Sunday, January 24, 2010

I must have been on holiday for too long!

Yesterday I took Frances to Stratford to see the NANZQ Illumination Quilts exhibition in the Percy Thompson Gallery. You may remember I had a this quilt accepted into this touring exhibition and it has sold.
We had a nice stop in Hawera where we visited the Cinnamon Lodge quilt shop (hope I got the name right) where I found some delicious fabric that just had to come home with me. We had a lovely morning tea at the Little Grans cafe that was open. Well I had coffee of course, and so did Frances so I guess it was morning coffee, not morning tea. I spied some lovely home-made looking custard squares and was ready to put one on my plate when I glanced along the cabinet and saw they also had Eccles cakes. What does a girl choose when there are two old fashioned favourites vying for her attention?*

Why have I been on holiday for too long? Because when we got to the gallery in Stratford there were no quilts! The gallery assistant didn't know anything about any quilts. Huh? I must have got it wrong. Off I go to find a magazine shop so I can check the entry in NZ Quilter. The exhibition doesn't start until 29 January. Well doh, I know it is January but I have no idea what the actual date is, I'm on holiday!

I'm not sure why the gallery assistant didn't know the exhibition is starting in a week's time. I will have to phone the gallery to check that it is actually going to be on.

To save a bit on the disappointed feeling we found the shop in Stratford which sells quilting fabric, quite a bit of it. I didn't know Stratford had a quilt shop. It is called In Stitches. Well, they sell other sewing supplies as well but they had a good selection of fabric and I got some great bargain priced fat quarters and some lovely paisley fabric in a dark green and red with caramel combination. Maudette, the owner, was very friendly and helpful, especially considering we were there right at closing time and stayed for about half and hour or so!

*She gets both and eats half of each one so that she can take the other half of each cake for a picnic lunch at school the next day, where she is going to start preparing for the new school year. By the way, what ever happened to Battenburg cake, no one makes that old fashioned cake any more do they?

Monday, January 18, 2010

My New Best Friend

Hello, My name is Helen and I am a Blogger. It has been 36 days since my last blog . . . Oh dear, I think I should rename myself as the Monthly Blogger!

During the summer holidays I have been having a nice and relaxed time. I have been spring cleaning and sewing and quilting and spring cleaning and moving furniture around and spring cleaning and sorting the stash and cleaning and tidying and cleaning and . . . you get the picture.

Anyway, I wanted to show you my new best friend (which I have had since May of last year but have only just got around to blog about) and it is my new Sew Ezi table. These little tables are just fantastic and I wish I had bought one years ago. I had seen them at the first Hamilton Quilt and Craft Fair but didn't think they looked all that sturdy and the price seemed expensive for a small table. Was I wrong? Way wrong!

You have to understand that I have an Elna 6005 which does not come with any kind of flat bed, just a little box that slips over the free- arm which holds attachments for the machine. For most purposes this is okay, except not for quilting. It is definitely not a flat surface. At Wellington Symposium last year I was in Gloria Loughman's class and she was using one. To see it being used as opposed to just looking at it convinced me to get one. Using the Symposium Special I got my Sew Ezi table with a free accessory tray.

Let me tell you it has been a life-defining moment sewing with this table. Now that I have my machine flush with the table the quilting is so much easier, and no, the table does not rock. It is very sturdy, very portable and worth every penny. It has even made piecing so much easier having more room at the sewing level. I love the clear perspex insert and I have put the accessories I use most often into a little box which sits underneath the insert. Because I can see it I am not loosing the quarter inch foot, the free motion foot, the walking foot or the screw driver (most important, that bit.) The little circular indent on the front right hand side holds a glass of wine perfectly (vbg) There is plenty of room underneath for my legs and feet and I can sit directly in front of the needle. You couldn't give me a Horn cabinet now if you tried (well, hang on a minute, I might have to think that one through.) But seriously, these tables are so great I bought my friend Frances one for Christmas. She had bought me my Featherweight machine and I thought a substantial gift in return seemed appropriate at some stage.

UPDATE: I forgot to say that the price compares very favourably with any Horn cabinet I have seen advertised, about a quarter of the price There are no doors to get in the way when hefting a quilt around and the table is light and easy to move if I need to pull it out to get to the stuff that is stored in underneath.

Here is my machine nestled in its new home. Look how much flat surface I have:
You know the best thing I like about this table? See the hole which is the carry handle on the left hand side? It is the perfect distance, an arm's length away, for dropping cut-off threads into*. So I put a plastic bucket underneath to catch the threads. Now I have a lot less mess to clean up.

In the next picture I'm quilting a quilt for my son to take flatting next month. I hope to have it finished by the end of the week. You can see the yellow bucket underneath. Way to go!

* these threads are called 'orts' according the Southern Cross Quilters Yahoo group postings, a word I have never heard of. So I looked it up in my trusty old Concise Oxford Dictionary. The word ort, usually used in the plural orts, means refuse or scraps or leavings and dates back to the 15th century. You learn something new every day.