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

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sew Wot Tuesday

After missing the previous get-together with the ladies, Sew Wot Tuesday rolled around again  today, so it was good to see everyone again.  Pam was our hostess for the morning, and we were pleased to see her looking better after her recent stay in hospital.  Some of the ladies came bearing plates of goodies for morning tea, as we wanted Pam to rest and take things easy while she was recuperating.  And once again, we had a birthday to celebrate.  This time it was Moira, who was swamped with cards, lots of interesting parcels to open, and plenty of good wishes.   She received fabric, and more fabric, fancy choccies, some pretty serviettes, and a beautiful wardrobe hanger with an attached “smellie” inside to make the the clothes smell nice.

P7070005 Happy Birthday to Moira

As always, there was some beautiful Show and Tell to admire.  Carol had been busy making a quilt each for her twin sisters birthdays.  One sister loves all things vintage and her gift was a lovely wall hanging made with 1930s fabrics and pretty stitchery blocks done with variegated thread.


P7070007 1930s wall hanging

Both twins have different tastes, so a pretty scrappy fence rail quilt made in lavender, green and a touch of mustard was Carol’s gift to her other twin sister. I’m sure they appreciate having a big sister who quilts!

P7070008Fence Rail quilt

Mary was working on the borders of her beautiful Chocolate Roses quilt, button-hole stitching the roses in place.  This is so lovely – it looks good enough to eat!

P7070009  Mary’s Chocolate Roses

I showed the group my Give Thanks cushion with the stitchery front, (see previous blog post).  This one is version 2 which I made for myself, after making one and posting it overseas last Christmas.  I thought it was such a nice pattern I wanted one just for me.   I have since started a new stitchery project, ABC Christmas.  More on that later when I have something interesting to show.

There was a bit of knitting going on, and both Rae and Carol had knitting needles clacking.  And Heather B had to leave early as she was going to check out a new sewing machine – how exciting.  She had worn her previous one to death, she was told.  It was a lovely morning, as always, thanks ladies.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Give Thanks Cushion – version 2

I’ve been quietly stitching away on my cushion panel for some time, and at last the stitchery was completed.  An afternoon or two at the sewing machine, and I’d completed the cushion cover.  Or had I?  No – I decided I hadn’t made the cover firm enough, so it had to be unpicked and re-stitched a little smaller.  Can’t have a saggy cushion now, can we?   There – that’s much better.  I made it especially to sit on the couch in my sewing room.

P7030049 “Give Thanks” cushion

If this cushion looks familiar, it is because I stitched another one last year and sent it off to South Dakota as a Christmas gift for my penfriend Carol.  I enjoyed doing it so much, I decided that I wanted to make one for myself too.  The pattern is by Kim Goodrich of “Once Upon a Vine”.

Lucy the rabbit also sits on the couch.  She was a lovely hand-made gift from Lucy who used to live in Hawaii – sadly Lucy moved away to the main-land and I lost touch with her.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she just happened to be reading this blog?

P6120004 Lucy the rabbit came from Hawaii

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A couple of Hang Ups

Not a great deal of sewing has been happening lately, but I’m pleased to announce that Robin has been busy lately helping me hang up an extra quilt or two in the sewing room.  Not really a matter of banging hooks in the walls, these days he is a firm believer in using Command hooks with adhesive backs.  I don't really mind what method he uses – I’m just pleased to get a bit more colour on the walls. And a couple more quilts get liberated from the cupboard.

First up went the hanging rod.  This necessitated measuring, a check made with the a spirit level to make sure it went up straight and even,  tiny pencil marks made on the wall, then on went the adhesive hooks.  Then up went “Angels to Watch over You”,

P6120005 Angels to Watch over You

This pattern is “Redwork Angels”, designed by Susan Claire, and was stitched while enjoying trips away in our caravan.over quite a long period of time.  It was finally completed it in 2012, and as I have told my grown-up grand-daughters, I have made it for when they finally get around to having babies!  Goodness knows when that will be.  So in the meantime I will enjoy seeing it hanging up here in my sewing room.

Also newly hanging up on the wall is “High Tech Tucks, Garden Window”, completed in 1998.  This was started in a class with Caryl Breyer Fallet many years ago when she came out to New Zealand to teach at the Wellington Symposium.  Sadly, the wall-hanging languished unfinished for several years before I really made an effort to get it completed.  I think it is quite  clever design using a large scale print, and it is one of my favourites. 

P6120003 High Tech Tucks, Garden Window

It’s nice to see these gracing the walls in my (very small) sewing room, thank you Robin.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday Night was Remnants Night

The monthly Remnants Night came around again, and I had a couple of choices to make.  What to work on?  I had a bit of unpicking to do, and then decided to start on a new stitchery project.  So all the bits and pieces required for the night were packed away in a big bag, including the unpicker.  And what to take for our shared meal?  Mmmm, I’d been wanting to try a new (to me) recipe I’d got from my daughter – bread cases filled with creamed corn and bacon. The savouries smelt wonderful when they were cooking, and after Robin and I had sampled one each at home to give them the taste test, I packed up the remainder to take with me, together with a container of home made chocolate slice biscuits.  Then I was ready for a night of companionship and sewing with the other Remnant ladies.  The evening was spent machining, hand sewing, slicing and dicing, unpicking, and advice offered here and there.  Just the usual type of thing, wouldn’t you say?

Debi spent the evening working on her hexagon quilt – it is not quite big enough yet, she told us.  The colours are so “her”, you can see how the colours tone in so nicely with her woollen cardigan. 

P6260010 Debi stitching her hexagon quilt

Janneke does a lot of sewing for the Ronald McDonald House and her task for the evening was slicing her four patch blocks and stitching them into split four patches.   Just a few simple slices and what a difference it makes to the blocks.

P6260009 From 4 patch to split four patches

New member Ute brought her daughter Katarina along who spent the night sewing herself a trendy pencil case for school.  Ute showed us her pretty cream and terracotta quilt.  The top is now finished and she spent the evening cutting up pieces for the wonderful pieced border she is stitching.  There will be a lot of sewing to get the border done, and we look forward to seeing the completed quilt in the future.

P6260011Ute and her quilt top

And Wendy was finishing up a pretty little baby cardigan for a workmate.  The lucky prospective Mum will be getting a gift basket, and this will be one of many delights inside.  So sweet, and soft and cuddly, just right for a little one.

P6260012Wendy’s baby knitting

This black, grey and yellow star quilt of Kathy's was rather striking, I thought.  Kathy started machine quilting this beauty, but it didn’t all go to plan.  Why, she wanted to know, were all those tangles on the back?  There was nothing for it but to start unpicking the problem area and start again. 

P6260008 Kathy’s star quilt

I was unpicking too, but I’d planned it as I wasn’t happy with the machining I had done at home.  With that task out of the way, I started on my new long term stitchery project, Christmas ABC.  My first block is “A is for Angel.”

P6260013 My new stitchery, A is for Angel

The evening passed pleasantly, and we were fortified with various cups of coffee and chocolate marshmallows to nibble on, thanks, Kathy. Although the numbers were down a little this month, it was still nice to meet up with those who came.  Thanks ladies, for your company.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Something I Prepared Earlier

As the TV Chefs say – this is something I prepared earlier – all ready for when the birthday quilt comes back from Paula, the commercial quilter.  The long length of green binding had been prepared a few days ago – just hope I made it long enough.  Then I utilised a spare leaf block and turned it into a label for the back of the quilt.  With some green leafy veins stitched on, and a binding around the edge, now I just need to write the details onto the label.  Or perhaps I’ll embroider them, I’m not quite sure yet.

P6250079Quilt label and binding ready for action

We have had some rather chilly days here lately, clear and cold.  To help the birds out I’ve been offering them an assortment of fruit lately.  The pretty little native wax-eyes have made short work of several feijoas and even enjoyed a squashy mandarin or two.  Today I put an apple out for them on the feeder – after peeling it first before skewering it through the core onto the spike.  According to the birds, that was just as acceptable as the previous offerings.  I must make up some Bird Pudding too, a mixture of fat and seeds, they really enjoy that too.  I love to watch the birds feeding, and I’m sure I get just as much pleasure feeding them as they get eating whatever is on the daily menue.

P6250087 Two wax-eyes either side of the apple

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Next stage for the Birthday Quilt

My daughter’s birthday quilt is on the next stage of it’s journey – it has been sent away to get commercially quilted.  Being a queen sized quilt, it is much too big for me to contemplate doing at home.  Paula from Rabbits Patch Quilting will be doing the honours, and we have spoken about what quilting designs I would like.  Can’t wait to see it returned in a few weeks time – quilts really come alive when they are quilted, I feel.  Meanwhile, I have prepared yards of green binding so I will be ready to stitch that on, once the birthday quilt is back in my hot little hands again.

It is just as well that we had planned for a weekend at home and not to go away camping.  The weather is atrocious and the incessant rain had led to  flooding,  slips, road closures, with people evacuated from their homes.  At the moment we cannot drive south as SH1 is closed between Otaki and Levin and the heavy rain warnings for the northern Tararuas and Horowhenua will only add to the flooding.  It is a good weekend to stay home, safe, warm and dry, and to count our blessings.

On such a miserable day as this, there was nothing for it but to do a little comfort cooking.  Cold weather always means “soup” to me, and I had a new recipe tucked away which I wanted to try – cauliflower and blue cheese soup, flavoured with a touch of thyme.   Mmm, it did smell nice while it was simmering away.  Robin got the job of using the hand held stick wand to make it all nice and smooth before I added the crumbled blue cheese to the pot.  I can’t be trusted with the wand as I have been known to lift it out of the pot without turning it off – you can imagine the mess that makes!

P6200019 Robin using the wand in my soup

Served with a swirl of cream and a little chopped parsley, it was a delicious and warming lunch.  At least I thought so, it wasn’t Robin’s favourite soup, he told me.  But he is very easy going, and ate his up, and will probably get some more tomorrow.  His favourite home made soup is pumpkin, he told me, but I like to ring the changes now and again.

P6200021 .Cauliflower, potatoe, and blue cheese soup

The cooking urge hadn’t dissipated so after lunch I decided to prepare a golden syrup steamed pudding, just because it was still raining hard.  It slowly bubbled away, and I have to admit it certainly was delicious.  What could be better comfort food on a cold, wet, miserable day than a big pot of home made soup, and a lovely stodgy steamed pudding.  No wonder I didn’t get any stitching done today – perhaps tomorrow?

P6200027  And for dessert tonight – golden syrup steamed pudding

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Quilt Borders

My goodness, putting borders on quilts is a slow job!  First I had to decide exactly what I wanted, so I took the quilt top down to my local quilt shop, Krazy Cow, located in the old Levin Railway Station building.  I had an idea I wanted a dark green narrow border to frame the design, and soon found a fabric which looked good.  But what next?  I looked around the shelves, pulling out batiks and smudgy fabrics but nothing seemed right.  Shop owner Trish was very helpful, bringing all sorts of fabrics over, and then she decided to go in another direction and brought over a floral on a cream background.  Not what I was thinking of at all, but I must admit, it certainly tied all the pinks and greens in.  Sometimes it helps to have another pair of eyes! 

Taking my border fabrics home they were washed and ironed that day.  The next day I was kept busy measuring, cutting, pinning (I’m a great pinner, not taking any chances of the fabric slipping), stitching and pressing. 
P6140018 I like to use plenty of pins

P6140019Both borders finally on

I had a few spare blocks over so incorporated them into the extra wide backing fabric I had purchased, making sure that the backing was a little bigger all around than the quilt top.  There was one last job to do, and that was to look over the quilt top and snip off any stray threads – there were plenty of those.  There, all done – now I can send the top and backing away to get commercially quilted.