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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pinestream Quilters June Clubnight

The night was cold and chilly but the hall was full of eager club members and visitors for our June Pinestream Quilters clubnight.  We had two speakers, both full of tips and ideas to keep us fit and flexible to make up for the hours we spend sitting hunched over our sewing machines.  In fact, we shouldn’t be hunched up at all, but should use the same principles employed as when sitting in front of a PC at work, we were advised, good seating at the correct height, and good lighting.  And make sure we get up and move around, and stretch that neck, arms, and shoulders before they stiffen up.  Another good tip was to remember to change the blade on the rotary cutter regularly, I’m sure mine is well overdue - sharp tools make cutting so much easier.  The two speakers were very interesting and informative, and I’m sure we all benefited from their expertise.

“Show and Tell” is always the highlight of the evening, and there was a nice range of different styles and colours in the quilts brought along.  Margaret brought along her teal, black and white quilt, and quilted it all over with 1inch grid machine quilting.

DSCF2034 Margaret’s Kaffe Fassett quilt

Heather had great news – she is going to be a great-grandmother soon!  And no, the proud parents told the family that they  don’t want to know the sex of the baby.  Heather has all bases covered and has made two pretty cot quilts, one pink and one blue!

DSCF2032 Will it be a girl or a boy?

She also brought along her latest quilt in the “Op Shop Shirt Challenge”.  Heather is doing a wonderful job with her shirt quilts, every single one is a work of art.

DSCF2033 Heather’s latest op shop shirt quilt
Ruth has just finished this warm and cosy red four patch quilt, for her brother.  The black and white striped binding finishes it off very nicely and picks up the black and white in the sashing. 

DSCF2038 Made by Ruth for her brother
Karen is the proud owner of this very pretty quilt, stitched with love by her friend who has sadly passed away.  Karen and Myra were close friends and quilting buddies, so this quilt is a reminder of the friendship and love of stitching they shared.

DSCF2035 Karen’s pretty quilt from her friend

Another lovely quilt with a story behind it was a warm and cosy wool quilt.  Maria had gathered items of clothing from her Grand-dad after he had passed away and made this wonderful quilt in his memory.  His home and family were his life, she told us, and the quilt is made from wool fabrics and corduroy.  Such a nice way to remember a loved Grand-dad.

DSCF2036 Maria’s wool quilt

Jeanette was a visitor and had brought along several quilts to show us.  I particularly liked her 1930s Dresden Plate quilt, and she had custom quilted it herself on her long-arm quilting machine.

DSCF2037 Jeanette’s 1930s quilt

And last but not least was June’s lovely bag, made from one piece of fabric in shades of pink, green and grey.  June and a friend were “guinea pigs” to check out the instructions for a club workshop on the bag  which will be presented shortly.  The instructions were perfect, June commented, and she is really pleased with her new bag.  Isn’t that a cheeky elephant I can see?

DSCF2042 June’s new bag

This is just a taste of the quilts shown at clubnight.  With a tasty supper, people to catch up with, interesting speakers, and quilts to admire, it is always a good night out.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back with the Stonestead girls again

It hardly seems two weeks, but here it is again, time for the Stonestead Stitchers get-together again.  But first I called in to see Yvonne next door at Sawmillers Quiltery.  Bailey and Poppy were there to keep an eye on who was coming into the shop.  They looked so cute, all cuddled up together on a chilly morning.  That’s Bailey on the top layer, little Poppy is all cuddled up on the bottom of the basket.

DSCF2019 Bailey and Poppy at Sawmillers Quiltery

There was a nice little group there today, all very busy, and talkative too, as usual, and all doing different things.  It’s a long time since I’ve made a stained glass quilt, and I would probably have trouble remembering how to go about it these days.  Not so for Dorothy, she has not long finished a class on her lovely Iris stained glass wall hanging and brought it along to show us all.  With just the binding and hanging sleeve to stitch down, it is almost finished.  No, she doesn’t want to be seen, she told me, as she hid her face behind the quilt.  Hasn’t she done a lovely job?

DSCF2022 Stained glass quilt

Ruth had brought along photos of a group project that she took part in with the Upper Hutt Embroiderers Guild.  Thirty ladies took part, and they were each given a photo of part of a larger picture to embroider, then all the parts were stitched back together.  Hope I’m making sense here and that you can visualise what I’m trying to get across.  The scene seems to be local, Ruth thinks, and the finished project will be taken and displayed at the upcoming Guild Conference to be held in Nelson.  Apologies for my photo, as I couldn’t get away from the overhead lights.  Ruth’s piece is the top photo, and the bottom photo shows all the different segments stitched together. 

DSCF2028 Embroidered native scene

Vicki Ann makes cards, and she has a very impressive folder with photos of all the cards and boxes she has made.  She is going to give  Carol some “one on one tuition” to help her complete her baby card that she is making, with the pretty pink cross stitch panel that she has made to go in it. Perhaps we will get to see Carol’s finished card next time?

DSCF2025 Vicki Ann’s folder of cards

Making bags has been taking up a fair bit of Caroline’s time lately.  She is planning an overseas trip and is taking some of these lovely bags along as gifts, some with a New Zealand theme too.  The sheep bag really has a Kiwi flavour, and the bunch of green fabric featuring kiwi fruit is next in line to be turned into another bag too.
DSCF2024 Caroline and her lovely bags
Cheryl is always busy and has many projects on the go.  She brought along a few more stuffed animals to show us, a .lion, a mouse, and no, not a rhino she said, its a dinosaur.  These animals will be tucked away in her “granny box” till they are required sometime in the future.  She also brought along a quilt top made in a recent Kathy Doughty class.   It starts off with a square block in the centre, then seems to go around and around in a spiral.  Quite an interesting design, I thought.
DSCF2030 Cheryl with some more animals
 DSCF2031Cheryl’s quilt top made in a class

As for me, I spent most of my time stitching away at a label, can’t show it yet as it’s for a yet to be given gift.  It was nice to catch up with the ladies again, and spend a few hours in their company.  We all enjoyed our “Devonshire Teas” for lunch too, hand delivered up the stairs by Kevin.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Travelling Rail Fence Finished

There’s an awful lot of memories in these rail fence blocks.  When we were making plans for our 3 month South Island Odyssey trip I cut and stitched a whole pile of blocks, made from a pale sage green, and strips cut from a variety of New Zealand fabrics.  Packed away with my trusty Pigma pen, each night I got the blocks out to record where we were staying overnight, and any attractions we had visited. While we were down south we had 96 nights away, and stayed at 50 different overnight locations.  These ranged from motor camps, NZMCA properties, domains, pubs, park over properties, several A & P grounds and race courses, two farm properties, a chestnut orchard, a car sales yard, and a truck stop.

clip_image002Rail Fence blocks – ready for the trip

Once we finally arrived home, I started to assemble all the blocks.  I’ve pleased it’s finally finished - no not a quilt, but I decided to make a tablecloth for the caravan.  Prints used included Maori designs, water, paua shells, kiwis, pohutakawa flowers, New Zealand stamp designs, ferns, ponga trees, keas, tuis, in fact all sorts of New Zealand icons.

DSCF1760 Sewing it all together

The tablecloth was backed and bound with a bright cheeky kiwi print fabric, donated to me by my caravan club friend Eileen. She had bought this some time ago to make clothing for her grand-children. When that never eventuated, Eileen kindly donated the fabric to me.

DSCF1788 Kiwi backing fabric

The scenery of the South Island of New Zealand can only be described in superlatives, such as majestic, stunning, and sensational. With vistas of mountains, rugged peaks, glaciers, rain forests, fiords, rivers, lakes, hot mineral springs, wild coastlines, streams and estuaries, and rolling farmland, each day brought us more wonderful views to marvel over. Each of these wonderful places was faithfully recorded on the rail fence blocks, and the memories will live on each time I use my caravan table cloth.

DSCF1950 .Rail Fence table cloth for the caravan

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Beatlemania – 48 years ago!

It would be hard for the young girls today who have a “thing” for the likes of Justin Bieber and the new boy band New Directions who toured New Zealand recently, to realise that their grannies were just like them 48 years ago.   Way back in 1964 girls of my era were screaming, fainting, and playing hooky from school to get a glimpse of the Beatles when they landed in Wellington.  They gathered at Wellington Airport, then later at the Hotel St George in Willis Street, screaming their little hearts out.  Some even climbed up on the building, and managed to get inside the room of their idols.

No such excitement for me though.  In June 1964 I was a young married girl, 7 months pregnant with my first baby.  I really thought that my carefree teenage years were over, and I felt burdened down with my upcoming responsibilities.  How sad I felt, to be unable to see the Beatles. 

The Beatles at Wellington Airport
Photographer: Morrie Hill, The Beatles at Wellington Airport, June 1964

But life went on, and I got over my disappointment when I first looked down at my new born baby boy.  He will be turning 48 in a few months time, doesn’t time fly. And how do I know it is 48 years ago?  Easy, I’ve just read an article in the  weekend newspaper about the Beatles visit to Wellington which brought back all these memories.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Zealand themed cushion

Our friends Geoff and Pauline are keen caravanners, just like us, and joined us earlier in the year on our 3 month South Island Odyssey trip.  They had to cut their holiday trip a little short as Pauline had a date with a surgeon, to get a hip replacement.   I stitched her a “Get Well” gift of a New Zealand themed cushion, and we delivered it to her yesterday.  Made from a fat quarter of New Zealand fabric printed with flax, trees, and ferns, I machine quilted around the border of each individual design.
DSCF1949 Pauline’s new cushion

Now sporting a new hip, Pauline is moving around very well with the aid of her crutches.  She has to be careful to take things easy in these early days, and not overdo things, not an easy task for someone with Pauline’s energy.  The cushion was made for for their caravan, so we braved the showers, walked outside, and placed the new cushion on the couch of the caravan.

DSCF1964 Pauline and her new cushion

DSCF1977 At home in their caravan

I knew Pauline wasn’t a quilter, so I was surprised when she told me that she had made a tee-shirt quilt.  Pauline was a keen runner and walker, and the highlight of her competitions was taking part in (and completing) a marathon.  Her marathon days are behind her now, she says, but as soon as her hip is healed and she gets the OK from the surgeon, there will be no stopping her from resuming her walking. The printed tee shirt fronts had been stitched on to a blue background fabric, she has used polar fleece as a backing, and bound it all with wide satin ribbon.  Not bad for a first effort!

DSCF1975Pauline’s tee shirt quilt

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June Stitching Monday Get-together

Another grey day, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the ladies gathered together for another “Stitching Monday”.  We had plenty to keep us busy, there was lots of chatter going on, and not forgetting the “show and tell”.  Joyce was first with that and once she had finished stitching the binding down, held up her new quilt for us to see.  The Drunkard’s Path block was made in florals and cream, and put together in the Love Ring design.  Joyce has named this quilt “Merrily around the Garden Path”, and it will be gracing the spare bedroom.  The quilt started with 46 of the blocks being made for Joyce by members of the Friday Stitchers group, then Joyce set to and made about another 280 blocks to complete the quilt.

DSCF1936 “Merrily around the Garden Path” held up by Joyce

Pamela had recently made one of those handy thread catchers which hang on the table close by while you are sewing, to put all the snips of cotton in, rather than all over the floor!  With a tile to hold it in place, this was made in a very pretty blue fabric, and finished with gold cord.  Recently back from a visit to the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair, she had also brought along some of her purchases to show us.  It certainly looks like she had a wonderful trip.

DSCF1932 Pamela’s Thread Catcher
DSCF1933 Goodies from Sydney

It was good to welcome Betty back to our stitching group, we hadn’t seen her for a while.  Betty had a new project underway, she was making stars and nine patches to go together in a wall hanging for her bedroom.  This is from a pattern in Australian P & Q magazine.

DSCF1945 Betty’s new project
Not everyone was quilting – Gaye brought along a couple of pair of trousers she was finishing off for herself.  She likes to sew her own trousers she told us, then she knows they will fit her properly.  Don’t think I would tackle trousers, I’ve got out of the way of dealing with zips and waistbands!

DSCF1942 Gaye finishing off her trousers

Heather wasn’t quilting either.  With a pair of scissors in her hand, she was dissecting more op-shop shirts for her “Great Shirt Challenge” quilts.  She cuts all the seams off, removes the buttons, labels, collars and cuffs, and has plenty of fabric to work with on her next creation.  Heather is working on quilt number 11, all made from recycled shirts, and they will be donated to a good cause in the future.

DSCF1944Heather cutting yet another shirt to pieces.

Some of the collars and cuffs have been passed on to Margaret, who showed us her Journal Cover made from cuffs.  What a neat idea, and it just goes to show what can be made from scraps.
DSCF1943  Journal cover made from recycled cuffs

Margaret was busy pinning and basting her Kaffe Fassett hexagons together.  This will be hand quilted then made up into a tote bag, she told me.  Margaret works fast and had that done in  no time at all.  Later in the day I saw her working on some more pretty “Doiley Dollies”.  This is something I’d like to do “one day”, just need to get started on them.  

DSCF1934 Kaffe Fassett hexagons

Another lady who is never without work in her hands is Maureen.  She is making a whole lot of place mats to be offered for sale in the upcoming Pinehaven Fair.  I noticed she used hair clips to keep the binding in place, no stabs from the pins with this method.

DSCF1946 Maureen and two place mats

I decided against taking my sewing machine along to the stitching day, so had hand work with me.  Had the binding to stitch down on my rail fence with the cheeky kiwi backing – it’s almost done.

DSCF1940 Stitching down my binding

Then I got into a fine old mess as I ripped out the tissue paper foundations on my burgundy and cream log cabin blocks.  This will be an ongoing project as I need to make quite a few more blocks, plus the border will be foundation pieced too.  Still, I’ll get there eventually.

DSCF1947 My foundation pieced log cabin blocks

All in all, another interesting Stitching Monday, lots of work achieved – thanks ladies, for your company.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Not much of a day, weather-wise

Here in my part of paradise the weather has been rather “wintery” for the last few days.  Cold, wet, and miserable, in fact.  Just the sort of weather that leads me to get my big stock pot out of the cupboard, and prepare soup for lunch.  In went the bacon bones, a handful of barley and split peas, chopped onion, carrots and parsnips and some greens, and it simmered away till lunch time.  You just can’t beat home made soup, in my opinion.
The only sort of stitching I did in the afternoon was some mending.  I felt quite virtuous when I had repaired two pairs of jeans.  My old jeans needed taking in – not, I hasten to add because I have lost weight, but because the “stretch” in the denim has disappeared.  They were looking rather saggy baggy so there was only one thing to do.  I laid them down on the floor, put another pair over top to use as a pattern, and cut them down to size.  A few seams later and they certainly fitted much better.  Robin’s jean’s had a couple of small holes which didn’t take too long to fix, then I repaired a pocket on his shorts.  There – the mending’s all done – so next time I sit at the sewing machine it will be to do something quilty.

DSCF1925 Mending Robin’s jeans

Being such a miserable sort of day a nice roast dinner fitted the bill.  The delicious smell of roast pork filled the kitchen, with assorted roast veggies, gravy and brussell sprouts, and apple crumble with cream for dessert.  And very nice it was too!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Back with the Stonestead Stitchers again

It’s been quite a while, but I finally met up the the fortnightly group, the Stonestead Stitchers again.  After returning from our long caravan holiday in the South Island, I am once again getting involved with the various groups I previously enjoyed meeting with.  But first, I popped in to see Yvonne at the adjacent Sawmillers Quiltery to say hello.  Yvonne is very welcoming and this pretty little shop always has something new on offer, fabrics of course, and interesting classes.

DSCF1911Sawmillers Quiltery
DSCF1909Lots of goodies inside

This group meet upstairs at the Stonestead Tea House to stitch and chat and as usual, there was plenty going on.  Caroline brought along a table runner she had just completed at a class with Sawmillers Quiltery – it is made in nice bright colours featuring chickens in the centre of the stars.

DSCF1914 Caroline’s table runner

She had been busy knitting too, and showed us this cute little dinosaur coat made for the family Jack Russell Ellie.  It comes complete with spikes along the back, and yes, Ellie does enjoy wearing winter coats, we were told.

DSCF1912 Ellie the dog’s knitted coat
DSCF1913Knitting book for dogs

I had seen Dorothy working on her pretty hexagon “Nana’s Garden” quilt over the previous months, and with just the binding to stitch down she brought the almost completed quilt along to show us.  This has been beautifully machine quilted by Sue B, and Dorothy is planning to hang the quilt up in her home.
 DSCF1915 Dorothy with her Hexagon quilt
DSCF1916Close up of the quilting

There was a whole lot of cross stitch going on.  Carol had completed a pretty little flower kit which came complete with a frame, and was finishing off a pink cross stitch to put into a baby greeting card.  Ruth had picked up a “just started” cross stitch pin cushion kit at her embroidery guild’s sales table and was having fun working on that.

DSCF1917 Carol’s pretty pink cross stitch projects
DSCF1923 Ruth’s pin cushion

Beverly was another doing cross stitch, and showed us this beautiful sampler she had stitched for her daughter – she was determined to hide and only allowed her fingers to show.

DSCF1921 Beverley’s beautiful sampler

Two of the ladies were stitching away on their tapestries.  Mary had forgotten all about her very pretty bargello tapestry.  Now rediscovered, she is stitching diligently to get it finished, while Liz was working on her Jacobean design tapestry.

DSCF1919 Mary working on her bargello tapestry
DSCF1922Liz and her Jacobean tapestry

Bridget has been making “Stack and Whack” blocks from a lovely range of Amy Butler fabrics and spent time with her cutter and board squaring them all up.

DSCF1920 Stack and Whack blocks

Cheryl had a new family, she told us, then proceeded to pull a whole lot of soft toys out of her bag.  She had made a giraffe, monster, caterpillar and dinosaur and was working on a lion.  What a great collection – and that cute giraffe was my favourite.

DSCF1924 Cheryl’s been very busy

The ladies were keen to hear about our trip away, and it was nice to be so warmly welcomed back.  While we were stitching and chatting  Kevin was downstairs in the cafe kitchen whipping up scones for our lunches and delivered the trays upstairs to us. It may have been grey and cold outside, but it was another warm fun filled day with the Stonestead Stitchers.