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!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Journal Quilts

Journal quilts are generally small - often A4 size or 12” x 12”, are made regularly – weekly, monthly etc and are used as a way to experiment and to document.

Artist Rose Rushbrooke explains them well here.  And you can see her journal quilts there as well.

Quilter Jeanne Williamson: “I started making them because I was having trouble finding the time to make quilts and be creative about them. I felt blocked.”
“But then I thought about her little postcard-sized watercolour experiments and thought, “I could do this!”…Why not one quilt per week?”
“I definitely used the weekly quilts to document what was going on in my life…I also used the weekly quilts to try new materials and techniques.”

Quilter Maria Elkins: “I was one of those quilters energized by the Journal Quilt Project. This was exactly was I needed. For years, I have struggled to overcome a fear of failure. Now I was given the opportunity, the permission, even the directive to play.”

So why am I starting to make journal quilts? I love traditional quilts, the repetition of pattern can be both soothing and dynamic, the colours can be stunning, but generally the quilts that make me go, “Wow!” at quilt shows and on blogs are the non-traditional, the art quilts, the ones using interesting methods to convey thoughts and feelings.

But where to start? And how to continue? I have made a few ‘arty’ bits and pieces over the years and I love to experiment, although I don’t nearly do enough of it. So to get me started and to help me continue, I’ve decided to start making journal quilts.

I don’t think I’ll stick to a certain size and I can’t promise I’ll make one every week. But what I am going to do is regularly make a small experimental quilt. I will not get hung up on making something ‘perfect’ and I’m going to do my best to have fun!

"One." 10" x 15" October 2011
 And here is my first one. I layered scraps and fused some of them down. I free-motion appliquéd a shape that I made in a Jane Sassaman class over the top and free-motion quilted the background down. I used some hand embroidery stitches to create variety in the texture of the background and then I fused a binding that I had cut with a decorative cutter.

For me this was just fun, nothing precise, and it made me feel less frustrated that I haven't used any of the things I had done at the Remarkable Symposium. I have never fused a binding or used a decorative rotary cutter either.

And, just because it's so sweet it makes my teeth hurt, here is a drawing my four year old daughter did of her riding on her father's shoulders.  Awwwww!


  1. Good on you! Shall be interesting to see what you get up to. Of course, you already do much more "experimental" stuff than what I do - with different techniques and materials, so it can only get better!....and I thought it was a picture of a mummy with c-section smiley face - riding of daddy's shoulders is just so much more cuter.

  2. Hi, I came over by way of Raewyn over at Love to Stitch. Your art quilt is beautiful. I love all the colors and texture and admire anyone with this special talent. Oh and your little one's drawing is truly sweet!

  3. Love your journal quilt. They are very addictive ;o) I made them monthly for a couple of years, and then for the first half of this year I made one a week. That was a real challenge time wise for me and I decided it was unrealistic to carry on for the whole year but I think I will pick it up again at a more relaxed pace, cos it is such a great way to play with new techniques.


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