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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A new quilter perhaps?

We visited our friend Kathryn in the weekend. She has hung some family photos and pictures on the walls recently. Hanging in the dining room was a lovely cross stitch picture she had stitched some years ago while recovering from surgery. It is a charming piece of work and shows a quilting bee underway, with extra quilts hanging out to dry on the clothesline.


Kathryn has expressed interest in learning to quilt, and asked me to help her, when she is ready to start. My answer? Of course! We are always happy to welcome new people into the quilting fraternity, aren’t we?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Time to deliver the Quilts

My quilt club, Pinestream Quilters, is getting ready for our upcoming Quilt Exhibition. We have all been hard at work stitching our quilts, and sewing the bindings down. Then we had to make the hanging sleeve, stitch it on, together with the label. And send our husbands to the hardware shop to buy a length on timber batten, cut it to the correct size, screw in a couple of “eyes” to each end, to slip inside the hanging sleeve. This had to be named too, of course. Don’t forget the bag we needed to make, big enough to place our rolled up quilt inside, and that needed a label too. Finally, it was time to deliver the quilts.

DSCF4118 All ready to go with my small quilt in it’s labelled bag.

We drove down in the rain to Pinehaven to deliver my quilt. I knew we had to go down a driveway to a back section shared by two properties, but which house is it, this one or that one? It was the house on the left. Joy probably knew that no one would remember her instructions, so left a visual reminder for us. There in the doorway of the open garage was one of her quilts draped over a chair, that’s a clever idea.

DSCF4119 Deliver the quilts to this house.

Friday, August 27, 2010

August Quilt Club Night

Our speaker at Pinestream Quilters monthly meeting was one of our own, the lovely Jenny who talked about her beautiful flower quilts. Jenny makes the most amazing 3D flowers and leaves and told us a bit about her journey of discovery as she fused and manipulated fabric to behave as she wanted it to. For best results, use batiks, we were told, because of the higher thread count. Jenny brought along lots of examples of her lovely quilts to show us and we were amazed at the life like images she can create. There was a lot of interest shown, and I can see that the committee may well be asking her to teach a class or two.

DSCF4109 Jenny with one of her flower quilts

It is always interesting to see what arrives each month for Show and Tell. With our upcoming exhibition, there was a little less brought along this month, I think a lot of quilts are being kept under wraps for that. This pretty soft coloured teal and apricot wedding quilt had a secret. It was reversible, and was backed with another quilt top, made out of New Zealand fabrics.

DSCF4110 Wedding quilt

June brought along several quilts and tops made by her Shut-In Stitchers group. These ladies work with donated fabrics and sometimes have to wait quite some time to get the particular colour they want to work in. I was very taken with this very graphic two fabric quilt top.

DSCF4112 Quilt top by one of the Shut-In Stitchers

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spring must be round the corner

I’ve spent the last few days at home recuperating from my oral surgery and just generally taking things easy. Muffy must know I am not quite myself and she has been doing her comforting angel trick and has been curled up on my lap. She loves to have someone home during the day. She reasons that if someone is in the kitchen, it must be meal time, and it doesn’t matter what time of the day it is either!

Our bird feeder is filled to the brim with wild bird seed and hanging from a tree in the back garden. The green finches love to come and sample this and it is so lovely to see the wild birds fluttering around.

DSCF4102 Finches on the bird feeder

Our Daphne bush is in full flower so I just had to cut some to bring inside. I just love the smell of Daphne, don’t you?

DSCF4105 The Daphne bush

I had originally intended to return to work tomorrow, but my mouth is still quite tender so it will be another day home resting for me. Perhaps I can do a little stitching tomorrow, that will certainly make me feel brighter!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I need a Cyber Hug

I’m feeling rather fragile today, all because I visited the dentist yesterday. Or to be precise, the Oral Surgeon. After many years of battling gum problems I decided that enough was enough. My peridontist once told me that I was one of the small percentage of people who could never eradicate this problem. So yesterday, I was booked in for a “full clearance”. That’s dental speak for removing all the teeth. They all came out, and the new plates went in. Intravenous sedation was used and once the initial line went in my arm, I was away with the fairies and quite honestly didn’t feel a thing. On waking up I felt a bit sore around my jaw, and retired very early to bed last night. My mouth is still rather tender today, so I am taking the pain killers as prescribed, and the antibiotics. Still need a hug though!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time for more Stitching

Another month had rolled by, so it was time again for our Stitching Monday.The ladies were certainly working hard. Barbara brought along the strippy floral quilt which she has been working on . This is for her daughter and each time we see it, the quilt has grown a bit more – I think the size is just about right now. Joyce put the last few stitches in the binding on her green and lemon Picket Fence quilt. She is calling this quilt “Coals to Newcastle”. Why? Because it is a 70th birthday quilt for her sister who is also a quilter. As I mentioned to Joyce, what quilter wouldn’t be delighted to receive one as a gift? Only a quilter could truly appreciate all the time and energy that goes into making such a gift.

DSCF4095 Coals to Newcastle 70th birthday quilt

Jo was beavering away machine quilting her entry for our upcoming quilt show, so no photos just yet. What I will say is that it is a very striking design in greys and black, and not a pattern I had seen before. I just had to take a photo of Heather’s cat bag. It was made by machine quilter Sue Burnett and is just the right size to put a project in and take to a stitching day.

DSCF4091 Heather and her cat bag

Heather just loves doing hexagon quilts and sat working on her latest creation. This one has such pretty colours and I am sure that knowing Heather, it will be finished in no time at all.

DSCF4094 Heather’s latest Hexagon quilt

Margaret was busily stitching Autumn coloured flying geese blocks for a quilt backing, then went on to blue and cream half square triangles, and Maureen was working on place mats for the local craft sale. It was good to see Faye sitting stitching a quilt binding down, we are all pleased that she is regaining use of her hand after a nasty fall . And what did I do? Stitched the binding and label on my entry for our quilt show, then moved on to the stitchery I’m doing for my grand-daughter. Both are “secret squirrel” items at this stage, so no photos of my work today. With our Stitching Monday hot on the heels of our recent UFO night, I have certainly been having fun lately! Thanks ladies for your company, and for your permission to photograph your work.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

UFO Night on Friday 13th

Who would be interested in a Friday evening UFO night to work on some of those unfinished projects that we all have, the committee of my quilt club, Pinestream Quilters wanted to know. I was quick to put my name down, and joined 10 or so others upstairs at the classroom of Thimbles and Threads, one of our local quilt shops. We didn’t let the fact that it was Friday 13th put us off, oh no, we had stitching on our minds and that is what we came to do. With our Quilt Show coming up next month, it was an ideal opportunity to finish those bindings and hanging sleeves on the quilts to be exhibited. The evening started at 5.00pm with a small glass of wine for those who wanted one, and cheese, grapes and crackers to nibble on.

DSCF4061 Fellow club members hard at work at the UFO night

Several of the ladies brought their sewing machines along and were busily piecing blocks. Marg was stitching flying geese blocks together to use in the backing of her quilt, while Pamela was constructing some black and white Disappearing 9 Patch blocks. Marion was working on some cushion covers which used up her extra 9 Patch swap blocks. Linda spent the evening stitching the binding down on her beautiful New York Beauty quilt.

DSCF4059 Linda’s New York Beauty quilt

There was quite a bit of rotary cutting doing on too, and lots of hand sewing. What was I doing? I stitched the labels on to the back of two little Christmas quilts, that took much longer than than I expected. Then I completed the hand quilting on a Christmas cushion – the next step on this project is to finish stitching the cushion cover together. And finally I started working on a little stitchery for my grand-daughter Emma. She doesn’t know it is coming so no photos yet as it will have to remain a secret for a while.

DSCF4090 My quilt labels for Christmas wall hangings

An hour or so into our evening we phoned through an order for pizza and pasta to be delivered for our dinner. Most of us hadn’t yet eaten so we were really starting to feel peckish. It was quite a long wait, but when it finally arrived, our orders were delicious. Then it was back to our stitching again. As the night drew on the ladies started to pack up and go home one by one. “We can stay here till midnight”. Margaret told us. Midnight – that’s much too late for someone like me who gets up at 5.00am every workday. I lasted till 10.00 pm before heading home, leaving the last few keen ones still hard at work! We all had a good time, working away on our projects in the company of other keen club members. Here’s hoping we have another UFO night again soon.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Martha’s Pantry

While in Minerva looking at the quilt exhibition, I asked if anyone knew where Martha’s Pantry was. It was up in Cuba Street somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. After detailed instructions (I really need them, seem to be lacking in navigation skills) I went on my way to find this delightful little shop which I had heard so much about. No wonder I never spotted it last time I was in the area, it was around a corner and behind a closed door!

DSCF4045 Through the door to Martha’s Pantry

What a delight when I opened the door. Wonderful smells, beautiful tables, and lovely displays, just the place to stop for a snack. The shop was light and airy and the staff were very welcoming. It is a family business, I was told, with two daughters and their Mum helping out.


What to chose? Perhaps one of those lovely lemon cupcakes and a nice latte, that will do me. There were newspaper and magazines available if patrons wanted something to flick through while waiting for their order to be delivered. The tables were laid with embroidered linen clothes, protected with a glass top, and the goodies were served on fine china. A vase of spring flowers graced each table.

DSCF4043My table

Martha’s Pantry specialise in serving High Teas and the staff told me that the weekends are particularly busy with bookings for this service. How nice that would be, to enjoy High Tea in these lovely surroundings. This seems my kind of place! I’ll know where I’ll be lunching on my next trip to the big city. You can find them at 276 Cuba Street, Wellington.

DSCF4041 Display of gift ware

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hoffman Exhibition

With no work for the last few days, I took the opportunity to travel into Wellington to Minerva, the home of the New Zealand Quilter magazine. The shop was hosting the annual Hoffman Challenge, organised by Needles and Threads of Geraldine. The rules state that the quilts must be no larger than one square metre, not to be square or rectangular, and must use a recognisable amount of the challenge fabric.

DSCF4039 Minerva, Cuba Street, Wellington

Close up photography of the challenge pieces were not permitted, but I was allowed to take an overall photo of several of the quilts. Fifty-five entries were received, and twenty-two were chosen to travel around the country. My choice was “Tree Top Snack”, by Debbie Benton (not related) of Turakina. This showed the head of giraffe snacking on leaves set against a bright blue background depicting the African sky. My second choice was “Forest Floor Daisy Chain”, by Lois Templeton of Waiukau, consisting of three large interlocking circles, strung with daisy chains. This is on the right of the photo.

DSCF4038 A view of some of the entries

The postcard shows the winning entry “Gossip”, by Margaret O’Çain of Dunedin, and shows two native ladies gossiping before heading home with their supply of water. The challenge fabric obviously suggested “Africa” to the maker.

DSCF4057 Postcard of the winning entry

I didn’t leave the shop empty handed and came away with two books. The first was “Glimpses of New Zealand”, by Gail Lawther. Gail and her husband have enjoyed a couple of trips to New Zealand and the book is full of her wonderful photos, facts and figures, and thirty long narrow quilts inspired by her experiences. I’m sure I will get lots of ideas from this book.


My second purchase was “More Retro Aprons”, by Cindy Taylor Oates. Have to admit that I am a bit of a messy cook so I always wear an apron, and these looked so much prettier than those I already have. The patterns are multi-sized (so much more sensible than one size fits all) so I should be able to get the right sizing.

. DSCF4052

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Michelin Man

Poor Father Christmas, he is getting no-where fast! He has been languishing on my sewing table for ages now looking all the world like a roly poly Michelin Man. Yes, I’ve started sewing his Christmas clothes, but no, they are still not finished. But al least he does have his beard attached, so that is a good start. It won’t be long, Father Christmas, till you are fully clothed, I promise!

DSCF4014Still waiting for his clothes

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Book Club

As a “temp” worker, when the work is running low, us temps are often put off work for days at a time. I have had the last two days at home, but I am required back tomorrow. Oh dear, my plans for doing lots of sewing have all come to nothing. Never mind, today I went to my very first “Book Discussion Group” at the library. I went along not really knowing the ropes, or what was expected from the participates.

The theme for this month was animal stories. My preferred reading matter is usually thrillers, preferably about serial killers who get their just desserts after going on a wild killing spree. Luckily I had read a few animal stories in my time, so quickly looked them up on the internet to refresh my memory. Ah yes, there was that non fiction series written by Jon Katz about his animals on Bedlam Farm. And I just happened to have the set of Duncton Wood books by William Horwood at home, so I took one of them with me to talk about.

About ten ladies turned up to the Book Club and the books reviewed were many and varied. Some of the ladies talked briefly, while others were more ebullient. The library staff provided tea and biscuits, and it was a very pleasant hour or so. Going to the book club regularly is on my list of “things to do” when I stop work – three months now and counting down! Not sure if I will be able to make the next meeting or not, depending on the work situation, but if I am available the theme is “religion”. Wonder what I will read to cover that topic? I’m sure to find something in the library!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Samoan Tapa Wedding Dress

It was quite unexpected – coming across a wedding gown amongst the tapa collection at Te Papa museum. This was made from creamy-white tapa cloth and came complete with a train and headdress. Made in New Zealand in 1997 by Paula Chan-Cheuk for Jackie Leota-Eti it combines both Samoan and New Zealand influences. The pale tapa cloth is highlighted with gold coloured braided cording and shells.

DSCF3967 Samoan wedding dress

Also on display was a tapa chasuble, an outer vestment worn by Catholic priests when they are celebrating mass. The vestment was made in Tonga for Father John Faisandier and given to him on his ordination as priest in Heretaunga, Hutt Valley, New Zealand in 1978. It is hand painted with a combination of Christian and Tongan imagery. The Tongan pattern is known as Tokelau feletoa and a motif possibly representing olive branches decorates the border of the chasuble. The other images on the vestment are taken from Catholic iconography. The Virgin Mary is depicted on the front, and an image of Christ appears on the back.

DSCF3971 Tapa Chasuble

Tapa cloth is very special to the people of the South Pacific and is often given as gifts. These two wonderful garments are very special indeed and show a modern twist to the traditional tapa cloth decoration.