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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A few more Quilts from Wellington Quilters Guild Show

There were so many beautiful quilts on display to share, I’ll show some of the smaller ones this time.  “Across the Lake” was started in a Chris Kenna Landscape class, by Anne-Marie Cunningham.  This beautiful little wall-hanging in neutral colours has a typical New Zealand flavour to it.

P9270059 Across the Lake

“Antique Afternoon Tea Delight” is another lovely neutral coloured quilt.  Jeannette Orr took a class with Cindy Needham and was inspired to create something special using a vintage table cloth and embellished it with beads and pearls once owned by her Grand-mother. Such beautiful machine quilting, and it is a wonderful way to display family treasures.


P9270075 Antique Afternoon Tea Delight

I can remember watching Cindy Walter demonstrate her “Snippet Sensation” quilts on TV some years ago.  Margaret Pitt made this version called “Blue Vase”  using the techniques of freehand cutting all these small pieces of fabric, fusing them down then quilting everything in place.

Blue Vase

Many of the club members took part in the Portrait Challenge, with everything from real life likenesses to more humorous ones displayed .

P9270080 The Portrait Challenge.

My favourite portrait was another offering by the multi talented Fyvie Murray.  She used her sewing machine to thread sketch  the likeness of Eleanor and Xavier, adding extra ink shading.   It is no surprise this work of art won “Portrait Challenge Viewers Choice”, as well as the award “Merit is Surface Art”.

Eleanor and Xavier

This is just a taste of some of the lovely quilts on display.  The exhibition is on till the rest of the week, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone will phone to let me know I’ve won a raffle basket full of gorgeous fabric.  Dreams are free, aren’t they.

This exhibition was held in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery so I took the time to check out the paintings hung in the entranceway as I left.  Amongst the older portraits from the early days of colonisation, I noticed this one of New Zealand hero Sir Peter Blake holding the America’s Cup.  Regarded as one of most successful sailors in yachting history, Sir Peter Blake was twice a winner of the America's Cup with Team Zealand. In 1995 he helped make Team New Zealand only the second non-American team in the America's Cup's 144-year history to take the coveted silver trophy, winning again in 2000.  Blake was also famous in New Zealand  for his lucky red socks, and wore the same pair of socks throughout the 1995 challenge.  Before the final, team sponsors manufactured 100,000 pairs of Blake's lucky red socks which sold out in days in New Zealand.  With half the money going to the syndicate it proved a masterstroke in subsidising the team's funding.

Painting of Sir Peter Blake at the Portrait Gallery

Monday, September 29, 2014

Wellington Quilters Guild Exhibition

Off we went for a train trip to Wellington, or so I thought.  The trains had all been replaced by buses, more’s the pity.  But never mind, it saved us taking the car into the capitol, and finding a car park.  Our trip by public transport was free, courtesy of our Gold Cards, one of the benefits of being an oldie.  We parted company at thee Wellington Waterfront and off I went to enjoy an hour or two of looking at quilts – what bliss!  My Gold Card scored again at the quilt show, getting me in for a reduced price.  Just look at the lovely raffle baskets, chock full of beautiful fabrics.  I’m in with a chance, and I’d be over the moon to win one of these.

P9270069 Raffle Baskets

I walked slowly around the exhibition, admiring all the different styles, designs and colours.  I’m always drawn to large quilts, so checked them out first.  Here are some which took my fancy.  “Scraps n’ Shirt Tails”  was made by the very talented Fyvie Murray.  A design by Bonnie Hunter from her Art of Quilting Green, it is stitched from old shirts, cotton tablecloths and a discarded bath robe.  This masculine coloured quilt is going to a young male relative.  

P9270057 Scraps n’ Shirt Tails

“Dreaming of New York”  by Heather Uwins-England has my kind of colour pallet in the intricately pieced New York Beauty blocks.  Using batiks plus hand dyed fabrics. it is a wonderful masterpiece and collected a trio of awards – Excellence of Piecing, First Time Exhibitor, and Life Member’s Award.  Well done!

Dreaming of New York

A much simpler design, but still using those wonderful batiks was the work of one of those very busy “White Glove Ladies” on duty, Vera Sullivan.  Made with  Jelly Roll (I’ve never used these yet), the design was “Snow in my Jelly”, a Diane Barnden pattern.  The colours remind the maker of the plants and sunsets of the Arizona Desert.

P9270084 Inspired by the Arizona Desert

“Kermit’s Nine Patch”  was a fun colourful quilt, made by Debra DeLorenzo, one of the "famous in New Zealand" Towrags quilt group.  The group had a nine patch swap, and Debra added to her blocks with pink and Kermit green fabric strips, with the aim to make a fun and lively quilt.  She has certainly succeeded, wouldn’t you say?

Kermit’s Nine Patch

“Julia’s Claris Cliff Birthday Quilt”  was made by Vivienne Ellison for her oldest sister’s significant birthday.  Just lovely, and so many people know, admire and collect the work of Clarice Cliff and her wonderful pottery.  What a wonderful fabric find!


Clarice Cliff Birthday Quilt

“Boro Blanket”, jointly stitched by Philippa Doyle and Marilyn Daly has been made from vintage Japanese fabrics and hand dyes.  So many wonderful and beautiful fabrics used, it is a gift for a friend’s significant birthday.  Simple but very effective, especially for those lovers of Japanese fabrics out there.
P9270086 Boro Blanket

This naughty quilter dared to touch the quilts at the show!

That’s all for today, I’ll share some of the smaller quilts tomorrow.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September UFO Night

What to take along to work on for the monthly Friday UFO meeting?  I’ve lots of machine piecing I really need to do, but the effort of unhooking my Bernina from the sewing cabinet and packing it up was just too much for a couple of hours sewing time.  So it was hand sewing and cutting out for me.  I had traced around the pattern pieces to complete my yo-yo Christmas reindeer, such as the head and hooves, so sat and cut out four of this and a couple of that.  Next step will be to stitch and stuff them, and work out how to assemble the toy - maybe I should read the instructions!   After that I did some more secret stitching for a gift.

P9260050 Cutting out faces, feet, ears and other necessary bits

Kathy had brought her sewing machine along and was busily chopping up a marvellous pair of harem pants in Indonesian fabric she had picked up for a bargain price in the Hospice Op Shop.  Cutting this fabric into 5 sided pentagons, she used this interesting fabric as the middle of crazy patched blocks, adding colourful pieces from her overflowing crate of scraps as she went along.

P9260047 Kathy stitching her blocks

P9260048  Crazy patch block with Indonesian fabric in the centre

The other one working on her machine was Janelle, who was stitching up mini nine patch blocks to add to her Afternoon Delight quilt designed by Susan Garman.

P9260045 Making mini nine patch blocks

Kaye’s French inspired Ooh La La wall-hanging is coming along well.  She trimmed up the blocks and laid them out for us to see.  The colour way of black, white, hot pink and lime green is stunning.

P9260041 Kaye’s Ooh La La blocks

Meanwhile, Mary had been helping Kaye by adding extra appliquéd  leaves and embroidering tendrils on Kaye’s tui wall-hanging.  Then Mary taped the top down and marked out the cross hatch  quilting lines, all ready for Kaye to finish with hand quilting.  That’s a very helpful friend indeed.

Mary lending a helping hand

Vickie is always very well organised with her stitching and had a plastic container filled with completed hexagons, fabric cut out to become hexagons, and the basting papers. She is making Patchwork of the Crosses, designed by Lucy Boston.  I’m certainly impressed, this is all done by hand!

P9260046 Vickie’s Hexagon project

And last but not least, Leigh was stitching the binding down on her quilt, a UFO from a while ago.  It was a large bed quilt, so that kept her quiet most of the night.

P9260049 Leigh stitching the quilt binding down

The ladies bring along a plate for our shared meal, and it is always interesting to see what turns up each month.  We had quiche and cheese rolls heating in the oven, ham, cheese and gherkin open sandwiches, a bowl of cheerios (baby savaloys), bread rolls, and fruit kebabs on sticks, and tea and coffee too of course.  Plenty of delicious food to go around, and friendly companionship while we stitched together for the evening, what more could we want?

P9260043 Time to eat

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pretty in Peach – and a Man in Uniform

There’s an ad which sometimes plays on TV with someone singing “It’s a Coffee Club kind of day”.  I didn’t visit that coffee club today, but to the Cancer Society Coffee Club, held monthly,  which is a support group for patients and family members.  Or in my case, former patients who just like to keep in touch.  My quilt club, Town and Country Quilters, loan quilts to hang inside the house, and these are rotated regularly, so I like to check them out when I attend.  Helen from  my Sew Wot group has taken over the responsibility of supplying Winchester House with quilts this year, and her lovely peach and green row by row quilt was in pride of place today. 

P9230017 Helen’s row by row quilt

Our speaker was Eric, the Station Manager of St John’s Ambulance Service, which covers a large area from Peka Peka Beach in the south, to Shannon in the north. Eric asked the audience how many had dialled 111 for the ambulance, and just about everyone raised their hand – except me.  He went on to tell us that the calls are routed through the communication centre, and the particular procedures which must be followed step by step to collect information.  Generally the person phoning through is upset and distressed and cannot understand why all these questions need to be asked. 

P9230019 Eric the Ambulance Officer

Levin has three ambulances, one is dedicated to hospital transfers for rest home patients, or those who are immobile, and the other two are used for emergency work.  The ambulances in our area clock up in excess of 110,000kms a year, travelling the roads to call outs and accidents, and on to the Palmerston North hospital and back. 

This dedicated man obviously enjoys the challenges of his job, and is pleased that funds will be shortly made available to increase the number of full time paid staff nationwide by 158, with just two coming to Levin. Volunteers often help with double crewing the ambulances, and have the same qualifications as the paid staff.  Eric was full of praise for these people who so selflessly give up their time, attend training sessions, sit exams, and often hold down full time jobs as well.

After answering questions from the floor Eric checked his watch.  Ooops, he was running late,  and had to get back to the station, no time to stop and join us for morning tea.  Like many households in our area,  we have joined St Johns which gives us a push button medical alarm to call the ambulance in case of an emergency.  And peace of mind knowing that help is close to hand if needed.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Off to the Quilt Shop

It’s not a nice day at all here today, it’s  pouring down with horrible squally heavy rain, and we even had a little hail early on too.   There were a few things that needed doing this morning, so out we went to brave the weather.  I needed a trip to the quilt shop, I told Robin, so he sat in the car reading the paper while I rushed into Krazy Cow.  I’ve come to a bit of a standstill on the memory quilt I’m making, and in need of inspiration.  I’m sure to find it in a quilt shop, aren’t I?      

It’s been a while since I had been in this shop, but the owner Trish still remembered my name – isn’t that nice!  So I had a good look around, checking out the great range of batiks in particular.  Silly me – I should have taken the half finished quilt down to the shop with me.  But I made a couple of purchases anyway and will see how the colours fit in with the plan I’ve got in mind.


P9200004 Plenty to see at the Krazy Cow

We had another very important chore to do – go and vote in the General Election.  So we did, and I’ve got a sticker saying “Yes, I have voted”  to prove it.  The school mothers decided to run a cake stall in the foyer as all the voters went in to do their democratic duty.  They were doing a roaring trade, we noticed, and there wasn’t a great deal left as we stopped to check it out.  Robin decided that we really should help the school funds out and buy some date scones to take home for lunch.

P9200012 Yes, I have voted

After dropping my book back to the library, everything on our list was done.  The heavy rain is still coming down but we are safely home, tucked up in the warm.  And we are not moving – Robin has rugby to watch and I’m going to do a little sewing.  Not to mention keeping an eye on the Election results when they start coming in later in the evening. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sew Wot Tuesday

Tuesday saw the Sew Wot ladies come calling, it was my turn to play hostess.  We needed something savoury to go with our morning tea so I got up bright and early.  It didn’t take too long to whip up a batch of cheese muffins, and once again as I broke two eggs into the bowl, they both had double yolks.  That always makes me smile. 

 It was a nice morning, plenty of chatting, and a little stitching was done too. Heather was working on some shadow appliqué blocks, in a vain effort to use up multitude of fabric.  It will never happen, Heather, I felt like telling her.  We never seem to get to the end of our fabric collection, do we?   What’s old is new again, it seems, as most of us had done some shadow appliqué in the past.  Including me – I remember fusing a big white goose on a  bright yellow background, then adding the organza layer over the top and stitching through all the layers.  Goodness knows whatever happened to that, perhaps it found a new home in the Op Shop when we were packing up to move house.

Rae and Moira worked on their hand stitching, and we all checked out a couple of new magazines as they were passed around the group.

P9160028 Rae and Moira with their heads down

Mary had a lovely new project that she had recently started.  Here she is hiding behind the start of her Chocolate Roses wall-hanging, purchased as a kit.  It’s going to be beautiful, Mary does such lovely work.

P9160026 Mary with her new project


Pam was not as shy as Mary and was quite happy to have her photo taken as she worked on her colourful crocheted rug.  She’s going to take it into the rest home, she joked.  Not for many more years, we hope.

P9160025 Pam’s planning ahead

I just had time to do a few rows of knitting, this is the little kiddies jumper I had to unravel and start again on a smaller size as I was running out of wool.  Never mind, I’ll get there in the end.  It was lovely to catch up with the ladies again and see what they were all working on.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cooking while dressed in Givenchy

I’ve been busy in the kitchen all morning, dressed in my Givenchy apron.  It’s not as posh as it sounds.   My one and only Givenchy came from an OP Shop in Patea while we were passing by on one of our caravan trips.  There I spotted a length of very dark folded fabric with the famous name Givenchy printed all over it.  Wondering what it was, I carefully unfolded it.  It turned out to be a printed apron panel, and I purchased it for the princely sum of $2. 


I’m hosting my Sew Wot quilting buddies here tomorrow so  I had to make sure I’ve something nice to serve for morning tea.  What to make?  I decided on a kiwifruit cake for a change, very similar to a banana cake.  And just look at this, more double yolkers!  We buy local free range eggs and have been getting an awful lot of these from lately.

P9150024 Two double yolks going in my cake

Then I made a batch of biscuits, and prepared something tasty for lunch.  Poor Robin is feeling rather under the weather so I’m doing my best to look after him.  It’s just as well as I had my apron on while I was working in the kitchen  as I got in a bit of a mess!  Sadly, no time for any stitching today, what with my baking and nursing duties.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Town and Country Quilters September Clubnight

Don’t the weeks whizz by - it hardly seems a month since our last club night.  After the usual announcements it was raffle time again.  Sadly, I didn’t win so came home empty handed once more.  Show and Tell is always inspiring, although there doesn’t seem to be an  awful lot of quilts making it to club night lately.  Perhaps our club members are keeping them all for the up-coming Quilt Symposium to be held in early January.  Lynne held a Back to Basics class recently and several of her students bought in their work, including this lovely quilt stitched by Jan.

P9100042 Jan’s quilt from Back to Basics class

Susan has been busy making cot quilts for the arrival of several new babies in the family. This one in red and navy is going to a great nephew.

P9100044 Made by Susan for her great nephew

And Debi made this stunning little wall-hanging in a class with Dianne Fussell.  The Kereru (New Zealand Pigeon) and the tree branch are comprised of fancy free motion stitching.  How clever is that?

P9100043 Debi with her native bird wall hanging

Our speaker for the evening was club member Carole Brungar.  Carole related how she started off her quilting journey being a perfectionist, who had a close relationship with her seam ripper.  If it wasn’t perfect, those stitches came out!  Then she dabbbled a little with paper piecing, and loved creating all those precise points.  This is such a fabulous quilt, made for hubby, I think.  (Sorry, can’t read my scribbled notes).

P9100041 Paper piecing and lots of free motion quilting

Carole is a blogger and writes her interesting blog Madness and Mess – do pop over and check it out.  Some time ago she asked her readers if they would like to help her make a quilt, and contribute a stitchery block for it.  Carole provided the fabric, and suggested the colour scheme, and the rest was up to the individual.  This is the result, a lovely personal quilt made with blocks stitched by friends worldwide.

P9100038 Made with the help of bloggy friends

She now looks at quilts as an adventure, she told us, and does not have to be as precise as she once was.  I rather like this playful quilt showing a road trip around New Zealand.I can spot a caravan or two, trailers, and even a surf board, all on their way to a holiday destination, I think.

P9100040 Going on a NZ Road Trip

Carole loves embellishment, she said, and that shines out from her smaller works.  These need to be seen up close to be appreciated and are full of free motion machine embroidery, lace, old doilies, buttons, sparkles, and all sorts of interesting bits and bobs.  Her work is exquisite, and she teaches classes in these beauties.

P9100045 Little house quilt

P9100047 Beautiful birds

It was another interesting club night, and after a quick cuppa, and a look through the library books it was time to head on home, my head buzzing with beautiful quilts and new ideas.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Memory Stars

After sewing steadily for the last week or so, I’ve completed the star blocks for a Memory quilt I’m making for a friend.  This type of quilt is always a bit different to making a regular quilt.  Various shirts, tee shirts, a work jersey and a scarf were all included in the bag of clothing I received.  Although it’s up to me how I go about designing this wall-hanging, my friend Pauline has asked for a couple of particular items (or parts of the same) be used.  Memory quilts seem to evolve as you go along, I feel. 

P9010004 From this bag of clothes

To these star blocks

I’ve had a fine old time chopping the logos off various tee shirts and a work jersey, adding stabiliser to the back of these knit fabrics to stop them from stretching as I sewed the blocks together.  On one particular block, I’ve changed the colour of the star points three times.  Versions one and two looked fine on their own, but did not go with the the rest of the blocks when I laid them all out together.  Just goes to show what a big difference a little splash of colour can make.
The next step will sash the blocks together.  I’ve had enough stitching today so will get on to that in a day or two, and there may well be something suitable in the bag.  There is no need to worry about the border just yet, I’m taking this process one step at a time.  Things have to be meaningful in a Memory quilt, I feel. And I want to do a good job for Pauline, in memory of Geoff.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


How annoying – I was happily knitting away when I discovered I was running out of wool.  There was no way that I would have had enough left to finish the sleeves plus knit the neckband.  There was only one thing to do, unravel my knitting and start again, casting on in a smaller size.  Never mind, the wool was gifted to me, and I’m not knitting it up for anyone in particular.  When it finally gets finished, it will be another one to add to my Nana Box for a future great-grandchild.

P9060004 Unravelling my knitting

On a more positive note, I’m happy to say that I’ve had the report back for my recent mammogram.  The results were clear so everything is normal, thank goodness.  That’s a relief!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mmmm….. Marmalade

I’ve been standing at the preserving pan today, watching over a batch of marmalade – thanks to my friend Shirley for picking the grape-fruit from her tree for me.  Yesterday I was busy preparing the fruit, then let it soak overnight.  I like mine chunky, so didn’t chop it up too finely.  Then this morning it was popped into the preserving pan, brought to the boil, then simmered for the prescribed time.  Then the sugar was added, and it boiled away while I sterilised my jars.  Must admit  I do get into a bit of a mess when I fill the jars with all that golden goodness.  I like to use the “overflow” method, fill right to the brim then screw those lids on tight.  And don’t those jars of golden marmalade look scrummy?  Robin is one of the many people we know of a certain age who cannot eat grapefruit because of a particular pill he takes daily.  So it looks like it as all for me – although I think Shirley would appreciate a jar.   Must put the labels on, then it will go away in the pantry.
According to food historian Ivan Day,one of the earliest known recipe for for “Marmelet of Oranges” (close to what we know as marmalade today) comes from the recipe book of Eliza Cholmondeley around 1677.

P9040010 Yummy marmalade

Our weather has been beautiful lately, so  nice and warm that I’ve been sitting outside at the picnic table.  I know I haven’t quite finished my Yo-yo Reindeer yet, but I’m quite keen to start another similar project.  Yesterday I cut up some white background Christmas fabric into various sized circles to make a Snowman from the same pattern.  Perhaps I should challenge myself not to start the stitching the Snowman until I complete the Reindeer?

P9030005 Prep work for another Yo-yo project

Monday, September 1, 2014

Finished some Knitting

There’s no way I could be called a fanatical knitter, but sometimes in the evenings I just feel the need to get the knitting needles out and do a bit of mindless knitting while I’m watching TV.  Mind you, if the programme is so intriguing that I really have to concentrate to see where the story is going, the knitting may well be put aside.  I had completed a little kiddie’s jumper for my baby box but it needed a couple of crocheted buttonholes   for the neck opening.  Crotchet is something that I had never mastered, so my friend Eileen offered to help me out.  It really didn’t take her too long at all, and once I’d sewn two little buttons on, it was all finished.  This little jumper will join the others in the box and hopefully sometime in the future one of my grand-daughters will oblige and produce a new little member of the next generation.  Or maybe someone else will have a new baby and then I will be able to choose something from my box  for a gift.

P8280005 Another one for the baby box

I’ve had another knitting finish too, and finally used up all of my bargain priced knitting cotton purchased from the Hospice Shop a while ago, using up all the ends of balls that I had accumulated.  That’s another two more dusters knitted to add to my collection.  I quite enjoyed knitting these, so will keep my eye out for some more knitting cotton in the Op Shops, as it is fairly pricey in the wool shops, I noticed.

P8280008 My last two knitted cotton dusters

Hopefully I’ll be able to spend some time at the sewing machine now.  There are two very important quilts that I really need to work on, for gifts.