The ramblings from a small quilt shop on the South Islands West Coast of New Zealand

Sunday, September 15, 2013

An active observer


As I sit deciding what to share with everyone today I’m also ‘half pie’ watching one of the races in the “America’s Cup”.  I’ve never been a sailing ‘nut’ but this fast pace sailing really is something I’m enjoying – while stitching, ironing, cleaning  or anything that doesn’t make too much noise so that I can still hear the commentators to the race.


I guess that is how I am in many things – an active observer. When our girls were younger everyday after school saw us with horses and although I did my fair share of ‘horsey stuff’, I used to sit marking books from my days teaching or planning future lessons while the girls went through their daily routines with their horses. Always there, ready to help, just in case and sometimes able to do some me stuff.


I think that is how I tend to be in many things in my life.  I totally love teaching – especially patchwork, but I also love the ‘doing’ of the craft, the creating and finishing, the choosing and decision making (which my ladies say they know I’m doing as I tend to whistle at decision time) all of which I manage to get on with while having other things going on in the background.  This can’t just be a me thing, I really think it is something that as mothers we learn to do and multi tasking just doesn’t cover it.  It’s more than that – it’s actively observing everything that is going on and being there just in case…


Days in the shop when my wonderful customers and friends come to Sit’n Stitch have all of us being active observers.  As quilters/patchworkers, we are a sharing bunch by nature and when we sit and stitch help is always close at hand. 


With my passion for teaching and after seeing a number of customers come into the shop wanting help as they had been left ‘wanting’ as a result of teachers not teaching  fully, or responding to questions with “go on to U-Tube”.  This really disappoints me and after further chatting I usually find out that these people have paid for these inadequate classes. Geesh – I needed to do something.  So starting this week we are running a FREE beginners patchwork course.  The finished quilt isn’t huge – just 40 something inches but the variety of skills they will be taught – right from learning about colour, values, texture etc, etc, etc right through to squaring up, basting, quilting and binding, each block  teaching a new skill.  Enough for the students to happily go on independently making more projects.


Places are filling up and surprisingly a number of my regular group wish to join in also – yeah – they are so much fun to be around.


It hasn’t been all teaching, observing and ‘multi tasking’ though.  We have a new addition to the BHQ family.


This little chap is Jack and he has come to live with us.  Chuck our Goldie, died a few years ago and his loss left us mourning I suppose, for a long, long while.  We couldn’t just get another dog we needed to take time after all Chuck was a family member whether he had fur or not.  Jack is 8 weeks old and is a Bichon/Lab cross.  Just look at those feet!  I’m not sure how he is going to end up but with feet that size he has a fair old grip on this earth of ours.  Miss Polly, needless to say, is not impressed with such an ‘upstart’ moving in – oh well, she is getting on I suppose.

As for any stitching from me – well… for once I actually have something finished in time for Halloween – a gorgeous wee stitchery from Bird Brain.


Other things have been finished and once I get photo’s taken I will share them with you.  Mostly I have been designing and have been fortunate enough, yet again to have a few patterns take up with magazines – how lucky am I?

Well, race one is over for today and team USA have just won that one – now onto race two for today and time to get the washing out on the line during the break.

Have a wonderful week wherever you are


a name Miche'le

Friday, August 23, 2013

The early bird

I think I’ve discovered the best time for me to sit and get to this on-going diary thing that we all call our ‘blog’.  The early hours, when there is nobody else awake, when the phone doesn’t ring nor when I get side tracked with some of my customers and friends. – So, 5.30a.m. it is, coffee alongside and now all I need is my memory to kick in Smile

Here at the shop life has become increasingly busy, especially the Sit’n Stitch days which are being Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Wednesday being the busiest.  As a group we are so very diverse not only in looks but in interests, age etc. but as well as stitching being our common thread (pardon the pun) there is something else that ties us together and results in much laughter and friendship.

Because Hokitika is more of a tourist type of town we often have lulls in passing customers as the ‘season’ winds down. Some of these tourists are also regular customers in an irregular way.  These ladies travel around in their camper vans going from town to town enjoying their travels and some make sure they are passing through on a Wednesday and join in our stitching days.  We have a couple of ladies that have done this for a number of years now and the ease with which they slot straight back in just confirms to me that we as quilters, in general, tend to get on and pick up where we left off just as we do with our stitching.


In the shop as I said, things have got increasingly busier.  With classes and groups on the go as well as the social groups, I manage to keep busy creating samples as well as doing my own thing (which should really read – thingS). The two monthly Strippers Club continues with the latest pattern being being one that required a little more concentration.  For my sample I used a collection of bright batik strips that jumped out from their black background.  Unfortunately my photographic skills haven’t really shown just how bright the colours are.


Another weekend and another class.  The Le Moyne Star 007variant was popular and definitely held the interest of the ladies over the two day workshop.  The number of ‘Y’ seams in this quilt caused a few problems at times and as the first day went on the ladiesand busy fingers discovered just how important that dreaded 1/4” seam could be in some patterns.  Jenny, is only a beginning quilter but she jumped right in and took part in the class producing a perfect star in  soft colours on a white background.


For my sample I chose to give fussy cutting a go – all seemed well until the flipping thing was finished, quilted and bound – then I saw how I had got one bit wrong – ho hum.


In between getting samples for classes done I have also been quietly getting on with my own projects.  One was a UFO that had been stitched and quilted a number of times and ‘unsewn’ too as I was never quite happy with the results.

Well, for one so small – it’s about 15” square, it took a heck of a long time to get completed – about 5 years all up.  But now it’s done and well and truly completed.


While I was in the finishing mood I also completed a little Redwork that I had been picking up and putting down.


This finishing thing is quite addictive though.  Just recently I decided to finish yet another UFO – this time a small sampler quilt that in itself is to be the sample for another beginners group.  As I got working on it all was going well – I heavily quilted various blocks and thought the quilting could also be a sample of what could be done too.  Hummm, all going so smoothly until I finally checked the rear of my work – OH NO!!!  What a mess!  So, for the last few days my self and the seam ripper have got well and truly acquainted and now I am starting again, but you know – I’m OK with that.

On that note it must be time for breakfast.  Have a fab weekend ladies


a name Miche'le

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