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, September 30, 2017

Gloria Loughman on The NZ Quilt Show Podcast

Gloria Loughman is a quilt artist who lives in Victoria, Australia.  She began patchwork about 30 years ago during recovery from chemotherapy for breast cancer.  Gloria studied for a Diploma in Art in 1996 and then began to make her large colour and light filled landscape quilts that she is most well known for. 

Kimberley Mystique by Gloria Loughman

Gloria has won many awards, including the Rajah teaching award in 2009, and the most prestigious Australian National award for her quilt ‘Kimberley Mystique’ in 2003.  Gloria is a trained secondary teacher and has taught her art quilting classes for many years.   She travels to teach extensively, with more than 20 countries under her belt.  

Gloria is also the author of four art quilting books (the most recent on architecture and house facades has just been released), she has a Craftsy class, has had many solo exhibitions and will be teaching at the NZ National Quilt Symposium in October.

One of Gloria's Linear Landscapes

We talk about Gloria's journey from learning to make traditional quilts through to being a full-time international art quilting teacher, artist and author.

Gloria paints and dyes and we talk about how she uses these fabrics in her quilt.  We talk about how she has evolved her style while keeping her voice and how her background in mathematics relates to her mosaic and patterned backgrounds.  And we learn about how important trying to capture light is to Gloria.

We chat about how important teaching is to Gloria and how much she enjoys seeing how students discover their potential in class.  And we also learn how Gloria fits in such a busy teaching schedule along with making her own work and spending time with family.

Coastline, Bruny Island, Tasmania by Gloria Loughman

Gloria has a new class and I get to hear about her experimental work that has lead to a new technique.  The quilt above is one of the samples for this and this is a sneak preview as it's not up on her website yet.  Lucky us!

Here are some links to topics that we talked about:
The Ananse Village damask fabric that Gloria uses can be found here
Howard Arkley is an artist that Gloria finds inspirational, along with Harold Coop and architect Harry Seidler.  Gloria also mentions Tom Thompson and The Group of Seven.   And Gloria cannot live without her (multiple) Sewezi Tables.

And this is where you can find more about Gloria and get in touch with her, including finding her teaching schedule: 

Thanks Gloria!

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 to help me produce the podcast, or consider advertising your business by sponsoring an episode.  

Email me at  Cheers!

Monday, September 25, 2017

What it's like to live on a boat

I read a blog post by Mary Fons today (she writes the best blog, by the way) about what it's like to live in a condo.  And I realised how utterly foreign that would be for me.  Doormen and garbage chutes (just calling rubbish garbage is foreign to me!).  So I've lived on a boat for three years, and I realised how utterly foreign that would be to someone who lives in a condo.

So do you want to know what it's like to live on a boat?  Well, my boat in particular, because certainly there are boats and then there are boats.  And my boat is tied to a wharf most of the time, not floating in the wild sea or bobbing on a mooring.  It's not a sailing yacht or a super yacht, but it's home.

  1. I sometimes hear penguins at night and they sound like donkeys.
  2. I hear seagulls ALL the time and they sound like seagulls.
  3. It's a lot noisier than you might think.  I have a set of earplugs next to my bed because I need them when the gangplank squeaks.  Or it's particularly windy and waves are slapping the hull beside my head.  Or we forgot to tie the dog up and she has insomnia and her little claws are click, click, clicking around on the deck above me.  Or the seagulls and the penguins are having a party.
  4. We need more fiddles.  Fiddles are the raised edges on benches and shelves that you have on boats to stop things sliding off when it rocks from side to side.  Last time we took the boat out I realised we need more of fiddles, more tie downs, more latches, and then hopefully we will have less stuff on the floor.
  5. We don't get power cuts.  When the houses on shore lose power because someone has crashed a car into a transformer or a tree has fallen on a line, we don't notice because our system automatically switches over to using the boat batteries. 
  6. But you can't use the microwave and the heater at the same time because the fuse blows.
  7. There are rust stains on all our bedlinen.  Old wooden boats leak and we are always finding tiny leaks and fixing them.  These are rain water leaks that find an old bolt or something and just a tiny bit of water runs down it, picks up a bit of rust and whammo, there is a drop of rust stained water on a pillow or a duvet cover.  It sucks.
  8. If we want to go away for the weekend, we can just throw the ropes and leave!  No packing a car or a camper van, no booking motels or putting up tents.  My home is totally portable and that is pretty cool.  We just need to make sure we've have got enough groceries, fuel and bait for fishing and we're good to go.
  9. But it's all dependent on the weather.  Bad weather and boating just don't mix.  And if you forget to shut the portholes before you leave and there is a bit of a swell running, ugh.  
  10. I'm a lot more aware of weather and tides.  When it's a really low tide, the gangplank is on such a steep angle that I take off my high heels if I'm wearing them to traverse the gangplank.  Some people won't visit us on board if it's like that and I don't blame them.  The dog can't make it up - she slips and slides and yes, she has fallen off into the water.
  11. I have really interesting ceilings.  There are planks and bolts and beams and funny shaped bits of wood that I think are called knees (or is it elbows?)
  12. I can tie a bowline knot.
  13. I get seasick, but since living on a boat I'm much better, except I can't use the computer or read a book when there is an easterly wind because that makes us bounce around a bit.
  14. The beds are a pain to make because they are tucked into corners.  The kid's beds are particularly weird shapes because they are fitted to the hull and they are up in the bow where the boat is pointy.
  15. If you leave lightweight things lying on the deck there's a good chance they might end up in the water.

And it's cool fun to live here, and so different, I'm glad I gave it a chance.  But the kids are getting bigger.  My son is almost as tall as me and his feet have been bigger than mine for ages.  It's starting to feel a little cramped when four of us are trying to use the galley all at the same time.  

I can see a time in the future when we will move off the boat and look back on our time here with fondness and nostalgia.  But for now, this is home.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Shirley Mooney on The New Zealand Quilt Show Podcast

Shirley Mooney has been quilting and creating for more than twenty years.  She is adventurous, experimental and prolific – her personal motto (and name of her blog) being ‘don’t wait to create’!

Shirley has a profound love of colour and texture and this is evident when you see her many quilts featuring fabric manipulation either with 3D piecing or fabric weaving, her innovative use of bold striped fabrics, or her eye-catching kaleidoscope blocks.

Shirley's Quilt As You Go class sample.

Not only a quilt maker, Shirley also knits, crochets, garment sews, felts and lately has taken up weaving.  She is also a well-known teacher and is constantly evolving new classes for her students – she is full of energy and loves to inspire and motivate.  Shirley believes there is a masterpiece inside everyone!

Shirley and I have a fun conversation about how she learned to quilt and why she is so interested in learning new skills.  We talk about one of her earliest quilts that she made for her husband that she is currently unpicking and requilting due to a bit of a shrinkage issue.

Shirley's husband's quilt that is currently having a makeover.

We talk about Shirley's style, which rather than a particular 'look', is more about being bold, being innovative, trying new things and pushing the boundary's of what you can do with a technique - and always being colourful!

Hundreds and Thousands by Shirley Mooney - made with dimensional bow-tie blocks.

Shirley is part of the team at The Wellington Sewing Centre and we discuss how much Shirley loves her job working amongst yarn and fabric and how a professional development push from her boss, Jo, made her take a weaving class - which has now become a new passion!  Shirley gives us an insight into what's happening with craft in the community and how keen young people are to learn new skills - even macrame!

One of Shirley's weaving projects

Shirley is teaching three classes as The Quilt Symposium Christchurch 2017.  Stacking Bowties, a dimensional quilt block class; Weaving Kiwi-Style; making meshwork and weaving with fabric strips; and Quilt As You Go, learning a quilt as you go technique to help when making big quilts.

Shirley's Kimono Quilt, Winner of Best of Country at the World Quilt Show, incorporating meshwork..
Shirley's must have in her studio is a design wall.  She uses bumph (curtain insulating from Lewis's) as her design wall and thinks it's better than quilt batting for holding blocks.

Shirley loves her 90 degree angle nosed tweezers. 

And her last recommendation is a sewing machine needle caddy by Clover that keeps her used needles organised.

You can reach out to Shirley through her blog: 
or you can find her at Instagram at 
Her email is

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!

Friday, September 1, 2017

The 100 Days Project

The 100 Days Project is over for another year.  This year I had a big stretch where I was as the uggh stage of my project; the 'have to push through' stage.  There was also the 'this is awesome!' stage; the 'I didn't know I could do that' stage; the 'what the heck do I do today?' stage; and the 'I haven't done anything for ages so now I need to do three in one day' stage.

I started the 100 days project again this year after having a very satisfying experience with last year's.  I didn't get all my days done last year, but I felt like I had really achieved something personally with my art.  My theme had been 100 days of faces and I thought I might get to the stage where I was comfortable with drawing faces and using them in my quilts.  I did get really comfortable with faces and I felt I was even reaching a point where I could narrow in on my style - I felt this was a pretty big accomplishment.

So this year I was really excited to get going on another 100.  I chose 100 days of scissors, wanting to see if I could find my voice with free hand paper cutting, with the hope that I could transfer this to my fabric cutting later.

And I have had several stretches of days where I've really thought I had cracked something.  There was a stretch when I was doing branches, I loved almost every one of them, but then I felt I couldn't keep going with them because I thought I'd exhaust myself with them on paper without ever getting them into fabric.  Was that a legitimate worry?

I spent a span of days trying to find a symbol that worked for me.  That was after seeing Dinner at Eight artists share their work that was accepted for a themed show 'Personal Iconography: Graffiti on Cloth', and wondering if I had any particular personal symbols that I could incorporate into more of my work.  Turns out I don't think I do...

So I pushed through and just kept turning up, because that is what it's all about.  Turn up, do the work, form the habits, see what happens.  Sometimes I'd cheat though, and I'd do several days in one go, which helped me work in a kind of series with whatever subject I'd picked.

But mostly I just kept trudging on.  And now we have reached the end of the process.  I'll let you in on a little secret though: I haven't done day 100.... I bought two sketchbooks in the beginning - a black one with 40 pages and a white one with 60.  I must have ripped out a page, or the manufacturers were telling fibs because at day 99 I ran out of pages!  Somehow I just can't bring myself to work on any other surface!

Overall it doesn't feel quite as satisfying as last year - the experience was positive, there are pieces of work that I like and that I want to explore more, but I guess I just don't feel like I reached the same stage as I did last year.

But that's ok, I'll be back for next year's 100 days, because the process teaches you so much, even if you don't reach the creative levels you hoped for.  And now, looking at the photographs of all the work laid out end to end, I'm proud of myself.  That's a good feeling.  I'll be back for a second helping next year.

Here's what day 99 looked like:

And here's the whole project in lots of 20 (you don't see the whole pictures, just thumbnails, and sometimes oddly cropped):