Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Grace Errea visits Waverley Patchworkers

I have just spent a lovely few days with Grace Errea, a quilting teacher from the USA. Waverley Patchworkers were having Grace as their special guest and she stayed with me while she was in Australia.

You might know her book called Impressionist Applique.

My friend and I took Grace to Healesville Sanctuary on the first day so she could see a little bit of Australia; not just the inside of a classroom. We saw kangaroos, koalas and a platypus and a wonderful bird show among other things.

I tried to take a good photo of a Brolga but he wasn't being very cooperative.


We couldn't believe what beautiful blue eyes the Satin Bowerbird had. He could mimic other birds including a kookaburra; we could hardly believe what we were hearing.

Satin Bowerbird

The highlight for me was being able to get a couple of photos of a blue Wren.

Blue Wren

That evening Grace gave a lecture about using the correct value of fabrics in our quilts instead of concentrating on colour only. Here is a photo of Grace and I in front of one of her quilts before the lecture.

Grace Errea and I

The next day Grace taught a new method of reverse applique by machine. Here is the Hummingbird I made in the class, it's still just a top, I might quilt it one day!

Over the weekend Grace taught a 2 day applique class using her heat set method. Here I am preparing some of the pieces. Instead of using fusible web, we painted a diluted glue onto the edges.

Here are some of my hibiscus petals already glued together.

Underneath the petals I have a special board that we all had to make before the class. It is 25" x 25" and is made of 3 layers, a layer of foam core board, thick polystyrene and a iron safe fabric and then covered with fabric. It is light and portable and we can pin into it, iron on it and carry our pieces around on it. I am sure that I will get a lot of use out of it.

The petals are made and now I have to start on the leaves. This is a picture of Grace's quilt and mine is supposed to eventually look like it.

Grace's Hibiscus Quilt

When I chose the pattern I didn't realise how large it was, it's a different experience making such large pattern pieces because the ones I design are usually on the small size.

Grace has gone back home now but we all really enjoyed her visit.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Waverley Patchworkers Retreat 2017

I spent a lovely couple of days at the Waverley Patchworker's Retreat. I know why some members never want to miss it because it is a lot of fun.

It was held at Forest Edge in Neerim South and it was a great venue, surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful trees. This was the view near my room.

On the way there my friend and I dropped went to the Egyptian Tentmakers exhibition. Their quilts were lovely, I had seen their quilts a few years ago and the standard of stitching has really improved. There were a couple of appliqued quilts using silk as well as cotton.

They were for sale but we resisted the temptation.

Then it was time for lunch and a visit to Sewing Connection, a quilting shop in Pakenham. I couldn't resist doing some shopping there. Their shop is 30 years old this year.

Then it was on to the retreat, we were not supposed to get there until four o'clock but everyone was keen and arriving at 3.30!

We were so lucky with beautiful sunny weather and I went for a walk after breakfast the first morning to see the river. 
Here is a photo of the walk to the river, it was so pretty and very relaxing.

On Saturday night there is always a bit of fun and you can dress up if you want. The theme was blue and white-water. Many people wore blue and white clothes and some went to more trouble. I had a great idea for a costume but that fabric is still in the bag and didn't get made. In the end I just wore some blue and white that I thought looked watery. My friend went to more trouble with a sailor suit.

Some people went to much more trouble including some other friends of mine, who won the prize for best costume.

The food was wonderful and the venue was great. We were thoroughly spoiled and I know why people go every year. We had two big sewing rooms with large light filled windows. One room was for the machine sewers who got so much done. I was in the hand sewers room so we didn't get as much done but we had a lovely time laughing, chatting and sewing.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

New Zealand Quilt Symposium Exhibitions 2017

The New Zealand Quilt Symposium in Christchurch begins on Thursday 5th October and runs until Tuesday the 10th. Not only are there the most wonderful classes by many local and international tutors there are a number of quilt exhibitions as well.

I have two quilts in the Piano exhibition space which is 156 Armagh Street, Christchurch.

My Quilt Life on the Reef is in the A Matter of Time Exhibition.

Life on the Reef by Linda Steele

There is also another exhibition at the same venue called Passion and Perspective by students of Nancy Crow. I did two weeks of classes with Nancy Crow in January this year.

We were asked to make a quilt using what we learnt with Nancy. Nancy recommended that I use brighter colours, not use a ruler to cut pieces and to design by intuition and improvisation by not planning ahead.

The quilt I made for the exhibition is called Rhythms 3.

Rhythms 3 by Linda Steele

It's certainly a different style of quilt for me and I can tell you that I went through quite a few attempts before I made this quilt. My other ideas weren't working until finally I remembered what Nancy taught me. Don't plan ahead! So I put up one piece of fabric and then put another next to it and so on until I had a quilt on the design wall.

I can't say I love the quilt but I quite enjoyed the process when I got into it. I would like to try again with some other coloured fabric.

I really enjoyed quilting it though. The plain colours really show the different stitches.

I really wish that I could see the exhibition so I could see what the other quilts look like. Hopefully people will post some photos on line. I wonder what Nancy Crow would think of my quilt?  She would probably say that it's a beginning and to keep trying.

I've since found out that there is a lovely colour catalogue of the exhibition called Passion and Proportion and it is only $25. I'll look forward to receiving my copy.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Beginning a new quilt

For some time I have needed a project to take to sewing groups, I didn't want to have  something that was too complicated or needed good light for precision. I also wanted something bright and happy so I started making blocks with shapes that were not flower shapes.

I have finally finished the 12 blocks.

I fused the shapes and then used my sewing machine to blanket stitch around the edges. I used my machine for the blanket stitching because I find it a tedious stitch to do by hand.

I am going to add embroidery to them as my sewing group project, if the lighting is not very good I should still be able to embroider it without too much trouble. I have started a bit already to see if it would work. The pink circle has some colonial knots around it.

I found a thread container that I had bought years ago and thought it would be perfect to keep with the blocks.

I added some bright threads that I thought would go with the blocks. This is what it looks like when it is open.

So now I am ready to go to any sewing days. I have no idea what the finished quilt will look like as I have only designed the outside blocks. There is no hurry to design the rest of the quilt though, the idea is to have some sewing to do while I catch up with friends. I have the Waverley Patchworkers' retreat coming up and this will be perfect to take.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Houston Silent Auction 2017

Once again I have been invited by the International Quilt Festival or better know as the Houston Quilt Show to participate in their annual silent auction. It is an honour to be asked and I am happy to help as it is a major fund raiser for them and they do so much to promote quilting around the world.

My quilt named The Bleaching has been accepted into the show and so I thought I would make a small quilt with a coral reef theme.

Unfortunately I didn't take any progress photos as I was in a rush to get it made on time.

Here is the top finished before quilting.

The Coral Reef top

Because of time constraints this quilt is all done by machine, I didn't have the time to do the hand embroidery that is done on some of my other Coral Reef quilts.

Then I pin basted it.

Then it was time for the machine quilting.
It didn't take very long to quilt because it is 16" wide by 22 ½" high.

The Coral Reef ©2017 Linda Steele

Here are a couple of detail photos.

I hope someone likes my little quilt and bids on it. 

Houston has had some very bad floods and storms lately and we have been assured that all our quilts are safe on the 5th floor and told that Texans are very resilient and the show will go ahead. I wish them all well; we have watched the devastating scenes on TV in Australia and can hardly believe the tough times that they have gone through.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Hokusai Exhibition

There is a wonderful exhibition of works by Hokusai at the NGV ( National Gallery of Victoria).

Hokusai was a Japanese artist born in October 1760 and died in May 1849. You might think that you have never heard of him but his woodblock print of the Great Wave is known worldwide. It is hard to see in the photo but there are some people in boats and the work is to show how nature is mightier than us.

The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai
 As usual the foyer of the gallery is decorated with big posters of the current exhibition and as we arrived we were greeted by colourful animated posters of Hokusai.

It is a huge exhibition and I was surprised that there are so many writings by Hokusai and so we can follow his thoughts and ideas as we view the exhibition.

It is well documented that the Impressionist painters were influenced by Hokusai and other Japanese artists, so I was very surprised to read that Hokusai was inspired by the European art that he saw.

One of the things that struck me the most was his beautiful use of negative space. We don't need to fill every space.

He also loved the theatre and plays and did many of the illustrations for them; the one below was of a puppet show.

He was famous for working in a series and one room was full of his waterfall artworks. Another series was 36 views of Mt Fuji. I bought a postcard of one of them.

Many of them had that dark line of blue across the top and it really gave depth to the prints and look at the water, there is so much movement in it. Apparently he drew every day and he really was a master of carving woodblocks. 

Toward the end of his life he concentrated on flowers and birds and I bought a postcard of one because I really liked the composition.

Peonies and Canary by Hokusai

My favourite room apart from seeing the Great Wave was a room of art inspired by poetry. I was so fascinated that I forgot to take any photos. The translation of the poetry was written next to each work and they were mostly about love lost, found or unrequited, they were delicate little verses and I really loved them. 

I might have to go back and take some more photos.

In the gift shop I bought some postcards and also a notebook with the Great Wave on the front.


The exhibition is on until October 15th, so there is still plenty of time to see it.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

I've been quilting for 20 years!

I have recently joined the Victorian Quilters committee and the editor of the magazine asked me to write a paragraph about my quilting likes etc. While I was wondering what to write it occurred to me to work out how long I have been quilting, I was surprised to realise that it was 20 years ago that I went along to my first beginners class. I didn't really know what a quilt was back then and I had booked into the class not knowing what the quilt even looked like.

I still have that first quilt and have very fond memories of making it because I was hooked from the first lesson.

My first Quilt

I had no idea how much quilting would take over my life. I have made many quilts and done many classes over the years. After about 6 years of following patterns I started to design my own quilts and then the obsession really began.

I have joined the Vic Quilters committee because I am taking on the role of Showcase Coordinator! Yes, I am actually taking on the running of our state quilt show.

At the Vic Quilters Annual General meeting earlier this month I was awarded my Judges Certificate.

Last year I was awarded my teaching certificate.

I have also been a Quilt Appraiser for a number of years. I certainly didn't set out to achieve these things, they just sort of happened along the way.

Quilting has been a wonderful part of my life and I have made many friends over the years. I wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't gone along to that class 20 years ago?

Bye for now,