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He studied the old masters but soon realised that they were out of date and started befriending his contemporaries like Courbet and Manet who believed that art should reflect real life.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,

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

A Time for all Seasons- Winter

Here in Australia it is the last week of Winter and already we have been having some sunny days and new shoots are appearing on the bushes and the temperature is rising by a few degrees.

I loved working on the winter blocks on my latest quilt A Time for all Seasons.

Apparently if you click on the photos 3 times it enlarges them.

I did the snow block first even though we don't have much snow in Australia and none where I live, I still think of snow when I think of winter. I embroidered a little robin on a snowy branch and a reindeer and some pine-cones. I tried to think cool and icy when I was sewing it.

Winter Block- Snow

Winter detail

I had to be very careful when designing my blocks because it would have seen so easy to put trees in the centre of each one. So in the centre of the rain block I put a little frog who doesn't mind being out in the rain.I included a seagull and a turtle and even some lightning.

Winter Block- Rain
Frog detail

The last block in the winter section was actually a night scene because it was up the top at 12 o'clock and it was to signify the end of winter. I really love the little fox that I have wandering across the block, we have plenty of foxes around our neighbourhood. I also included a possum, bat and grasshopper.

Winter Block- Night 

Fox detail

Here is a photo of the winter corner. This photo was taken before I had finished the quilting because I notice that I haven't done the quilting inside the flowers yet. I'll have to take some more photos when I eventually get the quilt back.

Before I started the applique in the corners I did a test to see if I would fuse the flowers and blanket stitch around them or turn the edges.

Applique testing

I decided that I liked the texture and dimension that I got from the turned edges, so I used the water soluble applique paper and a glue stick to turn all the edges before I sewed them to the block. It made the applique process much easier.

Preparing the applique 

I tried to get a detail photo of the winter section in the centre of the quilt.

Looking at these blocks again makes me remember how much I enjoyed researching the seasons and making the blocks.

Bye for now,

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Exciting Baby News

The wait is finally over and I have a new little grandson. My daughter Bec gave birth to a healthy baby boy last week.

His name is Jack and he was 8lb 1oz.

Here is a photo of me holding him when he was just a few hours old.

It is such a wonderful, happy time when a new baby arrives.

Here is a close up of his little face soon after he was born. He looks very much like his father with the longest eyelashes I have ever seen.

Jack Steele French

Here is a photo of Jack after his first bath when he was 3 days old.

Little Jack has been very placid so far and hasn't cried much but it's early days yet! My daughter is home from hospital now and I am going to be on duty whenever her husband has to go to work. He has his own business so he cannot take time off like some Dads do these days.

Luckily my sewing is up to date and I have some stitching prepared for those times when I am over there helping and we are having a quiet time while Jack is asleep.

I am very lucky to live close by to my daughter and am able to help her out.

Happy times.

Bye for now,

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Elements of Design- Colour

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

Last month we were talking about the huge subject of colour. It was a good opportunity for me to get out all the design books that I have bought over the years and read through it all.

As a bit of fun we had to draw a colour combination out of a box and I got Orange Triadic. To find the triadic colours that go with orange, I had to divide the colour wheel into thirds and find the colours an equal distance from each other. The triadic colours I had to use were orange, green and violet.

It was a bit of challenge for some people who did not get their usual colour preferences.

We had been working on Value the month before and so I thought I would follow on from that and use the Sea horse as the motif again.

Value exercise

I found a lovely pale violet silk to use as the background and fused on the other shapes. I was trying to follow the values that I used in the black and white one.

It sat like this on my design wall for a couple of weeks and the more I looked at it the more I didn't like it. I decided to start again and this time make the background the darkest value and then I liked it much better.

I can see that I didn't get enough value contrast in the rocks below but I still went with it because it is supposed to be a learning exercise.

I added beads to the seahorse and then quilted around the seahorse and the background. When I finished there was a funny looking crease at the bottom of his body before the tail started.

It kept catching my eye and I didn't like it. There was only one thing to do; I had to snip off the beads and quilt the body and then sew the beads on again.

Seahorse 3- colour exercise
I was much happier with it. I suppose I could have added some trapunto to add some support to the body but putting some quilting onto the body did the trick. I suppose the Seahorse was just too large to be unquilted.

It's always fun to experiment with colour.

Bye for now,