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

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Sew Wot Tuesday

This time, Sew Wot Tuesday was hosted by Mary.  It was a very busy morning indeed, with plenty of Show and Tell, as well as a very special birthday celebration.  Heather had just turned (gulp) 80, my goodness, she is probably thinking, how did that happen!  There were gifts galore to open, I’m sure we all enjoyed seeing and admiring them too.  Helen made a special Birthday Cake for the birthday girl, complete with candles – and of course we all sang Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday Heather

Our hostess Mary had celebrated her birthday earlier, then had a knee op, so she was out of action for a while.  But Mary had not been forgotten, and received several belated birthday gifts yesterday too.


Happy birthday to Mary as well

It had been a while since we had all been together, so there was such a lot of projects on show.  Such as these two tapestries.  Mary had stitched the rose, and Helen’s grandson started on the other one, and she took over and completed it.  Aren't they both lovely.


Two lovely tapestries

Carol had been knitting up a storm again.  Last time she had shown us her Scots scarecrow.  This time she brought along his wife and little boy, aren't they all so cute together.


Carols scarecrow family

I thought these two crocheted baby blankets were so pretty.  Mary had worked on them while recuperating from her knee op, and will be putting them away in her Granny box.


For future babies

Another lovely crotchet item was this blanket made by Jude.  She had attended a crotchet class at our LQS Fox’s Cottage, and learnt many new stitches.  It looks so lovely and warm.  Jude had also brought along this lovely Plus quilt – I’ve always wanted to make one of these.


Jude’s new blanket and quilt

Helen’s Kaffe Fasset quilt is just back from the commercial quilter.  There are so many gorgeous glowing fabrics in this.


Helen's new quilt

Mary has been very busy finishing things while she has been recuperating.  The first quilt was from a pattern printed in a 1947 Home Journal magazine!  And I rather like the setting in the blue hexagon quilt – both very nice indeed.


Mary’s two new finishes

Carol decided its never too early for Christmas, as she showed this lovely wall hanging – she is keeping this one.  And Heather had made this intriguing pocket quilt for a new family baby.


Made by Carol and Heather

My own show and tell was rather small after seeing all these lovely quilt and blankets.  I had made two small draw string bags to be donated to Foster Hope charity for needy children.  I made use of some small patchwork pieces hanging about waiting to be used.


My two draw string bags

After all this wonderful show and tell, we were certainly ready to relax over a cuppa.  Mary wheeled out her vintage tea trolley packed full of goodies.  And of course we had the Birthday Cake as well.


We all had a wonderful morning, helping Heather and Mary celebrate their birthdays.  With so much show and tell to admire, we hardly had time to get any stitching or knitting done.  Many thanks to Mary for hosting our morning, and to Helen for producing the delicious  birthday cake.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Birthday Socks

After seeing a snap chat  picture of a pair of cozy thick wool socks (12 ply/triple knit) I had made myself recently, my daughter had a request.  Could I knit her a thick pair of socks for her birthday?  (I had previously made her and the granddaughters a finer 4ply pair each for Christmas).  Of course I could, she often wears gum boots at their rural country homestead, so these would certainly keep her feet warm and comfy in the winter.  Today is her birthday, so I can now share a photo of the birthday socks.


Birthday socks

These thicker socks are so much quicker to knit than the 4ply ones.  I have a good selection now, and love to wear them in the winter.  Nicky sent through a snap chat photo this morning wearing her new socks, so it’s good to know they fit her well.

My sock knitting adventures aren't  over yet, I’ve two more pair cast on and started.  The thick  purple/grey pair are made from grey double knit and left over purple sock yarn, so will be nice and cozy.  The burgundy pair are made from 4ply Zuberball yarn – and there is a bit of a story about these.  I had previously knitted two pair in this wool, one for my BGF’s birthday, and the second pair for me.  Sadly my pair were just a little tight, goodness knows why, so I passed them on to my daughter, and they fit her fine.  So I’ve gone up a size in the knitting needles, and hopefully there will be enough yarn to complete a pair for me.  If not, they will become Franken-socks!


Knitting two socks at once

That’s not the only knitting on the go.  I’m also knitting a few dish cloths – more about them later…..

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

New Chair and UFO Flannel Project

I’ve had my eye on one of these “sewing chairs” for a while, and I’ve finally ordered and collected mine.  For as long as I’ve been sewing at the sewing machine I’ve used a dining chair.  Over the years things have slowly got more difficult, especially over the last year or so with my back problems.  So I thought it would be sensible to get a dedicated, adjustable sewing chair.  I’m still experimenting with the best height for me, and I’m pleased that I can move the chair, on castors, right up close to the sewing machine, to keep my back straight and stop myself from leaning over.   Must say that I love the covering!


My new chair

Like most of us, I’m sure, I “follow” and read quilt blogs, and was inspired by Karen of Quilts, etc. as she was working on hand quilting  her lovely flannel quilt.  This reminded me that I had started, and put away, two flannel baby quilts – why does that happen, I wonder?  So I resurrected them, and have been working on the “blue for a boy” one.   I laid the blocks on the bed to see how much I had done with these blocks, and Gemma gave them the snuggle test..  Hadn’t done too much at all, it seems, I need to stitch more.


Gemma trying them out for size

So I stitched up a few more.  These are quite big blocks, and I’ll be setting them three by three to make a cot quilt, with an added border, fabric for this yet to be purchased.  In quilting circles, this soft fabric is known as flannel.  But I know it as winceyette and can remember using it to make cuddly pyjamas for my children when they were little.  It also made cozy winter sheets.


Blocks done

What else?  Over the last few weeks I’ve been sewing up kiddies four patch blocks as leaders and enders.  They are growing nicely, and I will put a frame around each one, sometime.  I’m in no hurry to finish these.


More four patches

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Weekend that Was

Last weekend was spent away in the caravan at a rally, and the weather was wet, wet, wet, with just a few fine spells in the mix.  But the ground was sodden, my shoes were covered in mud, guess I should buy myself a pair of gumboots, otherwise known as Wellington boots for those who don't know what I’m talking about.    No wind though, so that was a blessing.  We didn't go too far, just up the coast to Foxton Beach.  Gemma came along too, of course.  No dogs are allowed in this camp, I'm not sure if cats are welcome but we took her anyway.  And she never ventured outside at all, after all, cats don't like getting their feet wet, do they?


With all the mud, grass and leaves traipsed into the caravan I had to get the vacuum cleaner out – there is always cat hair on the floor as well.  Here she is hiding in a cubby hole beside the bed while I was busy, she really doesn’t like this noisy machine.


Have you finished yet?

So what did we get up to over our time away?  Two other vans and us decided to arrive a day early, just because, and we spent the first evening together socialising in our caravan.  For dinner the hubbies drove down to the local fish and chip shop for our delicious paper wrapped meals – eating fish and chips straight from the paper is really the way to go for casual dining!  With tomatoe sauce for those who want it, and bread and butter, it was all very tasty.


Thursday night fish and chips

The other club members arrived on Friday, so there was plenty of time for a good catch up.  Then on Saturday afternoon we went for an outing to Mavtech.  This local museum showcases  the history and development of cinema and recorded sound in New Zealand, and is housed in Foxton’s historic Coronation Hall. The theatre upstairs showcases vintage films, and the film chosen for our group was “This is New Zealand”, a film made in 1969 for the Tokyo World Expo, showing scenes of our country and highlights of life in New Zealand.  This was followed by a trio of cartoons featuring Daffy Duck and friends, a real blast from the past.  There was plenty to see in the museum downstairs, a great variety of old fashioned radios that most of us could relate to from our childhood years, many in wonderful wooden cabinets. Mavtech’s displays features vintage audio visual technology from film, radio, camera, TV and sound.  Early New Zealand records and music too, there was such a lot to check out.


From the film This is New Zealand


Here we are on the stairs to the theatre

We had a Movie and Popcorn night on Saturday night.  The film was Ram starring our very own Kiwi actor Sam Neil.  Set is Australia, it told the story of two warring brothers who had half of the family farm each, but hadn't spoken to each other for years.  Their aim was to breed  prize winning merino sheep and beat the other in competitions .  A devastating virus caused all the sheep in the area to be slaughtered, or so they should have been – the plot certainly thickened.  Many thanks for the tasty popcorn, Sue, much appreciated.


Yummy popcorn, we haven't had any of that for ages

With so much going on I didn't get to spend much time on my handcrafts.  Just a few rows of knitting, and a small amount of work on my apron stitchery.  It was a great weekend away with our caravan friends, and luckily Robin wasn't required this time  to tow out any vans stuck in the mud.  Not that he would have minded, he quite enjoys this sort of thing.


Gemma is keeping an eye on us from the top of the sofa

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Early Evening Appointment

You may recall that I had a spinal operation last year, and I have been waiting for a follow-up MRI to check things out.  My appointment at the hospital was scheduled for 6.00pm the other night – and these procedures can take an hour or so.  When I expressed my surprise at the lateness of my booking, I was told that they have appointments from 5.00am in the morning right through till 9.00pm at night!  Guess they have a big backlog of appointments to get through.  But first, I had to take a Rat test at home.   Luckily it was negative, so I was free to attend the appointment.


So off we went to the hospital, and I was whisked away, put into a gown and a canula inserted in my arm for the contrast dye.   Questions were asked, and answers noted  If you have had a MRI before you will know that they are very noisy indeed, with loud bangs, clicks, and buzzes merrily going on the whole time.  No wonder the patient is given ear plugs and hearing protectors. 


An hour later it was all over and we were free to go.  Time for a late dinner somewhere before we drive home, but where should we go?  We called into a hotel in town but it was very busy with no available seating except bar stools, not for me and my back, I told Robin,  let’s try somewhere else.  So we ended up back at China Town for a a buffet dinner – we had been there just a couple of weeks ago.


Dinner at China Town

By the time we arrived back home we were shattered, it had been a big afternoon, and more than a little stressful so it a time for bed.  But not before we had taken care of Gemma, she had been home alone, it was way past her dinner time, she was saying “Feed me Now!”

Sunday, August 14, 2022

New Slow Stitching Project

Yes, I know, I’m plodding along with my apron stitchery, but that’s no reason not to trace off and prepare a new stitchery project.  I've decided I want to do this freebie from Stitch Doodles.


New pattern

Because I wanted to stitch something with a Spring vibe, I changed the words, and traced the pattern onto a very pale green fabric.  So far, I’ve made a small start. Sorry, but this didn't photograph terribly well, but I’m sure you get the idea.


I've made a start

I needed my helper to hold the skein of Perle 5 green thread while I plaited it, then it is easy to pull a length out as required -   I’ll be using some green on the flower stems of this design.  I mentioned to Robin how I used to plait my daughter Nicky’s long blond hair when she was a little girl.  Those were the days.


He helped reluctantly, I think he was busy watching sport on TV

The other bit of slow sewing I intended to do today was to hand stitch the back of the binding down on a little boy’s donation quilt.  That didn't happen, because it never got stitched on!  Never mind, there’s always tomorrow – or the next day.


Binding prepared

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Orange Blocks for RSC

There has been some orange stitching happening here.  With several Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects on the go, I had to get cracking and finish up some blocks.  Here’s Gemma helping me on the design bed as I lay out some “little bricks”, she is such a great help, or so she thinks.  This project was only started last month so will carry over to 2023.


Laying out the blocks


Two rows so far, purple and orange

Then it was time to pay the Scotty Dogs some attention.  No orange, but I can show the new litter, three tan pups and one blue one.  I think I have stitched enough of these dogs now for a child’s donation quilt.


New scotty dogs

I’d almost forgotten about the boy’s Happy blocks, just as well I found the bag containing them lurking about.  Once again, no orange, instead various shades of brown were used.  I can see kiwi, lions, big dogs and piano keys in these blocks.  Guess its time I had a count up, wonder if I’ve stitched enough yet?


Happy blocks

And lastly, I stitched two 9inch string blocks, an orange one for the month, then one in burgundy, just because I wanted to.


Two string blocks

The only downside with having several RSC projects on the go, is that the blocks will all have to be assembled into quilt tops some time.  I’ll just have to pace myself and do one at a time, I think.

My daughter Nicky travelled down to our home town on Friday for an appointment, and we met up for lunch.  I’d gathered up a few sewing related bits and pieces for her, and she was happy to take them back to her sewing room, so that was a win-win.  Now she has a freshly decorated, light and comfy sewing room, she is doing a lot more sewing these days. 


Robin, Nicky, and me

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Leaders and Enders

It’s no secret that I love working with leaders and enders.  It may have been around for a while, but I got the idea from  Bonnie Hunter, who likes to have a parts of a project sitting beside the machine ready to sew, such as two patches, while you are stitching your main project.  When I first started sewing, I used a ratty piece of fabric to start and finish the sewing sequence, but now I use this other method.  And before you know it, there is a whole lot of little pieces stitched together – something for nothing, and with very little effort, I always say.  This is my latest leader and ender -  a small cot quilt for a little girl.  In the box are cut 3in squares which I put under the needle at the start and finish of other seams.  Then four of these are finger pressed and pinned together, waiting for the next stage.


Leader and ender pieces prepared and waiting

Doing this project as leaders and enders, it doesn't really matter how long it takes, it will get there in the end, it is a secondary project, after all.


And some four patches stitched together

Another project assembled in this way is this little boys quilt of farm machines.  This was a panel which I cut apart, and added borders bit by bit.


Another leader and ender project

This is now assembled, layered and pinned, ready for machine quilting, so I’ll be working on this over the next week.


Next machine quilting project

We awoke to quite a frosty morning, cold and chilly.  Thank goodness for my selection of nice cozy wool socks to keep my feet warm.  I love my hand knitted socks!


Cozy toes

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Slow Stitching and Knitting

My slow stitching this week has been a little work on another apron.  Once again, I’m using a design from Stitcher’s Revolution “Cute Kitchen Sayings”.  This one is Be Grateful.


Another apron

I’ve also been working on another pair of socks.  These were the very first pair I ever knitted, but I’ve found them much too short, the pattern has them finishing just a couple of inches above the ankle.  I wasn't happy wearing them, so decided to unravel the rib down from the top and lengthen them.  That was easier said than done, I’m not sure if it was because I was trying to undo it this way, or because of the ribbing, but it took me ages.  Of course, there was none of the original wool left, so I cast on some similar blue yarn and started knitting.  The socks even came to the hospital with me when Robin had an appointment.  I was surprised when several ladies commented on my knitting as they walked past while I was in the waiting room.  Guess there is always some interest in handwork.


Knitting at the hospital

Finally, the socks were lengthened to my satisfaction, and I sat and sewed up the side seams today.


Seam stitching time

There, all done.  I’m so pleased that I was able to alter these socks, and be able to keep wearing them, instead of chucking them out in the bin.


Waste not, want not