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

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Catching up

We've completed nearly two weeks of (Covid Response) Level Two now and it almost feels that life is back to normal for me. I'm back to my once a week fitness class, once a week playcentre session, once (or twice) a week work day and so on. And you can tell this by the lack of productivity in The Palace!!
I'm working at making sure it doesn't get too busy again and trying to make sure I have complete days at home. Saying NO to the odd thing.....
(To clarify, social distancing is still expected, as is keeping track of where we visit and no gatherings bigger than 10 people. NZ has had just one new case in the last week.)

Anyway, last week I had the older twins come over for a play. After two months of not being allowed in Ganma's house they were very excited ♥ They talked, they played, they ran, they climbed...and they sewed!
They spied my evening sewing bits and bobs and thought it might be nice to do some sewing themselves. I managed to steer them away from the needleturn and after a bit of a discussion they decided they wanted to make bunny snugglies for bedtime. Their mum had done a little sewing during lockdown and they knew they had this sewing thing sussed! Not having the same picture in my head that they had in theirs, I suggested they draw me a picture —
Hmm not much to go on here!

We rummaged in the downstairs (non-quilty) sewing stash.
Here's Kaliah ready to sew —
She gathered the thread, pins and scissors to go with her fabric.
Definitely knew what she was doing!
It soon became obvious that their idea of a bunny snuggly was quite different to my idea of a bunny snuggly. I pulled out a basket where I put braids, trims, and anything too useful to throw that I don't know where to put. I have been collecting and adding to this for a very long time. My girls used to raid it for their sewing when they were younger.
While one prepped her's —
The other sewed her's —
Very proud! They did add a few more bits to these after I took the photo, in a second burst of energy!
I had a wee weaving loom when I was a kid and that's where the fluoro
orange and yellow piece came from! If you hang onto anything long enough,
it will get used!
AHEM - can you make out one of my Omigosh 9-patches attached to Saydee's,
on the left!! I let it go :-)
Apparently the snugglies go to bed with them now ♥
Time for some exercise after the sewing time —
This past week I made a pair of slippers for George —
I made several pairs like this last winter and the kiddies got good wear out of them.
Sadly though, the pattern only comes in one size so I (once again) had to play to change sizes. I went up a needle size and added a few more rows at the base.
I made the soles a little small though so they are a better fit for Lily than George, so here she is ably modelling them. And I've started a second pair for him.
And I have actually done some sewing. I started this zippy pouch in lockdown when I was making the others. I didn't have a suitable zip so had to wait until we were allowed to go to the shops.
We're very happy as it is raining outside and it's been raining on and off throughout the night. Yaay! Although the farm has greened up over the last few weeks the soil moisture levels still screamed drought. I'm sure this rain will help remedy things.
Must be off,
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Family plus Friday Night Sew In

Now that New Zealand is in Alert Level Two of our Covid-19 response, life feels quite different.
Many people are out and about catching up with friends or family they haven't been able to see (in person) for such a long time. Others are out and about catching up with shopping or other activities that have been on hold. Others are content to stay home until the risk of infection becomes even lower.
I've been happy to go into work (once a week on a Friday)....this week we were able to have customers in the shop and I must say it was nice chatting to people casually (and from a distance) again.
I'm happy to wait to do shopping other than the usual groceries...I understand town was pretty busy with little parking available and queues outside shops on Thursday and Friday.
But one thing I'm not putting on hold is spending time with our family. How sweet those first hugs have been.
We merged our bubbles with ED's family under level 3 so that I could do some childminding while they got their new house ready for moving into, and so that the MOML could help with putting up fences and making them childproof.
So nice to have these two visit again —
Feeding the chooks was a good activity to do - it took them ages to feed out all the pellets!
Anyway, I wanted to visit them on Friday afternoon after work so that I could deliver Lily's vest. I talked about it in my *last post* and sewed it up on Thursday —
So pleased with how it turned out.
She didn't get to try it on while I was there (too busy!!) but ED sent me through these photos this morning —
Is it cute or what?!
Now I remember why I love sewing kiddie clothing!
(This Pathfinder pattern is found *here*.)

Once I got home and we had a quick evening meal, I settled in to join in with Friday Night Sew In, kindly hosted by Wendy of Sugarlane Designs. I've been working on a knitted vest for YD's son on and off this week and really wanted to get it finished.
'Pebble (Henry's Manly Cobblestone Inspired Vest)' (found *here*) is a cute little pattern I've made several times before. It only comes in one, newborn, size so I've had to play with it a bit to get it bigger.
Another time I'd made it larger by going up a needle size. This time I went up a yarn size, a needle size, and then another needle size before I was happy with how big it was going to be.
Version One
Version Two, unravelling one as I make another!
But finally, I finished Friday night with a knitted vest, all the ends darned in and ready for buttons.
(YD likes this design with the buttons at the side for easy on and off when Odie is asleep.)

Buttons sewn on this morning —
So that he could try it on today —
Got the sizing right!
Thank you Wendy for inviting us all to sew (or knit) with you on Friday night. Visit Wendy's blog *here* to see what others got up to.
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

May so far

In my last post I was about to leap into a whole lot of kiddie sewing. We had a busy weekend and I've only just been able to make a start on it.
High on my list for kiddie sewing are Pathfinder vests for the younger twins. These are the brainchild of Twig and Tale. I love the creativity and nature-ness of their patterns (Odie's leaf blanket was one of theirs).
The patterns are PDF which means you do have to print out pages to join together —
But it was all very straight forward. There's a feature in their patterns that you can click on to just show/print the size that you want - wow - that is so cool!
Making a start
Haha - do you think I have enough fabric??!! I may have bought this for a bush shirt for myself years ago - I think there might be a few pieces of kiddie clothing in this length!
Cut out and ready for Step Two tomorrow!
Yesterday I got the cot sheets made for the youngest fellow. After making a couple of these sheets earlier in the year I now have the exact measurements for his mattress so they sewed up pretty quickly.
Just like bag making; cut out the corners.
A couple of french seams, casing and elastic
Three sheets ready for winter

A friend asked me the other day if I had any sneaky projects on the go that I hadn't written about.
No, of course not I said.... but then I had to stop and remember if I had shared about my lockdown quilt. I think I mentioned ages ago that I wanted to make something to commemorate this point in time. At that stage I didn't have anything firm in my mind. There have been some lovely projects shared by generous designers in recent times and I had the idea that I wanted to incorporate them all, somehow.
I'm thinking a medallion style quilt. Below is a really rough idea of what I may do. The geese are there to increase the size so that the maths works for the next round.
This will be the centre —
Lockdown pillow. This is a design by Ellie's Quiltplace, from the
Lockdown Quilters Facebook group.
Followed by a round of bubbles. Keeping to our bubbles became our way of life for about 50 days here in NZ. It was a term introduced by the government which became part of our everyday vocab. 
After the geese, or whatever I use to increase the centre size, there will be various blocks. Stitched, pieced or appliqued, all patterns or ideas gifted by the fore mentioned generous designers. 
Both of these are Michelle Ridgeway designs. Stitching and creating to keep us
from becoming basket cases!
Now there is no way this will be finished during lockdown but I will keep chipping away at it as time allows. Oh and a rule I have set myself is that it all has to be made from stash - no new fabrics allowed!

At midnight tonight New Zealand moves into Level Two status; down from lockdown level three which we have been in for just over two weeks. Level three was slightly less strict than L4 - we were allowed takeaways (!!) and online or click and collect shopping. I was able to get my car serviced this week but walking around closed shops while that happened was a bit boring. I also took the wee dog into the vets for his 6-monthly check-up. He was whipped out of my arms and taken inside, and I was told to come back in an hour. I guess I hadn't thought it through but I didn't really expect that to happen! Poor little guy was quivering being taken away from Ganma as he doesn't really like going to the vets! 
So tomorrow our bubbles are allowed to burst. Social distancing still has to happen, good hygiene practices need to continue but retail and so on can all open, although they will all be operating in a different way with registers of customers and so on. Chiropracter daughter is finally allowed to see clients. No gatherings of more that 10 people, even in our own homes. Hmm.
A far cry from our very strict Level four of a few weeks ago. New cases continue to be minimal and no community transmission to speak of has occurred for some time. Just hoping, with our closed borders, that this continues to be the case.

Hope you're all doing ok,
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Goals and the like

I had a real muddly day yesterday, not settling to anything much so I have decided it's time to Stop, Plan and Focus.
And I'm nearly too late to sign up for Patty D's One Monthly Goal over at Elm Street Quilts. Signing up and 'pledging' to finish something is great motivation to actually getting it done!
After my efforts last month getting my Buggy Barn Tractors quilt together, it (probably) goes without saying that quilting this needs to be top of my agenda for this month so that is what my goal will be.
To quilt, bind, label and gift the Tractors quilt!!!
Backing purchased. No excuses now.
Thank you, as always, Patty, for hosting OMG. It really is helpful in making progress :-)
I also have some other goals for the month - to focus on doing some winter sewing for all the kiddies. I made a start by overlocking the edges of some brushed cotton so I could wash and pre-shrink it. This will be for some more cot sheets and a kiddie jacket lining.
Then I tidied the spare room downstairs. Climbed up into the top of the wardrobe and found all my old patterns for children sewing. They went onto the downstairs bed —
Did anyone else collect and drool over the Topkids Magazines?
I used to love these and made some wonderfully creative clothes from them for
my kids.
There's also patterns in the boxes for basic things like trackpants, tights, etc which I want
to find.
Most of those patterns have sat there in those boxes since we moved here in 2004!!!
This old sewing cabinet contains all sorts of fabrics for kiddie sewing. I'll use it as my base for the sewing and it will be lucky dip, that's for real!! There's some lovely pieces in there that I bought to make things for my kids but didn't get them done - now's my chance!!
This cabinet was actually one Dad built from a kitset when he and Mum
were first married. Most of the kitset furniture he made then is still going
strong - not like kitset furniture these days!
(I had to do all this downstairs as if I try to sort this amongst my quilting stuff in The Palace it would be bedlam!! A separate clear space was needed!)

Oh and I will be pulling out my knitting for the kiddies too. Yesterday I started a vest for wee Odie who is no longer very wee and is outgrowing the vests I made the other kiddies. Not only is he a big boy but was also born in a completely different season than all the other kids. Who knows what will fit him when!

In other news — Since finishing a needle case over the weekend, I've made a pouch to go with it. I enlarged the stitchery from the Anni Downs pouch made last month—
I made a vinyl fronted zippy pouch (pattern available *here*) —
And sewed the stitchery to the other side.
It was a bit odd in a way as usually the vinyl side is displayed as the front, but when it's all filled with a messy array of project and notions, I sometimes think the 'back' is a nice option to look at!
I intend the needlecase and pouch to be used as a set...because the needlecase was a kit I didn't have the same felts and fabrics but oh well.
And speaking of pouches, this was a project from the Tilda FB page I joined. This pouch is a lot smaller than the one above so won't fit an A4 page/pattern but will be useful for storing threads, etc. It was designed by Fee, of Fee's Little Craft Studio, who runs the Facebook group.
I used fabrics to match the pincushion I've made previously.
It's probably pinkier and girlier than what I usually make but it's pretty cute all the same!

The conditions of our Lockdown Level Two were released today - we will have a lot more freedom which is we just have to wait and see when we go into it.
'til next time
safe and happy stitches,