Thursday, 29 September 2011

Halifax, sew & flip and cats

This is  a little magnet I bought in Halifax, Canada in 1987 - so the chip is understandable - it sits on the side of my fridge and I loop the handle of a little flax kete onto it, in which I put the pencil I need to write my shopping list.

And you need to know this why? I hear you thinking - well it's all to do with the great blogging community; I looked at one of my regular blogs, saw a link that looked interesting and then saw one that was headed something to do with the waterfront in Halifax - so I just had to have a look.

Linda has similar tastes in quilting and the magic connection is Halifax.  Back in 1987 I did a round the world trip to see my brothers and sisters as both our parents had died since my previous visit and then I went onto Canada to stay three weeks with the woman who had been my very Best Friend all through school in England.  We had lost touch after her divorce and then re-connected.  The trip was arranged so that I could have as many stopovers as I wanted, provided I kept going west.

I'll tell you more about it later and I hope to have some photos because I met up with a quilt group in the village of Selsey where I used to live, they gave me an introduction to a quilter in Halifax who gave me one to a quilter in Montreal................

To quilts now, the Four plus three quilt I explained last time is a variation of the Exquisite block, the latter has a sew and flip on opposite corners not just on the one.  This is one I teach in my class, my sample is another flower garden -

Then later I teamed the block with a four patch for this result -

Halifax was the first place I saw antique quilts for sale, I was just blown away - and right at the end of my trip I found THE antique quilt in Toronto, no question I had to have it - three cheers for plastic fantastic.  I will get a photo and show later.

Believe it or not this next photo has a link to Canada too - here is Basil showing his large tail which is the reason for his name, Basil Brush, sitting on the "Tree Skirt" under the Christmas tree -

That is actually a skirt - see the patchwork around the bottom? In those days I was a size 12 which is why I now have found another use for it!  I bought it at Suttles and Seawinds - the most amazing quilt shop in ****Bay - I shall have to look it up.  The shop took up an entire house, upstairs and downstairs - I wonder if it is still there.

Just so Floyd doesn't feel left out, here he is helping himself to a feed when I left the lid open - I had only turned around to fill his plate, but hey, why make do with a little plate when you can have the whole lot!

Here's one of the tops I made when I started sewing again nearly three years after my husband died.  I moved my sewing machine upstairs to the dining room table, got out my scraps and started piecing.  My son called round and was horrified to see me joining lots of tiny little pieces, he was quite sure quilts should be made of big pieces - I had plenty of them, didn't I!

The thing is they were all the bits left over from using five inch squares so I sorted them into similar lengths.  I started with the row four from the right - yes they are tiny.  Here is a detail

As the pattern is a version of Chinese coins, I call it Pounds, shillings and pence - or Lsd for short!

Such excitement in Petone earlier today, a convoy of flag bedecked cars drove along Jackson Street, horns blaring - Samoan supporters were on the move!

The weather here today was so good, you really can't beat Wellington on a good day!  I could have done some gardening, but managed to find enough to do elsewhere.......

I must have known what the thought for today is, "Systematic thinking must precede action."

Thanks for dropping by, good talking to you

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Billy and classes

I thought you might like a close up of the "man servant", named with gusto but a decided lack of originality - Billy.

You will note that he is very much his own person and quite happily sports an ear-ring!  This 'flower' is actually a bunch of quilting patterns but seemed made for him - and a perfect match to his corrugations! 

He even wears his maker's mark -

I have spent some time in my sewing room these last couple of days trying to find suitable fabric for one of the Shut-in Stitchers.  She made the classic mistake of loving some very distinctive fabric, piecing it to a cot size and now wanting more to enlarge into a single bed size but nowhere can I find any in my stash and there was nothing at the prison either - dark, saturated colours with lots of black, sort of like a batik.  She has made some fabulous scrap quilts so this time it will test her ingenuity to come up with a solution - or we just wait and see what comes along!

The name Kaffe Fassett conjures up beautiful colours and patterns and I believe he visited New Zealand earlier this year.  I was lucky enough to go along to his class the first time he came here.  We received details of the class and the sizes to cut our fabric; I felt his recipe was a bit on the clunky side so cut my pieces smaller, my colour scheme was based on one fabric I liked - I even invited friends who came round during the week before the class to add to the pile from my stash, so I had a good amount to choose from.

Here I am at the class [concentration is making me hunch my shoulders - but I like my haircut!]

The 'starter' fabric is to the left of the deep red nine patch, and here is the finished flimsy, called "Moonlit Garden"

This next quilt top is from my five inch squares class, the smaller version of postcards - as the baby quilt was that I showed recently - and they send me photos of little Amy enjoying floor time on it.

A work in progress, there are always so many flower fabrics among the five inch squares - oh and the belt above the quilt was an Op shop find and my granddaughters love it with all its sequins.

It's called "Butterflies in the garden" and yes, once again a batik ties it all together.

My last show and tell for this evening is one I made from 'starters and enders' joining squares - I just loved the fabric I chose to separate the panels; not a batik this time but dig those crazy patterns.

Sorry I seem to cut off the top which is a repeat of the bottom - and I am sure you will agree I had to call it, "Bordering on the Ridiculous!".

We are heading for an election I think, so maybe we should take note of today's thought - "Those who govern best make the least noise"

Thanks for stopping by, nice chatting with you.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Serendipity and Barbie

This flower bed was once full of weeds plus an overgrown Pineapple Sage, it gets very little rain and was something of an eyesore.  Then I spotted this handsome lad at the garden centre at Peka Peka and had to have him!  My visitors arrive at the front door with smiles on their faces.

I had a really full, fun day yesterday.  The teaching at the prison went very well, I think I am getting through about pinning and pressing - with help from an unexpected source.  One of the women who had been, shall I say somewhat reluctant to take advice, suddenly started telling the younger ones to listen to June: "Measure, pin and press!!"

Another of the women who is leaving to return home this week wrote a card of thanks to all the volunteers and people who help with the programme.  She said her Saturday mornings of quilting kept her sane.

So a big thank you to all who support us in so many ways.

We finished by 12.30 so I drove back to Petone to buy a coffee and some lunch before attending the meeting of Capital Quilters, I had some quilts from the prison that I wanted to show at the meeting.  Petone was as usual full of people and I had to go into the back streets to get a park - but it was meant to be, because as I walked to the cafe I saw this sign

So I walked a little further to get a proper look -

No mistaking that face!

So I followed the arrows and went into the building.

It is an absolute treasure trove!  I told you I like looking at girly things, well where to start?

Colleen Scrimshaw was sitting at the desk and we chatted about her collection.  The toys on this side are for sale - see the All Black and the Maori warrior?

Round the far side are for display and drooling over only!  If you are interested in fashion and clothes design, wait until you see the doll of Elizabeth Taylor when she played Cleopatra - the detail in amazing.

Colleen is only generally open at weekends but if you ring her on 04 9700 299, she is more than happy to open up for visitors.  I have no affiliations, just found it by accident - I think she has been open only a few weeks and I very seldom walk down that side street - but I think it is well worth a visit for anyone interested in fabric, sewing and fashion.

The club meeting was such fun, good to catch up with many members I hadn't seen in a while; as usual the display of work was fascinating - such talent these ladies have.  And the speaker is an expert in Baltimore style quilts, her work is beautiful - all in all it was a great day.

Serendipity is the name I gave a quilt I made and which is included in my 5" squares class - this is the basic shape.

You start off with two squares, one four inch and one three inch.  Put the smaller square onto the larger, mark the diagonal and sew - before you sew the second seam, measure from the corner two and a quarter inches and that is where you put the second line to sew on.

This is vital, because you need the resulting small half square triangle to be 2.25 inches so that four of them sewn together will result in a four inch square.

I made a whole stack of these blocks light on dark and vise versa and then I started playing with them.

I decided on the design I wanted to use, and then played with the half square triangles for different borders, until I was happy with the result - which is more than I am with the placement of these little photos to show the whole process!!

Never mind, I am sure you get the idea.

So here is the quilt finished, pieced by me and quilted by Bary Scott who used to have a studio at Te Horo.

I wouldn't call myself a rugby fan, but earlier today - hey, did you remember about the clocks going forward? thank goodness my computer and my iPhone don't wait to be told! - anyway, I wanted to watch a favourite TV show, "Location, Location" and then found myself watching the rugby but quite happily, because I knew the final score. Just as well, because at the start it looked as though it could go either way!

I can't help chuckling at the funny thoughts in this old diary, "Let the shipwrecks of others be your sea-marks"

Thanks for stopping by and for your comments
We'll talk again soon

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Chinese Whispers and Darth Vadar's pencil box

Nothing says spring more clearly to me than the kowhai blossom, particularly against a clear blue sky.

I remember a time when I wasn't quite as flattering about the blossom - a friend, Ronnie, sat near me in a design class and she took this flower as her inspiration.  I remarked that her design looked just like Caspar the Friendly Ghost!

You have to be good friends with someone to be able to say something like that about their work.........

I have just come into the house from my sewing room and am enjoying a glass of pinot noir - I am exhausted and shall be off to bed early.  My sewing room is tidy!!!  Floors swept, rubbish removed and all the fabric tidy - or at least out of sight.  I even sorted through several plastic containers - I discovered I have one full of mending type fabric, zips etc.

There are two piles of quilt tops, those with backs already pieced and those without - oh and a smaller pile of backs that don't seem to go with any of the tops........

This is the third, and last, canvaswork panel I helped make at the 127 Group, again designed by Gill Williams and called Wellington; Capital City

My panel was the BNZ Centre - otherwise known to the locals as Darth Vadar's Pencil Box.  It was the most difficult for me of the three panels.  Trying to get light reflections was a challenge; of course when it came to the little domes and the artwork at the base, I made no attempt to keep the correct proportions.

Here is a close up

Have you ever seen a quilt at a show or a meeting maybe and thought you'd like to make one like it?  Then when you get home and start sorting fabrics some of the details are less than clear, but you press on.  I did that when I was stitching with friends and one of them was hand quilting a scrap quilt, I thought the pattern was railroad crossing maybe.  No problems with me doing one, so at home I sorted a pile of strips into different lengths, joined them and then cut into three inch columns.

I found a sort of burgundy coloured plain fabric for the squares, and put everything up on the design wall - oh dear, it didn't work.  The zing I noticed in Sandy's quilt was missing from mine - it wouldn't even be revived by fancy hand quilting in the plain squares.

Now, I thought maybe a flower in the square, but I don't do applique if I can help it - but, aha, I remembered a fabric I had bought from Shaws years ago, I located it, fussy cut some squares and sashed with the three inch columns - and this is what I ended up with -

It's named, "It's a Jungle Out There" - I was watching re-runs of TV series at the time.

I couldn't waste the squares I had previously cut out, so made half square triangle blocks with the sewn strips, and came up with this setting -

Sandy and I showed our so-different tops at a club meeting - and she said the quilt she thought she was copying was actually quite different, as she found out when she got a photo of it.

Yesterday was the meeting of Pinestream Quilters, Jenny of Romany Quilters always does a great write up so I will leave it to her but the last item on a very busy meeting was the presentation of two Bernette sewing machines to me as Convenor of the Shut-in Stitchers quilting programme of Arohata Prison.  These machines come with a walking foot each which will make such a difference to the quality of the quilting.  We are so grateful to Pinestream for their generosity.

Tomorrow I will check with the women and if permission is given I shall be able to share with you some of the quilts they are making; thanks to the marvellous team of volunteers and the help of quilters who donate so much lovely fabric.

Not quite sure what to make of the weekly thought from my diary, "Be sensible, though sympathetic".

Thanks for dropping by
We will talk again soon

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Is this tiled floor from Christchurch?

I have to share this photo of a cineraria plant - these plants self seed all over the garden and it was a source of annoyance to my sister-in-law who lives in the south of England.  Her cineraria plants are carefully nurtured and kept in the glasshouse over the winter so when she stayed out here she was very envious of the abundance in our garden.

You can see some of the flowers to the left.

Now the tiles, I was going through some more photos when I came across these - obviously I was looking with my quilter's eyes, as Bonnie Hunter says.  And then it hit me, several years ago I went to Christchurch and whilst there enjoyed a Flower event - not sure how else to describe it.  There was a path of flowers - and I am sure they were in the Cathedral - and floats on the water.

And here is the third one

Does anyone know if they are from the Cathedral?  I suddenly had this awful feeling when I realised that they may be destroyed and it brought the whole disaster back again.  I know, lucky me, I don't have to live with the results every day; strange how something like this can hit a nerve.

Wellington is my city, I've lived here ever since we came to New Zealand.  First Roseneath, then Whitby and now Petone and I am pleased to share the second of the canvas work panels we were commissioned to make, this one Gill called "Multiple Viewpoint".

My contribution on this one is of the windsurfer off Oriental Bay, with the city buildings behind.  My son is a keen photographer and once again I used one of his photos as my pattern.

I find something very soothing about stitching on canvas, similarly with hand quilting.  I used to teach canvaswork, one class featured a bargello pattern in a square using lots of colours and just the one stitch; and the other was a cushion using one colour and lots of stitches to create an Aran pattern.  Canvas work seems to have gone out of fashion, but no doubt it will return in some form or another.

Also several years ago, a woman acquaintance who was an artist with pastels and paints, asked if I would swap one of my quilts for one of her works.  I very much admired her work and said I was willing, should she ever want a quilt of mine that I was prepared to let go.

And it happened, here is the quilt, an Attic Window - the moment she saw it she said that's the one.   I had made it in a class when I stepped in at the last minute to take the place of a friend whose mother was ill.

This was taken in the lounge of our house in Whitby - when we were having the kitchen re-modelled!  Just in case you thought I usually kept kitchen pots on the lounge floor!

And here is the pastel she gave me -

I am very happy to have this hanging on my wall, sorry about the flashback but I think you can appreciate her work - those gorgeous feathery sort of flowers?!

I do like this thought from my diary, - "Look back and give thanks.  Look forward and take courage."

Thanks for visiting, we'll talk again soon.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Camisole and Crackers

I know, this is classed as a weed, the good old onion plant, but it still looks so pretty between the rosemary and the er-um climber.

Their perfume will make up for the less than sweet onion smell.

I am having more problems with Blogger, not sure if anyone else is and I have spent ages today trying to find a solution.  People who have my blog on their list of blogs they follow are not getting updates and it all happened after I put up the list of blogs I follow.

If you are not getting my updates please let me know.......

The camisole I want to share is one given to me by my sister; apparently her mother in law made it.  I love the little pintucks and inset lace.

Here is a close up of the lovely inset -

The block from my class I want to share is Cracker.  It works well with five inch squares as each block needs two strips 2" x 5" of the colour, I used brights, and one of cream.  Then one bright square and one cream square, 4.5" each cut in half diagonally.

The bonus from cutting two inch strips from the five inch squares is all the one inch strips which I used for a double border -

Earlier I had made the same pattern using cotton curtaining and somewhat larger blocks, striped fabric works well; this one was made for the Wellington Women's Refuge, one of the Outreach programmes of the Wellington Guild -

The thought from my Girl Guide diary is so relevant with all the rugby fever around, "Without rivals we may become indolent."

Nice talking with you

Friday, 16 September 2011

Horrockses Dress and Canvas work

I haven't done any more stitching on my extended nine patch but thought I would show you the dress I wore on my way out to New Zealand.

Well, it makes a change from a flower!  This photo was taken at the Botanical Gardens, Sydney on the last port of call before Wellington.  You can see the pattern quite clearly and understand why this particular piece of fabric has special meaning for me.

I had intended to post a blog yesterday evening, but I had a phone call from a friend - we haven't met for a while as she works long hours so we had plenty to talk about and before I knew it the evening was far advanced and there was not time to do anything except get to bed.  Saturday is the day I cannot lie in because of teaching at the prison.  Things went well today and I have brought out another couple of quilts to show at Pinestream Meeting this Thursday.

Before I got hooked on quilting to the exclusion of almost everything else, I belonged to a the 127 Group and we did various kinds of fibre art and were lucky enough to get commissions to do a series of canvas work pieces.

The first one was Vale - Wellington, designed by Gill Williams

Here is a plan showing who did which of the pieces that made the whole -

My contribution to this piece was the Michael Fowler Centre

Much of the wool we used was dyed using vegetable dyes and I worked from a photograph.

Just to include some quilting, here is my 1001 Nights - have you ever joined in with a group event for making a quilt in a night?  Capital Quilters [the Lower Hutt guild ] used to run these and this was the pattern they chose, Arabic Lattice I think it is called - well, I was travelling quite a bit at the time so used to pop my little Elna Lotus machine in my car, plus a box of the fabric, tools etc. and when I stopped making calls on Quilt shops, I had the rest of the time until the shops opened next day to sew to my heart's content.

I used that time to make all the four patches and do lots of cutting; the main sewing took place one weekend when my husband was away playing golf - so Quilt in a Night it certainly wasn't!

It was pretty tricky to put together with all those partial seams!

So this time I'll finish with a flower picture -

I know it's not coriander but don't tell the polyanthus!  the pot was just handy when I brought this plant indoors, it has survived the snow and the hail storm so thought it needed a little pampering.  And what about that supercilious driftwood dragon!?   And the plastic bird has been around a long while, it is the kind you put water in and then blow to make warbling bird calls!

The thought for Week 2 was "Have not thy cloak to make when it begins to rain."

Nice talking with you
Have a good weekend