Tuesday 22 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

It's the end of another year and what a year it was.

Last week I had the last day of minding my dear little granddaughter Savannah.

Last Day with Savannah 13 months
I have been minding her during the week since April when she was only 5 months old. It's been a very busy year, sometimes so tiring and other times such a delight.

I had forgotten how much babies learn in the first 12 months. I have seen her roll over, sit up, start solid food, crawl, talk and walk in those 8 months. I am very lucky to have been given the chance to get to know her so well.

Here is the photo I took of her on the first day of minding her.

First Day with Savannah, 5 months
That first week was particularly difficult but we got into a routine and somehow got through the year together. Even though I had four children of my own, it was a long time ago and I had forgotten how much constant work babies are.

I felt quite emotional on that last day.

My daughter arrived with a thank you present for me; a beautiful Pandora bracelet.

Pandora Bracelet

Here is a close up photo of the charms and they all have special meanings to us.

Mickey Mouse has been Savannah's favourite since she was 3 months old. The two little bears are Savannah and I and the present is to say thank you.

I will treasure that bracelet always and will remember this special year.

Next year all will be different, Savannah is going off to a childcare centre at the school where my daughter teaches. I am allowed to have her occasionally though.

Next year I will be getting back to my sewing and will hopefully get some quilts made again. I will also be busy with my duties as President of Waverley Patchworkers and Coordinator of the Waverley Art Quilters group. There's always plenty to do.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you to the people who have read my blog and taken the time to comment, I really appreciated hearing from you.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Vietnam Veteran's 50th Anniversary Quilt

Earlier this year I was approached by the President of the Victorian Vietnam Veterans. They were going to be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in 2016 and they had decided to make a quilt.

All 27 branches of the Victorian Veterans were going to make a block and they wanted me to make the centre logo and the lettering on the top and bottom borders.

Bob gave me a card with the logo and I had to make it to fit a 60cm square of fabric. Here is a photo of the finished block and the little card that I had to use.

Vietnam Veteran's Logo

I had to photocopy the card and then increase the size on the printer. It was quite a time consuming logo to make. I appliqued the circles and fused and satin stitched the lettering, crown and the pictures in the centre. I think that I made 3 rising sun badges and 2 or 3 flags until I was happy with them.

Here is a photo of me cutting out the text for the borders.

Cutting out the lettering

Here is a photo of the finished top and bottom border.

Top and bottom border
Last week was the official unveiling of the quilt and I went along to Anzac House in Collins Street Melbourne for the event.

I met Alma Elliot, the wife of one of the Vietnam Veteran's for the first time, she took on the daunting task of coordinating the quilt, contacting all the branches and putting the quilt together.

Alma (in red)  and I
Here are some detail shots of some of the blocks.

As well as the Australian flag there was also the Vietnamese Freedom flag on the quilt.

Vietnam Freedom Flag
The flag represents freedom and human rights to the Vietnamese who fled to Australia to escape communism.

A lovely lady named Chi came over and spoke to me about it and she was in tears after all these years because that flag was all they could take from their homeland.

Here is a photo of some of the Vietnamese at the opening, they loved the quilt.

I also got a photo of the State President, Bob Elworthy and I because he was the one that I was in contact with when I was doing my bit for the quilt.

Bob Elworthy and I
The quilt will travel around Victoria next year before it will reside at the Vietnam Veteran's Headquarters in Phillip Island.

Finally a photo of the finished quilt.

Victorian Vietnam Veterans 50th year Quilt.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Windows and Walls Challenge

This year the Waverley Art Quilters have been studying the book Connecting Design to Stitch by Sandra Meech.

We decided to take it slowing and really study the book properly and so we spent the year gathering images on the various topics that were set by Sandra. The idea behind gathering images was that no one can create in a vacuum and it was a chance to look at things that we would normally not take any notice of and find out what really inspires us.
We finished off the year by doing the Windows and Walls design class that was at the end of the section on gathering images. The idea was to cut out windows on paper or fabric and place images behind the open spaces to find an interesting composition.

Just by chance the latest Quilting Arts magazine for October/November issue 77 came out with an article by Susan Purney Mark that was on a similar idea and I decided to follow Susan's instructions.

Luckily I already had some fabric strips sewn together that were left over from a previous project; they were mainly dark and batiks which was just perfect for this project.

I traced some leaf shapes onto a piece of fusible web and ironed them to the back of the striped fabric. Then I cut out the shapes.

I tried some plain gold fabric behind the cut outs but it looked too plain.

Next I tried a spotty batik but I didn't like the effect at all, it was far too busy.

I had some left over pieces of mono printed fabric that I sewed together.

When I put this fabric behind the stripes I really liked the effect; subtle but still with interest.

I satin stitched around the edges of the cut outs and then added a branch and some leaves over the top for some added interest.

Finally I quilted it with some leaf shapes.

Here is a close up of the quilting.

So another year is over and we have already had our break-up dinner. We went to a local Chinese Restaurant and we had such a good time that I forgot to take any photos.

We usually have a holiday challenge and this year might be more of a challenge than usual. Everyone received two reels of fine shiny thread in various colours and we can do whatever we like with it. The trouble is that it is not normal thread, it is the very fine thread that is used in fabric production and woven into fabric to give a shimmer and shine.

I have no idea what I will do. I could try it in the machine but it won't show up very easily. I could make tassels or something I suppose. Mmm, it is a challenge!

I feel so lucky to have found this supportive group of women and next year we are going to continue studying Sandra Meech's book. We will be going through the Elements of Design. I am looking forward to it.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Colour Run Disaster Avoided!

I have been busy sewing some applique for my latest quilt. In all my other applique quilts I have always used freezer paper as the templates and tacked the fabric over the freezer paper pattern. It is easy to slit the back of the applique and remove the freezer paper.

Some of the applique in my latest quilt has some very small pieces and so I thought I would try another technique that is very popular at the moment. The latest trend is to use water soluble paper as the template and glue the edges of the fabric around the paper.  This gives a nice edge but the resulting applique is a bit stiff.

Here is a photo of some prepared templates.

Prepared Applique pieces

Apparently you do not have to wash away the paper because it will soften in time but I have a few layers of applique and thought it was too stiff.

I placed the applique in water with a couple of colour catcher sheets and crossed my fingers that the colour wouldn't run. It seemed to be all right and after a rinse and a spin, I put the fabric out to dry.

Unfortunately one section of red fabric did run a bit. It's hard to see in the
photo so I put a circle around it.

It looked worse in real life. I have had trouble with this particular red before even though it has been pre-washed a couple of times. It's such a great colour though so I continue to use it.

Luckily I always keep a box of Dylon SOS Colour run in the cupboard. It's a bit scary to use because you must add the solution to hot water.

Here is the applique soaking in the solution for an hour.

It was a nervous wait.

After an hour I rinsed the fabric and gave it a gentle spin in the washing machine.

Luckily the excess dye came out and I could breathe again.

In the next section of applique I am using a very dark pink and I am looking very suspiciously at it!

Bye for now,

Tuesday 24 November 2015


The latest quilt that I have completed is an art quilt named Firelight. It is mostly made of wool that I have needle felted on the embellisher machine. I have also added some thread painted trees, hand embroidery and finally I machine quilted it.

Firelight ©2015 Linda Steele

I had three weeks off from minding my grand-daughter in the last school holidays and I mostly made it then. I might have started it a bit before that.

I am not sure when I had the idea to make it but I did enjoy making the small version in my Seasons Crazy Quilt (that quilt is still not finished!). I blogged about that block last month on the 13th October, in my post called Fire Block.

Here is a photo of the little block as a reminder.
Fire Block
This little fire centre is only about 4" square so my latest quilt is much bigger. My Firelight quilt measures 38" wide x 25" high.

Here is a close up photo of the quilt.

Firelight detail
Here is a close up photo of the ground area.

Ground detail
I had so much fun making this quilt that it makes me want to make more art quilts.

I entered this quilt in the AQIPP (Australian Quilts in Public Places) exhibition; the theme was Fire and Light.  I was thrilled to be accepted because it is quite a prestigious exhibition.

I went to the official opening and was amazed at the beautiful display of quilts with so many different ideas and techniques. The quilts are professionally displayed in an art gallery style. My quilt looked much smaller than it did at home and I wish that I had made it twice the size. Although I didn't win a prize I was still proud to be among such a high standard of art quilts.

The exhibition is on at the Box Hill Town Hall Art Space, Maroondah Hwy, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia. Entry is free and it is on display until Dec 22nd. Click on the link above for the opening times.

You couldn't take any photos at the opening because they have produced a beautiful hard cover book of all the quilts. I will try and go back before the exhibition closes and see if I can take some photos then.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Crazy Quilt Quarterly Magazine

There is a lovely magazine available for people who are interested in Crazy Quilting and it's called Crazy Quilt Quarterly. A new issue has just been released and it's the Winter 2015 issue. It's an American magazine and so that is why it's the winter issue.

Pamela Kellogg, a well-known crazy quilter runs the magazine and she interviewed me a few months ago about my Christmas Crazy Quilt.

Christmas Crazy©2013 Linda Steele

The Crazy Quilting Quarterly is a really lovely magazine with lots of gorgeous photos of crazy quilting. It's 40 pages long and she has devoted 3 pages to my quilt and has lots of lovely close up photos of the blocks.

The magazine is only available on line and not in stores. You can buy a print version or just have a digital version that you can read on your computer or Ipad. It is $14.95 for a combined print and e-version or just $6.95 for the digital version only. The price is US dollars.

Here is the Link to Crazy Quilting Quarterly 

You can read about how I made my crazy quilt by clicking on some of my previous blog posts Designing Christmas Crazy and Christmas Crazy

Bye for now,

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Happy Birthday Savannah

It's hard to believe that my first little granddaughter, Savannah is one year old. Where has that year gone?
I have been minding her during the week since she was five months old so I have got to know her very well. After a rough start we have got into a good routine and get on really well.
Even though she was going to have a proper party with family and friends on the weekend, I decided that we would have our own private party during the day.

This is how we started the day; she always likes to pretend to clean her teeth when I do.

Cleaning her teeth
Notice how clean and fresh she looks?

After lunch we had our little party and I helped her open one of her presents.

Opening presents
After singing Happy Birthday, she decided that she wanted a closer look at her cake.

I want that cake!
Her parents are quite strict with her and she doesn't usually eat cake or biscuits, but I had to let her have a bit of birthday cake.

She started off quite sedately and thought that this was something that she really liked. Then she decided that she really loved that cake and wanted to eat every crumb.

It took a long time to clean her off and clean the high chair!

She's such a dear little girl with such a sweet little personality. I suppose everyone thinks that about their grandchildren. I feel very lucky to have been able to spend this first year with her.

Happy Birthday, Savannah.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 3 November 2015

President of Waverley Patchworkers

At the last Waverley Patchworkers AGM (Annual General Meeting) I became the new President. I originally thought that I would take on the role of Vice President and after twelve months of learning the ropes I would take over as President.
Imagine my surprise when the President told me that she had decided not to go on for a second year! So I went straight into being President and have to do a crash course on the job.

I have been a member of Waverley Patchworkers for 16 years and have spent three years on the committee in the past and I have run three of Waverley Patchworkers Quilt Shows and been on the committee for two other shows so I am not completely new to how things run at Waverley.

I am still the coordinator of the Waverley Art Quilters and a Valuer for Victorian Quilters so I will be busy especially as I do want to keep making quilts as well. This year is especially hectic as I am still minding my baby granddaughter four days a week. I must be mad to take on another job!

My main aim as President for the first year is to have a stable year and to get everyone in the club to know each other a little better.

Last week the International Quilt Festival was on in Houston and if you click here you can see the photos of the prize winners. I didn't have a quilt in the show this year but if I get a move on I might have a quilt finished for next year.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Crazy About Australia in Beijing

My Crazy About Australia quilt has recently travelled to Beijing, China. I was one of five Australian quilters invited to participate in the China International Tournament and Patchwork Arts Show.
Sue Dennis, another Australian quilter has been to China a couple of times now and has developed an affiliation and friendship with some quilters there. She was invited to mount an Australian exhibition and I was lucky enough to be included.

She has sent me some photos of my quilt in the Beijing exhibition.

Crazy About Australia is the first crazy quilt that I ever made, it's over 10 years old now. I think it is the first time that it has travelled overseas.

Here is a clearer photo of it.

Crazy About Australia ©2004 Linda Steele
This quilt is the only crazy quilt that I have made using only a single strand of embroidery thread. Single strand gives a very delicate effect but after I finished this quilt I started to use two strands of thread, so the embroidery stands out a bit more.

Here are a couple of close up photos of two of the blocks.

Fish block
Frog block
There are quite a few of these quilts floating around now because I have taught it many times as a block of the month quilt and a 2 day course at retreats. It was a popular class for me.

Thank you to Sue Dennis for inviting me to participate.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 20 October 2015

APQ Christmas Edition

I know that it seems too early to talk about Christmas, but if we want to be prepared and make any presents or table-runners we actually should have already started on those. Thankfully I am not making anything like that this year, so I don't have to panic.

The Australian Patchwork and Quilting Christmas Edition Magazine, Vol 25 no. 5 has just been released.

 As well as some inspiring Christmas projects to make they have included a two page spread about my quilt Christmas Crazy on pages 58 and 59.

Stephanie Squadrito interviewed me earlier this year and she has done a wonderful job of changing my mundane words into something special.

Here is a photo of my quilt.

Christmas Crazy ©2013 Linda Steele
This is the last major quilt that I have finished; hopefully my newest quilt will be finished next year. Hooray!

Here is a detail photo from the top part of the quilt.

Bye for now,