Friday 28 September 2012

Round Robin Stage 2

I have had a very busy month with a lot of teaching and moving my daughter into her brand new apartment. The only sewing that I have managed to do is round 2 of the Round Robin that I am doing with the Southern Cross Crazy Quilters.

This month I had Faye's block to work on.

Faye's Block
Jenifer had the block first and had done a lovely spray of flowers. I looked at the block for a couple of weeks trying to decide what to do. Finally I embroidered a Blue Wren in stem stitch and had him sitting on a branch with some red flowers.
The patch was quite large so I also put a spider web on the patch and inserted a little spider.

Blue Wren on Faye's block

I think the little wren looks very interested in that spider.
Finally I added some feather stitch on one of the seams.

Here's what the block looked like when I had finished it.

Faye's Block
I posted this block off to the next person on the list today.

Bye for now,

Friday 21 September 2012

CQJP 2012 September

Is it really September already? The year is flying by. Somehow I have managed to keep up with the Crazy Quilt Journal Project this year. It would be fine if it was the only thing I had to do but with my Art Quilters homework and teaching and my daughter's wedding coming up, I am having a busy time.

People from all over the world are participating in the CQJP 2012. You may do whatever you want but try and complete a crazy block every month and post your block onto the CQJP 2012 blog. They also have a Facebook page for participants which is nice because it is a bit more personal and you get to know the others in the group.

I am having a Christmas theme for my blocks and what is Christmas without presents?

CQJP September

This is one of the smaller blocks and measures 6". Here's what the block looked like before I added the embroidery.

CQJP September
I think that you can faintly see where I marked the presents and Christmas stockings with a white pencil. The blue and the green presents are done in silk and I had a bit of trouble controlling the fabric until I used a fusible interfacing on them and then they were very easy to use, It's hard to see in the photo but the silk applique has a lovely roundness to the shapes and glow so beautifully compared to the cotton.

I used turkey stitch on the top of the Christmas stockings for a fluffy look.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Houston Silent Auction

I was honoured to be invited to make a small quilt for the International Quilt Association's (IQA) Silent Auction again this year. My quilt Naturally Crazy was juried into the show so I decided to make a small quilt based on that quilt. Here is a post I made about making the quilt.

I finished the quilt and have already posted it off to America.

I decided on a blue border, I like the blue for a change. I usually put green borders around these Australian themed quilts.

Here is the quilt, quilted and finished. It always looks so much better quilted. I added some feather stitch, leaves and french knots around the border. I thought the border looked a bit too solid so I added some piping to the binding. It just adds a nice touch of colour and draws the eye from the inside to the outside and back again.
Australian Crazy ©2012 Linda Steele
The quilt measures 17" x 17" and I hope someone bids for it and it goes to a good home.
The Auction is held during the Houston Quilt Show, November 1st - 4th.

Bye for now,

Saturday 15 September 2012

Berry Quilting Retreat

Last weekend, I taught Crazy Patchwork at the Berry Quilting Retreat. Berry is a very pretty town in NSW about two and a half hours south of Sydney.

The other tutors there were Julie Haddrick, Dianne Johnston, Deborah Louie, Kaye Haerland, Caroline Sharkey and Pam Furniss. We all stayed at a beautiful old house called Mananga Homestead. The house was absolutely beautiful, we all had our own room and en-suite and had a lot of fun times over breakfast and after teaching in the evenings. I wish I had taken some photos of the house but you can see some of the rooms if you click on the link above.

I had some very enthusiastic ladies in my class as we worked on a crazy patchwork Kookaburra block.

There was a quilt show that was open to the public of quilts by all the tutors as well a huge display of challenge quilts. The theme of the challenge was One Red Thread and you could use any technique.

The challenge quilts were quite incredible.
Here are two of my favourites.

Ready for the Outback Strutters Ball by Helen Rhodes

Mary's Magpies by Mary Lawler
I wish that I had taken more photos because it was a lovely retreat with wonderful quilts and tutors.

They are planning another one next year and I can highly recommend it. I didn't even mention the food which was delicious because as anyone knows quilters love food and need morning and afternoon tea as well as lunch! We were all very spoilt.

Bye for now,

Thursday 13 September 2012

Merelyn Pearce

If you have been following my blog, you will know that I have recently been studying the work of Margaret Preston with the Waverley Art Quilters.

Merelyn Pearce is an Australian Quilter from NSW and she has spent the last ten years studying the works of Margaret Preston and making the most wonderful and detailed quilts as a tribute to one of Australia's most famous Australian female artists.

I asked Merelyn a few questions about her interest in Margaret Preston and the quilts that she has made and she kindly gave me permission to put them on my blog.

I took these photos of Merelyn's Quilt, Preston Dreaming at the Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC) this year. This quilt won Best of Show in Sydney in 2011 and Best of Australia at AQC in April this year.
Preston Dreaming ©2011 Merelyn Pearce

1. Have you always admired Margaret Preston or was it a recent discovery?
I have always been drawn to the work of Margaret Preston.

2. What inspired you to make the first Margaret Preston Quilt?
 In 1995 I was given a calendar featuring the works of Aust. artists . One of the prints was a work by M.P and I immediately thought that it would translate beautifully into a quilt. This lay in the mental back burner until 2000 when the opportunity arose to realise my inspiration. The resulting quilt won B.O.S at Sydney in 2002 and also Best of Oz that year.

Detail of Preston Dreaming

3. What was it about her paintings that attracted you?
Her work excited, enlivened and engaged me as well as giving a fabulous feeling of pattern and strength of design and colour.

4 .Did you set out to make a series of 6 quilts based on Margaret Preston?
The first quilt was always intended to be the one and only but as I got further into the study of her designs, inspiration just kept coming.

Detail 2 of Preston Dreaming

5. Do you draw up your designs completely before you begin or do they evolve as you go?
Most of my quilts have evolved as they have gone on. The first was completely revised as it progressed and subsequent ones were designed as they went, mainly because to design another enormous hand applique project was just too enervating.

6. What was the most difficult part of making the quilts? Did you have many problems?
The most difficult part of making the quilt is in the design process. Everything after that is a joy.
You just go with the flow and solve any problems on the way.

Detail 3 of Preston Dreaming

7. Will you miss making the quilts or are you completely over it now?
There are more quilts in this theme that I can see as great inspirations but I feel I now need to explore other options after 10 years devoted to the same subject.

8. Did you discover any interesting stories about Margaret Preston?
I love the fact that Margaret and her husband moved into the Hotel Mosman in 1945 so that she could paint uninterrupted by housework or cooking which she hated. She also loathed gardening...."I let God make the flowers. I paint them" she said.
She also trained in pottery so that she could teach it to shell-shocked soldiers after W.W.11 to get them used to using their fingers as a form of therapy. She was a commanding personality..."she was like a bomb in a room...everything sparkled and shook when she was about", and this to me sums up the impact of her work.
detail 4 of Preston Dreaming
I wish I could direct you to the website or blog of Merelyn Pearce but she is too busy making her wonderful quilts and hasn't the time or inclination to have one so far!
There is a link to some of her photos on the AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention) site.
There is also an interview with Merelyn by Luana Rubin of equilter on the Web explaining one of her quilts
Thank you Merelyn for kindly answering my questions. Merelyn has been working at the Bernina Quilt Stands at the shows around Australia, please say hello to her if you get the chance.
Bye for now,

Friday 7 September 2012

Houston Silent Auction Progress

I was invited to make a quilt for the IQA Houston Silent Auction this year. I decided on a hand crazy quilt based on my quilt naturally Crazy that is a finalist in Houston this year. I wrote a post last month about starting the quilt.

I have been busy trying to get this done as well as keeping up with the Crazy Quilt Journal Blocks every month.

Here are some photos of some of the embroidery I've been doing on it.

Lace motifs and ribbon
Finally here is the finished block.
Finished Block
Now I have to add a border and quilt this little quilt. It shouldn't take very long because the finished quilt will only be about 16" square.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Margaret Preston

Last month our topic to study in the Waverley Art Quilters was Margaret Preston.
Margaret Preston was an Australian Artist who was born in Adelaide in 1875 and died in Sydney in 1963.
She studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School under Frederick McCubbin and lived her married life in Sydney.
She travelled extensively throughout Australia, Asia and Europe which influenced her painting and made her determined to create a modern Australian form of painting influenced by the work of the Australian Aborigines.
Her painting style was quite graphic and she used flat colour surrounded by a black outline.
Margaret Preston wrote many articles for magazines about decoration and design and was known as quite a strong opinionated woman.

Waratah 1925. Margaret Preston
Her work mainly consisted of Australian native flowers, landscapes of Sydney and woodcuts.
Margaret once wrote that 'a lover of art cannot do better than study Japanese woodcuts if he wants to know something about design'.

I used the hand coloured woodcut named Waratah (pictured above) as my inspiration.

I used a white pencil and drew the flowers onto black fabric and then I quilted over these lines in black thread.

I decided to use the Paintstik technique that I had tried last month and rubbed the Paintstiks directly onto the fabric.
I thought that the effect gave a similar look to Margaret's work.
It was hard to get the fine detail I needed on the gum blossoms and so I used Deco Art-So Soft paint to make the little yellow dots.

It was very interesting to study Margaret Preston's work closely because at first glance I thought the paintings were very simple and it wasn't until I started to do my own piece that I realised how much detail was actually in her paintings.

Our next topic is to make a quilt Inspired by Nature.

Bye for now,