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

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

An Extra Sew Wot Tuesday

We’ve enjoyed an extra Sew Wot get-together this week, when we joined former member Moira at her new home.  “Come of afternoon tea”, we were invited, “and bring some show and tell”.  It was a very rainy afternoon and we dodged the showers driving to Moira’s home.  All except Jude, who came without a jacket so was a little damp on arrival.

We were taken on a grand tour around Moira’s lovely new home, checked out her sewing room, then settled down to tea and biscuits.  There was a lot of catching up to do, as some of us hadn't seen Moira for a wee while.  “I hope you all bought show and tell”, Moira commented.  Of course we had.  Most of the items we had previously shared between us, but it was all new to Moira, of course.  Only Jude had a brand new finish we hadn't seen before.  This was her floral Snowball quilt.


Jude’s snowball quilt

Carol had brought along a basketful of her knitted dolls and toys.


Carol’s knitted toys

Mary had quite a selection to show as well.  She had brought along some of her recently completed crochet blankets, and we got another look at her lovely batik quilt top.


Made by Mary

Heather had brought along her lovely knitted shawl, using a gifted ball of teal and purchased brown alpaca yarn.  The alpaca was hard to use, and kept sliding off the needles, she said.  But the finished shawl was lovely, and had a fancy knitted lace edging, I wonder how she did that?


Heather’s shawl

I had taken along two baby/toddler quilts to show Moira.  My lime green bordered froggy quilt, together with the cuddly blue flannel quilt.  Both of these will probably be donated, unless I find a family recipient who might like them.  I’m hopeful of becoming a great-granny one day!


My two baby quilts

Moira then bought out what she was working on and asked our collected advice of which fabric to use for the border, the purple, or the black and white print?  The decision was definitely the purple, using the black and white as the binding.  Luckily Moira was thinking the same way too.  She will be donating this quilt to St Vincent’s charity on completion.


Moira’s WIP

Thanks so much for afternoon tea Moira, it was so nice to have a catch up with you.


Helen, Moira and Heather

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Slow Stitching Sunday

It’s always nice to get the chance to sit and do some slow stitching.  I’ve just finished another of my Noah’s Ark blocks, and this one was tiny.  Actually, I had doubled the size of all the blocks, because I wanted to stitch mine with Perle 5 instead of stranded cotton.  So you can image just how tiny this pattern would have been in the original size.  This block contains snails, tiny bees and lady birds, and two very small butterflies.


Insects for the Ark

The other slow stitching I’ve been doing is to hand stitch a pair of leatherette elbow patches onto Robin’s’ favourite wooly jumper which features abstract kiwi and sheep.  The stitching took me ages – first I stitched all around the patches, then I added blanket stitch as well.


Patches done

And look how close I came to running out of thread, the little bit remaining won’t be good enough for anything, will it. 


I won thread chicken!

What else?  I hand stitched the binding down on my RSC donation quilt this week.


Binding all done

And I’ve got several knitting projects on the go, I knit a bit on this one, on that one, and a bit more on the other!  No wonder it’s taking me a while to get anything completed.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

A Four Patch finish for RSC

It’s always nice to have a finish, isn't it.  This quilt started way back in 2021.  While fossicking amongst some bags tucked away in a crate in the wardrobe, I rediscovered these 4 patches.  Goodness knows what I was making them for, but I had stitched an assortment of green, red and yellow, then added some pink.


It all started with some four patch units

I decided to make two sets of blocks with the four patch units.  The larger blocks are called Colour Chains, I believe, and I borrowed the idea of this block from Mari of the Academic Quilter’s blog.  And I made easy framed four patch blocks as well.


Making two lots each month

The quilt tops were finally assembled late last year, and Colour Chains was pinned up and the machine quilting finally started early this month.  I used my favourite serpentine stitch in the quilting lines.


Machine quilting

Gemma did an excellent job of looking after the quilt when I had finished for the day, making sure it didn't run away somewhere.


Gemma is such a big help

And finally, I was up to my favourite part, stitching the binding down.  This took me a several afternoons, sitting nice and comfy while I stitched away.  I just wish I’d bought those binding clips years ago, they certainly are so much nicer to use than pins.


Binding time

All finished now, this one will be going to Foster Hope.  Many thanks to Mari for four patch inspiration, much appreciated.


Donation Quilt, Four Patch Colour Chains

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Sew Wot Tuesday

It was a day out in the country for us on Tuesday.  Carol and her hubby were house sitting at Helen's home, and looking after Ruby the dog.  Ruby barked as the quilters cars arrived, she was only doing her job after all, and then quickly settled down.  Our group was a little smaller with two away, but the rest of us had a nice morning together, as always. 

Down sizing the sewing stash must be in the air as there were bits and pieces for us to look through and take what we wanted.  Heather and Sandra were very interested in a bag of buttons, and I selected some crochet cotton to post up to my daughter.  I sent her a photo to show what I had chosen on her behalf, and she will be thrilled to get them, she told me.  Nicky has taught herself to crochet, and has made lace edging, and a warm wool shawl, what a clever girl, I couldn't get to grips with this craft.

Of course there was some show and tell to share.  At our last Sew Wots morning there was some fabric looking for a new home, and I spotted a little piece printed with trains.  Just the thing to make a draw string bag for Foster Hope I thought, so I stitched it last week to bring along.


Draw string bag

I think we would be surprised if Carol didn’t have some knitting donations to share.  This time she had a baby’s jumper and hat, and a cute pink piggy.


Made by Carol

Heather had a special request from one of her daughters.  Could she make a reversible sun hat with a pony tail hole at the back please?  Of course she could!


Sun hat for a daughter

And that wasn’t all which Heather was making for her girls.  She had made socks, big ones for another daughter, and matching little ones for her grand child.


Mother and child socks

Carol also had a quilt top to show.  This will be a 30th Anniversary gift for her son and daughter-in-law.  Pretty pastel saw tooth stars.


Anniversary quilt

The dining table was set, and we settled down to a tasty morning tea, thanks so much Carol.


Morning tea is served

While we were enjoying our morning tea, the cows outside were happily munching away in the paddock.  They are due to calf soon, so that will make life on the farm busy for a while.


Life on the farm

Then we settled down to hand work again, as it turned out, everyone was knitting.  Carol was starting on another doll, Jude and Heather were making socks, Sandra was getting to the end of a donation baby jumper, and I was working on the sleeves of my navy blue cardigan.


Sandra, Carol, Jude and Heather

It was another lovely morning again, many thanks to Carol for being the hostess.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Out and About, Donations and a Movie

We have been out and about lately.  First we took a trip down to Kapiti to drop of a bag of donations for Foster Hope Charity.  Included in this donation were two draw string bags for the kids pencils or treasures, and two little girls aprons.


Bags and aprons

And quilts, winter is coming after all, and there is sure to be a need for these.  First were two toddlers quilts made from small printed panels – these were finished last year but I wasn't quite ready to part with them, just in case there was a need close to home.  But now I’m finally ready to send them to their new homes, wherever that may be.


Pussycats for a little girl


Tractors for a little boy


Plus my two recently completed Flag quilts

So what else have we been getting up to?  Last week we had a movie date, cashing in a Christmas gift card from grand-daughter Emma.   I thought the film Allelujah sounded good.  A bunch of old folks in a small hospital, living and laughing their way through their troubles, so I thought.  That should be good for a laugh – after all, some people would class us as old folks these days. 

The cast was excellent, with Jennifer Saunders, Judi Dench, and Derek Jacobi.  But the story was unexpected, and rather dark.  When the geriatric ward in a small Yorkshire hospital is threatened with closure, it fights back by galvanizing the local community. The hospital invites a news crew to film the preparations for a concert honouring its most distinguished nurse.  And what a nurse she was, moving on her elderly patients with an evening cup of hot milk laced with morphine.  Beware of nurses  bringing late night milky drinks!  The film ends with the small hospital closed, the nurse arrested, the patients moved to other homes, and the nursing staff to other hospitals.  The last few scenes show dishy Dr Valentine run off his feet in a Covid Ward, tending to a former patient from Liverpool who loses the battle with Covid.  Not at all the “feel good” story I was expecting, but definitely showing the stresses  that medical staff are battling with these days.


Just as well we decided on lunch out in the movie cafĂ©, to cheer us up a bit.  Our menu choices were a bit different.  Battered pork belly bites for him, and Asian dumplings for her, followed by a coffee and a Coke, very tasty indeed.  It was a good day out, and we came away with the thought of a couple of other films we would like to see. 

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Noah’s Ark Stitcheries and Knitting

I’ve finally found time to work on my small Noah’s Ark stitcheries, these are designed by Lynette Anderson-O’Rourke.  I took these away on our South Island trip earlier in the year, and worked on them at various stops on our holiday.  Sadly they have been “out of sight, out of mind” for a wee while.

The first small block completed were a couple of very friendly penguins, holding hands as they walk into the Ark.  Aren't they cute!



Next were two strange looking blue birds, clutching a silver fish in their beaks, while each were astride a tortoise.  Two by two, they enter the Ark.  These blocks may be small,but they take a while to do.


Birds on a tortoise

As for my knitting, I have now finished the fronts of my navy blue cardigan, but still have the button bands to knit.  And I’ve started the sleeves.  Just like the fronts, I knit these at the same time on the needles.


Two fronts done

Happy Mother’s Day to all those who celebrate on this Sunday.  My daughter Nicky sent me a parcel containing home made chocolates and a pretty pink crocheted book mark.  My son Michael gave a call later in the evening, so that was nice too – especially as he usually ignores Mother’s Day.


Hand made gifts from Nicky

I’m cooking up our own Mother’s Day feast for dinner.  Corned beef, carrots, parsnips, and cabbage in the crock pot, mashed potatoes, mustard sauce, and some Spicy Apple Cake I had tucked away in the freezer.  Sounds good to me!

Saturday, May 13, 2023

More Orange RSC Blocks

Very simple sewing,  I stitched another group of Horizon blocks, designed by the very talented  Lynn Dykstra, check out her blog https://kleinmeisjequilts.blogspot.com/2022/04/horizon-quilt-completed.html.  I had to go shopping for some more pieces of grey and orange, plus some black and orange yardage too.  The orange yardage will also be used in another half done project,  in the future. 

These Horizon blocks are quick to make, always a good point when making RSC blocks.


Orange Horizon blocks

I've also been working on machine quilting one (of two)  of my RSC four patch quilts.  This project has been carried over from 2021 when I discovered a bag of four patch units I had stitched up for another project, whatever that may have been.  The quilt was assembled mid 2022, and I’m only now getting on with the machine quilting.  Lots of lines of serpentine stitch here, I find this much easier than stitch in the ditch.


Four patch quilt

I try not to sit too long at the machine at one time, and when I've finished for the day, Gemma likes nothing more that to settle down nice and comfy on top of the quilt on the cabinet..


Don't disturb me, I’m snoozing

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

It’s been a Busy few Days

It certainly has been busy, starting with the Coronation on Saturday.  Or in our case, living in New Zealand with the time difference, Saturday night.  The TV coverage started at the very civilized time of 7.00pm, and we settled down to watch.  With a glass of Kahlua and milk in my hand to toast the momentous occasion.  And what an occasion it was, full of pomp and ceremony as only the Brits can do.

King Charles' two coronation carriages: An air-conditioned wonder and a  'horrible' golden chariot | Daily Mail Online

The Coronation ceremony stretches back more than one thousand years and represents God's blessing. The ceremony progressed, finally arriving at the most sacred part, when the King is anointed behind screens.  Following the anointment, the King is then prepared for the crowning, which is carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The oil was consecrated by the patriarch of Jerusalem and the Anglican archbishop in Jerusalem.

A view of the anointing screen which will be used in the coronation of Britain's King Charles III, in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace in London. Photo / AP

The screens were designed by  Aidan Hart and worked on by the Royal School of Needlework, the designs taking inspiration from the stained glass sanctuary window in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, which was gifted by the Livery Companies to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee in 2002. According to the Royal Family, King Charles personally selected the design.  With the monarchy’s cipher at the bottom—to represent the king’s position as servant to the people—the screen boasts 56 leaves to pay homage to the British Commonwealth’s 56 member states.  And New Zealand, together with Australia, had a part to play in making the screens, the wool for the backdrop was sourced from both Australia and New Zealand, but was milled in the United Kingdom. 

It was a long night indeed, and after watching the balcony appearance, we finally made it to bed at 2.00am, tired but so pleased to be able to witness this historic occasion.  I was around for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, a young 8 year old,  and there was no TV in our country way back then.  My first fleeting brush with royalty came during the Queen’s tour to New Zealand.   All the children from my school were given flags, and we lined up along the main road waiting till she drove past, frantically waving our flags.

Rising a bit late on Sunday, Robin still did the honours and produced our usual Sunday morning cooked breakfast.  Later in the morning I used up the last of our feijoas to make some muffins.


We’ve been cooking

Just as well I did make some muffins as we had a visit from grand-daughter Megan later in the afternoon.  She had driven down to Wellington to help her friend who was looking for a wedding dress.  Not an easy task, it seems, and the prices are horrendous.  Not only that, but the bride-to-be had to pay a fee at the shop for the privilege of trying some dresses on.  I had never heard of that.  Megan stopped and chatted for an hour or so, before heading back home.  She reminded me that it had taken some persuasion on her part before I finally knitted her a pair of socks!  So we checked through my sock yarn and she has selected what she liked for her next pair of hand knitted socks.  No promises when they will get completed though.


Me with Megan

Tuesday was Sew Wot Tuesday again, and we met at Mary’s lovely home.  With everyone having a tidy up in their sewing rooms lately, I took along a little something lurking about in my sewing cabinet drawers to see if Mary was interested.  It was a needle holder with pockets to slip needle packets in, and as Mary was the only one in our group who seems to do hand quilting I thought she might like it, as I had never used it at all.  Yes, she was delighted to take it off my hands.


This found a new home

Of course, there was show and tell as well.  Carol started this off showing Emily, a beautifully knitted doll and clothes.  Emily will be staying with Carol for a while, I think.   Plus two small knitted teddies which will be going to the Neo Natal unit. 


Emily and teddies

Heather had brought along a pretty knitted blanket.  This started last Christmas when everyone at the Spinning and Weavers group she attends brought along a wrapped ball of wool for a Christmas swap.  Heather’s gift was a ball of teal wool, and she added the brown alpaca yarn to knit her blanket.  Each of the teal blocks has a different pattern, and she finished it off with a knitted lacy edge. 


Heather’s knitted blanket

Heather is an avid sock knitter and had just finished a pair of socks for her grand daughter, nice and colourful, aren't they.


made for Heather’s grand daughter

Jude had been knitting socks too.  Not one, but two pair of socks for her son. 


Lucky boy, two pair of hand made socks

Mary had a top to show us, made with beautiful batiks.  Called “Skipping Stones” it is made up of nice big blocks with a partial seam.. Not too hard at all, Mary said.


Skipping Stones

Mary enjoys crochet too, and brought out her gorgeous Pandemic blanket to show us.  Made in shades of white and grey, it is wonderful.  I really admire people who can crochet with ease, it’s something I cannot do.


Pandemic blanket

There were a few WIPs brought along too.  I had taken my purple clam shells to show the slow progress I had made, pin, pin, pin, and carefully stitch along the curved lines. I’m still getting the occasional tuck which needs to be fixed, but not as bad when I first got back to this project.  It I can do several rows each week I’ll be happy.  And Sandra had brought along two WIPs to show us.  After completing a pansy quilt for her Aunty, she decided that she should be making one for her other Aunty too, and decided on star blocks.  The other blocks are inspired by a quilt Jude had made featuring 1.5in strips, so Sandra is working on that design too.


Sandra’s WIPs

We spent a lovely morning together, morning tea was served, but no photo was taken, obviously we were all enjoying it so much.  Thanks to Mary for being hostess, and she had a little surprise for us when we were leaving.  Her garden had produced several pumpkins, so Mary chopped one up into pieces for us to take home.  So nice, I love pumpkin.