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

Saturday, September 30, 2023

September Ends

It's hard to believe another month has whizzed by so here is a quick attempt to get a post done by nightfall.
The big news is that I finished my Cross and Crown quilt!
The quilt was made from the Cocoa Pink range by Laundry Basket Quilts. It's a sample for The The Country Yard so I took a few photos before taking it into the shop to display.
I had no more dramas with stabbing myself (see *here*) while quilting. Vireya suggested putting the back-pin-cap of an enamel badge on the upright pin; a great idea, but none of my badges had one the right size - grrrr. However I managed to sort my hands out so the rest of the quilting went smoothly.
I ended up using the Westelee circle template for the whole quilt, doing semi-circles along the edges in the border. I am quite pleased with the effect.
One more scenic shot. Our son's sheep are grazing our orchard at the moment -

I don't think I have shared this block yet. It's another for The Country Yard 20 Year Challenge. The theme is 'Have a Cuppa' -
I've started joining my blocks for my challenge quilt. Here is the top row.  I've not used much of the challenge fabric so have decided to use it for cornerstones in the sashing.

It's been a whirlwind 24 hours on the grandparenting front; last night I babysat the three next door while their parents had a very rare dinner out.
Then this morning Odie and family came out - 
Then the rest of the day was spent with Lily and George while their parents were busy. Of course calf duties time arrived and they enjoyed helping for a while-
We set up a 'table' to draw at and they were busy wee bees alternating between calves and pencils. It was a wet and windy day so that limited play a bit. I'm pleased we came up with an alternative!

I'm looking forward to a quiet Sunday - hopefully I will get more of the challenge quilt done.
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Raindrops on Blossoms...

We had a beautiful hot and fine week last week - some family members even had their first summer swims in the river! 
However we had a wet weekend and this week it has cooled down a little (with more rain) so there's no more swimming at the moment. Thankfully, it hasn't fazed the Wisteria at all.
The Met Service actually put us under heavy rain watch so I spent some extra time bringing my calves back to this side of the river - if it flooded, I wouldn't be able to get over to feed them.
AND, once the chores are done, we all know that wet weather means inside days and inside days mean sewing days. 
I needed to catch up on my blocks for The Country Yard 20th Birthday Challenge. The celebration is next month; it's coming around very quickly!
One of the block themes is 'a favourite block'. I like the challenge of sewing a tiny block, and I also love nested blocks so started with this - 
Then this-
Resulting in this - 
All of my blocks are in the centre of a heart so here is the completed block- 
Another of the challenge block themes is 'Christmas'. It took me a while to decide what to make, but I finally decided on this foundation pieced tree - 
(The pattern I used is the Pine Tree FPP from CentreStreetQuilts.)
Completed block - 
I had a lot of trouble getting the photos of the finished blocks - the colours I was getting were orange and royal blue; these are the best I could do!

YD and I were busy chatting the other day and heard little noises coming from downstairs - I spied young Odie doing this -
Haha, he was 'sewing'! He'd removed the tiny quilt from a nearby quilt and put it under the presser foot of my old treadle machine! He really looked like he knew what he was doing! (I don't think he's seen me sewing but his mum does do a spot of mending on her machine from time to time,)

I wasn't going to do any more calf/farm spam, but as I mentioned bringing the calves back from over the river, I thought I should explain. Moving the youngstock is easy as they follow the feeder, hoping for their milk. Here they are coming over the bridge -  I always speed up so they don't bunch up and push each other off - I've not lost a calf off the bridge yet and hope never to! - 
Then, finally a feed - 
And happy and full - 
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Don't bleed on the quilt!

The other day I started quilting my Cross and Crown quilt top (featured in my Crazy post last month). I really thought it would be done by now, but that's just how it is :-)
I decided to use my Westelee circles template. I used this for my Friday's Village quilt. It's been on our bed this winter and every time I look at it, I am pleased with how the quilting turned out. This was finished in 2018 and I haven't used the template since so I determined it was time to play with it again.
This has a pin/large thumb tack inserted into the quilt which the template spins from (remembering I am at a sit-down machine so the fabric moves, not the machine).
It's quite straight forward and has lovely results but you do have to mind where you put your hands - particularly when you are in the groove - 
I had a warning stab the other day - and then one that drew it was time to Stand Up and Walk Away.
Since then I've made some blood free progress - maybe I was just getting tired and careless and needed a break anyway!
I've quilted on most of the blocks - 
I will do more circles in the gaps - hopefully that won't take too long.

I found this photo the other day. I think I made the block in July. A kiwi quilter put a call out for Gumboot blocks which she could sew into a quilt (or two) to raise funds for Gumboot Friday. Gumboot Friday raises funds to provide counselling for young New Zealanders. It's an effective and worthwhile cause so of course I was happy to add my stitches to it.
My block was a foundation pieced one; part of a set of patterns called The Potting Shed by Jo Westfoot of The Crafty Nomad. Slightly fiddly in places but I was really happy with how the boots turned out!

I took some photos while out feeding calves the other morning. I now have three mobs out on the farm, getting a fresh paddock every second day. These are the younger ones, about 3-4 weeks old -
This paddock floods fairly regularly but you can see in the below photo, how high the house and sheds are in comparison, and why we always say we're safe and high and dry in a flood!
Next onto this mob, in another area of the farm; these ones are about 5 or 6 weeks old. They're in front of the calving mob of cows. New calves are coming very slowly - two one day, then none the next, maybe four the next then none!
And lastly, the oldest calves. Sometimes I squeeze these in before breakfast; sometimes they have to wait till after I've had my breakfast before I get to them! These ones are nearly ready for weaning - most of them about 8 weeks old. They're in a paddock I've not put calves in before - it's over the brow of the 'back hill', surrounded by bush and very little flat ground to park the feeder. However they've had a ball in there - it's very sheltered and has a good feed of grass which they've enjoyed. The top of the paddock is pretty high up - as you can see - 
Happy calves with full tummies!
As you may be able to tell, I quite enjoy getting out on the farm with the animals!
Ok, I think that's about me done for the night. Congratulations if you've got to the end.
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Finishes and Farm Spam

In spite of a lack of sewing time (aside from my Crazy sewing!), I racked up two finishes during August. First of all, the afghan I started in May or June.  I had a pile of wool I needed to use, and had fallen for the Snowflake version of the 6-day Kid Blanket.

Perhaps the original version of this pattern took Betty McKnit 6 days to make, with thicker yarn and (possibly) a smaller size, but this one has taken me 3 months. A nice winter project. It's been nice to collapse into my chair at night and do some mindless crochet. Now that it's done, I'm struggling to get more energetic in the evenings but as calving eases, I'm sure some needleturn or stitchery projects will get started again.
This is the first time I have done an edging on an afghan, but I'm pleased I persevered with this. I nearly stopped here after this pretty wavy round - 
But this, not very clear, photo shows that it was worth doing the outer edge. The burgundy is done so that it looks like there are little pink bobbles.

The second recent finish was a quick impulse sew after discovering this new fabric in the shop. It's a kiwiana one which I thought would be ideal for a wee bag for Odie's dinosaurs.
Even though it doesn't actually have dinosaurs on it, it does feature Tuatara which were living at the time of the dinosaurs!
Odie was very pleased with it!
And onto the Farm Spam!
See the black calf on the right in the below photo? He is my 100th calf to rear! He was born yesterday and here he is coming in to the shed today.
(I tell a lie really, although we have 100 keeper calves, the grandies next door are rearing 3 of them for Calf Club. However I have three to-be-sold that I'm feeding, so we won't get too pedantic with all the figures!)
We've finished with all the colourful calves. The three below are all Friesian/Jersey cross (we actually mate with Kiwicross bulls) heifers (females) who will one day become milking cows for us. Identifiable by the yellow ear tags.
And all the calves being born now are by Angus bulls and are varying shades of black. Here are two we used last year in front of a mob of calves which contains some of their sons-
The beefy calves are really lovely to raise with all their fluffy chubbiness.
The red tag means it's a male Angus cross. All the female beefies get green tags. We have a lovely couple who buy all of the green girls when they're about 4-10 days old.
Some have really fluffy curly topknots!
As you can see I am forever moving my calves around the place. The calf shed is too small to keep them in for too long - 30-40 calves is its limit, so we have various other sheds we use. And at about 2-3 weeks old I start letting them out onto grass.
Sheltered paddocks at first but as they get older they move further out onto the farm and I shift them to a fresh paddock every two days.
The calves aren't the only ones who enjoy the milk.....the chooks always have their heads in my buckets trying to drink it. Tonight I had some leftover milk that had gone lumpy. The chooks loved it!
I looked over and spied a random egg which someone had deposited randomly on the ground -
Look at the size of it - a double yolker for sure.
That was 15 eggs for the day, not bad from 18 chooks.....
(Or was it 15 and a half eggs?!)
Whoops, nearly forgot to include this photo -

Ok, must away, 
'til next time,
Happy stitches,