Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Our young friend Camara, who comes from Guinea in Western Africa but has been working in NZ for a couple of years, came to visit. He had been picking apples in Hawkes Bay and gave us a big bag of yummy NZ apples.( Pacific Rose left back;my favourite);( Granny Smith right back ); ( Fuji larger ones at front ) and ( Jazz ). Thank you . How lovely. We sent him home with pumpkins and walnuts. Swapping produce is lovely. He might be back when we pick our Kiwifruit.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Everything but Blogging.

Plenty has been getting done; everything but blogging.
The top photo is one of the 2 end borders (folded up), showing the row of amphora ( pots ) that I am going to applique onto it.These are the end parts to make the Jewelled Bird Quilt a longer rectangle shape.
Molly you asked about the idea for this quilt....R liked a similar bird on the cover of a Wilbur Smith book," The Seventh Scroll." It does indeed have an Egyptian look to it. I have also decided the bird's feathers would be improved by adding yards more of the gold bias tape.( half done ) Yes, the little new iron worked okay.
The Blue Denim MCWQ of the previous post, now has all the circles in rows ( 10 by 11 )but is in 2 parts for ease of working on it.All the batting squares are cut. All the feature fabric windows are cut and their position on the quilt decided. I just have to pin and sew the last 4 rows.
See that big stack of firewood rings, all now split and in the shed or friends' sheds, along with another stack the same size. About 14 tonnes R thinks. I helped lift the smaller pieced onto the trailer. R splits and loads it with his big splitting machine then we both stack it from the truck into the woodshed.( good for upper body strength! )
Persimmons might just be my favourite fruit. Although they were not as ripe as I would have liked I had to pick lots cause the possums were eating them and breaking the tree( last photo ) They are ripening inside okay.
I am surprised to still be picking (the last few surely )strawberries. That's 5 months they have been fruiting!
This coming Friday ( till Sunday )I go to our P and G Groups Retreat. As Vice Pres I am quite involved with taking supplies, gear, kitchen linen etc, so my car will be filled to the roof with 2 ironing boards, sewing machine, food etc etc. It's at the same place as last year, so if it's fine we get to walk on the beach. About 14 or 15 are staying over and another 15 coming for the day on Saturday.( we self cater so lots to prepare, but we have a great time once we are there) never heard of a Quilters retreat that wasn't fun. Quilters are nice people.
So, I a may be a bit quiet again till next week.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Progress on my RDMCWQ.

Progress has been made on my Recycled Denim Mock Cathedral Windows Quilt. ( I'll have to think of a shorter name ).
( "Hi," to Anne P in Finland - great to have you reading; you really will have to get a blog ).

This is how I did it so far. Having seen the idea I went to Blue Jeans quilt gallery and read up there. After I started I changed some of their ideas to make it work for ME. The backing of the quilt is the denim. The front has windows of feature fabric. Batting in the middle layer. ( so the same number of squares of feature fabric, and batting, as circles of denim .)
1.Collect a range of used denim ( blue )( skirts , jeans etc. ) Weight and quality will vary.( op shops are good places to look )
2. Decide on the size of the backing circles to use. Bear in mind the size that can be cut from the leg of most jeans. Too many small circles will be even heavier than this quilt by its nature is. Cut out the circles using your template. I cut circles with 4 7/8" radius.( cardboard template )
3.Cut 2 square templates.( For the feature fabric squares cut 6 3/4 "; for the batting slightly smaller again 6 1/2".)
4.Place the larger square on the back of your denim circles and mark its outline.
5.Varying your denim shades, align then sew, 2 circles right sides together, down one line ( side ) of the square. Then 2 more, then 2 more. ( or you could string piece ); till you have your row length (11 for me ).
6. Press flaps open. Then make another row of joined circles and so on till you have the width you want your quilt to be.( probably 10 for me ) Begin joining the rows.Align the circles using the seam line as your guide.( see 3rd photo of circles lying on top of the previous row to get them aligned )
7. When you have at least 3 long rows joined ( you will notice the pattern the 4 flaps create at each intersection ); press flaps open, then you may start filling the windows with batting and feature fabric. Cut your feature fabric squares using the slightly bigger template and the batting the slightly smaller square. Lay in the batting square with the feature fabric square on top. Smooth to all corners. Secure using a quilting pin ( safety ) in the middle. Then pin down each of the 4 flaps ( curtains ) far enough back from the edge so you can sew by without removing them.
Note: Don't sew down the end flaps till you are sure this is the size ( length or width ) you require.( see the final photo - I have left the first rows unfilled till the end ; and the end flaps )
8.Now using a walking foot, sew on the right side along a whole line of curtains in a continuous scalloped line. I used a fancy stitch on my Bernina #48 (a stitch that has a central line but goes out to both sides - Thanks Anna ! ) but it could just be zigzag. This is in effect your quilting. See the pattern it creates on the back.
9.Don't sew down the flaps in the opposire direction till you have all your rows joined ( if you want to sew as one continous row os stitching ) This could be constructed in squares and joined ) I found the long rows worked well.
10. ( I haven't got there yet )When your quilt is the required size, turn in the side flaps and quilt down the flaps in the direction you have not yet stitched. This will give a lovely petal like design on both front and back of the quilt.
Then it's finished! ( it's quilt as you go really )
Note: This gets heavy.
: Use safety quilting pins or you will get scratched.
: could be made without batting for less warm quilt.
: All photo enlarge with clicking.
: Any questions happily answered, if I can.
( bet I forgot something I should have told you )

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Feijoas,Friends and Fabric.

Feijoas, friends and fabric - all good F words. This week; a short one; has been much more interesting. I have only spent a couple of afternoons with the Kiwifruit!
Last weekend I made progress on both quilts, but I will blog about that perhaps tomorrow.

Firstly Feijoas. Gudrun do recall last January I told you I would show you what these little red flowers turned into? This morning I picked up this basket of feijoa fruit from our 3 small trees. Here is one cut in half;( just scoop it out with a spoon ) they have really interesting patterns in the flesh. They grow well in NZ and not many other places. Folk either love them or hate them.They taste like feijoas - nothing else...a slight hint of turpentine scent, but YUM!

Yesterday, I had a lovely day out. I drove by the Tauranga Direct Road( one of favourite drives - photos here especially for Meg who misses our NZ bush ) to Ngongotaha, where I met Laurie for morning tea/coffee ( no of course I won't mention the muffins ); then across the road to Cottage Flair to spend my voucher my London son sent me for Christmas( took me a while to get to spend it ! )I got fat quarters, an embroidery hoop, perfect circle makers, a lovely jelly roll and the rest in batting.( Thanks younger son! ) I then followed L back home and saw some of her treasures and quilts then she drove us both into spotlight in Rotorua where I had another spend. I found the clover mini iron I was looking for,( for the bias tape ) very cheaply priced backing fabrics and also got us some new khaki coloured bed sheets I hope will tone with my Purple Splendour quilt.Thanks for a very pleasant day out Laurie.
Today R has gone over the hill ( Kaimais Ranges ) to shoot wild turkeys at his brother's farm, so I have all day to do as I please. I made a list and have yet to collect walnuts, but then I may sew!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Local Walk.

Yesterday R was going down the main highway to deliver a load of firewood, so I went part way and got dropped off to do a long walk home. Would you care to come and see what I saw? Be prepared, it took over a hour and there are some hills. on the roads to get home. ( I prefer flat really )We start by the sign and head of to that gap in the trees.
I was glad of my jacket in the dark shady parts but just sweltered later on coming home along the roads in the sun.

As I walked I saw evidence of the heavy rain ( you know the one ) a month ago and the pond had been drained back to the original stream - probably cause it flooded too and they had to let it go - ( here didn't get the landslide to go with it , luckily ).There were lovely contrasts of light and shade - some parts quite dark and ominous. Some healthy stands of young Kauri and Rimu trees.( NZ natives ) ( just like the ones we lost in the flood! )

Near the other end of the track neighbours who border the stream had made it picturesque, by deepening it and had ducks, geese and animals.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Jewelled Bird Quilt..

Intermittent light rain has meant it is too damp to do orchard work, SO I have achieved many things inside.Yesterday morning I did a huge amount of cleaning in the lounge - Spring cleaning in know, turning chairs and sofas upside down and moving everything. ( it needed it )Then without guilt I could sew!
On Monday I had been to the city on other matters and had visited "The Barnhouse," my local quilt shop and purchased, 50/50 bamboo/ cotton batting; some blue fat quarters for the denim quilt and found the black background fabric for DH ( R's ) Jewelled Bird Quilt. ( I had had to put it aside till I got the background sorted )( I didn't want a mat black so got some NZ fern fabric that still looks black. Black is what R wants.)
Yes, I am working on 2 projects at one time - but can handle that .
Now I need some help please. I have never used iron on bias tape before (and found out what temperature to use by trial and error)and I want to know what I do next. This is going to be a quilt to use not a wall hanging, so, do I now stitch the tape down? ( By hand with neat sewing stitches that don't show? By machine on either side or down the middle? ) The reel of tape gives few instructions ( but in many languages - lol ). If any of you have used this Clover product or similar could you advise me what you did.
My next task is to sort out the ends of the quilt to make it the right shape. At the moment it is wide not needs some borders, mostly at the top and bottom but a couple right round. I have plenty of all the coloured fabrics used on the bird and some more black. Some trials and auditions will be needed.
*Thank you Granny K( Lynda), so far the rain has been very gentle.
*Gudrun - Yes the chestnuts are inside the very prickly cases while hanging on the tree - then split- but you need thick cloves to handle them as they really prick.I will take a close up photo of a walnut case to show you the difference.( most nuts grow on the tree in a protective outer case which splits open to drop the nut in it's shell.)
*Meggie, I will be getting back to the denim quilt shortly and will take some more step by step photos and tell you what I am doing.
Challenge is supposed to be good for us. It is how one grows - stepping out of ones comfort zone - guess that's right - I am doing 2 quilts using techniques not used by me before! So far so good. There is some puckering on the bird's wings - I must have stretched the fabric a little I think - but will live with it. If that is the only problem I will be pleased with my efforts.
^ I hope you ALL have a safe and memorable Easter.l
I will be thinking of all the ladies who have travelled down to Wellington to the Quilt Symposium. Have a safe journey and a wonderful time. ( you lucky people ! )

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Autumn in April.

Since the big rain ( 18.5" )that caused us such havoc there hasn't been another drop since the 7 th March. Plants are stressing from the extremes.The garden has some beautiful spots ( yellow Vireya and mauve autumn Crocus ) of colour and it is nut time again. I have picked up the first drop of walnuts and we also picked up a few chestnuts ( photos ). They are a lot of "prickly effort," so we only pick up a few. Such warm fine weather means we have been working too hard for my liking ( and age probably ) even at weekends, but the garden is better for my efforts.I'm glad daylight saving has finished - getting up will be easier and lighter!
The Kiwifruit crop is looking good - huge fruit , almost ready to pick. We finished the block we were working in on Friday and hope to not have too much more to do to them. A final walk through all blocks (for anything we missed ).

The photo of the ute strangely parked made me that's not very nice of me, BUT I am sick of people causing us extra work! The old f.... / , man owner was dumping garden rubbish from the quarry over the bank down the steep slope to our boundary fence...he backed too far back and ended up down the bank. Maybe he will tip it somewhere else next time.

I did an hour of sewing my quilt yesterday and hope to go and do a little more shortly.I did a dummy run trying the fabrics out. I'm glad I did cause the squares I cut don't need to be quite so large( will cut the rest smaller )and the batting way smaller.I also think the instructions I was following are not quite said to cut the squares 1/16" larger than the circle....that leaves a little hole - which I don't want so I am cutting them at least 1/4'' smaller....maybe it's me but I don't think so Glad I tried it out at this stage ( just pinned )My denim fabrics are varying thicknesses so I am using batting under the squares - it is optional- might make it heavy but I want it to be warm.