Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hello from Kirsty!

How exciting to be writing a Twelve by Twelve blog post after so long! It will be obvious that I'm really rusty - the formatting is all over the place and, after three hours of fiddling, I've given up trying to fix it :)

In the midst of Twelve by Twelve, I opened a small quilt and craft shop in Townsville, North Queensland, Australia where we were living. The shop was great fun and it was interesting to be involved in a different facet of the quilting industry. But after three years of living The Shop it was time for a change and, on the spur of the moment, one Friday, I decided to close the business. By Saturday of the following week the shop was completely bare and I found myself packing up my life once more to go with Peter to a small mining town in Western Queensland where we stayed for nine months.

At the end of that project, Peter mentioned that he was interested in going to Christchurch, New Zealand. He didn’t have to say it twice! I am from New Zealand and I was very keen to move back there. Christchurch experienced two very large earthquakes in 2010-11 and the city is still in the midst of extensive re-building. For a civil/structural engineer it is an exciting place to be but also a place where he feels that he can genuinely contribute to community needs. I had never lived in the South Island of New Zealand before and was a little surprised that after only a few days in Christchurch I felt that I had found my true home and now I never want to leave this beautiful region. It is a spectacular part of the world.

Although we thought that we would be living alone for the first time in thirty years, that didn’t actually happen and our two children (now in their mid-twenties) are living with us, as is our daughter’s fiancé. I’m going to be the Mother of the Bride in May 2017! Additionally, my sister moved here a few months after we did and soon after, had a third daughter, so for the past 20 months I have been caring for her baby girl a few days a week. This little one is such a joy! Peter works from his office in our house, so he also enjoys having the baby wander in to see him several times a day.

What about sewing? Well, after I closed the shop I must admit that my passion for sewing had left the building! For more than twenty years of my life I had scarcely had a day when I didn’t use my sewing machine so it was a shock for both of us when it remained untouched for over a year! Instead I began knitting, crocheting and spinning.

Slowly, my interest in sewing returned and for the first time in my life I found myself really enjoying hand sewing. I even made a hand-pieced AND hand-quilted quilt for the very first time ever, in 2015. I currently have a half-done La Passacaglia, an appliqued medallion quilt in progress and a huge box of basted hexagons for paper piecing at some point.

Not long after we arrived in Christchurch I bought an Elna Grasshopper and sewing on this old machine suited my new desire for slow stitching. It has also gradually re-enthused me for machine sewing and my two latest projects have been machine made.
All of my projects are now very much in the category of Nest Feathering! I make things that I think are beautiful and that I want to have in my home. My interest in making art quilts is kind of minimal. The appeal of quilting for me was always about the blend of beauty and usefulness and I take great pleasure in making useful objects.

I am still teaching from time to time and still enjoy that very much. Quilters are extraordinary people and I love the company and inspiration of creative makers. Quilting still feeds my soul!

Within a week of our move here, we had the most wonderful visit from Karen and Ted. They felt like old, old friends even though it was our first meeting. Out of all the Twelves, I have still only met Karen and Brenda. I would dearly love to meet the other Twelves. These women mean so much to me! I was heartbroken to not be able to be in Houston with the others when our book was released. When Diane started our group none of us imagined  where it would lead us and the impact it would have on our lives.

These days I no longer blog. My online activities are primarily to stay in touch with my family and close friends, who are spread far and wide. From time to time I wonder about starting a new blog… who knows? My days are filled with my family and friends, our crazy busy household which often includes a visitor or two, making whatever has stirred my creative soul and daydreaming about our goal of building a house in the country.


Karen Rips said...

What a great life you are living Kirsty, it was so fun to meet you in person, and I agree we fell into a pattern of old friends.

Françoise said...

It's so great to read you again Kirsty! I'm glad you love it in New Zealand and I really hope we can meet in person one day. I'm sure it will happen, I want to visit New Zealand!
Btw, I've also got a Elna Grasshoper. It belonged to my mother, I used to sew with it as a teenager (a long time ago ;-) ), and I still love it!

Bonnie Miller said...

I am loving reading all the updates from the Twelves. Welcome to New Zealand! I am miles away in the North Island but a friend and I made a hasty trip to Christchurch a few years ago to take advantage of a course offered with Rosalie Dace. Enjoy your new beginnings!

The Joyful Quilter said...

So many changes since the Twelves! Here's hoping that your country house dreams come true. Glad to hear that you made your way back to quilting... art or not!