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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sew Wot Morning

It was a rather elite gathering yesterday, with just four of us able to attend.  Two of our ladies were away on holiday, (lucky things) one up north and one down in the South Island.  But it was still very nice to catch up with those who were there.  Conversation soon turned to the storm which had hit our town, with flooding causing roads to be closed, and branches blown off trees.  It must have been a whopper, and it all happened while we were out of town over Easter.

Hand stitching was the order of the day, with Moira starting a new embroidery, Heather was working on crazy patch blocks, and I continued on my very slow moving cushion cover.  Our hostess Moira was the only one with Show and Tell.   First she showed us a table runner which is a gift for a friend, all pinned ready for quilting.  This was a kit from Grandmother’s Garden, the lovely shop I visited for the first time while we were up in Hamilton.  Moira was very impressed with the amount of Jinny Beyer fabric supplied in the kit, enough to make the runner without skimping, and quite a reasonable amount left over to add to her stash.

P4290022 Table runner

Next was a small quilt to go over the end of the bed – do you call them bed runners perhaps?  Moira does beautiful hand embroidery, and this is just lovely.  There she is being rather shy with the camera, just peeping over the top.
P4290023 Moira’s bed runner

We all chatted nineteen to the dozen, did a little stitching, and put the world to rights,  Enjoyed a delicious morning tea too, of course.  Thanks ladies, I really enjoy our regular Sew Wot mornings.

P4290024Another example of Moira’s lovely work

Monday, April 28, 2014

Home again

Rain or no rain, the washing must get done.  After a ten day extended Easter break away in the caravan, there was washing galore – even though I attended to laundry duties “en route”.  Now I have a mountain of ironing to deal with.    (Just as well I quite enjoy ironing, and washing too, for that matter.) 

I did a little hand stitching, and a little knitting while on holiday, but really want to get back to my sewing machine.  Can’t wait to start work on a new quilt for my daughter Nicky.  I purchased some pink and green fabric during a previous trip away - see my fabric buying spree on previous post here.  Nicky has quite specific ideas about what she wants, so I’m happy to oblige.  She wants nine patches, so I’ve sliced plenty of strips to get started..

P4130011  Pink and green strips ready to sew

When I’ve done a bunch of these, I’ll start making some appliqué alternate bocks.  Mmmm, better check my supply of Steam-a-seam to make sure I’ve got enough on hand.  Guess I’ll occasionally  keep working on a UFO or two as well. To be perfectly honest, I’ve got a whole heap of these to chose from.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Stitching

It’s Easter Sunday, and so far not a sign of the Easter Bunny.  We are camping on a sheep farm in the foothills of Woodville so I’m sure the local farmers don’t really want to see any bunnies at all on their properties.  The weekend weather has been variable, high winds, driving rain, occasional sunshine, and back to rain again today.  Good weather to do a little stitching, wouldn’t you say?

Just prior to packing up the caravan for our Easter holiday we had a day in the Hutt Valley, our old stomping ground.  So I took the opportunity to call into Thimbles and Threads to buy some more thread.  They have a wonderful range of Perle cottons, much more than the local shops up our way.  Plus big rolls of good quality machine cotton at a very reasonable price.  This is what I came home with.

P4160032 My recent purchases

We also attended the World of Wearable Art Exhibition held at Expressions Art and Entertainment Centre, while we were visiting Upper Hutt.  This event was started in 1987 by Suzie Moncrieff (now Dame Suzanne) in Nelson.  You can read about our visit on our other blog here.

While we have been away in the caravan over Easter I’ve managed to get a bit of stitching done.  Secret Squirrel stuff, you understand, for gifts.  Plus a little knitting too.  We have been kept fairly busy over the weekend with activities taking place, and Easter Buns and Easter Eggs to eat.  I’ll have to get all creative tonight, when we are all taking part in an egg decorating competition - the eggs are being hardboiled right now!
P4200019Easter stitching


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sew Wot Tuesday again

The Sew Wot group met again this morning, this time Helen was the hostess at her home in the country.  Last time we got together she was busy cutting out felt pieces to make new cushions.  These are now completed and look really great, with the brightly coloured felt pieces contrasting well against the linen background fabric.

P4150013 Helen’s new cushions

Mary had been working with felt too.  She showed us her felt covered needle containers which she had been making.  The pattern was from Home Spun magazine and uses the small little chocolate containers which come with some of the new fancy coffee packets.


P4150015Mary’s needle containers

We all got our hand work out.  Pam was working on her crocheted rug, and Helen was knitting.  Rae had started a new embroidery project, and Heather was working on a kiddies patchwork block.  I took my recently completed selvedge projects along for Show and Tell, and did a little work on my stitchery cushion – I’ll get there in the end.  After a tasty morning tea, and plenty of chatter, we packed up our things and headed back home.  It is always so nice to attend the Sew Wot stitching mornings with the ladies.

P4150017 I really loved Helen’s pretty little fan tail table runner

Monday, April 14, 2014

More Selvedge Fun

I hardly seem to have made a dent in my selvedge collect.  Even though another couple of selvedge projects have now been completed.  Mind you, I did have a big bag sent to me recently from Roz, just prior to her departure to relocate in Oz.  

Another set of breakfast place mats have been on the go for a wee while.  First I made a whole pile of these.  Nice easy sewing on to calico backing squares.

P2120042-001 Selvedge squares

These were soon assembled into rows, backed, and quilted.  Then finished off with a black binding.

P4040026 Selvedge place mats

And why not make myself a new double handed oven cloth, I decided.  With slip in pockets for my hands, hessian (sacking) on the back, plenty of wadding, this should last me for a while.  I’ve got a couple of others, but a new one won’t go astray.

P4040027Selvedge oven mitt

Ever heard of selvedge knitting?  I got the idea from the very talented Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts.  Read all about it here to make a knitted rag rug.  The instructions said to use size 35 needles, but I had no idea what they were – just used the largest ones I had.  The other change I made was to stitch the selvedges together instead of knotting them and leaving tails.  I also decided to use a single string instead of two together as the instructions said.

P1220001 Knitting and my big ball of selvedges stitched end to end

Just love all the different colours coming through, offset by the various neutrals.  I used up long lengths, and shorter selvedges too, whatever came to hand, but kept the short lengths less than 12 inches for other projects.  Here is the finished rug, it fits in nicely in front of my laundry tub, adding a nice splash of muted colour.  I’m really pleased with it.  Robin did wonder what on earth I was doing in the evenings, wrestling with large needles and a big ball of fabric,  which was regularly replenished.

P3120007 Knitted selvedge laundry rug

Friday, April 11, 2014

Town and Country Quilters – part 2

Our speaker for the evening was Camilla Watson, a wonderful quilter and also a counsellor in stress management.  Camilla had brought along quite an array of quilts showing her quilting journey from her early days up to the present time.  She started off using 2 inch squares in her first quilt, then had to make another, and other, to use up all those squares she had diligently cut up.  Sound familiar?

P4090023 Camilla’s early quilts used 2in squares

The idea of cat quilt was taken from a small sketch drawn by Camilla’s Mum and turned into a fabric work of art. Set against a neutral pieced background, the black “sketch marks” really stand out.

P4090025Cat quilt

Camilla discovered her niche with needle turn appliqué, which borders her photo gallery quilt.  Precious family photos have been copied on to fabric and displayed all together in this wonderful quilt.

P4090026Family photo album quilt

This amazingly evocative  quilt was taken from a photo at the beach at Mahia.  With another beautifully pieced background, it shows the silhouette of Camilla’s daughter, as she reflects on the closure of camping area where the family spent many happy holidays.

P4090028Mahia Beach

Camilla’s Menamorphosis quilt has to be seen close up to be truly appreciated.  This beauty of needle turn appliqué was awarded Best of Country - New Zealand World Quilt Exhibition 2010, received an Honorary Mention at International Quilt Festival 2009, Houston, and was awarded second place in the Professional Appliqué category at the NZ Symposium Wellington 2009.  It is hard to imagine how many hours of work went into completing this wonderful quilt.

Menamorphosis full
Menamorphoris, by Camilla Watson

Camilla’s message for quilting excellence was to practise and practise some more.  We can certainly see the results of all her many hours of practise!  What a great show and tell, do check out Camilla’s website to see more of her wonderful work.    

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Town and Country Quilters April Club Night

Our meeting started with a super quick AGM, and a changing of the guard.  Thanks were made to the outgoing committee members, and the new committee was welcomed in.  As far as club AGMs go, I had never attended such a speedy meeting before.  With the business out of the way, we got on with Show and Tell.  Eleanor had brought along a gorgeous beaded wall hanging in shades of purple.  This really needed close inspection later to see all the details.


P4090035 Eleanor’s beaded wall hanging

Also in shades of purple was Sew Wot member Heather’s Star Block of the Month.  She is very generously donating this to the Ronald McDonald House.

P4090032Heather’s Star quilt

Marjorie’s Log Cabin with a Twist was made in shades of brown and cream.  I had not seen this particular variation before.

P4090031Log Cabin with a Twist

One of our junior members (sorry, I didn’t catch her name)  made this  Dr Seuss quilt for a family member.  What a great job.

P4090033Dr Seuss quilt

And last but not least is a trio of quite differently designed quilts on the hangers.  Roundabout is the name of another of Heather’s quilts, done in shades of pink and accentuated with circles done in fancy stitching, displayed next to my Maple Leaf quilt.  And peeping out underneath is a wonderful photo quilt.  Bev made this stunning quilt for family members who lived overseas for 10 years, and have now returned home to New Zealand.

P4090030Show and Tell from Heather , myself and Bev

After listening to our inspiring speaker Camilla (more on this tomorrow), it was time for supper, a bit of a chat, and head back home.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dolls at the Library

I’m a real library lover, and attend the local library Te Takere on a regular basis.  If I haven’t got a library book or two to devour and enjoy, I’m at a bit of a loose end.  A library is much more than books, magazines, and videos, of course, ours has a local history room, meeting rooms, a travel agent, and a cafe.  Plus an ever changing exhibition of crafts, paintings and pottery by local artists. 

Dolls are currently on show in the glass display cases, and there was something to appeal to all tastes.  Yvonne Pridmore makes the loveable calico dolls for the children's wards at Palmerston North and Wellington Hospitals and sends them off in time for Christmas.  How wonderfully generous to make these for sick children away from home over the Christmas season.


P4030011 Yvonne’s dolls bring comfort and joy to sick children

The other dolls on display were made by Barbara Price, and were quite different.  (These proved to be a little more difficult to photograph with the lighting reflected on the glass cases.)

A selection of dolls on display

I am not a doll maker, but I loved looking at these and  admiring all the details.  Such a lot of work goes into making these lovely pieces.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Quilt Documentation – a couple of Oldies

I’ve just documented my last finish, the Maple Leaf quilt.  Told the story behind it, added photos, plus fabric samples.  Although I’m up to date with my current finishes, I can’t feel complacent as there are plenty of older quilts still to document.  With a bag full of old photos, notes, and fabric swatches still to be dealt with, I wonder if I will ever finish this task.   And wonder why I was not more diligent in the past!  But never mind, I’ll get there in the end.  I’ve just written about two more quilts which were finished quite some time ago.  Both these quilts take a turn on our bed - perhaps you would like to see them?

“Garden Tapestry”  was completed in 2002.  I saw the shop sample at Sally Olds shop Stitches Plus in Lower Hutt, (since closed) and loved it so much I had to sign up for the class. I chose a deep fuchsia pink/red for the stars, and a pretty rose floral for the alternate blocks. Then came the serious business of choosing a variety of prints for the many 2 inch squares that were needed. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have trouble making up my mind. I dithered long and hard trying to choose enough fabrics to give plenty of variety. With 30 star blocks combining four patches, and a pieced border there was a lot of stitching required.  As is often the case, I didn’t finish the quilt during the classes. My local quilt club had organized a weekend retreat so I took my blocks along laid them out on the floor, and started piecing the diagonal rows together. With that job done, I still had to construct the fancy pieced borders.

Garden Tapesty 3 Yes, that’s me with dark hair, at the quilt retreat ages ago

With the borders finally completed, I took the quilt to be commercially quilted by Bary Scott.

Garden Tapesty 2  Garden Tapestry

The second older quilt I’ve just documented is “Stars in my Garden”.   This sampler quilt was the result of a challenge issued by my previous quilt club, Pinestream Quilters. Members were supplied a fat quarter of a green and gold fabric, and each month the committee members provided a pattern. The supplied fabric had to be included in each block. As I wanted to make the quilt larger, I increased the quilt to sixteen blocks. Luckily another member gave me her piece of green and gold challenge fabric so I had enough to complete the quilt.  It’s easy to see that I’m rather partial to stars, and made green stars in the sashings, very easy to make and quite effective, I feel. 

DSCF4809 Stars in my Garden

I got all creative an added a border of small stars and appliquéd flowers with leaves. This quilt was also expertly quilted by Bary Scott on his commercial machine, and was completed in 2003.

P4040025 My original border design

And just for a laugh, here is Muffy cuddled up to me on a chilly winter morning, we are both nice and cosy under the quilt!  And this same quilt is on the blog header, with Muffy curled up in the middle of it.

Jenny & MuffyNice and cosy in the winter

So I’ll keep plodding along with my quilt documentation, perhaps I should aim to spend a couple of hours on this job each week?   Is everyone else up to date, or am I the only one lagging behind?  It’s nice to look back through my folders and see what I’ve made over the years, especially the ones I’ve given away.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sew Wot Tuesday

The Sew Wot ladies met again on Tuesday morning, and I decided against another commitment so that I could join them too.  Last week’s birthday girl Rae passed around a special photo album showing photos of her “Big” birthday party held at her home.  A couple of the Sew Wot ladies had joined in with Rae’s family and friends last weekend  to help celebrate this milestone.

There was a whole lot of chatting going on during our stitching morning.  Heather was busy doing hand appliqué, and both Mary and I were embroidering words on our projects.  Helen was busy cutting out felt flowers to stitch on a series of cushions she is making.  With the wonders of technology, she passed around her phone which had a photo of her first completed cushion. (I know my phone takes photos, but I don’t know how to use it – don’t really need to as I always have my digital camera with me.)

Our hostess Pam had been very busy lately in her sewing room, and had made several small charity quilts for cots and bassinets.  Good on you, Pam, they are sure to be much appreciated.

P4010027 Pam has been busy

As always, another pleasant morning doing stitching with friends.