Monday, 27 February 2012

Star and stitching

Botch-up duly repaired!  I have started on the straight line machine quilting, and am trying to remember whether the binding is in one of my containers - otherwise I am sure I can find something suitable.

Tuesday is the day I get together with some friends to stitch - and talk, drink coffee, laugh and share ideas - you know, the usual thing we quilters do.  I went to a class, I think at the Picton mini symposium, where the Bernina lady, Diana, taught us how to make a bag from felt, lined and quilted and decorated with felted things.  Through no fault of Diana's, mine has languished until I showed my friends last week, Jan and Jann helped me find some bits and pieces and then Jan took it home looking like this -

She returned it a week later, looking like this  on the back -

And this is the front -

Complete with beads and stitching and beautifully sewn together with variegated thread.  Aren't friends marvellous!?

I have stitched more blocks of the four patch and plaids

I was auditioning fabric to use for the half block where it steps down, then when I had sewn enough for another row I started thinking about possible borders -

I removed one row and put a strip of calico with strips of the plaids in horizontal rows, then in vertical rows, then I tried out staggering them like piano keys......

You can see that some of the blocks have a distinctly creamy look.

I also put out lots of pieces of plaid and ikat fabrics, all with glorious colours and left them up until my friends came over.

It was then unanimously decided that no border was needed.  I have removed the ikat and put in alternatives using spare plaid squares - and I like that much better.

I will leave this on the design wall until I have finished quilting the baby quilt, then I can start putting it together.

Rain was promised today and it has certainly been much cooler but no rain, so I have watered the garden and found this glorious patch of colour.

Tomorrow would be a good time to do some gardening, but best before I get my nails done........

I have a new App for my phone, quotations - and today's is "I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult".  Rita Rudner - well it beats the Girl Guides diary!

Nice chatting with you, thanks for stopping by

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Builders and Botch-ups!

It seems ages since I last blogged and this picture is neither about the builders or the botch-ups - mine, I hasten to assure you, not the builders - I felt I wanted something bright and cheerful and positive on top of the blog, and here it is - my glorious Orange Monster!

It is so appropriate that the builders are converting my bathroom at the anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake - I now feel a decided empathy with the people - not that my deprivation can remotely be compared with theirs, but getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom now means, slippers and robe on, unlock the back door, take the key to the sewing room, cross the decking being careful of timber and other aliens in the way, unlock the door, negotiate around ironing boards and the spare dryer to the toilet - mission accomplished reverse the procedure back to bed - all the while trying to keep my eyes closed so I can fall back into my bed and into the arms of Morpheus.

My little bathroom is slowly taking shape - at one stage this is the sight of the corner where the shower used to be -

But enough of dust and dirt and noise - I have finished my Wonky Log Cabin - whoopee.

I enjoyed hand quilting it, though it has taken much longer than I thought - probably because I kept finding other things to do in the evenings........ and I readily admit the stitching is nowhere near as small as other quilts I did twenty years ago - I can't run as fast either!! but as a friend pointed out, we can still wear the same earrings!

I tried an arty photo of the quilt, draped over one of the seats moved off the decking - and yes, that is my iron bath in the background!

As for the botch-up, well I decided to put a quilt sandwich together ready to machine quilt.  I had a large piece of Warm and Natural and was trying to cut a piece the right size for the baby quilt - when somehow I managed to cut the top -

I think it must have been folded over and caught under the batting - anyway, I am auditioning 'stick-ons' to cover it -

I like the star shape but it is too dull ......

So maybe a heart -

Or the other side -

That's a bit dark, so perhaps something brighter -

Yes, I think that's the one - catch a falling star maybe?

I have made more blocks of the four patch and plaids -

Some of them are looking a bit stark to me so, you see the 'ribbon'? that's a piece of calico that I dyed with tea and I think I shall make some of the blocks using that.

There's much more I want to share, but enough for now, thank you for your encouragement.

Back soon

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Mobile Library and More wips!

But first, I have been moving things around in the house - out of necessity of course!

This is where I usually have some flowers and if it is going to stay I think a new or at least a clean pot will be required!

I am not a fan of pot plants but I have a friend who used to live in a block of flats........but that's another story.  Anyway she dumped kindly gave me a dozen or so plants she had rescued.......

With my customary benevolent neglect, two of the plants that she put into my bathroom have just blossomed, figuratively speaking.  This one was a dead looking stick.

I think they both need occasional watering and no direct light.

This one was somewhat cramped under the pedestal wash basin - I think it's enjoying spreading out.

Now the reason for their change of scenery is that I am about to have some renovations in the bathroom, said pedestal basin is badly cracked - and has never been level; and the huge cast iron clawfoot bath is a waste of space now that my granddaughters no longer want to spend hours in bubble baths, as well as being a glutton for hot water and a monster to get in and out of - so the lovely Debra who also designed the renovations for my minute kitchen, has come up with a great design to accommodate the best elements of a bathroom plus the laundry space which was the original toilet......  Debra is also a very talented quilter!

The funny thing is now that I have removed the pot plants and all the bits and pieces from the tray over the bath, it looks so much nicer!  Clear, clean lines - I shall hold that good feeling when the builders start dismantling everything next Monday morning at some ungodly hour!

There has been quite a bit of talk lately on Kiwiquilters - (I tried to put a link in but Yahoo is not responding) about giving quilts away - and sometimes getting them back, or not.......

I told earlier of a quilt I made that my son admired, but didn't really want and didn't ask for it, I just gave it to him and a few years later rescued it from his airing cupboard and now use it as a curtain - well, previously when he was flatting I had made two very basic, big squares quilts from curtaining fabric,  machine tied which were used to cover the old sofas forward to a meeting at Pinestream quilters when a request was made for a quilt to put on the floor of the Mobile Library bus, so that's where it has ended up, a win-win situation!

Here's another example of a win-win situation, teaching at Arohata.  K. has a love of paisley patterns, so we searched out as many as we could find, she put them into simple four patch blocks which she then sashed and added just a narrow border - to great effect -

Next time I shall have to get a chair for my friend to stand on!

I mentioned earlier that I was making zillions of four patch block from my tin of squares and I had an idea what I wanted to do

I like the strong zig zag effect and the contrast between the 'pretty' blocks and the plaids, many of which have a pinkish blush to them.

I have been sewing while watching a dvd I borrowed from the library but which I shall return with a few words......"Shroud for a Nightingale" one of the PD James collection, with the lovely Roy Marsden as Inspector Adam Dalgliesh - and the darn thing kept freezing in the last scene!!!&$%#   I tried gentle cleaning in the approved direction on several occasions, but no, it would not finish the scene!  How frustrating is that!

I am enjoying reading through Webster, dipping into it - and finding so much that reminds me of earlier, more formal days.  As for the quotes, well, according to Thomas Haynes Bayly, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." but Alexander Pope writes, "Say, is not absence death to those who love?"

Nice talking with you, enjoy the lovely weather today, I think a walk is on the cards.


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sevens and Stonestead

Look what I found at the bus stop in Petone when I called into Go-Bang for my coffee on Friday!!  I asked permission, which was granted, and I even asked what team they were supporting - Yeah, right.  I was told, ever so politely, that it's not actually about football........

They could have been the inspiration for my recently completed top and back - whoopee, all the bits and pieces are used up -

No way, those colours are all wrong - red, not orange!  Anyway, you get the idea.

Saturday was a day and a half; prison teaching in the morning went very well with two very able helpers, another newbie and different designs being tried - a good morning with chat and laughter.  Then lunch at Kaizen, which turned into a very long affair when another friend joined us, all good until I tried to use my phone!  What's this? no service until the account is paid!!  This necessitated a quick dash into the office........

Mea culpa! it's the office mobile account and when I paid online I put the account number in the reference box instead of the code box [or vise versa] anyway the money was sitting in their suspense account.  We got it sorted and the first message was from my son [also my boss] saying if I was doing nothing special, come to dinner and bring your other son - which I did - never one to turn down my daughter-in-law's cooking or their large screen and Sky sport!!

So I was very late home and too tired to write my blog.

Sunday was another full on day, starting rather later than planned because the weather was unsettled and had been solid rain all the day before so we weren't sure the exhibition was still on.

What a great setting under the trees for the quilts, Devonshire tea/coffee next door and the shop with its distinctive range of fabrics - what more could one want?

Here are some of the quilts, in no particular order-

No surprise that I love hexagons, this is hand pieced by Joan Bray.

In complete contrast, "Starburst Uprising" by Jan Nankivell - I am such a fan of straight line quilting.

As you can see this is the back, the quilt is "Time of the 9 Patch" by Sharon Siacci and I love to see old linens used for the label.

We were invited to vote for our favourite quilt and after much thought, I opted for No. 14, "Cushions, Curtains and cut up stuff" by Adrienne Dreaver-Hill -

Sitting at a table placed under the beautiful trees, were Elizabeth and Jan, fund raising for the Shut-in Stitchers.

That's Jan, obviously enjoying a joke.  They are selling these amazing threads, the proceeds of the sales go to the quilting programme, as you can see from the label. The majority of the supplies we need are donated by quilters from all over, but we do need money to buy batting, boards, rulers, threads, pins etc. etc. and as these two ladies are no longer able to come into the prison, this is their much appreciated way of helping still.  We keep a photographic record of the quilts made, so I took along my albums to share.  You can imagine how many photos there are!

While I was at dinner with the family, the subject of English grammar came up - I probably criticised something on the TV - so a lively discussion was enjoyed - yes I agree the language is constantly changing but that doesn't mean all changes are for the better.  I cannot be comfortable with a plural for "you", then a word meaning query was raised so I gave my opinion (ahem) and asked for the dictionary - and look what my son handed to me -

It's the 1980 Edition and I covet it!!  I was allowed to bring it home.....  It is wonderful!  There is a Manual of Information on modern English usage and, oh you should see this - The Secretaries' Guide - how to do everything from setting out letters, how to address MPs and clergy etc. etc.  - the section on personal appearance finishes with this gem - "A pretty and charming woman, neatly dressed, is an asset to any office".  "Mad Men"  indeed!  It so takes me back to my training at Portsmouth Commercial College and my years of working in the UK!!

Also, of course, it has a section of Popular Quotations, so I will share some of these with you now I have exhausted my school diary.

I have chosen the binding for my wonky hexagon quilt -

It is machine sewn on and trimmed and tomorrow when I meet with some quilty friends, I shall hand sew it on the back - then the big decision, what next??

My goodness, the first quote from Webster is "No one knows what it is that he can do till he tries" Publilus Syrus.

Nice talking with you and I do so hope I can get back before too long - so much to share!!