Tuesday 21 December 2021

AQIPP 2021 Opening Night

 I went to the Opening Night for AQIPP, which stands for Australian Quilts in Public Places. It had been postponed because of Covid restrictions, but it was finally allowed to go ahead, although some people were not there because they were still hesitant to gather in public groups.

Here I am with my quilt, I was thrilled because I won the Curators Prize and two speakers spoke at length about my quilt in the speeches. You can read an earlier post about my quilt called Melbourne Malaise here

They produced a beautiful hardback catalogue of all the quilts.

Inside was a picture of every quilt, a detail photo and an artist statement.

My friend Linda was there and I took a photo of her with her beautiful quilt called The Doors of Old Lyon. It's a shame that they displayed some quilts on top of each other, my friend's quilt is the one at the top.

As usual with Opening nights, you spend a lot of time catching up with people you know and don't get a good look at all the work. They have extended the exhibition time and it will open again next January, so I can go back and have a good look at all the quilts then.

I did get a photo of the winning quilt by Judy Hooworth, it was called Down by the Creek, #8.

Down by the Creek #8 by Judy Hooworth.

Yesterday, I drove three hours to the Kyabram Town Hall Gallery to help take down the One Step Further Exhibition. I was seeing it for the first time because of Covid restrictions and then I was busy with the Vic Quilters Virtual Quilt Show.

I took some quick photos. My quilt was called Hanging by Threads.

The winning quilt was by Sandra Champion, called Summer Inferno #4.

Summer Inferno #4 by Sandra Champion

The Runner Up prize went to Sue Reid for Abandonment #4.

Abandonment #4 by Sue Reid.

Now Christmas is upon us and we can hope for some lovely summer weather and some rest. Everyone is feeling quite exhausted by the stress of another Covid year. Now, we don't even try and imagine what next year will hold, even though we are 93% vaccinated.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. xx

Bye for now,


Tuesday 7 December 2021

Victorian Quilters Showcase 2021

 The awards for the Victorian Quilters Showcase were announced via Zoom this morning.  After three date changes from July this year and many emails, meetings and phone calls we had a virtual show instead of an in-person show. I was lucky enough to win four prizes.

I won Highly Commended in Pictorial and Excellence in Embroidery and Embellishment for The Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef 

This quilt was a little different to my other Coral Reef quilts, because I used all my own hand-dyed and hand painted fabrics, lots of machine thread-painting too.

Here are some detail photos.

I also won two prizes for my Connections quilt. I received first place in Contemporary/Innovative quilts and Best use of Colour.


The quilts were of a particularly high standard this year, so I was absolutely thrilled to receive some prizes. All the quilts and the prize winners will be up on the Victorian Quilters Website in the next couple of days.

Hopefully, we will be back to an in-person show next year, but there are no guarantees!

I am also relieved because I was contacted to say that I was a close contact with Covid and I had to have a Covid test yesterday, today I received a negative result, such a relief! I can relax now.

Bye for now,


Tuesday 30 November 2021

Family Time

 We finally got out of our 6th lockdown and so it was all about catching up with family. My daughter, her husband and Savannah came over on the first weekend to show us their new dog. It is a French Bulldog called Bentley.

He had already grown so much from the first photos that they sent us.

Jack and Anna came over to show us their Halloween costumes before they went out to trick or treat. Anna is showing how scary she can be!

Earlier this month, it was Savannah's 7th birthday and her parents had told her that she couldn't have a party because we had just come out of lockdown. She took it really well, but of course we all wanted to see her for her birthday, so all the family hid in the kitchen and when she arrived home, we all yelled Surprise!! She was completely surprised and had no idea of her parents devious plan. It was a lovely warm night too, so the cousins could all run around outside.

Last weekend, we went to a winery to celebrate my son-in-law's 40th birthday. It was another beautiful day and I had my photo taken with Alison and Savannah.

I had to mind all three of my grandchildren last weekend and Savannah read Jack and Anna their bedtime stories.

I love it when we can all get together.

So, not much sewing has been happening with family visits and organising the Victorian Quilters Showcase. The good news is that the judging is complete and the results will be announced and online next week.

I have started a new quilt though, here are the fabrics that I have chosen.

The fabrics are very different from my previous quilts, hopefully it will all work out.

Bye for now,


Tuesday 16 November 2021

Melbourne Malaise

 I can at last show my latest quilt called Melbourne Malaise

The theme for this years AQIPP art quilt competition was 'Where in the World'. AQIPP stands for Australian Quilts in Public Places and it is on every two years.

I was going to do a quilt about Japan and the ideas were going about my head but I just couldn't get started on it. All I could think about was Covid and all our lockdowns. I really wanted to try a more collage style quilt after I had been playing around with it earlier this year.

I was absolutely thrilled to have my quilt accepted, I thought they might want something more exotic than our home town.

The quilt was supposed to be about me and my Covid experience, going for a walk every morning. On a whim, I asked my daughter Bec, if I could take a photo of her in a mask. Here is the photo and it was my starting point. I thought the quilt would be improved with a younger version of me!!

Photo of my daughter

I started on the face first, it made it a bit easier with a mask.

Making the face

Then I added the clothes using different black batik fabrics.

Making the clothes.

I am really sorry that I deleted all the step by step photos as I made the quilt. I took so many but thought they were clogging up my phone and deleted them. To tell you the truth I was really concentrating and out of my comfort zone making this quilt and I couldn't think much further than actually trying to make it work. 

I used my photos that I took on my walks around the neighbourhood and at the closed up shopping centre. Even the 3 kookaburras at the top were from a photo on my walk.

For the background, I used a large piece of white PFD fabric that I painted with my Sun Dye paints in various greens and sun-printed it. I also used stamps and stencils, applique, hand and machine embroidery and digital printing.

I am happy with the result and really must try it again before I forget how I did it. I wish that I hadn't deleted those photos though.

Here is a detail photo.

Melbourne Malaise detail

The Exhibition is on at the moment at the Box Hill Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia.

The opening times are Tuesday to Friday10am-4pm and Saturday 12-4pm. It is open until the 24th December and because of the restrictions the exhibition has been extended and is also going to be on January 11th to February 12th 2022.

Unfortunately, there was no opening night last week and so I don't know who won any prizes but the organisers are hoping to be allowed to have one in early December. I haven't seen the exhibition myself yet but I am looking forward to going soon.

Bye for now,


Tuesday 2 November 2021

Sold! Great news

 My contemporary quilt called Grief that is touring the USA with the SAQA Connections exhibition has been bought by a collector. The quilt was at the Houston quilt show last week and bought at the show, although it is on tour until 2025.

This is the first quilt that I have ever put a sale price on and so the first quilt I have sold except for donations I have made. I am absolutely thrilled. I have had some lovely feedback from people who have seen it, which has been lovely. I made it last year in our first big lockdown, you can read about it here.

I got another surprise when the SAQA Journal arrived and there was a photo of one of my quilts.

It is SAQA journal Volume 31, no. 2. I was innocently reading it one night in bed and turned the page and there was my quilt. My quilts have been in lots of magazines before but the surprise never loses its gloss and it's the first time I have been in a SAQA magazine.

That's my Firelight quilt at the bottom. It's very exciting that they picked my quilt.

Earlier this year I did an 8 week on-line course with German collage artist Cordula Kagemann and the organisers, Fibre Arts Take 2 were so impressed by the results that they published a book of our work.

So, I have had quite a boost to my ego lately. 

We got out of lockdown last week and at last the shops were allowed to open. Everyone is so happy and feel that life will start again. Most people agree that this latest lockdown of 3 months has been the hardest of all and everyone has been a bit down. So, we've had six lockdowns over the last two years and have the world record of being the most locked down city. We are still getting lots of cases but we are over 80% vaccinated and should reach 90% at the end of this month. Hooray.

Bye for now,


Tuesday 19 October 2021

Sketchbook Fun

 I have hardly done any sewing for the last couple of months. I am the Convenor of the Victorian Quilters Showcase which is usually held in July but it was cancelled twice and now it is finally going ahead as a virtual show. Instead of sewing, I have been on the computer with my head in spreadsheets.

I actually find it quite overwhelming at times and when I have a break I cannot concentrate on any sewing. I have gone back to the sketchbook that I was playing around with last year and adding to the pages. I had made the sketchbook a few years ago and finally started filling it in during lockdown 2020.

I wasn't happy with some of the pages and didn't know how to fix them. I had started this page with some yellow and orange paint and added some collage paper to the edge.

I decided to try and emulate the collage paper with some green ovals in paint. I wasn't happy with that so I tried to add detail with a felt tip pen.

I didn't like that and so I left it that way for nearly 12 months. I have been on so many Zoom meetings or have watched so many on-line interviews that I felt I must do something else as I listened. I reached for the sketchbook and thought I would try again, I had nothing to lose.

I found that I really loved adding the detail and that page looked so good, I thought I would add to the next page as well.

I can't believe the difference that it made, now I love it and it was so much fun to do.

Here is another failed page.

I didn't like what I had done, so I had painted over it and finally added a stencil. That didn't improve it and so there it sat for 12 months.

Last week, I covered it with some collage paper, added some circles and painted around them.

Probably not as successful as the first page but still a vast improvement.

Here are another couple of pages that I've done, I did them as little 30 minute classes on-line.

So much fun. At least it's something arty to do when you are a bit stressed and pressed for time.

I am looking forward to doing some sewing again though.

Bye for now,


Tuesday 12 October 2021

Intersecting Lines

 Our last topic for the Waverley Art Quilters this year was Intersecting Lines. It's hard to be motivated when you're locked down and cannot meet so I decided to use one of my new Tim Holtz fabrics as a background. I've been using solids for a while now and it was fun to use a patterned fabric.

Intersecting Lines

I chose 3 plain fabrics that coordinated with the background and cut and pieced until I was happy. It probably looks easy but some of it was difficult and I even had to unpick and re-sew a couple of seams.

I decided to add a border for a change because I think it sometimes acts as a frame for a contemporary quilt.

The small quilt measures 12inches wide and 16inches high. I also tried to resist going into too much detail with the quilting and quilted with mainly straight lines.

Next month is our last meeting for the year and at the moment the plan is for us to be out of lockdown!!

We cannot get to the One Step Further exhibition at the moment and so they have put it online.

Please click this link, if you are interested. I hope it works.

Bye for now,


Tuesday 5 October 2021

Hanging by Threads

 Last year I made a Coral Reef quilt for the Victorian Quilters Inc. biennial art quilt prize, One Step Further. It is open to everyone in Australia and New Zealand. I don't need to remind anyone what 2020 was like, so of course the exhibition could not go ahead.

Fast forward twelve months later and we are still in lockdown. Luckily, the exhibition is on Kyabram which is in the regional area and their gallery is open and the exhibition is on at last.

Hanging by Threads©2020 Linda Steele

My quilt is called Hanging by Threads and it is mostly made of wool, with just the upper blue area in fabric.

I enjoyed the challenge of trying to make a coral reef out of wool. I made most of the coral using hand embroidery and then hand needle-felted some wool around the edges to attach it to the wool background.

Preparing the coral.

I also experimented with making coral a bit differently and did some big knots and straight stitches in wool and ribbon and then needle-felted it down to embed it into the fabric.

Making coral

Here is a couple of photos of the top section of the quilt, a healthy Coral Reef.

Then there is the middle panel, where the coral is just starting to deteriorate.

Finally, the bottom panel where the coral has bleached and there is no home for the fish.

Making a Coral Reef out of wool was a challenge, but I really enjoyed making it. I can't even remember why I thought of the idea now!

The exhibition opened last Friday and unfortunately, I missed out on a prize, but I hope to go and see the exhibition and prize winners before the exhibition closes on November 30th. 

Restrictions are supposed to start to ease on October 26th when the shops and hairdressers can open and from November 5th, we are allowed to see 10 family members at home if we are all vaccinated.   Melbourne has the unenviable reputation as the most locked down city in the world! 

Bye for now,


Tuesday 28 September 2021

Surface Design

 I have been very busy receiving and processing the entries for the Victorian Quilters Showcase. We are still in the middle of harsh lockdown restrictions and so an in-person show is very unlikely to happen this year.  We have decided to judge in person (when we are allowed to meet) and then have a virtual quilt show. So, I still have many emails to write, many files to print and many things to organise for November. But, the entries we have received are absolutely wonderful.

In between doing all this working and planning and phone calls, I have been doing some surface design.

I started with printing on some PFD (Prepared for Dyeing) fabric with some screen printing ink and stencils.

Then I added some Sun Dyes paint in Opal (blue), Tan Bark (brown) and Lorikeet (green) colours and put them outside to dry.

The weather was a bit rainy after that so I had to wait a couple of weeks before I added the second layer of paint. This time I over painted with Opal, Kangaroo Paw (red) and Opal. I didn't like the yellow green of the Lorikeet but it looks good when mixed with other colours.

Here is the result, that second layer of paint really makes a difference.

It was an experiment to see what the paint looks like with stencils underneath. I am planning on cutting this fabric up, not using it as it is, but I really like the result.

I over painted some commercial fabric with text on it as well.

I have also been watching some You Tube videos on Collage with paper and decided to try some techniques.

One of the videos said that you don't need to buy special collage paper, just paint over magazine papers with paint and stencils. So, I did.

Then I painted over some pages from an old paperback novel.

I admit that they don't look very special and I was disappointed. But when I tore them apart and just used little bits of them in collage, they were fantastic. The added bonus was that the paint gave them strength and they didn't wrinkle when I glued them down with matte medium. They gave such a painterly quality to the collage.

I haven't actually taken any photos with them in a collage, I'll have to do that though.

I also managed to buy some more fabric on-line. I added some black Kona cotton to the order so I could qualify for half price shipping!

Everyone is getting very sick of our lockdown restrictions and unfortunately the number of cases is going up, not down because people are breaking the rules and seeing family and friends.

We even had the drama of an earthquake last week, it was 5.9, the highest ever recorded here. At least it gave us something to talk about.

Bye for now,