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

Thursday, March 31, 2022

My First Sew Wots of the Year

It’s been a long time coming, meeting up with my Sew Wot friends this year.  Mainly because Robin and I were away on one caravan trip after another in the first couple of months of 2022.  Then one or two of our meetings got cancelled because of Covid concerns.  So it was great to finally make it on Tuesday.  We met at Helen’s rural home, and her new Rottweiler dog greeted me.  I was initially a bit concerned as he was rather big hadn’t met me before, but Helen had obviously told him to be nice and friendly to the visitors. 

Although only four of us were able to attend, there was plenty of Show and Tell.  Sandra had  something special to show, a wonderful New York Beauty.  She had pieced all those little itty bitty points using thin vinylene instead of paper, which seems a very sensible way to go, and a method I’ve used myself on my Sawtooth Cats quilt.  Sandra had stitched her quilt using beautiful batiks, and it looked gorgeous.


Sandra’s New York Beauty

The next quilt had a lovely story.  Our Sew Wot group was donated a set of blocks of the month, all in the original packaging from Zola’s husband when she passed away.  Carol made all the blocks and did the quilting, then Heather returned the quilt to the hubby, and he is donating it to the Hospice.  His wish was for Zola’s stash to be used for donation quilts, if possible.


Made in Zola’s memory, and donated to the Hospice

Heather had been busy and stitched up not one, not two but three donation quilts.  Didn’t she do well!


Made by Heather

Helen hadn’t been idle either.  Out came her Nebula Star Tula Pink quilt, made from pieced diamonds.  Obviously such a lot of precise piecing went into this.  It might be a bit hard to see in the photo, but all the pale background is pieced diamonds too.


Helen’s Nebula Star

Then she showed a pretty pink and grey star quilt, this is going to her 10 year old grand-daughters.


Made for Helen’s grand-daughter

Helen enjoys knitting for her grand children and had two items to show us.  The sleeveless hooded jacket is a great favourite with the grandies and she has knitted several of these.  And the little jumper was such a nice pattern that a couple of us went home with a copy to knit our own versions.


Knitting for grand children

We had a great morning.  It goes without saying that the home baked morning tea was delicious, the company was great, and hopefully we will all meet up again in two weeks time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Socks, Bags, and Family

I’m obviously in the groove with knitting socks, and spent a nice sunny morning stitching up the side seam on my burgundy socks. (My socks are knitted on two needles with a side seam, can’t cope with little pointy sock needles).  I used my favourite bodkin for this task, although I have no idea where it came from.  It’s been in my pin container since time immemorial, it seems, and does a great job  of stitching up knitted items.


Stitching up socks with my bodkin

I’ve knitted two pairs of socks in this yarn.  One for me and one for a birthday gift, do hope she likes them when the time comes.  Luckily they are all done in plenty of time.  Now I can get on with knitting another pair of socks each for the grand daughters, they went on the internet with me and selected their own colour for their new socks. 


One pair for me, and one pair for her

Draw string bags for Foster Hope children have been on the agenda too.  This time I chose some fabric suitable for boys as well, and I’m sure a girl will enjoy the black cat bag.


Bags for Foster Hope children

And I made a new draw string peg bag for the caravan, to replace a rather tatty one which as past it’s best.  I had just enough of the grey caravan fabric, and it turned out quite well, I thought.  I don’t do laundry on trips if we are only away for the weekend, of course, but longer trips of a week or two send me off to the laundromat.


Peg bag for the caravan

We attended a family birthday party last week in Wainuiomata, to celebrate my younger sister Karla’s 65th birthday.  I can remember the night she was born at home, she was several weeks early and came with a rush, as we found out later.  My older sister and I (12 and 11 years old) were woken up with our mother calling out to us.  With no phone in the house, we had to run up the road in our dressing gowns and slippers in the dead of night, knock loudly on our neighbour’s door to wake her up, and get her to phone for an ambulance.  Which finally arrived and whisked mother and baby away to hospital.  No wonder it was a night to be remembered!  I’ve got no idea what happened then to us two girls, a neighbour must have taken care of us until our mother came back home from hospital I expect.


Me with Karla


Birthday Cake

Several hours later it was time to head back to Levin.  But not before we drove around Wainuiomata to see all the changes since we were last there.  And I wanted to check out my very first house, we moved in to “Nappy Valley” as the place was called in the late 60s.  Back then, house prices were relatively affordable for young couples who were prepared to work hard, and we got a Government funded house loan, and cashed in the  Family Benefit.  We had two pre-school children, both of us were working, and my hubby at the time had an evening job as well.  We moved in with no carpets or curtains, and second hand everything.  I came home from full time work, (no car so bus and train ride each way),  collected the children, made the meal, put them to bed, then sat and sewed curtains each night.  Difficult, of course, but we were young, and we managed.   I had to stop and take a photo of that very first house, wonder what the neighbours thought when a strange lady jumped out of the car with her camera! 


My first home

Saturday, March 26, 2022

More Yellow for RSC

Still stitching yellow this month – except for my Scotty dogs as I didn't have any yellow tartan or plaids.  What about fawn/beige instead, that will do.  So here are three new dogs, added to the red ones stitched in January.  February was a non event, as I didn't have any suitable fabric in teal.  These blocks are bordered in black.  I’m enjoying making these little Scotty dogs, wonder how many I will end up with?


Scotty dog blocks

Happy blocks for my boy’s donation quilt were next in line, nice and simple to stitch.  These squares were bordered in yellow and golds.


This month’s Happy blocks


All together

And lastly, a string block in yellow.  This project has been carried over from last year and are 12in blocks.


12in string blocks

But the string blocks didn't stop there.  I decided to stitch a set of 9in string blocks as well, and have caught up with the 2022 colours, also adding a block in browns.


9in string blocks

Well, that’s it for March, wonder what colour will be chosen for April?

Monday, March 21, 2022

Things to do, places to go

It’s been a busy old time these last several days.  I was booked in for my annual mammogram in Palmy and we had a caravan rally to attend the following day.  So to cut down on all the extra driving to and fro we decided to take the caravan and stay in a rural POP (Park over Property) on Wednesday for two nights while we attended my appointment and carry on to the rally from there.  That worked out well.  Gemma enjoys coming away with us and was rather intrigued with the cattle she could see out the window.  They were busy wandering around the paddock, munching on the grass, slurping in the water trough  and making strange bovine type noises. 


What are though strange creatures out the window?

Thursday was mammogram day, and I’m so grateful that I get these annual mammograms free of charge as a follow up to my breast cancer diagnosis six years ago.  This didn't take too long at all, and in these Covid times I had to keep my mask on while the procedure took place, as did the staff too, of course.  The results will be sent to my oncologist, all clear I hope, and I will have an appointment with her again shortly.


Ready to go in

We had lunch at Joe’s Garage and after scanning in and and showing our Covid Passports, we were ushered to a table.  What to have?  We both ordered “Gorgeous George” bacon, eggs, and potatoes, although I swapped my bacon for smoked salmon.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I love salmon.  Followed by a nice hot coffee each, it was a very satisfying lunch.


Lunch at Joe’s Garage Café

A little shopping took place, including these pretty food themed pieces I purchased from the quilt shop, to complete some projects I’m working on.  I’ve been looking for something like this for a while, so I’m pleased I finally found what I wanted.


Just what I wanted

Then on Friday we drove to the Pohangia School Reserve for our caravan club rally.  This old school domain is a lovely place to stay.  Surrounded with beautiful mature trees, as can be imagined, the bird song is delightful.  Camping in the domain is free of charge, and for a reasonable fee, the club hired the old school room for us to use in the evenings.  It’s Autumn here now and although the days are still nice and sunny, the evenings are getting rather chilly.  There is a playground and swimming pool in the grounds, and the local children make good use of these facilities.


Staying at Pohangia

On Saturday morning three cars set off for a bit of exploring.  Our first stop was to check out the camp at Totara Reserve.  Then we drove on to Bartlett’s Ford but…….. ended up turning the wrong way taking a very long scenic road along a never ending gravel road through the hills, kicking up clouds of dust as we drove along.  The dust caked back window on our 4WD was testament to the gravel road we had travelled over.  Eventually we arrived at the tiny settlement of Apiti, where we stopped for a quick lunch.


Just look at all that dust!

Our trip to Bartlett’s Ford had to be put on hold as the club was booked in for afternoon tea back at Pohangia at 2.00pm.  We were running a little late, and phoned through to the rally family to tell them we would meet them at the café as soon as we could.  Afternoon tea was great, scones with cream and jam, served with coffee or tea, and very welcome after our driving adventure. 


Who doesn't like scones with jam and cream

Cartwheel Creamery is a small local cheese making enterprise and the makers visited us in camp with their delightful range.  It was like bees around the honey pot as everyone crowded around to see what was on offer.  It’s no secret that I love a nice cheese so purchased three varieties plus some keto crackers.


I love fancy cheese

Our BBQ had a good workout during the weekend, with Robin cooking chicken kebabs on Friday night and lamb chops on Saturday.  And as well, our usual Sunday morning bacon and eggs too.  For a change, he cooked the eggs in a slice of bread, which ends up toasted,  delicious indeed.


Sunday breakfast cooked on the BBQ

Grand-daughter Megan and her boyfriend Michael came up to see us on Sunday morning with some exciting news.  They have just purchased a house and will be moving in next week.  Plus a new corgi puppy will be joining them.  I’m already planning on a little something to stitch for a house warming gift.  We are so pleased for them, buying a home with the prices increasing so much here makes it very difficult for young people these days.  We were all chatting away so much I forgot to take pictures.

As usual, it was a very pleasant weekend away with our caravan buddies, and we will be doing it all again in several weeks time.


Hello from Gemma

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Project Bags

It was time to make some more project bags to corral my UFOs.  As much as I admire the bags often seen in blogland made with a zipped clear plastic front, these bags look a little too difficult for me to make.  My bags are simple draw string bags, made with netting, and finished with patchwork fabric and cord.  Much easier to achieve, and work just as well to house my projects.  After all, who wants to store their precious sewing in plastic bags?  Not me.


I used up some more of the seemingly never ending supply of four patches on the base of one bag, in reds and purples.  And for the first time I added pretty blocks to the front of two others, I don’t usually bother with this step.  But I found two pretty pieces amongst the boxes of fabrics I received from my next door neighbour when she went into care, so there they are, put to a good use and out of my stash.  Although rather stiff to sew, the netting softens with use.  And for those of us over a certain age, who can remember wearing net petticoats under our full skirted rock’n’roll dresses?

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Still Knitting Socks

My sock knitting is coming along well.  I’m half way through a second pair of burgundy socks, having now done those tricky heels.  I need to sit quietly with my pattern and mark off each row when I do the heels – its a good idea to sit outside on the patio by myself while I’m concentrating, I find.  The first pair was finished a while ago and didn't get the side seams sewn up while I was busy knitting those three pair of secret socks for Christmas.  I’m doing one pair for myself and the other pair to gift.  I love the colours in this wool, they will be nice and cozy for winter.


Burgundy socks

Another pair of socks finished earlier and only just sewn up is this pair of Franken-socks – made from left over yarn from my earlier sock making efforts.  The grey was left over from a pair of mine, the shaded purply-blue on the tops was from my granddaughter Emma’s Christmas socks, and the navy stripes and toes in the feet was left over from my daughter’s Christmas socks.  The three yarns all came together nicely to  make another nice warm pair to tuck away in my sock drawer.



My grand-daughters were thrilled with their Christmas socks and commented that they were the first pair of hand knitted socks they ever had.  Since they appreciated them so much I decided I would knit them another pair each.  Last time we visited them we spent a little time together on the wool website and they chose their own yarn for their new socks.  Emma chose “Flower Garden” and Megan’s choice was “Lilac Scent”.  When I complete my current socks I’ll start on these two, no hurry as they will get them later in the year, birthdays or maybe Christmas.


More socks to come

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Yellow Four Patches

Today I've been concentrating on yellow four patches for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing.  This project has been carried over from last year, when I discovered a bag of four patch units I had stitched up for another project, whatever that was.  And I had an awful lot yellow ones to play with this month.  So I stitched some into the blocks at the top, not sure of the name, but I know  I saw the idea on RSC some time ago.  Then two more four patch blocks were framed, so that’s two projects I’m working on with these four patch blocks.  


Four patch blocks in yellow

But I still had some left over.  So I stitched four together to make the front of a little draw string donation bag for Foster Hope.


Little bag

I must admit I’m just about over all these four patches now.  But I’ll still need to stitch a few more blocks for both projects to have enough for two quilts for donation.  As for Gemma, she couldn’t care less.  She just snoozes the day away, but makes sure she is up and about at dinner time.  Here she is curled up on the base of her scratching post, with her colourful “Snakey” toy on the carpet behind her.


Gemma is happy and content

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

This and that

I’m making the most of these lovely warm 25deg temperatures and spending some time outside on the patio under the Archgola.  Mornings and late afternoons are best, as the sun comes beating down in the middle of the day.  I like to take knitting or stitching outside and enjoy the pleasant warmth.  It’s so nice and warm I’ve even got my shorts on, that’s how nice it is!


A little knitting in the morning

With all the terrible happenings in Ukraine lately I’ve noticed some blue and yellow, the colour of Ukraine’s flag,  patchwork blocks appearing on blogland.  I remembered I had something started in blue and yellow too from some time ago, so went on a hunt through a crate or two.  Yes, I found some nine patch blocks,  plus some pretty pastel pink and blue ones too.  I’ll leave these out to ponder, and think what I should make.  Another find was a pussy cat cot quilt, all pinned up and ready to quilt.  I did wonder where that had got to, so now it’s been found, that’s another job to do.


Look what I found tucked away

I really want to finish quilting my boat quilt, but had put it away while we were on our various caravan travels.  It’s now been resurrected, and I’m slowly machine quilting the borders, can only do a little at a time as it pulls on my back if I sit at the machine too long.


Working on this one again

I had to wait a wee while today till I could start writing this blog.  Why?  Because Gemma was so comfy snoozing on the seat by the lap top that I didn’t have the heart to disturb her!


So comfy

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Place Mats finished

I’m pleased to say that my set of placemats for the caravan are now finished.  The stitchery portion had been completed a while ago.   After machine quilting, the final job was to hand stitch the binding down.  I always enjoy this last part, and stitched away sitting outside on the patio in the warm Autumn sunshine.  These place mats will be used on our table during our next caravan trip away.


Place mats all done

This great outdoorsy design is from Stitcher’s Revolution Camping Adventures, and I thought it was just right to use in the caravan.   Now I’m deciding which transfer to use on an apron for the caravan, there are several to choose from.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Teal Bags and Yellow Butterflies

I finished the last of my February teal/aqua Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing before we went away last week, but didn’t have time to  blog about it.  So here they are  – two teal drawstring bags for donation to Foster Hope children.  I’ll add these to the others I had made prior to Christmas, so will need to make a drop off shortly.


Two more bags for Foster Hope

Angela from RSC chose the colours yellow/gold for March, so I was all ready to get stitching, starting with my butterfly fabrics.  First up were some little four patch/cross blocks using my multi-coloured butterflies on white background fabric.  And yes, there were some butterflies with touches of yellow in these fabrics.


Two yellow blocks


Made so far

I’m also stitching “Puss in the Corner”, nice simple blocks, and found four yellow/gold pieces in the big bag of butterfly fabric I was gifted.



Butterflies galore

I’ve several other RSC projects on the go, and hopefully will start on more blocks next week.