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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I’ve got Mail

There was a nice surprise waiting for me in the mail box today, and it isn’t even my birthday. It was a parcel from my pen friend Judy, who lives in Kiel, Germany. Inside was a lovely piece of fabric featuring cats in all sorts of colours doing what they do best, sitting, or playing, or sleeping, or just looking gorgeous. Judy put a lovely gift card in with the fabric and wrote, “your quilting blog is getting better all the time”. Isn’t that nice! Thanks so much, Judy.

DSCF4007 A surprise in the mail today

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tea for Two

It was Devonshire Tea for Two (but make mine coffee please) when I met my friend Kathryn at Stonestead in Te Marua, Upper Hutt, on Saturday morning. What sort of scone shall we choose, cheese, sultana or date? That choice made, we climbed the stairs and Kevin carried the laden trays up for us. Here we are with just a few crumbs left.

DSCF3909 Jenny and Kathryn enjoying morning tea

We could look down at the many quilts decorating the walls. Kevin also sells old china and there were cabinets full of delicate cups, saucers and plates, and ornaments of all kinds. Just the sort of items that your Granny would have in her china cabinet in earlier years.

DSCF3911 Cabinets full of china

The Stonestead Tea House is not the only attraction on this property – Sawmillers Quiltery was just down the path. Situated in an old style cottage which was moved on to the property, this small building looks very inviting with quilts displayed on the veranda.


Inside it is chock-a-block with fabric, notions and patterns. We took our time browsing at the class samples, and the lovely fabrics. What a delightful way to spend a wintery Saturday morning.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quilt Club Meeting

The weather may have been typically mid winterish and wet but it was cosy enough inside our hall for the monthly meeting last night. Guest speaker was our very own Trish who kept us entertained with the story of her quilting journey This was liberally illustrated with many large bags of quilts which were taken out one by one as she related her quilting history. One of her earliest quilts made made with the help of her MIL who as a tailoress had quite strong views on how the appliqué on this first quilt should be stitched. Some of the quilts were still “works on progress” and Trish admitted that the quilt currently gracing her bed was not quite completed. She has worked in many styles, there was a quilt incorporating doilies, one made of beautifully rich coloured velvets, and a quilt made from a woollen blanket. Trish showed us her beautiful (and very long) “stained glass” peacock wall hanging - I remember seeing this particular quilt being worked on many years ago at a weekend retreat.

DSCF3904Peacock wall hanging

As usual, there was lots of “show and tell” from other club members too. I was on duty to help hold the quilts up for everyone to see and then hang them over the clothes lines. Adele, one of our newer members, brought along a couple of striking parrot quilts which she had made for family members from panels.

DSCF3907 Adele with one of her parrot quilts

The variety of quilts shown at our meetings never ceases to amaze me. This is one of two quite different house quilts which were brought along. We certainly have some very talented and prolific quilters in our club.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

100 today!!

No, not my age, but this is the 100th blog post. Just as well I noticed. There won’t be wonderful prizes, or giveaways, or anything like that. (Maybe for my real birthday in a couple of months when I’m finally old enough to give up work, and get paid for it. So…. watch this space).

It all started on 10th July 2009. We were already writing a travel/outings/town and around type blog but I felt it wasn’t appropriate to add my quilting interest to this blog. So why not start a specialist quilting one? So I did, with a lot of background help from DH. I’ve written about my quilt club and friendship groups. Reported on our local quilt shops, and those that I come across while we travel around in the caravan. Then there are all the projects I’ve started, and some I’ve actually finished. I got a real buzz when my Christmas apron was featured last year on the Selvage Blog, I can tell you!!

DSCF2011 Muffy, giving me some quilting advice.

It is so nice to read other quilt blogs too. And…… I got to meet fellow blogger Lis and her lovely DH Alan from the UK when they travelled to New Zealand a few months ago. It would be nice to meet some other bloggers and readers when we retire shortly and travel further afield in our caravan. Just let me know where you are if we make it to your part of New Zealand, and we would love to meet for coffee somewhere.

So all in all, It’s been a very enjoyable year of quilty blogging for me. It’s been fun to write, and I certainly hope that people enjoy reading it. And don’t forget, if you want to see what we get up to in our caravan, or even just around town, check out our other blog on www.romanyrambler.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another Stitching Monday

Without a doubt, time certainly is whizzing fast. It hardly seems four weeks since our last (monthly) Stitching Monday, and yesterday, there we were again. I decided not to unhook my machine from the sewing cabinet, and took along hand stitching instead. And of course, to make sure I had some hand stitching, I was working on the sewing machine on Sunday, machine quilting two little Christmas wall hangings. But what about those bindings I had planned to stitch down by hand on Monday? So there I was, bright and early at 7;00am on Monday morning, sitting at the machine sewing the bindings on, and making hanging sleeves. Just as well there was no photographer in the vicinity, as I was still in my nightie and dressing gown. Shock, horror, that’s not really like me at all – please believe me! Those bindings and hanging sleeves got stitched in place yesterday, and I had time to do a little hand quilting on a Christmas cushion as well.

The other ladies present were just as industrious. Some had their sewing machines whirring away as they pieced or machine quilted, while the others were busy doing hand work. There was lots of chatter going on too. Pamela has finished her striking Lone Star top with the pieced borders, and was busily piecing all her left overs together to utilise in the backing. I was very impressed with the panel she had made with her daughter’s name in pieced letters. It was not too hard to do, she told us.

DSCF3892No prizes for guessing the daughter’s name.

Joyce was working to a deadline, she related, she has to finish three quilts in three months. Her green picket fence is number two quilt, so I think she is doing very well. Joyce didn’t want to be in the photo so all we can see of her are her fingers and toes.

DSCF3893 Joyce hiding behind her green picket fence quilt top

This lovely cot panel is going to a family friend. Who wouldn’t be pleased to tuck their little one up at night under Heather’s gorgeous gift?

DSCF3894 Heather and her cot quilt

Sylvia loves doing buttonhole appliqué and this is the first block on another lovely quilt. She has already prepared the other blocks for stitching and we know how fast she is, the blocks will be finished in no time at all. Thanks again ladies, I really enjoy these monthly get together.

DSCF3895 Sylvia and the first block of her new quilt

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A different type of Stitching

There have been more things needing to be repaired on my trusty Bernina. This time, for a change from clothing repairs, it was our vertical blinds that needed attention. The stitching along the bottom hems, which hold the little weights, appeared to have perished in the sun. Previously I have got down on my hands and knees, with a heavy needle in my hand and done repairs by hand. But it is so difficult to push a needle through that fabric. Why not try to fix the hems on the sewing machine, I thought?

DSCF3891 All ready to go

Robin had the job on unhooking the few blinds that needed attention. With a jeans needle in the machine, I got to work. No trouble at all, I am pleased to say, as I put in a double row of stitching across the bottom of the blinds. Those few blinds were soon as good as new, but closer inspection showed that there were a lot more that needed attention.

P7170911 Stitching the blinds

Robin and I worked well as a team. He unhooked the blinds, while I whizzed them through the machine. Then I gave them a bit of a wipe down to get rid of any dirty spots. In the meantime, Robin cleaned the inside windows, then re-hung each blind. Whew……. I was glad when that job was finally done.

What’s next? Oh yes, I’ll get on with those little Christmas wall hangings that I’ve been trying to finish for a while. Not for Christmas, actually, I’m making them for birthday presents. So no photos of these yet, as they need to be kept secret for a while longer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

Last night I attended a Mid Winter Pot Luck Dinner with a lovely bunch of people, members of my Cancer Support Group. Some of you may know that I was diagnosed with bowel cancer about three years ago and after treatment I started attending the local support group. The facilitators, the ladies who attend the meetings, and one lone fellow, make this a wonderful support group. Belonging to this sort of group makes you realise that you are not alone when you face this dastardly health hurdle, all these other people have faced it too. The meetings are in no way all doom and gloom. We have speakers on all sorts of subjects, and lots of laughs together. This wonderful spread what was on offer last night. Everything from home made tomatoe soup, curried eggs, fish tarts, chicken salad, fried rice, and lots more.


Some of the desserts had yet to make an appearance, pavlova, ambrosia, and a wonderful berry cheesecake. One of the ladies brought along this lovely stem of orchids to grace our table. We ate, and chattered, and had a lovely night, full of cheer and warm fuzzies.

DSCF3872 A stem of orchids for our table

This reminded me of the warm fuzzies I got from the healing heart blocks I received from the members of Southern Cross Quilters, one of the Internet quilting groups I belong too. While I was undergoing my two weeks chemo in hospital, Robin would call in daily with lots of exciting mail for me. It was such a boost to receive my blue healing heart blocks that so many strangers had taken the time to stitch for me. The cards and messages of encouragement were truly appreciated during those dark days.

DSCF3878 A few of my healing heart blocks

I have decided that when I get my two major projects completed, the black and white quilt for my daughter and the burgundy and cream quilt for my niece, this will be my next big project. (Just get on with it, I hear a little voice telling me, you are running out of time). There are lots of lovely blue hearts in all sorts of sizes and shades of blue waiting to be stitched together. And what do you think of this Bali fabric I have chosen to tie them all together?

DSCF3880 Bali fabric for the slashing

Since I’m busily counting down to retirement (end of October) I think I should have cleared the backlog by then and this quilt will make a lovely first retirement project. That’s the plan, anyway!.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nancy’s Embroidery Shop

A trip to Wellington for my appointment with the Eye Specialist gave me the opportunity to walk down the road a little way to visit Nancy’s Embroidery Shop. Started by Nancy Robb, the business has been open for 43 years. For those of us who have been around for a while, the shop used to be situated on the ground floor of the iconic James Smiths Department store. I can remember having a look through the shop when I started work in Wellington in 1960. In those long ago days, as a teenager the only sewing I did was to make new dresses with full skirts to wear over my stiff petticoats to the Saturday evening dances in the Lower Hutt Town Hall. Those were the days!


Nancy’s is now owned by Mary Self, and is situated in Thorndon Quay, Wellington. As the name suggests, the shop offers a wide range of embroidery threads and kitsets. There is a good range of patchwork fabric, patterns, kits, and magazines, as well as haberdashery lines. I had a good browse through the fabric, but being the world’s best procrastinator, couldn’t decide what to buy. I finally chose a New Zealand designed appliqué pattern featuring native flowers.

DSCF3831 . A great display of fabric

Nancy’s also offer many classes, featuring all the various types of embroidery. I have to admit that my skill level in fine embroidery is almost non existent, as my tastes run to red work and candle-wicking. Patchwork and knitting classes are also offered. Well worth a trip if you are visiting Wellington, to check out Wellington’s specialist embroidery shop.

DSCF3832Kits, fabric, threads and lots of other goodies

And just to touch on my reason for being in the area, my appointment went well, and the specialist is pleased with my eye. A couple of years ago I suffered from a detached retina and I was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation. “We take eyes just as seriously as hearts”, I was told. I didn’t realise what the trouble was with my eye at the time, so I urge any one who experiences what appears to be a grey cloud coming down (or across) your vision to seek help straight away. I was told that if the tear in my retina had ripped right across, my eyesight would not be able to be saved. That would certainly affect my sewing, wouldn’t it.

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Here’s Looking at You, Nacho

It was a bit of a “Mexican Stand-off” at the Motor Camp in Otaki in the weekend. Our Birman Muffy (safely harnessed and leashed) was peering intently out the door of the caravan. What was she taking such an interest in? It was Nacho, the resident camp Bichon, who was taking quite an interest in Muffy too. Here’s looking at you, Nacho!

P7040888 Mexican Stand-off

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day

We were away at a caravan rally over the weekend, and since today is the 4th July, we had a special Independence Day quiz to complete. Now, as a Kiwi, I’m no expert on this subject, but I certainly knew the answers to these two questions.

Q: Who sewed the first American Flag? I know that, Betsy Ross of course.

Q: How many stars and stripes on the first American Flag? The answer of course is 13 stars and 13 stripes.

In June 1776, brave Betsy was a widow struggling to run her own upholstery business. Upholsterers in colonial America not only worked on furniture but did all manner of sewing work, which for some included making flags. According to Betsy, General Washington showed her a rough design of the flag that included a six-pointed star. Betsy, a standout with the scissors, demonstrated how to cut a five-pointed star in a single snip. Impressed, the committee entrusted Betsy with making the first flag.

Happy Independence Day to all those who celebrate this special day.