Tuesday 28 August 2018

Uluru 2018

I spent a wonderful week up in Uluru (Ayer's Rock) and in my last post,
 Sewing up a Storm in the Desert,  I wrote about the classes that I did while I was staying up there.

I also did lots of tours and sightseeing, we packed a lot into that week!

I stayed with Marion another Waverley Patchworkers member at the Desert Gardens Hotel and she was a good companion for the week.

We had paid to have the buffet breakfast every morning and we had most of our evening meals in the bistro as well. We were certainly well fed!

I had wanted to go up to Uluru for many years and I could hardly believe that I was actually there. One of the first things we did was the Uluru Sunrise tour.

Uluru at Sunrise

You can see the magnificent glowing colour that happens at sunrise when you compare it to the photo above of me in front of the rock during the day. It is really hard to judge how big the rock actually is but it is huge and there is nothing else around it. It is quite a breath taking and magical sight. The tour leader told us that Uluru is bigger than the Eiffel Tower.

We also went to see the Field of Light display. It is a spectacular display of coloured lights by artist Bruce Munro and you walk through it at night. It is very cold at night so we all had our warm coats on.

Field of Light Display
As you can see from my photo it was very hard to photograph it was more about the experience but my friend Sue de Vanny brought her large camera and she said I could use one of her photos.

Sue de Vanny's photo of Field of Light

I didn't have a window seat on the plane flying in so I went on a 45 minute helicopter tour to see the area from the air.

I was in the front seat right next to the pilot so it was very exciting.

Here is a photo of Uluru from the air.

Uluru from the helicopter

There is another big rock up there or rather a set of many rocks called Kata Tjuta, which means many heads (It used to be called the Olgas). It is almost as magnificent as Uluru and Marion and I went on a sunset tour. Here is a photo before sunset and you can see the magnificent blue sky we enjoyed. I have never seen such blue skies and we didn't see a cloud the entire week.

Kata Tjuta

Here I am in front of Kata Tjuta at the beginning of Sunset.

Look at the magnificent colour when the sun finally goes down.

Kata Tjuta Sunset
It was quite magical and we didn't want to leave.

As well as the Uluru sunrise tour, we did the sunset tour with all the other Sewing up a Storm delegates. I have not done anything to the photo below; it is exactly how it looked.

Uluru at Sunset

The tutors took the chance to have a photo together too.

The Tutors

On the last night we went on the Sounds of Silence dinner. I haven't mentioned the wonderful starry sky that you get at night up there. It was just as amazing as Uluru. I didn't have the right camera or lens to take a photo of the night sky but it was inky black with millions of stars and the milky way was so clear. It was absolutely beautiful.

Sounds of Silence Dinner
As well as delicious food we had someone showing us the star constellations and he also pointed out the planets, it was very interesting.

It was a lovely diner but it was bittersweet because we knew we were going home the next day. Here I am celebrating with Sue de Vanny.

Sue and I

Here was my last look at Uluru before darkness fell.

Uluru at dusk
There really is something magical about the area and I am so glad that I got there at last. Caroline Sharkey is going to run another Sewing up a Storm in the Desert in 2020 and I highly recommend that you join in. People came from all over Australia as well as a couple from overseas. Many women took their husbands along as well. My husband didn't want to come for he is very busy at work but I know he would've enjoyed it.

Bye for now,

Thursday 23 August 2018

Viewer's Choice News

I received a wonderful email this week telling me that my quilt A Time for all Seasons has won Viewer's Choice in the World Quilt Show.

I have never won a Viewer's Choice prize overseas before and I am absolutely thrilled that people loved my quilt enough to vote for it. Thank you to those who chose my quilt. Such an honour.

A Time for all Seasons©2016 Linda Steele

My quilt celebrates the seasons and it is a combination of crazy quilting and hand applique and machine quilting on my domestic machine I did quite a few blog posts about it in 2016 when I made it.





Bye for now,

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Sewing Up a Storm in the Desert 2018

I have been up to Uluru, Northern Australia on a fabulous sewing retreat organised by
 Caroline Sharkey called Sewing up a Storm in the Desert.

I have wanted to visit Uluru or Ayers Rock as it used to be known for years and decided that this was my chance and booked in for a week of fun, classes and sightseeing. It was such a well organised event and the classes, food and tours were wonderful.

I stayed with another Waverley Patchworkers member called Marion and we got on really well. We arrived on Friday afternoon in time for registration.

The next morning was the official opening and we were entertained by Dwayne on the Didgeridoo, he is very talented and the emotional performance set the tone for a great experience.

Our Bernina sewing machines were all set up for us in the classroom and they had a special Sewing up a Storm skin on them. The machines were ours to take home so it is a wonderful memento of the trip.

My Sewing Machine

I had decided to do a 3 day class with Sophie Standing, an English tutor who lives in South Africa. Sophie is a very talented free motion embroiderer on the machine and she specialises in sewing African animals but she uses commercially printed fabrics for a very unique look.

Sophie Standing gave us all a high quality photo of one of her quilts as a gift.

Elephant by Sophie Standing

She also gave us a pattern and kit to make a Spinifex Pigeon, a bird found near Uluru .Here I am sewing my pigeon.

I was out of my comfort zone with the floral fabrics but after a very short pause I just decided to go with it and see what happened. I am glad I did because I think I was the only one who actually finished at the end of day 3! Of course they all looked different because we all had different scraps of fabric and it was up to us how we placed the fabrics.

My Spinifex Pigeon

What did I learn from this class? I learnt that I could use floral fabrics and still get a realistic result. I also learnt to be more free with my stitching and add more darks than I am used to.

It was a great experience; Sophie was fun but firm teacher who encouraged us to do our best work. Caroline and her crew made the experience even greater with every need attended to including delicious lunches and morning and afternoon teas. Pop up shops for us to spend our money and prizes. Every morning we'd find a little gift next to our machine.


We were very spoilt. Bernina were also very generous with the sewing machine at a greatly reduced price as well as gifts to celebrate their 125th birthday.

Bernina Gifts

We stayed a week and the class went for 3 days and so the rest of the time was for sightseeing. Caroline had arranged some wonderful tours and dinners and I'll talk about them in my next post.

Marion and I signed up for a dot painting class taken by one of the local Aboriginal women. Here is my little canvas ready to go.

Christine spoke to us with an interpreter and explained and showed us the implements that women used to use and she demonstrated some of the symbols that the Aboriginal people used in their paintings. She then asked us to paint our story.

It was a very relaxed experience and even though the paints were well used and the brushes not perfect we managed to get into the zone.

Here is my little painting about my family. It is about how our family live amongst the trees and how one daughter has also made a home in the trees but another has made a home near the sea. I have also painted my myself and daughters and granddaughters sitting together and my husband, and 2 sons and grandson all sitting together but we all live together under the same starry sky. Certainly not perfect but a great experience.

We stayed at the Desert Gardens Hotel and the Artist in Residence was a glass jewellery maker called Christine Stewart. She offered a class once a day and so Marion and I booked into one. I made a pendant showing Uluru.

I also bought a beautiful pendant made by Christine and I love wearing it. The pendant will always remind me of my special trip to Uluru.

Glass pendant by Christine Stewart

We packed so much into that week with sunrise and sunset tours and dinners of all descriptions but that will have to wait for my next post.

Bye for now,

Monday 20 August 2018

Coral Beauty Project

Earlier this year I was contacted by Stitch Magazine and asked if I would do a project for them because they were doing an issue about the sea. Stitch Magazine is the magazine put out by the UK Embroiderer's Guild.

It is the June/July 2018 issue but it has only just come out in the newsagents in Australia.

Stitch Magazine June/July 2018

I did a little A3 sized project but it took a lot of time because I did a lot of hand embroidery stitching for the coral and I also had to take step by step photos and write all the instructions.

The project takes up 5 pages.

My project instructions

Here is the photo of the actual project.

Coral Beauty by Linda Steele

It's always a thrill to see your quilt in a magazine and I think it's the first time I have been in an English magazine.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Lyubov Popova

Russian abstract artist Lyubov Popova was our topic with the Waverley Art Quilters last month.

None of us had heard of her but one of her paintings is in the latest Victorian National Gallery Winter Exhibition called MOMA. It is an exhibition with works from the New York Modern Art Gallery. I still haven't got around to seeing it yet.

Textile by Lyubov Popova
Lyubov Popova (1889-1924) was a Russian who created abstract and Cubist designs. She developed a fusion of styles and often used black, white and grey to highlight her vibrant colours. She was interested in geometric shapes and used a limited palette of colours. She often worked in a series amd used line and optical illusions to create rhythm.

Lyubov died of scarlet fever at only 35 years old but during her short life she taught art, produced books and textiles and fashion designs. I think she was ahead of her time and was hugely talented.

I took my inspiration from the textile pictured above and pieced a variety of black, white and orange fabrics together.

Add caption

I layered different sized circles on the top and then bravely made 3 cuts with my rotary cutter and shifted the fabrics and sewed them back together.

Normally I would have made the circles blue to make them really pop but I wanted to experiment with the limited colour range like Lyubov Popova did. I liked it more than I expected.

When I quilt I usually change the thread colour to match the fabric but this time I wanted to try just white straight lines like I have seen the modern quilters do.

Fractured by Linda Steele

It was a much quicker way to quilt and I quite liked the clean modern look for a change.

Bye for now,