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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A couple of Hang Ups

Not a great deal of sewing has been happening lately, but I’m pleased to announce that Robin has been busy lately helping me hang up an extra quilt or two in the sewing room.  Not really a matter of banging hooks in the walls, these days he is a firm believer in using Command hooks with adhesive backs.  I don't really mind what method he uses – I’m just pleased to get a bit more colour on the walls. And a couple more quilts get liberated from the cupboard.

First up went the hanging rod.  This necessitated measuring, a check made with the a spirit level to make sure it went up straight and even,  tiny pencil marks made on the wall, then on went the adhesive hooks.  Then up went “Angels to Watch over You”,

P6120005 Angels to Watch over You

This pattern is “Redwork Angels”, designed by Susan Claire, and was stitched while enjoying trips away in our caravan.over quite a long period of time.  It was finally completed it in 2012, and as I have told my grown-up grand-daughters, I have made it for when they finally get around to having babies!  Goodness knows when that will be.  So in the meantime I will enjoy seeing it hanging up here in my sewing room.

Also newly hanging up on the wall is “High Tech Tucks, Garden Window”, completed in 1998.  This was started in a class with Caryl Breyer Fallet many years ago when she came out to New Zealand to teach at the Wellington Symposium.  Sadly, the wall-hanging languished unfinished for several years before I really made an effort to get it completed.  I think it is quite  clever design using a large scale print, and it is one of my favourites. 

P6120003 High Tech Tucks, Garden Window

It’s nice to see these gracing the walls in my (very small) sewing room, thank you Robin.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday Night was Remnants Night

The monthly Remnants Night came around again, and I had a couple of choices to make.  What to work on?  I had a bit of unpicking to do, and then decided to start on a new stitchery project.  So all the bits and pieces required for the night were packed away in a big bag, including the unpicker.  And what to take for our shared meal?  Mmmm, I’d been wanting to try a new (to me) recipe I’d got from my daughter – bread cases filled with creamed corn and bacon. The savouries smelt wonderful when they were cooking, and after Robin and I had sampled one each at home to give them the taste test, I packed up the remainder to take with me, together with a container of home made chocolate slice biscuits.  Then I was ready for a night of companionship and sewing with the other Remnant ladies.  The evening was spent machining, hand sewing, slicing and dicing, unpicking, and advice offered here and there.  Just the usual type of thing, wouldn’t you say?

Debi spent the evening working on her hexagon quilt – it is not quite big enough yet, she told us.  The colours are so “her”, you can see how the colours tone in so nicely with her woollen cardigan. 

P6260010 Debi stitching her hexagon quilt

Janneke does a lot of sewing for the Ronald McDonald House and her task for the evening was slicing her four patch blocks and stitching them into split four patches.   Just a few simple slices and what a difference it makes to the blocks.

P6260009 From 4 patch to split four patches

New member Ute brought her daughter Katarina along who spent the night sewing herself a trendy pencil case for school.  Ute showed us her pretty cream and terracotta quilt.  The top is now finished and she spent the evening cutting up pieces for the wonderful pieced border she is stitching.  There will be a lot of sewing to get the border done, and we look forward to seeing the completed quilt in the future.

P6260011Ute and her quilt top

And Wendy was finishing up a pretty little baby cardigan for a workmate.  The lucky prospective Mum will be getting a gift basket, and this will be one of many delights inside.  So sweet, and soft and cuddly, just right for a little one.

P6260012Wendy’s baby knitting

This black, grey and yellow star quilt of Kathy's was rather striking, I thought.  Kathy started machine quilting this beauty, but it didn’t all go to plan.  Why, she wanted to know, were all those tangles on the back?  There was nothing for it but to start unpicking the problem area and start again. 

P6260008 Kathy’s star quilt

I was unpicking too, but I’d planned it as I wasn’t happy with the machining I had done at home.  With that task out of the way, I started on my new long term stitchery project, Christmas ABC.  My first block is “A is for Angel.”

P6260013 My new stitchery, A is for Angel

The evening passed pleasantly, and we were fortified with various cups of coffee and chocolate marshmallows to nibble on, thanks, Kathy. Although the numbers were down a little this month, it was still nice to meet up with those who came.  Thanks ladies, for your company.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Something I Prepared Earlier

As the TV Chefs say – this is something I prepared earlier – all ready for when the birthday quilt comes back from Paula, the commercial quilter.  The long length of green binding had been prepared a few days ago – just hope I made it long enough.  Then I utilised a spare leaf block and turned it into a label for the back of the quilt.  With some green leafy veins stitched on, and a binding around the edge, now I just need to write the details onto the label.  Or perhaps I’ll embroider them, I’m not quite sure yet.

P6250079Quilt label and binding ready for action

We have had some rather chilly days here lately, clear and cold.  To help the birds out I’ve been offering them an assortment of fruit lately.  The pretty little native wax-eyes have made short work of several feijoas and even enjoyed a squashy mandarin or two.  Today I put an apple out for them on the feeder – after peeling it first before skewering it through the core onto the spike.  According to the birds, that was just as acceptable as the previous offerings.  I must make up some Bird Pudding too, a mixture of fat and seeds, they really enjoy that too.  I love to watch the birds feeding, and I’m sure I get just as much pleasure feeding them as they get eating whatever is on the daily menue.

P6250087 Two wax-eyes either side of the apple

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Next stage for the Birthday Quilt

My daughter’s birthday quilt is on the next stage of it’s journey – it has been sent away to get commercially quilted.  Being a queen sized quilt, it is much too big for me to contemplate doing at home.  Paula from Rabbits Patch Quilting will be doing the honours, and we have spoken about what quilting designs I would like.  Can’t wait to see it returned in a few weeks time – quilts really come alive when they are quilted, I feel.  Meanwhile, I have prepared yards of green binding so I will be ready to stitch that on, once the birthday quilt is back in my hot little hands again.

It is just as well that we had planned for a weekend at home and not to go away camping.  The weather is atrocious and the incessant rain had led to  flooding,  slips, road closures, with people evacuated from their homes.  At the moment we cannot drive south as SH1 is closed between Otaki and Levin and the heavy rain warnings for the northern Tararuas and Horowhenua will only add to the flooding.  It is a good weekend to stay home, safe, warm and dry, and to count our blessings.

On such a miserable day as this, there was nothing for it but to do a little comfort cooking.  Cold weather always means “soup” to me, and I had a new recipe tucked away which I wanted to try – cauliflower and blue cheese soup, flavoured with a touch of thyme.   Mmm, it did smell nice while it was simmering away.  Robin got the job of using the hand held stick wand to make it all nice and smooth before I added the crumbled blue cheese to the pot.  I can’t be trusted with the wand as I have been known to lift it out of the pot without turning it off – you can imagine the mess that makes!

P6200019 Robin using the wand in my soup

Served with a swirl of cream and a little chopped parsley, it was a delicious and warming lunch.  At least I thought so, it wasn’t Robin’s favourite soup, he told me.  But he is very easy going, and ate his up, and will probably get some more tomorrow.  His favourite home made soup is pumpkin, he told me, but I like to ring the changes now and again.

P6200021 .Cauliflower, potatoe, and blue cheese soup

The cooking urge hadn’t dissipated so after lunch I decided to prepare a golden syrup steamed pudding, just because it was still raining hard.  It slowly bubbled away, and I have to admit it certainly was delicious.  What could be better comfort food on a cold, wet, miserable day than a big pot of home made soup, and a lovely stodgy steamed pudding.  No wonder I didn’t get any stitching done today – perhaps tomorrow?

P6200027  And for dessert tonight – golden syrup steamed pudding

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Quilt Borders

My goodness, putting borders on quilts is a slow job!  First I had to decide exactly what I wanted, so I took the quilt top down to my local quilt shop, Krazy Cow, located in the old Levin Railway Station building.  I had an idea I wanted a dark green narrow border to frame the design, and soon found a fabric which looked good.  But what next?  I looked around the shelves, pulling out batiks and smudgy fabrics but nothing seemed right.  Shop owner Trish was very helpful, bringing all sorts of fabrics over, and then she decided to go in another direction and brought over a floral on a cream background.  Not what I was thinking of at all, but I must admit, it certainly tied all the pinks and greens in.  Sometimes it helps to have another pair of eyes! 

Taking my border fabrics home they were washed and ironed that day.  The next day I was kept busy measuring, cutting, pinning (I’m a great pinner, not taking any chances of the fabric slipping), stitching and pressing. 
 
P6140018 I like to use plenty of pins

P6140019Both borders finally on

I had a few spare blocks over so incorporated them into the extra wide backing fabric I had purchased, making sure that the backing was a little bigger all around than the quilt top.  There was one last job to do, and that was to look over the quilt top and snip off any stray threads – there were plenty of those.  There, all done – now I can send the top and backing away to get commercially quilted. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Stitching away on the Birthday Quilt

I’ve been busy finding time to stitch away on my daughter’s birthday quilt, sitting at the machine for long hours.  The extra leaf appliqué blocks have been cut out, fused, and machine appliquéd.  You may remember that  I miscalculated previously so had to get cracking and make some more.  Luckily there was enough remaining green fabrics to trace a few more leaf shapes from, but I’m running low now.   

P5100010 Last few appliqué blocks

With the remaining leaf blocks stitched, I then laid everything on our bed and you know how it goes, changed this block with that one until I was happy with the arrangement.  The next step was to sew the blocks together in rows.

P6070002 Another row under construction

What to use as leaders and enders while I stitch all the blocks together?  Then I had a brain wave – I know, I’ll stitch together some sashing for yet another UFO.  That worked well, and now the lengths of sashing are all done for when I finally get around to piecing this particular quilt together.  It’s a bit like two for the price of one.  I’m quite pleased with the progress I’m making on my daughter’s quilt.  Next step will be to add the borders.

P6070004 Sashing strips used as leaders and enders

As well as all this stitching, I recently made another batch of soup.  Roasted pumpkin,  kumara and onion, with added chunky bacon pieces and a touch of curry.  So delicious, thick and wholesome, and served with a swirl of cream and chopped parsley. Roasting the vegetables certainly adds to the flavour - I do love home made soup for lunch!

P6120017 Roasted pumpkin and kumara soup

Friday, June 12, 2015

Town and Country Quilters June Club Night

It was a dark and dismal night for our meeting, but then, it is winter after all.  Once the heaters were turned on, the hall soon warmed up.  Club announcements were made, the raffles were drawn (no, not me yet again), and then the ever popular Show and Tell took place.  Lois told us the story of her soft and pretty embroidered baby quilt.  She took the blocks along to embroider during a trip with her family to Europe several years ago.  With a new grand-child on the way, these blocks are now assembled into a baby quilt, and the new parents will no doubt remember seeing them being stitched while everyone enjoyed their overseas holiday.

P6100026 Embroidered baby quilt

Dianne had brought along a baby quilt too, this one in shades of autumn tones with a blue border.

P6100014Dianne’s baby quilt

We were all most impressed with Avon’s lovely tote bag.  It was made from a pair of “sewing room” panels and very heavily embellished with beads, buttons and threads.  It was well worth a closer look and we all admired all the detail.  I know I had a couple of these panels tucked away somewhere – wonder where I put them?  

P6100025

P6100027 Avon’s tote bag

Our speaker for the evening was Jo Kirk, who opened up the local quilt shop Krazy Cow some years ago.  Jo was a very entertaining speaker, and told us about her quilting journey. She loves her weekly get-togethers with her quilting group, and by the sound of it, they get up to all sorts of adventures together.   Like most of us, her taste and style has changed over the years – she enjoyed using her own hand dyed fabric and had several colourful versions of her work to show us.  Panels featuring wild animals were also a favourite for a while, and she has also designed and made some lovely quilts with a New Zealand flavour.  Knitting is also an enjoyable past-time, and I loved the cute little kiddies ponchos she brought along to show us.

P6100024Jo’s knitted ponchos and one of her New Zealand quilts

Neutrals seem to be a favourite colour way these days, and Jo had several quilts to show using these colours.

P6100021 Cats and flowers

P6100020Scarecrow quilt

Supper followed, time for a chat and catch up, and another very interesting club night came to an end.