This blog is a bit of a ramble through my life. There's a lot about quilting and textile arts, a sprinkle of my family life and some of my thoughts and ponderings. We currently live aboard an old wooden 1945 Navy boat, called MV Cerego, so you'll find me writing about that too. Welcome aboard!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Adding to the Fabric Stash

I'm not a big one for buying fabric.  I used to be and, probably like all beginner quilters, I was pretty indiscriminate, buying anything and everything, especially if it was on sale.

Now I make a lot of the fabric I use in my art - usually hand-dyeing and sometimes painting.  And I've culled my commercial stash over time down to fabrics that still appeal.  I use them to make more traditional quilts, gifts, or functional items.  But I still add to the hoard from time to time when something particularly calls my name.  After all, I still love a beautiful fabric!

One of my quilting BFF's and I took a trip to two of our closest quilt shops (an hour long drive) recently when I had to get my machine serviced.  Of course we browsed and of course I heard the siren call of some fabrics.

I think a lot of them are Alison Glass (but they are fat quarters so the selvedges are not always complete), there's a Moda Grunge fabric and the yellow flower print is a beautiful linen.

The Alison Glass fabrics caught my eye first and then I pulled fabrics to fit in with them, then added to the collection from the second shop.  Playing with fabrics can sometimes take me hours, but this pile only took about 30 minutes to finalise.  Something about it worked right from the beginning.

And now I have to find or design a pattern to use them with.  I've been looking at the quilt currently spread on our bed and thinking that it's time to change it up a little, and this collection will be perfect, as long as I can come up with the right quilt design.  Something that makes the most of the fabrics.

So, does anyone have any suggestions?  I'm currently thinking 60 degree triangles, with some triangles big and some made of several smaller ones - varying sizes but all fitting together - if that makes sense.  But if anyone has any other brilliant suggestions - let me know!

Meanwhile, if you need me, I'll be petting my new fabrics.....

Monday, August 14, 2017

Screenprinting for Beginners (Me!)

Kings Theatre Creative is a local creative community space and art gallery in Kawakawa, Northland (home of the famous Hundertwasser public toilets).  I've had quilts hanging there as part of their exhibitions, and sold at least three, woot!!

As part of their Winter program they've organised some one-day creative workshops.  One of them was Introduction to Screenprinting.  I jumped at the chance to get a hands-on with a teacher who really knows the ins and outs of this technique, because I've dabbled in it a little on my own, but there comes a point where you really need proper instruction.

Jasmine was our teacher and she hails from Te Kowhai Print Trust in Whangarei - a facility with traditional and modern printing equipment and techniques, established to teach and support people of all ages in the art of printmaking.

I had a blast and learnt so much!  We started by having the process explained to us with a simple example that Jasmine had constructed.  We watched her pull a print from one layer of stencil and it got us all itching to get stuck in.

But first we all had to draw our own drawings and create newsprint stencils from that.  I chose a cormorant drawing that I've used before in my quilts as an appliqué motif, but thought it would lend itself nicely to a screenprint stencil.

In the photo above, you can see the original sketch top left, then the tracing I took off it with colour notes bottom left, and on the right are two of my newsprint stencils.

Then we were allowed to start printing!  It was really interesting to see everyone's drawings come alive with the layers of stencils.  My first two stencils were of the tiny yellow and blue eye details of the cormorant so were not very exciting, but once I started layering on the wings and body, I couldn't stop grinning!

I have a lot to learn and of the ten prints we made, probably only four of them are of a standard that I'm really pleased with.  But not too bad for a first go!

My quilty friend, Suz, pointed out that she can see a lot of influence in this from my 100 days of scissors and paper cutting project that I'm doing.  And I agree.  It's interesting how much unconscious crossover there is when you start comparing the different strands of your creative projects.

So yay!  I can see more screen printing in my future.  In exactly what form I'm not sure, but now I know more of the ins and outs, I'm confident to try it again and continue my learning.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Quilt Symposium Exhibition Convenor Maria Rohs on The New Zealand Quilt Show

I contacted Maria Rohs, the exhibition convenor of the NZ National Quilt Symposium happening in Christchurch in October 2017, and she was happy to come on the show and give us a rundown of how the exhibition is shaping up and the work that she and her committee and been doing up until now.  

Maria and her team have been working incredibly hard getting the venues organised, the judges sorted, and the categories prepared.  But it didn't stop there!  The entries flowed in, then the jurying had to happen.  Once quilts were accepted they began to arrive and needed sorting.  Professional photography needed to be done and soon the official judging will happen.  Then, in next to no time, the exhibition will need to be hung, prizes awarded and then after a flurry of viewing days and it will all be over!

Maria and I discuss how the online entry system worked, who the judges are, how the jurying and judging processes will work and how she will feel once the exhibition is finally up.  We talk about the venues and all the complementary exhibitions that will happen at the same time.

The themes of this year's symposium exhibition are:

Creative Construction – A Story in TextilesColin McCahon said that art has to be about something. Tell a story. 

Cultural Connection – Celebrating Our New Zealand Cultural DiversityMake a quilt that expresses an aspect of New Zealand’s cultural diversity and / or identity. Consider what it means to be a New Zealander.

RecycledEven by 2017 many Christchurch residents will be sick of waiting to have their homes and city rebuilt and repaired.  Make a quilt entirely of recycled materials (excluding batting and thread) depicting a building. 

OpenAny quilt made since 1 February 2015.

World War 1 – Postcards from the FrontDuring WW1 silk embroidered postcards were created by French and Belgian women to sell as souvenirs to soldiers fighting in Europe. It is estimated 10 million were made and posted home.

The Best in Show is sponsored by Bernina, and there is a wonderful list of other prizes sponsored by amazing businesses and groups.  See here for the full list of prizes and and sponsors.

Maria was generous with her information and time and I learnt a whole heap about what has been happening behind the scenes to put together a national exhibition.  Thanks Maria!

PS - If you know of any exhibitions or shows or anything interesting coming up in the quilting or textile art world, please let me know so I can share the news on the show.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Thank you to everyone who supports this podcast and helps me tell the stories of our quiltmakers, artists and professionals.  If you would like to support me, head over to iTunes and leave a five star review, pop over to my podbean hosting site and leave a donation, or consider advertising your business by sponsoring an episode.  Email me at  Cheers!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bridget Macfarlane on the Capital Quilters 12 x 12 Exhibition - The NZ Quilt Show

I reached out to Bridget Macfarlane, quilter from Wellington, and asked her to give me an insight into the Capital Quilters 12 x 12 exhibition currently running at the Hutt Arts Society until the 13th August.

I first met Bridget on Instagram and enjoyed seeing her modern quilting style and interactions with other Wellington quilters.  The photo below is one of Bridget's quilts that we discuss during our chat. She uses her hand-dyed fabrics in such a graphic, modern way - I love it!

Winter Sunset at Makara by Bridget Macfarlane 

The book we talk about is Modern Color by Kim Eichler-Messmer.  Bridget used this book as inspiration when she has been experimenting with hand dyes.

Once we finish discovering a bit about Bridget, we get into discussing the exhibition itself.  There were 12 different categories that people could enter, but they could pick and choose which ones or enter all of them (only one person entered a quilt in every category!).  The twelve categories were:

1. Pink
2. Flora & Fauna
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
4. Round the World
5. Kiwiana
6. Through the Lens
7. Celebrations
8. Buildings
9. Friendship


157 quilts were entered by 50 members of the club - a fantastic amount of quilts and a great participation rate!  The judge was Kirsten Duncan, one of the 'twelves' - a participant in the original 12 x 12 internet based art quilt challenge that resulted in the book "Twelve by Twelve: the International Art Quilt Challenge". 

We talk about a few of the quilts in the exhibition itself.  The Best in Show winner was Lyn White with Light Show at the Museum.

Bridget won first in the pink category with her 'not very pink' quilt.

photo by Bridget Macfarlane

And she also won a merit in the reduce, reuse, recycle category with her painted doily quilt.

photo by Bridget Macfarlane

Jan Nankivell (I hope I've spelt your name right, Jan), was the winner of the reduce, reuse and recycle category and used hundreds of pre-loved staples to create this image of the elephant!

photo by Bridget Macfarlane

We discuss Adrienne Read's quilt in the bedazzled category with it's interesting fringe and fabric collage.

photo by Bridget Macfarlane

The quilt below is one of my favourites - Lyndy Young's entry in the flora and fauna category.  Such a graphic and striking image of her cat, Mr Marco.

photo by Bridget Macfarlane

We also discuss Rayna Clinton's clever quilt that won the through the lens category.

photo by Bridget Macfarlane

If you'd like to see more quilts or learn more about Capital Quilters, head over to their blog

And you can visit Bridget at her Instagram feed

Thanks for taking the time to chat to me Bridget!

Thank you to everyone who supports this podcast and helps me tell the stories of our quiltmakers, artists and professionals.  If you would like to support me, head over to iTunes and leave a five star review, pop over to my podbean hosting site and leave a donation, or consider advertising your business by sponsoring an episode.  Email me at  Cheers!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mathea and Charlotte's Favourite Things - The NZ Quilt Show Episode 44

Mathea Daunheimer of Esparta Fiber Arts is my guest today and we have a conversation about her new long arm machine - so exciting! - and then we get into our lists of favourite studio tools or things that we just couldn't do without.

Mathea and I (in front of our respective quilts) at Auckland Festival of Quilts

*This is not a sponsored post - we are recommending these things because we use and love them, not because we are getting paid!*

We recommend:

Karen Kay Buckley scissors.  I have two pairs of the blue handled 6" ones for appliqué and Mathea has a favourite pair of red handled curved blades snips.  They have micro serrations, sharp slim points and soft flexible handles - brilliant!

picture borrowed from Karen Kay Buckley
Machinger quilting gloves by Quilters Touch when we are quilting on a sit-down domestic machine.  They fit well, have rubberised fingertips, breath ok and are invaluable for easing hand strain by improving your grip and control of your quilt top when quilting.

photo borrowed from Quilters Touch website
We talk about the necessity of having good quality, non-slip rulers.  Mathea likes the Olfa brand with the frosted bottom.  You can still see the lines clearly, but they are less likely to slip.

photo borrowed from
I recommend taking the time to make a large pressing surface.  I made mine from a small trestle table and layers of cotton batting and I love the added space it gives me.  You can read more about mine in this blog post I wrote about it.

We both like Clover self-threading needles for burying threads into our quilt tops.  But we do recommend you use the correct size for the thread you are burying or they can shred your thread.

photo from
I recommend Sew Mate bobbin boxes for storing bobbins.  They have closed cell foam lining so it grabs the bobbin when you push it in.  This means no unravelling in the case, no falling out of the case and the case itself is softer plastic with round corners meaning it doesn't shatter when you drop it.

Mathea recommends Superior Threads for pre-wound bobbins and lots of information about thread and needles etc.

I recommend Sewline ceramic marking pens for marking my quilt tops before quilting.  The mark goes on, stays on while you need it and then comes off when you want it to!  They have different coloured leads for different coloured fabrics and I tend to just use the white and the green.

photo from

And we both recommend a sharp rotary cutting blade - go on, try changing your blade and enjoy the sensation!

Mathea's best contact, if you are interested in contracting her for long-arm services, is either her Facebook page or her email:

Thank you to everyone who supports this podcast and helps me tell the stories of our quiltmakers, artists and professionals.  If you would like to support me, head over to iTunes and leave a five star review, pop over to my podbean hosting site and leave a donation, or consider advertising your business by sponsoring an episode.  Email me at  Cheers!

Download this episode (right click and save)