Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today's work

Quilt blocks donated by Margaret Morrison, now sewn together and bordered.
Quilt top donated by Isabel Reid, now with added border.

My body is telling me I have spent too long sewing today so I shall have to pace myself. There was a slew of parcels and letters containing blocks today - my postie is going to hate me.

Meandering Polyps

Meandering Polyps. Now there's a quilting design that you'll never see in a quilting book. I can't imagine any quilt show winner proudly discussing her Meandering Polyps design with the judges. When I started to quilt this log cabin quilt yesterday morning, my tired brain just couldn't think of a design that I could quickly and easily use, so I invented this one. It's ugly, but it's doing the job. I don't have the luxury of spending 100 hours quilting this.

You see, I've tried quilting this baby before. However, each time was a disaster. When I made this very scrappy quilt, I wanted to maintain the traditional red centres of the blocks, which represent home and the hearth. The only red fabric I had is the stuff that you can see in the centres and also as the border. It's of doubtful parentage, and has evil, shape-shifting ways, which is why previous attempts to quilt it were unsuccessful.

Using techniques taught to me by Sally Bramald (Feather Quilter Extraordinaire), I have been able to contain this fabric's desire to pucker and bunch. Sadly, I haven't acquired Sally's skill and control. My Meandering Polyps quilt is not going to win any prizes. What it IS going to do (I hope), is give a wee bit of comfort to someone who has just lost a loved one.

Once I've completed quilting the main part, I am going to re-pin the borders to within an inch of their nasty little lives, and force them into submission with some other design. Maybe Random Kidneys, or Small Intestines.

Monday, November 29, 2010


This little Bento Boxes top that you saw a few posts back has been changed into......
....a fully grown top. Now to get on with all the work of sandwiching these tops.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hearts are starting

I received the first 2 sets of heart blocks yesterday, along with some 9 patches. As the local newspaper wants to take some photos tomorrow afternoon, I took 14 of the donated blocks that were in blues, made another 46 hearts, then assembled them into this top so there'd be something to photograph.
This lovely stack'n'slash quilt was donated by Raewyn Mill of Christchurch.

Bobbie has kindly made a heart pattern in PDF format to downloaod if anyone wants one. You can find it here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Heart Blocks

I am speechless (almost!) at the huge number of visits to my blog, and the enormous outpouring of generous support for this cause.

Here are the answers to some questions I've received-

1. You can write on the blocks if you want - your country, name or whatever you would like to put.

2. If you are making an entire quilt top, you can make the blocks any size you like. The 6 1/2 " size is just for people making a couple of blocks so that we can standardise the tops.

3. If you have uncompleted quilt tops that you would like to donate, we are happy to take those.
They do not need to have hearts on them.

4. We will be making predominantly single bed sized quilts, big enough to cover the top of the bed. They do not need to come down the sides.

5. If you are putting heart blocks together before sending them to me, you can do them in different ways if you like. For example, you may want to join 4 blocks together, then surround them with sashing. There are no "rules"!

Thank you so much for contributing.

Thank you so much....

..to all the bloggers who have responded to my call for hearts. I am constantly amazed at the power of the internet, and how a message can spread.

There is no actual cut-off date but I want to start making quilts ASAP, and would particularly like to get the children's ones to them by Christmas. At this stage (bearing in mind that I only started this 24 hours ago), I don't have the ages and numbers of children involved but I have someone finding this out. So if you or your quilting group are making blocks, the sooner the better is what to aim for.

For thos who are assembling quilt tops - realistically, I think we will aim for single bed size (for children) and lap sized quilts, as large bed quilts are going to take too long to assemble and quilt.

I am happy for anyone who wants to help to put a link on their blog to mine.

Thank you everyone, the quilting community is indeed a wonderful, generous group of people.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Call to quilters all over the world for Healing Hearts blocks

Dear quilting friends,

You may be aware that New Zealand has suffered a major mining disaster at Pike River mine on the west coast of the South Island, resulting in the deaths of 29 miners. Many of these miners had young families. One was soon to be a father. Like many New Zealanders, I am sharing the pain of the families of the miners. And like many, I have thought about what I could do to help.

I am part of Kiwiquilters, an email group for New Zealand quilters. We have a tradition, as do other quilting groups, of making Healing Hearts quilts for members and their families or friends who are suffering personal tragedy or serious illness. I have asked the group, and other quilting groups around the country, to contribute heart blocks to make into quilts for the miner’s families, and I will assemble and co-ordinate these.

Please consider making a block or several blocks for this cause. It doesn't matter that you don't know the people involved - neither do I. The love and support from strangers that is embodied in these quilts is something tangible that the families can get comfort from for years.

Here are the block details if you want to make some:-

- - Cream background – calico is fine

- - 6 ½” unfinished size (so they will be 6” finished)

- - Pieced or appliqu├ęd heart or hearts

- - Any colours or patterns for the hearts. Some of the quilts will be for children, so children’s fabrics are fine too.

Please send to me at the address below. Thank you so much.

Shirley Goodwin

51 Charles St

Rangiora 7400

New Zealand

Saturday, November 20, 2010

When life throws you scraps...

Let me tell you a story.

When I was in the 6th form (Year 12 I think it's called now), my mother told me that I was going to have to leave school at the end of the year, as she couldn't afford to support me. However, my older brother, a year ahead of me at school, was to go to university. I was in the top academic class, and assumed that I would go to university along with all my friends after the end of the 7th Form (Year 13). I was distraught. This widened the rift between me and Mum, and I left home the following year, having little contact with my family for the next few years. It also severed the contact I had with my school friends (this was in the days before cellphones and the internet, you understand) and I lost touch with most of them.

While I've long ago got over this, and have done some extramural study when in my 30's, I have always hankered after university study. Recently, when searching for suitable contacts at tertiary institutions to send information about my dyes, I accidentally stumbled across a degree course at Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) in Invercargill, the southern-most city in New Zealand.

At one time, these institutions (formerly called Technical Institutes) could not offer proper bachelors' degrees, only more lowly-rated "technical" courses. However, that has now changed. This degree, Bachelor of Applied Media Arts (Visual Media), was the most interesting course I had seen. The first year has 3 threads - Visual Arts (painting, drawing, print-making and sculpture); Photography: and Graphic Design. All things I'm interested in. In the 2nd year, you choose one thread in which you specialise and graduate

I have applied to SIT and been accepted into this course, starting in February. Acceptance is not automatic, as numbers are limited.

However, I have some considerable obstacles in my path. Firstly, I am trying to sell my house without success (so far) as the market is extremely flat. Secondly, I have been unable to find work since returning home from overseas, and am struggling financially. This situation has made me stressed and depressed, and only the prospect of my new life has kept me going.

I am not a great believer in Fate, though sometimes it seems that things are meant to happen. I want this to happen for me. Perhaps, if I tell enough people, it will.

And, of course, when life throws you scraps, you make a quilt. Here's a couple of little tops I've dug out and will complete to take my mind off things. Above is an appliqued teapot quilt.
And this is a design called "Bento Boxes" after the clever Japanese lunch boxes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

10 More Things That Most People Don't Know About Me

Part 2 (and the last!) in this series.

1. My favourite all-time TV series is Red Dwarf. I have all the episodes on DVD.

2. I helped build a house at Lake Tarawera, along with some bloke who's related to my children.

3. I used to be a commercial orchid grower. Not cut flowers, but plants that we imported from their country of origin, established in greenhouses and sold to hobby growers by mail order.

4. I also used to work for the Wildlife Department before it became the Department of Conservation, where I handled the fishing and game licences for the Rotorua and Taupo regions.

5. I drive a Volkswagen Golf.

6. I'm a huge fan of Tolkien and Lord of The Rings.

7. I have never read a Mills and Boon romance novel.

8. I have a Certificate in Adult Teaching, and a Certificate in Horticultural Industry Practice.

9. I am teaching bread-making classes to local people.

10. My favourite colour is purple.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 Things That Not Many People Know About Me

Of course, you may not WANT to know esoteric facts about me, but I have no new photos at present, so here goes...

1. I was originally called Dorothy, but my parents changed my name by deed poll when I was 9 months old as it was too confusing - my mother's oldest sister is Dorothy. (Incidentally, my brother is Ross, the same name as my father's only brother. Why? Who knows?)

2. I have additional blind spots on the retina of my right eye, which I believe were caused by ordinary measles or German measles when I was a child. Optometrists get excited about this.

3. I lived in Raratonga and Western Samoa briefly when I was a tiny tot, as my father was a radio operator and worked in the islands for a year. I don't remember any of this.

4. I can't make pavlova (supposedly the requirement of a traditional Kiwi woman).

5. I was in my teens before I knew that spaghetti didn't only come in tins (seriously, this is how we ate it).

6. I am not remotely interested in rugby, which is (again supposedly) the national sport.

7. I am a speed reader.

8. I'm really interested in the weather, although I do not have a particularly scientific bent.

9. I studied Latin at school (as well as French and German).

10. At various times, I have kept keas, kakarikis (both NZ native parrots), red-legged partridges, a number of different ornamental ducks and pheasants (including native brown teal), wekas (native woodhens), peafowl, guinea fowl, finches, cockatiels, budgies, quail, bantams, geckos, goats, guineapigs, and tropical fish.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The start of "Summer in Provence"

This is the design I decided to use for the Provence-inspired fabric I dyed yesterday. Not that I have finished assembling the Turquoise & Purple quilt - I have put this aside for now. Once I can see in my head how a quilt will look, I need to start making it. I really liked the double-framed squares combined with rows of smaller squares on point in this pattern.
So I looked through my commercial fabrics for something with a pattern that I could use for the centres of the large feature squares. Nothing suitable. I rang my LQS (Local Quilt Shop) to see if they were open, as this is a holiday weekend in my district. Nothing on the website, nothing on the answerphone to indicate if they were open or closed. A sale lost there.

Thwarted, I rummaged through my PHD's (Projects Half Done) and found some rust dyed fabrics. There wasn't a lot, but I managed to get 9 squares with interesting patterns on them. I then selected the best 9 fabrics from yesterday, and started framing these. As is usual for me, I am making different sized squares from the ones in the pattern, plus my framing pieces are different widths as well.

Originally, I envisaged plain white as the background, to give a sharp contrast, but now I'm using the rust fabrics, I'm going with cream calico for the background. I have another idea to use the rest of the fabrics that will go with stark white.

More soon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Colours of Provence

Today, I dyed some fabric in my "Blended" style to make a Provence-inspired quilt. I'm going to base the design on one in Kaffe Fassett's "Quilts en Provence" book, but change it to suit me (of course!).

I've chosen soft greens, warm ochres, bright blues and lavender purples. I'm thinking of a white background here, squares on point....but I also think I need a commercial feature fabric to tie these together. Not sure if I can find something, and there's not much in my stash, so I'll need to think on this more.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

In a turquoise mood with purple overtones

I started this quilt in 2009 (I think) at a Lyttelton Quilters' retreat. I cut all the fabric, and sewed all the blocks and sashings, but didn't get any further.

Today, being in a turquoise mood, I dug it all out and started to sew the top together. It's designed around the Hoffmn "Feathers" fabric that you can see in the block centres (click on the photo to enlarge it)- a luscious combination of turquoise, green and purples. I bought all the other fabric to tone with this one. The pattern is on point, so I'm not even halfway through assembling it yet but will keep working on it. The "Feathers" fabric is also used for the border, to tie it all together.

I hate to confess this, but I don't actually have a quilt on my bed - but this one is for ME.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

He ain't heavy, he's my brother

Speaks for itself, really.


Despite enforced time on my hands, I'm not making much. OK, I'm knitting, as usual, but haven't sewn anything for a while as I feel guilty if I'm not doing something to try to make a few bucks. That makes blogging a wee bit difficult, so today, I decided to liberally filch some photos from other people's blogs, and what better subject than colour? Feast your eyes!

Guess I'm really not a neutral girl. I'd much rather look at these than 27 shades of white or cream.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Scenes from the spring garden

Irises, roses, rhododendrons, paeonies......I love this time of year.
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Monday, November 01, 2010

All in the family

Here we all are on the deck of the restaurant after celebrating Mum's 80th birthday with a lovely lunch at the weekend. (BTW, I am not exceptionally tall, just kneeling on a table to ensure we'd all fit into the photo)
And here's me, Mum and my older brother Ross. When we were children, we used to be taken for twins as we were both blond-haired and green-eyed.