Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Progress and yet more Diversions

There's been lots going on here - actual progress on stitching projects, success in sending children back to school (large sigh of relief) and starting a new job. It won't surprise you that I am actually most pleased about the stitching projects! Good progress has been made of the quilts for our Guild exhibition, which is just as well given they have to be dropped off on Saturday....

In the process of getting onto those I had to clear a path into the sewing room (husband hates it when I call it that - he harbours illusions that it is a room for the whole family to use...I don't think so! Clearly he needs to read some Virginia Woolf!!) In the process of the general tidying I came across this fabulous fabric that I found while in the Hawkes Bay earlier in the year. Thought you'd like a look - I think it may become a table day....

Then there is my fabulous new apron - from Trade Me - the moment I saw it I knew it was destined to move to my house. It is in mint condition and a complete mystery. It is a peg bag with one large pocket and was a printed pattern, as you can see it in a few spots. But the Portugal label on the waist band is a puzzle. It even has drawn thread work in the middle of the heart. I love it and the kids are getting genuinely scared that I am going to wear it out of the house!
Speaking of mysteries I have solved the riddle of the Dutch cloth that I last blogged about. The lovely Helen, from Show Your Workings, ran the dutch text through Babel fish and it suggested the following "This way if the bluebird taps at home, it taps nowhere." This is actually strangely related to its real meeting. I showed it to a Dutch friend ans she said that it has a meaning like the old saying "there's no place like home" and that it roughly translates to the clock ticks nowhere like it ticks at home. Hence the embroidery of the old clock on the piece. So Babel fish and Helen were sort of on the right track, if you just stand back and squint a bit from side on...

One of my lovely stitching friends has had bronchitis lately and needed some knitting to keep her occupied during the recovery - and I was the beneficiary by receiving this wonderful knitting bag. I must admit that I had pointed out the pattern to her in a book with many admiring comments. And lo, it was produced...
complete with the most fabulous Amy Butler lining, which was not called for in the pattern but deemed essential by my ever stylish friend.
It's definitely going to do the trick in encouraging a few more knitting projects - just as soon as I get the partially completed quilt and embroidered blanket out of the way....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The perils and pleasures of mid-winter

I've been having a bit of break from blogging while the school holidays are on here and the focus has instead being on how to successfully entertain three children simultaneously. It hasn't been a complete success. I generally seem to only succeed with two of them at once, leaving one claiming terminal boredom. I find that this winter holiday is the toughest - the weather is generally miserable and the kids seem to think that the weather means they should be able to watch non-stop DVDs and play computer games. I suspect it is slightly harrowing for all four of us and that we are all looking forward, in one way or another, to the start of the new term next week.

Having got that off my chest, so to speak, I have managed to fit in a couple of textile related pursuits. I got the card quilt completed and submitted in time to meet the Guild deadline. Here it is temporarily hanging at Guild last week. I'm pleased with it and will be happy to have it back home, which is a lot more than can be said for some of my challenge efforts in the past. One memorable effort was so grim that it was confiscated by friends for serious rework with the injection of multiple brightly coloured strips. As it was they considered it looked like "something my cat had vomited in the middle of". I kid you not - that was their exact words. They are burnt onto my memory. It was duly returned greatly improved. Hopefully they won't think that similar action is required this time!

I've also managed to add to my vintage embroidery collection. When I found this Dutch piece on Trade Me it was a "must buy" for me. If anyone can tell me what the Dutch text says, I'd be most grateful!
I've also found a new winter activity to join the knitting. I've been thinking of doing this for a while and started it this week after finding the perfect blanket locally in an op shop. I'm embroidering the English translation to a Maori proverb at one end, and it will have the Maori text at the other end. The proverb comes from the Maori tribe that my husband and children whakapapa to (are descended from). It is about the rewards of hard work so I'd always thought it would be good to send children off to university with. However, given the kids are only 13 and 9 I decided that I really couldn't wait that long! Must have been the preoccupation with getting them out of the house and away from the tv which led to my fortuitous find.... funny how things work out. I'm very pleased with it and think that there are likey to be more coming along, providing I can find the blankets. I have a collection of quotes just itching to be stitched.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Exhibition Treats in Wellington

I've been having a rather textile time of late and have visited a couple of marvellous exhibitions that I just have to share. First up - Clikety Clack. It's an exhibition of quirky hand knitting by Marjorie Muir, a marvellous woman in her 80s who keeps herself busy on the needles. Quirky really is the only word you can use to describe a full roast chicken dinner, complete with bacon, corn, carrots and chips. Isn't it marvellous?

I was of course unable to resist - infact the exhibition should probably be subtitled "resistance is futile"! I have bought the plate of biscuits below for a friend who has just had a significant birthday and who I have coffee and treats with most Friday mornings.She'd hurt her back rather badly the day I visited the exhibition and I thought that a laugh might be just what she needs - we are still to have the unveiling at our next coffee date, but I'm sure these will raise a good laugh. I was very tempted too by the jellyroll that was amongst the plate of cakes on the right but I resisted the additional calories.
Laughter is one of the great side benefits of the exhibition. Anne, the Gallery owner, told me she is loving all the people coming in and laughing at all the goodies which also include full tea sets, baskets of vegetables, ice creams, sandwiches and lots of floral tributes.

If you are in Wellington get yourself down to Minerva Gallery (, 237 Cuba Street for a good laugh and of course to see all the wonderful textile books that Anne has in stock. It's the new home of New Zealand Quilter. The new shop and gallery is just looking fantastic and the knitted oddities will be there until 2 August!

Over the weekend I also visited Pataka Museum ( in Porirua which has the most wonderful exhibition of world textiles there at the moment, as well as a contemporary art exhibition themed around lace and an exhibition of work by the Professional Weavers Network of NZ.

Unfortunately my camera batteries died right after I took this photo of Alison Francis's work "Waitemata - Sparkling Water". One of the friends I went with grabbed me by the arm early in our visit and said I had to come immediately to see this piece - and there it was complete with my favourite curves. What isn't captured by the photo is that the weaving had a film projected onto it of lapping water and waves. It was so wonderful. If this was the only thing I had seen my visit would have been more than worthwhile.

However there was so much more and it was the most marvellous visit. We were there for a talk by Judy Turner, who was the guest curator of Sharing Stories - Textiles from Around the World. Judy has such a wealth of knowledge she is always a pleasure to hear talk. And as well as all the pieces on display there were also lacemakers and weavers working in the gallery and design students from Massey University and Whitirea Polytechnic showing their work. It was a fantastic afternoon - my daughter was quite taken by a number of the pieces and especially by the lacemakers (just great to see her excited by it!).

Fortunately the exhibitions are on until the end of September - I'm willing to bet there will be several more visits and photo opportunities before then! Thank you so much Pataka.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Beaded Hearts

My small quilt for the Guild exhibition is almost finished - only the binding and some more hand stitching to go. A perfect job for an evening in front of the roaring fire and the next episode of Project Runway this evening. They are due to be handed in tomorrow morning so I am doing very well time wise! I've decided that a small sneak won't do anyone too much harm....

As you can see I have been seduced by the curve again - when is the tipping point that something become obsessive do you think?

Speaking of obsessions here's another small embroidered doiley - it stood out amongst a group I found on Trade Me and called to me to come to live with my collection. I think it will end up on the front of the quilt I have planned for my daughter. I know that my husband certainly thinks that my continual hunting and purchasing of such treasures is obsessive.

I'm off to an exhibition opening at Minerva tonight with one of my sewing friends - should be fun - I will post in due course about it all.

Meanwhile it has just started torrentialy raining and hailing here - that would be because it is only 15 mins until school finishes. Why does the weather always seem to turn just as you have to head out the door to collect children from school???