Sunday, October 31, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

Talk about a holiday treat designed for a textile lover - over the long weekend we headed down to Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes area for a fabulous time away with friends to celebrate a significant birthday. There was sunshine, there was no wind (very important when you live in Wellington!), there was fun, laughter and relaxation.... and in the house I stayed, there were wonderful textile hangings.... One of my friends was able to authoritatively tell me that this one was from Nepal - she had bought a similar one herself many years ago. The owners had painted the wall behind it the perfect tone to accentuate it. I just loved the camels....
This one was more of a puzzle for me - Indian I think, but more research required to be definite. It had wonderful stitched hunting scenes all over it. Hunters, horses and even the hunted animals all look so happy. Great foliage. I can easily see why the purchaser found it irresistible and had to bring it home.
But almost the best thing of all over the last couple of weeks is that I have actually been behind the sewing machine - after months of neglect I am pleased to report that it still works and I still know how to drive it. This was certainly unexpected!
And as you might be able to see I've been doing one of my favourite quilt tasks - sewing on bindings. Every year the Guild I belong to makes quilts for the Wellington Women's refuge and Te Whare Rokiroki, which is the Maori Women's Refuge. We give them around 80 quilts each year so that each women who goes through the refuge is able to choose a quilt to take with them when they leave. There are a very dedicated group of women in the Guild who work hard all year to achieve this - I take my hat off to them.
Stitching on a few bindings is the least I can do!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Promises Are Made to Keep

Many, many moons ago I promised that I'd tell the story of Friday Morning Coffee, the second quilt I made with lots of embroidered pieces and with tatting to boot. Just like In My Grandfather's Den it is based on a Kaffe Fassett pattern and features lots of wonderful florals that I'd been collecting up for a special something.

It all started off with an idea that I wrote about at the time and called What If. I had the idea of using the embroideries that had belonged to my mother's dearest friend, my Auntie Dorothy, to create a quilt that honoured friendship and the central role that it plays in my life, my mother's life and, I am sure, the life of most people. It is also a memorial quilt.

At the time of having my "what if" thoughts I had very recently lost a close friend of mine, Denys, who had died after 5 years of living with breast cancer. She was a friend that was loved by many, many people and who, two years after her death, is still greatly missed by her friends but especially, by her family.

I met her through the local kindergarten where our eldest children were friends. They are still friends and were recently discussing the possibility of flatting together when at University. That would have made her smile. She was part of the special group of friends that I meet with and have coffee with every Friday morning, hence the name of the quilt which was the idea of my daughter.

My quilt recently hung in the Wellington Quilters' Guild exhibition and was hanging there on the second anniversary of both her death and funeral. This felt right and was my tribute to her. Losing friends is awful, infact it is 1000 times worse than that - but it has also helped me to really confront what is important in life.

For me that is love, friendship and laughter - without those life would be truly impoverished.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Pathways

Something strange happened today - I wandered down a few roads arond town, doing chores that needed to be done, and I found myself thinking about this blog and taking a couple of photos. It was a grey day, but the promise of spring was around. Colour, line and form - so pleased it can still catch my eye!
I've had a full on year and blogging, stitching and quilting has all taken a back seat. My focus instead has been on museums, heritage and how that's able to be expressed through textiles. It has really absorbed me and I have loved it. New pathways running ahead....
I'm itching to get back to the sewing room, my sewing machine and the ideas that are running... Can't ask for more than that! I promise there will be more - very soon!