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

Saturday, September 29, 2018

What a Week

Not the best of weeks at all – with news we would rather not have.  Bad health news for my daughter, but now she has a diagnosis, she will be starting chemo  within a week or two, so that is good to know.   Her little family is devastated, as we are, and she is finding it hard to talk about.  I understand completely – after my own cancer scare several years ago, I felt I just wanted to hide away from everyone. 

With all this swirling around in my head, I didn’t “roll the dice” till Friday, much later in the week than usual.  And I have decided that starting so late, I will carry over Number 5 to the following week as well.  Don’t tell the Quilt Police I’m changing my rules to suit myself. 

Number 5 on my list is my Christmas Stitchery quilt.  Gemma decided to help while I was putting the layers together.

She is more of a hindrance than a help

Finally it was all pinned together

The first job is to “stitch in the ditch” around the blocks to stabilise the quilt.  That will take a while, with my preference to pin, pin, pin.  So that is what I’m up to at the moment.


It will be good to carry on with this project next week, as I may not get too much done over the weekend.  Once the stitch in the ditch is done, I’ll have to consider how I want to quilt it.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Scrappy Bindings and a Pocket

With two quilts dropped around to Paula, the long arm quilter, I decided it was time to get the binding ready for when they return.  Luckily I took some quick measurements earlier so I knew approximately how long to make them.  The bindings have been draped over the back of my chair in the sewing room, getting sat on, and falling on the floor – not a good way to store them at all.  So then I had a brain wave, why not roll them around a cardboard roll?  With a safety pin to keep them in place, it worked out well, and is so much tidier.  Why had I never thought of this before?

Two scrappy bindings all rolled up neatly

You may remember that I have also been doing some "secret sewing" working on an apron for a Sew Wot Christmas gift.  Helen sent me a blog comment saying, “Hi Jenny. Don't forget to put the pocket on the apron & pop a fav recipe in the pocket! I'm making mine next week. Dear wee Gemma is full of life!”.  Well, I had forgotten about adding a pocket to the apron, so was grateful for the reminder.  Better get on and finish this today. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Alpine Buttercup block finished

It’s been slow going indeed for this block, it hadn’t been touched for ages.  But at last it’s finished, block five of the nine New Zealand Botanical stitchery blocks I’m doing.  This was designed by Jenny Hunter (as applique) and published quite some time ago in the New Zealand Quilter magazine.  I decided to do mine as stitcheries.


I haven’t seen these native buttercups,  growing as they do high up on alpine slopes and rocky screes.  In summer they grow in profusion and must make quite a sight with their velvety green leaves and bright yellow blossoms against the rocks.
Now – which block shall I start stitching next?

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Secret Sewing and a Kangaroo

I’ve been catching up with some secret sewing this week.  It’s for the Sew Wots group Christmas outing.  Each year we get given an assignment to make something specific  for a Christmas gift, which is then wrapped, placed in a basket and we all get to take one home.    I can remember us all making mug rugs and toilet bags over the last couple of years. 

This time we have to make an apron – something I’m quite happy to make.  Don’t know about the other Sew Wot ladies, but I’m a bit of a messy cook, and always wear an apron in the kitchen.  So a new one will be a nice addition to my collection.  I’ve been cutting out, pinning, stitching straps, and the apron is almost done.  Much better to get on with it now than leave it till the last minute.  No pictures yet as it will be a surprise gift at our Christmas outing.

Our kitten Gemma has one of those play tunnels to run through, with a make believe mouse hanging down which regularly gets pounced on and chewed. After all that attention it is starting to look rather worse for wear.


All chewed to pieces and the stuffing is falling out.

So I have replaced the mouse with Kanga, a little soft toy kangaroo which we purchased in Sydney.  Here’s Kanga, hanging by his neck, and next in line to be attacked by our energetic kitten Gemma, as she plays in her tunnel.


Poor Kanga is getting a beating

Another favourite toy is this strange looking creature, a cross between a mouse and a bird.  Gemma has just started pulling a cushion onto the floor, and hiding her toy underneath.  A mighty pounce as she finds it again,   tossing it in the air, and hides it again.  She certainly can keep herself, and us, amused for ages.

Gemma playing hide and seek with her toy under the cushion

With this bit of sewing out of the way, hopefully next week I’ll be able to “roll the dice” and continue with my UFOs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Sew Wot Tuesday

It was my turn to host the Sew Wots today – and it was lovely to catch up with them after our Aussie holiday.  Heather B brought me a bunch of lovely daisies from her garden, thanks so much Heather, much appreciated.

Flowers from Heather

There was only one item for Show and Tell, Helen had made a net-ball quilt for her grand-daughter.  Helen used sporty action panels together with pretty pieced flowers, and the bright coloured borders contrasting against the black setting it off nicely.

For Helen’s grand-daughter

There was knitting and stitching going on, magazines to be flicked through, and news to catch up on.  The ladies were sad to hear that our long awaited Indian-Pacific train trip didn’t go ahead.  Never mind, we will be getting a refund, so hopefully will plan to go again next year.

Heather B and Moira busy stitching

Gemma made an appearance, and was petted and cooed over.  But she was in a “let’s run around fast” mode going nineteen to the dozen.  Helen picked her up for a little cuddle.

Carol, Helen and Gemma

The weather today was delightful so later on in the afternoon I sat outside under our sun canopy and did a little more stitching, this time stitching down the scrappy black binding on my Soul Searching quilt.  With just this last step to do it had been put aside and forgotten.  It’s a big quilt, so not quite finished yet, but certainly getting closer.

Stitching the binding down in the Spring sunshine

Sunday, September 16, 2018

I’ve been looking everywhere!

This weekend we are away at a caravan club rally, a chance to give my sore throat and head a change of scene.  I’m slowly coming right, and as often happens, my cough worsens at night.  While packing up for our three day weekend away, I was looking everywhere for my sewing pouch, where I keep my New Zealand Botanical stitchery blocks.  I looked here, and there, in all sorts of cubby holes, and then again in the places I’d already searched, just in case it’d missed it the first time!  Checked the caravan of course, but to no avail.  And once we had arrived at our destination, what did I see on my bedside cabinet?  You guessed it, my missing sewing pouch, tucked away on top of some books.


That’s what I was looking for!

We left our kitten Gemma in the van while we caught up with our friends, and what a fright we got when we returned.  She had managed to wriggle herself out of her harness – how on earth did she do that, we wondered?  We had attached the lead which got caught up on something, and obviously that gave her something to pull against while she wriggled out.


After all that excitement, she settled down in the sunshine on top of the couch and went to sleep, the picture of innocence.


This is a pretty camp, nicely maintained with spotless ablution blocks.  Happy birds chirped and fluttered around in the aviary.  And what's this?  Someone had constructed a large moa out of left over branches – very well done, I thought.  Moas were large flightless birds (about as big as an ostrich) and were hunted to extinction over 500 years ago.


I did some “slow stitching” sitting outside in the sunshine over the weekend.  This is my Alpine Buttercup block.  It’s been put aside for a while, and then I couldn't find it, but with a bit more dedicated stitching time this block will soon be finished. 


We were very lucky with the weekend Spring weather, it was lovely and fine, and  warm enough to sit outside and enjoy.  Our group took a walk around nearby Virginia Lake and saw all sorts of water birds, elegant swans, noisy ducks, some with tiny ducklings paddling hard to keep up with their Mum, even  a terrapin sunning himself.  As we walked slowly along the path, enjoying the sights, we had to step aside smartly as a posse of mad joggers came racing by.



Maori mythology tells a haunting story of how young maiden Tainui met up with a bird lover named Turere. They shared a passion and ability to talk with the birds, but jealous and angry Ranginui wanted Tainui to become his wife. He set off to kill Turere where the lake now lies. In her grief, Tainui cried tears adding to the water of the lake.

Friday, September 7, 2018

It’s been a long slow week

It's been one of those weeks.  Robin has come down with some sort of lurgy, coughing, spluttering, aches and pains.  According to the Medical Centre when he went for his (unrelated) blood pressure check-up last week, it seems lots of patients who have recently returned from Australia have been presenting with the same symptoms.  Probably something picked up in the air flights, we all know that the circulating air picks up all sorts of bugs from travelers.  With a lot of TLC he is slowly coming right.  And then, wouldn’t you know it, the bugs jumped over to me - how’s that for sharing!

I managed to get the pieced backing completed for my Aussie quilt top, before feeling under the weather.  So much so, that I’ve had to take myself off for a nana nap during the week, something that I never do.  Guess I needed to rest up, after those disturbed nights lately.


I then summoned up some energy to get the quilt layered and pinned.  Gemma thought that was an invitation for her to come and play too.  Seems the batting is not wide enough, I had to cut some off the length and stitch it down the side to make it fit.


My attempt at machine quilting was disastrous, puckers underneath which meant I had to spend some time with my quick-unpicker.  I hate that, don't you?  Guess I’m not quite in the right frame of mind to be spending too much time sewing.  I’ll try again later when I’m feeling a little better.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Aussie Adventures Top Finished.

I’ve been pinning, stitching and pressing for the last few days now.  And I’m so pleased that I have finally stitched all the blocks together on my Aussie Adventures quilt top.  The borders are on too, and I used two different prints for these, making use of what fabric I had remaining.  One print for the top and bottom borders, and a slightly darker on for the sides.


I took these blocks away, together with my pigma pen during three different Australian holidays, all train related, writing down places we stayed, sightseeing adventures, and memorable meals eaten.  So there are a lot of memories here.


Then today I started to piece the backing, using up all those left over pieces of fabrics – it’s not likely that I will want to make another Australian quilt.  I’m not so keen on pieced backs made with a hodge-podge of different sized fabrics, so I’m stitched my left-overs into strips.  Here are some of the strips on the back of the chair in the sewing room.


It seems I’m on a roll, so I will continue with this project during the coming week.  Once I’ve completed the pieced backing I can layer it all together and think about the quilting.