancer Society goodies so that they would part with their hard earned cash.  Robin and Ray are both Volunteer Drivers for the Cancer Society, taking patients to the hospital for ongoing treatment.

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Ray and Robin manning the stall

We have had quite a bit of contact with the Cancer Society lately with my recent medical issue, and they do marvellous work.  The organisation also produce quite a range of informative booklets, run a health line telephone service, support groups, and scientific research.  We can’t thank them enough for all their help.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Something to Celebrate

Check out this beautiful morning we woke up to on Wednesday – and I’ve something to celebrate.  Yesterday was my final day for radiation treatment.

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Pretty colours in the morning sky

Off we went for the 120km round trip journey for 16 days of treatment each weekday.   Thank goodness we won’t be doing that every day again, and I was more than happy to hand my blue gown back.  I have to say that the staff were marvellous, very helpful and caring, enquiring how I was faring every day and checking on side effects on my skin. I have been warned that the radiation effects will still be happening even though treatment is finished and that “things will get worse before they get better”.  But armed with creams to apply, and a district nurse calling around, I’m sure my symptoms will gradually ease.

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My last day

We had a lunch out to celebrate – I chose chicken breast in filo pastry, and Robin had tender lamb cutlets.  Both meals were delicious, as we expected.

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Waiting for our celebration lunch to arrive

With such a lot going on this week, I decided not to roll the dice once more.  And with all my recent finishes lately, my List of Six badly needs updating.  But never fear, there are plenty of other UFOs waiting in the wings ready to be put on the list.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Textiles from around the World

What could be a more stunning reminder of holidays abroad than a beautiful collection of textiles from far flung places?  Our local library had an exhibition showing some of Judy Turner’s treasures collected over many years of travels.  Her collection started when she travelled to Beijing with the British Foreign Office in the 1960s. 

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Embroidery over striped fabric from Guatemala

Added to over the years, she collected textiles as she travelled through Asia, India, and Africa. She is particularly interested in the cultural role the textiles play in their country of origin.  The beautiful dyed, printed, woven and embroidered textiles  have deep significance to their owners and are thought to convey protection or good fortune.

The Marsh Arab red rug made in Southern Iraq glowed with colour.  This traditional rug was woven by men and embroidered by women.  Judy Turner commented that Saddam Hussein drove the Shi’a Moslem Marsh Arabs out of their traditional home and lifestyle in the delta region of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.  The survivors have dispersed to refugee camps.

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Marsh Arab rug from Iraq

The Toran at the top of the picture is hung over the doorway on special occasions to bring good luck and prosperity.  The embroidered cloth underneath is known as a Dharaniyo is designed to hang in front of a pile of folded quilts and household items  to make the room tidy.  Wouldn’t all quilters worldwide want one of these beauties?  Both items made in Kutch, north west India.

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Toran and Dharaniyo from India

From Nigeria came the Status Robe, assembled from many narrow strips joined both horizontally and vertically to make the garment.  Both the weaving and the elaborate embroidery are the work of men.

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Nigerian Status robe

This pretty fabric is actually an 8.5 metre turban length from Rajasthan, north west India.  The fine muslin was tie dyed and can be twisted and wound into a neatly fitting turban.

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Tie dyed turban length

This is just a small part of what was displayed – all very beautiful and exotic.  Judy Turner points out that in many communities art is not a picture on the wall, but a beautiful, intricately made textile.  These are appreciated for the skills of the maker, and  the meaning behind the patterns, and are handed down over the generations.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Another top Finished

We woke to a lovely Saturday morning and looked out the window.  The sun had risen in the east, and the full moon was up in the west. The morning sky had just the lightest touch of pink, which doesn’t really show in the photo.  So with the sun and the moon in the sky in the same time, it look’s like we are getting a two for one deal today, wouldn’t you say!

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Full moon in the morning sky

In between hospital appointments this week – nearly over, thanks for your concern, I worked on the checkerboard borders of my caravan quilt.  More by a stroke of good luck rather than any particular skill on my part, the side borders fitted exactly down each side of the quilt top.  As this is a square quilt, it followed that the border would also fit on the top and the bottom. 

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But…….. when I went to lay the last two borders in place across the top and bottom, the coloured squares weren’t playing nicely at the corners at all.  Instead of following on burgundy, white, burgundy, I had two whites side by side, plus two burgundies.  How an I going to fix this, I wondered, without pulling everything apart?  So I started playing  around with a couple of four patches and finally folded one in half and laid it over the other.  That should do it – pinwheels in the offending patches.  Problem solved!

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Solution to the corner problem

With the problem of the corner blocks solved, I just had to pin the top and bottom borders in place, (I like to use lots of pins) stitch them on, give everything a good press, and finally, another top finished.  This project is UFO number one on my List of Six, finally completed. 

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Quilt top for our caravan – finished

The stitchery designs used are “12 Days of Redwork”, by Alex Anderson, although I had to add another design as I needed 13 stitched blocks.  I have happy memories of stitching them while travelling around New Zealand in our caravan.  The flowers and leaves were then coloured in using fabric pens.  And I must say – I love how it’s all come together. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

O is for (Christmas) Ornaments

Another block done on my Christmas ABCs.  It didn’t need to much stitching to complete it, and I had time to do a little stitching while away on a caravan rally last weekend.  The weather was wet, wet, wet, so what could be nicer than being tucked up nice and cosy in the caravan, and doing a little stitching.  The last little bit was completed today.

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O is for Ornaments

All my Christmas letters are from “Alphabet Noel” design book by Michelle Ridgeway.  Some I stitch as they are designed, and some, like this one, I have adapted.  I’m really enjoying this stitchery project, just taking my time, so there is no pressure of a completion date.