My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The last of Christmas and some handwork

The last of my Christmas sewing is ready to share!! It has now safely arrived at its destination so I can write a blogpost about it!
This runner went to Texas, somehow I just thought Wagon Wheels suited Doniene and her home a lot.
The pattern is from Quiltmania #78 and is for a full sized quilt (4 blocks by 4 blocks) but I decided a row of three would make a great little (ahem) runner instead.
It's foundation pieced, using a mix of fabrics I'd gathered over the years. The photo below shows how much of the light fabric I had left! I had to join about 8 of these small pieces together in order to finish those blocks! 
To finish it, I quilted straight lines out from the centre to emphasis the spokes of the wheels, then edged each wheel in pebbles and then finished it off with straight line quilting. 
One thing about runners, it's ok to over quilt them so they will sit nice and flat - plus they're a good size to play with :-)
I've been making some slow progress on my project for the No FUSS SAL. We're making Ruth's Quilt from 'Living the Dream' by Leanne Beasley. We're encouraged to go at our own pace and I really am doing that!
My block 6 - getting there.....
Blocks 3-5
A couple of friends have asked to see my they are.
A FQ bundle I bought years ago with a few more thrown in. 
It's nice to pull the bundle out and actually use it...I loved drooling over it but it feels so much better to be thinking about cutting it up!

After the drama of the fire last week I thought you might like to see some non-burnt countryside! When we were up the hill taking in the fire damage I turned and took a photo looking down on our farm. I'm standing in the firebreak that stopped the fire from moving over towards out part of the bush and the back of the farm.
It gives you some idea of the contour of the land in our area.
Looking a bit summery too, most of the brown areas are very messy looking with long seedheads giving it the dry colour.
'til next time,
Happy stitches,

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Reds and black

But not in the same sentence...
I'll start with the Reds :-) I shared the sneak peek below in my last post —
Some followers may remember the 80 hearts quilt I made Mum for her birthday last October —
I was always going to come back and write a bit more about the construction of it but haven't yet had the chance.
I used the tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew to make the heart blocks.
Rather than drawing 480 diagonal lines on my cream squares I used a piece of painter's tape in front of my machine foot as a guide. (The edge of the tape is lined up with the needle.) It cut out a lot of preparation time.
Keep the tip of the fabric lined up with the straight edge of the tape.
I eye-balled a second line of stitching so that when I cut off my corners I had a big pile of bonus Half Square Triangles.
Cutting the corners off creates lots of bonus HSTs.
(No I didn't save the triangles off the small corners!) 
I let them marinate for a few months then pulled them out for some Christmas sewing. I trimmed them all to the same size (these ended up 2 ⅜").

A bit of serious sewing later, I had a Leftover Hearts Table Runner.
I quilted along all the seamlines and did continuous curves in the cream triangles.
I know the recipient won't mind knowing that this was a very satisfying runner to make - bonus HSTs, batting scraps joined together, backing scraps joined together....
...even the binding was a scrap!
The binding is extra skinny as I only had  3½ inches of it!
But of course it's priceless when you consider the time and love that went into making it!!!

Now on to the Black...
It's been said recently that if you want a bit of excitement, come and live on our road. We seem to have more than our fair share of drama out here.
Last week a fire broke out in the bush at the back of one of our neighbour's farms.
One beautiful thing about living out here is the bush that we are surrounded by. There are large areas of bush, all interjoined and belonging to a lot of different entities; farmers like us, private forestry, Department of Conservation, privately owned iwi land, Maori trust land, privately owned reserve, and so on. The key factor here is that it is all interjoined therefore fire can sweep through it all without any stops. Oh and it's mostly all landlocked too, with no road access.
Ground access to this fire was through farmland, but with a river and an unsuitable bridge in the way, helicopters with monsoon buckets were the only thing that could fight this fire.
Luckily there was little wind so it was relatively slow moving.
At this stage about 3 hours after it started I thought they were getting on top of it.
But when the helicopters had to stop for the night it was still out of control. 
This photo was in an on-line paper and was how it was looking late at night.
(Not what we could see from our place!) (Photo by Brooke Sabin.)
This is what I saw at 5am the next morning. Filled our hearts with dread.
We woke up to ash everywhere, including on the trees outside our bedroom window.
And the cows were covered in a layer of ash too!
The next morning I went up the back of the farm and onto the tracks the beekeepers put in to access the bush. I saw to my delight that in the night firebreaks had been put in which stopped the fire from spreading over our way.
A firebreak put in overnight which stopped the fire spreading our way.
You can see it's all burnt on the left and completely unspoilt to the right.
The bush to the right is immediately above our property.

Putting in the firebreaks was a brave move with a huge forestry bulldozer.
These hills aren't easy.
The helicopters were back in action; I couldn't see the flames from my vantage point, but did see plenty of smoke!
Thank goodness the wind stayed away and it was only a few hours until it was officially under control :-) I think they may have isolated an area and let it burn out?
On Sunday we had a trek up the back to show family what had happened.
They estimate 130 hectares were burnt but it seems a lot more!
Another view of the firebreak that stopped the fire from spreading our way.
The beekeepers were very grateful that the monsoons had dumped water on
the hives and saved all three sets of them.
After a big run through all that dust a bath in the river was very welcome.
We had some good rain this morning so hopefully that has dampened down the last of the hotspots.
Sorry about the photo heavy post - I couldn't decide which ones to use and which to leave out!
Ok that's enough drama for now - see you next time
Happy stitches,

Monday, January 8, 2018

Happy New Year

2018 has got off to an interesting start for us.... we managed a few days away....our 'summer holiday' as the kids tease us. Special thanks to ED and her hubby who offered to milk for 2 days and pushed us out the door, taking care of the cows, dogs, cats, chickens, sheep and pig for us!
We headed up to the Far North, to Taipa which is rapidly becoing a favourite spot of ours. An interesting drive not toooooo far away, beautiful uncrowded beaches and somewhere to stay that is on the water's edge. Perfect to just chill out with enough around to keep us just a little busy, but not too much. Friends live nearby too which is a bonus and a further excuse to visit the area.
You can see how un-crowded the beaches are - not bad, especially for
the summer holidays!
While we were away a storm was approaching NZ so the weather started deteriorating ... planned fish and chips on the beach became fish and chips outside our unit.
Dinner for night #2 gets the thumbs up from the MOML.
The ocean is just beyond the trees, not that you can see, it was starting to get
a bit grey and 'a storm is coming' looking.
As always I planned to do a bit of knitting (or crochet) in the car. Last year I made a wee vest for needy children during a car trip so I thought I'd do the same again... but I got thwarted with the knitting in the round - I couldn't remember how to get the first few rounds done.....
Knitters who knit in the round may understand my to join these
without doing knitting gymnastics. I've since found out, I should have had a
Double Loop thing going with my needles....
and didn't get any further. For the trip home I googled a simple wee hat and easily got that knitted.
It seems far too tiny to fit a baby but is newborn size so we'll see...!

We got home before the storm hit....a reasonable amount of rain but not a flood-amount for us. Our sheltered valley got a good battering from the wind though, as did a lot of the region.
We had our fair share of trees and branches come down...this Poplar caused the worst damage, taking out the power line to our pump shed on its way down.
It was a huge tree, we cant believe it was snapped off like this!
Fortunately we have a backup water supply so we could still milk and the cows could still drink... we weren't sure how long the springfed dam and siphon effect would last but thankfully the power crew were here to do repairs before we ran out of the reserve water supply.

I've read a lot of inspiring posts lately with New Year goals, words of the year and so on... I'm still in catch up mode so am holding off any planning until I feel caught up.
It does feel good though as I have a couple of finishes to report - wow, so early in the year Raewyn? - awesome!!
Well, a couple are Christmas presents so they are rather late... and another is something not finished at work (The Country Yard) last year...all catching up stuff....

This Kiwiana runner just needed the quilting and finishing done when I brought it home —
I'm trying to show the quilting here but it doesn't show up as well as I thought.
I did continuous curves in the squares and crosshatching in the borders/sashing.
Although it was started at the shop I'm still calling it a finish for me as that is what it is!

Then there is this Christmas (2017!) project I cant show just yet —

And this one too!
The 'proof it's finished' photo :-)
So I've been having lots of fun quilting - I've been using my quilting rulers quite a lot and have enjoyed the practise.

Just to give you a laugh I thought I'd share this photo... the MOML decided it would be a good joke to give me some bright pink farm overalls for Christmas!! Those who know me well know that I am not a pink girly-girl. However being the good sport that I am, I wore them the other day and made his day.
Don't tell him but they were actually very comfortable;
they are the first Women's fit overalls I have had (ever) and
weren't baggy in all the wrong places as my other ones are!!
I may even wear them again :-)

With four finishes to start the new year I'm feeling rather pleased with myself. Long may it continue!! (ahem!) I have a bit more catch up stuff to do the meantime,
Happy stitches,