Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Time Snatching.

Time snatching like multitasking is a great way to make a little progress when I feel I'm not getting projects done. Sometimes I use the timer on the stove and tell myself take 5 minutes and see how much you can achieve. For example switch the iron on, and quickly wash some new fat quarters in hot water then iron them almost dry. Later in the day leave the cutting mat ready and fussy cut the images I want, then by evening when I have some time to sew it is ready to go. I have just introduced 9 new fabrics for my Girlie Quilt that weren't around when I did the boy one. ( that's the 2nd pink fabric...I don't have many of those, but it's okay to have pink in this quilt ). I am very fond of the Laurel Burch designs, she really has her own style always recognizable as hers. I think it is the detail and embellishment on her creatures that makes them special rather than her actual drawing.( I really like the fish and snakes )
At the weekend I managed to quilt 2 12.5" blocks ready for my class on the quilt as you go method next week. I'm pleased with my effort even if I only did stitch in the ditch around a star and card trick block. it looks good on the back. I need to get 2 more ready.
Early on Sunday morning during our walk around a huge new subdivision about 10 kms from here, I took this photo of an original artform in a roundabout. Big rectangular pine logs, bolted together.
I must take some photos to show you how big the kiwifruit has grown...we are still working on the crop, letting light in and removing rejects or anything that won't make it cause it's too small. It rained over night so the humidity is right up there!!!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Blue Backing Fabric.

Although I have a couple of machine projects to work on I still need a hand sewing project to carry around with me. I looked and looked for the purple fabric I had in my mind's eye that I wanted to use as the surround ( backing ) fabric for my Girlie I Spy Quilt. BUT it was not to be found, around Tauranga, as I needed at least 5.5 yards. To get around the problem I then had to look at any fabrics that were available in that quantity and pick from that. I have selected a marbled bright blue. A lovely soft to touch fabric. It was no small task washing and drying and ironing that length( it looked amusing on the clothes line ) but as I asked for the bolt to keep it on it is staying flat and needing no further ironing. I just unfold a few lengths when I need to cut another round of backing hexagons.

I have also been washing some other fabrics from my small stash in preparation for trying Quilt as You Go on some blocks I have already made. A member of our group is going to demonstrate her technique of joining the blocks after quilting. As I couldn't decide which would look best as sashing and which as backing I washed a couple and have been auditioning them.

Yesterday at our P & Q Group we discovered that the family of a recently deceased elderly quilter had cleared out her house and donated some fabric, magazines and 40 quilting stencils to our group. Wasn't that lovely of them. We are so glad they didn't just throw it all away. Some of our members that are on fixed limited incomes were delighted to get the fabric. As Librarian I had the job of cataloguing and putting in a ring binder the 40 Stencils. Fancy one little old lady buying that many stencils!

Tomorrow I need to make tomato chutney or sauce as we have picked so many lovely ripe tomatoes. (here are just a few of them.) Little sweet jewels full of Summer's goodness. ( Oh wow has it been didn't here me say that) is indeed Summer here in NZ! _

Sunday, February 18, 2007

More BOP Beaches.

The spell of beautiful weather is continuing in the Bay of Plenty, so as it was Sunday, the day I try and take an extra long walk, I asked DH to choose a place to go that he would come along too.
We drove Northwest for about 30 minutes till we came to Bowentown and Waihi Beaches. We climbed to the top of the hill overlooking Bowentown beach, some of the track had some shade luckily. ( the walk took almost an hour )The photos show the various views on the way up and we laughed when we saw that some kind person had placed a lone chair at the highest point facing out to sea. One photo shows the view looking towards Waihi, another shows it looking back towards Tauranga. If you look over Matakana Island (it is a long island, has a strip of white sand infront of pine trees) you will see Mt. Maunganui ( of my last post ) in the distance and Karewa Island out in the sea. Rather spectacular scenery.
After our walk we spread out on a quilt in the shade of a Pohutukawa tree and DH read and I stitched for another hour. The peace and tranquility didn't last as the spot became busy and some chap in a bus thought he should run his noisy generator to make himself a cuppa and a family with several kids and a dog named Oscar parked right beside us.
We headed off to a cafe at Waihi Beach and had a pleasant lunch, before making our way home. We have blobbed since then as the temp is hovering at 30 degrees ( that's 84 f), reading and watching NZ cricket on TV. ( Glad we aren't working today! )

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mt. Maunganui Beach.

A few more photos for Meggie and those who have visited the Mt. and beach. ( and maybe tempt those who haven't )The only change you see really is in the type of building there now.

The first photo is looking along the beach to the Mt. The others are taken from the track that winds around the base of the Mt. ( now supposed to be called Mauao it's Maori name ) The sheep which graze on parts of the Mount are controlled in small paddocks but can get down and eat seaweed on the little beach around the harbour channel side. In that photo you can look across the water to Tauranga.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Visit From a Perth Quilter.

For the last several years I have belonged to an online P & Q Group ( Picking Up Threads ) of mainly Australian ladies. One of them Thelma from Perth came to stay for 2 nights. We had only met on line before that. She was born in Ohura NZ but has lived in Oz for 16 years. She wished to relive a childhood memory of eating Fish and Chips on the beach at Mt. Maunganui, which was harder to accomplish than expected; but we eventually got some for dinner on Monday evening, after we walked around the Mt. (DH came too and was thrilled cause I won't normally buy them for us.)

We spent all day Tuesday, visiting the local P & Q fabric stores. We started up at Katipatch at Katikati, then into Tauranga to my favourite Barnhouse Quilts and Embroidery, then after some lunch Tauranga Sewing Centre. Thelma found things at each shop and accrued quite a collection of NZ FQs and magazines. I got a few too. I didn't really need anything but never browse that long and thoroughly without buying something. I can always use more fabric. ( none of these store have good websites so I won't provide links ) I hope she enjoyed her 2 nights stay. Unfortunately she hates avocados and didn't like kiwifruit juice! Here are some photos of her in my favourite quilt shop and us both in my garden and on the beach. She is the shorter, younger one.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Peacock Feathers.

Yes I have collected the feathers the peacock is dropping. ( About 50 ) The other things he is dropping are not so pretty!!! You know what.....lots and lots of smelly meringues.
Aren't the colours just the best.
We have no idea where he came from but he can fly ( even without tail feathers ) so he may have got blown off course. We think he comes up to the deck by the ranch slider doors to look at his reflection in the glass ( vanity )..... or he may think it is another peacock. We think he is lonely. But as his feathers have moulted and he is no longer honking out loudly he as probably missed mating for this sad. We hope he flies off again to where there are some other of his kind. ( free to a good home but you have to come and get him! )

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Waitangi Day in NZ.

Today the 6th of February is New Zealand's National Day. While it is a holiday we only changed how we spent the day from one kind of work to another! But Oh what a lot we got done! I started by helping DH clear part of his very weedy vege garden then gave all my herbs a hair cut.( lovely fragrant smells! ) Both gardens are looking so good now it was worth the sweat. Had a long lunch as I had my nose in a book. Later I spent another 2 hours weeding and cutting back part the driveway. We cut one rhododendron that was staggly almost to the ground in a hope it will bush up again. I came in so hot and tired but know I did good out there. After a long cool shower and hair wash I felt much better but announced that I was finishing my book before I did anything about dinner. I was reading the last few pages of Audrey Niffenegger's, The Time Traveler's Wife. I blubbed my way through the last part of the book and would now heartily recommend it. It's a really original story. Possible ....I doubt it but who knows she made it seem plausible.

After 2 bad attempts I think I have worked out how to make a suitable label for my quilt.

At the weekend I spent some time working on my machine quilt project. I am progressing slowly as I am not completely sure how I wish to put the blocks together.( it's purple and a mustard sort of are back further somewhere last year ) I'll keep ya posted.

We are a bit worried about the peacock hanging around the house and eyeing the ripening tomatoes. He has over the last 2 weeks lost almost all his tail feathers and no longer shouts out. ( hope we don't have to shoot him as a pest ) Black cat Incubus ( Inky ) put himself on guard cat duty on the deck earlier today. He wants to be the only animal around here! Happy Waitangi Day to any other Kiwis reading this!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Close up photos.

Quilt Story.

It wasn't once upon a time; more of in a twinkling of an eye the spark of an idea in my brain flashed the minute I saw Anna hand sewing a small lap quilt by making individually backed and quilted little hexagons. She was generous in sharing how it was done and I knew I wanted to go further, use other colours and make it my own. I began with carefully measured cardboard hexagons but was able to move to greater accuracy and precision when I purchased a whole set of plastic (acrylic ? perspex? ) templates and later found a real gem of a marker. Have you got one? They are so fine and never need sharpening. It is a little container of chalk dust applied by a little wheel ( see photo )Mine cost NZ$14.55 . Clover Chaco liner.
I already had quite a stash of suitable fabrics to fussy cut motifs for an I Spy Quilt, as I had made one with little squares ( see post May 2006 ). Black had looked good on it and showed the wee pictures off well so I decided to use black backing with a tiny pattern.I have tried to make it suitable for boys by not including fairies, ballet girls etc, but have some of those saved for my girlie version to happen in future months.If anyone want instructions to make this see my posts back in Aug /Sept 2006.
Briefly though the single bed size has 284 hexagons. ( in rows of 14 then 13 then 14 etc. ) Each hexagon has a picture fabric fussy cut to in a 4.5" hex; and similar size batting hex and a 6.5" backing fabric which is folded forward and doubled and hand sewn onto the top. The corners are mitred all in the same direction.
As I didn't want the quilting to distort the wee pictures I did a single quilting row with the machine about a quarter inch in from the point where the backing was stitched to the front. You can see it in the close up photo. This should be sufficient to hold it in place when washing. It also makes a pleasing repetition of the Hexagon shape on the back.
I have tried to work out just how long it took to make but can't be accurate. I do know each hex took me 20 minutes to hand sew. It needed 5.5 yards of backing fabric. sewing one hex to the next took 6 minutes. Sewing the row to row took about 2.5 hours. Then there was the machine quilting and the cutting and pinning and of course the best bit looking for more suitable fabrics I didn't have! Ihave enjoyed the 6 month creating journey, enough that I will do it again. my quilt is born; I wonder who it will meet in it's lifetime?
Things in favour of this method.
1. It's a very portable project.
2.Could be made using any size hexagons. ( big singles= table mats )
3.When it's finished it's finished; no basting the batting and backing or bindings've done it. all.