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

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Sewing pretty

I glanced up at my design wall the other day and realised that this week's sewing had been 'pretty' - projects using pretty fabrics.
First up was a mystery stitchery BOM I am doing through The Country Yard, as a participant rather than designer or sample maker. I fought very hard and tried to sit on my hands but in the end gave in. This stitchery uses motifs and stitchery designs from a variety of previous years' mystery projects; having been involved with the shop for as long as I have it really is like a walk down Memory Lane, which of course is what this BOM is called.
There were three different fabric ways we could choose from, and I have chosen to do mine in the Tilda fabric selection.
Here are the stitcheries from the first two months —
Here is month one sewn up —
And the month two blocks —
Month one and two combined —

This week I continued on with the Laundry Basket 2021 mystery QAL - the second set of 'pretties' up on the wall (and discussed *here*).
I finally got my head around where I was heading with this before I put it away for a bit. And I've decided to change tack with it, by sewing it up differently to how the instructions tell us.
Because it's no longer a mystery, I can see the end result and have decided to plan where my fabrics go a little more than if I had been keeping up a day and block at a time.
Plus, sewing 20 odd of the same block can be a little tiresome so it's nice to play as I go.
I've started at the centre with darker reds and am working out towards the outer edge, ending with the pinks/light reds.
So far my centre looks like this —
Below shows me having a bit of a play - I originally planned on the dark flying geese as on the bottom row, but changed my mind, and changed them to the red, as shown on the right.
So you can see it's going to take me twice as long to make it this way, and I'm going to end up with a few orphan blocks!!
A close up of the fabrics —
I've sewn the centre blocks together into rows, just to keep them together even though we were told not to do that until the end!

They all said it was a matter of 'when' and not 'if' and now, after nearly 18 months out of Level 4 lockdown, and a long time of relative freedom, New Zealand went back into L4 lockdown last week (11 days ago). Yes, Delta has arrived here. (Level 4 is the most restricted level in NZ and only essential services are allowed to operate.)
It seems that new cases are contained within Auckland and most of us were hoping for an ease in restrictions in yesterday's announcement. On Tuesday night most of the country goes into level 3 but Northland (where we live) unfortunately has been grouped together with Auckland and we must all stay in level 4 for longer.
Down on the farm, we've continued on as usual, when you have animals and are a primary industry, you can't just stop. So we've milked the cows and reared the calves and ventured out for click and collect farm supplies or groceries when necessary.
The big hassle for us though is that we were partway through a bathroom renovation when lockdown hit and the trades weren't allowed to come to work -  we were left with no shower!!
The MOML cleverly set us up an outdoor shower with a hose which goes through the window and onto the (hot) laundry taps. 
The things you can get away with in the country 😂 (not so good on a windy night!!).
Fortunately for us, getting a shower installed was finally considered essential enough to risk trades coming to our place. After three or four days of form signing and avoiding strangers in the hallway we no longer have to use the outdoor facilities! They only did the basics though so we still have more tradie-time to come, at some stage.

So the talk of lockdown leads me to another project to share with you. As a 'lockdown gift', The Country Yard has designed a free stitchery to help everyone keep out of mischief while staying at home.
Tonight I hope to trace it and start planning which threads I would like to use.
You can access the design *here* (Thank you Kerryn and Annalese!)

'til next time,
happy stitches,

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Great excitement!

There is a new sewalong starting and I'm very excited about it!

Regular readers may remember that I love to test Juliet Tartankiwi's FPP patterns for her. When she sends a plea out to her group of regular testers, I very seldom say no, and manage to squeeze in the sewing, somehow. I think I enjoy the combination of making something I had no idea I wanted to make and the technical side of analysing a pattern, feeding back to her and so on.
And something I tested/sewed last month, is now in print and about to be launched as a new Sew-Along.
...........Introducing the Sleigh Ride Sew-Along!
Here are the two blocks I sewed up as a tester —
The reindeer —

And the sleigh —
Once I started sewing I wasn't sure about the background 'night sky' fabric I chose but it has grown on me and definitely gives a unique look!
The sewalong is focussing on making a table runner but, knowing me, I'll make mine a little bigger - and I'm hoping that by joining in with the sewalong I'll make some good progress!
(Oh and this pattern is definitely easier to sew than some of Juliet's patterns. They are all well designed and written but these particular ones are suitable for 'adventurous beginners' {to quote Juliet!})
Head over *here* to check out the details of the sewalong.
Which now gives me three Christmas projects I'd like to complete this year.
My Scrappy Christmas ornaments —
And The Santa, The Tree, The Turkey and Me —
But who's counting........😂

In other exciting news, I made another star block for The Great Scrappy Star Adventure —

And my 'baby chickens' (hereinafter called The Pullets) have started laying - spot the (tiny) pullet egg in the photo above! They are now enjoying life as big chooks, with the same freedoms, and I am hoping for nests full of full-sized eggs pretty soon. At the moment they scatter all the nesting box hay around and generally create havoc but I continue to live in hope!

Great excitement but not of the positive type over the weekend. Recently, the MOML has been getting to the cowshed at 5am to discover lights not working or the pump running. We figured there were rats in the ceiling chewing wires so have been working to get rid of the rats, seal up all the little entrances that creatures find and to pin down our electrician  to come out to fix the wiring.
Saturday was the last straw, when the radio wouldn't work! Up came the roof to see what on earth was going on. Amidst a tangle of chewed wires was a big old possum. Obviously he'd been having a grand old party living in the roof and living off wiring - how he didn't cause a fire, we don't know, so we feel very lucky. It took seven calls to get an afterhours electrician, but we were up and running by afternoon milking time again!
Roofing iron off
Look how chewed the wires were - so lucky we didn't have a fire!
The area is well sealed now, I think that even a slug would have trouble getting in!

Anyway, cows and calves are calling!
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Monday, August 9, 2021

A squirrel's visit

Back in May I had a squirrel come and visit. (Who said there are no squirrels in New Zealand?!) It whispered in my ear and told me that the Laundry Basket's 2021 mystery QAL would be a fun project to start.
I'd nearly succumbed to squirrel pressure in April and even bought the background fabric for Sandra's QAL, Follow Your Own Path. However life had got in the way and I didn't get much further.
This time though I was egged on by Joanne, who was also being attacked by a (the same?) squirrel, and together, we started.
Joanne kept up with the daily blocks but I got behind. Until recently. The other day I found and actually opened the box the project was stored in - glee!!
This was my fabric selection, they are mostly Laundry Basket fabrics with a few extras thrown in —
The blocks are all straight forward to make, so once you decide which fabrics you are using in the block, they go together fairly quickly.
Here's Block One —
And Block Two —
About that time my machine went off for its annual service and I slowed down a little. I used another machine but it doesn't have a ¼" foot.  I was able to make half square triangles as I could sew on the drawn lines so I skipped to Block Four —
I cut a few blocks and put them into bags. Which was just as well as here I am two months later trying to remember what my great ideas re fabric placement etc were!!!
Yesterday I got the Block 3s sewn up —
I think there are 11 block patterns so I'll just potter along with these as time permits.

I showed you the newly finished cardigan for Lily in my last post. I'm happy to report that she loves it and had to wear it to playcentre this morning. (ED was a bit concerned that it was a bit 'good' for playcentre but I'm happy for it to be worn) —
The family has recently been on holiday and here is the bag I made them in use at the airport, cool huh? —

For those of you who have previously received my blogposts via the feedburner service, which is being discontinued, I have now changed to using the service. You should receive an email inviting you to register with them. They were very helpful in helping me change over. There are several different formats in which you can receive mailings from them, all you need to do is tick various boxes.  

'til next time,
happy stitches, 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Another catch-up!

It was all about stars in my last post, and I have made several more for the Scrappy Star Adventure since then.
Another one using the Month 3 pattern —
And then three of the (new) month 6 pattern. A six inch version —
And two nine inch stars —
I quite like how this star floats in the middle of the block, which you can then fill up with other designs! 
That's 24 stars made now - I'm not sure how many I need, but a whole lot more than that! 

And I finished Block six of The Santa, The Tree, The Turkey and Me —
(Rudolf does actually have eyes but I may have to re-do them so that he can actually see where he is going!)
I joined the first six blocks together so that they can be displayed in the shop —
The seventh block goes along the top; I have made a start on it but haven't got a photo of it to share yet. I'll be able to get back to this project now as I have finally finished Lily's cardigan, which I started in June when we were on holiday. I had a bit of a pause while waiting for some more wool to arrive, and then it seemed to take me forever to sew up. We don't have as much sit-down time in the evenings at the moment so I'm blaming it on that!
*This* is the pattern for it.
I gave up on the Lazy Daisies, which are supposed to be in all the plain Stocking Stitch areas. Lily always comments when I wear clothing with 'pretty flowers' on it, so I gave her a few. But only a few!

On the farming front, calving has got quite busy. We have well over a third of the herd in now and are sending milk to the factory - it always seems to happen so quickly!
Some days are quite peaceful —
Others are more manic. We had 14 new calves on Saturday! Pretty much a record for us. Don't forget it's just Ma and Pa Kettle here looking after all these animals!
Here's what one day's worth of calves looked like on Saturday —
My calf shed quickly got full —
So I've moved the older calves to another shed. These ones now have a room with a view; I'll open the gate for them to enjoy the outdoors when the paddock dries up a little more.
And then a few days later I moved a second mob down there —
In between times we've had a nearly-flood. As you can see the bridge was impassable for a wee bit and there's always plenty of debris left behind. That created a bit of (very) early morning stockwork. We were back in bed by 5.30am!!!!

Another day the hot water cylinder at the cowshed packed it in. The easiest way to get hot water for my calf milk that night was to heat it on the BBQ. A very slow process!
The two calves below amused me - both born exactly the same day but one was twice the size of the other! Just like human babies, calf babies come in all shapes and sizes.
This morning all was well with the world. Happy animals - and not too many new calvers to deal with.

'til next time,
happy stitches,