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Monday, May 26, 2014

Hobbits are alive and well

We didn’t actually see any Hobbits during our tour around Hobbiton yesterday.   For more about our Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, see our other blog here).   According to Tolkien, who knows about such things, they are uncomplicated and ancient little people, shy of Big Folk and preferring well-ordered and well-farmed countryside.  They are no more than four feet tall and seldom wear shoes because their feet have tough leathery soles clad in thick, curling hair.  There were signs everywhere of their busy productive lives.

P5250073 They enjoy the bounty of their gardens

P5250117They catch fish in the lake and hang then up to dry

P5258369They keep bees

P5250080They keep the home fires burning

P5250081And do their washing regularly

P5250084We had a peep inside one of their delightful little cottages

P5258385And walked over a cute little Hobbit bridge

And wonder of wonders, I even found a Hobbit quilt!  This treasure was tucked away in the  pretty thatched Green Dragon Inn, where the Hobbits like to go and drink their ale and cider once all the visitors have gone home.

P5258393 The Hobbits local, the Green Dragon Inn

P5250108  I wonder which little Hobbit lady sat and stitched this quilt?  Guess I’ll never know.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Even more Quilts

There were so many lovely quilts that caught my eye at the Calling all Quilts show, I felt I should share a few more with you.  I don’t do hand appliqué, and prefer to do my version by machine, but can certainly appreciate the hours and hours of work involved in making a large appliqué quilt.  Janice Davison stitched “Spring Flowers”  because she wanted a challenge, she declared.

P5240030 Spring Flowers

My Viewers Choice vote went to “Simply Beautiful”, stitched by Julia Vazey.  The simplicity of the design is set off with the most beautiful machine quilting.  And those pretty shades just glow against the white background.


Simply Beautiful

I love big quilts, but there were many lovely small quilts too, which caught my eye.  Such as Autumn Delight, by Maree Schroder, who used one of her own photos for inspiration,

P5240035  Autumn Delight

And “Singing the Blues”, made by Helen Pooley as part of the Mini Quilt Challenge.  The theme was “Blue” and could be interpreted in colour, context, and could be literal or figurative.

P5240048 Singing the Blues

The Hoffman Challenge quilts were shown in another room, and once again, the entries could not be square or rectangular.  The challenge fabric was interesting Eastern style print in Autumn shades and my favourite was “The Lion in the Library”, by Sophie Wood.  Her inspiration came from a well remembered illustration hanging in her grand-parents home.


The Lion in the Library

This last one speaks to all of us quilters, doesn’t it?  Kay Lord stitched “Proud to be a Quilter”, and is the first quilt she had quilted by machine.  Surely made to hang in her sewing room?

P5240008 Another happy quilter!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Calling all Quilts

The car park was full to overflowing when Robin dropped me off at “Calling all Quilts”  exhibition, held at Hamilton Gardens Pavilion.  On paying the entry fee, I was told that the ticket entitled me to afternoon tea.  Great, I’m sure to need a cuppa and a sit down after walking around the hall for a while.  Ever hopeful of winning something, I purchased tickets in several raffles and made my way into the hall to view the work of the members of Waikato Patchworkers and Quilters Guild.

P5240004 Quilt Show – this way

First in view was Best in Show “Sue’s Flower Garden”, made by Lyn Rofe and quilted by Jenny Allen.  Lovely appliqué on a variety of cream background fabric, with some New York Beauty and other pieced blocks blocks showing discretely in the background.

P5240063 Sue’s Flower Garden

The colours of “Amongst the Stars”  would go very nicely in our caravan, I feel.  The photo doesn’t really do it justice, and looking up close, the machine quilting is just wonderful.  Made by Betty McLean and quilted by Linda Young, the requested colours for this quilt was grey, black and red.


Amongst the Stars

I must admit that I love bed quilts, and there were plenty of these hanging for me to admire.  “ Birds, Butterflies and Flowers”  was made by Mary Daborn for her daughter, and features both pieced blocks and appliqué.  Love the narrow pieced border too.

P5240023 Birds, Butterflies and Flowers

Raggy quilts are fun to make, and I have made several over the years.  Young Holly Rose Casey entered her “ Butterfly Quilt” in the Emerging Talent category.  Didn’t she do well!

P5240021Butterfly Quilt

Sandi Laurie stitched her wall hanging “Waiting for Dinner”  in a class with Sonya Prchal teaching appliqué and thread painting.  The bird looks so lifelike, Sandi did a great job.

P5240010 Waiting for Dinner

No, I didn’t touch a quilt at the show, just as well as look what happens when you do!


So many lovely quilts took my fancy, I’ll need to do a repeat performance tomorrow, I think.

Friday, May 23, 2014

How Fortuitous

One of the joys of travelling around this beautiful country of ours, besides the wonderful scenery, is finding out that the place you are heading to is holding a quilt show!  We were planning a trip to Hamilton for a few days, and I checked through the latest issue of the NZ Quilter magazine.  Usually, we are in the wrong place at the wrong time, but this weekend I have struck it lucky.  The Waikato Patchworkers and Quilters Guild are holding a quilt show at the Hamilton Gardens Pavilion over the weekend.  I’ll be there, with bells on!  Hopefully, I can take photos at the show to share with you all.  More later………

Monday, May 19, 2014

UFO Stitching Day

I arrived bright and early at the UFO Stitching Day on Sunday morning, with just a couple of early birds there ahead of me.  First things first, we all needed a coffee, it was decided.  During the morning, others arrived, making a small friendly group of eight or so.

The sewing machine at the next table was humming away as Kathy worked on paper pieced Flying Geese  blocks for her country sampler quilt.  She is determined to use up what fabrics she has, and not purchase any more for this project.

P5180018 Kathy’s Country Sampler

A row of Santas were getting the last of their little appliqué pieces stitched down.  Once that is done, Janelle is well on the way to completing her Christmas table runner.  This is a lovely pattern, the Santas look such a happy bunch.

P5180020 Janelle’s Christmas runner

Pieces for another table runner was being sliced up.  Sarah was using the most gorgeous “shot cotton” for her modern style table runner.  The photo doesn’t do the fabric justice, as it has a lovely sheen to it.

P5180019 Pretty shot cotton fabric

Three of my “Sew Wot” friends brought hand stitching and settled down together.  Rae and Moira happily stitched away on their embroidery projects, and Pam was  stitching down the last of the binding on the wall hanging she was making for her son.

P5180017 Rae and Moira busy stitching

Sandra had a bit of mending to do first, and she shortened a new pair of jeans for hubby.  With that finally done, she could get on with more interesting sewing, and cut up and stitched her leftover batik pieces to make a scrappy binding for her lovely quilt.  This has just just been professionally quilted by Paula of Rabbits Patch Quilting, using a variegated thread.  Such pretty colours, and they all work so nicely together.

P5180023 Sandra’s batik quilt.

I’m starting to realise that Vickie must be one of these high achievers we sometimes hear about in the quilt world.  She has just completed stitching all the intricate blocks for her version of the famous Dear Jane quilt.  But that’s not all – she decided to set her blocks with Storm at Sea sashing, all paper pieced.  I am amazed at the amount of work going into this quilt, it will be a sight to behold when it is finished.  She is very organised and has all the pieces cut out all ready to sew to the paper.  I thought this was clever, and then she showed me the tiny little paper pieced setting squares she has yet to stitch.  Good on you, Vickie, I most impressed!

P5180021 Vickie’s paper pieced sashing

Sadly, I was less than impressed with my own efforts as I started out sewing.  I have completed all the blocks for my burgundy and cream Log Cabin quilt, and wanted to start stitching the paper pieced borders.  But……….I got myself completely bamboozled and sewed the first couple of strips the wrong way around.  Which meant unpicking, of course, and damaging the paper patterns underneath.  Luckily, Kathy put me on the right track, and I soon got into a rhythm of stitch, trim and press, adding each strip as I went.  So all I’ve got to show for my day out is a handful of blocks.  But I always knew this was always going to be a long term project.

P5180024 My strip pieced border pieces

I did make another boo-boo though, I didn’t realise it was to be a pot luck shared lunch, and only took along a couple of sandwiches in  my lunch box.  Never mind, I’ll know better next time.  It was a lovely day out stitching together – thanks ladies for your company.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Getting Things Ready

I’m off to a UFO day tomorrow, my quilt club Town and Country Quilters arranges them from time to time.  My first priority is to decide which of my many UFOs I should take to work on.  Sadly, I’ve got heaps, and some of them don’t see the light of day for ages.  I’ve got quilt blocks to put together, an appliqué  border to organise, a couple of wall-hangings to get pinned up ready to machine quilt.  But did I chose any of these projects?  Nope – something completely different.

Decision made,  I’ve been busy getting things ready. First, I decided, I would work on my burgundy and cream log cabin quilt.  I’ve made all the paper pieced blocks for the top, so decided that some mindless sewing on the paper pieced borders would be suitable.  This is just easy sew, flip and press stitching, no hard thinking required.  So I’ve cut some more burgundy strips, and I’m all set to go.

P5170010 Burgundy strips cut for tomorrow

Maybe I’ll get all those burgundy blocks done in the morning and need something else to work on (she says hopefully).   I need to make some appliqué leaf blocks for the alternate blocks in my daughter’s quilt.  I’ve cut the homespun to size, collected up my greens, fusible web and the leaf patterns, so I can get on with this if I have the time.  Even if I just trace out the shapes and fuse them onto the calico blocks, it will be a good start.

P5170014 The start of appliqué blocks

I’ll throw in my hand stitching into the big bag too, you just never know how the time goes – I would hate to run out of things to do!  Mind you, with cuppas during the day, stopping for lunch, meeting, greeting, and seeing what everyone else is working on, the hours will fly by.

As well as all this prep work, I’ve been busy in the kitchen this afternoon too.  We’re having roast chicken, roast veggies, stuffing and gravy for our evening meal, followed by apple crumble for dessert.  And I made a batch of Anzac biscuits too.  They are full of oats, so they must be good for us.  There should be plenty of leftovers for tomorrow night as well, when I come back tired from my day out sewing.

P5170013 Yummy Anzac Biscuits

Friday, May 16, 2014

A little mending – and an Op Shop bargain

“Can you fix this?”, Robin asked in a plaintive voice.  He had been wielding the carving knife and obviously hadn’t been paying close attention.  It sliced right through the cuff of his jumper.  It’s lucky he didn’t cut his wrist.

P5120003 How did he do this?

So I stitched it up as best I could - it’s not an invisible mend, but at least his jumper is wearable once again.  It’s his favourite, purchased in Scotland during our last UK trip.

I had other mending to do too, once more fix the pockets on a pair of Robin’s shorts.  I did it differently this time, when my neighbour told me how she used to tackle this problem.  Just slice off the bottom of the inside pocket which has worn, use this bit to cut a new piece to shape, and stitch back on.  It worked a treat, and the pocket was repaired in a much shorter time.

Today I popped down to the local Hospice Shop and came across a bargain.  Two bags of knitting cotton at $2 a bag.  So now I will get the needles out again and knit up a few more dusters.  That will keep me quiet for a while.

P5160009 Knitting cotton from the Op Shop

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sew Wot Tuesday Morning

Another fortnight has rolled around and it was time for the Sew Wot ladies to meet up again.  Heather kindly gave me a lift, and we were surprised to see an errant sheep running across the road.  I didn’t realise that there were sale yards down by the railway track, and this sheep obviously didn’t want to go to a new home.  Just hope the two men running hell for leather after the poor frightened animal managed to reach it before it ran across the very busy SH1 and caused an accident.

As usual, there was plenty of talking going on, and a little hand sewing.  Our hostess Mary was finishing off a pretty pinafore for one of her grandchildren, while Rae and Moira got on with their embroidery.  There was just a little show and tell.  Pam was busy stitching down the binding on a wall-hanging she had just finished for her son, and held it up for us to see.  This panel has been  beautifully commercially quilted by Paula of Rabbits Patch Quilting.  Paula’s quilting really made the horses come alive.

P5130004 Pam with her horse quilt

Helen had a finished quilt to show us too.  She related how her grandson had been staying and had spotted a quilt on the cover of a magazine which he liked – but not the colours shown in the picture.  Helen sent him along to her stash to pick out which colours he would like.  And this is the result.  For someone so young, he’s obviously got quite an eye for colour.  Helen is a very talented quilter too, and she used variegated thread on this quilt.

P5130005 Quilt for Helen’s grand-son

P5130006Just look at that quilting

I had a little show and tell too, but knitting, not quilting.  Recently I had been given some part rolls of knitting cotton and  have made several cotton dusters.  These are from a pattern I found on the Make it Do blog, an interesting blog which is full of sewing, cooking and household hints. The pattern I used is “Aunt Ev’s Favourite Dish Cloth”.  It is knitted corner to corner and it nice easy mindless knitting which can be done while watching TV without having to concentrate.  This type of cotton knitting yarn is quite expensive to buy here in New Zealand, so I was pleased to make use of the part rolls and give this pattern a try.  The bright pink one is the first one I tried and I used a part ball of acrylic yarn I was given.  Much too nice for dishes, I’m going to use mine as dusters.

P5130007 Hand knitted dusters

The Sew Wot hostess always puts on a tasty morning tea, so that is a standard I have to achieve when my turn rolls around again.  Thanks ladies, it was lovely to catch up with you all again.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mums everywhere.  We have been away in the caravan this weekend but caught up with daughter Nicky last week for a nice lunch in Palmerston North.  She presented me a pot of lovely fragrant pink hyacinths, so beautiful.  What she doesn’t know is that I was thinking of buying myself some, but decided against it, so I am really pleased with her choice.

P5090018 Blooming Beautiful!

As we knew we would be away for the weekend, we took Robin’s Mum out for an early Mother’s Day lunch on Thursday. to the delightful Te Horo Cafe.  Her gift was a pot of pretty tulips.

P5080017 Robin and his Mum

My son Michael often says that he thinks Mother’s Day is a .load of commercial claptrap, but maybe he might remember to give his old Mum a phone call tonight.  And he finally did.  Sometimes I need to phone him instead to remind him it’s Mother’s Day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fashion in the Afternoon

There was a ticket going spare to Ballantynes Fashion Parade at Summerset Retirement Home, just down the road from our village.  So I didn’t need too much persuasion to go along with a couple of other ladies and see what was new in the winter fashion stakes.  The clothes were provided by the local Ballantynes shop, and the models and compere were Summerset residents.  Visitors and residents all gathered in the recreation room, eagerly waiting for the show to start.

A nice selection of winter jackets, trousers, knitwear, tops, skirts, scarves and jewellery were paraded up and down the red carpet.  Later in the show we saw some lighter floaty jackets, just right for an evening out on the town.  Seeing the garments modelled on more mature ladies instead of stick thin girls made it easier to visualise if these items would suit ourselves.  Black seems to be very “in” this year, on it’s own or combined with red or white, and lots of teal blue, I noticed.


P5060011 Models for the day

A short musical interlude was provided by members of the Summerset Choir.  My friend Robyn was involved, she must have been a ring-in as she is not a resident.  A lovely rendition of “Danny Boy” was sung by Brian, with Vaughn on guitar, and the ladies providing the background harmony.

P5060014 Singing Danny Boy, with my friend Robyn third from the left

The raffles for a $50 voucher were drawn, but it wasn’t my lucky day.  Then a delicious afternoon tea was served, just scrummy.  All in all a very enjoyable afternoon.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Angels in Gumboots

Although I’m on the mailing list for Angels in Gumboots, in Ashhurst, this was my first opportunity to call in and see this shop.  I met up with the owner Tracey who had a stand at the Kowhai Quilters exhibition in Feilding a couple of months ago.  We are currently away in our caravan for the weekend, camping at the Ashhurst Domain Camp Ground, read about it here on our other blog.


I chatted to the friendly ladies at the shop, and was given permission to take photos.  Each quilt shop is different, and has it’s own particular personality.  There is a nice range of fabrics, threads, buttons and such-like, and a lovely large class room too.


P5020024 Goodies on display

I found a couple of green fat quarters to take home which will work well in the quilt I’m making for my daughter, and bought some fusible web for appliqué too.  There were lots of lovely quilts on display.  I particularly loved this beautiful Lone Star quilt, done in a large floral fabric and a black back-ground.

P5020021 Lone Star quilt

P5020023Colourful row by row quilt

P5020025Stitchery Block of the Month

If you are passing by Ashhurst, do pop in to Angels in Gumboots, you will be made most welcome.