This blog is a bit of a ramble through my life. There's a lot about quilting, a sprinkle of my family life and some of my thoughts and pondering. We are currently renovating an old wooden 1945 Navy boat and intend to live aboard, so you'll find me writing about that too. Welcome aboard!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Comfort of Stitching

And the title comes with a great big nod to Lee-Ann Newton (read about her quilt 'The Comfort of Stitch' here).  And she is so right.  The comfort stitching can give, the distraction, the joy and the friendship.

I've finally cracked my fabrics and done a bit of sewing, and it feels SO good.  Yes, I had been doing a little bit here and there, but most of that was off the boat at friends or work, and it was nothing I had to think about.  The sewing that I'm talking about was creative designing and sewing.  The emotionally soothing and brain nourishing work that feeds my soul.

Aotearoa Quilters have issued another 12 x 12 Colour Challenge.  This time it is purple (previously they have run red and blue challenges).  I opened up my hand dyed fabrics and began to pull purple's.   I felt like using the improv skills I learnt with Gwen Marston at the last NZ Symposium, so I just began to cut (without a ruler, gasp!) and piece.  I was soon absorbed be the process, the intricacies of inserting little flickers of interest, the auditioning of strips, the thinking about whether the design was working or not.

Here's as far as I have got.  It's approaching the correct size, although I'll face it, rather than bind it, and I need to remember that more than a quarter of an inch is taken up by that process (ask me how I know).

It's a different sort of quilt for me, but I'm ok with that, because I'm in a different place, working within a different frame of reference.  For example (and a touch of real life) here's my working space:

Yep, a mini, portable design wall, cutting mat and ironing pad on the dining table, fighting for space with the lego and toy helicopter.

But these compromises go hand in hand with the benefits of the life we've chosen to live.  Like the sunrise while I walk the dog.  Hmm, I just noticed that there are plenty of similar colours in my quiltlet and this photo - the benefits of working in a intuitive way?

And my son being able to jump in his new birthday present any time he likes and go for a paddle.

Thanks to Shelly who left me a wonderful comment about how she spent her first years of childhood on a boat and wouldn't have changed it for the world.  Thank you so much to everyone who has left me supportive comments or sent me lovely emails.  I really appreciate it and they all make me smile. We're getting there!

I'll leave you with this photo of my son's tenth birthday party.  I think it sums up the slightly chaotic but wonderful party that was had on a rainy day in a boat!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Back on the horse - Podcast Episode 11

I had a quiet Friday evening stretching before me, so I whipped up a higgledy-piggledy podcast just to get myself back in the saddle of recording.

I talk about putting together my blocks for Scrapitude.  I used my lighter colours in the centres of my stars, the darkest colours for the points and the medium colours for the background four-patches.  Of course, when I put the sashing in and turn it on point, it will look different again.

Here are the fabrics I'm using for Scrap in the Box (Scrapitude 2).  I've already cut the lavender tone-on-tones into squares and the background is the cream on the far left.

It's rainy here today and we have a birthday afternoon tea planned for my son.  We were going to take the small boat out to a little island and picnic there, but it looks like I'm going to have half a dozen 10 year olds high on excitement inside instead!  Wish me sanity!


Thursday, October 16, 2014


This is MV Cerego's compass.  It's a cool old thing, set on gimbals (swivelly, ball thingies that make it level no matter how the boat is sitting) and I love it.  I also thought it was an appropriate symbol of how I'm feeling at the moment.

We are living on the boat - we've been here for about five weeks or so, but I'm still not settled.  We finally have a boat builder working in our forward cabin, building our bed and storage units, but in the meantime Hubby and I have been sleeping on the couches in the kid's playroom.  I'm getting over that very quickly.

Because we are missing the room and storage that our cabin will give us, I haven't been able to sort a sewing area out properly.  And I've been so busy moving, sorting, organising tenants etc, etc that I haven't had much time to quilt anyway.

I let all obligations and deadlines go so that they wouldn't stress me out.  But on the downside of that is now I feel a bit 'drifty' or focusless.

And what do you write on a blog, or say in a podcast, when you have been doing very little and your thoughts are all awry?  It didn't help that I had no WiFi - at least that's mostly sorted now.

So I'm starting with baby steps.  Like writing this today.  A small blog post, with no real planning behind it, just to re acquaint my fingers with the keyboard.

I'll be back again soon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

School holiday stitching

I'm sitting at the local public swimming pool watching my kids burn some energy.  It's school holidays, the two week break between the third and fourth term, and it's shaping up to be a busy one.

I should be at my house, sorting and packing, but there is only so much of that the kids can take before they drive me nuts, so the pool is good for all of us.  They get some entertainment and excercise, and I get some hand stitching time, which is highly therapeutic to my stressed and tired brain.

I'm embroidering on little squares of cotton batting that I hand dyed.  The threads are silk and stranded cotton and are hand dyed too.  Just little circles of different stitches, I guess it's a sampler really. Whatever it is, it's helping me keep my zen.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I hate cardboard boxes...

So this is the view this afternoon from my clothesline, up on the top deck.  It's HOT today.  I can feel the breath of summer on the breeze and I'm looking forward to a season of beaches, swimming and cruising the bays.  

If I turn around a bit I can see the beach where we walk.  I'm loving living down here, smack bang in the middle of a community.  It's a big contrast to living so rurally.  I get to say good morning to ten people before I've had breakfast sometimes.

However, while it's peaceful and beautiful outside, inside is another story.  We spent the first couple of weeks just moving in what we needed, taking it easy, getting used to it all.  Now we are working as hard as we can to clean out our house so we can get it tenanted (and get some rent coming in).  

So now my life is boxes, decisions and organising.  Ug.  It amazes me how much stuff we've collected over the last five years in our house - and I am not a hoarder either.  

My fabric and quilting studio equipment is causing a bit of a headache.  Thankfully my mother in law, who lives just up the road, has generously let me borrow cupboard space for fabric until I get a bit more sorted.  I'm seriously looking into renting some sort of studio space locally.  We'll see.

So still very little quilting being done, but I'm trying to be very zen about that.