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!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Little Bites of Creativity

I could go on about how busy life has been for me in the last few weeks, but hey, we ALL lead busy lives and busy-ness is overrated!

So instead, I thought I'd write about how I've been trying to squeeze in my quilting and art in little bits and pieces around the big chunks of 'life'.  I miss quilting and creating when I don't make time for it - I get a little grumpy - so I've had to think up ways to be creative in small bites.  And these small bites make a big difference to my mood.

So what have I found?

Handwork, in this case, embroidery on hand-dyed batting squares.  I can pick up my little embroidery kit and take a fair few stitches in 10 minutes.  I set myself a theme of circles so I don't have to think about what to stitch, I can just start.

Working in my sketchbook.  Particularly sketching on pages that are already prepared.  Or I can put together a collage of leftover practice mono prints on paper.  Me and my gluestick can make a beautiful composition in about five minutes flat!

Looking around at the world.  I can feel frustrated or I can let my imagination run wild while I'm busy painting white walls in my boat.  I can look at the ship's wheel and imagine how it would look on a quilt, superimposed over an image of the porthole.  And I can take photos of inspiring objects - whether it be for shape, pattern or colour - in about 30 seconds.

When I have a little more time, say 15 minutes, I can doodle free-motion quilting designs.  I often draw out the block I want to design a motif for and then I can draw over it in pencil until I find the right one.  I could do this on the computer too in a photo or drawing program, but pencil and paper are quicker and more portable round the house.

Then if I leave my quilt spread out under the sewing machine, I can sit down and quilt one block in about 10 minutes.  And those 10 minutes add up - all 28 of my 16 patches on my big blue and white quilt are now quilted.  It's time to move onto the 18 bordered square blocks.

How do you fit creativity into your life?


  1. I get grumpy when I haven't sewn in awhile, too! It is a NECESSITY to sew something, or do something creative every day for me. Funny how a few minutes at the machine cheer you up :)

  2. In answer to your question on fitting creativity into like - with great difficulty a the moment!!! Working on a plan though.
    Love your painted batt pieces, I have used these as a needle felting base, brilliant. It's good that even with all the work on the boat and life in general that you are still achieving on the quilting front.

  3. Great quilting sketches, I do lots of that too, you can come up with some good ideas.

  4. I think it helps to have a dedicated space set up - so when there is time, you can just get in there and do something! Even if it is only for a few minutes.

  5. Difficult at present but I did a weekend camp which helped even if I did forget where my darning foot had got to. Some of the house is starting to be more useful so may not be too long before the machine can come out again. :)


  6. Having little projects pre-planned is a great idea. When I get unexpected free time I feel at a loss as to what to do. I could spend 15 mins setting up a project, but I might only have 15mins free time, so I end up doing nothing.

  7. Interesting Charlotte, like you, those little shots of creativity are important to me; amazing how those little chunks of time all add up. And great that our brains keep working even if our hands are doing something else.


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