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

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Sew Wot Tuesday

 We had a Sew Wot Tuesday with a difference this week - Helen had arranged for us to meet at Fox's Cottage.  

This is such a lovely local quilt shop, and has a wonderful range of fabrics, patterns, notions and classes.  I know some of us took the opportunity for a little retail therapy while we were there.  I purchased some more pinks and greens for my daughter's big birthday quilt.

This is only one corner of the shop, there is plenty more

I wasn't able to attend the previous get-together, so there was a lot of catching up to do. We were working too, of course, there was a bit of sock knitting going on, some EPP, and a binding being stitched down.

Jenny, Carol, Jude, Helen, Mary and Heather

 And Show and Tell of course, there was plenty of that.  Carol had finished another group of baby toys, a singlet and hat to be donated to the Neo Natal Ward.

Carol's donations

Heather had been knitting too, and brought along a baby jacket and hat, plus a pair of socks for her hubby.  She had also made a Walkabout quilt, a request from her daughter to give to her friend.  

Made  by Heather

And this was a bit different, a bright green apron with a pussy cat print for Heather's daughter.  We were all quite intriuged with this design.  There were some interesting class samples hanging up on the wall behind Heather.

Nice and bright, just what Heather's daughter ordered

I had brought along my recently finished Kiwi placemats to show.

My Kiwi placemats

Helen was working on something different, a sashiko teddy bear kit she was  making for a class sample.  This is going to be really cute when it is finished.

Helen's project

There was plenty of morning tea to share, and the owners and staff came to join us, between customers.  It was such a lovely morning.

Plenty of morning tea

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Mid Month Chookshed Challenge

 There's a happy group of stitchers working on their Chookshed Challenge number each month.   We had to pick ten challenges, UFOs, or things we wanted to start,  and number them 1 - 10.   This is my number 10.   I purchased this fabric to make a simple cot quilt for a little boy.  Somewhere along the line I also embroidered a little engine, which would make a nice little cushion to  go with the quilt.

My challenge for June

This is rather like a panel quilt, as I'm using this train design, Thomas and friends, in one piece.  Two borders were added, a navy blue inner border, then a red border.  I then spent some time on my knees pinning the layers together.  So that's a good start.

Next is the quilting, I'll be working on that soon.  And I do hope I get the cushion made too, we will have to wait and see how the time goes on that.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Happy Birthday Socks

 Now they have been received, I can show the birthday socks knitted for my long term friend from my schooldays, Merilyn.  These were rather special as I used Merilyn's double knit cream home spun wool which she had sent to me, plus a commercial sock yarn.  These two yarns knitted up to triple knit, or 12ply, and make a lovely cozy pair of socks.  This is what remains.

The left overs

I've hunted high and low for a photo of the completed socks, to no avail.  But I can show this one, looks like I have just finished the heels, and was now starting on the feet.  I knit my socks flat, two at a time, and when completed, stitch up the side seams.  The coloured sock yarn knits up as little specks of colour throughout with Merilyn's cream home spun, quite a nice effect.  Sometimes you just don't know how the colours will turn out till you get started.  

Birthday socks for Merilyn

We had a nice chatty phone call, and she is thrilled with her socks, they fit perfectly, she said.  That's a relief, I made them to fit me, and as we are a similar size, just hoped our feet were too.  Here is a photo of us together earlier in the year, when Merilyn and her hubby came up to Wellington for her brother's funeral.

Old school friends together

As for my other knitting, it's coming along slowly.  I've two pair of socks on the go, plus a blue wool cardigan for me.  I had wanted to do an easy lacy pattern, but try as I might, it just didn't work out.  I'd knit the lacy row, and find out I had an extra stitch somewhere along the way, that just doesn't do in lacy patterns does it.  After unravelling my knitting for the fourth time, I'd had enough, and decided to do a simple textured pattern instead.  I just wanted a design simple enough that I could sit and knit without thinking too much in the evenings, or while knitting in the car.  This will be a long term project - after all, I will have to keep knitting socks too, won't I.

My new knitting project, the colour is more blue than shown here

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Blue Blocks

I've been busy stitching away at my blue blocks this week.  Nice easy blocks so it hasn't been too onerous.  What takes the time is choosing what fabric to frame some of the blocks with.  I found three charm squares in blue tones to make Happy blocks, birds and owls, Micky and Minnie Mouse and pretty coloured hearts on a navy blue background.  The four patch blocks, stitched up last year and ready and waiting to be assembled, contain black scotty dogs and a little more of the birds and owls fabric.

Happy blocks and framed four patches in blue

Next were my Hollow Nine blocks in blue.  I'm only using pre cut squares tucked away in a little bag for this project.  It yielded enough squares for five blocks, two in dark blue and three in pale blue.  There are some repeats but I don't really mind about that, I just want this bag of squares used up!

Five Hollow Nine blocks, using up my pre cut squares

I still have to frame my pirate blocks, but Houston, I have a problem.  These have been carefully put away and I can't find them!  Guess I'll have to check some UFO bags in case they have been put in the wrong bag by mistake.  That's what happens when you have various UFOs on the go.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Unicorns for Charlotte

 You may remember that I stitched pretty little quilt featuring unicorns a while ago.  It started like this, a cute panel that was looking for a new home, courtesy of Sew Wot member Helen.  The unicorns popped into my bag quick smart - I was sure that I could do something nice with them.  Gemma thought so too, as she inspected the panel.

Approved  by Gemma

So I cut the panels apart, sashed them with different fabrics from my stash, assembled the blocks and added a purple border.  Then one sunny day I pinned the three layers together on the patio table outside.  Serpentine quilting finished off the quilt,  and then I enjoyed sitting and hand stitching the binding down, always my favourite part of the process.  

Our friends were visiting a month or so ago and Trish spotted the unicorn quilt on my quilt rack.  "My great-grand daughter loves unicorns", she exclaimed.  So it was packed up for Trish to pass on to Charlotte.  I was happy for the quilt to go to a little girl who loves unicorns.

Charlotte drew me a picture as a thank you, how sweet was that!  Trish has mentioned several times that Charlotte loves her "blanket".  It's a quilt, I gently remind her.

We have a monthly get-together with these long term friends.  In the old days when we were all so much younger and fitter we would climb hills, go for long walks, and explore all sorts of interesting places.  Over the years our numbers have declined from 12 to just 5.  These days we mostly "do lunch",  and they joined us for lunch during the week at a local cafe.  Yummy food, and plenty of chatter, putting the world to rights. 

Jenny, Helen, Calvin, Robin and Trish

Then it was back to our home for coffee and cake, and even more chatter.  The day was a lovely calm and sunny winter's day, although certainly getting cooler.  Gemma came to see who the visitors were, wound herself around peoples legs, then jumped up onto Robin for a cuddle.

Robin and Gemma

It was a lovely relaxing day, catching up with old friends.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Artic Blue

 June is the month to sew our blue scraps at RSC.  But before I work on the various block sets I'm making I decided it was a good opportunity to machine quilt Artic Blue.  After all, this quilt has been all pinned up and waiting very patiently for a while now.   It all started with a fat quarter of seals, penguins, polar bears, snow leopards, lynxes and birds included in in several boxes of fabrics I  received when my elderly neighbour Dorothy went into a rest home.  The plaid binding was a few strips of Dorothy's fabric too.

Artic wild life

This lovely fabric was much too interesting to cut up, I decided, so I added a few borders to make it into a cot sized quilt.  The inner cream border was a piece of sleepy polar bear fabric, a gift from my quilty friend in Canada ages ago, it would go nicely too, I decided.  Enough pieces of batting were Frankenbatted together to fit, and I used some pale blue wincyette (flannel) for the backing.

More polar bears

As the quilt top was already layered and pinned, it didn't take me too long to do some serpentine quilting stitches done.

Quilting time

I'm one of those quilters who loves hand stitching the binding down, which took me a couple of days relaxing in my easy chair in the afternoons.    Gemma decided this quilt with the warm flannel backing was just too cozy to ignore, so jumped up on my lap while I was stitching away.  You know what that means, don't you.  Time to stop stitching and  enjoy a cuddle with Gemma for a while.  I do like to use  those plastic binding clips, no pins jabbing me when I least expect it.

Binding time

So it's all finished now, a nice little cot quilt for donation.  I'm really pleased how this turned out.  

Artic Blue

But I have to admit, I have another similar small quilt top stitched up using some more of Dorothy's fabric, a different fabric featuring more polar bears, penguins and puffins.  I'll get it finished sometime.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Out and About in the first days of Winter

 The Winter season has ticked over down here in the Southern Hemisphere.  The weather has been fine and sunny, although the temperatures are definately getting much cooler.  We had great weather for our caravan club weekend away.  It was a long weekend with Monday 3rd being a public holiday, King's Birthday weekend to commemorate King Charles birthday.  Although his actual birthday is in November, it is celebrated in June.  Why?  It all goes back to King George 11 and the cold English winter weather, he started this tradition way back in 1748.  He had a November birthday, and announced that is was much too cold to hold the public grand parade.  Since then, British monarchs who were not born in the Summer get to celebrate their birthdays twice, once on their actual date of birth, and again in the British Summer.

We spent the weekend at Takapau Caravan Park.  The former caretakers have a Lilac Birman cat who has always been allowed to run free through the camp.  They live in their motor home and are moving on.  And have now  realised that they should have got the cat used to being on a lead, both cats and dogs must be on leads in motor camps.  So to help keep their cat contained they have purchased a pet stroller.  There was the cat, sitting up and looking very regal, as she was wheeled around.  And no, we won't be getting one of these strollers for Gemma.

We had a right royal quiz one evening, trying to answer all sorts of questions about the royal family.  Although I didn't win, I did quite well, and I was the only one to know the names of the 6 wives of Henry VIII and get them in the correct order.  As I often say about quizzes, they are easy if you know the answers, and I have a particular interest in Tudor royalty.  Then on Monday morning I provided some cake to share in celebration of the King's Birthday, and gave a little talk about the Kings Charles I (who lost his head) and his son Charles II.  And now, of course, we are up to Charles III.

Cake for morning tea

On Sunday we visited the Onga Onga Museum complex.  We had been there recently, but were not previously able to look inside the buildings, as they are only open on Sundays.  

I was so pleased to see lots of old linen, old irons and sewing machines, and clothes from yesteryear inside some of the buildings.  I really enjoy seeing this sort of thing.

You could imagine the effort it would take getting the household laundry done, standing over a big hot copper then wringing and rinsing all the garments.  It is so easy for us today with modern appliances.

Colonial life in early New Zealand

After seeing our fill of the museum buildings we drove on to find a cafe for lunch.   The cafe was  very busy, the best in town, the owner informed us.  The food was great, the coffee was nice and hot, and when she spotted my camera on the table, offered to take a photo for us.  What great service.

Out to lunch, Jenny, Robin and Dot

Sign in the cafe

All too soon it was time to pack up and head for home.  Unfortunately our club president got stopped on the road for some time when a stock truck overturned on the hilly Saddle Road.  He phoned to let us know the road was closed and eventually had help from the police and fire brigade to turn his car and caravan around and get away.  Cattle from the overturned stock truck were wandering around, and the truck was blocking both lanes so no doubt it would take a bit of sorting out.  He is sure to have some stories to tell at the next caravan club rally about his experiences.  We took the alternate road over the hill, the Pahiatua Track, and got home safely.