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, July 28, 2013

Gwen Marston Class - Small Sketches

My first class at Taupo Symposium was two days with Gwen Marston.  Gwen was kind of the 'headline' act at Symposium.  She had a special exhibition of her quilts showing at the Taupo Museum.  She is a prolific quilter, book writer and quilt teacher and is wonderfully encouraging and knowledgeable.

We spent time learning a few of her techniques for making small units, inserting thin strips of fabric and  constructing different triangles and then we set to making our own small studies.  These are our first lot hanging on the notice board and by the end of the second day we had almost filled the wall.

I had lots of fun and I can see this type of work being useful for working out ideas and colour schemes and maybe a jump off point for bigger works.

We had a wee break during lunch for the obligatory fire evacuation - no actual fire - but apparently there was a fire evacuation at the Wellington Symposium too.  Will there be one at Manawatu in 2015?!

These are my three studies that I had completed by the end of the two days.  As you can see, I wasn't big on triangles - I did make some, but they didn't get used.  I really liked the vertical energy created by using the long strips and then the little peeks of interest created by the striped fabrics and dashes of colour.  I didn't want to stop and I reckon that's a sign of a good class!

At the end of the second day, Gwen kindly did a quick run through of her quilts that she had shown at her lunch-time lecture.  They were all wonderful, but I particularly liked this one's energy and depth of colour.  (Hello Helen!  She was our lovely angel (class helper) for the second day and she is also on the committee for organising the Manawatu Symposium 2015.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

RED 12 x 12 Challenge and Life Encircling quilts.

You might remember I posted this picture of my four 12 x 12 RED challenge entries.  This was a mini-exhibition held at the Taupo Symposium and arranged by Aotearoa Quilters Guild.

They were all for sale at the same price and I was really lucky that one of my pieces sold on the first day.  In fact, it sold before I got a picture of all four together!  You can see mine in the second to bottom row, but they've filled in the gap created by the sale of my 'Red Bird Home to Roost' with someone else's quiltlet.

Here is another wall of them.  There were four walls altogether and they looked really fantastic hanging together.

And here is the obligatory goofy photo of me standing next to one of my other main exhibition entries, 'Life Encircling'.

This was the other quilt that I couldn't show the whole thing online before the exhibition.

A couple of detail shots for you.  The birds were painted onto white fabric then cut and appliqued onto the pieced background.  Lots of the leaves of plants are either scrim or organza - hand painted and then appliqu├ęd.  The background is mainly pieced from my hand-dyed, painted or printed fabrics.

I had a lot of fun with this quilt.  There was a lot of playing and trying out new techniques so I'm glad it was successful in that it was accepted for show.  And it was neat to see it hanging nicely on the black walls of the exhibition.

I also took two classes whilst I was at the Symposium, but I'll do some posts on them another day.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tui at Dawn

As promised, here is my prize-winning (you have no idea how cool it is to write that!) quilt, Tui at Dawn.  As you can see, it isn't a huge work, 79 cm by 49 cm.

My quilter's statement: "The morning mists change colours, perspectives, outlines.  Things become ghostly and otherworldly.  The wingbeats of Tui echo and their ethereal song is haunting, as if from another time altogether."

I began with a layer of fabric strips fused onto a background fabric.  Then I painted some elements onto this background mainly using freezer-paper stencils.  There is also one raw-edge appliqued Tui.  I used a silk organza top layer and stencilled other elements onto this and painted it also.  The sun is a separate piece of hand-painted silk organza slipped in between the background and top layer and there is some netting slipped in there too.  It was then machine quilted on my domestic machine.

Here it is on my design wall when I was playing with placement of birds and sun.  You can see that I actually reversed the top layer to fly some of the birds the other way.

And a couple of detail shots for you.

I'm home safe and sound now from the Taupo Symposium Fibre Art Festival, after been woken at 2.45am on my last morning by a bit of an earthquake!  Nothing like Wellington has been experiencing I'm sure, but it was enough to get the heart beating a little faster.

I've hugged the kids, unpacked my fabric splurges and left the unpacking of my suitcase for another day.  And now I'm going to have a cup of tea with a couple of quilty friends who didn't get to the Symposium.

I'll do another post tomorrow, hopefully with my other quilt that was accepted and the little red 12 x 12 quilts.  See you then!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I am truly on a high! Tonight was the awards ceremony at Taupo Symposium and I was blown away to be up on stage twice.  My Tui at Dawn quilt won a merit award in the art quilt section and I also one the First Time Entrant award!

Talk about a rush!  I got all blushy and giggly and so many people congratulated me afterwards, it was absolutely amazing.

Thanks to Karamu Quilters and Cushla's Village Fabrics for my wonderful prizes.  And I would add a photo here of my great big box of goodies, except I'm posting this from my iPad and I can't figure out how.  So once I do, except a goofy photo of me next to my ribbons!

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I'm done.  That's it.  Night shift over.  Homeward bound.

There is a slight sense of euphoria after finishing a long night shift.  You know you heading home to a warm bed and a good sleep.  After this one especially, when I knew I was heading home for two weeks of holidays!

Combined with a beautiful dawn, I was practically floating.

I was really glad I had taken my wheat pack to work, heated it up before I left and had it ready in the car to warm my hands after being out and taking these photos, brrrr!

Now I have a to-do list as long as my arm before Symposium.  It includes ambitious things like defrost the freezer (I'll be embarrassed to let the babysitter open it).  We'll see how far I get through it.  Hopefully I'll have some time to update here, but if not - you know where I'll be and how much fun I'll be having!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Nearly There.

I'm nearly there.  Nearly at the end of another stretch of locum work, nearly at the end of school term, nearly at Symposium.  And it feels that the closer I get, the heavier the weight is to carry.

Locum work can be stressful, and of course it's much busier than my normal schedule so other things get pushed aside.  I don't think I've realised how much of a stress relieving tool quilting can be.  It's very therapeutic to stroke fabric, place stitch, consider design and make small, pleasing changes to a composition.

I have a 12 hour night shift tonight and then I am FREE for two weeks.  I can make it till then, I can!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Art on Sunday

I followed on from last weeks success with sketching for the kids and introduced them to my water-soluble coloured pencils and pastels.

It gave me at least half and hour of peaceful piecing in my studio.  They drew monsters - a squid for my girl and an evil starfish monster for the lad.  They found the transformation of colour and the blending magical when they applied the water.

In fact, I might have to pick up those pencils later and have a go myself!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Repurpose men's shirts into a quilt

I supported our local op shop (charity shop) by buying some men's shirts.
"Lovely shirts." said the lady.
"Yes," I replied, "But I'm only going to cut them up!"
My man has to be attending a wedding or funeral to wear a proper shirt so there is nothing for it, but to cut them up and add them to my fabric stash.

They have to be 100% cotton with no nasty armpits and not too much wear.  Stripes are great, but a small check works well too.  Wash them well in hot water, then press them and cut out the collars and cuffs and any seams.  I add the buttons to my button jar.  Then I just use the fabric as I would any other. For $4 a shirt I get heaps more fabric than a fat quarter which typically sells for around $7 in New Zealand.

Shirt fabrics are great to increase your stash of 'man' fabrics.  You know, the fabrics that aren't too girly or floral and work well in quilts you're making for men.  There is at least four shirt fabrics used in this log cabin quilt.

And you can get both light and dark shirts, which help when you're making a quilt that needs light and dark fabrics.  I think I nailed the tonal contrast in this one!

This quilt is going to get bigger soon.  I have more blocks than this and my sister has been working on doing some too.  With any luck she'll post them to me shortly and I can work on getting the top together.  (Are you listening Sis?)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Super Moon

I took these photos of the setting moon early in the morning.  

It was the full moon and a perigee moon - when it's closest to the earth.

I relish these little moments.

It makes the chore of getting up early a little easier.