Monday, December 27, 2010

Tis' the season

I can now share the pictures of the quilt I made for Alexander and Kristin,

I think they liked it very much.....

Christmas has been wonderful, and now this is my favourite week of the year...the week between Christmas and New Year.

Everyone is on holiday, relaxed and happy. Books are being read, children are being read to, there is a lot of lazing about and laughing, and there seems to be a great deal of chocolate to consume........ well, in our house anyway.

I hope you are all enjoying the season and making merry.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gifts for Christmas

These precious red flowers on the minty green foliage turn into beautiful green gems of feijoa fruit in May next year. I wandered along our trees this afternoon admiring their Christmassy splendour. They remind me so much of our traditional native Christmas tree, the Pohutakawa.

Santa visited a little early for Eve this year...a tiny motorcycle to match her Mum and Dad's cycles. Her granddad can barely keep up with her, and notice the dogs are keeping a safe distance !
I think of Leo as an early Christmas present too. His smiles are little gifts, each one.

Loved ones coming home for Christmas. Here are Alexander and Kristin newly arrived from the North Island becoming acquainted with their nephew.

A big thank you to all of you out there who read this blog. This year has gone by so fast that it is hard to believe that once again we are on the brink of another year.
My wish is for you all to have a very blessed Christmas sharing lots of joy and love around with family and friends, and I hope you all have a wonderful restful time filled with being and doing everything you enjoy the most. !

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Handspun Patchwork

Sorting out the spare bedroom the other day...trying to get ready for family staying, and I found this blanket that only needed another night or two of work spent on it.

So I finished knitting one of the sides and then crocheted a border on it's opposite edge.

I am really happy with the way it finished up. I started knitting scraps of my hand dyed and handspun wool several years ago and then it was put away for a day when I could decide on the finished size.
If you are a person who loves spinning and knitting, or even if you just enjoy the look and feel of handspun wool then here is a site that you must visit. Spin Off magazine is a mag. that I have enjoyed now for a decade or more arriving in my letterbox, or at my local bookshop. Just this month the editors are creating a new digital emag. called Spinknit and it is worth a look.
Interweave Press are putting out several knitting EBooks and they are great, especially when you want to print out a pattern. No squashing down of my favorite book's pages as I try to cram it under the lid of my scanner.
I still love having the physical book to hold in my hands, but the kindle version is a lot of fun too, and some of the EBooks are free !

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Finishing off and starting something new

I finished knitting a cardigan this week.
I can't remember when I first cast on, but it was probably earlier in the year some time. It's strange I didn't blog about it .
It is a Jo Sharp pattern...fitted cardigan from Issue 3, and using her alpaca kid lustre which is a combination of alpaca, mohair and merino.......soft and super cosy.

I then had no guilt when I cast on for the Tea Leaves Cardigan...a madelinetosh design and knitted on a circular from the top down.

Yeah, I know I probably have 'too many to count' other projects lying around on knitting needles in different bags on many different doorhandles...BUT
I just needed to right there and then ...OK !!
Anyway it IS getting a little stressy now we are into December and Christmas plans and family arrangements and lots of dates where I am to be involved with my flute and violin and Christmas carols are happening, whether I am ready or not. So I definitely needed to start something new with some gorgeous hand dyed yarn...hmmmm...bliss.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Another evening of sewing should do it.
I have almost finished sewing the binding on to this quilt. I have used Japanese cottons and silks and quilted long, uneven parallel lines using a long stitch length and Gutermanns quilting thread.
When I previously posted about this quilt, I had just started to quilt using a crochet cotton in my machine, well after a few lines of stitching, I wasn't happy with the tension and ripped it out to start again.
I will show a photo of the whole quilt after Christmas !

Friday, November 26, 2010


I am finding it hard to write anything at all today.

My heart is full and my thoughts are with the miners and their families and loved ones.

This is a poem/song for them and for us.

Grace from the Prayer Cycle By Jonathan Elias. This little album has helped me in times past, and brings comfort and healing.

A big thank you to all of you who left comments and concern for Eve. The management and I have come to a very good compromise and Mum is still able to have her showers most days .....phew !!

Some goodness and grace prevailed.

A very big heartfelt thanks to you Dee, and any other of Mum's caregivers who are reading this. I appreciate your love and concern for my Mum so much !

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I am washing the quilt that I made for my Mum several years ago. It usually resides on her bed in the hospital wing of the retirement home she lives in.

This is my Mum, Eve.

Two weeks ago, she was 82 on November the 1st, and for the last seven years ( since my Dad died) she has been living in a small room, in a large retirement home, just ten minutes away from our farm.

I took the photo with my IPhone in a cafe here at Mum's faourite place.
Kaiteriteri. Lots of happy memories for her here with my Dad, swimming and sunbathing.

Ian and I take Eve out at the weekends. Sometimes she just comes home with us, and we feed her yummy foods that she doesn't have at the rest home. Eve loves to spend time with her great grandchildren.

Today I am feeling slightly powerless on her behalf. She has been told by the nursing care manager of her home that she can no longer enjoy daily showers. She is to be showered twice a week and the rest of the time will have to make do with a wash in the morning, and another in the evening.

For Eve this is devastating. She is paralysed on one side of her body( since she was 50 yrs old) and spends all her time in a wheelchair, and the time she has by herself in her shower chair in her bathroom, is something she looks forward to so much. Many times I have visited her room and I have heard her singing away in the shower.

I have made earnest and heartfelt pleas for her this morning, but all to no avail.

One more loss for her that has seen her stripped of practically everything ( especially freedom of choice ) in the last seven years, her life reduced to a small room overlooking a carpark !

I was told that is is standard practice for ALL the aged in hospital care of the rest homes throughout NZ.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In the garden

November is proving to be a very busy month for me, and all week I have been trying to find an hour or two to spend in the garden. Today is the day !

A first time for washing the quilt I finished in the winter. It shouldn't take long to dry, and I can have it back on the bed tonight.

A beautiful sunny day here, and I have been planting more sweet peas, stocks, foxgloves, delphiniums, lobelia, campanella and cosmos.

I am hoping to spend some time stitching on this fabric garden this afternoon. Once I start I don't like to put it down, and I have only three more flowers and a leaf to add to the panel.

Have a great weekend everyone, I am wishing you all sunny skies, and some time in a garden !

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Cushion

Yesterday I had a visit from a dear friend who has been living in Auckland, doing grandmotherly things up there. It was so nice to catch up again and once we had chatted about our children and their offspring, of course our conversation ran on to knitting .
I showed her what I had on the needles and what had been discarded and left behind,
and her suggestion was...that zigzag blanket would make a perfect cushion !

So today I sewed two sides, slipped an inner into the opening and crocheted it together.

and now I am having fun placing it in different places to see how it looks and feels.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Early Rising

I have never been one for getting up early, I prefer to stay up late at night and to leisurely take my time in the morning awaking to the new day.

However, this last week or so has seen me throwing off the quilt soon after six am each day, and joining Ian for a bike ride down to the local sea shore, and I have loved it ( mostly !).

Today though, Ian had to rise even earlier to start work, and I decided to spend a few hours before breakfast working in the garden.

It was great working out there in the early morning quietness, and I was there to see the sun come up over the hill...bliss.

I was surprised to see how much I managed to accomplish in just those few hours. My Mother -in -law used to enjoy this time of the day the best as well, before it gets too hot and the day's activities have you wilting and wanting a lie down !

Now right through until March, life is going to be full and very busy with most of our work happening through the Summer months.

The first of our summer visitors are arriving today to stay in the cottage, and our house down the Bay will soon be full up too. So there will be a lot of coming and going.....all very exciting.!

Ian is making hay today,

and this is the first cut for the season. I am hoping he won't have too many problems with his baler and wrapper this year.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cherry blossom and lilac and thoughts of Japan

When these pretty pink blossoms are out, my thoughts turn to Japan. I have never visited Japan, but I would love to go there one day ( sooner rather than later ! )

I have a friend who travels there quite regularly and she comes home full of wonderful stories about the magnificent weaving, silks, kimonos, architecture, food....endless delights actually. She has me dreaming of exotic train journeys and visits to see how the silks are woven.

I was given some beautiful Japanese fabrics for my birthday and have been cutting and stitching, not having a preconceived idea, but just allowing the fabrics to "talk" to me. I had thought of hand stitching sashiko through the layers, but realised yesterday that I am not going to have time if I want this to be ready for Christmas, so am trying out another idea I had, using fine crochet cotton in my sewing far it is working very well.
I have dyed some cottons in a dye bath of indigo that my friend was using for her weaving, and have used these in the quilt also.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beautiful Things

Leo in his new knits,

A red geranium soon to be planted in the garden.

My new red jug and the last of the freesias, with the music that I am playing here in a few weeks.

I found Jascha Heifetz playing the 1st movement of Bruch's Scottish Fantasia. This is one of the pieces we are playing soon, and it is fast becoming another favourite.

I am feeling like Kat Edmonson she is. Take a listen, it will make you feel lucky and happy too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Some unexpected time spent in the garden this morning brought me so much joy.

I am breathing in the fragrances and renewing lost energy, and sharing some of it's springtime lushness with all of you.

I have made another vest for little Leo with matching socks this time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blackwork and Babylove

Another book on Blackwork, out of the library this time, and full of beautiful stitches and pleasing patterns.

I made a start and discovered that I can draw my own little patterns on graph paper. I must be thinking about it a lot, because last night I woke around 2.00am and apparently said to Ian "must do the embroidery " and then " you need to do some embroidery ". I can vaguely recollect a weird dream about it. I think Mary Queen of Scots was involved ( I have been reading about her a lot lately too).

It's funny where our dreams take us, isn't it. ?
Talking of dreams, little Leo was having some nice milky baby dreams yesterday.
But I was allowed to get him up and have a cuddle, he was due for a feed.

I don't think he was dreaming of blackwork though !