This year's southern hemisphere summer is drawing to a close, and it's been a bit underwhelming. Usually we get weeks on end of long, hot days when all you want to do is lie under a tree and take a nap, but this year there has been rain, and days when the weather has blown in a big chill from the Antarctic.
Officially we are now in Autumn (New Zealand classes its seasons in complete months - in England it wouldn't change until the equinox). However, this weekend we had blissful summer weather - not too hot to go outside, it was just calling me to make the most of the warm weather.
The quilt taking an outing this weekend was Candy Drops. I designed this quilt for our Shop Hop last year, and the pattern was published this week in the digital magazine Make Modern, Issue 15.
It's surprisingly easy to squish a quilt into your backpack - this is quite a small pack that my Mum bought me for a significant birthday. It holds all the necessities - emergency kit, spare layers, lunch, tea making equipment - and quilt.
Off I went - 20 minutes from home I reached the turn off for the Mikimiki Road. I have walked from Kiriwhakapapa to Mikimiki and back before, but never started from Mikimiki, so that was my adventure this time.
To get to the track, you have to drive through a bit of farmland - which means a gate to close. A bit of a pain for me as my car has a habit of locking itself when you close the door, so I had to turn the engine off when I got out to open, and then to close, the gate, so I could keep the key with me!
The sky was a perfect blue with a bit of a breeze, but that didn't worry me as I knew once I got into the bush I would be protected from the wind.
After driving down a fairly long track, I parked up and set off hiking. The first part of the walk is surrounded by imported weeds - blackberries, dandelions, huge daisies and long grass are what I am used to in England, not so much in my New Zealand tramping, but I soon reached the Forest Park and plunged into the cool greenness of the bush.
The path passes along an old track built by loggers, and there are still a few imported redwoods that they planted in an effort to grow trees to replace the ancient natives that were removed. After just over half an hour I reached the stream and set up camp.
Candy Drops was a nice protection from the bumpy rocks and stones
The water in the Mikimiki stream is pure and clear, I grabbed some in my billy and put the gas stove on for a cuppa.
Lunch over it was time to brave a very cold and quick dip in the swimming hole - it looks really shallow in the photo, but it was deep enough to stand up to my neck.
Laying back and looking up at the clouds rushing across the blue sky through the tree canopy, I remembered doing the same thing in infants school. I think this is my idea of ultimate relaxation.
All too soon it was time to pack up and walk back to the car. One the way back I spotted a wasps' nest , fascinating to look at but these are European invaders that do a lot of damage, so I hope it will get destroyed.
Candy Drops was made from Moda Grunge fabrics, using the vanilla colourway for the background. I quilted it using straight line machine quilting with Aurifil and added big stitch hand quilting details in the colour blocks using Sue Spargo Eleganza thread . The backing is from Philip
Jacobs' Botanica range. The quilt top was pieced by Linda Graham. Pattern available in Make Modern magazine issue 15.