Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Novelty Pin Cushion

One of my sewing groups got together for our Christmas lunch last week. The weather was lovely and warm and it felt good to relax and slow down a bit. This year our Kris Kringle gift to each other was to be a novelty pin cushion.

It turned out to be a harder challenge than I thought. I didn't think my usual pin cushion that I've made before was novelty enough so I went through a certain amount of angst. I don't usually make fiddly things and I've never been a bag or knick knack type of sewer.

I ended up buying a little cottage pattern on the net. It was called Pincushion Cottage a Gingermelon Design by Michelle Down.

Here is my little cottage that I made.

Pin Cushion Cottage

It wasn't very difficult to make and the instructions were very good. Now I have made one I would be better at it and luckily I already had the felt and threads to make it. Maybe I would put some plastic on the bottom or use walnut shavings to give it more weight if I ever made it again.

We wrapped up our pin cushions and passed it to the person sitting on our left.

Look at the gorgeous one I received.

Log and mushroom Pin cushion

Here is a closer look at the mushrooms.

I was absolutely thrilled with mine and everyone else was delighted with theirs as well, even the person who got my cottage!

Here is a photo of all the novelty pin cushions.

There was only five at our lunch this year because one of our group was not well.

On a sadder note my other sewing group did not have our usual Christmas party as dear Marie Hart passed away and we are going to her funeral instead.

Here is a picture of our Christmas party last year.

We would never have guessed that day that by the same time next year two of our friends would have passed away. I will miss Marie as I miss my friend Sue everyday.

Take care everyone and love those friends and family. xxx

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

An Abstract Year

I started the year trying to work on abstract art with the Waverley Art Quilters and I think I am now better informed and understand it a lot more. In fact I enjoyed it. I know the others in the group were concerned at first but everyone ended up doing some fabulous work and found that it wasn't so scary after all if we took it step by step.

We started the year with the holiday challenge; we were all given a bag with strips of batik fabrics and had to include a stamping or printing technique.

Midnight Blue
I decided that I don't really care for the strips of fabric look.

Next we studied Australian Abstract artist Helen Maudsley.

Finding my Way

It was fun to do but I still don't think it's something I want to do a lot more of.

When our subject was maps I felt a little more comfortable especially as I could make it about Coral Reefs.


I enjoyed painting and stamping the fabrics but it wasn't exactly abstract art.

We all enjoyed studying Marimekko.


Now I felt as if I was really doing something I enjoyed. I loved the black and white background but I really loved those circles.

Transparency was difficult to achieve although I did manage to have some success with it but once again those strips and squares don't excite me much.


When we studied Lyubov Popova I felt that I was onto something I enjoyed doing.


I have decided that I love black and white, love angles, love circles and love a limited colour palette.

I am so glad that I looked back at what I did in art quilters this year. It's always so busy that I usually don't bother. The advantage with these little studies is that they are only A3 size so I can try out different things without it being too time consuming.

I still haven't done out Art Quilter's program for next year but I will include at least one month of abstract art.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Waverley Art Quilters Dinner

The year is flying by and last week we had the Waverley Art Quilters end of year dinner. We always finish in November because December gets too hectic.

We went to our favourite Chinese restaurant and they gave me some beautiful flowers for running the group.

We always have a holiday challenge and this year is no exception. We all received a paper bag with some silk Kimono fabric in it. Here are some samples of what was in some of the bags.

Challenge Fabrics

The fabric I received might be a bit more challenging than some of those.

My challenge fabric

I am trying to be positive in that I have been working with brighter colours this year and I have been thinking that I should use some of those silks that I have in my stash. So, who knows!

All will be revealed when we meet again in February.

I do feel lucky to be part of such a creative and supportive group.

Bye for now,

Monday, 19 November 2018

Alison Holt Workshop

A week or so ago I did a 2 day class with free motion machine embroiderer, Alison Holt.

The class was called Sunshine and Shadows. On the first day we painted our background with silk paints using a gutta resist to stop the paint from running. Alison also gave us many demonstrations.

Here is my silk painted background ready for stitching.

On day 2 we started the stitching, I didn't take any progress photos because I was working very hard to get it finished. I knew that I would never get back to it afterwards.

Everyone else brought their own photo to use but I used one of Alison's photos that is actually in her Woodlands book.

I worked pretty hard and nearly got it done.

There are still a couple of things to do and I really should spend the time and finish it.

I must now confess that it is my 5th class with Alison Holt. She comes over to Australia from England every year or two and the classes are held a short distance from my home so it is very convenient.

Her classes are wonderful, she is so talented and very easy going and absolutely lovely.

Alison Holt and I

I didn't realise how tall Alison was! I remember the first time I heard about Alison, it was about 12 years ago when I first saw one of her books. My heart skipped a beat; I loved her work. It's not often that you meet someone you admire and then become a friend.

I bought one of her stitched paintings called Autumn Sunlight.

Autumn Sunlight by Alison Holt

I also bought some of her cards; I will put them in my scrap book. They have cellophane over them so that is why there are some reflections in the photo.

Alison Holt cards

It was lovely to catch up with Alison again; I would recommend doing her class if she ever comes to your area.

Bye for now,

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Holidays and the Elizabeth Gower Exhibition

In the last school holidays my husband and I spent a week down in Torquay with my daughter Alison and her daughter Savannah. Alison's husband could only come down for the weekend because he had recently started a new job.

It is a really lovely part of southern Victoria.

The weather was cool but we still managed some fun at the beach. Here is a photo of Alison and Savannah walking close to the water and just after this photo was taken a wave came too close and drenched little Savannah. She thought it was very funny.

Everyone had a chance to choose an activity and I chose to go to the Geelong Art Gallery.

The Geelong Art Gallery

The portrait painting prize the Archibald's were just setting up and so half the gallery was closed, luckily I had already seen it in Sydney when I was up there.

We saw an exhibition by Elizabeth Gower, an Australian artist who specializes in collage. She has also done a lot of quilting and embroidery and it shows in her work.

Elizabeth Gower

She meticulously cuts out pictures from magazines and collages them onto plexiglass. it's only when you get up close you realise that the flower like shapes are made of pictures of shoes.


There were two rooms; a colour room and a black and white room.

In the colour room they were arranged according to colour.

Here are some close up photos of them, it was hard to pick a favourite; they were all lovely.

They look like traditional quilts, don't they? It's just that they are made of paper and are glued in place. Apparently Elizabeth Gower has been collecting quality magazines for 23 years.

Here is one from the black and white room.

When you get up close you can see it is made from photos of irons.

Her most recent work is changed a little and is a little more like appliqué than piecing.

I do not know how she is so precise with her cutting and gluing.

It was unusual to see such a quilt like exhibition in an art gallery and I couldn't help but think if it was made of fabric it wouldn't be in the gallery!

Speaking of fabric we also went to Amite Textiles, a quilt shop down in Torquay. I managed to spend money on Aurifil threads and more fabric for my recent contemporary quilt.

It is a huge shop and I recommend a visit especially as it has a wonderful café. We did a lot of eating out on our holiday and my family voted that the Amite café was the best and if we had have had time we would have gone back another day.

Savannah eating cake at Amite

It was a lovely week away especially as we got to spend so much time with Alison and Savannah. We packed a lot of adventures into that week, including a visit to a wildlife park.

The Elizabeth Gower exhibition is on until the 25th of November and the Archibald Prize closes a week earlier on the 18th, so still a little bit more time to get there.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Quilt finished, new furniture and a touch of Liberty

I made a commitment to exhibit a quilt in January 2019 in New Zealand for the students of Nancy Crow exhibition. We had an exhibition in 2017 and this one is to show how we have gone on to find our own voice after the classes.

I have had such a busy year with absolutely no spare time until recently. It's hard to believe that I started making this quilt in September and it had to be 2m square (79" square). I sewed every spare chance I had and managed to quilt it in 13 days. Mind you it nearly killed me and my hands were swollen and aching. I cannot show you the quilt yet but here is a picture of me quilting it.

I realised that I had overdone it and so had to have a break from sewing and give my hands, arms and shoulders time to recover.

I had won a lovely prize at the Victorian Quilters Showcase and hadn't had a chance to redeem it. So here was my chance. I had won an $800 voucher from Horn cabinets and they had given me a booklet of their products for me to choose from.

Horn Australia Furniture Catalogue 

I chose two chests of drawers, a wide one and a narrower thread storage chest.

Not long after I ordered them they arrived. They actually arrived flat packed and my husband took most of the day to build them for me.

 I love them and they are already filled with supplies and my sewing room has been reorganised a bit to fit them in. They are a really good quality and I am so grateful to Horn Cabinets for such a generous prize.

I also received another prize of 6 months' supply of Liberty Fabrics from The Strawberry Thief.  Here is where I have to confess that I have never bought any Liberty Fabric before but I know many people who absolutely love them.

I have received 3 months' supply so far and I was amazed at the wonderful quality of the fabric. This is why people love Liberty fabric!

Liberty Fabrics

Every month I also receive a chart telling me the names of the fabrics I have received.

Now I'll have to design a quilt using these gorgeous fabrics. I think I have a glimmer of an idea of what I could do with them; I'll wait until I receive the entire 6 months' supply first.

Thank you to both sponsors Horn Cabinets and The Strawberry Thief . You have made me very happy.

Bye for now,

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Victorian Quilters Gathering at Deniliquin

Last weekend I drove up to Deniliquin in NSW for the Victorian Quilters Spring Gathering.

Me with my quilt Naturally Crazy

I was asked to be the guest speaker and so my car was packed with 3 suitcases of quilts.

The tiny suitcase on the left was my clothes, the big ones held the quilts.

The meeting was held in a beautiful old church.

The Church hall

Behind the hall was a picturesque lake.

The room was packed as quilters came from lots of nearby country towns; it was a very friendly meeting.

The committee and members of the Deniliquin quilters had gone to so much trouble to make it a fun day with door prizes and raffle prizes and the most delicious morning and afternoon tea.

There were two large tables of scones for morning tea and two large tables of mixed cakes for afternoon tea. Those ladies certainly know how to cook!

After lunch it was my time to be guest speaker, the ladies were very kind and many told me that they enjoyed hearing my quilting story.

Me as guest speaker

I was lucky enough to have dinner one night with local couple Audrey and John. John cooked up a delicious dinner and dessert for me and the Vic Quilters President, Marie. I had to get a photo taken with Audrey and Marie. Audrey is in the middle and she's looking very serious in the photo but she was a kind and gracious host.

Audrey, Marie and I
 As well as guest speaker I was also there as Vice President of Victorian Quilters. We got a photo with the Vic Quilters committee members who made the trip up there with the Deniliquin committee members.

Committee members
I am so glad that we took the time for the photos because so often we forget these things.

It was a wonderful weekend and the weather was perfect. Thank you to the Deniliquin Quilters for a wonderful day and great memories.

I didn't have a couple of quilts with me because they were in America but one came back when I got back home. In the box was a lovely ribbon for winning 3rd prize in the Paducah Fall Show.

The Bleaching with its ribbon

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Crazy Quilt Calendar 2019

I was asked by crazy quilter Pamela Kellogg of Kitty and Me Designs to design and sew a Christmas block for her 2019 Crazy Quilt Calendar.

Here is the block that I made for the calendar.

Christmas Crazy by Linda Steele

I used red silk fabrics to foundation piece the background and then started adding the motifs with hand embroidery.

Embroidering the motifs

I didn't take any other step by step photographs; as usual I was so busy and running from one deadline to another that I was just happy to get this block done in time.

Here are some detail photos.

I decided to quilt it because it look so wrong and unfinished without the quilting to me.

The calendar is now available for sale from Pam Kellogg.

The front of the calendar has a block by Shirlee Fassell. I had a look at her blog and she does some beautiful work.

Here is the January page, a beautiful block by Betty Pillsbury

January by Betty Pillsbury

It is a lovely calendar; on the back is a snapshot of all the blocks in the calendar.

Back of calendar

It would be a lovely Christmas present for a friend or just get one for you! The calendars are available through Magcloud

The people who sewed blocks for the calendar are Shirley Fassell, Betty Pillsbury, Suzy Quaife, Kathleen Klein, Nicki Lee Seavey, Karen Guthrie, Pam Peugh, Sandra Visser, Brenda Sandusky, Angela Grasse, Lisa Boni, Heather Brighton and me Linda Steele.

I don't know some of the other names; I'll have to look them up.

Pamela Kellogg produces crazy quilt calendars every year and I have had them before but this is the first time I have been included in her Crazy Quilt Calendar.

If you are interested in purchasing one you can find them at

Bye for now,