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

Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday is Roll the Dice Day

So I did, and the dice landed on number one – my Animal ABC quilt.  Haven’t worked on that one for a while, our long caravan trip over the summer meant that only a little hand work got done.  So I’m going to start with gusto today, and see how the rest of the week evolves.  Remember this?


Top and pieced backing

I had finished the top, and pieced the backing from my left over animal prints.  The quilt is now pinned, all ready for me to start machine quilting, so that will keep me busy for a while.
And talking about busy, we have had a very busy weekend away, with the pair of us being part of the organising committee for a caravan weekend away.  Not our usual caravan club type of weekend, this was a get-together for the Leisure Line Owners Club, a caravan manufactured here in New Zealand.  Here’s me at the Registration Desk waiting for the attendees to arrive, and Robin and friends cooking hamburgers for Friday night’s meal.


It was a great weekend away, and we enjoyed a delicious catered meal on Saturday, followed by live music and dancing in the hall. The duo played all those lovely songs we remembered from our youth, so we sang along, tapped our toes in time to the music, and got up on the dancefloor.  Robin’s knees give him trouble, so his dancing is now limited, but we did manage a couple of dances.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

I need a new List

With a couple of finishes lately I needed to write a new list of my UFOs.  What to add – that was the question?  I rummaged around the crates hiding in the wardrobe and pulled out some UFOs to add to my list.  Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that I will never run out of things to do.  As well as familiar projects lurking in the depths of the crates, there were also some that I barely remembered.  I selected one large project and one smaller one, as I like to have a bit of variety.

So my List of Six now reads:

1:  Animal ABC Quilt.  Top and backing completed and pinned ready to quilt.
2:  Horse Quilt No 2.  Haven’t touched this one for quite some time, so will be good to get on with it.
3:  Kite Quilt – replaces 1930s Baby (Girl)  Quilt – one for a boy this time.
4:  English Memory Quilt, from our trip in 2008.  Replaces Soul Searching which is with the quilter.
5:  Christmas Stitchery.  Blocks all stitched, ready to assemble.
6:  Yo Yo’s.  I’m tired of then hanging about so decided to “just do it”. 

Six projects, ready and waiting

I didn’t “Roll the Dice” this week, decided instead to catch up with other things.  My Quilt Documentation folders are now up to date.  I’ve traced off a couple more stitchery designs, written two “real” letters to pen friends, made a pot of soup, and done some baking for our weekend away, leaving Thursday, back on Sunday. 

Wednesday 25th was Anzac Day, celebrated both  here in New Zealand and in Australia.  It’s the day we remember those who fought in the wars, and particularly those who didn’t return.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Slow Stitching and Stirring the Pot

It’s nice to sit and relax with some hand stitching.  I like to sit at the dining table when I stitch during the afternoon and the Autumn sunshine comes through the sun filter curtains.  Nice and warm, but not too hot.  I did a little hand quilting on my Winter Quilt Festival panel, stitching around the teeny tiny printed block patterns which surround the centre panel.  I’m not the world’s best or fastest hand quilter, so this could take me a while.  But no hurry, I’m quite enjoying this project.

Quilting around tiny blocks

Then I made a start on block number five (of nine) of the New Zealand Botanical designs I’m doing – another slow stitching project.  This is the Alpine Buttercup block, and I have just started stitching the base of the wreath.  I like to take this type of stitching away on caravan trips, and to the Sew Wot morning get-togethers.

Alpine Buttercup stitchery block

Then I had a stint of jam making, stirring the big stock pot full of feijoa jam.  It’s feijoa season here, and feijoa trees in home home gardens (not us) usually have fruit to share and give away. This fruit is not to everyone’s taste, Robin doesn’t care for them, but I rather enjoy them.


I had an awful lot of fruit to cut in half, and scoop the golden/caramel coloured  flesh out with a tea spoon.  You can’t weigh the whole fruit, only the flesh.  Quite a long, slow job, but finally it was done.  And this is the result, several jars of yummy feijoa jam.   I like to use the fancy jars, such as these square of six sided ones – doesn’t really make the jam taste any nicer, but I like the look of them in the pantry.  Just another of my little foibles!

Feijoa jam

So along with washing, ironing, and preparing an easy evening meal cooked in the crock pot, that was how I spent my Sunday.  What did you get up too?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

1930s baby Quilt–Finished

It’s good to have a finish, and I have to admit that this one was an easy finish.  With the quilt top and backing layered and pinned, it didn't take to long to do some simple machine quilting with my walking foot.  Then stitch the binding on.


Last night I sat and stitched the binding down by hand while Robin was engrossed in a rugby game on TV.  I quite enjoy doing this step, quietly hand stitching on the back, and watching it get nearer and nearer to completion. 

Blowing in the wind on the trellis

On the wooden patio seat

This is the first time I have used 1930s fabrics, and most of these were a gift from my pen-friend Margaret from Birmingham, England.  Not quite sure what I will do with this cot sized quilt yet, it could go in to my Granny box but I think I’ll be waiting a long time for my grand daughters to marry and have babies.  It’s sure to find a home soon, there has been a flurry of weddings amongst Robin’s nieces over the last year or so.

Back of the quilt

Thursday, April 19, 2018

And the Dice Rolls……Number 3

Another roll of the dice this weeks brings up number 3.  Out comes my list again to tell me that this is my 1930s baby quilt.  I received a gift of assorted 1930s fabrics when we caught up with my pen-friend Margaret in Birmingham, England, way back in 2008.  On our return home I purchased a few more fabrics and made these Cobblestone blocks.  And there they sat, and waited, and waited.

1930s Cobblestone Blocks

Last time this UFO surfaced some months ago I had put all the blocks together.  I’m happy with the white sashing between the 1930s colours in the blocks – it gives the quilt a lovely crisp look, I feel.  Then I used up the remaining coloured squares on the pieced backing.  

The completed top

Finally, the layers have been pinned together and I’ve started on the simple machine quilting.  With the bonus of a free weekend at home, I’m certainly hoping to get this project completed this week.

Machine quilting

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Another Sew Wot Tuesday

Another Sew Wot Tuesday rolled around – these days are always so nice to attend.  Sometimes I have to miss them, with appointments and such, so it has been great to get to several in a row.  This time we met at Mary’s home, and as always, stopped to admire her lovely cottagey garden.  Mary loves her garden and  is blessed with very green thumbs indeed.

Mary’s front garden

It was almost a solo Show and Tell, Mary had been on a roll, she told us, and she held up one thing after another.  This quilt is going to a friendly neighbour for helping with animal feeding from time to time.

For a helpful neighbour

Then we were shown not one, but two gorgeous 3 ply baby shawls, aren’t they just beautiful!

Two lovely shawls

We all loved this beautiful table centre, made with Dresden Plates crocheted together.  Another lovely work of art made by Mary.

Table centre

After all these lovelies, my small offering at Show and Tell seemed very ordinary indeed.  I had brought along my New Zealand birds place mats which I had made to use in the caravan, as the ladies hadn’t yet seen them.

Place mats for the caravan

We all enjoyed a lovely morning, sitting and stitching together.  Moira was quietly working on a stitchery,  and Heather E was stitching a Mariner’s Compass block onto background fabric – which looked rather complicated to me.  Heather B was crocheting a pair of cozy slippers, and Carol was knitting a baby jumper to donate to a good cause.

Heather B and Carol

I didn’t seem to achieve much at all, just a little stitching.  I had received a “Quilt Pillow” from pen friend Carol for Christmas, and it needed to be stuffed and then stitched closed.  Finally done, and it is now hanging on the door to my sewing room (spare bedroom).


We all enjoyed stitching and chatting, craft magazines were circulated and taken home, and we enjoyed a delicious morning tea.  Many thanks to Mary for being our hostess.

Friday, April 13, 2018

And the Dice Rolls Four

It’s been absolutely ages since I “rolled the dice” to see which of my UFOs I would get to work on for the week.  Or, make that a day or two, as once again, we had things happening this week, followed by a weekend away attending a caravan club rally.  As you can see, it’s all go at our place.  So what is number four on my List of Six UFOs?  I’d forgotten, so had to check the list to refresh my memory, and discovered that it is my Soul Searching quilt.  Not too much to do on this project, so if I knuckle down, I may well get it all done before the weekend.

You may remember that I had completed the top earlier, after reducing it from twelve blocks to nine blocks,  read about it here.

Nine big blocks in my Soul Searching quilt top

The three pastel blocks which were removed were then stitched together as part of the quilt backing.  So I just had to finish  piecing the backing to make it large enough – now completed.

The start of the pieced backing

It’s good to get this done, and the next step will be to take it to get commercially quilted – this quilt is too big for me to handle at home.  And I’ve been planning ahead, and made some scrappy black binding for when the quilt comes back home to me.

Binding all ready to use

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Town and Country Quilters April Club Night

The weather had turned wintry, the temperatures had plummeted, meaning the the numbers were down a little at our evening Club Night.  But plenty of keen quilters put their coats on, braved the elements and came along.

I love the Show and Tell component of the meeting, always the highlight, I feel.  It’s so nice to see what the members have been working on, and to come away with new ideas.  I was in the queue too waiting to have my moment on the stage, so didn’t have time to take notes as to who had made what,  I’m sorry to say.    Here are a few snaps of the quilts hanging in the Supper Room.

A statement on Elephant conservation

Butterfly quilt

My quilt/tablecloth commemorating our South Island caravan trip.

Amazing hydrangea quilt

Instead of a speaker this month we had presentations from the three local quilt shops, we are so fortunate to have three passionate quilt shops in our local area.  It was gadget night, and what a variety there was, each shop owner brought along completely different items to show and explain.  There was everything from rulers, stencils, frames for FMQ, an amazing super slim light box and photo fabric to use in the printer.  Lots of useful low key items too, such as spray starch, iron cleaner, (I definitely need a bottle of that), double eyed needles, (who would have known they exist) and the good old Hera marker which has been around for a while, but another item I could well use. 

It was a very interesting night indeed, and well worth braving the conditions to attend.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Poroporo Wreath

At last, another finish on the series of New Zealand botanical blocks I am slowly stitching.  These are a series of applique blocks designed by Jenny Hunter and printed in the New Zealand Quilter Magazine some years ago.  I decided to change the applique patterns to stitcheries – and I am treating this as my “slow stitching project ” for the year.

Poroporo Wreath

The Poroporo is a flowering bush and is closely related to potatoes, tomatoes, tamarillos and egg plants.  The Maori people ate the golden fruit and the leaves were used medicinally.  When the European settlers arrived, they named the plant bullibull, and made jam from the berries.

Poroporo bush

So that’s number four of the set of nine stitched – which design will I choose next, I wonder?

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Two sets of Place Mats

I had my first finish of the year a couple of weeks ago using my New Zealand themed fabrics to make a memory table cloth, see link here.  But I still had lots of NZ fabrics left, just hanging about, as it tends to do.  I’m pleased to say that I’ve used up a couple more pieces, and have just finished stitching two sets of placemats to use in our caravan.

Two sets of placemats

The top set features the last remaining piece of the fabric featuring the Stitchbird.  And I’m pleased that I had just enough of the cream/brown fabric that I used for the borders and binding, so that’s another piece gone from the stash.  There was enough of the backing fabric to use oh both sets of placemats, so that’s good too. 

The set of green placements were in the “use it all up” category too.  The feature fabric showcases the Kereru, or native pigeon, all set to eat some of those succulent and juicy Puriri berries.  The green leafy batik was a piece left over from my daughter’s 50th birthday quilt, and I found a strip of dark green long enough to do the binding.  Even the cotton batting was cobbled together from small pieces.

So that made me a happy quilter indeed.  As well as two sets of pretty placemats, I’ve also used up several bits and strips which have been hanging about for ages.

But I still have quite a bit of New Zealand fabric left over.  I’m going to roll it all up in a bundle and put it away for a while – who knows when inspiration may strike again?

I still have these  NZ themed fabrics

Thursday, April 5, 2018

No News is Good News.

Several weeks ago it was time for my annual mammogram, I am on a yearly call up since my brush with BC a couple of years ago.  Displayed around the changing rooms were several entrants in the local decorated bra competition, Bra Artz.  They certainly brought smiles to the face as we went to slip into our fetching hospital gowns.

Some of the decorated bras on display

After the procedure was done I was told to get dressed and we went on our way.  “We’ll phone if we need you to come back”, I was told.  That seemed OK – when I had my “bad mammogram” a couple of years ago, I was ushered into an office and told the devastating news straight away.  So home I went, and waited, and waited.  No phone call came from the clinic for a recall, thank goodness,  but I expected a letter in the mail telling me everything was fine.  Then I read on the info sheet that this clinic does not send out the results after all, and Robin’s view was that no news is good news, and stop worrying.

Mmmm, easier said than done, isn’t it, especially as I am a cancer survivor, and a bit of a worrier to boot!  So today I phoned the clinic and spoke to one of the nurses about my worries.  She was very understanding and read me out all the medical jargon. Once she said that a copy of the report had been sent to my oncologist and GP,  (I would have known that if I’d stopped to think it through)  I realised that of course the report was OK as the specialist wouldn’t leave anything to chance.

So, with a big sigh of relief I can now put that particular worry behind me and get on with things – perhaps a little stitching.  I should know better at my age, don’t you think?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Sew Wot Tuesday

It was time for another Sew Wot Tuesday, which is always nice to attend, and Moira was our hostess for the morning.  There was such a lot of Show and Tell happening, so my camera was busy snapping away.  Mary had been busy making three quilts to take to her family on her up-coming Aussie trip.  First up was a rugby quilt for her 16 year old grand-son.  The panel was surrounded with various New Zealand themed fabrics – didn’t she do a great job!

Mary’s quilt for her grand-son

And then there were quilts for her brother-in-law and her sister.  BIL’s quilt was a masculine nine patch in browns and greens, and Mary’s sister’s quilt featured Moda sampler blocks set with bright alternate squares.

Two more quilts going to Australia

Moira showed us a lovely piece of Jacobean crewel work sent from her sister in England – such beautifully fine stitching.  Moira is looking for just the right frame for this treasure.

Crewel work

Heather B had also been busy and showed two bags she had made.  Her daughter had coloured in the panel and asked her Mum to make it into a bag for her.  Ad the second bag was made from gifted blocks from Moira.  It has a pretty  embroidered block on one side and a candle wick block on the other, finished off nicely with purple ric rack.

Heather Bs two bags

More gifted blocks came Heather’s way – quirky cat blocks in black and white this time.  We all loved the way she had put this together, adding the coloured squares to the sides.  This is going in her Granny Box she told us.  I know what she means, I have one of those boxes myself for future occasions!


Heather B’s cat quilt

We loved Carols’ pretty star quilt wall hanging – those little squares finish at 1 inch.  And then we heard the lovely story behind this quilt – and future ones.

Carol’s star wall hanging

Carols daughter had gifted her a birthday gift subscription and each month a wonderful box of quilting goodies arrives in the mail box.  The is the current month’s box, complete with fabrics, a pattern and other interesting tools and goodies.  What a wonderful gift to receive each month!

Carol’s monthly gift box

As usual, there was plenty of chatter going on, ladies were flipping through some magazines looking for a new home, and there was even a little work taking place.  I did a little on my latest botanical stitchery, Heather E was English PP, Mary concentrated on her latest knitting project, and Heather B worked on her Celtic Rose table runner.  (Not something I would attempt, with all that tricky bias binding to deal with.)


It was a lovely morning indeed, and many thanks to Moira for the feijoas from her tree which she shared with us.  So yummy, I really appreciate the bag of fruit I got to take home.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Greetings

Wishing you all a happy and restful Easter, wherever you may be.  We are currently camping in rural Manawatu, and popped in to visit my daughter yesterday.  She surprised me with this lovely Easter gift.

Easter surprise gift from daughter Nicky

I’ve managed to spend some time doing a little stitching outside in the fresh air.   Here I am doing some hand quilting on my snowman Christmas panel, with one of the resident chickens keeping me company.

Hand quilting

There are plenty of farm animals to see and admire.  Just look at this handsome fellow – who gets regular brushing on his long locks, we were told.

Highland Cattle

I don’t know why, but I’ve always rather like pigs.  I walked over to see the pigs while they were getting fed, and the pig man helped me over the fence and through the gate to take some photos.  All the time explaining all I wanted to know (and more) about his beloved pigs and their breeding.

Big boar and sow

The farmer is a bit of a collector and we were invited to have a look through the large shed housing all his “stuff”.  Having a reputation of being a bit of a washerwoman I was intrigued by this collection of wash boards in the galvanized bucket, luckily a bit before my time.  But I did have a wringer washer when my children were young, like the one at the back of the photo.

Laundry paraphernalia
We are making the most of such lovely Easter weather, and the Easter Bunny found us and left a few marshmallow eggs in the cupboards.