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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Teaching

In all the excitement of my new granddaughter I forgot to mention the latest classes that I have taught. The classes were both booked last year well before I had any idea that they were going to be near my granddaughters birth.

Two weeks before the birth I taught a Beginners Machine Quilting class for the Strathdale Quilters in Bendigo. They were a great group of enthusiastic ladies and they all brought plates of wonderful food for morning tea and lunch to keep us all going.
The class was going well when I got a text message and my first thought was that my daughter had gone into labour and I was 2 hours away! It was only my son asking if I was going to bring home lunch!!

Strathdale Quilters


The next booking I had was for a Crazy Quilted Journal Cover with Kilmore Quilters. About a month before this I happened to look at my diary and realised that I was supposed to be teaching this class on my daughter's due date. As my daughter had paid me the kind compliment of asking me to be at the birth, I was devastated to realise that I had a double booking.

Kilmore Quilters were very understanding and said if my daughter went into labour that morning they would happily postpone the class and they would have a sewing day together.
As it happened my granddaughter Savannah-Marie was born three days earlier and I could go to the class with baby photos to show them.

Kilmore Quilters
Kilmore Quilters also had a wonderful selection of food and they said that if you want to diet don't come to Kilmore! I certainly didn't go hungry.

That was the last of my teaching for the year and I have a very limited number of classes for next year because it looks as if I will be required to baby-sit when my daughter has to go back to work next year.

Bye for now,
Linda

Thursday, 13 November 2014

An Exciting Event

After waiting all year my first Grandchild has arrived and I have been in a whirl ever since.
My daughter Alison gave birth to Savannah-Marie Jean on Wednesday 5th November at 6.59 am. It was a long labour of 28 hours but that was all forgotten as soon as little Savannah was given to her.

My daughter went on maternity leave two weeks before the baby arrived and we spent a few days shopping and preparing for the big event.

Alison got married last Christmas and you can see that blog post here.

Alison invited me to be at the hospital with her and her husband while she was having the baby and I felt very privileged to share this exciting moment with them.

Here is a photo of me holding Savannah-Marie when she was only one hour old.

One Hour Old
I am still smiling but I have been up all night in this photo, I finally got a couple of hours sleep after being awake for 32 hours straight. I didn't even do that when I was a teenager.

They go home from hospital much more quickly these days and here she is all packed up to go home when she is two days old.

Going Home
That white shawl you can see at the bottom of the photo was bought for me by my mother and all four of my children came home in it. It's lovely to see the tradition continued.

They go home early but they are not neglected and Alison has had a visit from a midwife or nurse every other day and she has been very pleased with the service.

I have been lucky to have spent every day this week with Alison and the baby and we are certainly counting our blessings that she has been an easy baby so far. She has been up a couple of times a night but going back to sleep after being fed.

My daughter has been doing the right thing by having a morning and afternoon sleep herself and the baby has been going 2-3 hours between feeds.

Savannah is only a week old and we hope this easy behaviour continues. Most of the time this is what we see.

Savannah-Marie sleeping
Yesterday she was a week old and I managed to get some photos while she was awake.

Savannah-Marie one week old
She was 3.35kg and that is 7.38lbs in the old way.

I haven't done any sewing for a week and it's hard to believe that a baby can take up so much time even when she is such a good baby. But we do spend many hours staring at her saying how beautiful she is!

Bye for now,
Linda

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Unity Challenge

Earlier this year I joined SAQA which is an international art quilting group. Although I am known for my traditional quilts I do a lot of art quilting on the side especially with the Waverley Art Quilters. I decided to take the next step and join SAQA. Most of the SAQA members live in America but there is a growing number of members from Australia and we are in the Oceania group.

The Oceania group opened a Facebook page where we could connect with others in the group and get to know each other. A challenge was decided upon and the theme was Unity. Luckily it only had to be a small 8"x 10" because like everyone else I don't have a lot of spare time.

I have done quite a bit of study on the principals and elements of design and Unity is not mentioned very often.

The book called The Quilters Book of Design by Ann Johnston has an entire chapter on Unity and she says that Unity is achieved by the lines, shapes, colours, values, texture and patterns that are used.

Sandra Meech in her Connecting Design to Stitch book says that unity makes everything work together and until there is Unity the piece is not finished.

I am still having fun with my Gelli printing and decided to use those fabrics. I pulled out some blues and yellows and decided on a music theme. I had some  stamps, stencils and thermofax screens with music motifs and used them with the Gelli plate.

Some of my fabrics were a strange shape and I wondered if crazy patchwork would work in an art quilt and thought this was a chance to try it out.

I pieced the fabrics together and this is what I made.

Music- 1st Attempt
As you can see I had quilted it and although I was trying to achieve Unity with the complimentary colour scheme and the music theme I thought it was unbalanced. I felt that there was too much blue in the top left corner and not enough in the bottom right.

I fixed the problem by adding some blue to the bottom right corner and quilted over the top. Quite an easy fix really.

Music balanced
I added some white dots of paint to give the piece some movement.

A few days later when I looked again at my music piece I thought the treble clef stamp that I used in the middle was not dark enough, so I added some Lumiere paint to add a bit more colour.



Bye for now,
Linda

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Photo Challenge- Flinders Street Station

One of our challenges at the Waverley Art Quilters was to take a photo and interpret in a small A3 quilt. One of our members had her own photo of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne and we decided to use that as our inspirational photo.

I didn't want to make a photo realistic quilt of the station; I wanted it to be more abstract. One of the many features of the beautiful old building is the line of clocks above the main entrance and I decided that the Flinders Street Station clocks would be my theme.

When I was playing around with my Gelli plate and doing all those mono-prints, I had the Flinders Street Station challenge in mind and so I picked out all the fabrics that I thought suitable and started piecing them together.

Piecing the fabrics

I had a stencil of a large clock that was perfect for the project and I tried to use the creams, oranges, browns and greens of the building.

Here is my first attempt, I wasn't happy with it because there was such a distinct line of piecing right through the centre of the quilt. You can see I tried to soften the hard effect with some smudges of brown paint but it didn't help.

1st Attempt
I unpicked it all and tried again. This time I cut the pieces a bit smaller and took more care in where I was placing the pieces; I liked it much better.

The Gelli printed fabrics are thicker than normal quilting fabric because of the layers of paint and to keep the piecing nice and flat on the front I pressed all the seams open.



2nd attempt
As you can see from the photo above I quilted around the clocks and added some more circles to keep with the theme.

I was happy with my quilt but I thought it looked a bit flat and I had the idea of adding dots of white paint to enhance the clocks, I was surprised at how much it lifted the entire quilt.

Flinders Street Station ©2014 Linda Steele

I really enjoyed making this quilt, so much so I might make more of this sort of thing.

Bye for now,
Linda



Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Monoprinting

 In August the Waverley Art Quilters had a Monoprinting demonstration by Marion, one of our members.

Marion was very generous with her knowledge and supplies and for the rest of the evening we tried Monoprinting for ourselves, trying out different paints, stencils, fabrics and ideas.

You can use a piece of glass or plastic as a printing plate but I had bought a Gelli Plate well over 12 months ago and I was keen to try it out at last.



The basic idea is that you spread a layer of paint onto your printing plate and then make some marks or patterns into the paint with a stencil, stamp or even your finger and then place a piece of fabric over the top, smooth it down and then lift the fabric off. You are left with a beautiful pattern.

You can easily go over your first pattern with another paint colour and pattern and then things really interesting. It is so totally addictive and everyone found themselves having so much fun.

Here are some of the fabrics that I printed.


I had some 2" strips of white fabric leftover from a quilt and printed on them; it is a good way to use up scraps.



Marion let us use her supplies and I really loved the pattern of this stamp that was made from one of those felt place mats that are so popular at the moment.



I have printed a lot more fabrics than this, I kept Monoprinting for the next couple of days. It is so quick and easy and I just wanted to keep going.

It is a fun way to have some unique textured fabric, now I have to stop and see if I can use the fabric in some of my art quilts.

Bye for now,
Linda









Tuesday, 14 October 2014

My Round Robin Blocks

I participated in a Round Robin with the on-line group the Southern Cross Crazies this year. We had to make 6 x 6" crazy blocks and then send them on to the next person on the list of participants. That person chooses a block to embroider and then sends them on to the next person on the list. Eventually you receive your blocks back and they are all beautifully embroidered.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the blocks so I just made up 6 blocks in various colours of silk fabrics and thought I might end up putting them in a sample book.

Unfortunately I have only received 5 of them back. One of the people participating had a few problems and has got behind so I'll have to wait to show everyone the last block another time.

I'll show my base block first and then show how the blocks are improved by the beautiful embroidery.

Blue base
 
Blue block

Pink Base

Pink Block
Purple Base
Purple Block
Red Base
Red Block
Yellow Block
Yellow Block
So I am only waiting on my green block to come back to me. It is a lovely way to see some beautiful embroidery up close and everyone has a different style so there is always something new to discover.
Anyone is allowed to participate in the Round Robins including beginners, in fact it is usually a good way to learn a lot and beginners won't be thought of as beginners for long.

I am concentrating on a new quilt of my own now and so I don't anticipate being part of another Round Robin for the next 12 months or so.
There is something exciting happening in my family next month that could end up being quite time consuming but a very enjoyable distraction! I wonder if anyone can guess what it is!!

Bye for now,
Linda

Friday, 10 October 2014

A lovely surprise

I have taught many classes over the years but I never get to see the finished quilts. I always have to say goodbye to the class and ask them to please send me a photo when the quilt is finished.

I have to admit that I never sent a photo to a teacher when I used to do classes; I always thought that the teacher would not be interested in my meagre work. I now realise how wrong I was because it is such a delight to hear from a student and see their finished work.

Two years ago I taught my Crazy about Australia class at the retreat in Berry, NSW. It was a lovely weekend and in the Crazy about Australia class we only got to work on one of the 13 blocks and we were not even close to finishing block one. Crazy patchwork is very addictive but very time consuming. You don't take on a crazy quilt and expect to be finished quickly.

That is why I was so thrilled to get an email from Roslyn who had done the class in Berry and she sent me a photo of her finished quilt.

Crazy about Australia by Roslyn

What an achievement; I think Roslyn has done such a beautiful job and she should be congratulated on finishing her quilt. I am sure it will give her and her family many years of enjoyment.

It is hard to see all the wonderful detail that Roslyn has included but here are a couple of detail photos.

Centre block- Roslyn's quilt

Pelican Block- Roslyn's quilt
Thank you very much for sending me the photos, Roslyn and letting me share them on my blog.
Congratulations again, you have made me very proud.

Bye for now,
Linda