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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Two Weeks in a Row

The dice rolled 6, two weeks in a row, dictating which particular UFO I work on.  Not that I’m complaining, it gives me a chance to hopefully  finish up my Jingle Table Runner this week.


When I left this project at the end of last week, I had completed the top,  made a pieced backing, using up some more festive fabric, and prepared the binding.  Yesterday I cobbled together a couple of pieces of batting, and  pinned the layers all together ready to quilt.  And today I started, using my walking foot, quilting in the ditch between the larger embroidered pieces and  the centre squares.

Quilting in the ditch

Deciding against quilting in the ditch between all those centre squares, instead I did lines of straight stitching using the foot as a guide.  Yes, it’s certainly a bit more work with these extra lines each side of the seam line,instead of in the ditch, but I quite like how it turned out.

Stitching in a grid

All the straight line quilting in the centre panel  is now completed.  Tomorrow I’ll have to decide what to do on the stitchery panels.

While I was sitting at the machine, working away, our cat Gemma was determined to get inside the wardrobe.   There are all sorts of things in here, summer clothes, and multiple crates with my sewing stuff.   Opening the door for her, she soon settled down to snooze, curled up on top of some batting, all nice and comfy! She wasn't at all worried about the various items of clothing hanging down all around her.   What a life, cats certainly like making themselves comfortable, don’t they?

Hiding in the wardrobe

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Jingle Table Runner

Sunday was certainly sewing day here today.  After Robin cooked Sunday breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs, I did a few chores and got on with the job of finishing up my Christmas table runner top.  Santa had to gather up his reindeer while they were enjoying munching on the grass.


The reins have now been stitched on the reindeer so Santa could control them while he goes on his merry way on Christmas Eve.


Here are the stitcheries added to the centre section, enjoying the winter sunshine out on the patio table.  My runner turned out a little bigger that the pattern, as I already had some wider strips of Christmas fabric cut, and didn’t want to trim them down .  It all worked out OK in the end.


So that’s the top completed, I’ve made a pieced backing, using up some more festive fabric, and prepared the binding.  All I have to do now is sort through my crate filled to the brim with wadding pieces,and hopefully find something the right size.  Then I can pin the layers all together ready to quilt.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Sewing Day again

Was it only a month since our last club sewing day which didn’t happen?  Luckily it went ahead today as planned, and I joined a group of other Town and Country quilters for the day.  I was running late,  as first we had to collect my little car from the panel beaters.  What was wrong, you are probably wondering?  All right, I’ll admit it, I had a little accident some weeks ago, which happened like this.  I was at The Big Egg Company  purchasing some wonderful free range eggs and as I was exiting along the driveway, a big truck turned off the road and was heading straight towards me.  To give him more room I pulled over to the side of the drive, and boom, ended up in a ditch!  Of dear, luckily I could drive myself out of the hole, but the side of the car over the wheel became loose.  It’s all fixed now, but I certainly got a fright.

Enough of my confessions, what about our sewing day?  I had forgotten that the committee had decided to make these sewing days free for members  till the end of the year.  So that was a nice little bonus, I put my $5 note back in my wallet.  Margaret was busy pinning up a charily quilt when I arrived.  This one was an interesting arrangement of purples and greys, with a nice diagonal look to it.  She will be taking this home to machine quilt it.

Charity quilt all pinned and ready for quilting

Several of the ladies took turns helping with the club raffle quilt which will be raffled at our upcoming quilt exhibition.  Here Annette and Kath are pinning the cascading hexagons in place onto the machine quilted background.

Raffle quilt

Marjorie had plenty of help pinning out her baby quilt, it was a real team effort.  The quilt is so bright and happy looking, and I loved the stripy border fabric.  I learnt a new tip too, as I watched them use the edge of a large ruler to smooth out the top.  Much better than my method of clambering  over the layers on the floor and using my hands!

Marjorie’s baby quilt

Janneke loves hexagons,  and was busy stitching hers togethers.  This piece has three different shapes in it, she explained.  It needs to be about twice this size, she told me, so there will be lots more in the making, I expect.

Janneke’s hexagons

As for me, I was hand stitching the binding on a secret squirrel stitching project.  Here’s a small peek showing a butterfly on the back.

It’s still a secret

It’s always nice to join the ladies on a club stitching day, it’s fun to stitch and chat the day away.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Christmas in July

Today it was Christmas in July – at least that was the theme of the presentation I gave to the ladies at the Cancer Society Coffee Morning.  But first, to get my Christmas quilts I had to climb the timber pull-down ladder (in the garage)  up into the loft storage.  Then rummage around the plastic crates to find what I was looking for.

Christmas things tucked away in these crates

What else is tucked away up here?  I found some knitting wool for a new project, and some wool blanket fabric to turn into something else, yes, I’ll take that down with me, together with the Christmas items.  Plus a whole lot of stretch fabric I had forgotten all about – that’s staying put at the moment.  It was interesting checking out the Christmas quilts and wall-hangings I had made over the years.  Then I packed them into a couple of bags, in the order I wanted to talk about them.

Two big bags full

Although none of the ladies were quilters, many of them had been crafters in their earlier years, cross stitch, knitting, and sewing for their families.  My “Show and Tell talk” was well received, and who knows, perhaps one or two of them might be inspired to give patchwork and quilting a try.

With two Christmas friends

Monday, July 22, 2019

Christmas Table Runner

Monday is “Roll the Dice” day and it landed on  number 6, my Christmas Table Runner.  The actual name is “Jingle Table Runner” and the pattern was a free download from Red Brolly.  I first saw this lovely design when Maria from Life on the Block wrote about it on her blog a couple of years ago. 

The pattern

I completed the four stitcheries which go on the ends of the runner a couple of months ago, then put it away to add to my list and await the roll of the dice.  In the pattern these blocks are done with applique, but I decided to change it to stitcheries.

Santa with the reindeer

Various strips of festive fabric have been cut and stitched

There’s more cutting and rearranging to do, so I’ll see how it all goes this week.  I may or may not have the top all pieced together by the end of the week, with a couple of social outings things tend to get a bit busy.  But every little bit helps, and this project will be moved along a stage further by the end of the week, regardless of how much I do.  One thing I’ve decided though, I will not be making those “tongues” on the ends, just couldn’t live with them.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Pretty in Pink

This month the colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is pink.  This fun challenge is run by Angela of Sew Scrappy.  I have several pink items in my wardrobe, although blue remains my favourite colour to wear.   Pink is such a pretty girly colour, and I have used it a lot in my quilting projects over the years, and I think it goes so nicely in quilts teamed with green.

I’ve been stitching away and have finished my pink RSC blocks for the month.  First, here are my two pink selvedge asterisk blocks.  I’m not making too much of a dent in my selvedge collection yet, may have to stitch another selvedge quilt next year to use some more of them up.

Asterisk blocks

These pretty pink Bow Tie blocks are quick to make, and those few extra stitching lines on each corner gives me a nice little collection of tiny bonus HSTs too.  I’ll probably use these little cuties in the border when I finally put the blocks together.

Bow Tie blocks

It’s been a cold, wet, wintry day today so I made some soup in the microwave for lunch.  Lovely creamy parsnip soup, flavoured with a little cooked, chopped bacon.  So tasty, and we enjoyed a bowl of soup with a swirl of cream on top, together with a toasted bread roll for lunch.  I love making soup in the winter, seems such a homely thing to do.

Parsnip soup for lunch

Friday, July 19, 2019

Taking it easy, and a knitting finish

I’ve been rather occupied this week with my medical (day) procedure.  I packed my “hospital bag” with a few things which I may have needed.  This lovely bag was a gift from Jean who blogs at All Points of the Compass.  She sent me this batik bag three years ago when I was having treatment at the hospital for several weeks, and it accompanied me each day.  Thanks so much Jean, I have called it my hospital bag and use it for appointments.

My special bag for day hospital visits

“What’s my name and date of birth” I was asked.  Luckily I knew the answers, but always wonder what happens to the poor old souls who have forgotten such facts.  Guess they have a support person with them who gets them organized before having treatment.  My procedure went well, I’m happy to say, and I got an “all clear”.  As I was dressed and on my way out the door, the doctor merrily called out, “See you again in five years time”.  Much better to go through some discomfort every now and again to get thoroughly checked out - and we are so lucky that hospital care is free here in New Zealand.


One of my goals this week was to finish up some long standing knitting projects.  First was a little baby’s hooded jumper, knitted ages ago.  All I had to do was to sew the hood onto the neck, and hunt for a pretty pink button.  The pattern was “Baby Yeti” and was a freebie on the internet.  This is so pretty that I’ve decided I’ll be tucking it away in my box for future family babies.

Baby Yeti in Pink

Next was to finish up my winter wooly cardigan, made with cream New Zealand 12ply wool.  There's a bit of a story about this wool.  I purchased it many years ago when my two grand-daughters were young, with the aim to make them a cable jumper each.  That didn’t happen, so I decided to knit it up for myself.  This pattern is knitted in one piece for the fronts and back, not something I had done before.  All the knitting was finished, the sleeves, collar and front bands too, and then it got put away again – the story of my life! 


Now at last, it’s all together, and the buttons sewed on.  I’m so pleased it’s finally finished, and I’ll be able to get some wear out of it this winter.  It’s lovely and cozy.

Finished, at last

So that’s been my week, with a couple of nana naps thrown into the mix as well.  I’m feeling much better now, and so pleased I had a good result – I’m always a bit of a worrier about these things.  We found a bottle of bubbly in the cupboard, so we’ve decided to celebrate with a home cooked prawn stir-fry meal and raise a glass of bubbly to ourselves!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Neutral String Quilt–finished

After working steadily on my cot sized string quilt over the weekend, I’m pleased that I finished stitching the binding down last evening (Sunday).  A couple of days ago I took it outside and pinned the layers together ready for machine quilting.  The winter weather was pleasant enough to sit outside under cover and use the patio table for this job.

Getting the safety pins in place

Over the weekend we had atrocious weather, thunder and lightning, strong wind and heavy rain.  At the first clap on thunder Gemma took off, she really doesn’t like loud noises.  After searching for her in her favourite hidey-holes to no avail, we eventually found her tucked away in the wardrobe in my sewing room.  Here she is inside a plastic crate which houses a couple of  UFOs and a  variety of nine patch blocks I’d made ages ago – must do something with those one day soon.  I’d obviously left the lid of the crate last time I rummaged around inside it.

Hiding from the thunder

She was happy to snooze in the wardrobe and keep an eye on me while I sat at the sewing machine.  Finishing off the machine quilting and then attached the  scrappy bright pink  binding.  I had some strips of this colour left over from my Soul Searching quilt, so just had to cut a few more to give me enough length.

Attaching the binding

Then I sat and hand stitched the binding down in front of the TV later that evening.  Gemma insisted on laying stretched out on my lap so I had to work around her.  She really is quite a loving cat and likes to keep close to both of us.

The last step, hand sewing the binding

This morning the weather had cleared so I went outside for a couple of photos.  This quilt will be donated to Foster Hope Charity, for children in foster care.  With even more neutral string blocks tucked away, enough for another child’s quilt or two, I’ve been checking the internet for ideas of how else to use up these blocks.   Has anyone got a great idea I might use?  These blocks have a lot of girly prints like flowers and hearts so they are more suitable for a girl.   Even though this project is finished, I’ll be leaving the string blocks on my list of six to use some more up when dice number one is rolled again.

Ready for a new home

But there will be no rolling the dice this week - I’ll be out of action for a couple of days with a hospital procedure.  I’ll use the rest of the week to hopefully complete my wooly winter cardigan, and work on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.  And whatever else takes my fancy, I’m sure I’ll find plenty to keep me occupied.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Slow Start to the Week

Ours hasn’t been a very well household at all this week.  Robin came down with a dose of “man flu” on Sunday and that clipped his wings for several days.  Then of course, the bug left him behind and hopped over to me.  With a sore throat, coughing, and head aches I was feeling so poorly that I didn’t make it to our monthly quilt guild meeting, much better to be tucked up safe and warm at home, and keep my hacking cough to myself.

Of course, I just had to roll the dice this week on Monday, although I didn’t start sewing for several days.  The dice rolled 1, which is my Chicken Quilt.  For the background I’m using neutral string blocks from Bonnie Hunter’s pattern “Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll” which I made some years ago when the mystery quilt was introduced.  Sadly, that’s as far as I got, and these blocks have been sitting quietly waiting all this time.

String blocks stitched on light Vilene

I’m making a cot sized donation quilt so laid the blocks out four across and six down, then stitched the rows together.

The top assembled

Originally, I had planned on appliqueing a couple of large colourful chickens on this top, (hence the name Chicken Quilt) but I’ve since changed my mind.  The neutral string blocks have a lot more colour than I remembered, so I’ve decided to quilt it and use a colourful binding. I feel that the chicken applique might be too much, and I can use them on a plainer background, sometime in the future.  What do you think – have I made the right decision? 
It’s been put aside today as I was getting a little peaky sitting and stitching away, but will get back to it tomorrow.  We are home this weekend so I should have some spare time to do more on this project, depending how I feel.

I had a bit of “down time” relaxing today in front of the TV, watching “The Great British Sewing Bee”.  This programme is always fun to watch, but I’m sure I couldn’t perform in such a pressure cooker environment.  Slow and steady, that’s me!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Another Sew Wot Tuesday

It was another fortnightly Sew Wot Tuesday today, and we met in Carol’s home.   During Show and Tell I got to show off my recently completed Selvedge Bag.  Then Helen showed some more baby knitting, for a new family arrival, a pretty pink cardigan, and two little hats.

Baby knitting by Helen

Next up was Helen’s king sized quilt, made from the design of 100 Blocks, by Tula Pink.  And yes, there is 100 blocks there, each one different.  This quilt has just come back from being commercially quilted, by Deborah, of Country Life Quilting.

Helen with her king sized quilt

Our hostess Carol had been busy knitting too, and had finished some more baby knitting for charity.

Carol’s baby knitting

Last time the Sew Wots met up, Mary had showed us a couple of easy quilt patterns.  Carol has recently finished a baby sized version of “Twist and Shout”.  This is a good design to use up strips.

Carol’s baby quilt

While we wee flicking through a pile of older quilting magazines to see if there was any that wanted to come home with us, Carol was organizing our morning tea.  The pot of White Tea was a hit with the tea drinkers, not something I had come across before.

Morning Tea for the ladies

Mary arrived a little later with two of her grand-daughters, it’s school holiday time over here.  While the girls had there own little morning tea together, Mary showed us her beautiful Bargello Christmas Quilt, another one expertly quilted by Country Life Quilting.  Mary told us she had pieced this quilt top way back in 2006 on her mother’s treadle sewing machine.  So she is pleased that it is finally completed – but good things take time, don’t they!

Mary’s Christmas quilt

I always enjoy our Sew Wot mornings together.  It’s always good to meet up with the ladies – especially as I have to miss the next two get-togethers due to other appointments.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Slow Stitching on a Wet Weekend

We have just had three rather wet and cold days away in the caravan.  Just as well I had some hand quilting to do.  I’m currently working on the Puriri Wreath block, on my New Zealand Botanical quilt.

A little hand quilting

The rain kept coming down, the wind blew, but we were nice and cozy inside our caravan.  Gemma was interested watching the rain drops trickle down the front window.  And any birds she saw looking for worms outside put her in to a state of great excitement!

Yes Gemma, it’s still raining outside

The weather may have been bad, but the company was good.  We were away with our caravan club friends in Carterton for the weekend, but four of us decided to arrive a day early – just because we could.

Some of our caravans in a row

The camp was very pleasant, nice and tidy with good facilities, and we had the use of a large room to gather in.  In between the showers I went for a walk to see what I could see.  This nicely landscaped corner by the office had a small aviary, with birds chirping inside.  I took a walk around the camp and came across some sheep in the paddock over the fence.  This one must be valued for it’s coloured fleece, I’m sure.  We don't usually see piebald sheep like this, I must say.

Seen on my wander around the camp

As often happens when it is time to go home, Sunday dawned clear and sunny.  Retracing our journey, we headed back through Eketahuna, which calls itself Kiwi Country.  Probably because this little town is not too far from Pukaha National Wildlife Centre, which has bred some rare white kiwis.  The flightless kiwi is our national bird, and the Wildlife Centre is a great place for visitors to stop if they are passing by.

Seen in Eketahuna

Regardless of the weather, we still had a great weekend away, catching up with our caravan club friends.  What’s a little wind and rain in the winter, after all?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A Slow Start

Here it is Wednesday already and I haven’t made much of an impact on my sewing this week.  I’m working on number 3 on my list, a horse panel quilt.  So far I’ve chosen some fabrics to go with it, and cut and stitched some long strips.  That’s all I’ve done so far!


This horse panel was originally purchased some years ago for one or other of my grand-daughters, but they are much too grown up now to want something like this.  With three different panels tucked away in my stash, I’ve decided to add a donation quilt to my list each time I update it and use them up. 

Sewing is over now for the day, in fact for the week, as we are traveling away in our caravan tomorrow (Thursday) for a three day caravan club weekend.  Heavy rain has been falling over the last couple of hours, and it’s too wet to start packing the van.  With any luck, it will have rained itself out overnight and will be a nicer day tomorrow.

Being mid winter, I’ll be sure to pack some warm winter woolies, my stitching bag, a book or two for the weekend away.  I’ve got some nice home made soup to take and made an apricot slice too.  Will pack the rest of the food tomorrow.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Time for a new List

With several items on my list finished, it’s time to write a new List of Six.  As I’ve said before, I’ll never run out of things to do!

No 1:  Chicken quilt.  Replaces NZ Botanical quilt which has moved on to become a hand quilting project.
No 2:   Sampler quilt – hasn’t has it’s number called yet.
No 3:   Horse panel quilt.  Purchased some time ago and this will be made up as a donation quilt.
No 4:  Caravan place mats.  Replaces my just completed Selvedge bag.
No 5:   Christmas Mystery quilt.  Now pieced together and sandwiched, ready for machine quilting.
No 6:  Christmas table runner.  Replaces my UK holiday memory blocks made into a future quilt backing.

Six projects in a row

Yesterday I wanted to make sure that my Christmas Mystery quilt was pinned and sandwiched together, just in case number 5 was rolled this week.  What a job I had getting it all nice and flat.  The trouble is that I don’t have a lot of spare floor room here, and only a smallish table to lay it all out.  The top seemed fine, but when I turned it over to check, there were puckers on the back.  So I had to remove the safety pins, bit by bit, and smooth it out again. 

Today I rolled the dice, and number three came up, the horse panel quilt.  No time to even start on this, the afternoon was taken  up with Robin’s Menz Shed friends who came to hang our new drier on the wall.  Gemma wasn’t at all pleased with the loud voices, bangs and whirring noises coming from the garage, and hid herself away in her box on the cat tower.

Hiding from the loud noises

After 5 years managing without a drier, I decided I wanted one after all.  Not that we tend to use driers a lot here in New Zealand, most of us like to hang our laundry outside in the sun shine and fresh air.  But now it’s winter, there are sure to be cold wet days when a drier will be very handy.  Guess I'll have to read the instruction booklet.

Side by side in the garage, tub, washing machine, chest deep freezer, and new drier installed overhead

Hopefully, I’ll get started on this new project tomorrow, it’s always exciting starting something new, isn’t it.