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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

First time for number 6

It’s going to be a very short sewing week.  Why?   Monday was a Anzac Day, making it a public holiday and we were enjoying the weekend away in our caravan.  Then blow me down – we are heading off to pastures new again this coming Friday.  I’m just thankful I can squeeze a little sewing time in around the necessary household chores which always seem to hang about.

The dice roll was one day late, but never mind.  And I was excited that number 6 turned up for the very first time.  Number 6 is not technically a UFO, but rather a yet to be started project.  I had previously  gathered the fabric together with the pattern, with the view to making this “sometime”.  And the time to start has now arrived. 

I’m making a new duvet cover for our bed, based on the  “Mega Churn Dash” design from Kathy Doughty’s book “Adding Layers”.  Now this is where I have to admit that I’ve never actually made a duvet cover before.  Once I get the mega churn dash part of it completed, I guess I’ll be carefully studying our current duvets to see just how to put it all together.

Photo from “Adding Layers” book

I’m making mine in green and cream, using a pretty green fabric.  This was  purchased some time ago for a completely different project, but you know how it goes – I never got around to making it, whatever it was.  As  the fabric tones so well with our green bedroom curtains I’m pleased I had it tucked away, waiting to be used.  There are touches of lilac and gold there too.


But then I had a moment or two of procrastination.  What if I haven’t got enough of the green/lilac  fabric to make the whole thing?  And I want to add borders too.  So I bought a little more green fabric, not quite the same of course, but in similar green tones,  and decided to use this alternative fabric to make the two smaller churn dash blocks in the centre.


This is what I have to show for my afternoon cutting, pinning and stitching.  Although I’m not sure if I’ll get any more sewing done this week.  We have a busy day out and about with appointments tomorrow, then we are heading north on Friday, towing the caravan behind us.  But at least I’ve made a start, so I’m very pleased about that.

Monday, April 25, 2016

1000 Posts!

It’s hard to believe, but this is my 1000th post on Romany Quilting, with it all starting way back on October 2009.  That’s a lot of blog posts, and many thanks to the everyone who keeps reading, and making comments.  Writing a blog is sometimes like writing in a vacuum, tapping away while writing about your thoughts, and things which are important to your life.  And hoping that you are perhaps making a difference, that someone, somewhere is reading and interested in your words, brightening up someone’s life, and making a connection all the way from little old New Zealand.

I was a latecomer to quilting and patchwork, although I have always sewn.  There are memories of saving up my pocket money as a young teen, buying yards and yards of fabric, and whipping up a full skirted dress to wear over my stiff petticoats.  Then of course there was the fun of attending the Sunday afternoon youth club, and rock’n’rolling the afternoon away.

Once I started work there was a little more discretionary spending available, and I kept sewing myself new dresses, and buying my first pair of high heels!  Marriage and babies soon followed, and my sewing changed to making sets of pyjamas, shirts, shorts and corduroy trousers for Michael, and pretty dresses and nighties for Nicky.

The years flew by, the children grew up, and I met and married Robin in 1983.  A few years later I took my first quilting class, and made a pinwheel quilt for our caravan. 

Caravan Pinwheel quilt
My first quilt

And as they say – the rest is history!  From that first quilt, I have made plenty more, plus accumulated quite a collections of UFOs, but I’m trying hard to get these in order.

On reflection, I’d like to finish this 1000th post with my thoughts of:

I Love Quilting Because……
  • The fabric – looking, folding, fondling, buying, collecting, it’s all about the fabric.
  • The patterns – whether a commercial pattern, from a book or magazine, or maybe from an idea that has been percolating in my mind.
  • The excitement – of starting a new quilt, choosing the pattern and the fabrics.
  • The process – cutting, pinning, measuring, stitching, pressing, watching it all come together.
  • The joy – of finishing a project.
  • To give gifts – to family and friends.
  • To make quilts – for us, so that I can ring the changes on bed quilts and wall hangings.
  • For Christmas – I love Christmas quilts and decorations.
  • To stitch household items – table runners, place mats, cushions, oven cloths, aprons, they are all a joy to make and use.
  • Individual artistic expression – making the design your very own.
  • Social interaction – my local quilt club, and the Sew Wots friendship group.
  • Relaxation – it makes me feel good, so it’s got to be good for me!
So thank you once again to readers and followers, and thanks also to all the other quilt bloggers out there who I avidly follow.  My life is richer with knowing you all.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

L is for Lantern

Away in the caravan over the weekend, I found time to do a little “slow stitching”, and finished off my “L is for Lantern”  block.  I’m using Michelle Ridgway’s Alphabet Noel pattern book for inspiration – some of her alphabet designs are stitched “as is”, while others have been changed a little. The brass lantern glows in the window with the soft light of the candle, guiding family members home for Christmas– that’s how I like to imagine it, anyway.  The plan is to make a Christmas wall-hanging when all the blocks are finally stitched.  But I’m in no hurry to reach the finishing line, I’m enjoying the process as I go along, one Christmas letter at a time.

L is for Lantern

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Two weeks in a Row

The roll of the dice which determines which of my 6 listed UFOs I’m working for this week, came up trumps again for UFO number 1 – the same as last week.  OK then, I’ve only just put this project away, and was really looking forward to one of the others which is a lot closer to completion.  That way, I just might have a finish sometime soon.  But rules are rules, so out came the caravan quilt again.

As I’m planning a checkerboard border too, I felt I really needed another strip to separate them both.  But before I rushed off to the quilt shop to buy something suitable, I had a look through my baskets.  There – how about this green batik I used in my daughter’s quilt, that should do nicely.  So I sliced strips, measured, and stitched along all four sides.


Next was to make some more of those two patches for the checkerboard border, and start joining them together to fit down each side.  I’ve stitched a few,  – but  perhaps I’ll need more.

I haven’t done a great deal of sewing so far this week, but we had a very important appointment to keep this morning.  My daughter Nicky and her hubby Robert are off to England for their big OE for a couple of months, so we went to farewell them from Palmerston Airport.  First flight to Auckland, then on to Dubai for a two night stop over, and they finally land in Heathrow.  It will be a marvelous adventure for them both, and we wish them safe travels and a wonderful holiday!

Robert and Nicky, off on a big adventure

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Sewing

It’s been rather nice to have the weekend at home so I could get some sewing done over the weekend.  Not just the weekend, I should add, a little sewing has been taking place during the week days, as outings and appointments permitted.  As much as we enjoy going away for weekend caravan club rallies, sometimes I just need some time at home!

Progress is coming along nicely on UFO number 1, the quilt I’m making for our caravan.  I’ve finally stitched down all the applique flowers around the border.  Just as well, as some of the fusing was coming adrift, and they were starting to wave at me instead of lying nice and secure.  And I’ve tied off and sewn all the long threads in too, so that’s a job well done.

Applique flowers and leaves all stitched in place

But wait – there’s more!  I’m planning on adding a checkerboard border too, so have been sewing up lots of these little twosies.  Luckily I had some strips all cut out and ready to stitch and slice.

For checkerboard border

Guess I’ll have to lay everything out and have a play around to see how it all looks together.  It’s Monday tomorrow, so I’ll get to roll the dice again!  It's always a surprise to see which number UFO I'll be working on for the next week.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Town and Country Quilters April Club Night

It was another busy club night with two local businesses showing their wares.  First up was Robyn from Fox’s Cottage telling us of the exciting new classes coming, there was certainly one there which I was very interested in. Robyn also offers several weekly Stitching days which sound very interesting.  Next was club member Ute who has started up an on-line shop,The Lifestyler, and she brought along a basket of her imported fabrics to show us, including some from the Westfalenstoffe range.

Basket of goodies from Ute’s on-line shop

Show and Tell brought along an interesting selection, as usual, from quilts for grandchildren, table runners, and wall hangings. 

Kathryn’s Eye Spy quilt for new grand-daughter

Madalyn’s Spiral Rays

Our speaker for the evening was Chrissie Sheed, President of the Rose City Quilters.  Chrissie told us how a teacher’s unfounded criticism  put her off sewing at school, so she was a latecomer to patchwork and quilting.  Her first few quilts were traditional, and then she branched out and discovered arty quilts, embellishments, and micro stippling, all self taught.  The quilt below is not appliqued, as it appears, but started off as one piece of fabric, and the added colour is from micro stippling, added threads and beads.

Chrissie hiding behind this masterpiece,  all colour is added with stitching and beads

Chrissie’s purple piece, smocked and beaded

Chrissie’s realistic snake in the grass

It was very inspiring to see how her quilting had changed, and she happily passed around the smaller pieces so everyone could have a good look at her techniques.  Another inspiring club night at Town and Country Quilters. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sew Wot Tuesday again

Don’t the weeks roll around?  A sign of aging, we are often told.  I like to think it is instead a sign of having a busy life, with plenty of things to keep us interested.  We drove out into the “countryside” today for our Sew Wot get-together – our hostess for the day Helen lives on a farm.  And what do you think of this contented looking farm cat?  He/she (not sure which, sorry, pussy) was curled up snug as a bug in his/her basket.  After the cat had duly presented the owners with a mouse this morning!  No doubt pussy was thinking that the hunting job had been taken care of so it was time for a snooze.

Quiet – pussy sleeping

There is always plenty of catching up to do, as everyone settles down to their stitching, or knitting, as the case may be.  And there was a lot of knitting going on today, with Rae and Carol were both knitting for good causes. Rae was knitting soft “boobs” for the Cancer Society who give them to ladies who have had breast surgery.  And Carol has been knitting tiny beanies for premature babies in hospital.  Helen’s SIL had asked for a new pair of knitted slippers so she was happy to help out with this request.  With one slipper done and the other one almost completed, the end is almost in sight.

Helen knitting slippers

Carol has been busy making tote bags for gifts, and brought along a couple to show us, such a lovely design and she has used delightful vintage inspired fabrics.

Carol’s been making bags

There was even more knitting going on, as Heather B started yet another pair of socks.  And sitting beside her Moira was busily stitching a block to go in her 1718 quilt.  Heather E is the “Hexagon Queen” and was busy pulling papers out of her quilt top - these ladies are always busy, and that’s just the way they like it.

Moira and Heather B

I had taken my caravan quilt along for show and tell and spent the morning tying off and sewing in the ends of threads around the applique flowers.  That is a slow job, I can tell you.

Jenny and Rae

We enjoyed another lovely Sew Wot morning together, thanks, ladies, for your company.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Dice lands on Number 1

I can swear till I’m blue in the face that I’m certainly not a gambler, don’t play cards, go to the casino, or bet on horses, but there is something addictive about rolling the dice every Monday morning to see which UFO I will be working on for the week.  I rattled that dice around in a coffee mug before throwing it on the floor and what did it bring up?  Number 1, first time up on the list - which is my caravan quilt.  That sounds a bit bland, doesn’t it?  Here’s hoping a much nicer name pops into my head before the quilt is finally finished.

The quilt started off like this.  I used to love watching Alex Anderson and her quilting show Simply Quilts on TV, and would rush home from work, make a cup of coffee and sit down enthralled in front of the TV in the late afternoon.  Then the show disappeared from our screens, and I heard that Alex was offering a free download of red work patterns.  “12 Days of Redwork” features different flowers inside a heart shape.

12 Days of Red work

I got the patterns enlarged at the local copy shop, and set to and traced them onto fabric – just the sort of easy stitching I like to do.  These stitcheries got taken away on caravan weekends and longer holidays, and I had many pleasant afternoons stitching outside under a shady tree at various camping venues.  I decided to colour in the flowers and leaves with fabric pencils and assembled the top with alternate nine patch blocks.

Stitchery blocks and nine patch blocks

So where am I up to on this UFO?  Working on the border, which has simple appliqued flowers and leaves around a ric rac “vine”.  So it is all coming together nicely.

Working on the border

This quilt was planned to grace the bed in the caravan,  when it is finally completed.  Like most of my UFOs, it has been hanging around for quite some time, so I’m pleased to get it out into the light of day once more.  I’m happy to see you again, UFO number 1!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Away for the weekend

With a weekend caravan club rally coming up, what could be better than leaving home a day early?  So we did, and enjoyed a three day weekend over the Rimutaka Hill at Kahutara.  My sewing machine with  UFO number 3 sitting on the cabinet was left behind, but I took my stitching bag with me, plus my knitting bag. 

It was a lovely weekend, meeting up with friends, and relaxing in the glorious Wairarapa Autumn sunshine, and all I had time for was a little knitting.  Never mind, every little bit helps.  I’m knitting a chunky wool cardigan for myself, and I’m up to the sleeves.

My knitting came away in the caravan too

It was all systems go on our return home.  First the caravan had to be unpacked, the fridge washed out, and the floor vacuumed, and the cat brought inside. A load of washing was put in the machine and set going, then it was time for a rather late lunch.  Then the caravan was moved around to it’s parking spot.  It was late afternoon by this stage and I thought I might as well get a little time at the sewing machine.  So I sat and sewed, and can report that I have now completed stitching in the ditch around the sashing strips and all the maple leaves on UFO number 3.  Phew – I’m pleased that’s done.  Now all I need to do is some FMQ in each of the leaves.

I’ve finished all my “stitch in the ditch”

It’s a good place to pause on this particular UFO, and I’m really looking forward to rolling the dice tomorrow (Monday) morning and see which number comes up for me to work on during the coming week.  What will it be, I wonder?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

K is for Kings

Or to be more precise “We Three Kings from Orient are……)  Hand stitching has taken a bit of a back seat lately as I’ve been busy at my sewing machine madly trying to tame my UFOs, but now I’m pleased to say that I have put the last few stitches into my “K” Christmas block.

K is for We Three Kings

I’m using the very talented designer Michelle  Ridgway’s Alphabet Noel patterns for inspiration, but decided to change the K block a little.  There is no time frame on this project, but I pick it up and do some stitching when I get a chance.  Usually when I meet up with the Sew Wot ladies, and the blocks often come away on a caravan meeting with me.  And there is nothing nicer than spending a little time stitching outside under a shady umbrella, is there?

It is Autumn now down here in New Zealand so the mornings and evenings are starting to get cooler, although we still enjoy nice warm days.  I’m planning ahead and have made two big pots of delicious tomato soup to pop in the freezer to enjoy when winter arrives.  Would you believe that last year was my first adventure into making tomato soup, and that only happened because we had a glut of tomatoes in the garden.  I’ve never liked tinned (commercial) tomato soup, but must say that homemade is just delicious.  I’m now smitten and a real fan of home made tomato soup, just yummy!

Home made tomato soup

Monday, April 4, 2016

International Maple Leaf Wall Hanging

It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I rattled the dice in a coffee mug this morning, before rolling it on the floor to see which UFO project I would be working on this week.  After all, number 5 had appeared three weeks in a row, and I was starting to wonder if it would be 5 for ever more!  But no, a new week brought along a new change in number, and this week the project of choice is number 3.  Which just happens to be my Maple Leaf wall hanging.

All pinned up and ready to quilt

I received these blocks way back in (gulp) 2000 when I took part in an international block swap using the maple leaf pattern.  The idea was to stitch it in fabrics which relate to our particular country.  Mine was done some time later when I finally got around to assembling the blocks, and I used a batik fabric featuring New Zealand birds.  There are keas, fantails and kereru on the fabric.

My block using a New Zealand inspired batik

Other blocks were received from Canada, Australia, Indonesia and USA.  When my sewing machine was away getting serviced I put the layers together and pinned it up ready for quilting.  About this time I decided I really must do something about my many UFOs and this quilt made the UFO list as number 3.

Today I have started stitching in the ditch (using my walking foot) around the sashing strips to stabilize the quilt.  I’m a great pinner, pin down each long seam, and stitch away.  Does pinning in place make much difference, I sometimes wonder.  It’s certainly slower, but I feel it helps me, so I’ll continue to pin, pin, pin away. 

Stitching in the ditch

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Cut, Pin, Stitch, Press

It may have been a short week after Easter, but I’m really pleased with my achievements so far on UFO number 5.  I’ve been cutting, pinning, stitching and pressing like a woman possessed, this week. Raspberry pink sashing strips have been cut, a black setting square stitched on to one end, and then 9 strips together to go between the rows of blocks.

Sashing strips

Then I sliced and diced and stitched up about 20 more black and grey nine patch blocks.  I think I’ve made enough, but I won’t really know for sure until I start laying all the blocks out, and check how long I want the quilt to be.  If I need an extra row or two, it won’t be too hard to stitch up some more blocks.

And then I couldn’t help myself – I just had to start piecing a couple of rows together.   To be honest, I really wanted to see what it was going to look like, with some of the horse blocks in place.  What do you think?

First two rows together

We have a busy weekend, appointments on Saturday and family lunch on Sunday,  so I probably won’t be doing a great deal more stitching.  And “fingers crossed” when I roll the dice again on Monday, hopefully one of my other UFOs will get picked for the coming week.  But then again – It might be number 5 again!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sew Wot Tuesday (a few days ago)

Where did Tuesday go to?  I know it was there somewhere – and I met up with the Sew Wot ladies at Moira’s home.  It’s holiday time for some of the Sew  Wots.  Rae was back from her holiday in the Sounds – she had a lovely time, she said.  And Mary is almost ready to leave for a month travelling around the South Island.  She is packing some stitcheries to take away and has traced a set of Domestic Bliss blocks to work on – but couldn’t resist starting one before she goes away. 

One of a set of Domestic Bliss stitcheries

Mary is very talented and she guided Heather B when she wanted to make a couple of interesting flower blocks.   Heather then used the blocks, turning them into a square shaped Japanese bag.  (The name of this type of bag escapes me, but someone is sure to know the correct name).

Heather and Mary with the Japanese bag

Helen had been busy too and brought along two very striking black and white table runners.

Made by Helen

Two cosy little children’s quilts were brought out to be admired.  Carol enjoys making quilts for Ronald McDonald, and she was thrilled to receive these flannel dinosaur quilt kits as a donation from Fox's Cottage Quilt Shop.  Youngsters will love these warm cuddly quilts. 

Made by Carol

Heather B had more Show and Tell for us, and with a flourish brought out the rainbow skirt she had made at her daughter’s request.  Isn’t it wonderful, I could see this twirling around on the dance floor.

Heather and the rainbow skirt made for her daughter

Our hostess Moira had completed the top of her William Morris quilt – and it is magnificent.  She has made a wonderful job, and her hand applique is always perfect.

Moira’s William Morris top

Moira was having a clean out and produced a couple of new, unused, small quilts which were looking for a new home  - these were snapped up by the ladies who make charity quilts and will be gifted to good causes.  And I put my hand up for Moira’s candlewick blocks which she no longer wanted.  I have a pile of these hidden away somewhere, so I’m sure they will all work nicely together.  Thanks so much Moira.

Moira’s candlewick blocks came home with me

It was another great Sew Wot morning, plenty of Show and Tell, lots of chatter, and a lovely morning tea.  It’s always so nice to catch up with the ladies.