This blog is a bit of a ramble through my life. There's a lot about quilting and textile arts, a sprinkle of my family life and some of my thoughts and ponderings. We currently live aboard an old wooden 1945 Navy boat, called MV Cerego, so you'll find me writing about that too. Welcome aboard!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. A book review.

My quilty friend and I have taken over our quilt club's librarian position this year.  Actually, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must add that she's doing most of the work and I'm getting to tag along for the fun bits.

Such as browsing for new books, then getting to read and review them when we get them.  My book wishlist is getting longer and longer as I discover more of the wonderful books available to us quilters.  I guess we need to thank the boom in crafts and quilting as popular hobbies for the huge array, there truly is something for everyone.

The title that I'm currently reading is 'The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters. A guide to creating, quilting and living courageously' by Sherri Lynn Wood.  I listened to a podcast featuring Sherri Lynn a while back and thought she sounded like a really interesting person so I was keen to read her book and see if my expectations met up.  They did, and then some!  I also knew the book was an STC Craft and Melanie Falick book, which in my experience are always a little different and of very high quality.

I'm not really one for books filled with patterns.  I started designing my own quilts pretty early on in my quilting journey, and I'm just not very interested in following someone else's design, so the fact that this is not a pattern book is the first appealing thing about it.  The second appealing thing is that it's a lot more than a how-to technique book.  There is a very helpful section of how-to's in the back, but that is not the main thrust at all.

What Sherri Lynn does in the Improv Handbook is try to encourage the reader to follow a 'score' or a set of general instructions, but make it their own by placing their own parameters or limits or adaptations around the work they do within the score.  She also provides lots of ideas for those parameters so the reader can have something to work with if they need direction.  There are examples of how other quilters have worked with her scores and the different work they produce is fascinating (and beautiful!).

I highly recommend this book.  I'm even considering buying my own copy because the thought of giving up this copy to the club library gives me a few pangs!  The writing is thought-provoking and thorough and the photography beautiful.  So if you are looking for a good book, add this one to your list.

PS it's the second week of school holidays here in NZ so I'm taking the kids on a road trip.  That's my excuse for such shocking photography, a motel room bedside light does not make for brilliant shots.

And I'm blogging though an app on my iPad and I can't figure out how to embed links so here's the link to the podcast with Abby Glassenberg:

And here's the link to Sherri Lyn Wood's website and blog:  Yes, Daintytime is the name of her site, I told you she was interesting!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tīeke Imagined

Lynda Worthington is the editor of Embellish, an Australian textile art magazine.  A little while ago she contacted me to see if I'd be interested in contributing to a New Zealand themed issue of the magazine.  I said yes of course!

The magazine came out in June and I was super excited to see my quilt featured on the cover.

'Tīeke Imagined' is a small quilt (about 13" x 14") I made in response to my (fruitless) search for the NZ Saddleback bird, Tīeke.  

New Zealand has many unique native birds, many of them endangered as they all evolved without mammalian predators like rats and stoats.  The Tīeke is one of those birds, and now that NZ has rats, stoats, cats, and dogs, they are struggling to survive.  About 40 birds were released onto predator controlled islands out in the Bay as part of Project Island Song.  We've taken our boat out several times over the last year or so and I've gone walking on the Islands in search of Tīeke.  So far I've heard them, but not seen them.

 Photo borrowed from Wikipedia 

Tīeke Imagined, textile art by Charlotte Scott, SOLD
I used silk organza, stencilling, layering and free motion quilting to construct my quilt.  If you'd like to know more about the techniques, I wrote in depth about the process in the magazine article.  There are also other great articles in the magazine from New Zealand and Australian artists.  You can find Embellish on their website here.  You can also buy it in New Zealand through Minerva.

And I'll let you know if I ever do see a Tīeke!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Life and work

My 'real' job, the one that pays a consistent income, is midwifery.  I work a shift or two per week at the local rural hospital in the maternity ward and then sometimes I work as a rural locum, covering the community midwives.  That's what I'm doing at the moment.  And boy, can it kick my butt.

I'm in a very privileged position to not have to work much usually.  My husband often has to go away at short notice, or work long hours for his business, so we need me to be available to look after the kids.  I know not everyone has that luxury and must organise childcare as well as their working lives. I know I'm privileged, but I really know it when I work locum.

I've been involved in three helicopter transfers of sick babies in the last couple of weeks.  Today I need to drive for an hour to visit a bunch of women who live even more rurally than I do.  My children got pulled out of bed at 5.30 am the other day because my husband had to start work early and I was at the hospital with a woman.  It sucks.  But it's exciting and fulfilling and important work too.

I'm trying to remember that.  And I'm trying to catch glimpses of the good life in between the sucky bits.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Donna Ward from Donna's Quilt Studio - Podcast Interview

Donna Ward is one of those 'world-famous in New Zealand' quilters.  Ask any quilter in New Zealand and they are sure to have heard of her or seen one of her quilts.

But it turns out she's a normal down-to-earth person just like you and me, and we had a great conversation about her journey into quilting, then teaching and then owning a quilt shop and teaching studio that she manages with her daughter, Ashleigh Ward.

These are the kinds of quilts that first made me aware of who Donna was.  Big, bold, Pacifica inspired quilts with exquisite machine quilting:

'Pacific Garden' (pattern available here)

Donna's award winning quilt 'Pacific Spice'

Lately, I've come across Donna on Instagram.  Her handle is @donna8b and she is surprisingly doing a lot of handwork with English paper piecing using modern fabrics.  This may have something to do with being laid up after major leg surgery!  There is also a lot of mini-swaps going on, some foundation piecing and plenty of yummy colours and patterns to look at.

Donna's Instagram feed.  She has since blinged her cast up by modpodging Tula Pink fabric all over it!

Donna and I discuss whether this is a sea-change in style for her or whether there are still some batik, pacific inspired quilts yet to come.  We talk about how quilt shop owners need to stay relevant and up to date and how video tutorials and social media are helping Donna and Ashleigh make connections with their customers. 

Watch Donna's tutorials here.

There is lots more good stuff in the interview so have a listen, then drop by Donna's Quilt Studio and say hi.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Cropping - what bits to leave off your quilt

I've been making small improv quilt compositions.  They started as colour studies, a follow-on exercise from this blog post here.

I gave myself rules: one a day, improvisational, don't get hung up on it, only allowed to change one colour per day, 4 1/2 inch finished, straight line quilting.

It's been a real eye opener for me regarding what my preferred colours are, what works with improv quilting and how the proportions of colour really change the end product.  I got sick of pink so fast...

What has also been very useful is making a quick cropping tool.

I took a sheet of paper (I have a roll of brown butchers paper that never seems to get any smaller and is incredibly useful) and cut a five inch square out of it.  I should have actually cut a 4 1/2 inch square because that's my finished size, but I was worried I'd mark my sides and then cut them without thinking, ending up with 4 inches....

Look how it helps me see possible end compositions:

And here's what I finished with:

Below are three of my most recent; numbers 20, 21, and 22.  I broke my rules and made three in one day with the same colours as I found this colour combination so compelling, and there was something really clicking with my piecing that day.  I felt as if I was really reaching something I had been looking for.

Do you crop?  And how do you feel about cutting off precious bits of quilt?  And do you break your own rules!?