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, August 16, 2018

100 Days of Reworked Cloth 2018

My 100 days project for 2018 is more than halfway through, but I'm lagging behind a fair bit due to work commitments and holidays in Rarotonga.  However, I'm not feeling too bad about it because I've already had positive effects from my participation, and I anticipate more before the project is through.

One of the positives is that I've really resparked my dyeing practice.  I thought it would be difficult in this house we've moved into, but with a little bit of work and a fair few plastic drop sheets, I've found ways to make it work.

Dyed fabrics drying in my back deck dye 'studio'

Another of the positives is finding ways to sell my work.  I had some enquiries, so began a process of photographing pieces of hand dyed cloth and posting them in a shop section on my Facebook page.  It was a pretty easy thing to do that I'd been putting off because I thought it would be more difficult.  Turns out it's easy, and I'll be gradually adding more as the days go by.

(You can see what is listed here

The best positive is the notes I'm taking.  I have always taken notes on my dyeing, but not nearly as extensively as I should have, but I'm being very careful with this project and keeping good samples of the fabrics before I've changed them.  I can already see how useful this will be.

One of my favourite experiementations of my 100 days of reworked cloth so far is the overdyeing that I've done.

I began with the olive green fabric on the above left and ripped it into twelve pieces.  I then overdyed each piece with a full strength mixture of my most usual dye colours.  On the left, from top to bottom, is overdyeing with black, turquoise, mid blue and navy.

This one is golden yellow, lemon yellow, red and fuchsia.

And this last section is purple, bright green, grass green and sea green.

This lot inspired me to do further sets, using base colours of blue, yellow and red.

Above is the blue, with black, turquoise, mid blue and navy.  And below is the yellow and red with the same set of overdye colours.  It's so interesting to see how the different base colours effect the 'topcoat'.

I love how the two layers make the dyes so much richer and more interesting.

This won't just be useful for when I'm doing a complete overdye, but also if I want to print patterns with a second or third colour.

I also think I need to do some colour wheels and dilution scales, which is departing a little from reworked cloth, but it's my project, so I guess I can do what I like!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Quilty Weekend

Foyer window at Caccia Birch House

Last weekend was the Aotearoa Quilters (AQ) International Quilt Expo at Caccia Birch House in Palmerston North.  Caccia Birch is a beautiful old historic homestead with amazing wood panelling inside.  I could imagine taking tea in the parlour (said with a very posh accent) or taking my morning constitutional stroll around the grounds - my parasol up to protect my complexion of course... Although no need for that over the weekend!

AQ is the national association of quilters in New Zealand and we were having our AGM, so the hard-working committee organised an event around it.  There were great quilt exhibitions including the PINK colour challenge and the Art Deco challenge - both of which were exhibited for the first time and had the winners revealed.  The International Wonders of the World challenge was being shown for the last time in NZ before it heads to Europe, and the Hoffman challenge and the AQ travelling exhibition from Symposium were also there.

One wall of the Art Deco Challenge

This was my favourite of the Art Deco challenge entry.  Melanie Martin used blue velvet and metallic vinyl like fabric to create this art deco pattern.  Her mastery of such difficult materials was astonishing!

The winners - Sonya Prchal took out first prize.

There were three wonderful merchants:  Brother was the main sponsor and Fox Cottage were demoing their machines.  Plume was there and Jenny sold me the most wonderful inspiration book called 'Art Quilts International. Abstract & Geometric' by Martha Sielman.  Lastly, Fabric by Three were doing a good trade in their hand-dyed, colourful fabric.

Pink Challenge winners.  Sonya Prchal took out first prize in this one also - congrats!
This was my viewers choice, which I believe was by Lois Parish Evans.
Here's my pink entry, titled 'Flamingo Four Ways'
And the wall of pink!

I had the honour of being invited to be the guest speaker after dinner at the AGM and I'm really thrilled and relieved that it went down well!  I steered away from a more traditional trunk show or talk about my subject matter and chose to delve into a deeper conversation by discussing the future of in person quilt groups, including presenting the research findings from the little survey I posted a wee while back.  

It was Cook Island week, so there were Tivaevae classes running through the weekend.  I had a go and I think I got the hang of it after a bit of an ugly start!

Sunday saw more excited people coming through to view the exhibitions.  There was a cafe on site too, offering a cup of tea or bowl of soup and a piece of cake for those needing sustenance.  Then in the afternoon, the Golden Threads Quiltathon began!

Five teams were competing to make a cot quilt in 60 minutes.  We chose a mystery pack of fabrics donated by Tiffanies Fabrics and then off we went!

The Triple T Team - because we came from Top to Toe locations around the country.  From left to right: Fliss, Marie, myself and Bev.

Our winning cot quilt.

And our Triple T Team won!  It was a lot of fun with the lovely Robyn MCing, lots of jokes, a bit of sweat, thankfully no blood and five quilt tops that will be finished into quilts and then donated to Cozy Kiwi Kids to keep kids warm around NZ.

The next big AQ show will be The Great NZ Quilt Show, to be held in Rotorua March 8-10, 2019.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

This made me smile

It's such a lovely feeling when someone you don't know sends you a photo of a quilt they made from your pattern.

Femke, from the Netherlands, followed along with my Pacific Stars Mystery Quilt instructions that were posted over on Carol's Quilts last year and made her own beautiful version.

Here's what she says about it:

As promised I send you the result of my quilt inspired by last year’s The Mystery Pacific Quilt.  I renamed it as “The Mystery Forest Quilt” and although I knew the lay-out, I was surprised to see the entire quilt when all the blocks were finished.

I love how the use of colour can transform the mood of a quilt.  Femke has taken the pattern and made it her own and I'm really grateful she took the time to send me a photo.  Thank you Fem!

Here's a photo of my final layout just for comparison:

Saturday, June 30, 2018

100 Days Project 2018 - Reworked Cloth

Back in May I wrote about my upcoming 100 Days Project.  Well, it's started, and today is day 20.  My project is all about experimenting with adding layers of surface design over the top of my already hand-dyed fabric.  You can read more about how I came up with that project back on the original blog post.

I asked for suggestions for names and hashtags and Linda suggested #100daysoflayers.  I was going to use that (thanks Linda!) but it's already been used on Instagram for a few other things - beautiful things actually, you should go and search that hashtag when you've got a minute.  In the end I spent some quality time with my thesaurus and came up with #100daysofreworkedcloth.  Still a bit clunky, but at least it's all mine - so far.

Day One Fabric, before and after.

Twenty days means I'm one fifth of the way through, but I feel like I'm just getting started.  I've generated 20 new fabrics, but I've also generated many more ideas and questions and leads to follow.

For example, should I try every technique in high flow acrylic inks AND dye to compare the results?  Should I do one technique in multiple colour ways?  There's so many techniques available to me, should I simplify by just sticking to dye and not paint?  What if I used a foam roller rather than a hard brayer to spread the dye paste onto that leaf?

I'm not sure of any of the answers to those questions.  So I'm just continuing, with not much planning at this point, but having a lot of fun.

One thing I'm glad I did, is set up a good note taking process before I began.  I take a photograph of the fabric before I begin and snip a swatch to put in my book.  I make and create, and then once the fabric is finished, I photograph it again and snip another swatch.  In my journal I make extensive notes about what I did, the colours I used etc.

The process falls down sometimes when I forget to take a photo before I start, but I'm getting better at  working ahead a bit and photographing things in batches when the light is good.  At the end of the project I'll have a book full of 100 surface design samples, so I'll have something very concrete and usuable for years to come.

Day 10 Fabric, before and after.

Because I'm only doing one or two pieces a day I can spend some time considering my results more than I would if I had spent a whole day dyeing fifty pieces of fabric.  It's this musing that is leading to all the questions I talked about earlier.  Sometimes the project feels like it could grow exponentially (and out of control!)

I'll check back in when I have a few more favourite fabrics to share, but for now here's day 14 before and after, which I think is my most dramatic change, and day 4, which I think is my weirdest...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Quilty friends and a quick survey

There's this thing that most quilters do.  We get together in groups and we sit and stitch and talk and drink cups of tea and help each other out with patterns and discuss layouts and talk about our families and so on and so on.  You know what we are really doing?  We are building community and providing support.

Some of my favourite quilty friends!

I'm pretty passionate about this side of quilting and I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  I've been invited to speak at the Aotearoa Quilters gathering in Palmerston North on 4th and 5th of August (mark your calendars!) and, whilst no final topic has been chosen, this is one of the ideas I've been mulling over.

So to help me form my ideas and give me some concrete statistics, I put together a little survey.  It would really help me out if you could take a minute to complete these 10 questions for me.  And it really will only take a maximum of two minutes!  I'd prefer to get most of my results from NZ quilters, seeing as this will be most relevant to me, but thank you to those few overseas quilters who I know have already answered!

Create your own user feedback survey

Thanks so much for your time, now go and stitch something and call up that quilty friend of yours and invite them round to stitch too!


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Natural Wonders of the World Quilt Challenge

In April last year, Aotearoa Quilters were invited to take part in an international quilt challenge organised by a group in Japan and including quilters from France.  The idea was to have an overarching theme and 30 sub themes.  There would be 30 quilters from each country participating, each making a 50cm x 50cm quilt interpreting the sub theme they had been given.  The challenge theme was 'Wonders of the World' and the sub themes were places like Aoraki Mount Cook, Great Barrier Reef and the Northern Lights.  In the end there would be 90 quilts, with one from each country for each sub theme.

I was able to take part, and although my first pick (Moeraki Boulders) had already been snapped up, I got to choose Fjords.  Although this was meant to be Norwegian fjords, I felt a resonance with that theme because of the fiords (spelt without a j) we have in NZ.

The quilts travelled to Japan first and have toured several different venues there.  Now they are in New Zealand before they head to France, and I hear they will be in the UK as well.  I got a chance to see them in Wellington and was super impressed by the impact they made all together and now I hear they'll be coming to Whangarei - just down the road!

I thought I'd show you some of the process that I went through to get from theme to quilt.

Before I began I did a lot of research, looking at different types of fiords, u shaped valleys, images from fiordland and learning about how fiords are made (glacial activity).

I started by making some thumbnail sketches, you can see them to the left in the photo above.  The most important concepts that I wanted to convey were the impressiveness of the landforms and the sense of awe I had when I visited fiordland and Milford Sound a few years ago.  So I knew the fantastic shapes of the land had to be the focus and I wanted a quiet quality to the quilt too, which I thought I might be able to get through the colours.

Once I had the sketch I wanted, I drew an accurate sized pattern and then I auditioned fabrics from my hand-dyed stash.

When I had the colours I wanted, I pinned them up in an approximation of the final layout on my design wall so I could stand back and get a proper look.  I cut out a freezer paper copy of the pattern and used the pieces as templates.  The hills have a turned under edge, but the little shining edges are raw edge.

I auditioned quite a few fabrics for the sky.  I wanted a sense of light to be coming from behind the hills, so it took me a while to find the right sky and to get a feeling of light and shadow on the water.  I achieved the shadows and the water with layers of silk organza.

Bird life is important to me and a constant feature of my quilts, but I also wanted a bird in this quilt because fiords are a rich habitat, both here and in Norway, with many diverse species making them their home.  I chose a heron in the end, because it's a bird that can be found in both countries.

I also quilted in a couple of 'ghost' herons when I was doing the quilting.  I was thinking about indicating the loss of habitat and decline of species that we face all around the world.  I also like to put something subtle into my quilts that the viewer has to be paying attention to find!

Fiord by Charlotte Scott

So if you are anywhere near Reyburn House in Whangarei between 19 June and the 1st July, I urge you to go and see the show.  It's fascinating to see the different styles of quilting from the different countries and to see the three different interpretations of each theme.  I'm including a photo of the fjord quilt from Japan so you can see what I mean.

Fjord by Kazuko Funabasama

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Jenny Bacon Quilt Judge on The NZ Quilt Show

I was lucky enough to attend the recent Aotearoa Quilters education seminar in Wellington, New Zealand, to attend a three day intensive workshop titled ‘Judging at Quilt Shows’.  The tutor was well-known quilter, teacher and quilt judge, Jenny Bacon, who graciously made time during the weekend for an interview with me.

AQ Seminar attendees with Jenny in the middle in blue.

Jenny Bacon has been making quilts since the 1970’s when she took a class with the Embroidery Guild and learned to make a silk pincushion.  

Jenny makes traditional quilts, describing needle-turn applique and hand quilting as favourite techniques, but she also makes art quilts, where she uses traditional techniques in non-traditional ways.  She has won many awards and accolades for both styles of quilts.  

Jenny is also a certified judge with the Quilters Guild of the British Isles and has travelled widely to judge quilt shows, including in the UK and the US, as well as New Zealand and her homeland Australia. Jenny is also an accomplished exhibition curator, being heavily involved in the biennial Golden Textures quilt exhibition.  Jenny lives in Maryborough on the East Coast of Australia.  

Fyvie and Paula practicing their jurying skills on the Wonders of the World International Challenge quilts.

Thanks Jenny!  I learnt so much during the weekend and during the interview, and had a great time to boot!

Maree and I feeling proud with our certificates!

You can find more of Jenny on her website here, on Facebook here, and on Instagram here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

How I use plant prints in multiple ways in my art quilts.

I'm enjoying making videos of my art making processes.  They are home-made videos without a whole heap of post-production editing, they are not scripted, they contain bloopers, the camera moves occasionally, and the sound is not perfect.  But that also makes them fun and relatively quick to do.  Plus, we are all makers, so we enjoy seeing a bit of hand-made imperfection, don't we?!

This video features yours truly running through the way I take one flora or plant print that I like and then use it in several different ways in my textile art.  

Are you enjoying seeing my work processes?  Is there anything in particular you'd like to see me run through?

And, of course, if you'd like to see any of this in person, your guild could book me for a class!  I can put together personalised classes on any of the processes I use in my textile art, just email me here and we can discuss your club's needs.