Friday 20 December 2019

Merry Christmas 2019

I had my Christmas break up party with my sewing friendship group this week. Every year someone decides on a little Kris Kringle gift for us to make and share with the group.

This year we had to make a scissor fob; it took me nearly all year to get it started. I embroidered a ribbon rose onto some purple felt and beaded the edge to give it some weight. Janice got mine.

Scissor fob

I actually embroidered the rose on both sides. A scissor fob hangs on the end of the scissor handles. It has a two-fold use; it identifies the scissors as yours plus it adds some weight to the scissors so they are more likely to fall handle first and protect the points of the scissors.

I received a lovely beaded scissor fob from Mariya.

Beaded scissor fob

All my commitments are over for the year and here in Australia we have our long summer holidays. I am looking forward to the break and hope to get lots of sewing done.

We had our photo with Santa as usual but this year we had a photo that included my two daughters and myself with the 3 grandchildren. I have put all the previous Santa photos on the fridge and it's lovely to see the change in them. Savannah is 5, Jack is 3 and Anna is 1. Such a special time.

My son Cam is coming home from Japan for 10 days; it will be good to see him again especially as he has been sick with the flu recently.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Queensland Holiday

Last week, I flew up to Queensland for a 5-day holiday on the Gold Coast. I went with my daughter, her husband and Savannah who is now 5 years old. Christmas is a busy time of year for my husband so he couldn't come with us.

It was so lovely and warm up there and we really made the most of our trip with activities on every day.
We went to the Brisbane Modern Art Gallery on the day we arrived because I was interested in seeing the Water exhibition. I think it was a good choice too because we hadn't adjusted to the Queensland heat yet!

The Waterhole exhibition by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang lived up to its reputation. It was so large I couldn't get it all into one photo.

Waterhole by Cai Guo-Qiang

The animals were all life size and very realistic looking. The exhibition is about how important water is to the animals and they are all together with their heads bowed drinking water and not worried about fighting each other.

In another room was a huge rocky riverbed, it's not a very good photo but you get the idea of the massive scale.

River Bed by Olafur Eliasson

The Gold Coast in Queensland is famous for its theme parks, so the next day we were off to Sea World. We had a wonderful and of course I went to the aquariums to get some coral reef inspiration.

I haven't done one of those fish with the large white spots before so I'll definitely include one soon.

They had a great selection of rides for children and adults, so everyone had a fun day. We even got a photo of Savannah with a Ninja Turtle.

The following day we were off the Movie World and this time Savannah posed with Wonder Woman.

At the end of the day my daughter and her husband went off to do the scary rides and Savannah and I did the children's rides again. It was hot and the lines were long and we both had sticky hands from the fairy floss. We decided to wet our hands in the water feature. It was an area where children had put on their bathers and were running through the water. We didn't know it was there so we didn't bring any swimming costumes with us.

Savannah started running in and out of it and accidentally got a little wet. We thought it was very funny and finally I said she could go in there with her clothes on.

I had never seen such complete joy in a child before. I think she was extra delighted because she knew it was a bit naughty and Mum and Dad weren't around.

Of course, she was completely drenched and we had to go to the gift shop and buy her some clothes and a towel. She picked a pink Super Woman T-shirt that had a cape on the back and she wore it non- stop for the rest of the holiday. Her parents weren't cross either!!

Here we are eating ice-creams, we were a twosome from the time she woke up in the mornings. How special to have this time with Savannah.

Her parents played a joke on me too. When we were at Sea World, they left Savannah and I having fun and they went on some of those scary rides. They came running back to tell me that I had to go on one of the rides because it wasn't scary and it was so much fun that they came to get me to try it. I went on with Marlon while Alison stayed with Savannah because Savannah wasn't tall enough for the ride. Needless to say, it was absolutely terrifying and I was lucky not to be flung out to my death. They laughed and laughed when we got off saying that it was the scariest ride and they played a trick on me!

Sometimes I think that they forget that I am not a spring chicken anymore. I didn't like those rides even when I was a teenager.

All too quickly the holiday came to an end but I felt lucky to be invited to come on their family holiday and it was a relaxing start to the Christmas season.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Quilting Practice 2

I have been having fun with the Angela Walters Free Motion Quilting 2018, I found it by accident one day and thought it would be a good way to keep my quilting muscles warmed up for when I need to quilt again.

The second lesson was called Continuous Curves. I marked up the squares with a purple fade away marker.

Then I stitched around the squares using a small scallop curve.

Continuous Curves

I've done this lots of time before and used to teach this pattern, but the aim is just to keep practicing, because we often don't quilt for a long time because those quilt tops take a long time to make.

Angela also suggested doing a continuous curve in a larger size. So, I marked up another square and did a different pattern.

The secret to doing continuous curve designs is to keep the curves shallow.

The following lesson was called Leafy Meander. Sort of like a continuous curve but there are no grid lines to follow.

Leafy Meander

It's such a fun challenge and I love that it only takes 5 minutes to do.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Quilting Practice 1

On Facebook a few weeks ago someone mentioned that she was doing Angela Walters Free Motion Challenge Quilt a Long as quilting practice. I decided to look it up and came across some videos from 12 months ago. On the spur of moment, I decided to have a go.

I actually already had a panel of squares that I had sewn together about 4 years ago and had never used, so it was easy to start straight away.

Panel of squares ready to go

Angela Walters mentioned that she was using Aurifil thread and I had a lovely pale gold that was perfect. I usually quilt with silk thread so sewing with a different thread was good practice also.

Aurifil Thread

Although Angela didn't mention it, I ditch stitch around the inside of each block before I started the quilting. I wanted to do some ruler practice as well, so I used the Line Tamer ruler by Four Paws Quilting, it's such a great ruler.

Line Tamer Ruler

Ditch stitching with Line tamer ruler

The first lesson was a meander or stipple stitch, which I have done a million times before but she also mentioned echoing around the inside of the block first, so I did that for the first time.

Meander or stipple quilting.

Well, that was a good start and so much fun, because it only took about 5 minutes to do. I have some quilts that I am making at the moment that will need quilting next year, so doing some regular quilting practice might make it easier.

I have since found out that Angela Walters is doing another quilt-a-long practice at the moment, so it's not too late to join in the fun.

Bye for now,

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Art Quilters Dinner 2019

It's hard to believe that another year is coming to an end. I've already had two break up parties. We had the Waverley Patchworkers Christmas meeting on Monday night with a really good turnout. At the Christmas meeting we bring a plate of food to share at our tables and have a sit and sew night. Instead of paying our entrance fee we all bring food for Christmas hampers for the Waverley Benevolent Society. They make up hampers for the people in the area that are going through tough times. I wish that I had taken a photo of all the donations, there were bags and bags of yummy treats.

The Waverley Art Quilters also have their break up in November because December gets too busy. We went to our favourite local Chinese restaurant as usual. Here we are looking gorgeous!

The Waverley Art Quilters

Because I run the group, they gave me a lovely glass candle holder called Klimt's Flowers. I absolutely love it!

Klimt's Flowers Candle holder

One of our members, Marion, makes beautiful cards and she made me one this year and everyone in the group signed it. Definitely a treasure to keep.

Every year we are given a challenge to complete over the holidays. The challenge was supplied by Norma this year, we are calling it the circle challenge.

The Circle Challenge

The instructions say that we can paint, dye, add other fabrics, weave, applique, piece, use hand or machine embroidery or anything we can think of!

We all got a different DMC thread to use and mine is a sage green. We can use it as colour inspiration for our challenge.
I have no idea what I am going to make with this challenge. It would be sensible to get on with it and do it now and not a couple of days before it is due next year.

Mmm, I have a long list of work to do over the holidays for the various challenges, quilt shows and competitions in 2020. I suppose I just have to add it to the list.

Bye for now,

Thursday 21 November 2019

Metamorphosis Exhibition

On Tuesday, I went to the Art Quilt Exhibition with the theme of Metamorphosis. It is put on by the AQIPP group, which stands for Australian Quilts in Public Places. It is run every two years and I have been exhibiting in the last 3 exhibitions.

Here I am in front of my quilt yesterday.

My quilt is called Sunken Treasure and is about a shipwreck that becomes an artificial coral reef.

Sunken Treasure ©2019 Linda Steele
I didn't win a prize this year but I was still happy to be included in the exhibition.

The winner was Linden Lancaster with her quilt Run the Fire and it is certainly a worthy winner.

Run the Fire by Linden Lancaster

I have seen photos of this on Facebook and some people asked if it was a photo. I was surprised to see it up close because it is actually made on very small snippets of fabric.

Run the Fire detail
If you click on the photo you should be able to see the small snippets.

Next to my quilt was Sue de Vanny's gorgeous quilt, I think we were put together because of the underwater theme.

Danseurs de Meduses by Sue de Vanny

What a beautiful quilt! Here is a detail photo. The top is quite heavily thread painted and the jelly fish frill underneath is 3D.

Danseurs de Meduses detail

The winner of the Best use of Colour Award went to Michelle Mischkulnig for Change Born on the Breeze. Her quilt was about the changing seasons.

Change Born on the Breeze by Michelle Mischkulnig

Karen McGregor from the Waverley Art Quilters entered a quilt about a little rock wallaby, he was done in wool and looked so soft.

Rock to Rock-Wallaby by Karen McGregor

Here is a closer picture of the dear little wallaby

A small quilt caught my eye, it had lots of detail.

Moths Flight by Bree Thomas.

There were so many different interpretations of the theme Metamorphosis and the gallery had hung everything so well, in colour themes so there was nothing jarring, the exhibition really flowed.

The exhibition is on at the Box Hill Town Hall on Whitehorse Road, Box Hill. Victoria, Australia.

Free admission and open until the 21st December, so there's still plenty of time to get there.

Tuesday-Friday 10-4
Saturday 12-4

Bye for now,

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Pixeladies Photoshop Class

For the last two months I have been busy working on Photoshop Elements Essentials 1 and 2 with Deb Cashart and Kris Sazaki, who are also know as the Pixeladies. They run these fantastic on-line courses for Photoshop Elements that are suited to Textile artists.

Now I have done these classes before, quite a few years ago but I decided to upgrade to the new 2019 Photoshop Elements. Pixeladies also offered a discount to those who had done the classes previously. I loved the classes, they explain everything so well, with videos showing you the way, step by step. They also answer questions and you can see what the others are doing by logging in every day.

There are some great new features in the latest Photoshop Elements that make things so much easier. I found it much easier doing the classes again because I already knew all about layers and resizing photos etc. Saying that, there was still lots to learn!

Here is a recent photo I had taken of friends at our recent Waverley Patchworkers Retreat.

See that annoying sign behind them, ruining the photo?

Now the sign is gone! So much better.

One of the lessons was about playing with filters. Now that is a rabbit hole where you could play for hours and hours.

I used my latest little art quilt called Windows.

Windows by Linda Steele
Here's what it looked like after I had added some filters. For those who may be interested, the filters I used were Twirl, Mosaic Tiles, Polar Coordinates and Hue/Saturation.

Windows with filters applied

We learnt how to take a section of a photo and add it to another background. I had a photo of my granddaughter Savannah who had recently been to the snow. So, I cut her out using one of the Selection Tools and made a snowy background for her with the brush tools.

Savannah in the snow

We also had to make a postcard using all different photos. I had lots of photos of my granddaughter Anna's recent 1st birthday and so I used them to make a fun postcard. I also used the text tool to write Happy 1st Birthday

Anna's Postcard

Another lesson was adding photos to text, so I used photos that I had of my grandson, Jack. I couldn't leave Jack out after using photos of the two girls!

Jack's Postcard

Well, that was fun and I am so glad that I did the classes. Although the lessons are over and I have the printed lessons to look up instructions if I forget how to do something, the classroom and all the videos are open for another 6 months. So I plan to go over all the lessons again and make sure I remember how to do everything.

I use Photoshop mainly to resize and crop photos but I realise that I could use it so much more than I do for planning quits etc.

I highly recommend the Pixeladies classes, sign up to their newsletter and you can find out when their next classes are.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 29 October 2019

Simply Moderne Magazine

I sometimes buy the Simply Moderne Magazine and I noticed a new issue was out when I was at the Newsagents. I was innocently flicking through it when I found a full-page picture of my quilt, Magical Coral Reef!

Simply Modern issue 18, page 13
Well I had to buy it. The article was about the Sydney Quilt Show and this quilt of mine was on display there with the AQC Magic Challenge. How wonderful that they picked my quilt to put in their magazine.

This is the front cover.

Simply Moderne issue 18

I had more news today. On a whim I entered my quilt, Connections-The Teenage Years into the USA Art Quilt Exhibition, Art Quilt Elements 2020. All the top art quilters enter so I didn't have any hope of being juried in.

I was selected!! The email said that the jury looked at 762 images and they selected 48 entries.

Connections-The Teenage Years by Linda Steele

Connections- The Teenage Years detail

This quilt has just returned from being exhibited in New Zealand this year and it nearly killed me to get it done in time for the deadline. It's really big, 2m x 2m or 79" x 79".

Bye for now,

Tuesday 22 October 2019


The final challenge for the Waverley Art Quilters was Windows. I had lots of ideas of the various ways to depict windows but as usual time was against me.
I was doing the workshop with Maria Shell and started piecing some little squares that looked just like windows to me. You can see my blog post about it here.

Here is a photo of my starting point.

After I made a few components, I tried to make a composition out of them.

Well, that wasn't working very well! At last I just pieced them together in rows and I was much happier.

Windows by Linda Steele

Speaking of Maria Shell, after she finished teaching in Australia, she went over to New Zealand to teach at their Symposium. While she was there, she visited a quilt exhibition that featured one of my quilts. You can read her post here. I didn't get over to see the exhibition so it was lovely for me to see the photos.

Bye for now,