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,

Tuesday 21 October 2014


 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,

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,

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,

Monday 6 October 2014

Round the World Blog Hop

I have been nominated by Dawn from Sew Much to Quilt to participate in the Round the World Blog Hop. Dawn loves doing embroidery and also does some lovely quilts. The Round the World Blog Hop is a fun way to see some blogs that you might not know about. There a few questions that we have to answer so people can find out a bit more about us.

What Quilting/Sewing thing am I working on?
Most of the quilts I make are Crazy Quilts and Art Quilts.

I belong to the Waverley Art Quilters and every month we study a different Artist, theme or technique. Lately we have been playing around with Gelli plate printing, here are some of the fabrics I have made.

I have made many crazy quilts in the past and a few months ago I started sewing a new one with a Seasons theme. Here is a winter block that is not finished but you get the idea.

Winter by Linda Steele
How does my work differ from others of it's genre?

My crazy quilts always have a theme or topic and are set out in a more structured format, a bit more like a traditional quilt. For example my quilt Crazy about Ballet was set into a star pattern.

Crazy about Ballet© Linda Steele
Why do I create what I do?

I love the combination of sewing the fabrics together and then putting embroidery over the top of it. I also love having a theme and thinking of the different ways I can represent it. One idea usually leads to another and I get endless hours of enjoyment out of it. I never know when a new idea will come into my head. I could see something on TV or in a book or magazine or just wandering around the supermarket. Not that I actually wander around a supermarket, I am usually rushing around trying to get out of there as soon as possible.

How does my creating process work?

I get an idea for a quilt and usually think about it for quite a few months before any sewing gets done. In my head I have a very rough idea of what the quilt will look and I start making the blocks one at a time. After the blocks are complete I have to try and get them to fit into a quilt, this stage is often the hardest part and I often try all sorts of ideas before it all comes together. Here is a post I did about the designing of Christmas Crazy

Christmas Crazy ©2013 Linda Steele
When the top is finally complete I have to decide how I will quilt it because I love to do my own quilting. I machine quilt on a domestic machine and it takes many hours to complete. I find that I can usually only quilt for about one and half hours before I take a break and can only quilt for 6 hours a day. I keep a record of how long it takes to quilt and Christmas Crazy took 60 hours.

That's a little bit about me, the three bloggers that I have nominated are;

Pat Winter is an American crazy quilter; she is a well known teacher, author of Crazy Quilting magazines and calendars and sells her work on Etsy. If you love crazy quilting you will love Pat's blog and all the wonderful links and free tutorials she provides.

Jennifer Clouston is an Australian crazy quilter from Qld and she has written a beautiful book called Foolproof Crazy Quilting. Jennifer does a lot of teaching and her students often allow her to post photos of their work on her blog. It is very inspiring.

Marilyn Wall is an American Art Quilter and teacher, who does the most beautiful pictorial quilts of people, flowers and birds. I always enjoy her blog and she often has step by step photos that show how she achieves such a wonderful realism. You will love seeing her quilts on her website

Bye for now,