Monday, 18 February 2013

Stitching in the Antipodes

Phew! A post about stitching! At long last. So happy to be able to tell you that although my laptop is deceased, all my data was recovered from the hard drive and transferred to my new laptop. (and yes, I do realise how fortunate I am to be able to replace it, had this happened 10 years ago there would have been no chance of that.)

So be prepared for a long post and LOADS of stitchery photos. Here we go then.

On a drive up to Mangawhi, about an hour north of Orewa, we stopped off in Warkworth at The Apple Basket Patchwork Shop, which we had all noticed last time we were in NZ. It was such a pretty place and the owner was more than happy for me to take photographs.

                                             Krissie checking out the knitting patterns.

I bought some variegated perle threads, some wool felt, and a couple of fat quarters of New Zealand designed fabric. We all had a really good look around and chatted at length with the owner.

My third quilt shop find of the holiday was River Ranch Designs, which we found in the township of Te Kuiti, on a day out from our stay in Otorohanga. Te Kuiti is the 'sheep shearing capital of the world', and is real Kiwi heartland in the Waitomo district. We fortuitously strolled down a side street and came upon:

Owned by Sharon Bradley, who also runs classes and retreats at her River Ranch Studio, not far from the Waitomo Caves. One of her prize winning quilts hung on a wall, and has been featured in quilting magazines there and in Australia.

A close up, it was difficult to photograph as it was hung quite high up. One of the really nice things about finding this quilt shop was meeting Sharon's manager, Hilary Blamires, who I spotted straight away was from the 'old country'! Coincidence after coincidence emerged, as we discussed our careers, mine starting in the Queen Alexandra's Naval Nursing Service at Royal Naval Hospital Haslar, and her's in Occupation Therapy, at the same hospital but about twenty years later! Then her husband popped in and it transpired that he was ax- RN himself, as is my husband Jim. Hilary works part-time at the shop  as her own 'therapy' and lectures part-time in Hamilton. Fancy journeying all that way from home only to find people whose lives have run almost parallel to your own, albeit two decades or so later. It was lovely to meet you, Hilary, and I'm looking forward to using the felted wool I purchased!

The rest of my stitch-related photos were taken in Orewa. Beccie and I planned one of her applique cushions when she was here in the UK last summer. This is her favourite, comfy cushion.

She chose the fabric herself when we were in Devonport, Auckland. I bonded the shapes on and stab-stitched round them for speed. Had I had more time I'd have done needle-turn appliqué, but we are both happy with the results. There was sufficient fabric left over so I made another cushion cover for her; all hand-stitched as there wasn't a machine available.

The urgent stitching job that was waiting for me when we got there was the repair to Dylan's quilt. This has been so well-loved and used by the whole family - it has such a lovely feel to it I was tempted to steal it away home! Just a few places where the motifs had lifted, and a couple of holes worn into the fabric.

The repair is the circle in the centre of the cross, there was a small hole. It hardly looks like a repair, does it?

Just some shots of the quilt blocks. I think there must be hundreds of versions of this quilt, world wide, it's a very popular pattern, one of Jan Patek's, I think.

And the other item I worked on during our Down Under holiday, was my top hat topper, mark 2! This time made totally from black wool, with a mixture of felt, wool felt and felted wool for the motifs. I really enjoy working with these materials, and am planning some cushions in the near future.

So there you have it, I hope you are all still awake!! But I had to prove to you that I DID do some textile related activity during the four weeks we were away! We had the most wonderful time, being with the family, meeting some lovely people, and seeing some wonderful sights. We have already been making plans with Kit and Krissie for our next visit in 2015.

We have just about re-acclimatised ourselves to UK weather, and are beginning to enjoy the good things about living here, driving through rural Norfolk, being in touch with our UK family members, and catching up with our lovely friends. And tonight I shall be off to two of those friends to indulge in a few hours of MUSIC MAKING!!! Oh I have missed it so much. Next time I should have some exciting news on the Melodeon front, but for now, hope you've enjoyed the photos, and I am enjoying catching up with all the blog-posts I've got out of touch with. Catch you later!!


  1. Really enjoyed your post Lynne, especially as I have got back into patchwork. Loved seeing the shops over in NZ and all you showed. What a joy and a treasure Dylan's quilt is and how wonderful you could do the upkeep on it. This happens with me when I go to my family in Germany or Brighton. One quilt I made is now almost 20 years old already, made whilst DD2 was in uni and now I've made them for the children!
    Had a great day at Stitches trade show at the NEC yesterday and whilst there is usually only trade orders allowed there were a couple of stands selling and I bought so much "die for" fabric and I don't feel one bit guilty about spending so much as it will make treasures.
    Your NO2 hat is superbly made and will be quite a hit when you wear it.
    Oh, you would have loved the stands y'day selling nothing but felt or rovings/tops/fleeces etc. Joy!
    love Jo x

    1. Hi Jo, thanks for lovely comments. Yes, family quilts, when they are really appreciated, are wonderful, they repay all the effort you put into them.

      Am SO into the wool/felt stitching, I will certainly be in touch re your previous message. Big thanks. Lxx

  2. just noticed in your big pic of dylan quilt....there are some random feet...

    1. You spotted them, Sarah! yes, Jim was holding up the quilt and I think Fraser was in the background. It was a 'quick pic' rather than a studiously set up photograph!

  3. Stitching really is a universal language isn't it! Some beautiful images here, love your hat too! :) x

    1. Hi Ada, thanks, yes, I have had some wonderful conversations with people about quilts they have made or received.

  4. It must have been a lovely stay Down Under !
    Good you had time to de some stitching too !
    And yes : here it is still winter ! some adjusting
    needed for sure Lynn !

    1. Hi Els, it was wonderful, now just a happy memory. Still very cold here in UK also!

  5. I've so enjoyed following your NZ trip and this is just the cherry on the cake. Dylan's quilt is fabulous and I love the little note you've added to it, documenting it's history. Just fantastic.

    My younger sister and older brother both live in NZ and I always like looking at photos of that beautiful country - they are so blessed to be there. Maybe one day I can plan a trip over there too. :)

    1. Hi Wendz, I am so pleased with that quilt. It's so obviously loved, and has that lovely feel to it of a well-washed and handled textile. And it is so important to label your work, for your own sake and for the benefit of posterity! How often do we come across something handed down in our family only to find there is no history attached - nothing to tell about where it came from and why.

      If you get the chance (and can hack the incredibly long journey!) do go. It's a beautiful place - and we have only so far seen the middle-top of North Island - still lots to explore! Lxx

  6. Hi Lynne.. Most enjoyable post.. Not that far from NZ here in Tasmania.. Just across the Tasman Sea... Love to go there one day, my cousin and family live on the south island..Have a lovely day... :)

    1. Hello Christina, lovely to meet you! I 'talk' to another Tasmanian blogger chrismusic.blogspot who I was quite concerned about because of the fires over there. She hasn't blogged since Christmas. How are people doing with the fire situation? I hope you were not affected yourself.

      Yes, NZ is beautiful, a land of great contrast, sweeping views and marvellous scenery. Go if you get the chance!!


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