Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas

 

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Merry Christmas to all members and your families.  May you have a safe and happy Christmas break, catching up with family and friends.  And maybe, a little time for stitching too!

Jenny Benton

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Avenue of Trees

You know Christmas is almost here when the Salvation Army Avenue of Trees is up and running.  I took a non quilting friend with me for her first experience in seeing this festive wonder.   We took our entry fee of a food item for the Food bank, such a good idea, entered a free raffle to win a Christmas tree, collected our voting forms and stepped into wonderland.

I was looking for the Town and Country Quilters tree, and passed and admired many on my quest.  Trees from schools, businesses, the Vet company – oh look, there it is.

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Our tree, “Handmade with Love”  was full of delightful little treasures, and really looked so beautiful.  Many thanks to the club members who spent their time decorating our tree – as usual, it was a wonderful job.

Friday, 16 December 2016

December Club Night

It was a big night, notices were read, and then two recipients of textile awards given to the local colleges got up to speak.  It was great to see and hear the enthusiasm from these young ladies, as they told us of their sewing journey and their hopes and plans for the future.

Anna Williams was our evening speaker, and related her childhood growing up in a children’s home in England.  Not at all a sad experience, she hastened to add, she had a wonderful childhood indeed.  Anna didn’t know her family, and was happy to make contact with her two siblings in later years.  After meeting and falling in love with a Kiwi bloke while travelling overseas, they made a life together here in New Zealand. 

Anna teaches classes in beautiful curving Celtic bias strips and trupunto and brought many examples to show us.  She also excels at thread painting, and had several lovely examples of this technique as well.  She was helped during the evening by her delightful hubby who worked the slides and offered amusing quips and comments.

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Show and Tell is always interesting, and as expected, there was  lot of Christmas items brought along. 

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Christmas place mats

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Christmas table  runner

A special supper was served, including dishes of strawberries and ice-cream, the raffles were drawn, and extra prizes given to those ladies who had secret items tucked away in their handbags.  Such as a needle and thread (Ute) or a tape measure (me).  We dipped into the basket containing the Christmas Fat Quarter exchange, and all went home with a lovely surprise - a bunch of happy little quilters.

Many thanks to the Committee for a great finish to our year.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Final Allcomers Day of the Year

A small select group met at the Red Cross Rooms for the final stitching day of the year.  At this time of year things can get rather hectic, and with a morning appointment I couldn’t get there for the whole day.  Never mind, arriving at 1.00pm I got  to spend the afternoon with the ladies.

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Members hard at work in the Red Cross Rooms

There were all sorts of different projects being worked on.   Marilyn was slicing blue fabrics to make the block of the month, Chloe was sewing the binding down on an Advent calendar, Ute was practicing machine quilting, and Marjorie was deciding how to finish the borders on her autumn hued quilt.  Madalyn was working with a beautiful butterfly panel in lovely glowing colours – the next step was to add “quilt as you go” borders around the panel to increase the size.

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Madalyn’s butterfly panel

Gill’s pretty pieced quilt was beautifully set off with an applique floral border.

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Gill’s quilt

Lynne was showing us that perseverance pays, as she was quilting her Pacifica masterpiece with gold thread.  She didn’t like what she had done previously, so unpicked it and started again!

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Lynne’s Pacifica quilt

And as for me?  I sat quietly stitching down the binding on my horse quilt, and by the time I packed up and headed for home, there was only one side left to stitch.  Nearly at the finish line, thank goodness.

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Jenny stitching down miles of black binding

It was a lovely peaceful afternoon spending time stitching with other members.  Thanks for your company ladies!

Jenny Benton

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Hanging at Winchester House

There is such a vibrant quilt hanging in Winchester House this month, just bursting with colour – and sunflowers. Composed of pieced blocks, machine embroidered blocks, and bright yellow sunflowers, the quilt sings of happy summer days.  This is the work of Heather Easton, who kindly loaned her quilt to brighten Winchester House, and raise a smile from Cancer Society volunteers and patients alike.

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“Sunflowers”, by Heather Easton

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Details of machine work

Jenny Benton

Thursday, 13 October 2016

October Club Night

There was certainly a lot happening at our October Club Night.  Notices were read, and our President Lynn thanked all the members for helping out at the recent Quilt Fest.  Not only members, but several husbands too, we heard.  The lucky raffle winners of the evening were  Luchelle and Gill. 

Two visitors from Rotary came and told us about their charity house project, where they design, build and auction a house with the proceeds going to a chosen charity.  Town and Country Quilters wished to donate one of our charity quilts to the home, made with blocks donated by club members.  The Rotary executive chose one from our (small) selection of finished quilts, and this was presented at club night.

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Quilt presented for use in the Rotary Charity House project

Jo Dixey was our speaker for the evening, and was certainly an entertaining young woman.  She told us that she doesn’t buy new clothes any more, but likes to rework what she finds in Op Shops.  She passed around a grey coat with patchwork bands.  This started off as a man’s suit jacket, and she slashed and inserted bands of patchwork fabric.  Unfortunately, my photos of this coat were fuzzy and unclear, but take my word for it, Jo had made a very exclusive garment indeed. 

Jo told us about her early years, growing up in the UK, with a sketch book always close to hand.  She started her formal training as an 18 year old apprentice at the Royal School of Needlework for 3 years, and then embarked on a City and Guilds course.  Then she moved to New Zealand, and works in her chosen field, teaching needlework and working on commissions. Let your creativity happen, she told us.

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Jo also discovered patchwork, and likes to work on both crafts.  Interestingly, although she often haunts Op Shops for clothing, she always uses new fabric for patchwork, and Kaffe Fasset’s lines are a real favourite.  Curved piecing and needle turn applique feature heavily in her quilts, as do human forms and faces.

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Jo’s house quilt, made from leftover pieces

Jo Dixey had judged the Spring Challenge and winners were called up to accept their prizes.  Avon Haigh won the Novice Category with her whimsical mouse quilt.  This was also voted Viewers Choice by club members at our club night.

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Avon’s mouse quilt

Wendy Tunley’s Daffodil quilt was certainly the essence of Spring, and won the Intermediate class.

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Wendy’s  Daffodils

And Cheryl Chambers took the prize in the Advanced class, with her pretty pastel interpretation on Spring.

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By Cheryl Chambers

The quilts entered in Quilt Fest were not judged, but all attendees at the show  (about 450 we were told) were asked to pick one for Viewers Choice.   These prizes were also presented at Club Night.  Winner of Viewers Choice at the quilt show was Other People’s Dreams, by Griet Lombard, and Sandra Collins took Second Place.  Both worthy winners, in my book.

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First in Viewers Choice, Other People’s Dreams, by Griet Lombard.

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Runner Up Viewer’s Choice, Floriason Rouge, by Sandra Collins

A very busy club night indeed.  After a quick cuppa, and chatting to other members, it was time for me to head back home.

Jenny Benton

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Town and Country Quilters Quilt Show

The quilts were hung, the vendors were set up, the tea ladies were ready, and the doors were flung open – our quilt show was ready for visitors.  Friendly faces were at the front desk to take the entrance fee, and hand out the Viewer’s Choice voting slip.

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Welcome to the Show

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Lots of delightful quilts lay through the doors.

There were challenge quilts to check out, vendors to visit, and the T&C $ bags of goodies to look at too.

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$5 Sales Table

But what about the quilts?  So many – all different styles, colours, and designs.  Here are just a few which caught my eye.

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We will hear more about the show at Clubnight next Wednesday 12th October.  Wonder which quilt won Viewer’s Choice?  See you there!

Jenny Benton

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Hello there everyone . Just a reminder to check out our Facebook page for updates on all things Town and Country Levin . Thank you . Kathy I

Friday, 2 September 2016

Spotted at the Health Centre

It’s a fact of life that visits to the doctor increase as we get a little older, and particularly during winter.  During a recent visit, and a trip to the pharmacy, I spotted a quilt hanging at the Health Centre.   I couldn’t pass that by without whipping out my camera, (I always have it in my hand-bag)  and taking a snap.  And surprise, surprise, there was a Town and Country Quilters logo on the back.

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Hanging in the Health Centre

So who made this?  All was revealed on the label.  The “Tuesday Morning Girls” made and donated this wall-hanging, gifting it to the Health Centre in May 2010.

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Label on the back.

So come on, put your hands up.  Just who are these Tuesday Morning Girls?

Jenny Benton

Sunday, 28 August 2016

August Allcomers Day

About a dozen happy quilters gathered together at the Red Cross Rooms on Saturday morning for Allcomers Day.  I was happy to be there too, and took my sewing machine along and one of my many UFOs to work on.  Due to health reasons I hadn’t been to many club activities lately, so it was something I was looking forward to. 

Most ladies were working on their sewing machines, a couple of quilts got pinned out, and there was a little bit of hand stitching going on too.  Barbara was hand stitching a pretty little mug rug, just the right size to place your morning tea, she said.  And Debi showed me her paper pieced blocks she was starting, one was a pretty cup cake, and the other was a big black spider!

Wendy has joined a little group of club members all busy hand stitching their own version of the fabulous La Passacaglia quilt.  This is surely a labour of love, and Wendy said that planning the fabrics and colours is so much fun.  These quilts take a lot of time and dedication, and we look forward to seeing the finished products some time in the future.

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Wendy busy hand stitching

Kath was sitting at a table in a lovely sunny spot and showed me her sampler blocks.  Made of of red, black and white fabrics, they looked lovely indeed.

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Kath’s sampler blocks

Janneke makes many quilts for Ronald McDonald House, and was pinning up her latest one, ready for machine quilting.  Some little one is sure to love this.

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Janneke’s charity quilt

I decided to take myself off home after lunch, as the energy levels were starting to flag a little.  With several hours more stitching time, the ladies would have had a lot to show for their day out.  It was lovely to catch up with everyone again, and thanks for your company.

Jenny Benton

Monday, 22 August 2016

Textiles at Te Takare

Have you been to see the “Textiles from Around the World” exhibition at Te Takere?   Our local library is currently showing some of Judy Turner’s treasures collected over many years of travels, starting when she travelled to Beijing with the British Foreign Office in the 1960s. 

Added to over the years, she collected textiles as she travelled through Asia, India, and Africa. She is particularly interested in the cultural role the textiles play in their country of origin.  The beautiful dyed, printed, woven and embroidered textiles  have deep significance to their owners and are thought to convey protection or good fortune.

I particularly liked this piece of colourful embroidered birds, worked on black and white striped cotton, and used in clothing.

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Embroidery over striped fabric from Guatemala

The Marsh Arab red rug made in Southern Iraq glowed with colour.  This traditional rug was woven by men and embroidered by women. 

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Marsh Arab rug from Iraq

The Toran at the top of the next photo is hung over the doorway on special occasions to bring good luck and prosperity.  The embroidered cloth underneath is known as a Dharaniyo is designed to hang in front of a pile of folded quilts and household items  to make the room tidy.  Wouldn’t all quilters worldwide want one of these beauties?  Both items made in Kutch, north west India.

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Toran and Dharaniyo from India

From Nigeria came the Status Robe, assembled from many narrow strips joined both horizontally and vertically to make the garment.  Both the weaving and the elaborate embroidery are the work of men.  The robe sits atop another beautiful textile piece.

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Nigerian Status robe

Of course, there is a lot more to see than is shown here.  Do pop along to the library and see these treasures for yourself.  Judy Turner points out that in many communities art is not a picture on the wall, but a beautiful, intricately made textile.  These are appreciated for the skills of the maker, and  the meaning behind the patterns, and are handed down over the generations.

Jenny Benton

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Hanging at Winchester House

I was at Winchester House, (owned and run by the Cancer Society)  this week for a meeting and as usual, I always check out what quilt is currently displayed for the month.  This time, it was a vision of whimsical creatures portrayed in watery blues, greens, and lilacs.  This lovely little quilt, Sea Angels, was stitched by Yvonne Symonds, who kindly loaned her quilt to brighten up the surroundings at Winchester House.

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Sea Angels, by Yvonne Symonds

After the meeting, Cancer Society Volunteer Sharon had something special to show me.  Her friend had purchased an afghan and pattern sheet from the Op Shop for $5, and Sharon had offered to do the cross stitch designs for her.  Stitching friends have all donated threads for the project – a wonderful collaboration between a group of ladies who all wanted to help out on this project.  Once completed, this beautiful afghan will be backed with something cuddly, and donated to the Ronald McDonald House for a sick child to enjoy. 

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Cross stitched afghan to be donated to Ronald McDonald House

Friday, 15 July 2016

July Club Night

It’s no surprise that with such a wet and miserable evening, numbers were well down at Town and Country’s July Club Night.  But we were warmly welcomed to the meeting by Lynne, and settled down to listen to the speaker.

Our speaker was Birgit Moffatt, a bright and bubbly woman originally from Germany who is now living the quiet life in Otaki Gorge.  She is currently doing a textile course, and told us all about how she dyes white fabric with leaves and plants, which ultimately get made into garments.  Birgit passed around her notes on samples, showing how different fabrics, such as silk, cotton or merino, react when the same dyes are used.  She told us about mordents (used to set the dye) and cooking up things in a large copper pot – all quite fascinating.

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Birgitt Moffat showing her leaf printed clothing

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Selection of garments for sale

The quilts on offer for Show and Tell were down in  numbers too, perhaps everyone is keeping their creations under wraps for the upcoming Quilt Fest.  One very special little quilt caught everyone’s attention.  Kaye had purchased a “colouring in panel” and her 4 year old great niece took great delight making it her very own.  And she did a great job with her colouring in too, for someone so young.  With a castle, a princess and Prince Charming, it certainly is a delight.

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Colour added by a four year old

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My Maple Leaf quilt, and donated Rail Fence quilt for Ronald McDonald House

Due to circumstances, I had missed a couple of club nights so it was good to meet up with members again.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Hanging in Winchester House

Calling into Winchester House for a meeting during the week, it’s a good chance to see what quilt is on show.  And what an elegant quilt it was.  “Layered Leaves” was made by Mary Andrews in a class in 2011, and is just beautiful.  Close inspection showed the 3D flowers and lacy machine embroidered leaves, all done in hues of pink and green, all beautifully arranged on the background fabric.  The berries are little balls of felted wool, stitched in place, and the flowers are finished with beaded stamens.  Perfectly beautiful!

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Layered Leaves, by Mary Andrews

Monday, 18 April 2016

April Club Night

Now that Daylight Saving is a distant memory, the evenings get darker much earlier, so does the drive to the hall for club nights.  But never mind, for everything there is a season, and we were lucky that it was a fine evening without any wind and rain.  Sandra welcomed everyone to the meeting, and then Diane explained the theme and size of the club challenge.  Further details about this will be printed in the newsletter.  Ruby and Kathy were the lucky winners of the raffles.

Robyn from Fox’s Cottage took the stage and displayed several of the new up-coming classes her shop will be running.  Next to take the microphone was club member Ute who has recently started an on-line fabric shop.  She related the story of how the family sold up their business and home in Germany, and moved out to New Zealand.  Seeking a home based business, Ute then decided to import patchwork fabrics.  Check out her website on www.thelifestyler.nz

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A selection of Ute’s imported fabrics

Show and Tell brought along an interesting selection, as usual, from quilts for grandchildren, table runners, and wall hangings.

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Quilt for a new grand-daughter

There was a nice selection of autum toned quilts brought along for our extra show and tell segment, including my Maple Leaf quilt.  I received the blocks in an internet birthday block swap, but it took me absolutely ages to finally put it together and finish the quilting.  Better late than never, I guess.

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Made by Mary

Our speaker for the evening was Chrissie Sheed, President of Rose City Quilters, who told us of her quilting journey and how it has changed over the years.  She started off, as most of us do, making traditional quilts, and brought along one of her early examples, patchwork blocks alternated with candle wick blocks.

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One of Chrissie’s early quilts

Then she discovered art quilts, with couching, beading, fabric manipulation, using rusted fabric and even papers.  Chrissie taught herself free motion quilting, and does the most amazing micro stippling.  She kindly handed her small art works around the hall so we could have a close look at them all.  I was a bit hesitant to look at the snake, but it is all done with fabric and stitching, and is an amazing work of art.

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Chrissie’s realistic snake

It was another great club night, with an amazing speaker, good company, and time to catch up with fellow members.