My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Been busy quilting

During the week just past, I was fortunate enough to attend a Bernina 440 refresher course, run by Itch to Stitch, the Bernina and quilting shop in Whangarei.  They came up to us in Kerikeri and put us and our machines through our paces. 

I bought my Bernina about five years ago to replace my 30+ year old Elna that I had got from a garage sale.  I'm not a fanatical Bernina fan, but I did like the solid feeling of the machine, the great warranty (five years on electrical and ten on mechanical), and the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator), which keeps your stitches even when you free-motion stitch.  Funnily enough, I prefer not to use the BSR now as I'm pretty good at keeping my stitches even anyway and I feel it gives a jerky look to my quilting.

Over five years I had forgotten so much of what they showed me when I first picked my machine up.  We used our memory functions and our pattern start and stop buttons, we played with mono-filament thread and the stitch that looks hand done, we learnt how to elongate our eyelet stitch to make really cool oblongs and we learnt great tricks for appliqueing.   I'd recommend the course to anyone (who owns a 440 that is!).

And then because I was enthused, I broke out the Machingers (the best quilting gloves ever) and got quilting.  This is a troublesome quilt that I'm doing for a friend.  She had to take the borders off and is going to put them back on once I've finished - hence the huge bits of batting you can see around the edge. 

I've found the best way to set up my machine is to use my Sew-Ezi table (a small portable table that the machine sets into for a flat surface) and push that up against my desk and a trestle behind it.  That way I have lots of table top to support even a big quilt.

And with the help of Radio New Zealand archives playing in the background, I got the thing finished.  Yay!  Another one off the to-do list.

The pattern I designed is a meander with a rose, a loop, a curlicue and a leaf.  I hope she likes it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Get back to work!

I guess I need to alter my 'about me'.  I took the plunge and have headed back to work.  Not on any grand scale, mind you, just one eight-hour shift at the local maternity unit per week. 

For those of you who don't know (because it's been a year and a half since I worked for money), I'm a midwife.  Sounds glorious - getting to participate in the miracle of life.  But truly, it's mostly participating in the down sides of childbirth.  Like lots of paperwork; cleaning up blood, puke and poop; trying to calm hysterical people (usually men); and helping exhausted women with ripped up nipples in the middle of the night.  The women with fantastic experiences and straightforward babies usually don't stay long in hospital, and if they do, they don't need much help.

But I tell you what - it's one job where if you do a good job you are REALLY appreciated.  I mean, nobody hugs their plumber and thanks them with tears in their eyes, do they?!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Where is the farmlet at?

I thought I'd take you on a little walkabout this morning as I feed the animals.  Just to show you what is happening.

I've moved the chooks into the summer garden.  They've been here for a week or so, weeding, de-bugging, and manuring.  I threw in a bale of old hay for them to de-seed and to add some carbon.  And they are right next to the main garden so I throw them any slugs or snails I find - tasty!

These are chicks who are big enough to graduate from this rabbit hutch to an A-frame chicken run soon.

We had the warmest May on record apparently.  And even now that it's June there have been no frosts, the kikuyu grass is still green and growing.

A new bundle of kits.  There are seven in this batch.  We butchered nine rabbits and four roosters for the freezer last weekend.  For the amount of food the rabbits eat, they produce a good amount of meat, very economical.

I've been motivated in the garden lately after a lag period.  This is a purple broccoli seedling I planted yesterday.  I've planted red russian kale, red cabbage, cauliflower, spring onions, carrot and beetroot seeds and I've been transplanting all my strawberry runners into a new bed.
I need to add that I for some reason I'm having difficulty commenting on any one's blog (including my own).  So apologies, I'm listening and replying, you just can't hear me!

And now it's time for another cup of tea. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fabric Fun

Well, the past week was a challenging one.  We had a huge storm - the windiest I think I've felt it here and we lost our power for almost 24 hours.  Not terribly much fun when the kids are stuck inside with the rain.

So when Sunday dawned bright and clear, I broke out an outside activity that I've wanted to do for a while.  I had a little fabric dying kit with a sample of each of three colours and by following the recipes you ended up with 30 fat eighths in graduating colours. 

My boy helped me label jars, measure dye and water (good maths lesson) and squish the fabrics around.  After some not so patient waiting, lots of rinsing and washing, and a stint of drying, I now have lots of interesting mottley colours.  And I've learnt heaps. 

Now, how to use them?!