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

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Slow Stitching Sunday Afternoon

It’s been a lovely warm Spring day today, just right for a couple of hours slow stitching outside under the Archgola.  I’m big stitch quilting my New Zealand Botanical quilt, but haven't touched it for ages, so it was good to get a little more done today.

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A little slow stitching

Gemma came out and kept me company and after sniffing around to make sure that things were are they should be, she jumped up on the seat and settled down next to my bag.

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Gemma enjoying the nice Spring weather

Although I didn’t complete the block I was working on today, I don’t think I’ve blogged about these two quilted blocks yet.  The Puriri Wreath in pink, and Alpine Buttercups in yellow.

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These two blocks were completed a while ago

There is nothing nicer than being outside in the fresh air, under cover, stitching and a cuppa to hand, with Gemma relaxing by my side.  It was a very pleasant Sunday indeed.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Almost there, and Quilt Club Night

I’m almost at the finish line with my current UFO, the Christmas Mystery Quilt.  All the blocks have now been quilted, and the borders have too.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I don't really enjoy machine quilting, but I’ve persevered.  How I would love to be able to do fancy feathers, swirls, and bubbles, but sadly all that creative stuff is beyond me.

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Straight line quilting on each block

The borders were quilted using the variegated thread with gently waving lines.  Next step was to stitch the blinding on – something I had prepared earlier, as the TV cooks say.  But where was it?  I looked here, I looked there, and it was nowhere to be seen.  Then I checked another hidey hole, but no, not there either.  How frustrating.  With one last place to look, the missing binding was finally found, thank goodness.  I even found a little label I had made for this quilt.  It won’t take too long to machine stitch on, then I can sit and enjoy hand stitching the final stage.

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The missing binding, found at last

I attended the evening meeting of my quilt guild during the week.  Due to travels and other commitments I had missed several monthly meetings, and in the interim, the wooden forms have been replaced with lovely comfy upholstered chairs.   Erilyn McMillan from Palmerston North was the guest speaker, and what a delightful lady she was.  Well known for her War series of quilts, she described each one in detail, relating background stories from her extensive research.

The story behind the red and white quilt was particularly sobering.  On a visit to Gallipoli she was told “the blood of 10 thousand men flowed here”.  On her return home she felt she just had to to make a quilt to commemorate those Anzac soldiers who had perished there.

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The brown and gold quilt honours the many animals who served and lost their lives in the Desert Campaign. 

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Last Post was the first war quilt Erilyn made, and started her on the journey of her War quilt series, and has made 15 or so.   She said that there was one more idea percolating in her mind which will be started shortly.

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The meeting concluded with supper and drawing the raffles – and lucky me, at long last my number was called, so I got to take a lovely squishy parcel home.

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Pretty tea towel and two FQs

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Carrying on Slowly

You know what it’s like when you want to get a project all done and dusted – just do it.  But I’m trying to pace myself and take frequent breaks when sitting at the sewing machine so I don’t upset my pulled muscle.  It is getting much better, only twinges a little now.   So my machine quilting is coming along slowly.  Gemma thought that she would help me out in a supervisory role and jumped up onto the cabinet so she could check on my progress.  Sorry Gemma, that won’t work at all – down you come.  I eventually finished the long straight line quilting, marked a few shorter lines, then stopped for lunch.

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Gemma is helping, so she thinks

After lunch I walked back to the sewing room, ready to do a little more.  But look at this – call me a softie, but I didn’t have the heart to disturb her.  I’m really pleased that Gemma takes an interest in my quilting projects!  While she’s sleeping I’ll go and write a quick blog post, I thought.

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Fast asleep

It is Spring here in our part of Paradise and the weather is warming up nicely.  So I’ve changed our cozy winter pink and grey cat quilt with the warm wool batting for the season, this is my “Soul Searching – Colours of my Life” quilt.  However, I’m not ready yet to change our fluffy winter sheets for cotton ones just yet, I’ll wait till the weather warms up even more first.

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Soul Searching quilt

Last week I reported that my digital camera had died, based on the fact that the screen had gone black.  It seems I pushed a button by mistake which changes the camera over to using the viewfinder. After all, I can’t be expected to know what all the buttons do, I work on a “need to know” basis.   Luckily Robin worked it out for me and I can happily snap away again.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Carrying it Over

This week I’ve decided to carry over my “roll of the dice” project, number 5, machine quilting my Christmas Mystery Quilt.  Somehow or other last week I pulled a muscle/strained my  side so couldn’t spend much time at the sewing machine.  Felt so sore I even resorted to a “nana nap” or two in the afternoons, and I always think I’m not nearly old enough to do this!  But the pain has eased a lot now when I move, although it hasn’t gone completely I’m sure I’ll be right very soon. 

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Slowly machine quilting

I’m using Christmas coloured variegated thread to stitch across the diagonal lines, then I’ll see where I go from there.  As long as I’m sensible and get up from the sewing machine to move around every now and again, I should be able to “carry on quilting” this week.

It’s Spring down here in our part of the world, New Zealand, and our Kowhai tree is in bloom.  This one was transported as a baby from our previous home in Upper Hutt.  It was self sown under the parent tree so we potted it up and brought it with us when we moved to our new home.  Five years or so on, it is doing marvelously.  It’s always a thrill to see a tui, one of our beautiful native birds, perched in the tree and sipping nectar. 

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Kowhai tree in bloom

Last week I went to see the film “Downton Abbey” with a couple of friends.  All the old familiar faces on the big screen, and great excitement when royalty came calling.  If you enjoyed the series, you will certainly enjoy this film.


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Another Knitting Finish

Yes, another knitting finish, but just so you don't think that I’m a real knitting whizz, this one has been finished awhile.  I stitched it all up, and then it just sat there.  The pattern said to put a zip into the back raglan seam, but I wasn't very keen on that idea.

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I took it along to our last Sew Wots get-together and asked Mary if she would mind doing a few crotchet button loops for me.  Mary is a crotchet expert and I really expected her to say “why don’t I show you how to do it”.  But she didn’t and kindly finished off this little jersey for me.  Thanks so much Mary, I really appreciate you helping me.

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Mary doing button loops

So now the little jersey has buttons sewn on, and is tucked away in a crate with several other baby and toddler garments I have knitted.  Some day, I’m sure, they will find a good home, when a baby or two arrives in the family.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Rolling the Dice again

It seems ages since I “rolled the dice” and on checking back I can see it hasn’t happened since mid August!  That’s what happens when holidays get in the way of a girl and her sewing machine.  But I’m making a start again this week, and the number to be worked on is number 5, the Christmas Mystery Quilt. 

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The completed top

I remembered that I had pinned the quilt together some time ago and had a  bit of bother with not getting the layers nice and smooth.  The problem seemed to be the pieces of batting that I had stitched together – I should have cut straight edges I think before stitching the pieces.  But no, why did I think that stitching curved pieces would work?  After unpinning part of it I eventually smoothed out the batting and backing and re-pinned it all again. 

So for the last couple of days I have been stitching in the ditch with my walking foot along the sashing to hold it all together.  Yes, I have to pin each stitching line, just in case.  This takes extra time, but makes me feel happier with the extra pins, a bit like a security blanket, I guess!

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Starting the machine quilting

Not sure if I will get all the quilting done this week, or not.  But we have the weekend at home, for a change, so I’ll keep plodding on.

Gemma has been helping too, and often lays down and has a snooze behind my sewing cabinet.  She also seems to have taken a liking to her play tunnel  again.  When not rushing madly through it she has taken to being on guard in the entrance – then she can rush out and pounce on our feet, if she feels like it!

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Gemma on guard

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Sew Wot Tuesday

It was so nice to meet up with the Sew Wot ladies today, as I have missed the last few get-togethers with all our tripping round here and there.  Mary was our hostess today and we arrived to find a very welcome fire crackling merrily away.  It may well be Spring, but the rain and hail was coming down to remind us that Mother Nature can dish up whatever weather she feels like!  Mary had a brand new, just finished project hanging on the wall,  gorgeous hand stitched wool applique hexagons.  So pretty, and such a lot to look at. 

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Mary’s wool hexagons

Lovely knitted projects were brought out to admire.  Mary had made two pink baby jackets with matching hats, plus the pretty little white lacy jacket.  Destined to the Baby Box till needed.  And Helen had just completed the pretty pink and purple striped cardigan, going to a new baby girl.

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Baby knitting

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Helen had also completed a double sided Christmas Tree Skirt for her daughter

Heather had been busy at the sewing machine and had two quilts to show us.  The first one used up her container of 2 1/2in squares.  She will not allow herself to cut any more, she said firmly!  The red and blue quilt was made from a panel, and will be a donation quilt.

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Heather’s two quilts

Both Moira and I were working on our stitcheries and Heather was stitching down the binding on this little wall-hanging.  Started in a hand applique class many years ago, it had been put away and long forgotten.

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Applique project almost completed

Mary had been on a roll and brought out a whole heap of finishes. Sadly my camera had a convulsion and died right then, and I’m pleased I could download the photos I had already taken, once I returned home.  But I can tell you what I remember of all these completed items.  Two teddies were sporting pretty embroidered jackets, and then Mary had made three Selvedge shopping bags.  Plus several table cloths using some of Mary’s vast supply of doilies.  Thanks to Heather for forwarding this photo to me –  tablecloth made from Mary’s Aunty Bessie who embroidered the large central runner, and Mary added the hexagons.


Then Mary invited us to take part in her “Mystery Heart Quilt Block of the Month”.  Sounded like fun, and we all went home with the first pattern – what’s one more project, after all.  We all enjoyed a lovely morning tea, thanks Mary, and it was great to catch up with everyone again.