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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stitching on holiday

I’ve worked away at my stitching while relaxing sitting under shady trees in the afternoons after a hard day’s sightseeing. I’ve finally finished my little stitchery.

DSCF2789Oops, it needs a good press, but after all, I am in holiday and there is no iron in our caravan!

If you would like to see where our holiday is taking us around our beautiful country, check out our other blog on: www.romanyrambler.blogspot.com

Here is a little taste. We have just travelled along the Forgotten World Highway and here we are at the Moki Tunnel, known locally as the Hobbit Hole.

P2240450 I’ll keep on stitching and with any luck I may even find a quilt shop or two!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Celebrating his life

The death of Murray the cat severed another link with Geoffrey, my grand-daughter’s boyfriend who died tragically a couple of years ago. A message on the Southern Cross Quilters internet group recently mentioned “Mourning Quilts”, made in memory of loved ones. When Geoffrey died, I offered to make two quilts in memory of Geoffrey, one for my grand-daughter Emma and the other for Geoffrey’s Mum. The offer was accepted and the pair of them sorted through the clothing and labelled which items they wanted included in their particular quilt. I used tee shirts, sweat shirts, work shirts, ties and even satin boxer shorts. They both requested that particular badges and labels be incorporated. Some clothing was used in both, for example, Geoffrey’s High Visibility tunics found a place in each quilt. Both quilts had a similar layout, and I used shirting for the sashings. Jeans pockets found a place in the quilts, as did the ripped knees from Geoffrey’s favourite pair of jeans.

DSCF0755 Emma’s memory quilt

I stitched a border of hearts along the top of Emma’s quilt, using silk from Geoffrey’s ties. In the centre of this border, I added the pocket from his ball shirt, with the tip of a tie peeking out to replicate a hanky. The “Bite Me” panel is from a pair of satin boxer shorts.

DSCF0759 Quilt made for Geoffrey’s Mum

I liked the idea of a border at the top of these quilts, so appliquéd his name, using tie fabric again, on the top of this quilt for Geoffrey’s Mum. The two dragons in each corner came from another pair of satin boxer shorts. There were certainly plenty of tears shed when we finally delivered the finished quilts, about the time of the first anniversary of Geoffrey’s death. I think they are part of the healing process too, the quilts can be looked at, touched, and wrapped around oneself. It was a honour for me to be involved in this project, in memory of Geoffrey.

DSCF0762 Shopping bag made for Geoffrey’s Mum

I had plenty of flannelette shirting scraps left over so I made this shopping bag for Geoffrey’s Mum as an extra .

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The naked turtle

The monthly “Stitching Monday” group has started up again, so it was great to catch up with everyone again. As usual, everyone worked on their own projects. Sewing machines were humming, and blocks were laid out and assembled. A couple of the ladies were stitching hexagons together, and there was some hand appliqué going on and a quilt binding being stitched down.

I gave the sewing machine a rest and took my light box along instead. Alex Anderson’s “12 Days of Redwork” was a recent free download from her site, so I took my cut cream squares along and traced them out. These designs came with centre point marked so that made it easy to centre the design in the squares. The plan is to take these away on our upcoming holiday. Much better to have something prepared and not actually have time to get any stitching done. Who knows what the weather may turn out like and we may be stuck inside.


Next job was to stuff my green turtle. This will be a surprise for Joy, a colleague who has an amazing collection of turtles, over 400 at last count. Most of them are small ornamental turtles but she has some soft toy turtles as well. The pattern came from Homespun magazine and I still need to construct the shell. So at the moment it is a naked turtle!

DSCF2661 The naked turtle

It’s not as if I need another project, but this certainly looks fun, and I know Joy will love it.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cards, chocolate and brunch

It’s Valentine’s Day and we exchanged cards, plus a little chocolate. Not too much choccie, we have both recently had the “eat less and exercise more” lecture from the doctor.

My choice was:

“If I had to choose between you and chocolate, I’d choose you – covered in chocolate”.

Robin was more romantic.

“For my wife

Wading through Valentine’s filled with mush, And silly goo and sloppy gush

I found a card I hope will do, It simply says….I love you”

Isn’t that lovely!!

DSCF2653 Valentine’s Day goodies

Then it was off to our new little neighbourhood restaurant for brunch. Since the sun was shining we enjoyed a leisurely walk down. What to choose? Corn fritters and bacon for him, French toast and bacon for me, both served with maple syrup, and followed by a nice cup of coffee.

DSCF2657 The Little Totara restaurant

Look who I found lurking in the corner! I just had to go and say hello to Elvis. He was for sale, so if I had lots of spare cash I could have taken him home.


Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Black and whites

At last I’ve found a use for those black and white squares collected way back in 2004. I attended the Southern Cross Quilters Retreat in Auckland, and we all swapped fabric squares and signature blocks. After languishing in a bag all this time, I am finally putting them to good use. Of course, when I started on this current project, I found that I really didn’t have enough. My quilting pen friends kindly sent me some squares from their stash, and I went out and bought some extra black and whites as well.

DSCF2651Black and white 4 patches

I’m keeping it simple, and have assembled lots of 4 patch blocks. This will be for my daughter and her hubby, who will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary later this year. To give it a bit of a zing, I’m using lime green as sashing. Will decide on the borders (or not) after the top is assembled. Although this would be classed as “secret sewing” as it is a gift, in this case I don’t need to worry about talking about it on the blog. My daughter home must be one of the few which does not have a home computer, and even if she did, I don’t think she would bother reading about her Mum’s sewing habits!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Angels and Stars

There’s something inspiring about going to a quilt show, isn’t there. After viewing all those lovely quilts hanging outside in the sunshine on Sunday, I just had to come home and get stitching. But what to do? I’m one of those quilters who work on lots of different projects at the same time. I know, I’ll work on my Angel quilt .

DSCF2641 Angel blocks and sashing all ready to be put together

I had hand stitched all the angel blocks over quite a period of time, and had already cut them to size. After cutting the sashing strips, I set to and assembled the quilt top. Measuring, cutting, sewing, pressing, you know the drill. Next step was to cut the border strips and fuse on the stars. Now that’s all done, I can take the borders away on our holiday and hand appliqué them down. My elder grand-daughter doesn’t know it yet, but this quilt is destined for when she settles down and has a baby girl. Don’t think I’ll tell her yet, she’ll just roll her eyes at me and say “Oh Nana!!”

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Stonestead Outdoor Quilt Festival

The day was just right yesterday for an outdoor quilt show, fine and warm with a little breeze to keep the heat from being too overpowering. Two of us arrived bright and early to find the grounds abuzz with happy quilters. Our gold coin donation was going to Te Omanga Hospice to help out with their very important work. The quilts were hung up on “clothes lines” amongst the lovely old trees on the property.


DSCF2638Some of the many beautiful quilts hanging in the garden

There were 62 quilts on show, with everything from a beautiful Baltimore, sampler quilts, log cabins and hexagons. We were just in time to see the Best in Show certificate pinned on the Baltimore. What a wonderful thrill for the quilt maker.

DSCF2629Best in Show

There were several that incorporated the ever popular stitchery blocks into the quilts and these are always interesting to have a really close look at. I am always excited to see quilts showcasing the New Zealand flora and fauna fabrics that are available. A first time quilt maker had her hexagon quilt “Kiwiana” on show, and “Wakahuia Boxes” was another lovely New Zealand inspired quilt. Brown kiwis, our national bird, were appliquéd in a very realistic kiwi feather fabric all over “The Enclave”


DSCF2628 New Zealand inspired quilts, Kiwiana and The Enclave

Also was on show was the Table Runner Challenge. The challenge fabrics were green, blue and purple. There were 17 entries with all sorts of variations using these fabrics.

DSCF2627Some of the table runner in the challenge

After we had looked over all the quilts and decided on which to chose for Viewers Choice, it was time for a nice cup of tea, a hot scone, and a sit down at the Tea House. Kevin was hard at work making scones to keep up with the demand. We could chose from cheese, sultana or date scones, and a variety of speciality teas, all beautifully served.

DSCF2637Hard at work in the kitchen

We had a lovely time at the outdoor quilt show. The organisation was great with plenty of helpers in their colourful aprons ready to answer questions or point us in the right direction. I was so inspired by all these wonderful quilts that I just had to get stitching when I returned home.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pretty little needle-case and……….more needles

I just love my little needle-case. I did the little stitchery while we were relaxing in the caravan over Christmas. Now I’ve finally assembled it all together, and stitched some woollen fabric inside to hold my needles. Blue and pink, my favourite colours.

DSCF2464 My needle case

The pattern is from Cinderberry Stitches, by Natalie Lymer, and started out life as “Sweet and Spotty Needle Wallet”. I used the circular format but changed it a little as I wanted it to use it with my sewing pouch that I finished last year. Don’t you think they go together nicely?

DSCF2465Sewing pouch

Just as well I finished it before I went to my emergency dental appointment this morning. I saw a very nice young dentist, Garnett, from South Carolina. I just love those American accents. As I had suspected, the cause of my pain was an abscess under a back tooth. So…….. several injections of anaesthetic pain killers later, Garnett just reached in, and before I knew it, whisked that pesky tooth out. I can honestly say that I hardly felt a thing. (It might be a different story when the anaesthetic wears off). He sent me on my way $200 lighter, and with prescriptions for antibiotics and pain killers. I must have looked a bit peaky while I was waiting for the prescriptions to be filled, as the young girl came and asked me twice if I felt OK !!

I’ve got a week off work, but as I’m a temp that means no work – no pay. But plenty of time to do some stitching, I thought. But I certainly won’t be sitting at the sewing machine today. After the morning I’ve had, I think I need a little lie down!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Local Works of Art

Where better to go than the local  Information Centre when you have questions that need answers?  Hanging on the walls were these  two beautiful pieces of fibre art work .

The Upper Hutt Cross Stitch Club created a lovely wall hanging especially for the Upper Hutt Information Centre.  It is composed of 32 5 inch blocks,  all featuring the various attractions and clubs of our city, plus the larger banner.  The areas  of  Kaitoke Regional Park and the Upper Hutt River Trail are depicted, along with the very popular Silverstream Railway Museum.  Clubs are also honoured such as the  Returned Servicemen’s Association, the Tramping Club,  Grey Power,  and the Upper Hutt Dog Training School.  Trentham Racecourse and Golders Cottage are amongst numerous other  attractions depicted in the cross stitch.  This delightful work of art was presented to the Information Centre in 1999.

DSCF2461 Cross Stitch wall-hanging showing clubs, organisations and attractions

Hanging above the Reception desk was large (approximately 5 ft X 6 ft) landscape made from dyed  fleece.  It depicts the Hutt River making it’s way though the valley and looks towards the Tararua ranges.  This was made by the Upper Hutt Spinners and Weavers Club and was presented to the Mayor in 2006.

DSCF2463Upper Hutt landscape all made from wool

It is obvious that many talented crafts- people  live in my area.  There are all my fellow quilters of course, plus the cross stitchers, the spinners and weavers, and a local  embroidery group.  All of us like minded people get immense pleasure and satisfaction from creating with our hands.