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, December 18, 2014

Portholes, Pantomimes and Pukekos in Ponga Trees

The pukekos are a reference to a New Zealand themed version of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  You can read it and hear it here (or sing it in your brain - do you have an ear worm now?!).

This is the time of year when I typically go a bit awol around here, just because life gets a bit full.  I'm not one for going mad, crazy busy at Christmas.  I think there is only so much stress a girl can take and still enjoy the season, so I pick and choose what I'm going to do and where I'm going to turn up to.

Of course, there are some things I just can't get away from.  We've had our kids school prize giving , and the gymnastics display and prize giving.  We've got two pantomimes to go to - Robin Hood and Puss in Boots, one amateur and one professional.  There was the Christmas Parade float to help with (I helped paint kids blue and pin blue dreadlocks in their hair) and work functions to make an appearance at.  More than enough.

The portholes bit of the title refers to the other bit of busyness in our lives.  We typically go camping on my Uncle-in-Law's farm for a few weeks over Christmas (read about last year here).  This year we are doing the same, but we are also steaming the boat out of here and we'll be mooring her in the bay close to the farm.  It's only a short trip, but this will be our maiden voyage apart from the quick sea trial we did when we moved her to this dock.  There are lots of things that need to be done to enable us to go to sea safely, and getting them all done is keeping our weekends full.

One of the biggest jobs is fixing the portholes in our forward cabin.

The portholes were corroded and some were seized and wouldn't shut.  They all need removing, sandblasting, painting, new glass (acrylic), and new pins made.  We are also cutting the holes around them a bit larger for window sill purposes.

This was the one I looked up at when I lay in bed.  I quite liked the verdigris - all that interesting colour and texture.

This was the state of the original bolts.  We need the portholes to be able to shut when we are steaming or in bad weather or we risk everything getting wet in our cabin and, worse case scenario, sinking the boat.

This was the view of the outside of a refurbished porthole.  I had to hold the bolts with a screwdriver while Hubby tightened the nuts on the inside.  Then all the excess sealer get wiped off, we wait till they are all done and dry (and we have more time), and then thy'll get a final coat of paint.  And if you need to get sealer out of your hair, turpentine works.  Ask me how I know!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Podcast Episode 15. Interview with Trisha Downie, President of the Auckland Quilt Guild 2014

Trisha Downie is the President of Auckland Quilters Guild.  Trisha leans heavily towards mixed media and three dimensional quilting.  She is hugely supportive of new quilters and quilters wanting to move in different directions and I was excited to interview her about all things quilty.  I hope you enjoy our discussion.  Thanks Trisha!

Trisha and myself at Festival of Quilts in front of Trisha's entry in the most recent Dorothy Collard Challenge.
Trisha's entry in the mixed media section of Festival of Quilts, titled 'Copperplate'.

Detail of 'Copperplate'
Here's Trisha's lemonade recipe that we talk about:

Homemade Lemonade 
6 washed Lemons
50gms Citric acid
750gm sugar

3lts water
Peel rind, no pith, of two lemons, add 2 cups of sugar in to food processor. Process until the sugar is yellow and oily. Tip this into a large saucepan adding the juice of the 6 lemons, minus any pips. Add remaining sugar, the citric acid and water. Over medium heat stir until the sugar has dis- solved. Cool, bottle, and store in the fridge. To drink use 1 part concen- trate to 4 parts water.

It’s delicious, Enjoy. 

And my useful or beautiful link:  
Alexis Robin is a life-coach who puts out a 15 minute radio show that you can subscribe to in podcast form.  She's not overbearing or airy-fairy and I've really enjoyed listening to her.



Large Bed Quilts Single Maker 
Highly Commended - Gay Jaques Times and Seasons
Second Prize - Marie Harrison A life on the Ocean Waves 
First Prize - Beverley Naidoo Love Birds

Small Bed Quilts Single Maker 
Highly Commended - Dianne Dowd Made to Measure
Second Prize - Jenny King Moonlit 2
First Prize - Val Williams
Caravan Quilt

Small Wall Hanging– Single Maker – Group One
Highly Commended - Lynne O’Donnell – Woodland Escape 
Second Prize - Susan McRae Altered Fabrics 
First Prize - Marie Harrison Hexagon Obsession

Small Wall Hanging – Single Maker- Group Two
Highly Commended - Alison Hartley Perseverance 
Second Prize - Annie White Road Block 
First Prize - Lyn Winkel Pacific Dream


Bed Quilts
Highly Commended - Judi Schon Inside Out
Second Prize - Chris Behersing
First Prize - Ansa Breytenbach
Desert Flower

Wall Hangings
Highly Commended - Carole Sorrell Tiger Tiger Burning Bright
Second Prize - Robyn Croft Gradations III 
First Prize - Sonya Prchal True Bliss


Small Bed Quilt Multiple Makers
Highly Commended - Chizuko Hoy & 19 members of POP group Crocus Wreath 
Second Prize - Carolyn Van Wonderen & Bee group Cheery Canary Bee Quilt
First Prize - Ngaire Fleming & Leeanne Hooper In Memory of Ruth

Large Bed Quilt Multiple Makers 
Highly Commended - Barrie Ashton & Judi Schon Summer Days
Second Prize - Carolyn Van Wonderen & Carol Fearon- All about Bears 
First Prize - Betty McLean & Linda Young Ribbons & Roses

Wall Hanging Multiple Makers
Highly Commended - Jean Ramsay & Carol Fearon Wisteria Maiden
Second Prize - Lorraine Simmons & Witches in Stitches Group In Tune 
First Prize - Betty McLean & Linda Young Instruments of Praise

Kit Quilt
Highly Commended - Susan Wade My William Morris Garden 
Second Prize - Helen Harford Zigs and Zags
First Prize - Vimla Govender - Shanandoah Baskets

Mixed Media
Highly Commended - Val Williams Beauty from Beneath
Second Prize - Marj Ussher Joy of Trinkets 
First Prize - Jean Singleton Butterfly Flight

Junior Quilts sponsored by Kids Quilts
Nicholas Gadams, age 9 Animal Crackers
Anna de Boyett, age 12 Crazy Cats in the Garden 
Emma Kelleway, age 16 Yoko

Out of the Blue sponsored by Auckland Quilt Guild
Best Use of Challenge Fabric Carol Fearon – Let’s Go Fly a Kite
Best Use of Embellishment Pauline Coates – A Sudden Gust of Wind
Best Interpretation of Theme Mary Metcalf – For Moi? What a Surprise! 
Most Quirky QuiltVal Williams – Fabric Sale
Best Use of Colour Lorraine Moser – Colour of New Zealand


Best Hand Applique or Embellishment
Marie Harrison Hexagon Obsession

Best Use of Colour
Donna Cumming The Art of Two Minds

Best Hand Quilting
Rosemary McGowan Summer Stroll

Best Modern Quilt judged by Robyn Burgess
Judi Schon Inside Out

Best Machine Appliqué or Embellishment
Betty McLean Instruments of Praise

Best Domestic Machine Quilting Award
Lyn Winkel Pacific Dream

Best Professional Long Arm Machine Quilting Hand Guided
Linda Young - Ribbons & Roses

Best Professional Long Arm Machine Quilting Computer Guided
Judi Schon Inside Out

Judge’s Choice – Jenny Bacon Alison Laurence Faceless Comrades

Judge’s Choice – Judith Ross Lynne O’Donnell - Dragonfly in Autumn 

Judge’s Choice – Catherine McDonald Chris Behersing The Ayes Have It

Julia Vazey Windmills of my Mind

Alison Laurence Dockside Reflections 

This is a link to the gallery of the 2013 winners.  Hopefully the 2014 gallery will be available shortly.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Half-inch Hexagons

Incy, weency, teeny, weeny hexagons.  Cute, huh?  I'm pretending that the fiddliness is good for my dexterity.  Luckily I don't have to make too many.  And it's a secret project so I can't show you much more than that.  Tease, I know!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Welcome Swallow Quilt

It's come to my attention that I've been remiss in not posting one of my quilts that I finished earlier this year (thanks Carol!).  It got lost amongst life I guess.

I love Welcome Swallows.  They are a small bird with a forked tail.  They make mud nests around human habitation and seem curious and lively.  I love the colour palette of their plumage too - indigo blue, grey, and burnt sienna.  I thought I might make a quilt using their colours and silhouettes of Swallows.

Here's how it started on my design wall.

I pieced a background using flying geese and half-square triangles and then began auditioning for hills as a foreground.

Eventually it morphed into this - dark indigo silhouettes of the Swallows, indigo and grey hills with touches of burnt sienna and mustard and burnt sienna barn.  I used discharge paste to create a line of trees that receded into the distance and this is about where I stalled.

I put it away for ages.  Eventually (and in a Spring kind of mood) I pulled it out, removed the hills, unpicked some of the sky to make it square and added grass and flowers to the foreground instead.  I added some colour to the bird silhouettes and added one larger fully coloured one in the foreground.

I free-motion quilted and appliquéd at the same time as I like to do and then free-motion quilted a flowing pattern in the sky using my domestic Bernina Aurora 400 QE.  I changed thread colours from  mid-blue at the top of the sky, light blue in the middle and cream near the grasses.

The grasses and flowers were free-motions appliquéd and quilted with matching thread colours.  I decided to bind it in similar colours to those in the quilt to have a border, but one that worked with the quilt.  You can see my scientific way of measuring those chunks of colour in the picture above.

And here's the finished quilt.  Once again my colours have been extra-saturated (I'm beginning to think it's the watermark program I'm using - time for an experiment I think).

Detail of the sky quilting.

Detail of the foreground Swallow.  He was done with coloured pencil and fabric medium on white fabric then cut out and appliquéd/quilted on.

And the pretty flowers, done in my hand-dyed fabrics.  I think the whole quilt has a completely different feel to it now - Spring rather than Autumn.  But I'm still interested in re-visiting my previous colour scheme.  However I won't be using those hills, I cut a few strips from them and used then in my Cerego 12 x 12 Purple Challenge quilt, the little pops of orange came from here!

And because I had to dig it out to photograph it, now I have this quilt hanging next to my sewing machine here on the boat.  Both Hubby and I love it, so I think it will stay for a while.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What'cha working on Wednesday

I could kick myself!  I was in such a hurry this morning to get my 12 x 12 Purple Colour Challenge entries into the mail (they have to arrive by Friday, I think I'll make it) that I didn't take a photo of my heron one.  I called it Dawn Ghost and now we are all going to have to wait until January, when I will see the exhibition that it will be hanging in.  I'll take a photo to share then.

In the meantime, this is what I'm working on:

I'm putting together a fabric palette for a new project.  Blogger is doing something to the saturation of my images, bumping it up a few notches, and I'm not sure how to fix that.  So if you mentally turn down the colour just a tad...  

I'm also doing some article writing, which is a new thing for me, but I'm enjoying it.  It's a bit more intense than blog writing (break out the grammar police!), but I think I'll get into a rhythm soon.

And I'm being watched over by these little guys.  They had a nest this spring under the dock where we are moored.  I could never see it, just hear them, and see Mum and Dad flying in and out.  The noise has ceased so I'm presuming they've all fledged, but I still see them around, zipping fast and free.  Beautiful.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Interview with Judi Schon, Convenor of the Auckland Festival of Quilts 2014

Judi Schon is a quilter from Auckland.  Judi is an award winning long-arm quilter, and runs a small business, Quiltsmith, quilting other people's quilts.  Judi is also this year's Convener for the Festival of Quilts, a big job, and I was interested in finding out more about how you go about organising a big quilting event like this.  Judi generously agreed to be interviewed and now I can share this interview with you.  Thanks Judi!

This is Judi's quilt, which we discuss in the interview.  It's called Inside Out, and is made from a design by Kati Spencer that was in the MQU Mag, Fall 2012.

Whoops, during the interview I get the dates of the upcoming Symposiums wrong.  Here's the correct dates and locations, and links for those that have web pages running:
2015 - Palmerston North
2017 - Christchurch
2019 - Auckland

It's a howling gale here today, perfect weather for staying inside and putting some stitches in cloth.  How's your weekend treating you?  I hope you have a great one, wherever you are and whatever you're doing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Crazy Cat Lady Tote and DUQ Cover Girl

I've had a productive week.  I don't know how it worked out like that, but I'm guessing having deadlines helps just a bit!  I've finished writing my midwifery standards review, completed a technical editing project and made a cat tote for a budding crazy cat lady.

My inspiration for this tote came from Pam at Hip to be a Square.  She said it was okay if I was a 'copycat'.  Sorry....couldn't resist.

I made if for my daughter's best friend.  The order was for a bag with cats on it, and her favourite colour is purple.  Done and done.  Shhhh, don't tell my daughter, but I'm making her one too so they can be all matchy matchy.  Didn't you do that with your best friend when you were seven?

Love me a stripey lining.  Just about as much as a stripey binding.

And what do we have here?  My very first magazine published pattern.  And I made cover girl!  Woot!  Now that they've published the photos, it'll come home, maybe in time for Christmas?  It's called 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and is a cute little wall hanging inspired by my favourite seasonal poem by Clement Clarke Moore.

The wallhanging has piecing, fusible appliqué and a little bit of stitchery.  If you are interested in making one of your own (I could imagine it with a snowy white background and red and green houses), you can get a digital copy of Down Under Quilts from here.

I'm working on editing my next podcast with another of my interviews from Festival of Quilts, but in the meantime, I'll leave you with this:

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
Mom in her kerchief and I in my cap
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter
Away to the window I flew with a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Gave a luster of mid-day to objects below.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer

With a little old driver so lively and quick
Well I knew in a moment, it must be St. Nick
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came
And he whistled and he shouted and he called them by name

"On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall
Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
When they meet to an obstacle mount to the sky
So up to the rooftop the coursers they flew
With a sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas too.

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing, the pawing of each little hoof
As I drew in my head and was turning around
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back
And he looked like a peddler just op'ning his pack

His eyes, how they twinkled, his dimples, how merry
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry
His droll little mouth was drawn up in a bow
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow

The stump of a pipe, he held tight in his teeth
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when laughed (ho, ho, ho, ho) like a bowl full of jelly (ho, ho, ho, ho)

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread

He spoke not a word but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings and turned with a jerk
And laying a finger to the side of his nose
And giving a nod up the chimney he rose

He sprang to his sleigh, and to his team gave a whistle
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle
But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight"

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

More quilts from Festival of Quilts

I thought I'd show a few pictures of some of the quilts that particularly caught my eye at the 2014 Auckland Festival of Quilts.  Of course the lighting makes it difficult to get great shots, but I hope you enjoy them anyway.  And I urge you to go to FOQ next year, up close and personal is the best way to view!

Show me the Honey by Rebecca Owen, hand-quilted and machine quilted by Judi Schon

Brainwaves by Robyn Rognstad

Caravan Quilt by Val Williams

Enchantment by Debbie Jones, Dragonfly Studio - Enchantment pattern

Pyjama Party by Annie White

Road Block by Annie White, 

Faceless Comrades by Alison Laurence

I wish I'd had more time to spend looking and browsing.  One thing I learnt - interviews take longer than you think!  But here are some blogs with more photos if you want to browse:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Interview with Catherine McDonald, Festival of Quilts

Friday 7th November was the opening day of the 2014 Auckland Festival of Quilts.  I have inside knowledge that festival goers were queueing up at the gate at least 20 minutes before opening time!

Best in Show.  Dockside Reflections by Alison Laurence.
I had a great time, travelling down with two of my quilt 'besties', browsing merchants, admiring quilts and catching up with quilt buddies from around the country.  I also had the privilege of interviewing three wonderful women who make quilting a big part of their lives.

Photo Credit: Aotearoa Quilters
My first interview was with Catherine McDonald.  Catherine was one of the three judges for the Festival.  Catherine is the president of Aotearoa Quilters, our National Association, and works hard to promote and support New Zealand quilting.  She is also part of the Distressed Threads trio, a small company producing and selling handmade fabric.

Catherine states:

"Quilting gives to me a fellowship, creativity and a connection to the feminine world.  Having grown up only with older brothers and having two wonderful sons, my quilts tend to be more masculine than pretty.

I love all forms of quilting but find that it is the artistic quilts that I want to make.  I find inspiration sometimes from the fabric I produce but more and more from personal feelings. 

Recently my work has reflected the impact the Christchurch/Canterbury earthquakes have had on me.

I am part of Distressed Threads trio and really enjoy seeing the results of the fabric we make and also how people use our fabric.  It’s a lot of fun.  I am the current president of our National Association, Aotearoa Quilters, and encourage all quilters to become members and help us grow.

As a judge I am concerned with colour usage, design and the use of quilting (does the quilting pattern fit the design of the quilt) and technique.  The piece has to work as a whole first and be interesting from afar as well as a close up inspection."

Catherine generously sat and talked with me about all things quilty and now I get to share this talk with you.  Thanks Catherine!

Catherine's work displayed at the Festival of Quilts