Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Spots and Dots

I've started collecting fabrics with spots, actually I have always loved spots but have usually collected batiks with spots. Now I've started to collect normal, cotton fabrics with spots and have been teaming them with some bright colours.

I'd been trawling the internet trying to get certain colour spots and then it occurred to me that I could have any colour spot I wanted if I coloured them myself. I have a collection of Fabrico markers and black fabric with white spots.

There's been so much unhappy news in the world these days that I felt like doing something different and happy. It has been so much fun playing with these fabrics.

The fabrics look so much better when cut into different shapes.

Here are a couple of blocks that I have designed so far.

I actually needed some hand work while I watched TV and went to my sewing groups so that was another reason for designing these blocks. I didn't realise that I would enjoy them so much. I am planning to add some embroidery as well.

Don't worry, be happy!

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Van Gogh and The Seasons

There is a wonderful exhibition on at the National Gallery of Victoria at the moment called Van Gogh and The Seasons. It's been a very popular exhibition, so much so that they have extended the opening hours. I went along last month with what seemed like hundreds of other people but I still managed to enjoy it despite the crowd.

Van Gogh- Self portrait 1887

There are no Irises, Sunflowers or Starry nights but the exhibition explains Van Gogh's love of nature and how he portrayed the seasons. I hired one of the headsets that definitely helped block out the crowd and made the exhibition more interesting.

When Van Gogh began painting they were quite dark but his paintings changed dramatically when he moved to Paris and could enjoy the sunshine and wonderful colour.

Here are some in the autumn section.

The Green Vineyard 1888

The Olive Grove with two Olive Pickers 1889

Van Gogh is in the Post- Impressionist era but he was very inspired by the Impressionists. His paintings are so expressive and the marks he makes remind me a lot of embroidery or quilting stitches.

The Winter paintings are much more sombre but still have a lovely glow of light on the horizon.

Snow covered field with a harrow 

The parsonage garden at Nuenen in the snow 1885

I only took one photo of spring.

River bank in Springtime 1887
Most of the photos that I took were in the summer section.

Trees and undergrowth 1887

A wheat field with cypresses

Wildflowers and carnations 1887

Roses and Peonies 1886

I love Van Gogh's paintings and my very favourite is Starry Night that I saw in Canberra a few years ago. It just glowed and I was quite awe struck by it, I hope to get to see it again one day.

We studied Van Gogh a few years ago with the Waverley Art Quilters and I made an embroidered quilt inspired by Starry Night.

A Starry Night by Linda Steele

Van Gogh lived from 1853 to 1890, so he was only 37 when he died. What a shame he died so young and was such a troubled soul.

The exhibition is on until July 8th 2017 so there is still time to get there if you live in Melbourne or will be here visiting.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Crazy Quilting Round Robin

I am participating in a round robin with the Southern Cross Crazies and I have recently finished the third block in the round. This time I received Maureen T's blocks, she didn't specify a theme. Maureen said that she loves colour and we can do what we like.

Her base blocks were all cream coloured and because they had a slight yellow tone to them I decided to get out some purple threads because purple is the complementary colour to yellow.

Here is the finished block and because the blocks are only 6 inches square, they don't take long to sew.

One of the benefits of participating in a round robin is that you get to see the embroidery of others in the group.

Here is a block by Alison.

Here is another block by Patti.

Now I'm on to the next block in the round.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Busy Life

For some reason the middle of the year is always super busy. I have two quilt deadlines coming up. I have to make an improv quilt for a Nancy Crow exhibition and I also want to make a quilt for the next AQIPP exhibition. AQIPP stands for Australian Quilts in Public Places and it runs every two years. This year the theme is reflections.

I've started working on the improv quilt first and I feel really out of my comfort zone. The idea is to have no pattern or sketch and just put up fabric and let the quilt tell you what needs to happen next. Very scary. Its an abstract contemporary and I doubt whether it will become my thing but at least I am having a go!

Here's how I have started.

Who knows how it will end up!

I have also been doing a photography course. In the second lesson we were learning about using Aperture Priority mode and I took this photo for my homework. The teacher is a tough critic but thankfully he approved of this one.

I am also doing yet another Photoshop course which has a lot of homework and I am doing a yoga class once a week. I know that I take on too much but I am keen to learn and improve as much as I can.

I am still President of Waverley Patchworkers, which is wonderful and a privilege but it is also a responsibility.

Speaking of Waverley Patchworkers, we have our Quilt In on Saturday June 17th and all visitors and friends are welcome for a day of sewing, fun and chatting.

As well as being busy with my quilting I still have time for my dear little grandchildren.

Dear little Savannah is two and a half now, where did that time go? Here she is all dressed up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast for Book Week.

Jack is nine months old already, she such a good, placid boy.

I've had the good news that my quilts have been accepted for the Sydney Quilt Show, so they are ready to be posted off.

So life is non-stop busy but I am lucky to be able to have such a wonderful life.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Be Creative with Workbox Magazine

There's a great magazine called Be Creative with Workbox from the UK. I am a subscriber now but I used to borrow copies of the Workbox magazine years ago from the Embroiderer's Guild library. I assume that Be Creative and Workbox combined into one magazine but I could be wrong about that, they might have just changed the title.

The magazine comes out every two months and it is crammed full of creative textile and embroidery techniques and interviews with artists.

How exciting to find that one of my quilts is in the current issue!

There is an article about the A Matter of Time Exhibition because the quilts are going to be exhibited at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham on the 10th-13th August 2017.

Here's a copy of page 1 and 2 of the article and that is my quilt on the far right.

Here is the 3rd page of the article.

I was thrilled that my quilt was one of the quilts chosen to be featured and super thrilled that my quilt is travelling to Birmingham. The exhibition is also travelling to the New Zealand Symposium on the 4th-10th October 2017 and the Houston Quilt Show on the 28th-5th November 2017.

I wish that I could travel to all those wonderful places and see the quilts there in person.

Here is a better photo of my quilt called Life on the Reef.

If you would like to read more about this quilt, please read my post from January 26th 2016 called Making Life on the Reef

If you are interested in a creative and inspiring textile magazine I highly recommend the
 Be Creative with Workbox magazine. Click on the link to order a subscription. I actually found the magazine in the newsagent a couple of months ago but it was in the art section not with the patchwork and quilting magazines. It is the only time I have ever seen it in Australia though.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Quilter's Color Club part 2

I have the book by colour expert Christine Barnes, called the Quilter's Color Club. It's an American publication and it's really annoying that Australia and England spell colour in a different way. I suppose it's not a big deal really.

I had some time to do a few more exercises in the book. You can see my first post about it here.

Once again I used the King's Crown block as recommended by Christine and I am only using a glue stick to make the blocks so it doesn't take very long.

We started off doing a neutral block, I really love using blacks and greys these days, the value and pattern really stands out and you are not influenced by colour. The dark triangles come forward and the lighter colours recede.


Next was a monochromatic block in Blue-violet. Monochromatic uses different values of the one colour and if it isn't working it usually means that you do not have enough value contrast.


Analogous blocks use colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel and I chose yellow-green, green, blue green and blue. Although all the books say that analogous colour schemes are usually 3 colours, Christine suggests that you may use four and a touch of a 5th colour can make it livelier.


Christine admits that she made up the next combination herself, it's called every-other colour analogous. I chose red-orange, yellow-orange and yellow-green. I'm not sure if I like this one very much.

Every-other Analogous

Everyone knows the direct complementary colours, they are opposite each other on the colour wheel and so they really vibrate together, think of the red and green of Christmas.
Christine suggests that the hyphenated colours are more appealing and easier to work with because they contain 2 primary colours in unequal proportions.

I tried red-violet and yellow-green.

Direct complementary 

Split complementary colour schemes are usually everyone's favourite but I have often had an issue with them when I've tried to use them.  They have a good balance of light-dark and warm-cool. I chose yellow-orange, yellow-green and violet.

Split complementary

The next combinations are not as well known. Double split complements uses two colours plus their opposite colours on the colour wheel. I used red-orange, yellow-green, blue green and red-violet. It was hard to use so many colours in such a simple block.

Double split complement

Tetrad uses four colours equidistant on the colour wheel, this can be a very vibrant combination and I could have diminished the tension by using lighter values of the colours. This time I used red, yellow-green, green and blue-violet.


The last one I did was the Triad colour scheme which is as the name suggests three colours equidistant on the colour wheel. It is usually best to make one colour more dominant and let the other colours play a lesser role. Once again it's hard when you only have one block to work with. I chose blue-green, red-violet and yellow-orange.


This has been a fun exercise to do and I would like to finish the book especially as the next exercises demonstrate luminosity, transparency, stripes and texture. My problem is that I must stop experimenting for a while and finish some quilts that have deadlines looming.

The book will be waiting for me when I get these quilts finished I suppose.

I highly recommend the book for some colour fun.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Southern Cross Crazies Round Robin

This year I am participating in the Round Robin with the on-line Southern Cross Crazies group. It's a small but friendly Yahoo group but most of us hate Yahoo so much that we also have a closed Facebook group where it is much easier to keep in touch and post photos.

It is round two and I received Alison's blocks. We all made six 6" blocks and we choose one to embroider and then post them on to the next person on the list. I chose a pretty pink one to embroider.

One block had already been done by Patti; she had chosen a peach coloured block and had done some beautiful work on it. The round robins are a great way to see other people's embroidery up close.

Alison's block by Patti

I started out by choosing my threads, Alison wanted to keep the embroidery in the colours of the base but we could add a couple of other colours like green for the leaves.

Choosing threads

Usually I start in the middle and embroider any motifs first but this time I started on the outside with the seam treatments.


Here is the finished block; luckily these 6" blocks don't take very long to do.

I have already posted these blocks onto the next person and have received the next lot of blocks, so at least it gives me some hand sewing to do when I go to friendship groups.

Bye for now,