I've always loved quilts and patchwork (my Mum is a quiltmaker and I own some really beautiful examples of her intricate work) but for some reason I've never been tempted to make a traditional quilt myself.
I was thinking about this a while ago and realised that the aspects of textile craft that I truly love are: utility, colour, recycling and the soft, tactile nature of good (new or used) fabric.
But these are elements inherent in traditional patchwork/quilting (at least, what is in my mind the 'old-style' version of the craft, where textiles would be re-used and displayed in a creative manner to make unique bedding.)
Here is another confession: I don't like to use rotary cutters and a mat. My cutter slightly scares me and I never seem to put the mat away in an appropriate place so it's been buckled by the sun. And rulers aren't really my thing. This has always put me off from doing 'proper' patchwork. Not any more. I'm just going to do it anyway. (Sorry if this makes you cringe and roll your eyes, quilters!)
It wasn't until meeting and chatting with Felicia last year at TCS that I realised I wasn't alone. She has written an amazing three-part series around this topic.
The other thing I did a while ago was look up 'Gee's Bend quilts' on Pinterest and that's what got me started on this red and blue patchwork. All the blocks are made from worn shirts and/or other cotton clothing (like the starry quilt in my book) The white cotton was a lovely big sheet that got caught on a rose bush near the washing line, so I'm pleased to be able to repurpose it.
We had family visiting on the weekend, and they delivered a giant bag of lemons and limes from the family orchard. This is our second batch of lemon curd so far... some has been gifted and a lot has been eaten on toast. I used this recipe with some limes in the mixture too... (gosh, that link makes me realise how long I've been making lemon curd and writing about it!)
And in the evenings I've been working on the embroidery for this project... this is a recent one, inspired by winter yellow and memories of wattle growing along the driveway near the lemon orchard. An all-over print/embroidery in yellow and green on oatmeal linen.
Would you like to win a shiny new copy of my book?
I've arranged another giveaway- this time over at my friend Nicola's beautiful blog, Homegrown Kitchen. Nicola is a food writer and we've known each other for quite a few years now- you might remember we held an event together in Nelson last year.
Nicola's taking her popular cooking workshops around NZ this year, including Wellington in September, local friends, so I will write more about that soon.
Every post over at Homegrown Kitchen includes a gorgeous, healthy recipe and this time she's written one for chocolate-chip chickpea cookies, which I believe would make a lovely crafting accompaniment, and be a fab addition to the kids' lunchboxes too.
To enter the giveaway, just go to this post and follow the directions. Entries are open to NZ residents only.
Orchid stem, coffee, book. Sun through the window. Nothing else missing.
I've been knitting quite a bit, lately. Made a couple of hats and other small gifts, but am really keen to try these next. Scallop-pattern, in yellow and grey. And I know of some hands that could use some warming.
I have another book giveaway coming up. Come back on Wednesday morning (NZ-time) for the details.
Here are some things I bought second-hand lately. I always love to see other peoples' opshop finds, so every now and then try to remember to share mine.
The first is a simple blue linen dress with nice big side pockets. I found this for a few dollars and it needed a tiny bit of mending. I'm thrilled because there's nothing I like more than a linen dress for the warmer weather. Though I've been wearing it already with tights, boots, knitted cardigans, scarf, hat, ... you get the idea. It's midwinter.
Last week I went to an opshop with the kids. They don't really like looking around (okay, they pretty much refuse to do it) but they do like to hang out in the book section and see if there's anything to read. When I went to collect them, I found these beautiful old children's books, 1950's editions. I will send them off to friends with new babies. Or... keep them for my grandchildren. Is it too early to be thinking like that?
I'm getting ready to work on a very special project: it's a collaboration with/commission for Loop London, a beautiful knitting shop I've never visited but would love to, one day.
These lengths of washed linen in beautiful colours arrived all the way from London. I'm gathering threads, needles and design ideas, and plan to start working this evening. Hope to show progress soon...
My little sister has moved to Europe. She and her husband will work in the Czech Republic for a couple of years, and I've been entrusted with her favourite possession while she's gone.
It's a mint-green Kitchenaid cake mixer. Sarah really loves to make cakes. I think she scrimped and saved for this mixer shortly after her wedding a few years ago. So I'm honoured to care for it for a while, and it's rather nice to have someone (thing?) else do the work for me, especially creaming butter and sugar which is a drag.
To celebrate the start of school holidays, I used the mixer to make a coconut cake. It all started when I found this: Emily Dickinson's coconut cake recipe. Naturally, I had to try it. The only thing I did was swap the 'soda' + cream of tartar for ordinary baking powder. I made a topping for the cake from a little butter, some icing sugar, coconut, milk and the scrapings from a vanilla bean.
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Thanks for entering the book giveaway. I combined the names from the facebook post and the blog comments, and drew one at random. Congratulations, Alisa! Will email you in a minute.