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!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

School holiday stitching

I'm sitting at the local public swimming pool watching my kids burn some energy.  It's school holidays, the two week break between the third and fourth term, and it's shaping up to be a busy one.

I should be at my house, sorting and packing, but there is only so much of that the kids can take before they drive me nuts, so the pool is good for all of us.  They get some entertainment and excercise, and I get some hand stitching time, which is highly therapeutic to my stressed and tired brain.

I'm embroidering on little squares of cotton batting that I hand dyed.  The threads are silk and stranded cotton and are hand dyed too.  Just little circles of different stitches, I guess it's a sampler really. Whatever it is, it's helping me keep my zen.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I hate cardboard boxes...

So this is the view this afternoon from my clothesline, up on the top deck.  It's HOT today.  I can feel the breath of summer on the breeze and I'm looking forward to a season of beaches, swimming and cruising the bays.  

If I turn around a bit I can see the beach where we walk.  I'm loving living down here, smack bang in the middle of a community.  It's a big contrast to living so rurally.  I get to say good morning to ten people before I've had breakfast sometimes.

However, while it's peaceful and beautiful outside, inside is another story.  We spent the first couple of weeks just moving in what we needed, taking it easy, getting used to it all.  Now we are working as hard as we can to clean out our house so we can get it tenanted (and get some rent coming in).  

So now my life is boxes, decisions and organising.  Ug.  It amazes me how much stuff we've collected over the last five years in our house - and I am not a hoarder either.  

My fabric and quilting studio equipment is causing a bit of a headache.  Thankfully my mother in law, who lives just up the road, has generously let me borrow cupboard space for fabric until I get a bit more sorted.  I'm seriously looking into renting some sort of studio space locally.  We'll see.

So still very little quilting being done, but I'm trying to be very zen about that.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Morning Walks

We're enjoying living on board.  It's been more than a week and we are getting the hang of it.  It's a bit like camping, you have to figure out processes and procedures to make life smooth - like where to tie the dog up at night so she makes the least noise on deck (did you know how loud a Lab can snore and toss and turn?).

My agility is increasing.  We are tied up to a stationary dock, meaning that the boat goes up and down with the tide, but the dock stays put.  We haven't a gangway (yet) and so we climb up or down to the boat as dictated by the water level.  Occasionally I have to balance on dock lines, using my weight to push them down and pull the boat close enough to get the dog on or off.

I've only dropped one bag of shopping in the water so far....

One of the things I'm most enjoying is the walks.  Having a dog on board necessitates several times a day walks, for reasons I'm sure you can imagine.  And it's a lovely part of New Zealand to walk in.

The kids are enjoying the walks too.  There is something magical about kids and beaches.  Sticks, stones, shells and anemones are all subjects of discovery and imagination.  If they are bored, grumpy or sad, the beach is a magical cure.

And the beach holds endless opportunity for me too.  I'm trying to remember to take my camera every time with the intention of photographing one thing.  Whether it be beautiful, interesting or inspirational, just one thing that I take time to really look at.

Yes, the ideas for quilts are numerous!

I'll leave you with a picture of MV Cerego.  This was taken by a friend who was in his own boat when we took her a quick sea trial while we moved her to her new berth.  She's cruising at 10 knots, about her maximum speed.  Isn't she beautiful?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Beginner Quiltmaking Classes

I'm sitting here in the wheelhouse of my boat.  It's our third night staying aboard.  I hesitate to say we've moved in completely because the majority if our stuff is still in our house.  Our plan is to collect the things we need day by day and after a couple of weeks, everything that is left in the house is either junk and can be tossed/recycled/donated or things that we won't need until we live in a house again (think wheelbarrow and rake) and can go into storage.  I think this is the lazy persons way of moving and downsizing, but it seems to be working!

So the reason that I'm telling you all that is to say I don't have internet hooked up for my desktop computer yet.  I have cellular access through my ipad, but the Blogger ap just doesn't compare for usability, and I can only upload photos that are on my ipad.  Meaning?  My blogging might be a little weird, and scant, for a while.  Bear with me.

But I did find a couple of photos on here that I want to share.  These are the table runners from my beginners classes that finished up a couple of weeks ago.

There are only four pictured as a couple of students couldn't make the final night.  But these four all got to the hand-stitching down the binding part and it was so cool to see the different runners evolve out of all the different fabric selections.  Each person had different challenges, but they all got there in the end.  Do you remember the first patchwork item you completed and were proud of?

I thought I might run a sampler class next time as everyone was keen on this idea.  Problem is, I'm not a traditional block sampler kind of girl so I'm thinking I might do a strippy type sampler instead.  I've been having fun looking at block books and thinking of the different skills each block needs and what I should incorporate.

Do you have any suggestions or ideas as to what skills you think beginners should learn?  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Kowhai Flowers

There's a Kowhai tree down the road that I keep my eye on.  When it flowers I know Spring is on it's way.  Kowhai (pronounced caw-fi, hear it here) is also the Maori word for yellow.  After the tree flowers, it develops woody pods with distinct circular divisions, each containing a hard seed that is also yellow.

The Kowhai is special to me.  We chose to give our daughter Kowhai as one of her names.  I love the yellow colour of the flowers, especially when they are against the bright blue of a sunny sky.

Yet yellow is the smallest pile of fabrics in my stash.  I like butter, daffodils, sunshine and buttercups.  Lemons, grapefruit, and fluffy yellow chicks.  And now I'm seeing a spring theme to all the things I'm writing down.  I think I'm hanging out for some warmer weather and sunshine, but until that happens maybe I can lift my spirits by petting some yellow fabrics instead.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Moonlight - My SAQA donation quilt

SAQA is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the art quilt and the artists who create them.  The SAQA benefit auction is held every year.  Members make and donate 12" x 12"  art quilts to be auctioned to raise funds and this auction starts soon.  On September 15th bidding will start on section one.  If you want to know more about how the process works - visit here.

I haven't been a member of SAQA long, but I've already found it a valuable resource, lots of interesting discussions, support, and exhibition opportunities.  So I made my first SAQA donation piece.

I had been making lots of moons for various experiments and had a soft yellow silk one on my design wall that I wanted to make a sky for.  I pulled fabrics and was most pleased with a bunch of hand-dyed silks I had made.

I sketched the 12 x 12 outline on parchment paper and the moon shape in the centre then collaged and fused the silk squares around those outlines.

But then I decided to audition a few other moons.  Too much choice!!  I wanted to convey the luminosity the moon gets sometimes, the beauty of her different phases and the feelings of a connection to the divine I get when I spend time out under the moon.

So this is the moon I chose to convey those feelings.  I finished it off with machine quilting to give the feeling of a winter halo and then used a facing to finish the edges.

If you'd like to see more donation quilts, and there are plenty of stunning ones, head over to the SAQA website and spend some time browsing.  My quilt is in section one.