Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Country Calls

It's been really hectic and busy at my place lately. There have been some trying times with three deaths within our close family and friends in the last two weeks. During that time we had a violent wind storm and we were without power for 42 hours. The nights were worst because it was so dark without even street lights for a glow around the house. We went out to dinner for both nights and took all our food from the fridge and freezer to our daughter's house, luckily she lives very close by and she has a spare fridge. I also went to her place for a shower and to wash my hair before one of the funerals.

Just before all this happened we found out that we had a drainage problem with cracked pipes and a blockage and part of our paving had to be dug up and repairs made to our drainage system. We had a plumber here for 5 days and it cost $8,000!

I feel as if we have come out on the other side of the drama and life is getting back to normal now.

The latest Quilters Companion Great Australian Quilts no. 7 has arrived at newsagents and I have a project in it called Country Calls.

Quilters Companion Great Australian Quilts no.7
The front cover features Sue De Vanny's fun emu project.

Quilters Companion contacted me earlier this year and asked me to make a crazy quilted wall hanging with an Australian theme.

Country Calls ©2016 Linda Steele
I used the motifs from my previous crazy quilts but I had to work quickly because magazines are always running to a tight schedule. I got it sent to them a couple of days before the deadline.

I included all the instructions for foundation piecing the background and a full size pattern but for some reason they didn't publish it and just wrote that knowledge of foundation piecing is assumed!

It is set out nicely and includes some close up photos over 7 pages of the magazine.

Here are some photos that I took of the project.

The magazine is good value with projects by Sue De Vanny, Deb Layt, Dijanne Cevaal and
 Margaret Rowe, who writes the Australian based quilting novels and as well as lots of other projects.

I am sure you won't be disappointed.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A Time for all Seasons-Summer

This year I finally finished my Seasons quilt.

A Time for all Seasons©2016 Linda Steele

Summer in Australia can be quite hot and where I live we have a lot of agapanthus in our gardens. Sunflowers, roses and butterflies are also in abundance and I put them into my summer block.

Summer block

We also have some lovely sunsets and of course bush fires so I included those themes in the quilt as well.
I decided on a underwater theme for my sunset block, mainly because I am often on holidays overlooking water when I photograph the beautiful sunsets.

Sunset Block
Summer sunset detail

We have had some devastating bush fires in Australia and it was a bit eery at times when I was making this block. I embroidered Australian animals on the block, fleeing or looking scared of the fire.

Summer Bush-fire block.
I used felt and the embellishing machine to make the fire in the centre of the block. You can read about how I made it my clicking on this bush-fire link from a blog post in October 2015.

Here is a photo showing the summer corner of the quilt.

I also included summer in the bottom of the centre clock.

We often have an Ibis or two eating some grass in our backyard during summer especially after some summer rain.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Elements of Design-Texture

All year the Waverley Art Quilters have been studying the Elements of Design using the Sandra Meech book Connecting Design to Stitch.

The last element to study was Texture. Texture is an important element in quilting and textile work, it can provide interest and variety and it can also add realism to a quilt.

There are two types of texture;

Tactile texture is how the cloth or surface feels; silk and wool are good examples of tactile texture.

I use a lot of tactile texture in my crazy quilts and my underwater quilts.

Under the Reef detail showing texture

Under the Reef starfish using wool and beads

Under the Reef detail, using silk for the blue fish

Visual texture is implied by the pattern on the fabric, especially fabrics that have rocks, stones, flowers and grasses printed on them.

Here is a photo of the background of one of my underwater quilts, the fabrics I chose have a lot of visual texture.

Under the Reef background
I have spent the last few months embroidering some coral texture onto felt for a future underwater quilt. It's quite amazing how long these little corals take to make.

Next year we are going to study the Principles of Design using the Sandra Meech book.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


The Edgar Degas exhibition has been on all winter at the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria). The Waverley Art Quilters thought that this was a good opportunity to learn more about Degas and make a quilt inspired by his work or technique.

Degas was born on the 19th July 1834 into a wealthy banking family. He decided to abandon Law school and attended the Beaux-Arts school in 1855. He believed that drawing was the foundation of a good painting.

Family Portrait (Bellelli Family)- Degas  

He studied the old masters but soon realised that they were out of date and started befriending his contemporaries like Courbet and Manet who believed that art should reflect real life. Consequently Degas exhibited in every Impressionist Exhibition except for 1882.

Degas would always carry a sketchbook to capture modern day scenes and would frequent cafes and music halls for inspiration.

Degas is famous for capturing a person or animal in unusual angles, this was something new back then. He was also an enthusiastic photographer which helped him examine the movements of racehorses.

Many Degas paintings depict naked women going about their everyday tasks like washing or combing their hair. He is also well-known for his ballet portraits.

Rehearsal at the Opera-Degas 1872
Degas did not need money and so he preferred to keep his paintings, this meant that his paintings became very valuable because they were rarely for sale.
Towards the end of his life he started to lose his eyesight and became more comfortable with sculpture until he stopped work altogether in 1908.

He was known to be unfriendly and disagreeable and died on the 27th September 1917, famous in his own lifetime.

I decided to keep with my underwater theme even when being inspired by Degas! From a distance his ballerina paintings look pretty but when you go closer the faces look contorted and a bit ugly. Degas wanted to paint ballerinas at work when they were tired or stretching.

The Leafy Sea Dragon came to my mind because although they can look so pretty and ethereal when you look closer they can be a bit ugly.

Degas used oil pastels and I had some fabrics that looked a bit softer and more pastel-like that were perfect for my quilt.

Leafy Sea Dragon ©2016 Linda Steele

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Houston Silent Auction 2016- The Reef

Every year for a few years now I have been invited to donate a quilt to the Houston Quilt Show Silent Auction. I try to make one every year as it's an honour to be asked and I am happy to support such a wonderful organisation.

I often make a little quilt that is similar to the one I have in the show but this year I wanted to keep with my Underwater theme. I called my quilt The Reef and it's 16 1/2" high and 11" wide.

I had to be quick this year as I knew I had a little grandchild on the way so I didn't take many progress photos.

Here is the quilt top before I added any stitching.

Quilt top before stitching
I remember adding a bit of paint to the background fabric because it had some sections that were too light and were a bit distracting.

Here is the little quilt all finished.

The Reef©2016 Linda Steele

I did take a couple of close up photos before I posted it off to Houston.

The Reef detail-top

The Reef detail 2
Hopefully someone will like it enough to bid on it.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 13 September 2016


I have been lucky enough to win a 2nd prize in the Sydney quilt show this year with my bush fire quilt.

Firelight©2015 Linda Steele
I received a gift voucher from BeBe Bold, a wonderful shop that specialises in Japanese fabric and embroidery. Here is what I bought with my voucher, needles and fabric. Thank you Jane McDonald of BeBe Bold.

I was also lucky enough to receive a voucher from the NSW shop Fortune and Fairies. I decided to buy some backing fabric for a couple of quilts that I am intending to make.

I also received some lovely prizes for my quilt A Time for all Seasons at the Victorian Quilters Showcase.

A Time for all Seasons
I received 4 boxes of Madeira thread; I now have the complete set of poly, rayon, cotton and metallic thread. I am very grateful for their generous prize. I have already started to use the thread, my machine loves it and it is so handy to have the range of colours and tones.

Madeira Thread Boxes

I also receive some gorgeous Valdani threads from Maytime Distributors. I love Valdani thread. Those beautiful threads are supposed to be colourfast as well.

Valdani Threads
I also received a gorgeous Yazzii Bag with plenty of pockets and space to keep a project when you are travelling.

Yazzii Bag

I have written thank you letters to these generous sponsors but I thought I should also mention them in my blog because all quilt show organisers really appreciate the generosity of sponsors especially in these tough economic times.

It's wonderful to finally finish a quilt and enter it into shows and so exciting to receive a ribbon, to receive a prize as well is icing on the cake.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A Time for all Seasons- Spring

Spring is officially here in Australia, we managed to get through winter without too much cold weather I think.

I enjoyed making the Spring blocks for my latest quilt A Time for all Seasons.

A Time for all Seasons©2016 Linda Steele

I started the spring section with a sunrise to represent new beginnings.

Sunrise block

Here is a detail photo of the block.

Sunrise detail

I put a nest in the sunrise block to also represent new beginnings.

Sunrise block  nest
I did a blog post all about how I made the nest and you can read about it by clicking here.

I had to include a blossom tree in my Spring section because it is always so exciting to see the blossom trees come to life and I realise that the fine, sunny weather is approaching.

Spring Block
Spring detail

Where I live we also have a lot of windy days in Spring so in my next block I tried to represent the wind.


Wind detail

I tried to keep the corner of the Spring section light and breezy.

Spring Corner

Here is a photo of the Spring section from the centre of the quilt in the clock section. I included butterflies and bees as well as some spring flowers.

Spring detail from the clock
It's always good to feel some sun and notice the days getting slightly longer.

Bye for now,