I am finally back at a reliable computer and can share some of the wonderful quilty things that have been happening to me while I've been travelling around New Zealand. Also today is my first blogiversary so make sure you read to the end of this post!
Firstly, my beloved has started to get the quilting addiction in a small way. He has on more than one occasion, spotted a quilt shop in a new town we're visiting before I have. He has enjoyed looking for fabrics for a quilt related to his own addiction to antique pocket watches and he has had a great time talking to quilters and visiting certain quilt shops. From small acorns...
We have visited a lot of places and a lot of quilt shops and I want to share two very special ones with you, one in Hawera in the North Island, near New Plymouth and one in Temuka in the South Island near Timaru. They are both made special by the people who run them and by their individuality and I urge you to go out of your way to visit them if you are in New Zealand.
We have met a lot of people in our travels and the quilters have been particularly special. Firstly I met Katrina and you can read about that by clicking here.
The next meeting was with Debbie and I found out how long she had deliberated about inviting me to stay with her and how mad some of friends thought she was. "What? You don't know her at all? You just read her blog?!" She wrote me a lovely email inviting Al and I to stay and said we weren't to "go all English on her and say we couldn't possibly"! Debbie lives in New Plymouth and when we arrived we immediately felt comfortable with both her and her husband, Ian.
My next quilty meeting was with Michelle and her husband, Stefan. Michelle was the first person to follow my blog and has been very helpful with my teething problems with it and we have "chatted" by email as well as following each others' blogs. I was looking forward to meeting her, it seemed quite amazing to me that blogs can lead to these "real" friendships, but I suppose it's just like the old days of penpals but a lot quicker. We met up in a cafe in Stratford and then had a lovely brunch together while chatting away as if we'd met loads of times before. Michelle then suggested that, since the sun was shining, we go to Hawera where we could climb the historic water tower for great views of the Taranaki area and, while in the town, visit her very favourite quilt shop.
Helen over at HoneyBunchQuilting has posted about her visit to Claire Linn's wonderful Cinnamon Lodge (the website is not up and running yet and Claire promised to start a blog too so keep this link for the future) at 220 High Street, Hawera. I immediately fell in love with both Claire and the shop. She is a wonderfully friendly and enthusiastic lady and Cinnamon Lodge is a reflection of her. The fabrics she has were so different from those you see in so many quilt shops. She had deep, moody reds, Victorian greens, rich earthy colours and gorgeous bits and pieces around the shop to set them all off. I could have filled my suitcase but decided to let Claire select six fabrics for me which were the "Essence of Claire" and I am going to design and make a table runner using them which will be a lovely reminder of a wonderful day every time I use it.
My next quilty meeting was actually a series of meetings, firstly with with Yvonne Roberts, then with the Picton Quilters and then at Timaru mini-symposium and a lovely quilt shop in Temuka so I think I'll write a separate post about that tomorrow.
Finally I met up with Jenny and her husband, Robin. We were late making our rendezvous due to Friday evening traffic in Wellington but when we arrived in Paekakariki we settled in for a great evening of chat, coffee and pizza. We certainly made the most of our table in the Beach Road Deli, I hope they didn't mind!
I am certainly going to continue to keep in touch with all the lovely people I met and hope to be able to see them again, in NZ, in UK and of course in cyberspace!
And speaking of cyberspace, as I said at the beginning, I am celebrating my first blogging anniversary and so I think a little giveaway is in order. I'll keep it very simple, I'll choose a lucky winner from my followers, new and old, (including the Facebook/NetworkedBlogs ones so please make sure you have a profile and contact details or I can't identify you if you're the winner!) by random number generator on ANZAC Day, 25th April.