Tuesday 26 November 2013

Quilting in the Highlands 2014

I have been asked to teach at the Berrima Patchwork, Quilting in the Highlands retreat in 2014. I know that everyone had a wonderful time at this year's retreat and everyone who went is eager to go again next year.

Imagine four days of sewing, mingling with other quilters and fine food, all in the beautiful historic town of Berrima! Berrima is in the Southern Highlands of NSW between Canberra and Sydney.

I am going to teach hand embroidered crazy patchwork with a block from my Crazy about Australia quilt for the first two days.

Crazy about Australia by Linda Steele

For the other two days I will teach my quilt Tulip Dance. In this class we will be learning free machine thread painting using wash away stabilisers and machine applique. It's a fun class and I find that people who have learnt thread painting by machine gain a lot more control and their machine quilting really improves.

Tulip Dance detail
The butterfly and the Praying Mantis that you can see on the photo above are sewn with an ordinary domestic sewing machine using a straight stitch. You do not need a fancy embroidery machine to make the motifs.
Tulip Dance

There are six other wonderful tutors at the Quilting in the Highlands retreat.
Ruth Bloomfield
Julie Haddrick
Sandra Leichner
Marti Michell
Yvette Stanton
Mariya Waters

 You don't have to do all four days; you are able to just enrol in a two day class. The dates for the retreat are Saturday 26th July to Tuesday 29th July 2014.

All the details are on the Berrima Patchwork, Quilting in the Highlands website.

I hope to see you there.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 19 November 2013

New Fabric storage

I have found some new plastic containers for holding some fabric. I happened to be in the Reject shop when they caught my eye. I keep all my fabric in plastic drawers labelled by colour but sometimes I keep some fabric in range order as well. I have some silk containers and hand dyed containers, batik containers, floral fabric containers and Christmas fabric containers.

These new containers seemed just the right size for fat quarters or half yard pieces. They are quite deep as well so they fit right into the back of the cupboard.

Front View

They stack on top of each other and they are quite light weight and easy to manage. They have plastic dividers in them and this is what they look light from the top.

Top View
They are a good size too, 14.5" (37cm) wide, 22" (56cm) long and 5" (13cm) deep. Here is a side view.

Side view
These containers are holding my latest favourite fabric, Stonehenge by Northcott. They are perfect for landscape style quilts and that is what I am planning on trying next year.

Stonehenge Fabrics
They have a bit more detail and life than the normal tone on tone style fabrics and are perfect for trees, hill, rocks and flowers.

How do you store your fabric?

Bye for now,

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Final Charm

The final charm package arrived the other day. I started getting them 12 months ago and they have been arriving every two months since then. They have been sent by the Quilted Crow Girls and I have really enjoyed getting them.

The last block to be done is a square in a square, so that shouldn't be very hard to do. The one before had been more time consuming and I was thinking that they might be getting more difficult as they went along.

It was a larger package than usual because it also contained the pattern and fabric to make the blocks into a small quilt to match the bracelet.

I usually make up the blocks soon after I get them but I am very time starved at the moment. My oldest daughter is getting married next month and our life is consumed by dress fittings, guest lists, bridal showers and high teas. It's hectic and busy but really enjoyable as well.

This block will have to wait until I get some spare time, possibly not until the New Year!

Here is the final charm.

Bye for now,

Friday 8 November 2013

Cover Quilt

My quilt Holiday Waltz is on the cover of the latest Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine.

I was at the newsagent yesterday innocently looking at the latest magazines as I do from time to time when I decided to buy one. As I was turning away the magazine with my quilt on it caught my eye. I didn't notice it before and when I come to think about it, the magazine that I was buying might have been in front of it.

APQ Vol 23 no 2

It's APQ's Showcase edition where they show photos of quilts that have been in shows and they tell the story of the techniques and ideas behind the design of the quilts.

It was a big thrill for me and certainly put a smile on my face because I was having a fairly ordinary day before that. I was so excited that I actually told the lady behind the counter that it was my quilt. She said that she had been discussing the magazine with another lady at the shop and they were trying to work out how I had done the trapunto on the outside cream triangles. They ended up deciding that I must have bought the fabric with that already on it!! I then tried to explain how I did it and she was very impressed.

There is a two page article inside about the quilt.

I was interviewed for the article a couple of months ago now and they didn't tell me when the magazine would be out and they certainly didn't tell me it made the front cover. They usually like to keep it a surprise though. I was surprised!!

Bye for now,

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Star Quilt

For the last month or so I have been making a star quilt.

It is going to be a present for someone and originally I was going to make a crazy quilt including lots of photos of the person but I was running out of time and I wasn't sure that the end result would be very attractive.
My next thought was a hexagon quilt, with largish hexagons some of which would include photos. When I was discussing it with a friend she said that hexagons can be quite time consuming, even the quilt as you go type.

So it was back to the drawing board for me. The latest Quilters Companion Magazine arrived in my letter box and as I was looking through the magazine a quilt pattern caught my eye.

Quilters Companion issue 63
The quilt was called Dark Waters and it happened to be close to the colours I was thinking of using plus it was a star quilt and I have always been partial to stars. I must confess that I also liked it because it was a basic star and a nine patch and so I thought it wouldn't take very long to make.

Dark Waters by Toni Brazendale
The quilt by Toni Brazendale was 89"x89", much larger than I wanted and it had a kite shape in the corner of the stars that I decided to leave out.

I re-drew the pattern in EQ7 and made the blocks and quilt much smaller. I haven't read the instructions in the magazine but the blocks must be much larger than my 9" because my quilt is going to measure 56"x56".

I strip pieced the nine patches.

 I had a few different combinations of strips because I added an extra colour than was in the original pattern as well.

Nine patch block
The block measures 9 inches so all the little squares are 1" finished.

I did all the nine patches first and then I started on the stars.

I was very happy this afternoon because I completed the last star and put the blocks up on my design wall.

Blocks on my design wall

I was really happy and had a smile on my face that I had finished at last. What was I thinking! I am not finished! I still have to sew these blocks together and then baste and quilt it and then put on the binding as well!!

I suppose I had better get sewing.

Bye for now,

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Castlemaine Quilt In

I was invited to be guest speaker at the Goldfields Quilters Quilt In last Saturday and what a wonderful time it was. I was lucky enough to be accompanied on the two hour drive up to Castlemaine by my friend Sue who just happens to be the person who introduced me to quilting 16 years ago.

We were greeted by a huge room full of ladies sitting at tables sewing and chatting, there was a room full of traders with every type of fabric, thread, gadget and pattern you can imagine. We were also spoiled with handmade cakes, slices and soup! Quilting, food, fun and laughter, sounds like a perfect day, doesn't it? It was.

Here is a photo of me near the beginning of my talk showing my first quilt. They were the first colours that I ever chose to use in a quilt, pink and green.

One of the best things about going to retreats, quilt shows and Quilt Ins is that I get to catch up with quilters I know and I also get to meet new friends and last weekend was no exception. I was surprised to meet quite a few quilters that are going on the Quilters Cruise to New Zealand in February and one lady has booked into all 3 of my classes.

Jacqui King came especially to the Quilt In because I was going to be there. She is making my quilt pattern called Scottish Dance and she brought it to show everyone. It's not finished yet but she is very close and her applique is exquisite.

Jacqui King and her Scottish Dance.
Scottish Dance is not an easy quilt to make and it's one of the few that I have seen close to completion. Thank you Jacqui for coming and showing me the quilt, it gave me a lot of pleasure.

There were more delights to come though. I was out near the entrance talking to a couple of ladies doing their duty at the front door when they mentioned another of their members who loved doing crazy quilting. Of course I was interested and was introduced to Marcie Carr but she didn't have any of her work with her. Guess what! She drove home and brought her work back to show me!

Crazy Patchwork by Marcie Carr
Look at her beautiful work, look at that nest! I must do a nest soon.

Book by Marcie Carr

She had made a beautiful book full of collage and embroidery and text. I wish that I had more time to explore it further. I want to make a book as well!

There was more to come.
She had two boxes and look what was inside.

Baubles by Marcie Carr
These baubles are made of fabric and embroidered and are about 4" across the diameter, a bit larger than a tennis ball. She designed them herself and they are soft, they do not have polystyrene in them.
I was in love with them and thought that she was so clever.

The best bit is yet to come; Marcie gave me one of them to me as a present!! I insisted that she shouldn't but she said that she wanted me to have it because she knows that I would appreciate it.

My bauble by Marcie Carr

Another view of my bauble by Marcie Carr
I had never met Marcie before and I felt very humbled that she would give it to me and then she mentioned that she had a blog and when she said the name of it I realised that she is one of the blogs that I already follow!

Here is Marcie Carr herself with one of her crazy quilts.

You can follow Marcie Carr's Blog as well; it's called Silver Threads, just click on the link.

You can see what an exciting day I had. Thank you to Rosalind who organised the Quilt In and Colleen who is the Goldfield Quilters President and all the other wonderful ladies who worked behind the scenes to make the day so successful.

I highly recommend a visit to Castlemaine next time they hold their Quilt In.

Bye for now,

Monday 14 October 2013

Goldfield Quilters Quilt In

Next Saturday the 19th October, the Goldfield Quilters are having their Quilt In. The Goldfield Quilters are based in Castlemaine which is a  lovely country town north of Melbourne, Victoria.

I was honoured to be asked to be the guest speaker this year and I am looking forward to bringing many of my quilts to show and speak about my journey as a quilter. Quilting is such a huge part of my life now and yet it was only about 16 years ago that I saw my first quilt. I had no idea that such a thing existed.

The Quilt In will be held at the Campbell's Creek Community Centre from 10am until 4pm and entry is $6.00.

Bring your lunch, a mug and your sewing. Morning and afternoon tea will be provided and soup will be available for $2.00.

It sounds like a lovely day being surrounded by quilts, quilters and food.

Hope to see you there.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 8 October 2013


This month the Waverley Art Quilters were studying Monet. We have already studied him in the past but the Victorian Art Gallery had the Monet's Garden exhibition on this year and we thought that it would be a good opportunity to revisit him.

We last studied him in 2010 and this is the quilt that I made back then.

Morning with Monet ©2010 Linda Steele

We had a group excursion to the gallery to see the exhibition and the gallery had gone to a lot of effort decorating the venue to fit in with the Monet theme.



It was easy to get into a French frame of mind. We all met in the café for a coffee and then went into the gallery. We were there in time for the guided tour but it was very busy.

Here I am in front of the Monet sign.

It almost seems like I am there doesn't it? Quite a few of our group had been to the actual Monet's Garden in Giverny France. I'll get there one day!

Monet was famous for his water lily paintings and the gallery has set up a modern day lily pond in the foyer.
They are different sized china bowls that are floating in water and as they move around and tap each other they make a lovely tinkling chime. It is very relaxing.

I had taken a photo of some water lilies at the Adelaide Zoo a couple of years ago and decided to use it as inspiration for my quilt.

I got out my fabrics that I thought would be suitable.

Then I traced out a pattern and used a fusible web to place the leaves onto the background fabric.

I changed the background fabric because the one I had chosen seemed too light, but I didn't like the quilt at all. It wasn't until the next day that I realised that the value of the leaves was wrong. I had bought some new fusible Vliesofix that sticks to the fabric when pressed with a dry iron but is not permanent until you use steam, so I could peel the fabrics off the background and start again.

I was much happier with these fabrics. I added a flower and a bit of paint for some dimension.

Here is the quilt all quilted and ready to show the members of our group.

I quilted it with a thread that has a bit of sparkle in it but unfortunately it is not showing up in the photo. I am not super happy with it; it's not as good as it seemed in my imagination. I realise that I would need to put a lot more time in it for that.

After I had finished I received a parcel in the mail and it was the 2014 Calendar from the American Quilters Society and look what was on the front cover!

Monet in Pasadena by Melinda Bula

Now that is a beautiful quilt. I am sure she spent a lot more than two days making it though!

Bye for now,

Sunday 6 October 2013

Beginners Machine Quilting Class

Have you always wanted to learn how to machine quilt your own quilts? I can help you get started and also give you the hint to be kind to yourself as you are learning. I am teaching another series of Beginner Machine Quilting classes at a shop in Blackburn, Victoria called Sewn and Quilted.

Scottish Reel© Linda Steele

The class will cover all the basics such as basting, thread, wadding, tension and marking your quilting designs and then we will move onto free motion quilting designs as well as covering how to manage a quilt using a domestic machine.

Beginners Machine Quilting

I will be teaching the class over 3 Wednesday mornings from 10am to 12.30pm. The good thing about spreading the class over three mornings is that you get a break in between because we all know that there is only so much that you can take in at a time and I find that my students are quite exhausted quilting for an entire day.

The dates for the classes are Wednesday 30th October, 6th November and 27th November, 10-12.30pm

The shop is at 92 Whitehorse Road, Blackburn. Victoria and you enter at the rear of the house.
Please ring Carol on 9877 1664 if you are interested in doing the class.

Beginners Machine Quilting
 Hope to see you there.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Valuation Qualification

I am pleased to say that after two and a half years of on the job training I am now a qualified quilt Valuer with Victorian Quilters.

On the first Monday of the month we meet at a church hall in Hawthorn and value quilts for insurance purposes. The hall can be very cold in winter and hot in summer but we get to be up close and personal with a great variety of quilts ranging from traditional to art quilts. I love seeing the beautiful quilts and it can be quite amazing how detailed some quilts are.

I also get to catch up with the other valuers and trainee valuers and find out the latest quilting news.

As well as having a value put on your quilt, it is a record in case your quilt is lost or damaged in any way.

Here is my certificate and badge.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Houston Silent Auction 2013

I was very honoured to once again be invited to make a small quilt for the Houston Silent Auction this year. This is a fund raising venture to help run the wonderful Houston Quilt Show.

Seeing as I had a couple of blocks left over from my Christmas quilt, I decided to use one of them. I used a red 12" block and put a border and some embroidery around it.

Before I added the red fabric border I realised that I hadn't washed the red fabric. I hesitated at first because I wanted to get straight on with the quilt. It is a wall hanging and not meant to be washed but it is for someone else and you never know what they will do with it. I had the bad experience once in my early quilting days when I put a quilt on the wall and the blue backing fabric left a blue imprint on the wall!!

After I washed the fabric I was glad that I did because a lot of red rinsed out of the fabric.

Here is the wall hanging finished but before I had added the quilting. I used a chain stitch in gold coloured DMC to make a square around the centre and then wove a stem stitch vine over the square and added some lazy daisy leaves and some little lazy daisy flowers.

Every quilt always looks so much better quilted, so here it is quilted.

I was quite proud of myself because these feathers were sewn freehand without any marking, although I did use the embroidery as a guide for the feathers.

Here are some close-ups of the embroidery.

Here is a close-up of the quilting.

I hope some people bid on my quilt and they raise a lot of money from all the quilts. I am always happy to donate to the Houston Quilt Show because it is so well run and Australian quilters are made to feel so welcome over there.

My Christmas Quilt was juried into Houston this year and it is such an honour to be accepted. I already know that I missed out on a prize but I cannot be too disappointed because I know the jaw-dropping standard of the quilts and the ones that have received the prizes must be wonderful. All will be revealed in early November.

Bye for now,