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,

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Fire Block

I am still busy making my Seasons quilt and one of the blocks is about a bush-fire, which is always a scary threat here in Australia in the summer.

I used a red pre-felt base which looks a bit like  wool felt but it has only been very lightly felted, so it is quite light and thin. I added some bits of wool roving to make a little fire scene.

Using the embellisher machine, I needle felted all the wool to make a fabric. An embellisher or needle-felting machine looks just like a sewing machine except you do not use any thread. Mine has 5 barbed needles that felt the wool rovings. When I was finished I was disappointed the resulting fabric looked too harsh and clunky.

It didn't look anything like the background that I hoped. I looked at the reverse side though and that was much better and far more subtle.

That was much more like the look that I was going for.

I placed the felted fabric in the middle of my crazy block and added some silk fabrics around it.

Fire- Crazy base block
I added some trees in stem stitch and then decided to go for an Australian theme and added some Australian animals. Here is the block completed.

Looking at the block now I realise that I could add some branches to the trees. That's one of the things with crazy quilts; you can usually keep adding stitches.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Felting with Elizabeth Armstrong

Earlier this year I did in a one day beginner wet felting class with felter extraordinaire Elizabeth Armstrong. It was such an enjoyable day and Elizabeth is a lovely patient teacher. We were surrounded with a riot of colour in the classroom with many of Elizabeth's projects decorating the room.

She suggested that we take photos so we could remember what we did. We were allowed to pick any colour background and I chose green. She gave suggestions and instructed us on what to do.

I wasn't going to make it into anything; it was just a  learning experience for me and I tried to add as much as I could.
It was hard to photograph the piece because it was quite wide, so here it is on an angle.

After making the background and then covering it with all sorts of wool shapes and fabric and threads we had to wet felt our pieces. After adding soapy water, we rolled and rolled and rolled until at last we could open out our felted pieces and then wash all the soap out.

Felting complete
It was amazing to see all those shapes become one piece of fabric. I don't particularly like it but remember I was just trying to see how it all worked.

I bought Elizabeth's book because I knew that I would forget how to do it.

Felt Happy by Elizabeth Armstrong
I also bought some wool supplies from her.

Not long after the class I started to mind my granddaughter during the week and I haven't done any more wet felting.
Recently I felt inspired to dust of my Embellisher machine and try some needle felting which is a dry felting technique. I am trying to do some landscape style felting and so far I am quite happy.

Needle felting a landscape
An Embellisher machine looks like a sewing machine but it uses no thread, it has a group of barbed needles and felts wool fabrics together. It gives a different look to wet felting and it is not as hard on your arms and hands as wet felting is.

I would still like to try wet felting again though. I could become addicted to felting, I love the effects and I would love to do another class with Elizabeth Armstrong.

Bye for now,