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!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Procrastination by Unicorn

I have upcoming deadlines.  But none of them are absolute.  I haven't got a contract, I haven't promised anything to anyone, they are just things I 'should do', or perhaps 'could do' is more accurate.

For example, Aotearoa Quilter's Great NZ Quilt Show is coming up in March next year (mark your calendars - it's on 8th to the 10th March, in Rotorua, which is a great place to visit.)  The deadline for submitting a quilt is 14th February 2018.  Ages away, right?!  Well, not so, when I factor in upcoming travel, Christmas, camping and work.  I really only have a few weeks to work on something new, and I have a couple of other exhibitions I'd like to enter too, and they have similar deadlines.

So am I knuckling down and getting to it?  Nope.  I'm playing!

If you didn't already know, I sell a dragon applique pattern on Etsy.  I've had it there for years (I made the dragon quilt for my son's sixth birthday and he's now 14) and it ticks away nicely, giving me a little passive income for the original work I put in to drawing and writing it up.

Now that Dear Hubby is semi-retired, I'm looking for ways to boost our income a bit, without me having to drastically up my midwifery work.  And I've always wanted to make a unicorn....

But unicorns aren't serious!  They're flighty, silly work that 'real artists' wouldn't do, right?!  Well, stuff it.  Real artists have gotta eat, and if I can make a buck or two from some fun, flighty, silly work, then it's still work in my mind.  And if can give someone joy by helping them make a unicorn for a grandkiddy or someone else special, then that's pretty satisfying too.

I started by drawing.  I looked at lots of images of horses and sketched parts from several that appealed, putting them all together into a pleasing image.  Then I added the flourishes like the horn and fluffy hooves and the glamorous 'blowing in the wind' mane.  It took several hours, on and off, to get it looking exactly how I wanted it.

Once the sketch was finalised, I tidied it up and used my photocopier to enlarge it to the size I wanted.  Then I traced each section, working out the order of what piece would go under or over it's neighbour (neigggghhhhbour....sorry, couldn't resist!)

Then it was fun with fabric time!  My first layout was pretty good.  I used a couple of my ombre/variegated hand-dyed fat quarters, which worked really well.  But once I looked at him in a photograph, I realised I wanted more contrast in the mane.  Luckily I hadn't ironed anything down (I'm doing fusible raw-edge applique) and I was able to swap out a couple of mane sections for a lighter colour.  Much better.

Then I worked on the background.  He needed a place to stand on, and who doesn't look dramatic silhouetted against the full moon?

Next I'll be stitching him down and quilting, and then finishing him off as a wall hanging.  And lastly I'll write him up as a pattern and get him all loaded up ready for sale....but maybe not before I procrastinate by unicorn a little more.  After all, we need to know what he'd look like in a different colour way!


  1. He is definitely a beauty and I'm pleased to read that he will eventually be available as a pattern, I would certainly love to make one!

  2. Wow!!!! The unicorn is awesome and I'll be keeping an eye out for the pattern as I've mentally tucked away the $$ and already thinking of colors. My granddaughter loves unicorns & she will love this pattern.

  3. Nothing wrong with the odd unicorn :) He's gorgeous BTW.

  4. I think a dragon and a unicorn will go very well together and unicorns are so popular right now! They seem to come and go in popularity, but never becoming unpopular. Love the blue body and mane. I see a pink mane on a unicorn at some point.

  5. PS I wonder if your dragon and unicorn would be good panels at Honest Fabrics?

  6. Looks like a unicorn-ess (female counterpart?). Surprised you had felt limited by your own "art" parameters... I don't see this as selling your soul to feed your drug habit or anything... nothing wrong with a bit of make believe, but this is definitely Charlotte worthy art.


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