The Week That Was

Late again this week but so much to show you.

The Hexie club is well underway and you saw the first two projects last week. This week we were able to see the first project from the sister program – the Appliqué Club – thanks to Sharyn’s efficiency.


Sharyn also had time to make another little project with the leftovers and we were all impressed by her interesting label


While we’re on the Sharyn Show let me tell you that she won the clever award of the week by taking a slap ruler from Smiggle and turning it into a bespoke wrist pincushion with a couple of strategically placed loops.

image image

Speaking of new fabric (well you were thinking about what fabric to make your pincushion weren’t you?) we have just received the very beautiful Glitz range from Michael Miller Fabrics. Here’s what you can do with it:


Also had delivered a batch of nursery quilt and bunting kits at a very special price – here are just two of the four designs –

Nursery quilt kits bunting kit2

You’ll have to call if you want one of these because they’re not on the website. In fact the website is almost finished – there is a new one just waiting for the green light (and a couple of things for me to do – like add all the fabric – manually!)

While we’re on the subject of nurseries – we had a very special visitor on Wednesday night when Sarah brought her lovely baby Sophie in to meet us all. Ever tried to make a 3-month old baby smile for the camera when all she really wants to do is anything else???

image  imageimage

Eventually you give up and just accept it.

Another visitor to the workroom was ‘the beast’ – Lesa’s current work in progress. This talented lady has already won several awards for her work and we all think this one will continue the run.


Isn’t it wonderful? It’s a clever use of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and also savvy fussy cutting. Those beautiful hexagon flowers didn’t make themselves – they evolved from imaginative and astute scissor work.

There are some more projects in the gallery from last week (mainly Sharyn’s because she clearly doesn’t sleep) and I finished a project myself – but it’s a gift for someone so you’ll have to wait until next time for the big reveal.

I also heard from Cathy – who used to be a Tuesday girl and sometimes a Wednesday girl – but who has now run off with her husband to the wilds of Tasmania. You can catch up with her at her blog here. Suffice to say that she is doing it tough – here’s what she has to cope with:

caths apples caths plum image (16) image (8)

Isn’t it dreadful – your heart goes out to her doesn’t it!

Until next time happy quilting


The new hexagon

The humble hexagon has evolved – you know I have gradually been seduced by this shape and so, it seems have the Apatcheez. Most of the work being done in class involves hexagons.

We have our own Hexie Club up and running. These projects have been designed by the very clever Helen Stubbings from Hugs n Kisses. Helen lives in Tasmania so she has lots of stitching time in the cool weather unlike us Brissie girls.

The first project was this pretty pouch – made from fabric pieces left from our Fiesta block of the month.


The second project is the pencil case – although we all think it is more aptly described as a universal tote – exactly the right size for your sewing supplies. This project shows how utilising different fabrics creates a totally different look.

Here’s the front:


and here’s the back:


Jan , who made this, did tweak the pattern slightly but didn’t change things too much. It’s a really versatile little bag.

Here are some more of the ladies working on hexagons:





See I told you they’re all at it!

Another hexagon-related project is based on the book ‘The New Hexagon’ by Katja Marek.


On her website she has runs ‘The New Hexagon Millefiore Quiltalong’ The idea is to make rosettes using patterns from Katja’s book (copies of which arrived at Apatchy last week) and you end up with a 78″square quilt. I have seen some of the rosettes on the Facebook group and they are spectacular.


Source: Elizabeth Eastmond

Source: Elizabeth Eastmond

Source: Suzanne Golden

Source: Suzanne Golden

See what I mean? Do I feel a new project coming on?

Hope you had a good week too. Have a look at the gallery – there’s more inspiration there.

Until next time – Happy Quilting






Top Tip – the best quilting tool

Before I divulge the secret of the best gadget in your quilting toolbox have a look at this:

Hexie club 1

The prolific Jan has already finished one of the Hexie Club projects (that she only started last week). Oh the joys of having unlimited sewing time. Jan tweaked the pattern slightly and added a fancy zipper pull. So it’s really a one-off.

There are more Hexie Club projects out there and we’ll bring you photos as soon as they’re finished. I’ll also talk to you more about hexagons and how they’re taking over the Apatcheez but now I have to tell you about the super-tool:

So this week we had some people working on their first sampler quilt. I mentioned it in the last post that some reverse sewing was required when Emma and Sharon’s blocks just wouldn’t come together as they should.

Third time lucky Emma!

Third time lucky Emma!

We always tell learners that they don’t have to worry about making a mistake, that we all did (and do) and that “it’s only fabric and what’s the worst thing that can happen?” The lovely thing about quilting is that you can always go back and fix a mistake or else make a new block if the one you’re working on is beyond repair.

Of course there is frustration in failing to sew the perfect 1/4″ seam, or from sewing two pieces together the wrong way round and sometimes you feel like Sisyphus – endlessly trying to create the perfect piece. (Note – at this point I asked the teenager-in-residence to name an amazingly creative person and he came up with Eddie Van Halen so the following example is his fault). But did Eddie Van Halen enjoy practising his chords until he got it right? Probably not. Sometimes things don’t go well and you want to give up – but wait – here is an wonderful tool to help – the seam ripper!

When seams do have to be unpicked the best quilting tool you’ll own comes into its own – the seam ripper. Sure you could use scissors or a needle or a stanley knife or some other sharp weapon but you’ll end up with a mess. Either you’ll pull the fabric out of shape or fray it to such an extent that it is unusable.

scissors 2

Don’t think that the humble seam ripper can be used willy-nilly – oh no – in untrained hands it will cause more damage than it fixes. If you actually try to position the seam ripper between the seams and rip it along you’ll find you may have unravelled more than you bargained for – and that block you just spent all morning sewing is now  – well – ripped!

My first suggestion would be that you buy yourself an ultra sharp good quality seam ripper. I would recommend Clover brand. They have two types – the brown handle and white handle models – and both are excellent. Cheap rippers will only end in tears – just saying…

clover seam ripper  small_463CV_01_01 (1)

So it just happens that I had cause to do some reverse sewing myself this weekend when I inadvertently sewed two triangles to the bottom left and top right of a piece rather than top left and bottom right. As the piece forms part of a flower bud leaving it was not an option (although I did consider it for a day or so).


So it had to go. Actually several had to go because I had continued on before I realised the extent of the mistake. Here’s the way to do it:


Slip the sharp end of the seam ripper through a stitch and press forward to break the stitch. I only needed to undo that part of the seam from the point of the seam ripper to the far right (not the whole seam) which is why the seam ripper is in the middle of the fabric.


Now keep going along the seam and break around every 4th stitch (in the example above I’ve actually ripped every 7th or 8th stitch but this is a case of do what I say not what I do!)


Now turn the piece over and pull the thread – you should be able to lift it clear with very little force. If it won’t come easily you probably ripped every 8th stitch like me instead of every 4th one like I told you!


Now turn the piece back over and just brush away the small pieces of thread you have left. Excellent now you can start to sew the seam again – and try to do it right this time!

Oh and one last thing – the teenager-in-residence thinks you should have a link to Eddie in action so here it is:

Until next time

Happy Quilting


Thursday pow wow

The Apatcheez have been very busy this week with lots more projects finished. Prepare for photo-bombing…..

Estelle's exceptional cushion

Estelle’s exceptional cushion

Joananne's salute to Arsenal

Joananne’s salute to Arsenal


Terrible photo of Chris' fantastic tea cosy and latest work in progress

Terrible photo of Chris’ fantastic tea cosy and latest work in progress

Robyn made this as a souvenir of New York for a very lucky boy

Robyn made this as a souvenir of New York for a very lucky boy

The first completed project from the hexie club - well done Jan

The first completed project from the hexie club – well done Jan

And here's the back. Isn't it lovely

And here’s the back. Isn’t it lovely

As well as the above there are also some wonderful works in progress. Here’s a couple we saw around the table this week.

June's sashiko is progressing nicely

June’s sashiko is progressing nicely

Susanne's first day at Apatchy and she's right in the swing of things

Susanne’s first day at Apatchy and she’s right in the swing of things

What did the fox say? Hello to his woodland friends!

What did the fox say? Hello to his woodland friends!

Actually there’s lots more but I’ll save that until next time. Except to say that we had several people start with Apatchy this week. Some came to learn a new craft, some for the company. Whatever reason it’s great to expand the groups. Now we have even more inspiration to draw on.

After talking a few posts ago about the difficulty of the 1/4″ seam we did have a couple of issues on Wednesday when Sharon and Emma’s second block in their sampler quilts just wouldn’t sew straight. Unfortunately some reverse sewing was required. Those of us in attendance tried to explain that we all make mistakes and that no matter how long we’ve been sewing or how advanced we are at it, the unpicker is still a necessary part of our equipment. C’est la vie. I hope they’re not too discouraged.

Third time lucky Emma!

Third time lucky Emma!

Looking good this time Sharon. It's definitely the right measurement now.

Looking good this time Sharon. It’s definitely the right measurement now.

Nice one Apatcheez – you’ve done well!

The week that was

A little late this week but not forgotten. A busy week with lots of sewing. Sharyn from the Wednesday group definitely won the UFO-finishing crown this week. She managed to finish three projects. They are on the gallery for all to see but I am showing you here as well:




All these projects are going to new homes so she is very generous with her quilting. The second photo above show what you can do with a pre-printed panel. It looks a lot more complicated than it actually was and is a great idea for a gift for those out there who don’t understand the work that goes into making a quilted project but insist on you making one for them.

Sharyn wasn’t the only lady who was on a roll this week. Here’s Bec’s lovely quilt made for her daughter. We’re sure she’ll be impressed – we certainly were. Bec has been doing work with the Modern Quilting Guild lately and she is bringing us ideas with a more modern flavour.


Margaret has also been busy working on several projects at once and here’s a quilt top she finished for charity. If there are quilts on all the beds at home and all the rellies have one too, you might think about putting your skills to use for those less fortunate in the community.


Not to be outdone I have also been diligently working away on my UFO list. This weekend there was a diversion with a new project but generally I was working on a my poppy quilt – a Pam Bono design I started at a retreat and then filed under ‘to be done’. A long way to go still but a little further advanced now.


Hope you’ve had a productive week too.

Until next week, happy quilting



Here’s what happened

As you know we had some issues with the rain last Friday week and there was a lot of water in my office which meant that everything had to come out. When the rain finally stopped it all had to go back in again – only re-arranged of course. We have spoken to a builder and we intend to commence waterproofing very soon so we don’t have this problem again.

What you may not know is that we also had another drama. That same Friday number 1 son (Arthur) went to the QE2 hospital suffering from an extremely bad headache and blurred vision. He was transferred to PA and after six days of cat scans, an MRI and an angiogram he was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation. This is apparently an abnormal connection between arteries and veins in the brain. The rupture and associated bleeding was the reason for the intense headache.

Treatment is necessary because he could have a stroke if it happens again. There are various methods of treatment, however, for Arthur surgery is required – a craniotomy is what it is called and I won’t put the Wikipedia link in because it is rather graphic.

As I was on grandmother duties and hospital visits over the six days he was in the PA there was little time for office decor, hence the need to cancel classes last week. Now he is home I have everything back together again and classes will be back to normal next week (and we have rosters for when he is back in hospital for surgery in the next two weeks).

I would like to thank everyone (who knew about this) who has offered help during this rather stressful week. I can’t say I’m surprised because you’re always there when you’re needed.