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

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Lucky Me!

How about this for a wonderful birthday gift!  A box full of wonderful hand spun wool from my old school friend Merilyn.


This  arrived by courier

I had a birthday telephone call from Merilyn the other day and she told me that she hadn't been able to find a suitable Jenny gift so far to send for me.  Then she went on to relate that she was busy spinning and plying double knit wool.  I like to use double knit wool together with 4ply sock yarn to knit my thick socks, I mentioned.  And so the perfect Jenny gift presented itself, she packed up some of her precious yarn and sent it off.  There will be plenty of nice thick socks coming out of this box, and maybe a small jumper or maybe a beanie or two, we’ll see how it goes.

And talking of socks, my current sock knitting is coming along nicely.  The grey/purple pair are 12 ply, grey double knit together with purple sock yarn.  And the burgundy red pair is 4ply sock yarn, using up odd yarn and tiny balls in this colourway, there will be plenty of ends to deal with when I sew them up.


Current sock knitting

As soon as I get these completed, I’ll be able to start a new pair of warm cozy  socks using Merilyn’s gorgeous hand spun wool. I can hardly await to get started.

All this made me reflect on our ancestors way back in the mists of time when they first  plucked tufts of wool from the undergrowth,  and rubbed it through their fingers.  Who were the first to reason that these tufts of wool could be turned into a continuous yarn, I wonder, and then go on to make a drop spindle?  Interesting questions indeed.  And these days, we have a whole world of beautiful yarn at our fingertips, or should I say, on our knitting needles and crochet hooks.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

RSC Sewing - Girly Flags

A while ago I rediscovered a bag full of little Flag blocks I had been stitching away for Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  And this week I had a plan for some of them.


While browsing the internet a while ago, I came across this design, which looked rather pretty, and easy enough to do.  So I went through my pile of blocks and chose a selection of pale blue, yellow, pink and purple to work with.  Those colours would make a pretty little baby quilt, I decided.


I’ve ben working away on the four blocks, then decided to frame each one.  These blocks are quite big, about 18 inches square.


Four big blocks – done

That’s as far as I’ve got, but I’ll be adding sashing and borders, fabric still to be decided.  I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved – hopefully I’ll get the top finished during the coming week, all going well.

I’ve also been working on this green baby quilt as my leader and ender sewing.  All these green/lemon coloured squares were donated from my neighbour Dorothy’s stash when she left to go into a rest home. I have so much fabric from her, I’ll be using it for years!  The sashing strips are all stitched, pinned, and ready to go. Don't know about you, but I often work on a couple of projects at the same time.


Leader and ender sewing

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Sew Wot Tuesday and Birthday Goodies

I was the Tuesday Sew Wot Hostess this week, and the ladies kindly came armed with birthday goodies for me. My goodness, what a lot of exciting parcels to open, I was overwhelmed!   Just look at the lovely blue apron I received – everyone knows I like to wear an apron because I am a messy cook!  Other gifts were  two lovely plants to put in the garden, a piece of Christmas tartan scotty dog fabric, and a gorgeous wood trivet.  I really had to look closely at that, to try and work out how it was made –  with a router, someone said.  Chocolates, a jar of relish, and the tiniest cross stitched caravan ornament I had seen.  This was a beautiful gem, and will be hung up in the caravan as we go abut our travels.



Thank you so much ladies, I appreciate your thoughtfulness

With all this excitement over, we settled down and had some show and tell.  Sandra had stitched two pretty little baby quilts to donate to the local Plunket babies.  I rather like the design she stitched, simple but so effective.  I’m sure I have plenty of charm squares tucked away and this would be a perfect way to use them up.


Two baby quilts by Sandra

Carol had been busy using up her odds and ends of wool to make small teddies for the Wanganui Neo Natal Unit.  Here they are trying out those baby quilts for size.


Teddies for new babies in hospital

Heather had a finish too, a pretty little baby’s jumper made with pastel variegated yarn.  Knitted in feather and fan stitch, she told me.  My mother used to knit feather and fan babies cloths years ago, not a design I have ever mastered, it looks rather difficult to do.


Heather is hiding behind her creation

My pretty embroidered Scottish table cloth was passed around to be admired, and I also showed my recently completed blue flannel cot quilt.  This as made using up some odds and ends of flannel fabric I had left over, so it was good to use them up.


My show and tell

Robin arrived back home in a taxi to join us for morning tea.  I had dropped him off at his weekly physio class, but as I was playing Sew Wot hostess for the morning, suggested he get a cab home.  Everyone was interested to see how he was getting on after his knee replacement.  So he sat amongst us all, chatted away, and was waited on with morning tea!

Sandra, Carol, Heather and Jude were busy knitting, and Mary was working on her hexagons.  Helen was crocheting her hubby a hat, but the pattern seemed to be a bit tricky.  Luckily Mary was sitting beside her to lend a helping hand.  Several of us declared we would have undone it and started on an easier pattern.  Not so, said Helen, she was determined to master this!  I did a little stitching on a secret squirrel Christmas project.

Our Sew Wot Christmas lunch is coming up fast, and Mary reminded us to get our secret swap gifts completed.  I was one who was lagging behind, mine was cut but not yet stitched.  So after lunch I got on with it, head down, stitching away, and can now announce the gift is finally completed.  With several weeks to spare, thank goodness.

We had another lovely morning, as usual, and many thanks to all for the gifts, much appreciated.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Plenty of Slow Stitching Here

I was thrilled with the birthday gift I received from my daughter Nicky.  Several years ago I had purchased  a partially completed embroidered tablecloth with unused threads from a fabric fair. That would be a good project to finish, I thought.  But…… time went by and I didn't do a single stitch, so asked my daughter Nicky if she could complete it for me – sometime.  Out of sight, out of mind, and I truly had forgotten all about it.  We got together for a birthday lunch on Thursday and Nicky presented me with a parcel, it was the completed tablecloth!


Opening the parcel

The amount of stitching she completed was phenomenal, finishing the cross stitch and very close stitching in the figures.  There are big burly Scots in the Highland Games, girls dancing, and kilted gentlemen playing the bagpipes.  And as well, she taught herself how to crochet the pretty lace edging from tutorials off the internet.  I am so proud of her – it really was a big ask.  Nicky told me she was determined to finish it for this birthday.


Such a lot of work in this

My birthday was today, Sunday, so Robin and I discussed options on how to celebrate.  Out for an evening meal, or perhaps lunch?  In the end we decided on a Birthday Breakfast and went to a “new to us” café, Gorge, in Otaki.


Gorge Café

There was an interesting feature wall inside the café, driftwood from the local beach.


Wall art

The café menu had us pondering for a while, perhaps I’ll have the hot cakes and fruit?  But a little further down I saw kippers on the menu, that will do me, I thought.  Robin couldn't go past the Big Breakfast.


That looks nice

The kippers were advertised as locally caught, but I was sure that we don’t have herrings in our waters.  So I checked with the serving staff to find out.  Yes, the fish, Kawhai,  was caught at Waikanae Beach, then smoked.  I had tried “real” kippers in Scotland at a B&B while travelling around the UK, and this Kiwi version was just as tasty. 

I asked the young staff member if she would mind taking our photo and handed her my camera. Click, click, click she went, then handed it back.  But……on checking there were no photos there at all.  Rather than call her back and maybe embarrass her, we each took a snap of the other.  This reminded me of another occasion when we were out and another young lady had no idea how to work a camera.  She had to sent an older staff member over to our table who had no trouble at all.


Finishing off our breakfasts

I’ve had a lovely day today, breakfast out, phone calls and messages from friends and family, and no cooking all day!  That’s always a bonus, isn't it.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

RSC Sewing

Its been a while since I’ve done any RSC (Rainbow Scrap Challenge) sewing, what with playing nurse to Robin, and driving him around to appointments after his knee replacement surgery.  So I'm pleased to have done a little this week.  Green is the colour of the month so I worked on a row of Little Bricks.  I’m doing this  in a zig zag design – although I’m still rather keen to make a quilt using the original setting sometime soon.


One more zig zag row of Little Bricks

And here's what I've done so far, on my design bed.  I started this mid way through the year, just because I wanted to try out the pattern, so it will be carried over to 2023.


Purple, light blue, orange and green rows so far

While rummaging around various bags I came across a forgotten RSC project – how did that happen, I wonder?  Some time ago I was making little flag blocks each month, it must have been last year I think.  Just simple 4 inch squares in white or cream, with a 2.5 inch flip and sew corner.   I had a reasonable pile, and they looked at me accusingly – hurry up and get stitching again, they seemed to be saying!


Put away and forgotten.

So what did I do – stitch a few more.  Then I decided I really should have a count up, and decide just how I was going to assemble these little blocks.  I have a couple of ideas, better get stitching again, I guess.  But I have to admit I'm starting to get a bit overwhelmed about all my RSC projects.  They are so easy to start, aren't they, just a few blocks to stitch each month.  Its completing these projects where I fall short.  As I often remind Robin, I’ll never run out of things to stitch!


Just a few more

Friday, October 21, 2022

Family Birthday Lunch

My birthday is coming up fast (during the weekend) and my daughter Nicky suggested we meet for lunch up in Feilding.  What a good idea we thought, and drove up on Thursday.  We were meeting in  Delish Café,  a new to us place, and they certainly were busy.  We were a little early grabbed a table, ordered a coffee each, and waited for the family to arrive.


Lunch time

It was so nice that both grand-daughters could meet us for lunch as well.  Megan took a couple of hours off from work, and Emma had the whole day off, because it was her birthday.  She had spent the morning riding her horse at the beach with friends, then rushed home to come and meet up with us.

Emma and Megan

Megan and birthday girl Emma

The meals were very tasty, and then Nicky presented me with my birthday gift.  What was inside, I wondered?


There’s a gift inside

Inside the bag was a long forgotten treasure.  Some years ago I went to the Altrusa fabric fair and purchased a linen tablecloth and threads, for a very reasonable price.  This had been partially completed and I presumed I would finish it up in no time at all.  That didn’t happen,and after languishing in a bag for quite some time I passed it over to Nicky to see if she would be interested in completing it for me.  All this happened so long ago I had completely forgotten all about it.  She has been stitching away these last few months, to get it finished in time for my birthday.  Not only that, Nicky has recently taught herself to crochet and made the lovely tablecloth edging as well.


Me with Nicky

This cloth is particularly special to me, not only because Nicky worked so hard to complete it for me, but also because I can claim some Scots blood in my veins. My Maternal grandfather came to New Zealand from Glasgow.



My beautiful tablecloth, hand stitched with love

I had a birthday gift for each of the girls, Emma’s birthday was on our lunch day, and Megan’s is in another week or so.  It was a lovely day out, and I’m so thrilled with my gift.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Blue for a Boy

I spent a lovely hour or so outside today under our Archgola finishing the hand stitching on  the binding on a baby quilt.  It was nice and warm, the sun was shining and the birds were chirping.  Gemma was outside with me, watching those birds intently who were perched up on the neighbour's  roof, no doubt wishing she could get closer to them and show them who was the boss!  It certainly was a delightful slow stitching Sunday.

The quilt started like this, using up some leftover flannel to make some easy Cobblestone blocks.  Gemma found them nice and cozy too when I was arranging them on my “design bed”.  .


In the beginning

I stitched the quilt blocks together, pinned the layers and then did the machine quilting between other projects.


Pinning the layers

I always enjoy the final stage, hand stitching the binding down.  Such a nice job this is, especially on a lovely day when I can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air while finishing off this last stage of the quilt.


Binding time

With fleece on the back of the flannel top, this is a nice cozy little cot quilt indeed.  Another one for the donation box.


All finished

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Sew Wot Tuesday

This week, Jude was our happy hostess.  I arrived to find Carol down on the floor arranging Jude’s quilt blocks into a pleasing design – this will be a tablecloth, we were told.  I rather like the pattern, just an easy 5 inch square, with snowball flip and sew corners, and two sashing strips added.  It’s always good to find simple but effective patterns, isn't it.  I could do that, I declared, I’ve got plenty of those 5 inch squares lurking about.


Jude’s snowball blocks

What’s for show and tell?  Just a small selection this time.  Heather showed us her fully lined Inside-Out bag in pretty Autumn colours, this one is for her.


Heather’s bag

Heather had been doing some baby knitting, not for anyone special at this stage, but just because…. These two baby cardies were very pretty indeed and will find a home in the Granny box, I’m sure.


Hand made by Helen

As for me, I had taken my two little pinnies along to show, the blue fabric was donated by Heather at the previous Sew Wots get-together, so I wanted to show what I had made with it.


My show and tell

Jude had a big box of quilting magazines that were looking for new homes, so we all had a dig and a delve, flicked through some, and tucked several in our bags to take home.  The magazines didn't all go, but those remaining will be dropped off at one of the Op Shops.  Heather had brought along some knitting patterns which were no longer required, so I added a little boy’s jumper pattern to my bag as well.

There was quite a bit of knitting going on during the morning.  Carol was knitting with some petty hyacinth coloured wool, I’m not quite sure what she was making, and I was continuing on my burgundy socks.  Sandra was working on a cream basket weave baby blanket for Plunket babies, and Helen was knitting away on a jumper for one of her grand sons.

Mary stitched away on her hexies – although I have to say I personally wouldn’t have the patience for that sort of handwork.  And Heather was trying something new, Boro stitching, using pinks and silk fabrics stitched onto a black background.  It may be a bag, she told us.


Heather stitching Boro style

And before we knew it, it was morning tea time, and Jude wheeled her lovely vintage tea trolley out, with a great selection of goodies.  And some sweets too.  Doesn't it all look so tasty!


Morning tea time

Thanks so much Jude for our very pleasant Sew Wots morning get-together.

Monday, October 10, 2022

A little Sewing, and Physio visit

I did a little sewing over the weekend, something that I’d wanted to stitch for a while.  With a good supply of donated children's fabric on hand, I wanted to make some little girls pinnies (aprons).  Sew Wot friend Heather lent me her delightful pattern a while ago, and I traced a copy off.  She used to make the dress and pinny for her own girls when they were little, she told me, all those years ago.


Such a cute pattern

Gemma wanted to help too, and showed interest as I was stitching away.  It’s nice that she wants to keep me company,and luckily doesn't get too close to the needle while I’m stitching away.


Gemma is such a good helper

I made two little pinnies.  The red and white fabric was part of the haul I received from my neighbour Dorothy’s stash when she was moved into a rest home.  And the pretty blue I picked up last week from Heather, when she had a box of goodies for the Sew Wot ladies to pick through and take what we fancied.  The pattern is two pieces, front and back alike, which slips over the child's head, and ties at the sides.  Just the thing to keep their pretty dresses clean while they are busy at play.


One blue, one red

These will no doubt find their way into the Foster Hope donation bag, but they are so cute I just may keep them for a little while.  I’ll certainly be making more from this pattern.

Robin attended his first physio class today, a little nervously I must add, as he had been warned that it could be rather difficult and painful at first.  This is a weekly class arranged by the hospital for knee replacement patients.  As other men were also attending the class, I made my way to the café and let everyone get on with it.  The coffee was lovely and hot, and I savoured every sip.  Then I made my way back to the Physio waiting room sitting quietly with my knitting waiting for the session to finish.  One by one the other men completed their exercises and departed.  One of them commented that his wife was waiting in the car for him, doing knitting as well to pass the time.


Knitting on my lap in the waiting room

Robin was the last one there, as I peeked around the corner, and saw him walking up and down the wooden steps.  Then he climbed onto the small trampoline and walked on the spot – this was to mimic walking on uneven ground, we were told.


The last exercise of the morning

Anna the Physio was pleased with how things went on Robin’s first session, and the advice was to go home, put an ice pack on the knee, have a hot drink and relax.  Do the exercises during the week, he was told, and come back next Monday morning!  Fair enough, he can do that.  It may well be a bit painful, but it’s all for a good cause, to make that knee stronger and more flexible.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

A Quilt – and Removing Staples

It’s always exciting to find a quilt displayed – sometimes when you least expect it.  This was the case when we attended an appointment for Robin, it was an Anzac wall hanging.  For those who don't know, Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and we have a public holiday on April 25th to remember the fallen soldiers from both countries.  Upon enquiry, I found out that this wall hanging was stitched by the wife of one of the orthopedic surgeons who consult here.  One of my aims is to make an Anzac quilt one day soon.


Anzac wall hanging in the medical rooms

Our appointment at Aorangi Orthopedic Centre was for Robin to have his staples removed from his knee.  In fact, he wasn't the only casualty who walked into the treatment room, my hand was dripping blood, of all things!  Helping Robin out of the car, I reached into the back seat to pick up his crutches, and must have caught my hand on a rough piece of the handle and ripped a gash in my hand.  The nurse kindly attended to it for me, washed it out, found me some plasters, and patched me up.  I was certainly very grateful for her help.

It turned out that Robin had 30 staples in his leg.  In fact, until the coverings came off, we weren't sure if there were stitches or staples underneath.  Everything has healed well, no redness or, heaven forbid, infection, so that’s good to know.


The nurse set to with a handy little gadget and snip,snip, each staple was soon removed.  She didn't mind me taking photos, and I assured her she would remain incognito.


They were removed very easily

The surgeon then breezed in, confirmed that he was very pleased with how things were going, and we will be back to see him in six weeks time.  With a six week exercise programme set up at the local medical centre, hopefully Robin’s mobility will be much improved the next time we return for the follow up appointment.