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

Friday, October 29, 2010

October Club Night

There was a very big turn at the October Club Night to listen to former member Karen tell of her time spent in the Cayman Islands. Karen’s idea was that she would have all the time in the world when they relocated to get her UFOs under control, but as they say about the best laid plans….. The luggage did not arrive till several months later, and then her sewing machine blew up! When these problems had been sorted, Karen took on a teaching job, so those free hours had disappeared. She managed to achieve a little stitching, but life on the Caymans is fraught with worrying about the typhoon seasons, which lasts 6 months of the year. Cayman Islands are extremely low lying, and one’s possessions have to be secured and wrapped in plastic every time yet another typhoon warning is announced. In between work and dodging those extreme weather events, Karen and her husband enjoyed swimming, diving and underwater photography. Karen wowed us with a very professional slide show of life on the island and underseas.

DSCF4568 Karen with a going home quilt from a friend on Cayman Island

Show and Tell was great as usual, with many members bringing along quilts they had made for younger family members. The youngster in question is sure to love this bright “I Spy” quilt.

DSCF4566 I Spy quilt

The recipient of this one is obviously a sports mad little boy. I think the quilters get just as much fun making kids quilts as the children do when they are given them.

DSCF4569 Sporty quilt for a young lad

Rose’s little ABC book had us all itching to come up later and have a really close look. It is full of photos of Rose and her family members, and is sure to be a treasured item for years to come. The pages are held together by a buttoned panel, such a clever idea.

DSCF4567 Rose’s ABC book

Ann brought along a blue and white quilt she was making for a friend, and it is just beautiful. I love the pieced blocks set off with appliqué, and Ann is well known for her wonderful stitching. She did say that she has had quite enough of blue fabric now!

DSCF4565 Ann’s blue and white quilt

June brought along several quilts to show us from her girls at “Shut In Stitchers” at Arahata Prison where she teaches on Saturday mornings. These girls work with what ever donated fabric is available and proudly turn out some great quilts. Here are three of them, a strippy quilt, one made with a panel, and blue and peach pinwheels.

DSCF4571 Quilts made by the Shut In Quilters

It was another great night, and I always go home with lots of quilty ideas buzzing around my head. No wonder I had trouble getting to sleep, so many ideas to think about.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More birthday pressies

It’s always exciting getting gifts from fellow quilters because you know that anything they chose will be well received. These two items came from different people, in different countries, but the colours go together so nicely. The little pouch to hold 3 pairs of scissors came from Janet and will certainly come in handy. Rose sent me the very pretty pink and taupe scarf.

DSCF4558 Scissor holder and pretty scarf

Carol sent me a fat quarter of sewing themed fabric, and I already have an idea of what to use it - on second thoughts, perhaps I’ll keep that idea to myself in case I change my mind. Also in the parcel was a quilt pin, and a piece of blue and yellow fabric folded up like a fortune cookie, complete with a message inside. The message read: “Why clean your house when you can quilt? Take more time to quilt”. Sounds like a good idea to me!

DSCF4557 Patchwork fabric and quilt pin

Gail sent me two pretty pink toned fabrics, and she said she thought of me partaking in High Tea when she saw the cups and saucers fabric. As a cat lover, Gail was sure I would like the quilt pattern “Saw tooth Cats”, which is assembled using the foundation paper piecing technique.

DSCF4559Pink fabrics and cat quilt pattern

Even my DH Robin was thinking of my hobby when he chose this gift for me. “Crazy for Quilts”, by Margaret Aldrich, is a great little read, telling of the lore and history of patchwork. Robin told me he bought is specially thinking I might be able to use some of the information in my quilt blog. I always knew he was just wonderful!.

DSCF4560 Quilt book from my wonderful DH

My daughter Nicky presented me with a lovely polished lapis lazuli stone which I will add to my little collection, as well as a sum of money. Think I will use the cash to put towards a new charm for my bracelet. I really deserve a new charm now I’m 65, don’t you think?

DSCF4564 Lapis Lazuli gem stone

The birthday is not quite over as we still have two more functions coming up in the weekend - a dinner with friends on Friday night, and a family lunch on Saturday. Whew – then everything will be back to normal, I expect.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to me

I had a wonderful time opening my parcels from overseas on my birthday. I couldn’t possibly open them early, so they were carefully packed away in the caravan when we travelled up to Himatangi. I couldn’t help myself and had to open the big fat squishy one first. Wonder what it could be? It was a cushion, and just beautiful. Diane had taken a photo of our beautiful Birman Muffy off our blog, and printed it on fabric. There she is, fast asleep on top of a quilt on our bed. What a wonderful gift, I’ll keep this cushion on our bed at home.


But that wasn’t all. Diane had obviously been spending a lot of time on the photo function on her computer. She sent me three photo collages, all using photos from our blog. There were two showing Robin and I getting up to all sorts of fun at social outings, and one collage of photos of Muffy.

DSCF4554 Three photo collages

The backgrounds are very clever too, there is a photo of of caravan in one, a lovely scene in another, and Muffy’s photos are laid on top of a flower. They are so creative, and so very personal. Here is a close up of Muffy’s collage so it can be seen in more detail.

DSCF4555Photos of Muffy

Several of my pen friends were lucky enough to attend that wonderful Quilt Show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London earlier in the year. Not only did they get to the show they went shopping and brought me a birthday present too! The fat quarters of patchwork fabric are a limited edition design taken from a coverlet made in 1830. The six coasters feature details from the Sundial Quilt, made in 1797. And then I have a beautiful 2011 diary full of pictures of quilts from the exhibition, lovely old needle cases, chatelaines, and work boxes. Thank you so much Glennis, Janet and Elaine.

DSCF4556Gifts from The V & A Quilt Exhibition

There are even more lovely quilt related gifts (even my DH bought me “something quilty”) but you will have to be patient and I’ll show them tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Black & White and a Splash of Lime

We had lots of family celebrations in the weekend, including the 25th Anniversary for my daughter Nicky and her husband Robert. I had been working away for some time on a black and white, with lime accents quilt for them. To be honest, I had finished most of the top some months earlier and it was sitting there just waiting for me to add the black border. Time was marching on, and there was a bit of a last minute rush. Julie Lister, of Coastal Quilting, did a marvellous job and I collected the quilt with a couple of weeks spare to complete the binding and label. As we were spending the weekend at Himatangi Motor Camp, it was just a just an hours drive to visit the family on their small farm at Kiwitea. Several new horses plus Henny Penny the chook had arrived since our last visit so of course we had to walk over the paddocks to admire them. Emma proudly led her very pretty filly Saffron out to meet us.

DSCF4487 Emma with Saffron

The working farm dogs were not terribly impressed with Emma’s new puppy Sasha, a foxie cross, who seems to be hyper active. A couple of nips from the big dogs soon put Sasha in her place, but her puppy brain soon forgot and she was rushing around all over the place again.

DSCF4500 Jack and Sasha

After our delicious birthday dinner we collected the quilt (hidden away in the car) to give to Nicky and Robert. They had no idea that the quilt was coming, so it was a nice surprise. Nicky has commented some time ago that I had made the grand-daughters three quilts each and she only had one! So now she is up to number two.

DSCF4515 Robert and Nicky admiring their new quilt

This quilt started with a collection of black and white squares that were swapped at the Southern Cross Quilters Retreat in Auckland way back in 2004. What to do with them? I decided to keep it simple and not to cut them up but to make dark/light 4 patch units and sash these together with lime green. It was soon apparent that my collection of squares would not be enough to make a queen sized quilt! No problem, I already had some nice black and whites in my stash and went shopping for others. To give even more variety, I asked my overseas quilting buddies if they could send me a few squares too. Quilters are generous people and always happy to oblige and I received a nice assortment from friends in England, USA, Australia., and not forgetting Canada. There are NZ and Aussie feature fabrics, spots, checks, stripes, cats, music, florals and goodness knows what else.

DSCF4449 Black and White and a splash of Lime

The quilt had a life of it’s own and turned out quite large at 106 inches long by 90 inches wide. The photos do not show a true colour as the lime is much more yellow/green than is shown.DSCF4517

To all those Squilters who attended that long ago Retreat, thanks so much for swapping. And special thanks to my quilting pen friends who generously chopped bits off their own fabrics to send me. Now. that’s one UFO finished, which one shall I work on now?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another Voucher – lucky me!

My friend Kathryn was calling around after work and so we asked her to stay on for tea. Luckily she liked the corned beef that I had simmering away in the crock-pot, and I whipped up a cheese cake for dessert. Just because we had a guest, you understand. It turned out quite big, so I think we will be having cheese cake for several nights in a row.

Kathryn wanted to make sure I received my birthday card in plenty of time, especially as we are going away caravanning in the weekend and won’t be home on my actual birthday. She gave me a lovely little Christmas dish, “to put nibbles in while we are away in the caravan over Christmas”, she told me. And………because I’m turning 65 and retiring, she then presented me with a voucher from Thimble and Threads, my local quilting shop. After all, it’s a special birthday, she told me. How lucky am I! Kathryn wants to learn quilting “one day”, so of course I will be more than happy to get her started, when she is ready.

DSCF4460 Another birthday voucher

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I’ve got Mail

Don’t you just love it when the postie comes? Especially when the mail has those blue airmail stickers on. I’ve been getting a bit of mail this week – several parcels from overseas have been arriving in the letter box. It’s my birthday in a few days time and my lovely overseas pen friends have sent me a “little something”. As they are all quilters too, I imagine that perhaps the parcels are quilt related. I’m being very strong and have resisted reading what is written on the Custom’s Declaration. We are going away in our caravan this weekend and the parcels are coming with us. Then I will have the pleasure of opening them up on Saturday morning. I’m sure I’ll just love whatever it is inside.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October Stitching Monday

It was quite a different feeling for me at the Stitching Monday as for the first time ever I didn’t have to request a day’s leave from work. Oh no, for this one, and all the others to come, I am free to attend as a “retired worker”. What a great feeling. There was a nice friendly group in attendance. Some were still working on long term projects (as I was) but there were also several new and exciting works on the go. Pamela brought along her almost completed version of the Disappearing 9 Patch in black and white with lime green accents. With just the binding to stitch down she was almost there. Pamela has plans to make three black and white versions of the interesting quilt block, and was busy stitching blocks with red for her son. The final quilt in this mammoth task will be set with blue squares, what lucky children.

DSCF4432 Pamela’s Disappearing 9 Patch with touches of lime green

A touch of lime green also featured in the Block of the Month that Petronella is busy stitching with a group of friends. Called Lime Spritzer, the lime fabric and pattern for each month’s block is sent out over a period of nine months. Petronella’s version is so pretty with her choice of pink and purple fabrics used with the green.

DSCF4433 Petronella’s Lime Spritzer BOM

Maureen was working on small coasters for a craft fair. These certainly had a country look as they featured hexagons of pigs and cows appliquéd onto a coral fabric. Nicely finished with a black binding, they are sure to be a good seller at the craft fair.

DSCF4434 Maureen’s Coasters

Now my own black and white quilt is all finished (and ready to be presented in the weekend), I took along another WIP. I am making blocks for a burgundy and cream quilt for my niece and laid them out on our bed in the weekend . Still not enough! So I cut some more strips and spent most of the day sewing extra blocks. I forgot to take my cutting board bag along, so many thanks to Joyce for lending me her tools so that I could trim up my blocks. I think my blocks are called Cobblestones, but I could be wrong. If anyone can correct me, please oblige.

DSCF4435 My burgundy and cream blocks

Sylvia loves hand appliqué, and also loves working with William Morris fabrics. Here she is with the last block for her latest quilt. Sixteen blocks this size will surround a large appliqué centre block. Sounds intriguing, and knowing Sylvia, it won’t be too long until we see it all assembled and ready for hand quilting.

DSCF4436 Sylvia’s latest William Morris block

We all enjoyed another pleasant Stitching Monday working away, chatting, offering advice, drinking coffee. Thanks ladies, I always enjoy these stitching days.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quilts down, exhibition over

The quilts have all been taken down and packed away in their named bags. Members arrived at the gallery to collect their quilts and take them home. There was a nice surprise waiting for us, and we were each handed a card. On the front was a photo of our quilt, and inside was a printout of the details we provided. Such as design source, materials and techniques used, and maker’s comments. Also included was a comment from judge Dianne Southey. All very professionally done and much appreciated. (I can’t show a photo of my entry yet as it will be posted away shortly. Soon though, when it has been received).

DSCF4429 Bags of quilts waiting for collection

Organising a quilt exhibition is a big job and the committee are to be congratulated on a job well done. Pinestream Quilters are very lucky to have the use of Expressions Gallery where the quilts were on show for a whole month.

DSCF4430 More bags of quilts with rods on the floor

So it is all over now for another two years. No doubt our members will have a whole crop of new quilts by the time the next exhibition rolls around.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday UFO Night

What better way to end the working week (and for me, the end of my working life, I’m now retired!) than an evening spent stitching together. A group of us met at the local quilt shop, Thimbles and Threads, for a very pleasant evening. Several were already set up with their sewing machines humming when I arrived. Joyce was busy with her “quilt as you go” panels in a pretty green colour way. As she was using a jelly roll, she had to adjust the measurements from the pattern’s 3 inch squares to the 2 1/2 inch size of the roll. So all her pieces were all just that little bit smaller. Joyce was persevering with this project but stated that she wasn’t really enjoying it. She obviously has more staying power than me, I would no doubt have given up by now.

DSCF4424 Joyce working on her quilt as you go panels

Sharon had just completed a shop sample using glorious Kaffe Fassett fabrics. That quilt is under wraps at the moment, but she was making a pieced backing out of the leftovers, so I could take a photo of that, to show the beautiful fabrics she has been working with.

DSCF4423 Kaffe Fassett pieced backing

Margaret is always busy with her sewing and usually brings several projects to work on. I rather liked her idea of using blue and cream half square triangles then adding blue flip and sew corners to the cream half. It gives a completely different look to the block.

DSCF4426 Margaret’s blue and cream blocks

Marion was working beside me and was using up her autumn and bright batiks. She had designed a block to set the two colour families together then pieced them together into a lap sized quilt.

DSCF4427 Marion working with her batiks

I have seen many versions of the Disappearing 9 Patch block recently and this black, white and red version that Pamela was working on is very nice indeed. Pamela’s aim is to make a black and white version for each of her three children. Quilt number one had lime green accents, and this version with touches of red is quilt number two. I am really impressed with this pattern and have got it on my “one day” list.

DSCF4428Black, white and red disappearing nine patch blocks

I was busy stitching down the binding on yet more little Christmas quilts. No photos of these yet as they are to be sent away as gifts, perhaps later when the last one has been posted. We ordered take-always again for our evening meal, and enjoyed our choices of delicious pasta and mini pizzas. Perhaps next time I will try one of the seafood pizzas. That one looked delicious. All in all another great stitching evening.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I couldn’t have chosen better myself

Today is a special day for me, a long awaited day, finally the day that I retire from the workforce. Like many of my age group, I started work at 15. Unheard of these days, isn’t it? With just a very short time indeed off while I produced two children, I was soon back at work. It was the only way for us to buy a house, so there was no choice really. Fifty years of work – doesn’t time fly! We had a celebration morning tea which everyone contributed to with delicious home baking.


The Team Leader said a few nice words about me, and I was presented with a signed card and…………a voucher to spend at my local quilt shop, Thimbles and Threads. I couldn’t have chosen a better gift!

DSCF4422 Great gift for a quilter

My friend Gloria gave me a lovely bunch of pink roses, that was so nice of her. Then I received more flowers – this time from Kim the Agency Consultant. I am one of many temps in the workplace and Kim liaises with the Team Leaders and looks after us all. Two beautiful bunches of flowers to take home, plus my voucher – lucky me! I had earlier decided that a 5 hour day was quite enough on my last day at work, so at lunchtime I packed up the last of my belongings, gathered up my beautiful flowers, said my goodbyes, returned my swipe cards to the office, and out the door for the last time. Just think of all the extra stitching time I will have now. Here’s hoping I can make a dent in that pile of UFOs. And we will have time to enjoy extra long trips away in the caravan too.

DSCF4420 Gloria, Jenny and Joy, and my beautiful flowers

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quick – the visitors are due

Visitors are coming today, about mid afternoon. DH Robin is having a “Farewell BBQ Get-together” with his fellow truck drivers and they will be here shortly. Perhaps a bit of a tidy-up is due, I thought. My sewing cabinet lives in the dining room and when it is opened up, (as is the norm) it takes up more that its fair share of the room. With it all closed up neatly, it certainly makes a big difference. Then there was that big pile of patchwork magazines just sitting on the floor nice and handy to the arm chair – they will have to be put away too. I found time to flick through some over a cup of coffee and read an article about toy sewing machines. I remember my sister Kathleen and I getting one each from Santa one year when we were about 8 and 9. What fun we had with them, turning the little handle as we practised sewing dollies clothes. The machine did not have a bobbin as I recall, and sewed chain stitch. Looking back now, how I wished they had been kept safely for the both of us when we lost interest in the toys and went on to using the real sewing machine. Wouldn't it be wonderful to come across such a treasure years later when we would truly appreciate them. Never mind, that’s life, I guess.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wellington Quilters Guild Part 2

Standing just outside the hall at St Patricks College is a white statue of St Patrick – whom the college was named after, offering his blessing to all who enter.

DSCF4348 Statue of St Patrick

Let’s have a look back inside to see what other lovely quilts took my eye. With over 140 quilts on display it was difficult to just pick a few to photograph. I also had to consider which quilt would get my Viewers Choice vote. Here is a view from the stage of part of the hall.

DSCF4345 Overview from the stage

I love Christmas, and Christmas quilts in particular. “Home Made Christmas”, by Julie Keenan was certainly nice and Christmassy. It was created from a combination of attending a class at Nancy’s Embroidery, with using extra commercial Christmas Trees patterns.

DSCF4340 “Home Made Christmas”, by Julie Keenan

Wellingtonian’s have a saying in this city, “You can’t beat Wellington on a good day”. Even though we often get blasted by cold winds that feel they are blowing straight from the Arctic ice fields, we also experience beautiful warm sunny days. This little quilt “Welly Town”, by Sue Day, shows Wellington houses all built higgledy piggledy on the Wellington hills. It must be a good day, as there are blue sunny skies in the background.

DSCF4339“Welly Town”, by Sue Day

Green is not a colour I have used much in my quilts so far, but I just loved Jocelyn Thornton’s large bed quilt “Summer Leaves”. It collected two awards, Excellence in Colour, and Life Member’s Award. I found myself coming back to look at this quilt several times, and all those leaves are hand appliquéd.

DSCF4344 “Summer Leaves”, by Jocelyn Thornton

My Viewers Choice was “Aotearoa Amish”, by Fyvie Murray, which also won the “Anything but Cotton”award. Made from wool, and perfectly hand quilted, those beautiful dark colours just glowed with life. Fyvie used Maori designs as inspiration for her quilting.

DSCF4343 . “Aotearoa Amish”, by Fyvie Murray

I really enjoyed my time here looking at all the beautiful quilts on display, and Wellington Quilters Guild are to be congratulated on their wonderful exhibition. I particularly loved the fact that so many large bed quilts were shown. Last but no least, my DH Robin waited patiently for me out in the car. He happily read the paper for 90 minutes while I was inside the hall getting my quilting fix.

DSCF4333 Study of a patient husband at a quilt show

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wellington Quilters Guild Exhibition

The Wellington Quilters Guild 20th Anniversary Exhibition has been on show at St Patrick’s College, Kilbirnie for the previous week. With just two more days to go, I made sure I didn’t miss out and we took a trip in today. (I’m pleased I didn’t drive myself in, as I don’t quite know where I would have ended up – the college wasn’t quite where I thought it was).

DSCF4334 This looks like the right place

A bevy of basket raffles were on offer just in the door, all nicely colour co-ordinated and packed full with fabrics, threads, and all sorts of interesting items. Wouldn’t it be great to win one of these, it would seem a bit like Christmas morning, I think. Also to be raffled was the lovely queen sized quilt “Golden Daze”. I took several raffle tickets so will just have to wait and see how my luck goes.

DSCF4335 The raffle baskets

The “Destination NZ” Challenge was very innovative and certainly quite different. It was to make a double sided pennant of a designated size and shape, to clearly show the place name. Members were offered a random selection of three New Zealand places and had to chose one. The results were stunning, and all the pennants were beautifully crafted. The winner was “Napier”, made by Fyvie Murray, and showed the sea and hills of Napier set off with a glamorous Art Deco lady. Napier is known as the Art Deco city of New Zealand as it was mostly destroyed by the huge 1931 earthquake, and was later rebuilt in the Art Deco style.

DSCF4336 Some of the “Destination NZ” Pennants

With over 140 quilts on display, there was something for everyone. In celebration of the club’s 20th birthday, members were encouraged to display winning quilts from previous exhibitions. I had seen many of these award winning quilts before, and it was good to be able to view them again, and read their stories. With so many quilts on display, I can only show a few of my favourites. So far I have never been bitten by the hexagon bug, and “I Tawt I saw a Puddy Tat”, by K-J Dillon made me smile. Each hexagon in this large quilt features cat fabric, much of it gifted to the maker who was worried that she wouldn’t be able to find enough variety.

DSCF4338 A close up of the many cat fabrics used

I just love Fyvie Murray’s work and she had several quilts exhibited (also winner of the pennant challenge). “Baltimore Album VI with Stars combines neutral Baltimore blocks and dark pieced starts. Hand appliquéd and hand quilted, it was beautifully done. The pale understated appliqué blocks really needed close inspection to appreciate their beauty.



“Baltimore Album VI with Stars” by Fyvie Murray

With so many lovely quilts to show you all, look out for more photos from this show on the next blog.