Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Milford Sound, Lake Te Anau - and more scrap quilts

Last week with snow expected to low levels, my son [who is a cast driver with the Hobbit somewhere in the South Island] had a couple of days off and he drove three of the cast for a cruise on Milford Sound, two and a half hours out to the sea.

I have forgotten how high he said the cliffs were with the waterfalls but they look wonderful, don't they?

I have had a very busy and enjoyable week - office, family, friends - what more could I want?

I have been trying to go for a walk every day, I do so need the exercise and my Inner Brat has woken up and keeps prodding me.  The first few days it was not a pleasure, I am so unfit!, I flopped into a chair on my return just thankful that the torture was over.  However - by the end of the week, I couldn't believe how good I felt after that walk - really full of energy.  Then I let it slide for a couple of days, but the brat started nagging today - 'a little bit of gardening yesterday is not enough - get moving those legs'.  Do you have a conscience [or brat] like mine?

Anyway, one of the many plusses today were the flowers in bloom and the bird song, and this hedge that had no flowers yesterday -

Such lovely old fashioned roses and the bumble bees were having a great time, but they appear to be camera shy!

Did I mention earlier that I had a few small pieces from a quilt one of the women is making in the prison?  She didn't think they were worth keeping, so I played around with them -

I tried out various sashing fabric

The pale greeny fabric was interesting with the squiggles on it, in the end it is pinned ready to quilt with a flannel backing

It is just the right size for a cot or pram cover and will go to the hospital or Bernardos - after I have shown the Shut-in Stitchers what can be done with small pieces.

I showed the yellow borders quilt, well it is now quilted, and that one too I backed with flannel

I have almost finished hand sewing on the binding, I quilted in the pale yellow sashing using a decorative stitch from my Janome

I used variegated thread to add a little interest - and talking of interest - silly me to put it on the floor to take a photo, because Basil just had to come along for a look-see -

I had a bit of a tidy in the sewing room the other day, and came across a packet with some beautiful panels of  hand batiked cats - I think I bought them in the UK on my last trip

So I had a quick look into one drawer and came up with some compatible fabrics

Then I will have to put on my thinking cap and come up with how best to show off the cats...........

Having mentioned Lake Te Anau I will finish with one of the photos my son sent, this was taken on one of the days that Windy Wellington lived up to its name - and beyond!  Boy, even my little low slung car was rocking in the wind.

Thanks for your comments, it's such a pleasure hearing from you.

The thought from my diary is, "Unpunctuality is slackness - nothing else." - My unpunctuality usually happens when I am ready early and think I have time to do something, which takes longer than the time available.  Me slack? never!


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Wallflowers, Log Cabin & Farewell to Paradise

I love Wallflowers, their colours and their scent appeal to me - and they don't have thorns!

Yesterday a friend came to visit and while I pegged out the washing, she snipped off the straggly stems - to encourage more flowers.

The quilt I want to share today is one that always makes me smile and feel happy, which is probably more about when and how I made it than the actual quilt - the Quilt Police would have a field day!

I had been quilting for many years when my husband John died in 1997, about this time of year.  For the next two years though I continued to go along to the prison to teach quilting every Saturday, at home, I read comfort books - mainly Georgette Heyer - and never touched my quilting.

I have some marvellous friends who used to have stitching days over long weekends, and they would invite me to join them; which I did - though on autopilot - and when I returned home I put the bags and machine back into my sewing room, and picked up another book.

The one day I woke up, looked at my large empty house, and gave myself permission to bring my sewing machine up from the spare bedroom and put it on the dining table and I started sewing.

I had several metal coat hangers full of fabric strips, held together with safety pins.  I cut these strips using a plastic strip bought from the first quilt shop in Wellington, Patchwork Annie.  In those days we didn't have access to all the wonderful rulers around today, so Robyn got in a selection of plastic strips and one took my fancy, it was a little under one and a half inches wide.

I actually started to make a nine patch doll quilt, so I took the strips and joined them in threes, two dark and one light and vice versa.

I then cut them into one inch pieces - oops - wrong size! I ended up with rectangles instead of squares.

So, I decided to use the rectangles as the centres of a log cabin block, sewing rounds of light onto the nine patch blocks that had dark in the corner, and vice versa!!

I can remember sitting there listening to the television or the radio and happily sewing from the pile of strips in my lap.

I did so enjoy sewing these blocks, no thought except was the fabric in my hand dark or light?

I did square off the blocks so that joining them together was easy, but not agonised over!

The dark fabric at the bottom of the centre block is one that I bought in about 1965.  It is polished cotton and I wanted a dress with a scoop neck and full skirt - scoop neck from a stiff polished cotton?  I don't think so!  But pieces of the fabric appear in many of my quilts.

Sometimes I even used the same fabric for a whole round.....

And most times not - but I still feel good when I look at it !!

I also want to share with you another piece of vintage fabric that I planned to take along to Fabrications

 It's a distinctive blue with these strange stylised figures that remind me of an artist whose name I can't remember!

All the men? with yellow shirts have the number 78...... Then we have orange pants with slightly less hair

And pink pants with even less hair -

I would be very interested to know more about this fabric and its designer if anyone knows.  I have looked in all my books on the subject but can find nothing similar.

I will leave you today with a quote from the diary, "Prestige is built on quality" and with a photo my son sent that he captioned, Farewell to Paradise.

I've just got to get back to the South Island.........


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Fabrications and bushfires

This photo was taken 'on the drive down' I think somewhere around Te Anau, my son is not very forthcoming about exact whereabouts - but it is making me want to tour around the South Island again to enjoy this magnificent scenery.

I don't wish to label myself, let's just say getting up in the morning can find me a trifle grumpy at times - so the thought of a 5am start - even with these surroundings, a chance to watch a sunrise and a coffee to boot, would be something of a trial......

Last evening I, with many others, was along at the Horticultural Hall in Lower Hutt helping to set up the "Fabrications" event that was held today.  I was disappointed to learn that Leimomi Oakes was unwell and not able to be there so I left at home the several pieces of vintage fabric I had intended to take to ask her opinion on.  Fortunately when I got home I photographed them, so that today when I arrived after teaching at the prison, and found Leimomi well enough to be there, at least I could show them to her.

I am hoping, and will suggest quite strongly, that at least one of the local guilds asks her to come to a meeting so we can all bring our textiles for her to see - and help us learn more about them.

This is one I took, a fun piece from the 60s or 70s

This next one is a little more difficult to place, it is quite floddery -

Definitely from the jive era, maybe the Fifties?

I mentioned that I have a sewing bag that my sister in law, Christine, made for me and which I use to carry around my tumbling blocks, I thought you might like to see it.  When Christine was out here from the UK for a visit she went to a class at Thimbles & Threads on a stack and whack technique I think, and this fabric was what she used and had left over -

On the inside are pockets, both fabric and plastic

I think the idea is that you can put it over the arm of an easy chair and the solid piece in the centre acts as a pin/needle cushion.

And goodness me, who would have guessed, it also holds an unfinished piece of cross stitch - something about giving one's children roots and wings - this dates back to the time I had a 'thing' about rocking horses ..........

There is a small quilt I want to share; with all the talk today of the mine disaster a year ago, I was reminded of other natural disasters, in particular the bushfires in Australia.  Remember the photo of the fire fighter giving a drink to a koala? At that time I started playing with some five inch squares and doing a square in a square, but applique - which is not my favourite technique.  I machined the squares and unconsciously found I was choosing a definite colour scheme .......

There's a small amount of green left

I know I am going to find it difficult to sleep tonight, my mind is full of the people I met today and the quilts I saw - just being around so many like-minded people is a great buzz!

Trust the Girl Guide diary to keep me from getting ahead of myself, the thought for today is "Beware of short cuts to success."

I enjoy talking with you and thank you most sincerely for the emails and comments.
Have a good weekend.


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Otago on location, tumbling blocks and more strings

What wonderful clouds - and can you see the cherub blowing?  top right, I am sure I can see a face....!

Another shot from my son, somewhere in Otago on his way down to Dunedin - though when they got there, after a day of rain, this is what the site looked like -

I mentioned Art Quilts which some of my friends make, it's a thorny subject sometimes, you know, one person's art.......... like the cleaner recently who scrubbed off what she thought was a dirty mark in the gallery and it turned out to be part of the installation.!! ouch!

On one of my recent walks I came across two young men sticking posters on a wall - and from across the road, it definitely looked like a piece of Art -

Could be a quilt pattern, or a mosaic.....

I have contemplated doing Bonnie Hunter's Mystery quilt - but then again, I do have enough projects on the go - projects, I hasten to add, that I am enjoying doing - just need a few more hours in the day.

Like this scrap, mainly vintage, tumbling blocks - work in progress...

You can see parts are still in units, I was checking out how much more I need/want to do

It's a good project for taking to meetings, it is all in a roll up case my sister in law made for me.

You see the bright green in the centre of the photo? the one with the little white pattern? that's one of the first fabrics I ever bought by mail from America.  It was when Quilters Newsletter had the shop, Quilts and Other Comforts I think the name was.  At that time we couldn't get much green here, so I sent away for a pack of greens and I still have bits and pieces in my scrap bags.

The completed top I wanted to share is one I made after a friend organised the Block of the Month for Pinestream Quilters.  We were asked to use bright strips with black and white for the corners of the snowball block - I decided to make one for myself, using really bright brights!

I used some of the half square triangles from the sew and flip corners to make a little block for a corner stone

I think the quilt looks rather like paper lanterns.

I had an unexpected trip into Wellington today, a chunk fell off one of my fillings when I was cleaning my teeth this morning and I was lucky to be able to see my dentist straight away - I was due for my check up next week but didn't want to wait in case I ended up with toothache....... as a treat I went into Whitcoulls and found a couple of DVDs to ease the pain - my dentist did find a very awkward filling to do next week!  I noticed a boxed set of Lark Rise to Candleford - but that was very expensive...... hmmm depends how uncomfortable the procedure is next week.....

Tomorrow evening I am on the roster to help set up Fabrications at the Horticultural Hall in Lower Hutt,
which promises to be a great event.  I shall be going along on Saturday after quilting at the prison and am taking a couple of pieces of vintage fabric to see what the expert says about them.  Might see some of you there.

Our thought for the day is so apt for bloggers, "Think before you ink".

Thanks for dropping by and for your comments.


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Straight Furrow on Location and machine repairs

That is some straight furrow! and the photo is courtesy of my son who is a cast driver on location for the filming of the Hobbit.
He went for a walk during lunch break one day and sent me some stunning photos.

I have friends who do beautiful art quilts, as opposed to my scrap quilts - not getting into an argument here :)) but I can see them interpreting this with rusted silk fabric and crusty embroidery stitches.....

It's been a busy, busy week.  My son stayed a couple of nights before flying down south, not that he's any trouble, in fact the only 'motherly' thing I did was show him how to operate the washing machine!  He took me out to breakfast both mornings so I was unusually early into the office, and then he was gone!

Some good friends came over from Nelson and we did a Movie and a Meal.  Isn't it great when you can carry on as though you saw them a few days ago instead of months.  We went to The Lighthouse in Petone [of course!] I love that cinema, and saw "Midnight in Paris" which we all enjoyed very much.  Afterwards she confessed that if she had known it was a Woody Allen film she wouldn't have gone, and he said that if I had mentioned that it was sort of time travel, he wouldn't!!  So ignorance was bliss for them and their prejudices didn't stop them enjoying a lovely film.

We then had a lovely meal at the Curry House on the corner and I have enough for two more dinners....

During the week I had to collect two sewing machines that had been repaired for the Shut-in Stitchers, which is the name for the quilting programme at Arohata Women's Prison.  The authorised repairer is Glen.  I have been to the shop often over the years taking machines in, some of which are beyond repair and sometimes Glen is able to fix it while I wait.  Also over the years I have become pretty adept, as have several of the other tutors, at doing minor repairs - usually it is the wrong bobbin, or incorrect threading and often lack of cleaning!

As you can see,Wellington Sewing Services has a huge range of machines of all shapes and sizes.  And look at the display of oldies on the top shelf.

The shop is large, and through the archway is fabric and wool - how about this for the doll who has everything?

They do have a children's section for knitting with special patterns that are achievable in a reasonable time.  The first thing I tried to knit when I was about twelve, was a jumper with a band of Fair Isle!!

Now sewing for children is something that I have noticed is much more popular and there are some lovely outfits from quilting fabric -

I know that many of the backs and borders on my quilts are made from fabric I bought to make clothes for myself.  Maybe I shouldn't be too quick to forget sewing, I see that Maxi dresses are back for the summer and think how much yardage they take?!

There was one display of quilting fabric that took my eye, who could resist these Fat Cats?

There is also a border print - and in this picture is one of the Fabric Figurines; this one is subtle, the others were bright and funky.

I took a friend with me, Jan - and I can tell her what she should do next!!  Make the bag with the fabric bought on our trip!

 Jan makes the most amazing bags, she might start with a pattern but always personalises it.  I look forward to seeing this one, I covet it already!

I am on the last side of quilting the Wonky Hexagon and have pinned the little yellow baby quilt/table cloth - and started machine quilting - it jumped to the top of the pile because it is small.......

I have already made another top - using up some of the three and a half inch strips I cut for the yellow one, they are an awkward size in a way, a bit chunky for use in a block - so this is very simple.  I cut calico squares to separate pieces double the size of the squares - if you follow me....

I like the fresh look, and of course the vintage fabrics...

It might have a calico border and I have a lot of strips left for the binding - some of my favourite fabrics -

And particularly this darker one -

Time for my curry and vegetables and back into the sewing room, I've finished the entire collection of "The daring buds of May" and tonight will watch again a beautiful film on Maori TV, "Seraphine".

My worthy thought for the week is "Things ill got had ever bad success" - I am sure that could be re-worded in a more elegant way!

Nice talking with you, thanks for your comments