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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Ollie Octopus on Duty

Remember the Swine Flu scare last year? I was well protected at work with my little piggy friends doing “swine flu protection duty”. Arranged on my shelf I have a blue floral pin cushion pig, and a 25th Anniversary gift from Joy, a pair of little ceramic pigs decorated with hearts. My theory is that the piggies will keep the swine flu germs at bay. Joining them is a new kid on the block, Ollie Octopus, all the way from UK.

DSCF3460 Ollie Octopus

My friend Janet from Cromer, England sent me Ollie a while ago with the following message. “Ollie Octopus – to join your pigs on the anti swine flu shelf”. It’s certainly working, I haven’t contacted swine flu yet. Mind you, having a flu injection probably helps too!

DSCF3457 Hard at work keeping the flu bugs away

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anzac Quilt

Hanging proudly in the RSA (Returned Servicemen's Association) rooms in Paraparaumu is a lovely quilt paying tribute to the Anzac soldiers. It combines stitcheries with pieced blocks, photo transfers, fabric with New Zealand designs, and the border features red poppies. The words “Lest we Forget” are appliquéd in red on black.

DSCF2376 Anzac Quilt

I was particularly taken with the photo transfers, which add a nostalgic touch. Set in the centre of a star block, this one shows a soldier standing at the grave of his fallen comrade.

DSCF2378 Photo transfer star block

A beautifully appliquéd poppy is placed in each corner, with a larger poppy in the middle of the quilt. The words to the Anzac poem is stitched in red and placed to the right of the centre poppy.

DSCF2377The central appliquéd poppy

The quilt was made by three local quilters and presented to the RSA in 2005, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Gallipoli. What a beautiful gift and I am sure it has been much admired.

DSCF2379 Label at the back of the quilt

I would love to hear from any of the ladies who combined their talents to make this quilt, and find out the story behind it’s construction.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Daisy the Turtle

Daisy the turtle is finally finished, and now has a new home with my colleague Joy. Joy is a real turtle lover and has 400 or so at home, mostly little tiny ornamental ones, and some stuffed toy turtles. Lucky Joy also has some rather nice turtle jewellery items as well, brooches, pendants and charms for her bracelets.

DSCF3434 Daisy the Turtle

The pattern for Daisy came from Homespun magazine, No 76, Vol 10.9, and was designed by the duo of “Audrey and Maude”. I just had to make one for Joy, after all, if she can collect 400 turtles, she really deserves another one to add to her collection. The body slips inside the shell, which is stitched together, and finished off with blanket stitch.

DSCF3436 Joy loves her new turtle

Joy cuddled her new toy all day at work, then took Daisy home and put her on the bed with the other stuffed toys. The name Daisy was a obvious choice as I had used a pretty daisy fabric for the shell. It was fun to make, and a pleasure to give it away to such a loving home.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another Stitching Monday

The month has rolled around again and it is time for another Stitching Monday. Now, who’s sewing what today? Only a couple of ladies brought along their sewing machines, most were busy with handwork. Gaye has been working on a stunning turquoise Disappearing Nine Patch. The beautiful shades work so nicely together, with just a little flash of colour peeping through here and there. It needs another border, Gaye decided, then it will be just about right.

DSCF3420 Turquoise Disappearing Nine Patch

Jo was stitching some black and white blocks together, so I went over to see what she was doing. I’m also doing a black and white quilt, so it was interesting to see that we had some fabrics in common.

DSCF3421 Jo’s black and white blocks

Our patchwork club has an ongoing project to make small quilts for the Neo Natal Ward at Hutt Hospital. Sylvia brought along her latest baby quilt that she has been working on, just needs the binding done now. She has decided that her plan is to produce one of these little quilts for the Neo Natal Ward each month.

DSCF3422 Sylvia with her latest baby quilt

Maureen has been busy too, finishing off a version of the popular eye spy quilt. It’s just about ready to be posted off to the lucky child, what a lovely present.

DSCF3423 Maureen withy her quilt

The rest of us stitched away with whatever it was we were working on. Thanks to Joyce for trying to show me how to crotchet an edge around a hanky. I feel all fingers and thumbs while attempting my hanky edge and don’t think I’ve got my hands in the right position yet. I’m only half way around the edge and it’s taken me ages, so I’ve got nothing much to show for all that time! Guess I need a lot more practice. Or perhaps I’ll just give up.

DSCF3435 This little bit took me how long?

We all had another productive Stitching Monday, all happily stitching together while putting the world to rights.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Are those hexagons I see?

Certainly not what I expected to see on the wings of German planes while viewing the WW1 Fighter Collection at the Vintage Aviator, Hood Aerodrome, Masterton. These early planes used linen cloth on the wings. Camouflage fabric was developed to give the pilots an extra advantage.

DSCF3393 Looking at the underside of the wing

A second plane, an early Fokker, had a more muted colour way. These aeroplanes are regularly used in air shows so I expect that some fading occurs with exposure to the elements .

DSCF3391 A different colour way of the linen fabric on the wings

The Vintage Aviator restores these early planes and I had quite an interesting conversation about the fabric. The company that produced it during the war is still operational, and were approached to see if they could screen print more fabric to be used for further restoration. They researched their records, and soon had the order on it’s way to New Zealand. There was a piece of this fabric in the shop, I was told, come and touch it and see what it’s like. That was certainly kind of them, I thought.


It just goes to show that where ever you go, there is sure to be something that relates to our P & Q interest. Must admit that the old aeroplanes were very interesting too, of course.

Read more about these old beauties on our other blog: hppt//.www.romanyrambler.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meeting of the Bloggers

The smell of freshly baking pizzas filled the air as we sat at a table in the Beach Road Deli at Paekakariki, sipping on our lattes. We were waiting to make the acquaintance of Lis and Alan, who had come across on the Inter Island Ferry from the South Island, arriving in the late afternoon. No doubt by the time they disembarked and got on the motorway, they would get caught up in the homecoming commuter traffic. Lis is a fellow blogger and the pair of them have been enjoying a leisurely holiday around New Zealand. She very cleverly arranged the South Island part of their holiday to include the mini symposium at Timaru last weekend. We had never met before but had exchanged friendly e-mails trying to arrange a suitable time to finally get together. And then a car pulled up, that must be them, they certainly look like those photos on the blog!

You know what it’s like when quilters get together, even if they haven’t met before, it’s just chatter, chatter, chatter. The the two husbands weren’t doing too bad, either. We decided to share one of those delicious pizzas as we got to know each other a bit better.

DSCF3382 Lis and Alan looking forward to a slice of pizza

I had a little something tucked away in my bag for Lis. A copy of the latest edition of the New Zealand Quilter magazine, hot off the press. And a cute little Kiwi block sporting a Christmas hat. That will help her remember New Zealand when she gets home.

DSCF3379 That’s handy, a quilt magazine

They told us about their trip around New Zealand, and we countered with tales of our recent UK trip. The bells rang loudly outside as the train barrier arms came down as one commuter train after another pulled up at the station to disgorge the workers. The Deli was doing a roaring trade as customers called in to buy something to take home for their dinner. The pizza got eaten, and my coffee was refilled, and still we talked.

DSCF3381 Lis and Jenny

It was so nice to and finally meet in person, after exchanging e-mails. Check out their travels on their blog

Australasian Adventure 2010 and Lis’s quilt blog on Online Quilting

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Friday, April 16, 2010

I’m feeling Virtuous

That’s what deciding to go for an early morning walk can do! I’ve had a bit of time off from work lately, so thought I should see about getting a little more active. (That’s what the doctor likes to say, exercise more and eat less). After all, I’m retiring in 6 months time, so want to make sure that I can keep up with other people I know who have finished their working lives. Friends tell me they are busier than ever once they stop work. They dash about here and there, use their gold card for free public transport, go out visiting, and then say rather smugly, “I don’t know how I ever had time to go to work”. I can’t wait to join them.

Another unpaid day off work means that I can get some stitching done. (I really do need to sit down after that walk!) So that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll get that little bit of mending out of the way, and then what shall I do? I know, I’ll start working on my Father Christmas. I love making Christmas items, don’t you?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Quilting means to me

This statement was the subject of recent discussion on my Internet Quilting group, Southern Cross Quilters, or SCQ for short. So it made me think, what does quilting personally mean to me? Guess my answers are much the same as everyone else.

Quilting means creativity, and I have grown from doing everything exactly as the pattern says, to making my own choices and taking a few risks along the way. It means fabric and threads, cutting out, stitching, pressing, all the steps up to the binding and the label.

Quilting means books, magazines, and a whole pile of patterns that I want to try. It means UFOs and ideas for even more.

Quilting means fun, joining my quilt club, my friendship group, taking part in swaps, meeting like minded people.

Quilting means the Internet, joining in groups such as Southern Cross Quilters, Quilting Down Under, and Kiwi Quilters, and reading what everyone is getting up to. The Healing Hearts blocks and lovely messages I received from SCQ three years ago while undergoing chemo and radiation treatments gave me such a lot of comfort at that difficult time. I still haven’t put it together yet, but the blocks and messages are all there, waiting till I’m ready.

Quilting means overseas friends. Through quilting I have several overseas pen friends and have been lucky enough to meet up with most of them. Blogging is another way to link up with quilters, and I am looking forward to catching up with a fellow blogger from UK within a few days.

Quilting means “Never say Never”. When I first started I decided that I only liked pieced blocks and would not do appliqué – that changed. I didn’t like hand work much – now I love doing stitcheries. Will I ever do crazy patch or hexagons? I haven’t yet, but who knows.

Quilting is good for my soul, for my self esteem, for the satisfaction I get when I complete something, for the warm fuzzies when you give an item away that is truly appreciated. When my grand-daughters said “Thanks Nana, that’s cool”.

So it is fair to say that quilting (that includes patchwork too of course) is a big part of my life, and that’s just the way I like it.

DSCF2404 Muffy loves quilts too

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Who would have thought it?

I certainly wasn’t expecting to see a quilt in the New Zealand Rugby Museum, situated in Palmerston North today. Rugby is our national game and Robin had long wanted to visit the museum. I thought I would see plenty of rugby balls, jerseys, and all sorts of memorabilia – and I did. Hanging high up over a doorway was a small blue and white quilt. Made to commemorate the Auckland Blues 1996 Super 12 series, it lists the players names around the ribbon border. It contains photo transferred images, including those of newspaper headlines.


Who made it, I wondered. The staff member on duty did a quick computer search, and it seems that the quilt was made in England, by Eleanor Hunt. More than that, he could not tell me. So how it came to be made, and why it was given to the Rugby Museum, I do not know. Perhaps someone local will know the answers?

I was informed that the museum holds another quilt as well, a black and white rugby quilt, I understand. The museum is planning to move premises shortly and this quilt is packed away and not available to view.

Tucked away around the corner I discovered some beautifully stitched embroideries framed under glass. So back to the man on duty I went, to ask about these lovely items. These were touch flags, and two of each were made. They were used for the one game only, and one of each was presented back to New Zealand. The hand embroidery on these flags is exquisite.


DSCF3306 Hand embroidered flags used by touch judges in early games

So…….. although a trip to the Rugby Museum was mainly for Robin’s benefit, I was pleasantly surprised to find these textile beauties. When the museum changes premises, there will be room to exhibit rugby related textiles that are currently in storage, including that All Black quilt, I was told.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I just love looking…..

I just love looking at quilts in craft shops as we travel around this beautiful country of ours. We stopped at Digbys of Woodville, situated under the shadow of the Tararua mountain range, and at the eastern end of the Manawatu Gorge. Just in time for morning tea so we enjoyed a coffee and date scone. Digbys also sell a wide range of local and imported crafts, so I spent a happy time looking around.

P4080748 Cafe and craft shop

There were beautiful little hand embroidered baby gowns on offer, and baby knitting, all locally produced. Being a quilter, it was the quilts on display that took my eye. It is always so nice to see what other quilters are producing. The cafe owners did not mind me taking a snap of the quilts and told me that they are also locally made.

DSCF3276 Quilts on display

Follow our caravan travels and see what we are getting up to on our other blog: www.romanyrambler.blogspot.com

That’s certainly different

There was an intriguing snippet in the brochure we picked up about the Dannevirke Gallery of History. What on earth was Danish Hair Embroidery, I wondered, it certainly sounded interesting. Must admit it wasn't really what I expected. The framed piece was made to celebrate the marriage of Brendt and Lisbet Johannsen , settlers in Dannevirke, and was completed in 1886. It was certainly different to see a piece of this type of hand work.

DSCF3263 Danish Hair Embroidery

Hand made lace, buttons, thimbles, needles and threads, embroidered pieces galore, there were items aplenty safely tucked away in glass topped cabinets for me to drool over. I like to think of all the ladies diligently working away at their stitching in years gone by, doing everything by hand.



On display were a several fabulous little bags. There was a beautifully embroidered clutch purse covered in hollyhocks, and a stunning white beaded evening bag that must have added the finishing touch to a glamorous evening out. Then there was a more homely woollen crocheted bag, and another black evening bag, giving a good snapshot of the type of bags stitched in earlier times.

DSCF3252Lovely examples of hand bags

Everyone used to have their beloved Singer sewing machine and many a family’s clothing and curtains were stitched on one just like this in years gone by.

DSCF3259 The trusty Singer sewing machine

Adding some Scandinavian flavour was this banner hanging on the wall, showing a bunch of Vikings with their war shields.

DSCF3256 Viking Banner

In 1872 Norwegian and Danish settlers arrived to help developed the rugged southern Hawkes Bay. They were sponsored by the Government, and over the years many more settlers from Norway, Denmark and Sweden arrived to join them. The Gallery of History tells their early stories and is well worth a visit if you are passing through Dannevirke.

If you are interested in where we are at the moment, check out our travel adventures on our other blog: www.romanyrambler.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hastings Craft Fair

Not much stitching has been done while we are up here in Hastings for the 2010 National Easter Rally. But my interest was piqued when I noticed that a Craft Fair was planned today. There were stalls available for those who wished to offer their crafts for sale. The hall was full of hand made items, from woodwork, cards, toys, jewellery and both knitted and stitched items. There was a rack of the most beautiful shopping bags made from New Zealand fabric. They were sturdy and well crafted, and quite reasonably priced, I thought.


I got my quilting fix of the day as a couple of stands had quilted items on display. They were only too happy to chat about quilting and have their photos taken.

DSCF3214DSCF3215 Quilts on display at the Craft Fair

Check out the exciting weekend we are having on our travel blog, Topp Twins concert, trip to see the Gannet colony, Art Deco Ball and much more at www.romanyrambler.blogspot.com