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!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I'm printing,


and trimming.  

I'm also trying to decide on a binding - who knew it could be so difficult?!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Results of my wheat flour resist play

So later in the day, my fabric (previously covered in wheat flour resist) was dry.  And there I learnt my first lesson.  Pin down the edges of your fabric really well.  It curls as it dries and if the edges curl too much it's hard to paint.

On my first piece I painted the shapes with runny fabric paint.  I had some turquoise Jacquard Dynaflo, which is quite liquid and I added a little black Jacquard textile paint to darken it.  I crackled the unpatterned part of the fabric and painted those marks too.

On my next piece I painted household bleach.  Uh oh.  Nothing happened.  This was hand dyed fabric, dyed with procion MX dyes so I just assumed it would dishcharge.  But I didn't do what Jane Dunnewold says to do - TEST YOUR FABRIC!  

I didn't want to lose my written pattern, so I painted over the bleach with some slightly diluted purple fabric paint.  I'm cutting that section off in the above photo because I wanted to wash the plain bleach section off.  You need to leave the fabric painted pieces to cure for 24 hours seeing as you can't iron them to heat set them.

I thought the lack of reaction to bleach may have been because my bleach was too old.  I have a worm septic system, and worms and bleach don't go well together so I don't use bleach very often.  So I folded, tied and dipped some commercial black homespun in the bleach.  Nope, my bleach was fine.  Instant reaction.

And it ended up a really neat piece of fabric!  It's just been rinsed in vinegar water in the pick above.  Vinegar neutralises the bleach and then I put it through a rinse cycle in my washing machine.

And here is a closer pic when it's been dried and ironed (ish!).

So here is my first fabric paint piece.  Nice crisp patterning with a few crackly bits.  The crackle section is interesting too.  I was a bit nervous about crackling it too much, but I could have been a bit more vigorous.

You can just see a faint pattern from my bleach discharge.  Lesson learnt - test your fabrics.  

 And here is the writing piece.  Nice texture.  Doesn't really look like words!  I think my paste was a bit goopey and thick.  I might try again with a thinner coat of paste and I might try with cornflour paste - less gluey.

For all that effort, I question whether I could have got similar marks from stamping.  Probably with the square/circle marks.  But I can't get the crackle or the writing texture - unless I want to start playing with batik and wax - so I think it's worth it for those sorts of textures and I'll stick to using it for that.

But fun was had and that's the most important part!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wheat flour resist on fabric 1 (and given up resisting a self-portrait)

I realise I haven't got many photos of me on this blog - my excuse is that I'm the one behind the camera.  But I can hold the camera and take a photo of myself, it's not that hard.  And I figure I'm getting a bit old for the self-conscious, avoid photos at all cost act.    So that's me folks, getting ready for some surface design play!  

I was out for a walk this morning when Hubby drove by with the kids in the car - he was taking them off for a couple of hours - excellent!!  I almost ran back home because I'd had this surface design trial in mind, but I wanted to do it unassisted by children.  I'm a mess magnet at the best of times, and this promised to be a disaster if the midget mess-magnets helped too.

It's a sunny day so I decided to work outside to keep mess to a minimum.  I pinned out my bits of hand-dyed fabric out on a polystyrene sheet, and spread out my reference book.

Are you looking for an excellent surface design book?  Art Cloth:  A Guide to Surface Design for Fabric by Jane Dunnewold, you won't regret it.  There are soooo many things in here I want to try.

Today I was trying a wheat flour resist.  It's easy - mix up flour and water.  I started with a cup of plain white wheat flour.  I ended up using about 3/4 cup of cold water.  You want a batter-like consistency.

I don't own a squeegee so I used an old credit card!  Pin your fabric at one end, smooth a thin layer over the fabric and then pin down the other sides.  Lumps are a bit of a problem, so keep your batter as lump free as possible.

So when they are nicely covered you can get to work making marks in the resist.  I had plenty of resist left over after covering the fabric.  My fabric size is probably a bit more than a fat quarter.

Hubby owns an engineering shop - very convenient for pipe off cuts!

I wrote in it using the blunt end of a kebab stick.  I think my resist layer was a little thick - it wasn't as easy or as clear as I thought it would be.  I was going to wait and try more writing when it had dried a little more, but I forgot.

I learnt to have a rag handy for wiping your stamp off between stamps.  If you don't, the print gets bigger and more uneven as the goop layer on the stamp gets thicker and picks up more of the resist.  You can see that happening above with the row of circles stamped from left to right.

All stamped and done.  I left some blank areas to play with the 'crackle' effect where you scrunch it up once it's dry and then your dye/paint/discharge mix goes in the crackle lines.

Now it has to dry completely.  Tomorrow I'll be doing the next step.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A little piece of my morning.

This is where I get to walk the dogs.  Here we've reached the top of the hill, so we get a nice long flat bit of road to recover.  It's dry, dry, dry at the moment.  And I've been looking at pictures of snow on blogs on the other side of the world.  Strange.

We have to reach the barn and then we can keep going if we're feeling keen (the dogs are always keen) or we can turn around for home if we're feeling a bit lazy.  I love the rusty stripe - nice focal point.  Can you hear a quilt being designed?

And I'm finding lots of things to practice taking photographs of.  Can you see the fluffy antennae?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ready for your close up?

I can't show you the quilts I'm working on at the moment.  It's frustrating.  I've never had to do that before, but I guess rules are rules.

I want to enter them into the exhibition at Taupo Symposium and the rules state that they cannot be shown anywhere before.  And that includes blogland because it's public.

I'm new to the 'virgin quilt' rule and I think it's a fairly new rule for New Zealand, but I'm sure it's common practice in big quilt shows overseas.  I guess it makes for a fresh and interesting show because none of the quilts will have been seen before, but it does take away some of the joy of sharing my process.  What do you think about it?

So instead, I'm going to show you random pictures that I've been taking with my NEW camera!

We have a rewards card in NZ called FlyBuys and I redeemed some points for a flash new camera.  It was high-time - my old one was about nine years old and was a 3 megapixel (!).  Now I have 14 megapixels to play with and a much better macro function.  It's still a compact digital camera, but just so much better.  Bliss.

I have to resize them to upload them or they take forever.  But the quality is still fantastic in comparison.  Check out the grain my chicken is picking up from the ground.  They move so fast when pecking that I never could have captured that before.

See?  I can get really, really, really close!  Hmm.  Actually, I don't know if I want you to get that close to my stitching!

Have a great day.  I'm off to do some more playing with my camera quilting to meet my deadline!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Handprinted: a fabric swap III

I've signed up for Handprinted: a fabric swap III organised by the very talented Leslie at

I watched it last time and was impressed and inspired by some of the beautiful fabrics the lucky participants were swapping.  So as soon as I heard it was on again, I jumped in boots and all.  Head over to Leslie's blog if you're interested.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I've been convincing myself that I don't have many solids in my fabric stash.  I've picked the Gwen Marston class 'Small Studies' as my first choice at the Taupo Symposium in July and if I get it I'll need a range of solids.  And I know they say do not buy any supplies until your classes are confirmed, but I can't help myself.  Can you blame me if I want to be a little bit prepared?  Plus, solids in my stash will never go astray   (Does it sound like I'm justifying fabric purchases?)

So I pulled all the solids in my stash and piled them on the floor to get an idea of what I have and if I just happen to be at a fabric store, what I should be looking at.  There was more than I thought.

Then I have to post this photo of my design wall for the unbeliever (Suz!).  I've managed not to start any new projects (lots fizzing in my head) and those blocks on my design wall are from a quilt I started about seven (gulp) years ago.  I've even had the tui and flax piece off the design wall and under my needle.  In total I've worked on five different projects since I posted my last post and managed to move them all along a good bit.

And yes, I was one of those hacked (off) yahoo users.  I would like to clarify that I never even clicked on a link to get hacked.  So take care because some of you will be in my contacts.  Delete any emails from me with just Hello or Re: in the title and if you do, DO NOT open any links.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Waitangi Day

The 6th of February is Waitangi Day (pronounced why-tongue-ee), a public holiday in New Zealand.  It celebrates the day the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the crown and (most of) the Maori tribes of NZ.  And because we live down the road, and hadn't been along for a couple of years, we decided that this year we would head along and join the fun.

We watched the Navy brass band and the guard of honour form for the 21 gun salute (that came from the Naval frigate you can see anchored out in the bay).  We ate whitebait fritters and candy floss and drank a kawakawa soft drink.  The kids played on a bouncy castle and we all escaped to the shade of the pohutakawa trees for a while.

But for me, the best bit of the day was watching the Red Checkers perform an awesome aerial show.  Several times they had me gasping or clapping and the kids loved it too.  It was a great day and we were all tired and happy by the end of it.

I'm thinking about doing a monthly picture of 'what's on your design wall?'.  Here's what's on mine at the beginning of February.  Lots of stuff jostling for space.  It's made me make a resolution (shock horror, I tried so hard to steer clear of them in January!).  I'm going to endeavour to finish two projects before I allow myself to start you think it will work?