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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Baking - 3, and Stitching - Nil

It’s been a busy week with no stitching done, sadly.  What with a Ladies Morning Tea out one day, and a hospital visit to see the specialist, which took care of the bulk of yesterday, the week has disappeared in front of my eyes.  And today was no exception.  In between trying to pack the caravan for 10 days away, I’ve been doing some baking.  I’ve made some Cornflake Cookies, and an Orange Cake.

Cookies and Cake

Plus a Bacon and Egg Pie for dinner tonight.  Any leftovers from this will be popped in the caravan fridge and will come away with us for an extra meal.

Bacon and egg pie

Mustn’t forget to pack my stitching bag.  I’m up to the last couple of blocks on my Christmas ABC blocks – I was stitching four extra blocks to make the numbers even out at 30 blocks.  And my knitting – I quite enjoy knitting in the car on road trips.  And where are we off too?  Does this give you a clue?


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Off to a Good Home

I guess, like me, that you may have wondered what to do with some of your quilts?  Older ones, but still quite acceptable, with lots of use still in them.  I had several single bed quilts, but no beds for them.  And then I discovered from my Sew Wot friend Mary that the local Woman’s Refuge will gladly accept such items.

Four single bed quilts going to new homes

So I’ve been pulling things out of cupboards and having a good clean out.  There are the quilts of course, plus some woolen blankets too.  With my family long gone, I really don’t know why I’ve been hanging onto the blankets all these years.  I found some winter flannelette sheets to pass on - they are all bundled up ready to go to a good home, keeping families warm over winter.  The refuge may use them at their house, or perhaps pass them on to the ladies when they move out to other accommodation, whatever they think is best.

Warm bedding for winter

And yes, I still have bedding, blankets and a quilt or two for our spare bed for visitors.  The only thing we haven't got in fact, is the bed itself – we’ve ordered a new one and it’s on it’s way, we’ve been told.  But that’s another story.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

How many Blocks?

It looks like I really was stitching up a storm - I’ve had a count of my black and grey blocks left over from my grand-daughter’s horse quilt which I completed last year.  And they make a total of 34 – a great number to start horse quilt number 2 for my younger  equally horse mad grand-daughter. 

34 blocks already done

That certainly is a good start for Megan’s quilt, but still more will be needed for a big bed quilt.  So I’ve stitched up several strip sets.  Then sliced them all ready to make even more nine patch blocks.  Stitching these will keep me quiet for a while.

Even more blocks to come

My daughter Nicky popped in on Friday on her way down to spend the weekend in the big city.  And she had a gift for me - a belated Mother’s Day gift.  All made by her own fair hands, she proudly told me.  Isn’t she clever!

Hand made by Nicky

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Horse Quilt Number 2

The dice has been rolled this week and it has brought up number 2 – which is horse quilt number 2 for want of a better name.  You may remember that last year I completed a large horse quilt for equine lover and horse owner Emma, my elder grand-daughter.  So now it’s the turn of her equally horse besotted younger sister Megan to have her own horse quilt – eventually.  As any quilter knows, these things take time!

I had stitched so many black and grey nine patch blocks for Emma’s quilt last year that I still have a large assortment left over.  And that’s after making both girls a large squishy bed cushion for Christmas last year.  It would be sensible to use these blocks in Megan’s quilt, I feel.

Two cushions stitched up with extra 9 patch blocks for Christmas

So I guess the first thing to do is count all the nine patch blocks I have tucked away and just see how many I have, and lay them out so I can get a good look at them.  I’m be making a similar quilt for Megan but with different horsey accents – that’s the plan, anyway

How many blocks are there?

And I still have quite a selection of black and grey prints to make more blocks, if required.

Extra fabric

I had originally planned to make something really clever for the centre of the quilt, but that has been more difficult than expected and hasn’t happened yet.  But I’ll persevere a bit longer, although I may have to go with Plan B instead.  Let’s just wait and see what happens.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

He talks quilt talk

The conversation went like this:
Him – you’ve got lots of strips on the bed – what are you making?
Her – that’s a new quilt for us, and those are my leader and ender strips.
Him – I know what leader and enders are, you talk about them often enough!
Isn’t that sweet – he can talk quilt talk!

And the strips in question are these, all stitched as leaders and enders, as DH knows. 

Something I prepared earlier – as the TV cooks say

This week I’m working on stitching a few more Soul Searching blocks together.  Although I’m sewing straight seams, there are a lot of pieces.  I like to lay them out on top of the bed to make sure I have them in the correct order, using a completed block for reference.  Then I pin them in pairs, sew them up, pin some more and make sure I have the strips right side up and not back to front.  Yes, I have done that previously, and had to unpick.

With some dedicated sewing time slotted in this week, I’m pleased that I’ve got three more blocks stitched together.  I’ve done lilac, pale pink, and bright pink blocks.  These are quite big blocks at 29in square.  So far, that’s six blocks stitched, and six more to go.

Three more Soul Searching blocks completed

It was nice to use some more of the pale pink fabrics which part of my daughter’s 50th Birthday quilt a couple of years ago.  But as for those lilacs, that’s a whole different story.  I cut these strips from a (yet another) long forgotten UFO which I started umpteen years ago, put it away, and forgot all about it.  And rediscovered when I was looking for more lilac fabrics.  Maybe one day it will get a chance to get worked on again when it finally ends up on my List of Six.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Town and Country Quilters June Club Night

We braved the cold for our quilt club evening on Wednesday – but it could have been worse, at least it wasn’t raining.  Our speaker for the evening was Glynn Singleton, the Managing Director of Bernina NZ.  He related the history of the family owned Bernina brand, and asked how many in the hall own a Bernina sewing machine.  Many of us, as it turned out.  Glynn touched on several of the problems with home sewers  which can occur from time to time.  Tension is a biggy – different threads and different fabrics can mean that the tension needs to be altered.  Don’t be afraid to turn the dial, he said, it wouldn’t be there if we weren’t meant to tinker with it.  (I've always been a bit hesitant to touch the dial.)   Needles – change them regularly and only buy reputable brands.  And keep the needle race free of lint, and lightly oil.  These small things will keep your sewing machine running sweeter for longer.  And don’t forget the regular maintenance, especially for patch workers who use their machines so much more than the average home sewer.  I take mine along for an annual session with sewing machine guru Barrie – who works his magic with all brands, but he particularly likes the Bernina brand, he told me.

Glynn, from Bernina NZ

Show and Tell is always interesting.  Griet showed us her Chicken quilt, made with many fabrics she found in the Op Shop.  This is such a bright and cheery fun quilt.

Griet’s Chicken quilt

Didn’t catch the names of the next sewers, but the teddy panel is destined to make a sick child very happy at Ronald McDonald House, and the square in a square quilt is going to the maker’s grand-daughter.  And I’m sure a horse lover will appreciate the attic window quilt.


Three more at Show and Tell

Our club recently had tutor Anna Williams take a class on her very popular Celtic Circles.  Anna has now retired from tutoring so the club is very pleased that we had secured her expertise for several recent classes.

Club members with their Celtic Circles

It was a very chilly night, so as soon as I had sipped a nice hot cuppa, I slipped away a little early.  There’s nothing like your own home on a cold winter’s night, is there.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A new UFO this week

The “roll of the dice” has been done this week – and it landed on number 4.  Which is a new project on my List of 6, “Soul Searching, designed by Kathy Doughty.  I’m doing my blocks with a little more contrast than shown in the book.


The design is similar to a Log Cabin, and this has truly been a “leader and ender” project.  The strips had been cut and pinned, and fed under the needle as I was sewing other things, just one small seam on each strip.  And it’s amazing how quickly these little strips mount up.  This project hasn’t been touched for quite some time so I’m rather pleased it has made it’s way onto my list.  This is what I rediscovered when I unwrapped my bundle, it was all rolled up and tied with a selvedge strip to keep it tidy.

Strip sets, waiting to be assembled

There’s already three blocks assembled, so I’d made a good start before it all got rolled up and put away.

Green, burgundy and black blocks all done

As I’ve decided to make twelve blocks, instead of the nine in the book, I’ve still got quite a lot of stitching to do.  Today I started off working on a lilac set – with all straight seams, how hard can it be?  Harder than I thought, as I got my trusty unpicker out to rip out a couple of seams.  I had picked up two strips, pinned them together, but got them upended so they were pinned and stitched on the wrong side, – if you know what I mean.  More haste – less speed, double check what I'm doing, and I was soon on the right track. 

We are out and about all day tomorrow, but I should be able to squeeze a few hours sewing time on Friday.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Wet and windy Sew Wot Tuesday

The weather wasn’t at all for nice for today's Sew Wot get-together.  But as it was my turn to be hostess, I stayed at home where it was warm and cozy, ready to welcome them as they got blown through the door.  Medical appointments kept our numbers a little lower once again – just a sign of getting older, I guess.

So what was everyone doing?  Heather E was working with her beloved hexagons.  She loves handwork but I’m sure I would find those itty bitty hexagons much too fiddly for my fat fingers.  Carol was stitching chickens, to be made into a cushion for a family member who has chooks at home
Heather B was making a stained glass table runner.  Love the colours, it’s going to be stunning.  I remember doing something with black bias strips myself many years ago.

Heather B’s stained glass table runner

Mary asked “Want to see my jacket?”  Of course I did and I was expecting her to pull a quilted jacket out of her bag.  But this appeared instead – a lovely white lacy 4ply baby’s jacket made especially for the baby to wear to church with the proud parents.  So sweet.  And check out this detail – the pretty flowers were embroidered on after the sleeves were knitted.


Mary’s baby jacket

That reminds me – I really must get on with my knitting too.  It’s not at all fancy, I’m knitting myself a winter weight cream cardigan, and I’m up to the back.  Never mind, I’ll get there sooner or later.  Heather B asked to see my just completed Animal ABC top, so that got passed around the ladies to be admired.

My Animal ABC quilt top

As usual, we had plenty to talk about, magazines to flick through, and morning tea to eat.  Plus some knitting and stitching was achieved – I managed to do a little more on one of my Christmas ABC corner blocks.  Another lovely Sew Wot morning.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Weekend at Home

As much as I enjoy travelling far and wide towing our caravan behind us, it does cut into my sewing time.  So it’s nice to have a weekend at home, like this weekend.  This means I had extra time to continue with my UFO of the week, number 1, my Animal ABC quilt.  You may remember that most of the top is assembled, but I had a problem with the letter Z.  So I got busy with my unpicker, and carefully removed the machine button hole stitches holding things in place.


I had seen an idea that I wanted to try, so started sewing beige, cream and pale yellow strips together.  Mindless sewing really, for this part of the block.


These strips formed the base of the African savannah, and then I added blue sky and hills away in the distance.  Next I stitched my letter Z back in place.  Then it looked like this.

Letter Z has progressed to this

Add a herd of zebra plus a young cheetah spying on them behind a bush, and this is the result.

African savannah

This last row was attached to the rest of the blocks, and then the borders attached.  And the top is now done – I’m rather pleased with it too.

Finished Animal ABC top

I have to admit that the Z panel was not my original idea – I had seen a picture of something similar in an older magazine and thought it looked great.  The original design had a strip pieced sunset sky, but I decided to go with the blue and white cloudy fabric I had tucked away.  The backing will be pieced from some of my left over animal prints, I’ve decided, then I’ll have to consider how I’m going to quilt it.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Dice Rolls 1

Monday was a public holiday so there was no “rolling the dice” on my usual day.  So it’s no surprise that we were away for the weekend in our caravan, enjoying the cool winter sunshine, and catching up with our caravan club friends.  But now we are home again, I’m a little late this week to finally roll the dice to see which number comes up.  It’s number 1, my Animal ABC quilt, so that’s what I’ll be sewing this week.  So what stage did I leave this project in last time I worked on it?

Animals A to O

That’s right, I had assembled the top three rows, so that was a good start.  So there was more cutting sashing strips that needed to be done, and then I sashed the last couple of rows together.

Animals P to Y

One more seam, followed by some pressing under the iron, and the project now looks like this.  It’s coming along well, if I do say so myself.


But what happened to the letter Z, you may be wondering.  I wasn’t quite happy with what I had done,  so got my unpicker out to pull it to pieces.   You will have to be patient and wait till next time to see what I’ve planned for Z.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Another Christmas Stitchery Block done

It’s not much to show after four days away in the caravan, but I did manage to complete another Christmas stitchery block, so I’m pleased about that.  I’m making four extra blocks to put in the corners of my Christmas ABC quilt – to make the number up to 30 instead of 26.  He is quite cute, isn’t he?  A slightly cross eyed reindeer peeping out of a Christmas stocking!

Another block done

We have been away in the caravan for four days at Foxton over the long weekend enjoying the company of our caravan club members.  The weather was mostly fine, with a little rain, so we were very lucky as we are now in Winter.  Although it was sunny, it was too chilly to sit around outside – luckily we had a hall to use for our get-togethers.

Sunset over Foxton

We celebrated Queen’s Birthday over the weekend, and I ran a quiz on Saturday evening to see how much everyone remembered about the Royals.  I must admit that I’m a bit of a royalty buff, especially relating to the Tudor period.  So I really thought that everyone would know the answer to such questions as “name the six wives of Henry 8th”, and “who was the Virgin queen”.  But Robin reminded me that not everyone devours books about this period of history as I do.  Some people did quite well with their answers, and it was just for fun anyway.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

First Day of Winter

Today is the first day of winter in my part of paradise, so it’s time for my “Winter Welcome” wall-hanging to be up on the wall.  I hasten to add that we don’t have to worry about snow covering the ground in winter where we live, we never see snowmen, and I’m not really sure how I would cope living in snowy weather conditions.  But we have wind, and rain, sometimes hail.  Flooding and land slips can occur in our region, so that is wintery enough for me.  This little wall-hanging is on the wall just inside our front door, all ready to welcome our winter visitors into our home.

Winter Welcome

It’s been a busy week so far and all set to get even busier.  With a long weekend coming up, we are heading away in the caravan for the next four days.  So the weekly “roll the dice” to see which UFO I will be working on this week has been temporarily put on hold.  But next week, I’ll be raring to go again.