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

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Secret Socks and a little Stitching

I’m on a sock knitting mission to knit a pair of 4 ply socks for both granddaughters for Christmas.  And then……. my daughter mentioned that she would like a pair too.  Don’t know if I can get three pair done in time, but I’m coming along well with the first two pair.  I’ve completed a pair for granddaughter number 1 and just started on the pair for the younger granddaughter.  No, I’m not showing the socks, they are secret after all, but I’ll show the wool I’m using.  The girls have quite different tastes, not that they know exactly what they will be receiving.


I’ve completed the purple, black and grey socks and just started with this colourful yarn

Also, I’ve been looking through my stitchery projects, with three already started and two more traced out I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.  Two are for gifts, and this one is for me.  It’s a tea towel for the caravan using the iron on transfers from the wonderful Stitcher’s Revolution Camping Adventures series.  I haven't got very far with this one, but I’m working on it!  So far I’ve done a lake, campfire and trees.  There's a caravan in there somewhere.


A little slow stitching

I like these designs so I’m thinking of doing a couple of camping themed embroidered placemats for the caravan too. 

So I’ve plenty do do while we are in Lockdown for a few weeks.  Our planned caravan trip has been deferred, but Gemma enjoys us being at home, laps to sit on and plenty of cuddles.  She certainly keeps us entertained with her antics.  Deciding on a change of view she jumped up to the top of the wall unit, we didn’t even see how she managed that.  And getting down was no trouble either, jumping down from the top in a single leap.


How did she get up there?

Gemma loves her colourful snakey too.  During the day it is usually wrapped around on her cat tower, but at night she pulls it down to play with.  And often leaves it in her water bowl – we are not sure if she is offering snakey a drink or trying to drown it!


No, you cant have my snakey, she is saying

Friday, August 27, 2021

Goodbye Kathleen

This week we fare welled my elder sister Kathleen, who was bravely fighting cancer.  The end came very quickly, and she passed very peacefully, with her husband and two of her children there at her bed side.  Kathleen was only 15 months my senior, but still my big sister in all things. This is my last photo of her and her hubby Dennis, taken earlier this year.


Kathleen and Dennis, with me being “piggy in the middle”


Two little sisters, Kathleen on the left, and me on the right

Kathleen was quite crafty too, doing knitting and sewing when her children were young.  In later years she was an avid cross-stitcher, and stitched many rather detailed pieces.  And I can remembering her up to her arms in the summer season, bottling fruit, and making tomato sauce for her family.

Rest in Peace, we will miss you. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Draw String Bags

I’ve just completed stitching six little drawstring bags for the charity Foster Hope.  These are given for children in foster care, amongst with other items, and they use them to keep their toiletries or pens and pencils in.  Just so you don't thinks I'm Wonder Woman, I have to confess that the bags were stitched, bit by bit, over a period of several weeks – I’m still pacing myself sitting at the sewing machine after my spinal surgery.  Then I had to go and purchase some suitably coloured cord, and the final job was threading it through.  There, all done.  Mmm, it seems that I should be stitching a few extra, suitable for boys.


Drawstring bags for donation

I had a bit of excitement the other day when I had to climb up the drop down ladder in the garage to get to our storage  space in the ceiling.  This always causes me a little apprehension, those wooden treads are rather small and then its a matter of clambering through the hole at the top of the ladder.  Not at all easy, I can tell you, not being young, fit and flexible any more!


Up the ladder

The reason for my trip up the ladder was to put the two little blue toddlers cardigans I had recently completed away.  I have a crate upstairs which has some of my children’s knitting projects tucked away, ready and waiting for any new family arrivals.  There were several items in the crate which I had completely forgotten about!


We are in our second week of lockdown, and we are both pottering around, doing this and that, and tuning in to the 1.00pm TV update every day.  As we have been told, the numbers will get worse before they get better, but the good news is that there has not been a single death so far in this current outbreak.  In fact, the pandemic deaths here in New Zealand have been minuscule, with a total of 26 since the pandemic started in 2020.

Keep safe and well everyone, and we are safely tucked up at home, obeying the rules.  Our planned three week caravan trip is not happening, but hopefully we will be able to get away soon.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Lock Down Stitching

Here in New Zealand the whole country was placed in Lockdown from last Wednesday as the Delta variant had finally arrived on our shores, only a matter of time, we had all been warned.  Robin and I had just enjoyed a trip down to the Hutt Valley to have lunch with friends the previous day.  What we didn’t enjoy on our day out was torrential rain resulting in slips which closed the main road and stopped a train in it’s tracks!  And of course the resulting traffic congestion when all these factors came together.


Lunch date on Tuesday, lockdown on Wednesday

I've been doing a little more Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing, using the nominated colour of aqua, turquoise or teal for the month, and decided to work on my four patch blocks.  This is an extra RSC project which sneaked in a few months ago when I rediscovered a bag of four patches hiding away.  Although I didn't have any aqua ones in the pile, so had to set to and make some.


I’d forgotten about these

So these are my aqua blocks.  The larger two are an idea I borrowed from Academic Quilter’s blog, thanks so much, and the smaller two are framed four patches which I had seen somewhere or other on blogland.


Some for my collection

And here are some of the other four patch blocks I had assembled a while ago, the colours all look nice together.  These blocks will eventually be made into donation quilts.


Some I prepared earlier

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching

It was a lovely day here in my part of the world for some slow Sunday stitching.  It may well be getting to the end of winter, but the sun was out, and our patio area was protected from the cool breeze.  What nicer place to sit outside for an hour or two and enjoy some stitching time.  Gemma kept me company outside for a while, she always takes an interest in any birds she can spot, likes to sniff around before settling down in the warm sun shine.


With several projects to choose from, I decided to spend a little time on my “All through the night” panel by Bonnie Sullivan.  These small panels have not been stitched one at a time, I decided to complete all the leaves and branches on each one, then went back and added all the red berries.  A few of them have been completed some time ago, and I finished off these two today.  Slow and steady – that’s me, but I’ll get there sooner or later!


Two more stitcheries completed today

My other slow finish has been my pair of thick blue wooly socks, there will still be some chilly winter days left I’m sure so I’ll get some wear from them over the next month or so.  I like to have nice cozy feet.


Thick blue winter socks

My other sock knitting is secret socks for number 2 grand-daughter, and then I decided that I would make a pair for the elder grand-daughter as well.  And when we were visiting family last week my daughter mentioned that she would like a pair too!  Goodness me, that’s three pair of 4ply socks!  We will be away for several weeks very soon on a caravan trip, so that should give me an opportunity for plenty of sock knitting in the car as we travel.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Teal/Aqua Cobblestone Blocks

I’ve been busy this week making cobblestone blocks for my RSC project, knowing I had several pieces of this colour in my “big bag of batiks”.  So during the week I cut, pinned and stitched, finishing up today with the pressing and trimming.  Sitting at the sewing machine  may take a while as I pace myself after my spinal surgery, but I get there in the end.


This quilt will eventually be for our bed, and I like the way all the colours go together.  Except for a couple of bright pink blocks which I made some time ago, I’m having second thoughts about them.  Will wait till all the blocks are done and see what I think then.

Our beautiful Birman Gemma has a new favourite  toy.  This is a freebie shopping bag I got from the supermarket which folds up into a bright orange carrot.  Gemma loves to play with it, holds the carrot in her front paws and beats it to death with her back feet!  Here she is in one of her favourite places, enjoying the morning winter  sunshine coming in the front windows.  As the sun comes round during the day, this is a very sunny room indeed.  


Gemma subduing her carrot

Thursday, August 12, 2021

In Bed with Elvis

Where did this happen, you are probably wondering?  My neurosurgeon had requested an MRI of my spine to check on his handywork.  So I presented myself bright and early for my appointment to Pacific Radiology in Palmerston North.  What music would you like, I was asked?  After thinking about it I decided on Elvis, after all, I fell in love with his wonderful voice when my girlfriend’s brothers used to buy his records way back then in  years gone by.


So there I was, laying on my back, headphones on, cocooned inside the MRI machine for an hour, listening to Elvis.  I particularly like his ballads, although he had to compete with the very loud noises, rather like a jack hammer I always think.  “Love me tender, bang bang bang, love me true, click click, bang bang”  you get the picture, I’m sure.  I know a lot of people don't really like being enclosed in an MRI, in fact I remember my Mother calling it the big gobbly machine!  I have had several of these procedures, and personally don't have any problems having it done.  The time didn’t seem like 60 minutes to me so perhaps I nodded off for a while, I was certainly warm and comfy. (Not so much in previous times when I had to lay on my tummy with my arms outstretched over my head.)   And I’m just so grateful that this procedure is funded by the Health Dept., as it is very expensive, I believe.

I had a few donations to drop off in Palmy, first stop was to the Hospice Shop with a bag of assorted patchwork bits and pieces.  Unwanted fabrics, reels of cotton, patchwork blocks, a bag of selvedges, all looking for new homes.  Then it was time to drop off my donations to the Foster Hope charity-  I hadn't made a donation for some time and thigs were mounting up.  Knitted beanies, blue scarf, draw string bags, and three quilts, they are all sure to find good homes.


Donations for Foster Hope

By this time, it was lunch time, so we made our way to the mall.  I was gasping for a coffee by this stage as I had to be “nil by mouth” for my early morning appointment.  Finding a car park in the mall was not easy, as the top parking area had been closed off.  Because it was not stable we were told!  What’s to stop it falling down on us below, I asked Robin?  Remember – we live in an earthquake prone country.  Hopefully the problem will be resolved so I won’t have to worry, or maybe we will just park outside in future.    While waiting for our lunch orders to arrive, I enjoyed my first coffee of the day.  Robin decided a chocolate milkshake was more to his liking.


A chocolate milkshake for Robin

With a couple of of things ticked off our list, it was time to head home, and we arrived back to find a courier parcel on our doorstep, from grand-daughter Megan.  Wonder what it is?  Inside was a jar of honey, with a note saying it was made from the hives on the property where she is staying.  How kind is that!


Honey from Megan

It had been a lovely day for a drive, calm and sunny after some previous bad weather.  And just look at the snow on the Tararua Ranges behind our home.


Sunday, August 8, 2021

A Day in the Country

You know you are in rural surroundings when you see hay bales stacked on the road side.  Purple ones, at that, and some sporting funny faces!  Always good to stop and check them out.


Purple wrapped hay bales

We were visiting daughter Nicky and her family for lunch, and they live on 10 hectares or so in the Manawatu area.  Driving onto the property, we were challenged by Noodle, the dog, he obviously didn’t remember us from last time.  But once we were  settled down inside, he decided that if Nicky was happy we were visiting, he was too, and came and lay by my feet.  The other pet was PK, their young tortoise-shell cat who does such a great job hunting mice and rats, and sadly some native birds as well.


PK watching the funny lady with the camera

Two cushions I had made for Nicky were on the sofas, so of course I had to take their photo as well.  It’s always nice to see our hand made gifts well used and loved, isn't it.


Two cushions I had made for Nicky

After a yummy lunch I went out with Nicky to check on the chooks.  There are four of them and they came running when she appeared with food scraps in the bowl.  And yes, there were eggs to collect too.



There were three new lambs as well, but they were too far away for me to walk over the rough ground.  The family have two beef cattle fattening, about a dozen sheep, but the main interest is horses.

Grand-daughter Megan was feeling a little tired after coming off night shift, following a full day at work.  She popped in for lunch, and to catch up with the grand-parents, before heading home for a good rest.


Megan, me and Noodle the dog

It was so nice to catch up with everyone again, have a delicious home cooked meal, and to deliver birthday gifts for Nicky and Robert.  Not too mention checking out the chickens, always fun to do. 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Sew Wot Tuesday

This time our Sew Wot Tuesday was at Sandra’s home.  Her two dogs were out on the deck and really, really, wanted to come inside and see the ladies.  But not everyone copes with dogs very well, so they were relegated to the deck instead, where they looked longingly through the glass doors.  I had taken along a big bag of threads, courtesy of my neighbour who had moved to a rest home.  I had already made my selection and there were plenty left to share, including some variegated machine quilting threads, and I’m pleased to report that most of the reels found new homes.  I’m still working my way through the last box of “stuff” I received when my neighbour left, and hopefully I’ll get to the end of it soon.


Plenty of thread to share

Show and Tell is always the highlight of our mornings and Carol had brought along four knitted toys, she really is a whizz on making these.  She had made a bunny, a piggy, a grey pussy cat and a pretty pink koala, some littlies will love playing with these.


Cute knitted toys

Carol was also finishing a quilt for her grandson Nathan, almost ready to be posted away.


Made for a grandson

Mary had completed a pretty little cardigan and this will be put away in her Granny box for a future grandchild.  It’s always a good idea to have a few things in reserve, just in case.  And knitting for babies is always nice to do.


Mary’s show and tell

Helen and Mary were stitching away on their EPP projects, and Heather, Sandra, Carol and myself were knitting as we chatted away.  Heather’s socks were using up sock wool from other projects, that's Franken-knitting I told her – a term she hadn't heard before.


Heather’s socks

It was another lovely morning, with a tasty morning tea served, as usual.  Thanks so much to Sandra for hosting us.  I wont be able to attend the next couple of Sew Wots get-togethers as we have appointments scheduled, plus a caravan trip coming up.


We always enjoy our morning teas