This blog is a bit of a ramble through my life. There's a lot about quilting, a sprinkle of my family life and some of my thoughts and pondering. We are currently renovating an old wooden 1945 Navy boat and intend to live aboard, so you'll find me writing about that too. Welcome aboard!

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.



Friday, August 29, 2014

Little Bites of Creativity

I could go on about how busy life has been for me in the last few weeks, but hey, we ALL lead busy lives and busy-ness is overrated!

So instead, I thought I'd write about how I've been trying to squeeze in my quilting and art in little bits and pieces around the big chunks of 'life'.  I miss quilting and creating when I don't make time for it - I get a little grumpy - so I've had to think up ways to be creative in small bites.  And these small bites make a big difference to my mood.

So what have I found?


Handwork, in this case, embroidery on hand-dyed batting squares.  I can pick up my little embroidery kit and take a fair few stitches in 10 minutes.  I set myself a theme of circles so I don't have to think about what to stitch, I can just start.


Working in my sketchbook.  Particularly sketching on pages that are already prepared.  Or I can put together a collage of leftover practice mono prints on paper.  Me and my gluestick can make a beautiful composition in about five minutes flat!


Looking around at the world.  I can feel frustrated or I can let my imagination run wild while I'm busy painting white walls in my boat.  I can look at the ship's wheel and imagine how it would look on a quilt, superimposed over an image of the porthole.  And I can take photos of inspiring objects - whether it be for shape, pattern or colour - in about 30 seconds.



When I have a little more time, say 15 minutes, I can doodle free-motion quilting designs.  I often draw out the block I want to design a motif for and then I can draw over it in pencil until I find the right one.  I could do this on the computer too in a photo or drawing program, but pencil and paper are quicker and more portable round the house.

Then if I leave my quilt spread out under the sewing machine, I can sit down and quilt one block in about 10 minutes.  And those 10 minutes add up - all 28 of my 16 patches on my big blue and white quilt are now quilted.  It's time to move onto the 18 bordered square blocks.

How do you fit creativity into your life?