Saturday, November 26, 2011

Remembering Kate Sheppard with Gratitude

Today is voting day for the 2011 General Election here in New Zealand. We are voting on who we want to represent us in Parliament for the next 3 years and on whether we want to keep the voting system we currently have (MMP - Mixed Member Proportional representation) or change it to another system.

I walked dawn to our local school in beautiful sunshine, voted without having to wait in a line, smiled and said hello to others from my community who were doing likewise and walked home again, reflecting how easy it was and how lucky we are. How lucky that it is so simple and that it is such a peaceful experience to be able to have your say - unlike the experience for people in many countries around the world who expose themselves to violence and danger by expressing their opinion on who should run their country.

And I reflected on the remarkable achievement of Kate Sheppard, our most prominent suffragette who fought hard to gain the vote for women here in New Zealand - the first country in the world to extend the vote to women. A couple of weeks ago when Barak Obama was in Australia he mistakenly commented that Australia was the first country. Let's make no mistake about this - it was New Zealand and it happened in 1893. South Australia followed soon after in 1894 but it wasn't extended across Australia as a whole until 1902. These things are important when you are from the smaller country!

Kate Sheppard is on our $10 note and is thereby part of our daily lives.

Kate rests in Addington Cemetery in Christchurch, her headstone flanked by two Camellia trees, the flower of which was used as the symbol of the suffragettes. This photo was taken when I was in Christchurch over the New Year. Even at that time there were many damaged gravestones from the earlier earthquake in September last year. I know that there has been much more damage to headstones from the February quake - I hope that Kate's headstone is still standing proud. She was a remarkable woman. 

Others have written more eloquently than me on the importance of voting - Dana Fisher, The Quilted Librarian, wrote a great post last year urging us all to remember the sacrifices that many women have made in the past so that we can vote with such ease today. She also gave a link to a fascinating piece on the American suffragettes and their struggles, which I had no idea about until I read her blog.

If you are in New Zealand make sure you take this three yearly opportunity to get out and vote - and remember with gratitude Kate Sheppard and the other women who fought so hard to give us this right and to help make us world leaders.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

More Luscious Distressed Threads

Here's a few more shots of the great fabrics that found their way back to my sewing room from Distressed Threads - thought you'd like to see more.
 No surprise that it was the indigo that caught my eye first....
What I love most is the texture through the colour - flat dyed fabric doesn't really do it for me, but throw in some texture and it's irresistable.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Whistling While I Wait

Still no sign of my border fabric but not being one to sit around I've been out and stitching at a new event that was held in Wellington last weekend, Fabrications. Organised by Capital Quilters, it was a great day with all the local Guilds represented, quilts on display and lots of wonderful vendors who hauled there merchandise into Lower Hutt to tempt us all.

The merchants put in lots of work to bring their wonderful fabrics, books and threads to the event to tempt us so I really felt that it was the least I could do to lighten their load for their return journey - doesn't that make me sound selfless?

Fortunately no-one there had the border fabric I am waiting for so instead I was able to be seduced by silk -

this is part of a silk sari which I will use as a scarf and Sari Twist which is made from sari remnants. I couldn't go past the colour - it will look wonderful couched down on something....

And then there were the fabrics from Distressed Threads - these had been bought up from Christchurch especially for the event. I'm sure you all know that Christchurch has had a really tough year with the earthquakes and the constantly changing landscapes of their city, so I thought the least I could do was to buy some of their wonderful fabrics.
I was thinking how good these would go with Japanese kimono fabrics to create something quite different and before I knew it I'd pulled together this rather luscious collection to come home with me. 

Once I took them back to our Guild stand to show them off we decided that really the Christchurch people needed more of a hand from us so we bought a collection of 18 fabrics to use as raffle prizes at Guild over the next few months. We were exclaiming with delight as we made our selection, causing much hilarity with those watching us.

These are a few of my favourites just to whet your appetite 

But wait there's more - then I spotted a few squares which just called out Freida Khalo to me - this is a project that's on the waiting list. Something for our guest room rather than something to give away, just for variety..

I ran into a friend there - Clare Smith from Textiles on the Edge who told me that I need to post more often on the blog. She is right.... so this next picture is especially for her.....I spent Sunday afternoon sewing badges onto Scout blankets. My boys went to jamboree in January and both bought back an absurdly large number of badges which I have been steadily ignoring all year. However in the last week the boys started trying to stitch them on themselves by hand - after watching them for a couple of nights I caved in and did them all myself on the machine. 66 badges on one blanket and 103 on the other. 

I never want to see another scout badge looking for a blanket ever again. See what you made me do Clare!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Every Quilt Has Its Challenges

Those were the sage words of my daughter when she had a look at the progress of my medallion quilt. I had come up with the block design for the next border and having made enough to go down one side of the quilt I had reluctantly concluded that they were too heavy and too large and would result in the quilt becoming far too big.... don't you hate it when that happens!
So I unpicked them, saving the central blocks for the back, and made another checker border that we both agreed looked much better - my daughter was unable to restrain herself from reminding me that this was what she had suggested in the first place.... she was right, she had.... seemed fair enough in retrospect.
So then I decided that the quilt really could be finished off with a border of my feature fabric..... only to discover I didn't have enough to cut borders without joins, which the fabric certainly didn't lend itself to.
Of course at this point you won't be at all surprised to learn that the shop I bought the fabric from has sold out of it.... so after an online search over the weekend I am now waiting eagerly at the letterbox for more fabric to arrive from the US....

I rest my case - every quilt has its challenges.