Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A lovely gift

I received a lovely gift in the post today, from Rachael at bluemountaindaisy.blogspot.co.uk

A pretty fabric bird, a bird peg, a homemade card and a lovely Souvenir tea towel depicting Australian wildflowers.
As a follower of Rachael's blog I recognise her 'style', very much in evidence in the bird she made.
Our arrangement to meet in Sydney last month didn't happen but I do hope one day we will meet.  Quite strange how connected one can feel with fellow bloggers - such is the connection that sharing a great hobby such as Patchwork and Quilting can create.

Thank you, Rachael.  Happy sewing!

Friday, 24 April 2015

WIP finished! Hoorah!

I had given myself a deadline to finish the WIP Baby Quilt by yesterday. Last night we had neighbours over for dinner, then as soon as they left I hand sewed the binding.  This afternoon I started to hand embroider the label, sitting on the deck in the sunshine.  Super!

After a little while there were two earthquake tremors! Really strong, the strongest we have experienced to date in 11 years of having our house. A shaking from side to side which I thought was my husband moving the dining table ( although I couldn't imagine why!) and then real big staggers through the floor of , hard on its heels, another exactly the same pattern. Apparently a 6.2 tremor about 60 miles from here, but 52 km underground.  No one hurt nearer the epicentre, just a few supermarket shelves shaken and items thrown to the floor.  But it was felt pretty much through both islands.

So, drama over, back to the embroidery!  Label finished, sewn onto the back of Max's quilt and off I set down the slope to our neighbours to deliver the quilt for their Grandson.  How about this for serendipity, they were on a Skype call to their son and I was able to see baby Max sitting in his little chair, smiling away when he heard my voice!  Wonderful.

Tomorrow is Anzac Day so we are off to the Dawn Service, starting at 6.30am. We need to leave at least by 6am so it's off to bed for me.

Let  me leave you with photos of my quilt - our neighbours were thrilled!

And here's the backing, which I love!  Great colour match!

A great backing fabric that I would have missed if a lovely Spotlight assistant hadn't shown it to me! Perfect colour and perfect for the parents who own four dogs.

Such a good colour match for the front of the quilt.

So, off to bed early so we can be wide awake for the Dawn Service,

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Highs and lows

At the end of last year we learned that a lovely NZ friend was seriously ill and we really did not expect to see her again.  However, much to our joy she was still with us when we arrived in February and we made a visit to see her our priority - first thing we did this time back in NZ.

She looked so much better than we feared and everyone felt there was hope.  So, I came straight home and made this quilt which I imagined she would wrap around her in the winter months ahead.

I called it Heartstrings.
I literally had about 18" of binding to stitch down and to make a label when we heard the sad news that our dear friend had gone downhill and was fading fast.  I finished the quilt and made a different label to the one I had planned.
On Friday we went to her amazing funeral: a large church filled to overflowing with her dear family and friends. I gifted my quilt to her husband and their two children in the hope that the many strings, colours and patterns will remind them of the dear lady who has gone.  She was a rainbow of delight, a personality of many facets.
From that low point I came home to read a blog from Jo in Australia.  I feel we are "blog friends" as part of her journey through life echoes mine.  She recently very kindly sent me a crochet pattern and a sample of how it looked. As thanks I sent her a little gift too and I was so pleased to see the post where she mentions this gift. I was very touched. Thank you, Jo.
Take a look at Jo's blog, always something new to see as she is a prolific crafter:
So, highs and lows with the common thread of friendship and sewing.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

WIP that has to be finished ASAP

I am making a baby quilt for my NZ neighbours' latest grandson, Max. We are returning to the UK in just over two weeks so, as they say, time is of the essence!

I bought the fabric almost two months ago, from two Quilt shops: Cushla's in Mapua and Quilter's Barn in Renwick and the backing was a bargain end of roll from Spotlight.

I didn't make the quilt straight away as I wanted to make the String Quilt I finished a few days ago.
And then of course there were two trips away, to Sydney and the Bay of Islands, which all meant that starting the baby quilt got pushed onto the back burner.

But earlier this week  I started the quilt.  I had drafted out the design way back when I bought the fabric so it was just a case of cut and sew.  I sandwiched it yesterday and started the hand quilting so I now feel my target to finish by next Thursday is achievable.

How it looks at the moment:

As you can see the Perle cotton and scissors are ready to be picked up as soon as I have a minute to put in s few more stitches.
I have made lots of baby quilts over the years but this is a "first" in many respects:
  • I bought every bit of fabric for this quilt just for this quilt.  I have lots of fabric stashed away(what quilter hasn't?) but 90% of  my stash is back in the UK.. I only keep a small stash here in NZ and I really had nothing suitable for this quilt.  Hence the shopping spree.  It was lovely to buy everything for one project and there is enough left over to make another baby quilt and have scraps for my ever-growing Scraps Stash! Just got to decide whether the left-overs stay here or travel back to the UK with me on 2nd May. What do you think?
  • I have made a few Coin Quilts before but never combined that design with a band across the top with baby's name appliqued on it.  This is an idea I got from an English quilting friend of mine, Sarah.  So, another "first".
  • This quilt will be going to South Africa (taken by NZ Granny when she visits in July) and I have never had one of my quilts end up in SA. Lots in the UK, Canada, NZ, The Netherlands and Germany, but this is the first one destined to live in South Africa.
I am very pleased with how the quilt is progressing, the bright colours really sing and the novelty prints are very apt, I think.  Dad is a Kiwi so sheep and tractors are good ( Granddad has a tractor). Dad and Granddad are keen bikers so the bike fabric is good too.  Orange for the South African link and a few hearts to show how much this baby is loved. The backing has a pattern of dogs on it, again suitable as Mum and Dad have two large dogs.
Off to do my housework and cooking so I can get back to hand quilting!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Making gifts - such fun

I have been a follower of Rachael's Blue Mountain Daisy's blog for a long time. ( bluemountaindaisy.blogspot.co.uk)
Last month my husband and I visited Sydney to see friends and do some sightseeing and I had hoped to meet Rachael in person. We made arrangements to meet - all very exciting - but unfortunately they didn't work out as unexpectedly Rachael had some work offered her.  I had made a little gift for her but as I couldn't hand it over at the coffee shop I posted it instead.  I had a lovely "Thank you" email from Rachael which I very much appreciated but then then a few days ago I discovered that she had included my little present in her blog post.  I was thrilled!  Even more pleased as Rachael's photo of my drawstring bag and needle case was much better than the ones I had taken for my Flickr page!

Here's my gifts:


Check out Rachael's super blog if you haven't had the good fortune to read it yet.  You will love her quilts, photos, flower arrangements and quirky posts and stories.

I have been looking at binding clips for a while as they kept popping up in lots of blog posts.  The ones I saw all seemed rather expensive but then whilst I've been in NZ I found a real bargain at Spotlight.  I bought the last two packets in the shop - one for me and one for a quilting friend's birthday gift.  I have just used the clips for the first time, binding this String quilt:


What a fantastic idea they are.  Simple to use, no scratches and blood spots on the quilt from using straight pins. Definitely the way to go!

Coincidentally, Rachael said that she was going to use the drawstring bag for storing her clips and lo and behold, they are the same ones that I bought - Rachael's were from Spotlight too. So, if you live in NZ or Australia, check out your nearest Spotlight store.

If you haven't tried clips yet to hold your binding, I definitely recommend them.

Off to embroider the label for my quilt.

Friday, 3 April 2015

A quilt that I forgot

Last week we were visiting friends in Sydney.  The first few days of our trip we stayed in their new house, a farm out in the country, nearest town is Goulburn.  We were shown into the guest room and on the wall was a quilt.  Of course I commented on it and our host laughed and reminded me that I had made it as a gift when we stayed at their previous home, an apartment overlooking the beach at Cronulla!  She said that now she lived in the country she thought the quilt was just right for the Guest Room as it had a "country theme".

When I looked at it again I did remember making it: it was from a pattern in a book I have back in England.  As I always label my quilts I was able to find out that it was a gift I made them for Christmas 2004. I know that I made another little quilt from the same book, in similar colours, which I gave to my sister.  She used to display it on her kitchen wall but now they have a new kitchen it doesn't "go" with the more modern d├ęcor. Probably hidden away in a drawer, but it will have been kept, as my sister keeps everything I make her.

Here it is, my long-forgotten Australian Country Quilt:

I was really pleased to see it again.  Not my usual choice of colours but ones suggested in the book and ones I thought were right for this particular quilt.  All hand blanket-stitched applique and hand quilted.  I am still amazed that I had forgotten all about making and gifting it!
I had a good look at it and was pleased with the sewing.  Here's a couple of close ups of  the applique:

I agreed with our friend, it is very suitable, especially as they have a mob of red kangaroos that come around their property.  Sadly we didn't see them.  We have been to Australia several times and I have never seen a kangaroo in the wild.  I did see a wombat though!

When I get back to the UK I shall have to find the book and perhaps make something else from it.