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

Saturday, January 30, 2021

A Little More Pink

It’s the last Saturday for pink stitching for those of us working on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge with Angela at So Scrappy blog.  I had received some pink batik fabric in the mail when I did a trade with blog reader Karen recently, thanks Karen, so made three more pink cobblestone blocks.


Three more cobblestone blocks


Pink cobblestones for the month

More pink sewing has also been completed recently and I’ve made two little lined drawstring bags for the Foster Hope Charity – the foster kids can use these for toiletries or pencils and pens.  No cord is these two yet, as I was unable to find what I was looking for on my last trip out.


Two drawstring bags, still minus the cords

We are off next week on a three week road trip in the caravan, so when Angela announces the new colour for February, I won’t be starting till we return home.  Never mind, hopefully I’ll be able to catch up quickly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Caravanning and Knitting

We enjoyed a three day weekend way with our caravan club friends, staying in the grounds of Oroua Downs School 30kms away up SH1.  The Maori name Oroua means “place of dredging for shellfish” with the coast not too far away.   The wind blew, and blew, and blew even harder, meaning that it was only comfortable to sit outside on the day we arrived,  buffeting the caravan and trying it’s very best to whistle back down through the Range Hood over the oven.  After that, with the addition of rain, we made good use of the school hall.

Gemma wasn’t too upset about the weather and spent most of the weekend stretched out on the caravan bed., only stirring now and again to demand her next meal.   Cats have the best of lives, don’t they.


Don’t bother me, I’m resting

Saturday was a free day, and we met back in the hall and ate our respective evening meal together.  Originally we had planned to BBQ, but it was much too windy, and then the rain came down.  What’s happened to Summer, I wonder?  This was followed by shared desserts, when everyone brought along a plate of something scrummy, I particularly remember the trifle, meringues and chocolate balls, all rather delicious.  Meant to take a photo or two, but obviously we were too busy eating.

Then on Sunday morning we traveled up the Woolshed Café up SH1 just before Sanson for Morning Tea.   What’s that in the garden, it’s a Moa!  You wont find any of these wandering around these days. The Maori people arrived in New Zealand sometime before 1300, and all moa genera were soon driven to extinction by hunting and, to a lesser extent, by habitat reduction due to forest clearance. By 1445, all species of moa had become extinct, along with the mighty  Haast's eagle, which had relied on them for food.


Woolshed Café for Morning Tea

There were two large tables set aside for our group.  Some decided on a late breakfast or early lunch, while others had the usual cabinet food such as cheese scones (yummy) or various cakes on offer.  All with tea or coffee, of course.  There was a great selection of gift items available, and I purchased something to put aside for one of the grand-daughters for later in the year.


Our bunch of happy campers.

As Monday was Wellington Anniversary we enjoyed a three day weekend away.  Many thanks to Barry and Dianne for donating lovely fresh plums from their orchard for us. On returning home my crock pot (slow cooker) has some simmering away, we will enjoy some cooked plums for breakfast.  Another good rally, and so nice to catch up with everyone again.  And as expected, once back home in Levin, that pesky wind is nowhere to be seen.

Then today, Tuesday, I drove up to my LQS Fox’s Cottage to join in the ladies in the knitting morning.  This is a casual get-together, and as my Tuesday are often rather busy, I get there when I can.  As well as the knitters, customers often come into the class room for a chat and to see what everyone is doing.


Fox’s Cottage

I had taken along two knitting projects for the morning, unsure which one I might feel like working on – a child’s blue cardigan, using up left over yarn from my recently completed jumper.  And another pair of socks, knitted in 4 ply this time instead of the more usual thicker yarn I had been using.  The socks won so I happily knitted and chatted for a couple of hours.


Two knitting projects

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Working outside in the sun shine

There is nothing nicer that spending an hour or so outside on the patio in the sunshine.  So what was I working on?  Another pair of socks, and a mystery bag, which Gemma found so interesting.  And no, she shouldn't really be up on the table, but cats do what they want, don't they.


Mmmm, wonder what’s in this bag?

It didn’t take too long to finish the toe shaping on my second sock, and get it stitched up.  These are nice warm woolen socks, knitted with 12 ply wool, knitted on two needles with a seam up one side.  Just what I need to keep my toes warm come winter.


My new socks

As for whatever is in that mystery bag, it didn’t even get looked at.  This is yet another rather old project, and I’ll get it finished, sooner or later, I hope.  The nice sunny weather has now gone, replaced by wind, rain and rather chilly temperatures.

It’s Thursday down here in my part of the world, Wednesday in USA, and Inauguration Day.  We set the alarm clock for 5.30am to watch the ceremony, and were so pleased that it all went off so well, without any riots, demonstrations, or upsets.  Wishing USA peace and healing to recover from the turbulent times you have all been through.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

One More RSC Project

I had always intended adding another Rainbow Scrap Challenge project to the mix.  And why not, taking part in the RSC gives me the chance to start a project which I’ve been thinking about for ages.  I have this bag full of batik fabrics which has been hiding in the wardrobe for a long time, out of sight, but not necessarily forgotten.  As often happens with me, these fabrics were going to be turned into a project which didn't go ahead.  Now, I’ve decided, they really need to become cobblestone blocks, a nice big quilt for our bed.


A big bag of batiks

I don't have all colours of the rainbow in this bag.  Mainly purples, teal, jade, cream, tan, a little green, so I will just make blocks each month when I can lay my hands on the colour chosen.  Not too much pink, although I found enough to stitch four blocks today, so that’s a good start. 


Four pink cobblestone blocks

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Time to Roll the Dice Again

It’s been a while, but on Monday I decided it was time to roll the dice again.  Which number would get to the top of the list, I wondered?  It was number 1, my strings blocks, nice to work on this one again.  Last time it looked like this, with the blocks all stitched together.


This little cot quilt needed a border, so that was the first step this week.  I added a cream border, and took it outside to the patio table one warm sunny afternoon to pin it all together.


All pinned, ready for quilting

Several days later, the quilting was complete, and the burgundy binding stitched on.  This was hand stitched down while watching CNN News – we don’t usually watch this channel, but after the attack on the Capitol building (and democracy) last week, we feel compelled to keep up with the news.  I must admit I felt sick to my stomach to watch the attack unfold.  Anyway, back to quilting.  Here is my little cot quilt completed, it is backed by a nice cozy flannel, and will be donated shortly.


Donation cot quilt, all done

I’ve probably mentioned that I’ve been using up my pile of neutral string blocks, and this is the third donation quilt I’ve made from them.  These were originally stitched to be part of “Roll Roll, Cotton Boll”, a mystery quilt by Bonnie Hunter, which I didn’t continue with.  I’m pleased to say that all these blocks have now been used, with the final two being stitched into a draw string bag which I donate to Foster Hope Charity for children to use.


The final two neutral string blocks

But……… although I’ve used up my original supply of neutral string blocks, I just couldn't help myself and dived into the big bag of various width strings to make some more.  These are made with colourful strings, and I have stitched enough for another quilt.  (And there are heaps more still to use, funny how that works, isn’t it).  This means that number one on my List of Six will still be String Blocks for the new roll of the dice!


I’ve stitched some new string blocks

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Aotearoa Blooming

This wall hanging was actually completed just prior to Christmas, so I can claim it as a 2020 finish, just didn’t have time to blog about it during the Christmas rush.  Aotearoa Blooming features nine stitchery blocks, adapted from Jenny Hunter’s applique patterns, which were printed in the New Zealand Quilter magazine in the late 1990s. 

After bookmarking these patterns in the magazines for such a long time, I decided that I would prefer to do them as stitcheries.  The first of the prepared blocks came along on our 10 week South Island caravan holiday back in early 2018.  There is nothing nicer than sitting in a campsite, enjoying the fresh air and stitching away.  The first block completed was the Pururi Wreath.  I decided to use the same dark green thread in all the blocks, and it was my mission to call into several hand craft shops as we traveled around, looking for more of this particular colour perle thread.


Pururi Wreath

This was always going to be a slow stitching project and I mainly stitched these blocks while away on caravan trips.  When all the stitcheries were finally completed, I assembled the quilt top, adding borders using cream fabric printed with New Zealand flowers for the borders.  Then I decided that as the blocks were all hand stitched, I should hand quilt this project as well.  So I did, stitching away from time to time, in-between other projects..  Finally, I was finished, added the binding, the hanging sleeve, and a label.  All done!

P1010501 P1010504

Front and back


Hanging in place

Aotearoa Blooming was a joy to stitch, one block at a time. Trees and flowers featured are puriri, puawananga clematis, poroporo, kowhai, pohutukawa, alpine buttercup, Chatham island forget-me-not, karaka, kotukutuku.  Many thanks to the very talented Jenny Hunter for her beautiful designs.

In case you are wondering, Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand, meaning “Land of the Long White Cloud”.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Checkerboards and Four Patches

I’ve been “head down” doing some Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing this week.  Top of the list was to get my Checkerboard quilt assembled and add the borders.  First of all I laid all the blocks out on top of our bed, and rearranged the colours till I was happy with the arrangement.  It went from this…..


Sewing the borders on


To this…….top completed

I need to purchase some fabric for the backing, so that is the next step.  Ideally, this donation quilt will be given to an older boy – I’ll be doing some simple quilting on it to finish it off.

It’s always interesting coming across something which you had forgotten all about, isn’t it.  While fossicking amongst some bags tucked away in a crate in the wardrobe, I rediscovered these 4 patches.  Goodness knows what I was making them for, but I had stitched an assortment of green, red and yellow.  So I whipped up some pink ones in this month’s colour, and just like that, I have another RSC project in the mix.  I’m sure these will come in handy for another donation quilt by the end of the year.


Found 4 patches, plus a few new ones

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Packing Up

Gemma let her feelings known, Christmas is over and it’s time to pack it all away, she thinks.  Why else would she be taking a swipe at Santa and knock him over?  She does look a little guilty, doesn’t she?


Poor Santa

So the last day or two I’ve been packing the Christmas  things away, and putting the normal things back in place.  The brass needed a bit of attention, so I sat outside on the patio, rubber gloves on, cleaner and cloths to the ready, and started a little polishing.  These jugs usually reside on the windowsill in the dining room, and had been temporarily replaced with a trio of “golden” Christmas trees for the season. 


Bertie the crocodile is practically a family heirloom and used to reside in my parent’s home.  He got a bit of a clean and buff up too before being replaced in his usual position.  I believe that these crocodiles were made in the Railway Workshops in the Hutt Valley years ago, and just about every employee took one home.  Ill gotten gains, on reflection, but I'm rather fond on good old Bertie the nut cracker.


Cleaning the brass

I’ve had a bit of culture too, and went to the movies with a friend to see Blithe Spirit, by Noel Coward.  Previously, I had seen this on stage, so I was keen to see how it would be as a film.  Very enjoyable, with the fabulous Judi Dench, who accidentally calls up the spirit of her clients first wife.  Good fun, gorgeous fashions, and of course Noel Coward’s wonderful writing.


An afternoon at the movies

There has been time for a little stitching too, and I’ve been putting together the blocks for my RSC checkerboard project.  So I’m getting there slowly.


Assembling the checkerboard quilt

Our weather has ben nice, so we have been enjoying time outdoors when we can, and cooked a tasty roast chicken on the BBQ the other evening.  Our Weber cooks roast so well, and of course the smell is always mouth watering.  I cooked extra veggies inside.


Roast Chicken dinner

So that’s been my first week in the New Year, have you been busy too, or just relaxing  over the holiday season?

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Pink and Brown

It’s the New Year, 2021,  and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is up and running again.  Pink is the colour of the month, and many thanks to Angela of So Scrappy for hosting this again.  How many taking part, I wonder, have been procrastinating like I have about what to do this year for RSC?  I’ve been thinking of various options, changed my mind several times, and then finally decided what to do.  I like to make donation quilts for children, and doing a few blocks each month makes it easy and interesting.  So these are two of my RSC projects for 2021.  There could well be another one later on.

Just for a change, I’m doing an applique block for the girl’s quilt, which will have an alternate block in-between later on.  For this month  I’ve stitched three pink birdies.


Three pink birds

And for a young boy’s quilt, I decided to stitch some simple ship blocks.  I never know when a ship is a boat, or vice versa, something to do the size, I imagine.  Someone clever is sure to know the answer.  But I couldn’t make pink ships/boats for a boy, could I, so I went with brown instead.  Each is sailing on the briny blue sea.    And instead of rushing out to the LQS to get some sea fabric, I decided to make use of what I had, and found two different blues in my stash which will do the trick.   These are quick and easy to make, which is always a bonus.


Blocks for a boy’s donation quilt

And then taking hardly any time at all, I quickly stitched up some pink flag blocks.  This design was a RSC late starter last year, so I am carrying it over to this year as well.


Easy pink flag blocks

It will be fun to see what others will be stitching for their  RSC projects this month. There’s sure to be lots of pretty pink projects appearing on the link-up.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Looking Back at 2020

What a year it has been, what with the global pandemic throwing a spanner in the works.  So it has been interesting to look back through the blog posts to see what I’ve managed to achieve this year.  Some old projects finally finished, plus a few new ones, and I enjoyed taking part in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again this year.

I finished my Autumn stitchery in February.  Hand embroidered and hand quilted, I really enjoyed stitching this little wall-hanging - this is a free pattern from Crabapple Hill Studio.


Autumn stitchery

Several items were stitched for the caravan.  Christmas Coins was an idea copied from Jocelyn of Canadian Needle Nana blogspot, and I made my version into a tablecloth to use in the caravan over the Christmas holidays.  Using up some birthday fabric featuring caravans, I stitched an apron, placemats, and a small bag to carry Robin’s can of beer and a glass to Happy Hour.



Sewing for the caravan

Tane Mahuta was finished in April wwhile the country  was in lockdown, and was inspired by the Tiny Tree stitch-along by Temecula Quilt Co.   Using two New Zealand batik designs, kowhai tree and ferns, I decided to make the blocks a little bigger and stitched pinwheel blocks instead of the multiple block designs which were offered.  I like to imagine the two fabrics show sunlight filtering down through the branches of this magnificent tree.  My little wall hanging is a tribute  to Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest, which is New Zealand’s largest known living kauri tree.  Growing in the Waipoua Forest of Northland, New Zealand it is  estimated to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years old.


Tane Mahuta

Under the Sea was one of those long winded projects I was pleased to complete.  Under the Sea was a free stitchery  Block of the Month sew-along, by Willowberry Designs.  I increased the size of each block, and certainly enjoyed stitching each one.  The whimsical designs are highlighted with fabric pens. Although these blocks were stitched in 2010, they were packed away and took me all this time to find them again and complete the quilt.  I’m keeping this one for future great-grandbabies.


Under the Sea

My great-niece Kate turned 21 and had requested a blue cushion so I was happy to oblige.  This was during our second partial lockdown so we were unsure if we could actually attend her party or not.  But there was a last minute reprieve when the levels went down, allowing for gatherings to take place.


Kate’s 21st Birthday Cushion

My pin wheel travel blocks from our UK trip in 2008 as finally made into a table cloth in September.  I remember taking my bag of blocks and pen everywhere we went and asking people to sign them.  While in England we travelled far and wide, visiting castles and cathedrals  and all sorts of interesting places.   I have signed blocks from Dover Castle, Bodium Castle, Hampton Court Palace, and the amazing Buckingham Palace!  Although the Queen was not there to greet us, we were certainly impressed with the beautiful state rooms, all done out in crimson, white and gold – such a sight to see.


Lots of memories in these blocks

And I’m pleased to have completed two of my RSC projects.  I’m so pleased with my Colourpoint Cats, beautifully quilted by Linda of Taupo.  Ans my Selvedge Spools is a pretty addition to the sewing room.


Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects completed this year

But I have to say that I’m most proud of my socks!  The blue pair took me a couple of years to finally get to the finish line.  But once I had some extra tuition and finally mastered those tricky heels and toes, I went on to knit even more, deciding them I wanted them to be a little longer in the top.  These cozy socks are knitted with 12ply wool, so will need hand washing, not that it will be a problem, and come next winter, I’ll have the warmest toes in town!


My new wool socks

As well I’ve stitched five children’s donation quilts, made a dozen or so draw string bags, all for the Foster Hope Charity.  Plus knitted umpteen little baby beanies to donate as well.  These little hats are quite enjoyable to knit, and I have used up all my partial balls of wool which have been hanging about for ages. These three blue/white ones were knitted on a recent caravan trip away and used up the ends of some left over wool.


Three more baby beanies


And celebrated my 75th birthday, so all in all, it’s been quite a busy year!

Many thanks to all blog followers, and those who take the time to add a comment  or two, it is much appreciated.  It has been so nice to follow other blogs as well, see what is happening in other countries, and admire your projects too.  Wishing you all a safe and happy New Year, keep calm and keep stitching.