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

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Sew Wot Tuesday Again

We enjoyed another Sew Wot morning at Mary’s home today.  Mary is a very keen gardener and her garden is always bursting with colour, just walking up the pathway is always a delight.  Both her daphne and lavender bushes were flowering in the winter sunshine.  And her mandarin tree was laden with fruit – almost ready for eating, Mary said.

Just look at that gorgeous fruit

Inside Mary’s home the fire was burning, always such a welcoming and  comforting sight, aren’t they.  Takes us back to our childhood when most family homes had open fires – not so much these days though. 

Show and Tell started with gorgeous baby knitting, you can tell what the Sew Wot ladies have been getting up to on these chilly wintry evenings. Mary had completed this lovely little baby set, and it will be tucked away in her “Granny Box” for future additions to the family.

Mary’s baby set

Helen had some baby knitting to show us too, this is going to a new arrival in the family.  She had just completed this little cardigan and found the cutest little teddy bear buttons.  She made a matching beanie too.

Helen’s baby knitting

Then Mary showed me what she had done to a “painted” table cloth I had passed on to her – I had actually forgotten all about it.  First she crocheted an edging which made it so much nicer.  Then she is embroidering around the painted flowers, which is making so much difference to the look of the cloth.  Such a clever idea.  I can’t wait to see it finished, Mary is usually such a quick worker I’m sure it won’t take her too long.

Embroidering over the painted flowers

But wait – there’s more, as the adverts say.  Mary has been really busy, trying to use up bits and pieces of fabric, and had two easy designs to show us.  The whirly-gig design is made from 5in squares, and the more masculine plaid top was cut from light and dark rectangles.  The patterns are both very effective.

Mary’s quilt tops from scraps

As the whirly-gig design was a little more complicated, Mary showed us how to layer, cut, piece and trim the blocks. 

Mary at the sewing machine

Once again, I didn’t open my stitching bag, and I don’t think I was the only one who just sat and chatted.  We enjoyed a lovely morning tea, thanks so much Mary for being our hostess today.  Heading home, I certainly felt inspired by those two designs – perhaps I can add them to my list of “things to do”?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

A little stitched gift

Now that the cute little mug rug I stitched has been posted, traveled across to the other side of the world, and arrived safely, it’s time to show it off.


I made this for my pen friend Janet, who lives in Cromer, England.  Janet is a quilter too.  We have been very lucky to meet up with her and her husband Alan when we had two trips to England. I seem to recall that their kitchen is blue, so hopefully this will fit right in with the d├ęcor.

This little stitchery didn’t take too long at all to do.  In fact I’ve made a second one, in different colours, and that will be posted off to another pen friend who lives in USA for Christmas.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Christmas Mystery

This week I’ve been working on my Christmas Mystery quilt.  Started late last year, it got put away instead of being completed in time for Christmas.  Never mind – this project should be done in plenty of time for the coming festive season.  With the blocks already stitched in rows, and sashing strips made, I then stitched it all together.  As the quilt top contained quite a variety of Christmas reds and burgundies, I decided to use some “shot cotton” for the plain border.

Quilt top finished

And while I was on a roll, I got the binding strips cut, stitched together, and pressed, all ready to go when the time is right.

Binding prepared.

I had hoped to get this quilt layered and pinned, but…….would you believe it, I was out of batting!  Never mind, I’m sure I can find something else to keep me busy while I’m home tomorrow (Sunday).  Maybe that secret squirrel quilt I’m working on?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Roll the Dice Again

I don’t know what happened last week, but no dice rolling got done at all.  I’m rather pleased that this week the dice stopped on number five, my Christmas Mystery quilt.  It will be good to be working on it again.  This is where I was up to last time, with the twelve blocks put together.

Twelve blocks done

So over the last couple of days I’ve been cutting, pinning and stitching sashing strips and sewing the blocks into rows.  Here they are, rows of blocks and sashing strips, laid out on the quilt rack in our bedroom.

All in rows

The next step is to assemble the rows into a quilt top – I’ll probably get on with that tomorrow.  And add a border fabric too.  One step at a time, I’m slowly getting there.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

I’ve just finished hand quilting the second block of my New Zealand Botanical quilt.  I’m doing Big Stitch quilting, and using a Sue Spargo thread, Perle No 8 in a pretty variegated pale green.


This block shows the Chatham Island Forget-me-not, and has large shiny leaves, with clusters of sky blue flowers.  The plants are widely grown in nurseries and gardens throughout New Zealand and overseas.

It may well be winter in our part of the world, but I got to sit outside for an hour or so making the most of the wintry sunshine.  Block number three is in the hoop, it’s all prepared and I'm ready to start.  Perhaps a cup of coffee might be a good idea too.

Ready to start the next block

Our young Birman cat Gemma came outside with me to enjoy the fresh air.  She always likes being close by.

Who's a pretty girl then?

I’m making the most of an afternoon outdoors as the weather for the next few days will be getting worse, with quite a drop in the temperature, we have been warned.    It is winter, after all.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Choosing Dark Blue for RSC

This month the colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is dark blue.  This fun challenge is run by Angela of Sew Scrappy.  Blue is my favourite colour to wear and I seemed to have amassed quite a collection of this colour in my stash from light to dark.  Strange as it seems, although I love to wear blue, I haven’t really stitched much in this colour range.  It seems a “cold” colour for furnishings, I feel.

I made a real mess rummaging through my blue baskets, pulling bits of fabric out for this month’s RSC blocks.  No lights, or medium, I was on the hunt for darkish  blue.  If possible, I like to use up smaller pieces if I can, but sometimes, I just have to cut a chunk off a larger piece.  I stitched my two Asterisk blocks first, using up a few more selvedges.

Asterisk blocks

The blue Bow Tie blocks were next, and once cut out, they are quite quick to assemble.  But I made an error in the cutting, when I discovered that my bonus HSTs were smaller than the previous ones I had made.  Seems I took a guess how small to cut the little squares and I was wrong!  Never mind, I won’t be redoing these blocks.

Bow Tie blocks and bonus HSTs

Winter has now arrived in our part of the world, so that means soup time.  I felt rather virtuous when I simmered the carcass of our roast chicken dinner to make chicken stock.  With lots of veggies added to the stock, and a handful of soup mix (split peas and barley) it was a tasty soup indeed.  Just the thing for lunch on chilly days.

I love home made soup

Thursday, June 13, 2019

An Inspiring Speaker

Our monthly quilt club meeting was full of eager quilters ready to hear the lecture given by Kathryn Harmer Fox from South Africa.  A coach full of ladies had travelled down from Palmerston North, so the hall was fuller than usual.    Kathryn is a textile artist and related that she got her love of textiles from her Mother, who was a seamstress. 

Kathryn Harmer Fox

All her works start with a drawing, and Kathryn loves being part of the computer age, making research so much quicker.  Previously, she spent many hours in the library, taking home armfuls of heavy books.  We were shown slides of some of her work, and she explained how her pieces developed from the drawing stage to the finished product.  Kathryn works with collages, and using heavy free motion quilting to hold everything in place.  She is taking classes while here in New Zealand, and brought along a multitude of samples.

Samples of Post Card classes

These gorgeous pieces were on the stage, so I was able to get up close to them – but still wondered “how did she do this?”

The detail is amazing

We all admired Kathryn’s colourful orange top, which she had made,  but were astounded when she told us that she had also stitched her pair of matching orange boots.  Not too hard she said, and only took three days!  She concluded her talk with four observations.

1:  Inspiration, be inspired by what you see and feel.
2:  Repetition, practice makes perfect.
3:  Let yourself make mistakes, and learn from them.
4:  Laugh, and release your younger self.

Truly inspiring, and such a lovely lady too.

I was sitting next to Felicity and Jenny Hunter  so told them I really must have a photo of them both.  Felicity is a blog reader and came down with her fellow quilters on the bus, I often bump into her at quilt shows so it was lovely to meet up with her again.  And Jenny Hunter belongs to our quilt club and is the designer of the New Zealand Botanical blocks I have just finished stitching.

Felicity and Jenny H

After the talk concluded I had to rush to the kitchen as I was on supper duty, helping to serve the teas and coffees.  There was plenty of chatter going on as the ladies had their cuppas, and then the call went out, the bus was ready to leave for the return trip.  That really got them moving.  The kitchen helpers tidied up, washed the dishes, packed everything away, and then it was our time to wander home.  It was certainly and inspiring evening, but I draw the line at making boots!