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Monday, July 31, 2017

Updating my List of Six

With a few finishes lately, it’s time to update my List of Six.  So I had a dig and a delve in the plastic crates, and this is what I have come up with.  And just to let you know, there are plenty more half finished projects lurking about in the crates.  Or a heap of fabric and a pattern waiting – that’s almost the same as a UFO, isn’t it?

No 1:  Animal ABC quilt – the top is finished, and I want to make a pieced back next.
No 2:   Horse Quilt number 2 – I have stitched more black and grey nine patch blocks recently.
No 3:   1930s Baby Quilt – replaces NZ Native Bird wall-hanging
No 4:   Soul Searching – coming along well, two more blocks to assemble.
No 5:  ABC Christmas – stitcheries completed, recently trimmed to size and now ready to be assembled.  Replaces Xmas Stars and Nine Patches quilt.
No 6:   Rustic Reindeer – replaces Polka Dot Apron and Oven Cloth.

My “List of Six UFOs” ready and waiting

And todays “roll of the dice” brings up………No 1.  So, pieced backing it is.  We have a busy couple of days this week, so hopefully I’ll get to spend a little time at my machine soon.  More later…….

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Saturday Stitching Day

My quilt club runs a monthly stitching day either on Saturday or a Monday, which I like to attend, if possible.  But sometimes other things get in the way, such as travelling away in our caravan, which happened last month.  So I was thrilled that we were home this weekend, and I packed up a bag of things to do, prepared my lunch, and set off for the day.

Trimming the blocks

My aim for the day was to trim my Christmas ABC blocks.  Sounds simple enough, but these things always take much longer than anticipated.  With 30 blocks to deal with I did them in batches.  Off to the ironing board first to press them neatly.  Then I had to make sure  the designs were centered, and iron a small press mark around the edge of each block.  Only then did I carefully slice off the excess, hoping I hadn’t miscalculated!  “Measure twice and cut once”, isn’t that the secret?   My pile of cut off strips grew and grew until I was finally finished with block number 30.  Sadly, I miscalculated with one block, so will have to add a strip back on one side.  Hopefully it won’t be noticed once the quilt is assembled and quilted.

There was a nice group of ladies spending the day together.  It seemed I’d hardly arrived (I was running a little late) and hadn’t done a thing before it was time for Morning Tea.  Never mind, it’s always nice to sit down together for a cuppa and a chat.

Morning Tea time

There was a lot going on around the hall.  Sewing machines were whirring away on various projects, and several ladies were sitting at a table together going hand stitching.  There was a pattern available for a table runner project for those who wanted to partake, and several decided to make this.  First step was to slice and sew their strips, cut them into squares and triangles, and then reassemble them.  The narrow “zinger” strips were the secret and made all the difference to this design.  Jane was sitting beside me, and thought it was such a great design, that she declared she would go home and stitch another one!

  Jane working on her table runner

Another group of ladies were making tiny flowers and organza leaves as homework for the recent Hydrangea class run by Adrienne Walker.  I was amazed at the amount of stitching which went into making these organza leaves, and they certainly were very realistic. 

Hydrangea leaves made from double organza

Janneka had brought along a pretty floral quilt she was making which will be donated to the Pink Ladies Breast Cancer Support Group.  This is sure to be most appreciated by someone who is dealing with this health challenge.

Pretty floral quilt to brighten a patient’s day

It was nice to walk around the hall and see what everyone else was doing, and there was certainly a lot going on.  Everyone was busy with their own projects, but only too ready to stop and chat.  That’s what stitching days are all about, aren’t they?  Sewing together in nice surroundings, with good company.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Our Beautiful Native Birds

An easy finish this week – completing my New Zealand Native Bird Wall-hanging.  I soon got the machine quilting done, then applied the binding.  That’s quite a satisfying end to making a quilt or wall-hanging, I always feel.  Sitting down comfortably, folding the binding over to back of the quilt, adding plenty of pins, and hand stitching it down. I still haven’t got around to purchasing any of those plastic quilt clips yet, no doubt that would save me from sticking the occasional pin in my finger.


Adding the hanging sleeve didn’t take too long either – and there, all done.  No, not quite, mustn’t forget the label.  The top row is the fantail (piwakawaka), followed by the tui, known as the parson bird by the early settlers because of the white feathers at the throat.  Row number three features the stitchbird (hihi), a rare honeyeater now only found in bird sanctuaries.  Followed by the intelligent and inquisitive kea, the world’s only alpine parrot.

And on the back are some New Zealand pigeon (or kereru) which I decided I wouldn’t use after all.  Kereru live in tracts of native forest, or are at home in rural and urban habitats.  This large bird always seems to be a rather clumsy flier, and the distinctive sound of its wing beats in flight draws attention to it’s presence in the trees.

The back of the wall-hanging showing a row of Kereru

This is quite a small wall-hanging, made especially for a particular place just inside our front door.  At the moment my Winter Welcome is hanging there, but come Spring, there will be a change and the birds will be in pride of place.

Winter Welcome

And to finish with,  the birds taking part in an arty outside shot amongst the passion fruit vine.  With the warmer weather, the vine will burst forth with lots more leaves, the tendrils will curl all around the frame, and hopefully, we will get a good crop of delicious passion fruit.

An arty shot taken outside

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Zealand Native Birds

The roll of the blue dice this week brought up number 3.  I’m rather pleased as I haven’t worked on this UFO for a while.

The dice rolled three this week

So where am I up to?  I’d done quite well on this project, it seems, and this is how I left it.  All pinned up and ready to quilt.  Those cute little birds have been waiting patiently for some more attention.


Okay birds, it’s your time again.  It was a simple matter to quilt around the straight lines with my walking foot.  FMQ is a different thing altogether, and I always forget exactly how to go about it.  I found my free motion foot, plugged it in, and had a little play to get to grips with this technique again. Unfortunately, I’m not the worlds best at this, and I find it difficult to keep my swirls smooth.  I know – the experts all say “practice, practice, practice”.  But I try my best and set to work.

Ready to start quilting

This is only a little wall hanging so my aim this week is to finish the quilting, and get the binding sewn on and stitched down.  And then I can finally cross this UFO off my list and put another in it’s place!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A couple more blocks

It’s great to get some sewing time in during a busy week.  All weeks are busy, aren’t they, doing this and that, and I’m pleased with how my Soul Searching blocks are coming along.  I’ve just completed my red and dark grey blocks and took them outside for a little photo shoot in the fresh air.

Red and Grey

And earlier this week I stitched two blue blocks, dark blue and light blue.  So that is four blocks completed this week.

Dark and light blue

I’ve two more strip sets waiting to be sewn up, teal/aqua blue and dark purple.  So things are moving along quite well on this project.

Although it is winter in my part of the world, perhaps Mother Nature feels it is getting closer to Spring.  I have some Spring bulbs pushing their leaves up in a pot, and I’ve just planted some pansies in pots to add a spot of colour to the often rain washed patio.  I love pansies, they are such happy looking flowers, and luckily for me, seem to grow quite well without too much looking after.

Spring bulbs growing

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A little More Soul Searching this week

The roll of the dice brought up number four this week, which is my Soul Searching UFO.  I had previously sewn all the strip sets as “leader and ender” sewing, and also constructed several of the large blocks.  This week I had to make my choice from these.

Strip sets left to sew together

So what colours did I chose?  So far the dark blue and light blue blocks have been put together.

Dark and light blue blocks sewn

With red the next one to be worked on.  I like to lay all my strips out in order, to make sure I have them all in the correct order.  Those sneaky little strips have been known to lie there quietly the wrong way round, to see if I notice before they are pinned and stitched.

Starting on the red block

And I’m quite pleased with my sewing this week, in between other commitments.  Such as cooking – I seem to be doing an awful lot of this lately.  It’s winter in our part of the world, and to tell the truth, I love homely winter foods.  Recently I’ve made steak and kidney casserole in the crockpot, cooked up a big pot of curried sausages, made some soup, and cooked a big bowl of tamarillos.  As kids, we used to call these winter fruits tree tomatoes, who can remember that?  These days they are known as tamarillos and I love them cooked  to eat with my cereal for breakfast.  They are full of all sorts of good vitamins, and taste good too.  Robin doesn’t like them, so they are all mine!

Image result for tamarillo recipes

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Final ABC Christmas Blocks done

After goodness knows how long, I’ve finally completed stitching the last of my Christmas ABC blocks.  These are to bring my blocks up to a more manageable 30 blocks instead of the original 26, and I will probably put them in the four corners of my quilt.  Without further ado – my last two blocks, hot off my needle are these.

My recently completed blocks

These last four are also Michelle Ridgeway designs, so will fit right in with my Christmas ABC blocks which I stitched from her book of lovely Christmas designs, Alphabet Noel.

And the extra four corner blocks all shown together

This has been my “Slow Stitching” project, so it didn’t really matter how long it took me to complete.  And I’ve enjoyed stitching every little block.  Now, with all the blocks completed, it’s time for this project to move on to the next phase.  It will be added to my “List of Six” projects to be assembled shortly.

And I still have another half completed stitchery project waiting in the wings, plus a little hand quilting to do, so there will be plenty to keep me busy.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Polka Dot Apron

It’s always good to have a finish, and this week I’ve completed my polka dot apron plus a matching two handed oven cloth.  So I’m feeling rather pleased about that.  The apron was soon cut out earlier in the week and I started constructing the straps.

Stitching up the straps

Some time ago I had done these little stitcheries from “My Vintage Kitchen”, designed by Jenny of Elefantz.  In fact, I had stitched them especially to add to my apron.  Now was the time to put them all together.

Stitcheries from My Vintage Kitchen

I used a pattern from “More Retro Aprons” by Cindy Oates, version A-1 (on the right)  and added only a single ruffle instead of the four shown.  Not quite so fussy, to suit me better, I decided.


And here is my finished apron, using two of the stitcheries as pockets – it’s quite a simple design really.    I’m one of those people who like to, or perhaps I should I say need to wear an apron in the kitchen.

My new apron

With two extra stitcheries and a little extra fabric, I decided to make a double handed oven cloth.  Which incidentally, took longer to stitch than the apron.  That's UFO number 6 on my list finished.

Matching oven cloth

For those of you who know me well, you may be wondering why I am using lime green fabric for my new apron, when I am usually clothed in blue, or maybe a little pink or lilac?  It is because I had some lime green Perle cotton left after stitching the label for this Anniversary quilt made for my daughter and her husband.

Black and White and  Splash of Lime

As I felt I was unlikely to be stitching anything else in lime green, I used the rest of the thread to stitch the four little Vintage Kitchen stitcheries.  And then I had to find some lime green fabric to go with them.  Perhaps I have enough aprons now?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Town and Country Quilters July Club Night

Brr, it was so chilly on Wednesday night – which is probably why the numbers were low for our July Club Night.  But the hall was warm, as was the welcome, and the members who braved the evening were in for a real treat with our speaker.  Who was non other than well known designer, quilter, and embroiderer Jenny Hunter.  As a draughtswoman, Jenny was concerned with the lack of New Zealand inspired designs, so decided to do something about it.  Her beautiful New Zealand birds and plants have become something of an institution in the New Zealand Quilter magazine.

Jenny Hunter with her New Zealand Flower designs
She then showed us her lovely embroideries,  made in just two months for the Manawatu Embroiderers Exhibition.  Jenny chose the theme of Celtic works, and after a lot of research came up with these.  All these works deserved a close look to see the intricate stitching and beading.

Celtic style embroideries

There were only a few items for Show and Tell.  Gill had made this delightful Owl quilt which will soon be packed up and sent overseas to a very lucky little someone.

Gill and her Owl quilt

Griet had brought along her lovely Sunshine and Buttercup quilt.  Griet told us that she made this out of all her small cream and yellow scraps.

Sunshine and Buttercups

We adjourned to the Supper Room for a cuppa, to check out the library books, and the raffle draws.  Another interesting Quilt Club meeting.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Special Sew Wots Morning

It was a special Sew Wots morning indeed – we were wishing Moira Happy Birthday as we celebrated her 80th Birthday with her.  Flowers and gifts were presented, and we wished her well.  Moira commented that she couldn’t believe she was now 80 – seems the years sneaked up on her while she wasn’t looking.  Carol was the hostess and the dining table looked a picture, full of goodies and a luscious chocolate cake with candles for our morning tea.

Happy 80th Birthday, Moira

There was a whole lot of chatter going on, plenty of quilting magazines to flick through, so not many of us did much stitching at all.  In fact, although I got my latest Christmas stitchery block out, I eventually put it away without doing a single stitch.  Mary was stitching though, and showed me her large wool and felt hexagon blocks she was working on.

Mary’s wool and felt hexagon

And Heather B was cutting out the makings of a fabric book – this was “The Twelve Dogs of Christmas”.  The fabric book will be going in her Grandmother's Box for the next generation.   Snip, snip she went on her lap, and luckily didn’t put the scissors through her clothing – although I was rather worried that she would, I must admit.

Heather B cutting on her lap

There were two lovely quilts to admire as well.  Carol recently went away to a weekend quilting retreat and all the attendees were given a small kit to make some blocks.  These kits comprised of pieces of former Sew Wot Pam (who passed away a while ago) fabric so the quilt is really special.  In memory of Pam it will be donated to Ronald McDonald House to give comfort for a youngster in need.

Carol holding quilt made with fabrics from Pam’s stash

The other quilt brought along was a gorgeous Poppy quilt made with large Apple Core blocks.  Helen made this for her Mum – just love those rich red poppies.

Helen with her poppy quilt

It was great to meet up again, as I wasn’t able to attend the previous get-together.  And we all enjoyed wishing Moira well for her special birthday.

Monday, July 10, 2017

It’s Monday, and the Dice Rolls Six

It’s been such a long time since the dice rolled number six on my “Roll the Dice” mornings.  I did wonder if I would ever get onto this project – which is my Polka Dot Apron.  It’s been waiting to be called up for such a long time! 


Everyone knows by now, I’m sure, that as I’m such a messy cook I like to wear an apron in the kitchen.  I purchased the pattern book “More Retro Aprons” by Cindy Taylor Oates and have been meaning to make an apron or two for ages.

Plus I’m adding these cute little stitcheries, which have also been waiting in the wings for quite some time.  I stitched them from  “My Vintage Kitchen”, free designs offered by Jenny of Elefantz.   Finally time to get stitching my new apron, I think.

Four little kitchen stitcheries

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Nearly there with the Christmas Blocks

I’m so pleased that I’ve managed to complete another of my Christmas ABC stitchery blocks while we have been away on our caravan trip.  Please excuse the rather scruffy appearance – but I don’t do ironing in the caravan.  Here is my (needs to be pressed) “Snowman in a Christmas Mitten”, just off the small embroidery hoop.  This is yet another cutie designed by Michelle Ridgeway so it will fit in very well with my ABC blocks.

Another Christmas block completed

I haven't been making great progress with my knitting, but I believe that every row gets me closer to the finish line.  This is the collar for my cozy winter cardigan, almost up to the shaping rows on this.

Plodding along with my knitting

We are spending the weekend away at Himatangi Beach Holiday Park (Motor Camp) and took a little drive along the beach today.  There was driftwood everywhere so we had to be careful where we went.  Tiny wavelets rushed to shore, beach bikes were driving up and down, some people were walking their dogs, while others, like us, were happy to sit for a while.

On Himatangi Beach

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Off to visit Linda and Peggy

The reason for our trip to Taupo is to take my candle wick quilt top to Linda of Razzle Dazzle Quilter to work her magic on it.  Linda had previously quilted my Hearts in Bloom quilt  and I was so thrilled with her work, I knew I would be asking her to quilt another top for me before too long.  When we arrived here in Taupo Robin casually asked me, “you did pack your quilt, didn’t you?”  Oh my goodness, I certainly hoped so – better go and check.  There is was, together with the backing, safely packed away. 

Thank goodness I’d remember to pack this bag

We arrived to see both ladies in their studio.  Peggy has a spot to sit and sew on her domestic sewing machine while Linda works on her wonderful hand guided quilting machine.

Peggy and Linda in the work room

Back in the house I got my quilt top out of the bag.  This has been a long time in the making, as I explained to Linda.  Most of the candlewick blocks were stitched at night in various B & Bs while we toured around England, Scotland and Ireland way back in 1999!  I had some extra blocks gifted to me and used them in the corners, and finally assembled the top several months ago.

Linda checking out my quilt top

I’m sure whatever designs Linda comes up with will be gorgeous – she knows I like feathers and McTavishing (things I cannot so myself) and there is plenty of “blank spaces” on the quilt top to fill up with her trademark quilting.  So we left the top in her care, and said our goodbyes.  But not before we stopped to admire this beautiful cat, laying in a basket on top of a pile of soft patchwork balls – quite happy and not at all bothered by the visitors.

Who is a pretty boy, then?

Stopping at the Look-Out point on the way back to camp, we gazed across Lake Taupo.  The mountains were not to be seen, hiding as they were behind the clouds.  Taupo is a lovely place but rather chilly in the winter with cold winds blowing straight off the mountains and across the lake.

View from the top of the hill

Monday, July 3, 2017

On the Road to Taupo

We took the slow road to Taupo stopping at Flat Hills new campsite on our first night away.  There was plenty of wildlife to keep us interested, from the pukeko happily living by the small lake, looking just like a “bunch of purple chickens”, as we overheard a tourist say a while ago.  What I didn’t realise until Mr Google informed me recently is that groups can have multiple breeding males and females, but all eggs are laid in a single nest and the group offspring are raised by all group members.  That’s certainly communal living at it’s best.

Pukeko at the lake

I had to go and say hello to the herd of pretty alpacas – all too busy munching away on their hay to bother with me.
Alpacas are so cute

Our next overnight stop was the alpine town of Ohakune, situated at the base of Mt Ruapehu.  And what a wonderful view to wake up to each day.  This is the view we saw from our caravan site, the moody mountain with it’s peaks covered in swirling clouds.  No wonder it’s chilly at Ohakune, the town is situated at 2029 feet above sea level.

Mt Ruapehu

Ohakune is famous for a couple of things – the Big Carrot for one.  This is an excellent area for growing carrots, parsnips, swedes, potatoes and Brussel sprouts.

Thee Big Carrot of Ohakune

And the other great attraction is the “world famous in Ohakune” are the giant Chocolate Éclairs.  I’ll admit that we did have one or two while we were here.

How could we say no?

We have now moved on to Taupo, going a little knitting in the car on the way.  I’m knitting the collar for my cardigan.

Knitting in the car

And it’s just as well I’ve packed some cozy warm socks to keep my feet warm,  these have caravans all over them.  And we have some of those wonderfully warm “Artic Sheets” on the bed, and a heater to keep things nice and comfortable inside the caravan.

Just the thing to wear in the caravan

I’m busy doing the laundry in the camp laundry room, must be time to check how that machine is getting along.  It’s one of those cold damp sort of days, so I’ve had to use the drier too – no chance to hang the clothes outside today.

Into the drier

We’ve come up to Taupo for a special reason ……more about that later.