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Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Sew Wot Tuesday

Our Sew Wot Tuesday rolled around again and this time Sandra was the hostess.  The mornings are getting chilly and we were welcomed into her home with a lovely warming  fire crackling away.  There is something quite comforting with the smell of a wood fire and seeing the flames crackling away.

Sandra had some show and tell.  First up was a partially completed “quilt as you go” quilt for  her aunty who now resides in a rest-home.  Sandra used up some of her long hoarded pansy fabrics for this special gift.


Sandra’s pansy quilt

Next she showed her gorgeous hand knitted shawl, which just needs to be stitched up.  This is another family treasure, made for her sister who will be welcoming her first great-grand child.   This truly is a labour of love,  and was certainly admired by us all.


Sandra's baby shawl

Carol had been super busy and had a lot to show.  Two sets of baby singlets and hats, plus nine knitted toys, all for donation.  “Do you knit in your sleep?”, she was asked.


All knitted by Carol

I took along my recent finishes, a cozy pair of wooly socks, and my bright and happy froggy quilt.  Originally made for donation, I love this little quilt, so may well keep it for a while, just in case



My show and tell

Mary didn't have any completed projects this time, but I rather liked her pretty little work bag, so I took a photo of that.  She completed the stitchery on the front first, then turned it into this pretty little draw string bag.


Mary’s draw string bag

I needed some advice with this years old project so took it along knowing these clever lades would be able to help me.  Way back in the past I went to a class and started this purply clam shell quilt, then bundled it away.  Not quite forgotten, because I knew it was there, it kept calling me to get it out and do some more work on it.  Constructed diagonally, I now wanted to make the rows shorter, but why would I be losing those pretty scallops edges when I started stitching the shorter rows, I wondered?  Was there a trick that I didn't know about?  Seems that’s what happens in this case, and I will have to carefully trim the edges straight when I get to the end.  Thanks for the advice, very much appreciated.  I find this curved machine stitching slow and rather trying, but have to decided to leave this project out on my sewing cabinet and work on it some time each week.  That’s the plan, anyway.


Purple clamshells

Before we knew it, morning tea was served.  And the sun was streaming through the windows onto the coffee table, so not a good picture at all.  But take my word for it, the morning tea was delicious, as usual.  Thanks so much Sandra.  .


Morning tea time

Most of us spent the morning knitting.  Carol was working on another baby toy, Sandra was doing a pretty yellow baby jumper, Heather was knitting a Peggy square, and I was knitting a striped baby’s jumper.  Mary was doing some embroidery, working with a kit which was a gift from one of her grand-daughters.


Carol, Sandra and Heather

Many thanks to Sandra for a lovely morning, I know we all enjoy these Sew Wots get-togethers.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

A Knitting Finish

When we went down to the South Island for our ten week caravan trip over Christmas/New Year I wanted to take a knitting project or two with me.  But not my two pairs of thick triple knit (12 ply) socks, they stayed home.  I've been working away slowly finishing up one pair, knitted with lavender double knit wool and using up odd and ends of purply/blue/grey sock yarn from another project.  Knitting the heels always has me sitting quietly by myself, marking off rows in my notebook.  That done, it was straight knitting again till I reached the toes, then the notebook came out again.  Before I knew it, the socks were done and all ready to stitch up the side seam.


Stitching the side seam

I’m always so pleased with how these socks turn out.  They are nice and cozy and fit so well over the heel.  And knitting them on two needles is nice and easy and certainly suits my abilities.  I always knit two socks at once, so no second sock syndrome for me!


All ready for winter

My holiday knitting is growing too.  I started a navy blue double knit (8 ply) cardigan and have finished the back.  Now I’m up to the armholes on the front, so this project is coming along well too.  I don't plan to have this completed for our soon to arrive winter, so will just plod away with it, no pressure to get it finished quickly.


Up to the armhole shaping

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Not another RSC project?

Wasn't it just last week that I lamented about feeling a little overwhelmed about all my RSC projects?  Guess I didn't really listen to myself as I’ve just started another new project.    This is a very simple one though.  And the reason I started it was because I wanted to add an older boy’s quilt to my donation pile. 

The design I chose was Horizon, designed by the very talented  Lynn Dykstra, check out her blog https://kleinmeisjequilts.blogspot.com/2022/04/horizon-quilt-completed.html.  

I decided to offset my blocks and have completed all the RSC colours (blue, green purple) so far.  Although as I'm making this for a  teenage boy I substituted burgundy for pink.  It’s a good way to use up some pieces of black and grey which were hanging about in my stash, which always seem great idea.  But I think I need a few more grey fat quarters plus some black yardage (which won’t go astray) to keep going with this.


Horizon blocks

I’m really pleased with how this is turning out, and I’ll mix the colours up when I assemble the blocks. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Happy Birthday to Gemma

Our beautiful Birman Gemma is five years old today, happy birthday!   To celebrate she is having her favourite meal tonight, Jimbo's beef, which she adores.  She is a bit of a drama queen and likes to lay stretched out on the floor, so that we have to bend down and rub her tummy!  And tell her how beautiful she is too, of course.


Waiting to be admired, stretched out on the floor

When I saw this machine embroidered tea towel recently, I just had to buy it for her birthday, that’s Gemma through and through.  Of course, she won’t be the one drying the dishes with it, guess that will be me, but it certainly is a good likeness to Gemma and her attitude!


Gemma’s new tea towel

Luckily I had half a home made orange cake tucked away in the freezer, so we will eat a piece tonight in honour of her birthday.


Gemma is a well traveled caravan cat, and has been with us as we have toured around, including 10 weeks recently in the South Island.  About the only place she hasn't been to is yet is Auckland and the Far North, perhaps all of us will make it there in the New Year 2024.

She was so tiny when we got her, and the breeder told us that she was the boss of her litter mates.  Guess that’s why she thinks she rules the roost!  “You are only a cat”, I keep reminding her, but I don’t think she is listening al all.


Gemma as a little kitten

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Binding, do you love it or hate it?

I’m in the “I love hand stitching the binding down” camp, and that's what I've been doing on this warm Autumn day.  This pleasant task signifies the end of the quilt making process, and I must say that I rather like those dinky little binding clips. 


Binding time

This quilt top had been finished for a while, and I recently discovered it all rolled up with the already prepared backing and binding.  It was constructed similar to Happy Blocks, the piece of delightful frog fabric was cut into squares and framed in different colours.  Time to get it out and complete it, I thought.  Pinning the layers together was the next step, done outside on the patio table.


All pinned up

Machine quilting was next.  In the ditch between the blocks and borders and around the frogs, then finished with serpentine stitch on the diagonal.  This took me a couple of weeks to complete, making sure I took plenty of breaks to look after my back.


Machine quilting

There, all done.  It looks quite cute and colourful, I think.  Someone is sure to love it.



It’s interesting that this little quilt for donation is made up of several pieces of donated fabric.  The cute kissy kissy frogs and the lime green border fabrics were in one of our Sew Wots donation fabric piles looking for a new home.  I really liked these fabrics so they came home with me.  And the spriggy backing fabric came from my elderly neighbour’s stash when she moved out.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

RSC time again

I have to admit that going away in the caravan over Easter certainly cut into my time at the sewing machine.  But I’ve been busy over the last few days and completed some Rainbow Scrap Challenge stitching, using the colour for April -  purple.  First up was Little Bricks.  This project  was started mid way through 2022, so is being carried over this year.  I had previously made some light purple blocks last year, so found some scraps of darker purple for this month.  These little blocks are very simple to make, thanks for Sylvia for sharing her pattern, and I know I’m not the only RSCer whipping these up each month.


Little bricks

Happy blocks are nice and easy too.  I’m doing two sets of these, one each for a young boy and girl.  It’s always enjoyable looking through my donated kiddies stock of 5in squares, and choosing what to frame it with.  For the boys ones I found frogs, a little boy on his bike, South Sea island, teddies and stripes.


Happy blocks for a little boy

In my stash of donated squares there are so many more girly ones than for boys.  This month I found butterflies and flowers, a little girl block, hearts, animals and unicorns.  Plenty of interest for a little girl here.


For a little girl

There are several unfinished RSC projects from last year that I’m starting to feel a bit overwhelmed.  Three have been made into quilt tops, with quilting as the next step, with others needing assembling.  Guess I’ll just have to take a deep breath and tackle one at a time.  After all, this hobby is meant to be fun, isn't it.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Sew Wot Tuesday

This time, the Sew Wot ladies drove out into the country to Helen’s rural home.  Mary is still having a clean out in her sewing room, and brought along another big pile of books, magazines, and patterns.  That’s always exciting, and we all had a good look through them, and most chose some to take home.

Mary had been busy crocheting over the last few weeks, and was busy stitching the second crotchet blanket together.  These look so nice and cozy, and such pretty colours.  I don't know how to crochet, but I have seen Mary complete one of these blocks in hardly any time at all.


Mary’s two pretty blankets

And for a change of pace, Mary had been knitting too.  She had completed two tiny baby singlets, knitted in 3ply Merino wool.  These are going into her Baby Box, she said. 


Baby singlets

The only other show and tell was from Helen.  The pattern for this large quilt is “Toes in the Sand” and it has just come back from being commercially quilted.  Made with little triangles in big triangles, such a lot of work.   Just miles of binding to stitch down, she said, that will take a while, I’m sure.


Helen’s triangle quilt

Helen had also knitted a baby singlet.  This stripy little beauty will be donated.


Baby singlet

We were all busy knitting away.  I had brought my stitchery project along, but it seemed easier to just get my knitting out.  I really must get working on it again, it’s been ages since I touched it.  Sorry about the photos, there was too much sun coming in the windows.


Helen, Heather, Mary, Carol and Sandra

Of course, we all enjoyed the tasty home baking for morning tea.  Thanks so much Helen, for a lovely morning.


Morning Tea

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Easter Holidays

It was a separate holiday for us and the cat this Easter.  We were keen to attend  the 27th CCNZ National Rally at Masterton.  With a no animal policy at Solway College, we couldn’t take Gemma, so dropped her off at the local cattery for her second only visit to such a place. I must admit it did worry me how she would get on, although the cattery owner assured us she would get the best of care, and would send a text to let us know how she was settling down.  So we said goodbye, placed her in her unit, and went on our way.  It did feel strange going away in the caravan without her.


Ready in her carry cage

With helpers guiding the vans into rows we were soon settled in.  Our row was Boothill, named for the place where gunslingers and outlaws were buried in Tombstone, Arizona who "died with their boots on."  The hall was decorated in a country and western theme, and the committee had done a great job.



Let the fun begin

Saturday was a busy day and 55 happy campers lined up to board the big blue double decker bus for a mystery trip at 9.00am.  We had to take a packed lunch with us, and our folded camp chairs were whisked away to our lunch spot, wherever that would be, it was a mystery, after all.  First stop was to the local Farmers Market, where the only purchase I made was a nice hot coffee, then on to visit a private garden featuring many sculptures.  The massive gate on the property was interesting.  The owner was told that the designer had his own idea of what he wanted to  to make, and if the owner wasn't happy with the finished product he didn't have to buy it.  It opens by turning the very heavy wheel, so a couple of us took turns trying the mechanism for a photo op.


This is a statement gate indeed

Our picnic lunch stop was at a local farm and as promised our fold up chairs were ready and waiting for us.  But the highlight of the bus trip would have to be Ponataki Greek Church. This private church was the dream of George Pantelous who achieved his heart’s desire with the construction of this beautiful building.


Greek Church

The interior was beautifully painted by an 18 year old artist, Stephen Allwood, who took a year to finish his work, including the dome ceiling.  Such beautiful details, and many thanks to our guide who related the history of this building.  No church pews are inside, the faithful must remain standing for the 2 1/2 hour service, we were told.


Such a beautiful painted interior

The weekend was full of entertainment – in the evening after our bus trip we all met back in the hall for a Line Dancing demonstration.  The dancers all looked very smart indeed in their country style outfits as they “strutted their stuff” to the music.  I was pleasantly surprised that it was not all country music used, they danced to a little rock and roll, and other types of music  too.  After the demo, many of the campers joined the dancers for some easy tuition and did their best to keep up with the experts.


Line Dancing demonstration

On Sunday morning we were all treated to a cooked breakfast, bacon, French Toast, banana and Maple syrup, that really went down a treat.  Such a lot of cooking to feed us all, and the committee did very well indeed.


Sunday breakfast

Two very cute Easter Bunnies came hopping around the hall handing out Easter Eggs, that was nice!


So pleased you came calling

Included in our Goody Bag were two complimentary tickets for the Miniature Railway in nearby Queen Elizabeth Park.  The sun was shining and the park was buzzing with family groups.  Toot, toot, here comes the train!  The passengers disgorged, and then we clambered in.  The track took us several times around the lake, through the tunnel, tooting as it went, such fun.  It doesn't take much to make us happy!


Ride on the miniature railway

The Grande Finale of the weekend was our catered dinner.  The caterers, Kiwi Kai Catering,  arrived towing their kitchen caravan all painted up advertising the Pink Floyd Experience.  The owner told me that they will be going on the tour in June and will be feeding the band and crew.  Our meals were very tasty, roast chicken and ham, with a selection of salads and veggies, followed by individual  berry cheese cakes.  We had taken along some bubbly for me and red wine for Robin to complete our meal, and were obviously having such a great evening that I forgot to take any photos!


NO cooking for us tonight, the caterers have arrived

After our lovely meal the final raffle prizes were drawn, and then the committee started auctioning off various items used for the country style decorations around the hall.  I’m happy to say I won the bid for the three pumpkins, looks like I’ll have plenty of pumpkin soup making ahead of me.  Just as well pumpkins store well so I don't have to use them all immediately.


That will make a lot of soup

The official closing of the rally took place on  Monday morning, and  thanks were made to the Wairarapa Caravan Club for putting on such a great National Rally.  Goodbyes were said and it was time to hook up the caravans, and we all went on our respective ways.  Such a fun weekend, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely, meeting up with old friends and chatting with new folks from other caravan clubs too.

The cattery owner had sent a message through to say that Gemma was “challenging”, was hissing and not letting the owner near her.   Luckily she was eating well.   I guess Gemma had no idea where she was, and why we had left her at this strange place.  When she heard my voice she hopped down from her sleeping area and ran towards me, purring away, rubbing around our legs, just so happy to see us.  I think the separation was painful for her and me as well.  Never mind, she is back to being a caravan cat again.

Although the Easter weather in Masterton was mainly fine, with a few showers, the temperatures were really cold.  I’m so pleased I had packed long trousers, warm tops and wooly socks to take away.   There’s always laundry to do after a trip away, and of course hand knitted socks need hand washing!


Sock laundry time