Sunday, June 19, 2011

Not Long Now!

   Thank you for the empathy shown re the "donated, " fabric. I have heard back from my friend D who came and took the rest of the boxes of fabric away. Some has gone to her grand daughter's Kindy; she cut up one of the hexagon tops and made quilts for their play house and she made 3 little people twirly skirts on elastic waists for their dress up box, out of the taffeta. A neighbour allowed her to put all the samples and hangers in his recycling and dump some more. So she did very well!
Not long now. In less than 50 hours I ( we ) should be in the air.....ash clouds from South America permitting!  The bags are packed and rather full.   "The Lists, " are covered in ticks with just a couple of highlights left. 
My very old Auntie N sent the lovely card above - she seems very excited for us as she once had a trip to UK herself.( and hopes we see and do some of the things she remembers. ) Likewise my sister sent a letter card she bought at St. Pauls some years ago.

Very, very early on the morning of the 21 st ( the shortest day of the year ), we get collected by shuttle to travel to Auckland Airport where we later fly out to Singapore.( and arrive there on the longest day of the year ) We spend 2 nights there before flying to Heathrow. We spend 2 nights in London then travel with my younger son J and his lovely partner V  down to Somerset, Cornwall and Devon for 8 days.
We then return to London for 3 days then fly out to Ireland from Gatwick for 5 days ( 4 nights ) . Back to London for 3 days then up to York for one night and on to Edinburgh for   2 nights. The young ones go back to London and R and I spend 3 nights at Windermere in the Lake district.
 Back to London for 4 days then R and I travel by train through the Chunnel to Paris for 4 days. Back to London and our last 3 days there before flying back home on August 1st ; again via Singapore arriving back in NZ  at 10.25 at night on the 3rd and shuttling home by which time it will be early on the 4th August.  I think that adds up to just over 6 weeks or 43 sleeps away from home.
I have never packed a suitcase for 6 weeks before. .... It's going to be Summer over there...or better be....I am wearing woollies to the airport and will take them to Scotland. Other than that it will have to be layers. If my ward robe or anything else is wanting I will buy something!
Quilting friends - tucked in the bottom of my case is a small plastic bag with my etui, some thread  and some 3 " squares I am sewing into 1/2 square triangles. ( no needles on planes is a pity ! ) I  may be just taking them for the ride but who know I might need a odd moment with my feet up and a little soothing hand stitching. I wonder if that fabric will have any friends by the time I return?
My camera will be my constant companion and if I get to use the young ones' computers there may be the odd post here...but don't bet on it. If not there will be lots of photos here in August - please don't forget to keep following.
 ( see you soon, J and V, and P and K. )
Excited - you bet!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fabric Deserves Better.

I got a phone call from a woman who said, " the Citizens Advice Bureau gave me your  name as being a person to contact about Patchwork and Quilting."
" Yes that's right, " I replied.
 "I have some fabric and some quilts my MIL made. She had dementia for several years but has died now. We are cleaning out her house and I thought you might know what to do with her material and half finished quilts."
 "Yes," I said, " our group sometimes gets given fabric and we use it to make Charity quilts." ( this is where the story get ugly. )
The person arrives 36 hours after she said she would be here with 9 cartons of "stuff" and some half made quilts wrapped in a sheet."
I think it ALL must have been stored in a shed or some very damp cupboard. It all smelt disgusting. Some friendly little mice had been visiting some of the boxes.
 The 5 unfinished quilts were all hand pieced hexagons ( sort of Grandmothers garden style) all very badly done indeed. ( NIGHTMARE STUFF )  There was every kind of fabric under the sun in every loud colour . The corners don't match up in some cases.Whether any one can do anything with them I doubt they are too badly done. Maybe cut them up - certainly NOT unpick. The material was scraps of everything she must have made in the last 50 years - much of it samples and very poor quality. It is truly sad that this lady had dementia but I think the fabric storage thing goes back way before that set in.
 I have sorted and sorted and filled a box for burning ; a box for oil rags at the local garage and several boxes that may go to the charity shop. I have washed 6 loads ( sorted by colour in case they ran ) of fabric. Some had to be done twice as they still smelled musty. I left some on the clothes line overnight and have ironed and ironed and ironed. Much of it is tatty and even more is not cotton patchwork fabric. So far I have salvaged some usable pieces.

This is the pile of usable fabric. I threw away her smelly container and used a new shoe box for the  many hexagons prepared for paper piecing. Some I tossed. That is a whole days work. I am now left with disposing of the other boxes of material. Some small curtain samples may be suitable for cushions. Tomorrow I am going to ask a friend from our group to give a second opinion. She will have to take it all to club as I am away for 6 weeks from next week. ( we may decide to take  lots of it to the Recycle Centre.  )
 There are 2 things to be learnt from this.
 * Store your fabric properly in a clean, dry environment if you care about it.
* Learn to piece properly ( by hand or by machine )- ask for help or join a group and don't use unsuitable fabric.
 For me the lesson is be more cautious. Say I will inspect fabric before I accept if on behalf of the P and Q Group.
 The unsuitable boxes of stuff are still outside in the carport ( under cover ) it smells too bad to have it in the house.
 Was I being made use of?    I  think so.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My P and Q Group.

Yesterday the weather was very wet ( 74 mls of rain )  and as I wasn't needed for Jury duty ( I got off lightly ) I got to go to my Patchwork and Quilters' Group. (I  missed last fortnight as I was at a funeral )  It was lovely to catch up with all my lady friends. Some were doing a class making a tissue box caddie sewing tidy, but most were doing their own things.
 I took my new bag and the placemats I have made recently for Show and Tell and 3 other ladies had finished quilts made from bandannas for canteen. Here they are.
This one had some other fabric along with the cut up bandannas.

M's one was suitable for a boy with a car racing sort of theme.

This one had 2 sides equally as nice that some young girl will treasure.

This is the very fun backing fabric. The stylized cats are very funny.
I won't now be seeing most of these friends again till August and will miss them. I got so many good wishes for a great trip and so many hugs. They are very nice friends.
     Yesterday I was sad to learn that of our 3 members who have had cancer in the last few years the one I was most worried about is okay for now but 2 others are not well at all. A mum in her 40s  who now has secondaries from her breast cancer has a real struggle ahead of her. She has teenage family. I am sure they will all keep fighting it ; but that still doesn't guarantee they will win. I am now going to send messages of encouragement to them. I wish there was more I could do to change things. Everyone wishes that.
   Guess what? it is pouring with rain again. One of our friends who has a much larger orchard than us, but lives quite nearby called in last evening. His kiwifruit crop is about half picked. When the rest will get done is weather dependant. That is a long wait they have had, as our was picked a month ago. It has been a trying season for growers in many ways.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

You Know What Those Mean.

Yes, it means another year has gone by and I am one year older. Aren't my cards lovely and all so different? Thank you to all of you who are reading this and did something to make my day a happy one. Queenie was one day early with my holiday this year. The silly thing I has to do yesterday was Jury Service. R had to do a few things in town so I persuaded him to be my taxi and drop me off at the Court House, to save the parking hassles. I was selected for 30 jurors on the 2nd of 2 trials yesterday but wasn't needed in the end so was out on the street by 11am. I then did a little shopping in the city got myself some lunch, went to the used book shop and the library then my taxi arrived to take me home. My dear friend who thinks no one should have to cook their own dinner on their special day invited us around to her place for a lovely meal which included one of my favourites, lemon meringue pie. Thanks, Sheila you're a wonderful friend! 
 Today as a stand by Juror I wasn't wanted but have to ring in again tonight to see if they need me tomorrow or Friday. ( the moral of this is don't live too close to a District Court House then you won't get called. )

Sunday, June 05, 2011

New Patchwork Bucket Bag.

Do You like my new bag?

It rained and poured all day yesterday so that was a good time to sew. I almost got finished but couldn't see well on the black as the day drew to a close. I finished it today. This one has a button ( you can see it if you enlarge the photo ) and clasp made by folding a narrow piece of fabric under at the edges and then in half again and sewing up and down it. It means the bag may be used open( if very full ) or shut. My last one sometimes tipped over in the car and spilled it's contents so hope this fixes that problem. I made the handles 30" long this time so it can fit right over my head if I want it to for security or when hands are busy taking photos. I put 2 small pockets inside - a must to keep car keys from burrowing to the bottom. For any of you who have made this bag ( Joyce and Andrea and others ) you will know deciding what angle the pockets needed to be sewn on was quite funny. ( The seams are sewn around the bag not up and down. )
 I am well pleased with this - very satisfying.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Rose Tinted Spectacles.

Before I start today's post I wish to think of my blogfriend Meg, who sadly is today making the physical farewell to her husband of 45 years - affectionately known on her blog as GOM.    RIP GOM.
Hugs and strength Meg.

I am now seeing the world through rose tinted spectacles.
 Yesterday I got my new stronger glasses. They are the ones at the bottom of the photo. They are a bit more substantial than the old ones at the top. They weigh 21 grams - the old ones only 9 grams, so they feel a little different on me.The frames are made from rose gold - not sure if the photo picks up the colour but it is much softer than normal gold. As with any new specs they are taking a wee bit of adjusting too but I certainly can see much better for close up reading and stitching! Yahoo! ( although walking down the city street was strange I kept having to lower my head so I didn't trip ) I also had to ask for a better coloured case as the one offered was big and black - quite ugly. ( they obviously put more time into designing the spec frames that the cases to put them in. ) In the end I settled for the blue case...but the old case at the top may be a better match.
Some sewing has been happening. To my horror I discovered that my original red bucket bag was wearing out. Not surprising I supposed as it has had constant use since I made it in 2007. ( inspired by Joyce the bag maker using a lovely pattern supplied by Andrea. ) So what to do...... but immediately start making a replacement. This one is going to have inside pockets and a fastening at the top. These are the fabrics I am using -  black and whites left from my last quilt with a touch of colour as the feature patch.