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!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hazards of dyeing.

I did a little more dyeing today.  I'm trying to use up what seems like never-ending squeezy bottles of dye concentrates.  I bought seven colours and made these up into 1 cup (250ml) solutions.  I also made up a couple of greens and a dark purple.  I've dyed more than 12 metres of fabric in slightly bigger than fat quarter sized bits.  And I'm starting to get over it!  But finally I've only got a bit of fuchsia and the dark purple left and that's it.  No more dyeing for a week or two.

And I'm guessing I had a hole in my gloves.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quiltlet For Sale

I think I need to stand a little further back to avoid the 'bowing' in the middle!
This is the little wall hanging I've been working on over the last wee while.  It measures 21 1/2" x 28 1/2".  I said I'd make something for my boy's primary school to sell at their regatta (like a gala or fete).  Tonight I'll be stitching on the hanging sleeve and deciding a name for it (any ideas anyone?).

Pukeko (Australia have them to, but unromantically call them swamp hens!)
Spot the pin holding the hanging sleeve on ready to be sewn.
I was going to complete with a faced finish.  But I thought it was lacking a little something, so the orangey colour in the binding was just right to finish it off.  And I machine bound it using the no-snit binding tutorial I've used so many times before with such success - I just made my strips a little slimmer for a narrower binding and adjusted my needle position accordingly.

So if you want something to do this Saturday, come along to the Opua Wharf from 9am and join in the fun (you could even buy my quilt - I'd be eternally grateful!).

And this photo is just because they looked so gorgeous piled on my ironing board before I pressed them!  These are my hand dyes.  I've snipped little pieces off the corners and am keeping a notebook with my recipes so that I'll have an idea of how to repeat them if I ever want to.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekend Fun.

Well, I was promised a whole weekend by Hubby.  But children aren't quite so respectful of promises made, so a fair few snacks were prepared and disagreements sorted out by me when Hubby was elsewhere!  I sometimes wish I had somewhere to go on my days off where I could quilt to my hearts content well away from the demands of the house/children.

Anyway.  On Saturday I spent a lovely morning at The Country Yard.  They were having their New Year's launch and so Suz and I went on down and browsed and rummaged and pondered fabric combinations.  They had a lovely new range of Stof fabrics available as a fabric club, new classes to sign up for and yummy new patterns and kits.  After much discussion, I chose some border fabric for my Old Maid's Puzzle quilt.  Here it is without the borders on.

I love this pic with ever-patient Hubby's ankles out the bottom!
Then today I spent a hot morning digging over and mulching a garden bed, then realised that the hot weather was much more conducive to dyeing than gardening!  I've been collecting supplies lately to have a go at some fabric dyeing with Procion MX fabric dyes.  And I've found a supplier of high thread-count white cotton sheeting.  It's hand is like a batik fabric so I'm hoping it will raw-edge applique really well.  I loosely followed these instructions from Patsy Thompson.  And I learnt a lot.  Like tight fitting gloves are a must, and a breezy day makes dyeing a little trickier!  These need to be washed now, so the colours will probably lighten a little.

Squeezed into the corners of the weekend has been the quilting of my wall hanging that I'm making for the school to sell at their regatta and raise stacks a little bit of money. These are views of the back.  Lots more quilting to go yet.

And now I must go and feed the chooks and put the kids to bed.  Hope you all had a productive weekend too.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Morning Mist

This was my view this morning as I drove home from night duty.  Our valley, shrouded in mist.  It's one of the things I enjoy about night duty.  I get to see a fair few dawns and I think they are the most beautiful time of day.

Last night I used the wee small hours to finish my Midwifery Standards Review report and today I posted it off.  It's one of the reasons I've been a little quiet over the last week.  And Hubby made it home safe and sound - he's been towing a barge up from Picton.  Being a single parent is a busy life.

Midwifery Standards Review is process every midwife in New Zealand goes through bi-annually.  This is the description from the New Zealand College of Midwives website:

Midwifery Standards Review has been developed to provide a systematic process that enables the midwife, whatever her practice setting, to reflect on her midwifery practice with two reviewers - one midwife colleague and one consumer of midwifery services, each of whom has been specifically educated to do this work for the NZCOM.

The process assists each midwife to reflect on her annual practice by giving her the opportunity to consider statistical data. Depending on how she works, this can be her own midwifery outcomes or those from the maternity services in which she works.

Feedback from women for whom she provides midwifery care is considered, and feedback from midwifery colleagues can also be sought.

The process is educative, robust, supportive and challenging. It enables midwives to consider their professional development goals by integrating learning from their own midwifery experience as well as the contribution and challenges provided by the reviewers.

By participating in Midwifery Standards Review, a midwife demonstrates her commitment to her own ongoing professional development.

So I've been busily writing, reflecting, and reviewing myself.  Now I've sent my reports away to the reviewers to examine so they can get a handle on what questions they would like to ask me and in two weeks time I'll sit down with them for the official review.

I also sewed the last two seams on my Old Maid's Puzzle quilt.  But I'm pretty sure it needs a border so I can't declare it finished yet.  No photos yet sorry as by the time I slept, then picked up kidlets etc the light wasn't so great.

And this weekend, Hubby is working back all the brownie points he used up by gadding off for a week and is giving me two days to do as I like ;)  I'll see if I can't produce something blogworthy by the the end of it!  Hope you have a great weekend too.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


It was our fifth wedding anniversary.

Hubby has never, never-not-ever bought me flowers before.

So these are extra special.

Especially because he's not here right now, so arranged them before he went.

Wow.  Five whole years!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I've been experimenting.

I volunteered to make a small wall hanging for my son's primary school.  It will be auctioned off at the Opua Regatta (kinda like a gala day or a fete, held on the Opua Wharf to fund raise for the school) with some other art work.  

Warning! Advert!  Opua Regatta, 25th February, Opua Wharf, stalls, rides, fun and the annual dog swimming race!

So I thought I'd try something new.  I'm sure that when you are making something with an aim and a deadline, you shouldn't experiment.  But hey, I don't call myself The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady for nothing.  I wanted a layer of organza in the shape of various plants on top of my background.  Basically I wanted to applique organza, sounds like fun huh?

I learnt a heap about sewing organza real fast.  I thought I'd share some tips with you to save you some sanity just in case you ever want to experiment.

Organza is slip, slip, slipperty.  Pin the snot out of it.  Use a smaller stitch length and a sharp sewing machine needle (microtex).

You can't mark organza and hope to follow the line (at least not with any markers I tried).  Trace your design onto tissue paper (or Solvy or whatever you have on hand), pin this on top and sew through it.  Then rip away your tissue.  This helps to stop the slipping and sliding too.

Synthetic organza frays like nothing else and it melts too.  So a heat tool is your friend.  I used my soldering iron to slice away the excess organza.  It cut it and sealed the edges all in one, no more fraying, just a distinctive odour - do this in a well-ventilated area.

And lastly, steel wool is better to wipe your soldering iron on than a rag.  Ask my fingers why.

So that's what I learnt about organza today.  I also learnt that shortly my husband is abandoning me for a week to steam a new tug and dredging barge up from the South Island.  I learnt that the Mainfreight delivery man can back a hulking great truck all the way down my 200 metres of driveway after delivering our new bed.  And I learnt that the bed would be staying in it's packaging because said husband is getting home late and can't help me carry old bed out to make room for new bed.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Onwards and Upwards

Well, I got a disappointing email from the Beneath the Southern Skies convener - my quilt was not picked for the exhibition.  There were 71 entries and 30 were picked so I'm looking forward to seeing the final cut.  Not to worry, I have a place picked out on my wall for my piece "I don't feel lonely".  And I'm moving on to the next quilt!

'Scuse the toes!
This is the start of my next 'art' quilt.  I have a bit of a plan, but not sure how it will develop as I go along.  This is a Nikau frond, painted onto white fabric and I plan to cut it out and applique it.  We'll see how it works!

The front.
The quilting shows best on the back.
I've also been working on this quilt.  It should have been added to my WIP round up the other day, but I totally forgot I had it until I was rummaging around for something else.  The sampler blocks were from my very first quilting class.  Halfway through I decided I hated the colours so remade the blocks I'd done in colours I liked.  Then of course these ones have sat around for seven (!) years.  Now that I've sashed and bordered them I quite like them.  I've got to tie in a few threads and bind it and then it will be off to Quilts for Kids for a little person who really needs it.

School started yesterday and my boy had a great first day back - long may it continue as he isn't known for his attention span in class ;)  We spent our last day of holidays (Monday as it was a public holiday) out in the bay on the boat.  Just stunning weather and all round good fun.