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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Off to a Good Home

I guess, like me, that you may have wondered what to do with some of your quilts?  Older ones, but still quite acceptable, with lots of use still in them.  I had several single bed quilts, but no beds for them.  And then I discovered from my Sew Wot friend Mary that the local Woman’s Refuge will gladly accept such items.

Four single bed quilts going to new homes

So I’ve been pulling things out of cupboards and having a good clean out.  There are the quilts of course, plus some woolen blankets too.  With my family long gone, I really don’t know why I’ve been hanging onto the blankets all these years.  I found some winter flannelette sheets to pass on - they are all bundled up ready to go to a good home, keeping families warm over winter.  The refuge may use them at their house, or perhaps pass them on to the ladies when they move out to other accommodation, whatever they think is best.

Warm bedding for winter

And yes, I still have bedding, blankets and a quilt or two for our spare bed for visitors.  The only thing we haven't got in fact, is the bed itself – we’ve ordered a new one and it’s on it’s way, we’ve been told.  But that’s another story.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

How many Blocks?

It looks like I really was stitching up a storm - I’ve had a count of my black and grey blocks left over from my grand-daughter’s horse quilt which I completed last year.  And they make a total of 34 – a great number to start horse quilt number 2 for my younger  equally horse mad grand-daughter. 

34 blocks already done

That certainly is a good start for Megan’s quilt, but still more will be needed for a big bed quilt.  So I’ve stitched up several strip sets.  Then sliced them all ready to make even more nine patch blocks.  Stitching these will keep me quiet for a while.

Even more blocks to come

My daughter Nicky popped in on Friday on her way down to spend the weekend in the big city.  And she had a gift for me - a belated Mother’s Day gift.  All made by her own fair hands, she proudly told me.  Isn’t she clever!

Hand made by Nicky

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Horse Quilt Number 2

The dice has been rolled this week and it has brought up number 2 – which is horse quilt number 2 for want of a better name.  You may remember that last year I completed a large horse quilt for equine lover and horse owner Emma, my elder grand-daughter.  So now it’s the turn of her equally horse besotted younger sister Megan to have her own horse quilt – eventually.  As any quilter knows, these things take time!

I had stitched so many black and grey nine patch blocks for Emma’s quilt last year that I still have a large assortment left over.  And that’s after making both girls a large squishy bed cushion for Christmas last year.  It would be sensible to use these blocks in Megan’s quilt, I feel.

Two cushions stitched up with extra 9 patch blocks for Christmas

So I guess the first thing to do is count all the nine patch blocks I have tucked away and just see how many I have, and lay them out so I can get a good look at them.  I’m be making a similar quilt for Megan but with different horsey accents – that’s the plan, anyway

How many blocks are there?

And I still have quite a selection of black and grey prints to make more blocks, if required.

Extra fabric

I had originally planned to make something really clever for the centre of the quilt, but that has been more difficult than expected and hasn’t happened yet.  But I’ll persevere a bit longer, although I may have to go with Plan B instead.  Let’s just wait and see what happens.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

He talks quilt talk

The conversation went like this:
Him – you’ve got lots of strips on the bed – what are you making?
Her – that’s a new quilt for us, and those are my leader and ender strips.
Him – I know what leader and enders are, you talk about them often enough!
Isn’t that sweet – he can talk quilt talk!

And the strips in question are these, all stitched as leaders and enders, as DH knows. 

Something I prepared earlier – as the TV cooks say

This week I’m working on stitching a few more Soul Searching blocks together.  Although I’m sewing straight seams, there are a lot of pieces.  I like to lay them out on top of the bed to make sure I have them in the correct order, using a completed block for reference.  Then I pin them in pairs, sew them up, pin some more and make sure I have the strips right side up and not back to front.  Yes, I have done that previously, and had to unpick.

With some dedicated sewing time slotted in this week, I’m pleased that I’ve got three more blocks stitched together.  I’ve done lilac, pale pink, and bright pink blocks.  These are quite big blocks at 29in square.  So far, that’s six blocks stitched, and six more to go.

Three more Soul Searching blocks completed

It was nice to use some more of the pale pink fabrics which part of my daughter’s 50th Birthday quilt a couple of years ago.  But as for those lilacs, that’s a whole different story.  I cut these strips from a (yet another) long forgotten UFO which I started umpteen years ago, put it away, and forgot all about it.  And rediscovered when I was looking for more lilac fabrics.  Maybe one day it will get a chance to get worked on again when it finally ends up on my List of Six.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Town and Country Quilters June Club Night

We braved the cold for our quilt club evening on Wednesday – but it could have been worse, at least it wasn’t raining.  Our speaker for the evening was Glynn Singleton, the Managing Director of Bernina NZ.  He related the history of the family owned Bernina brand, and asked how many in the hall own a Bernina sewing machine.  Many of us, as it turned out.  Glynn touched on several of the problems with home sewers  which can occur from time to time.  Tension is a biggy – different threads and different fabrics can mean that the tension needs to be altered.  Don’t be afraid to turn the dial, he said, it wouldn’t be there if we weren’t meant to tinker with it.  (I've always been a bit hesitant to touch the dial.)   Needles – change them regularly and only buy reputable brands.  And keep the needle race free of lint, and lightly oil.  These small things will keep your sewing machine running sweeter for longer.  And don’t forget the regular maintenance, especially for patch workers who use their machines so much more than the average home sewer.  I take mine along for an annual session with sewing machine guru Barrie – who works his magic with all brands, but he particularly likes the Bernina brand, he told me.

Glynn, from Bernina NZ

Show and Tell is always interesting.  Griet showed us her Chicken quilt, made with many fabrics she found in the Op Shop.  This is such a bright and cheery fun quilt.

Griet’s Chicken quilt

Didn’t catch the names of the next sewers, but the teddy panel is destined to make a sick child very happy at Ronald McDonald House, and the square in a square quilt is going to the maker’s grand-daughter.  And I’m sure a horse lover will appreciate the attic window quilt.


Three more at Show and Tell

Our club recently had tutor Anna Williams take a class on her very popular Celtic Circles.  Anna has now retired from tutoring so the club is very pleased that we had secured her expertise for several recent classes.

Club members with their Celtic Circles

It was a very chilly night, so as soon as I had sipped a nice hot cuppa, I slipped away a little early.  There’s nothing like your own home on a cold winter’s night, is there.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A new UFO this week

The “roll of the dice” has been done this week – and it landed on number 4.  Which is a new project on my List of 6, “Soul Searching, designed by Kathy Doughty.  I’m doing my blocks with a little more contrast than shown in the book.


The design is similar to a Log Cabin, and this has truly been a “leader and ender” project.  The strips had been cut and pinned, and fed under the needle as I was sewing other things, just one small seam on each strip.  And it’s amazing how quickly these little strips mount up.  This project hasn’t been touched for quite some time so I’m rather pleased it has made it’s way onto my list.  This is what I rediscovered when I unwrapped my bundle, it was all rolled up and tied with a selvedge strip to keep it tidy.

Strip sets, waiting to be assembled

There’s already three blocks assembled, so I’d made a good start before it all got rolled up and put away.

Green, burgundy and black blocks all done

As I’ve decided to make twelve blocks, instead of the nine in the book, I’ve still got quite a lot of stitching to do.  Today I started off working on a lilac set – with all straight seams, how hard can it be?  Harder than I thought, as I got my trusty unpicker out to rip out a couple of seams.  I had picked up two strips, pinned them together, but got them upended so they were pinned and stitched on the wrong side, – if you know what I mean.  More haste – less speed, double check what I'm doing, and I was soon on the right track. 

We are out and about all day tomorrow, but I should be able to squeeze a few hours sewing time on Friday.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Wet and windy Sew Wot Tuesday

The weather wasn’t at all for nice for today's Sew Wot get-together.  But as it was my turn to be hostess, I stayed at home where it was warm and cozy, ready to welcome them as they got blown through the door.  Medical appointments kept our numbers a little lower once again – just a sign of getting older, I guess.

So what was everyone doing?  Heather E was working with her beloved hexagons.  She loves handwork but I’m sure I would find those itty bitty hexagons much too fiddly for my fat fingers.  Carol was stitching chickens, to be made into a cushion for a family member who has chooks at home
Heather B was making a stained glass table runner.  Love the colours, it’s going to be stunning.  I remember doing something with black bias strips myself many years ago.

Heather B’s stained glass table runner

Mary asked “Want to see my jacket?”  Of course I did and I was expecting her to pull a quilted jacket out of her bag.  But this appeared instead – a lovely white lacy 4ply baby’s jacket made especially for the baby to wear to church with the proud parents.  So sweet.  And check out this detail – the pretty flowers were embroidered on after the sleeves were knitted.


Mary’s baby jacket

That reminds me – I really must get on with my knitting too.  It’s not at all fancy, I’m knitting myself a winter weight cream cardigan, and I’m up to the back.  Never mind, I’ll get there sooner or later.  Heather B asked to see my just completed Animal ABC top, so that got passed around the ladies to be admired.

My Animal ABC quilt top

As usual, we had plenty to talk about, magazines to flick through, and morning tea to eat.  Plus some knitting and stitching was achieved – I managed to do a little more on one of my Christmas ABC corner blocks.  Another lovely Sew Wot morning.