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

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Elephant Top Finished

 I've been working away on my Elephants, and number 2 for the Chookshed Challenge.  At the beginning of the year we had to list ten projects for this challenge, and a random number is chosen for each month.  This is my number 2, using the design Elephant Parade as inspiration.  I also wanted to use up a pile of grey and pink strips, which were cut for an earlier project some years ago and never used.

My starting point

Pink and grey strips were sewn together, and the elephants traced out and appliqued.  Then the rows were stitched together, and a grey border added.  That's good, I've met my goal this month and finished the top.  

Elephant families

Not only that, I sewed the backing to size, using soft and cuddly flannel, and prepared the binding.  Now I need to get on and machine quilt it sometime.  It's always a bonus having the binding prepared early, I find.

Backing and binding strip all ready and waiting.

But......... did I use up all those precut pink and grey strips?  Of course not, there are still a whole pile left.  So I've come up with an idea for another pink and grey quilt, and this one doesn't involve elephants.  

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Sew Wot Tuesday

It was so nice to meet up with the Sew Wot Ladies today, especially as I couldn't make it last time.  Heather was our "Hostess with the Mostest" today and warmly welcomed up into her home.  After we had settled down, show and tell got under way, starting with the last two items from the Doily Challenge being shown.   Late last year we were able to select a doily of our choice from Helen, and the instructions were "to make something".  Helen had made a lovely bag, using a vintage pillowcase and added the embroidered detail from the doily to the front corner.  Then she showcased her wonderful machine quilting to the top and back of the bag.

Helen's wonderful bag

Heather showed what she had done with her doily, turning it into a pretty lace cushion.  The rows of lace covered up a couple of spots on the doily beautifully.  The small embroidered motif peeked out from a corner, and the cushion was finished off with a lace edging.

Heather's lace cushion

Carol passed around several of her knitted toys, commenting that they had been made from gifted yarn she had received from the a couple of the ladies.  Then a bag full of smaller toys were tumbled from a bag - she puts in such a lot of work making these toys for donation to several good causes.

A big pile of toys made by Carol

I had brought along my recently finished 4ply blue socks to show.  I wanted to use up the remaining coloured wool from a previous pair, but then had to purchase the blue sock yarn to complete them.  So now I've got the remaining blue yarn left over.  No wonder there is always bits and pieces of sock yarn hanging about - I'll just have to knit more socks!

My blue 4ply socks

And what's this from Heather?  She was very pleased I identified it as a llama.  Heather is a member of the Spinners and Weavers group, and every Christmas they do a yarn swap.  The idea is to make something and  bring it back to show to the members.  Heather received the fluffy brown wool and decided to make the llama - isn't he wonderful!

Heather's llama

Morning Tea, as usual, was delicious, and we sat around the large table enjoying the goodies and our tea or coffee.  Thanks so much Heather for a lovely spread, we certainly never go hungry.

Morning tea is served

I noticed this delightful art piece on the dining room wall, so had a closer look at it.  This was made by f Heather's daughter as a 60th Wedding Anniversary gift, and is chock full of tiny buttons, charms, old jewelery  and all sorts of little treasures.

60th Anniversary gift

We had a wonderful morning chatting away, and we all seemed to be busy knitting, no stitching this time.  Thanks so much Heather.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Elephants Tails and a new Collar

 There's been plenty of hand work happening here lately.  One of my goals was to hand stitch tails and eyes on to my three families of elephants.   There is Mother elephant, her older calves and the two babies in each family.  A couple of afternoons spent sitting quietly and the job was done.

Elephants tails and eyes

Once that job was done, it shouldn't take me too long to assemble the rows.  This is my number two project in the Chookshed Challenge for February and I would really like to get this top assembled by the end of the month.

Last month I had finally finished knitting and sewing up my navy blue cardigan (number 6 for January in the Chookshed Challenge) but...........I was not at all happy with the collar.  Silly me, I thought I knew better than the pattern and knitted a ribbed collar instead of garter stitch.  After thinking about it for a while, I decided that if I didn't like it now, I never would in the future, so there was only one thing for it.  The collar was unravelled, and reknitted, according to the pattern.  The colour is darker than shown, the pic was taken outside in the sunshine.

THis looks better

This cardigan has been a very long winded project indeed, and was started last year during our 10 week South Island caravan holiday.  It was a nice easy design to knit while sightseeing in the car, not much thinking to do at all.  But once I started on the back shoulder increases I realised that I had the incorrect number of stitches - bother.  So that was unravelled and knitted again.  And now the collar has  been redone too.  You would think at my age I would be better at following instructions!

But it is finally completed, and I'm happy with my efforts.  It will be tucked away till the winter weather arrives.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

A New Home for the Froggies

 Baby Jack has arrived - the first grandson of Robin's sister Kaye and her husband Jan.  That was certainly exciting news and we caught up with Kaye for lunch while she was staying with the new parents and baby to offer a helping hand.  Luckily I had a baby quilt  tucked away for a new arrival, wrapped it up and took it to our lunch date. 

What's in the parcel?

 Robin's younger brother Gary and his wife Debbie came along for lunch too, and Kaye was sitting inside at the table waiting for us.  So it was quite a nice family reunion.  As always, we dithered over the menu, and checked out the cabinet food, eventually making our lunch choices.  It had been some time since we had caught up with Kaye, who lives in the South Island, so there was plenty to chat about.  

Three siblings, Robin, Kaye and Gary

Finally it was time to head back to our respective homes, and Kaye had promised the new Mum a roast meal so she had to hurry back as well, taking the parcel with her.  The froggies had found a new home, and will now live happily with baby Jack.

Goodbye froggies

Our niece Hannah has sent a message thanking me for the gift.  I'm just so pleased I had a cute little quilt to pass on to the youngest member of the family.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Chookshed Challenge

 I'm happy to be joining in with the Chookshed Challenge this year.  We had to list ten projects, UFOs or something on our wish list and each month a number is chosen at random.  This month, the number chosen was number two, which in my case is a  variation of Elephants on Parade.  I started off with this,  a pattern in a magazine, and some left over pink and grey strips I wanted to use up.

The starting point

Because I had no idea what month  number two on the list would be called, I went to the quilt shop to purchase some more fabric to continue with this quilt top.  Pale pink for the background, and a grey print with tiny black stars for the elephants.  Just as well I had made this purchase because project number two was called up early, so I was all ready to go. 

Purchased to complete this project

So what have I done so far?  Stitched four strips of the pink and grey strips together - that was easy.

Strips sewn

Next was to start on the applique.  I take the easy way out (no needle turn for me)  and traced the shapes onto visoflix, press to the fabric and cut out the shapes.  Then I will machine applique in place.  That will be the next step.

Cute little elephants

So this coming week I will work away on the machine applique, and then hand embroider the little black tails in place.  Hopefully then I will get the various sections stitched together.  That's the plan, it would be great to finish the month with a completed top.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Valentine's Day

 Happy Valentine's Day to all.  I had to educate Robin about St Valentine - he didn't realise that there was indeed such a person.  St Valentine was martyred on 14th February in the year 269 under instructions of Emperor Claudius 11 for helping Christian couples wed.

I like to bring out my bed quilt "Hearts of Love" for the months of November, our wedding month, and again in February, for Valentine's Day.  The heart blocks were received some years ago when I took part in a block swap.  Then I assembled the quilt using star blocks as part of the sashing.  I'm sure most quilters like to rotate their quilts for various celebrations too.  Here is Gemma nice and cozy tucked up on the bed

Hearts of Love for Valentine's month

We were meeting some friends for lunch today at a recently opened cafe in Foxton, and they were certainly celebrating the day with little heart shaped chocolates for each customer, and a balloon heart on each table.

Happy Valentine's Day, Robin

Just as well I had booked a table, as the cafe was very busy indeed.  Our meals were nice, Robin had a hamburger, and I had a kumara stack with bacon and sour cream, very tasty indeed.  the others had food from the cabinet.  Dare I say we all had a cake as well - we were having a celebration, after all.  One of the friendly girls took our photo for us.

Jenny, Trish, Robin, Calvin and Helen

Then it was back to our home for another cuppa and cake, and even more chatting amongst ourselves.  There is always plenty to talk about, remembering old friends no longer with us, and fun outings we had all enjoyed when we were younger and fitter.  It certainly was a nice day out.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Socks, and catching up with an old friend

 I know I'm a slow knitter, and  I finally finished this pair of socks some time ago.  But I was even slower getting around to stitching up the side seam.  There they sat, and sat, waiting patiently for that single inside seam on each to be sewn.  At last they were completed, a nice pair of 4ply socks.  I wanted to use up the remaining white and coloured sock yarn from a previous pair, so had to go and purchase the blue wool to go with it.  Now I've got left over blue sock yarn - that's the way it goes.

Another pair of socks

A few days I caught up with my old school friend Merilyn, who lives in the South Island.  She had flown up to Wellington with her son to attend a Memorial Service for her brother.  It's certainly sad when your siblings pass away.  She told me she really, really wanted to see me so of course we drove down and had a lovely catch up with her and her son before the family plans took place.  We chose a local cafe for coffee and scones and sat and chatted away.  Merilyn is one of those friends who you just pick up the conversation with, the next time you meet.

Two old school friends

Merilyn does spinning and had brought me up some more of her lovely home spun wool, in a lovely rich  brown shade.   I'm sure I will be able to put it to good use.

Pure New Zealand hand spun wool

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Green and Red for RSC

 I've been working hard to finish up a green UFO for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  It didn't quite get completed in January, but here it is done now.  In fact, the binding was stitched down today.  This cot quilt was made with green and lemon 5in squares I received from my elderly neighbour Dorothy's stash which was donated to me when she went into a rest home.  The green border fabric came from Dorothy as well.  This truly is the "gift which keeps on giving" as I still have many more charm squares left, including those I've used in last year's  Happy Blocks, and I'm dipping into them again this year too.

Cot quilt for donation

As a change from my more usual Serpentine stitch quilting lines, I decided to do some "dot to dot" quilting lines inside each square.  This is the first time I've done this, but it turned out fine, I think.

Different quilting lines for a change

Red is the RSC colour chosen for February, so I've been busy stitching red Happy blocks.  I found three girl's floral squares in the stash, and border fabrics to suit.  The boy's pirate blocks were next, and I used the same shade of red to surround these with.  

Girl's Happy Blocks

Boy's Pirate blocks

Next were the four patch blocks, teddy bears, stars, shoes and flower buds soon had their borders applied.

Four patch blocks

And finally, a few Hollow Nines to add to the collection.  I'm only using 2.5in squares already cut for these, just want to use them up without cutting any more and clear the bag.  

Hollow Nines

So that's what I've been doing the last week or so.  I really enjoy checking out all the other RSC stitchers projects too.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Stitching, Knitting and Shopping

 A little stitching, knitting, and shopping, that's what I've been up to lately.  I always seem to have a pair of socks on the go, and these are my current triple knit (12 ply) pair.  Made with white/cream home spun wool, a gift from my friend Merilyn, with added speckled yarn, they are coming along nicely.  Once past the heels, I'm now on the homeward stretch.

Nice and cozy for winter

The final of four Kiwi Christmas stitcheries has just been completed.  This shows a Kiwi carrying a large bag of gifts riding on a rather well muscled ram.  Surely such a handsome ram must be "Mr Stud" on the farm, I'm thinking.

Kiwi Christmas stitchery

As for the shopping, we had a quick  trip to Pete's Emporium the other day.  This shop stocks all sorts of goodies, and Robin was after another New Zealand flag to fly on our flag pole. 

Pete's Emporium, Lower Hutt

There is quite a large craft area too, selling fabric, buttons, lace and cords, wool too.  As I didn't know we were going to Petes, I was not at all organised for a shopping trip.  In the end I purchased just a couple of balls of Sugar and Cream knitting cotton to knit more dishcloths.  They always come in handy.

Knitting cotton

So that's what I've been up to lately, a bit of this and a bit of that.