Top Quilting Tips No. 1- The Fabric of Life

In the Countdown to Classes series here’s number

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What would we do without FABRIC? People who don’t quilt just can’t COTTON on to why we love it so much and why we want to cut it up into small pieces and then sew them back together again.

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I don’t want to MUSLIN on your time but I think we could all use some more. OK I’ll stop now because I don’t have any more MATERIAL.

Seriously fabric is so wonderful – you can make beautiful colourful creations or, if you’re just a collector, you can just look at it in admiration and re-arrange it. Maybe I could  re-arrange the fabric room and swap all the colours around – oh no I already did that last week.

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Your task today is to check your fabric supplies and see if you need any supplies for that UFO list you did last week. Or maybe you just need to feed your fabric fetish.

Maybe fabric is your artist’s medium, maybe it’s the practical tool to help you warm your family. What is this fabric?

Quilter’s cotton is soft and lightweight. It is made to be cut, pressed and sewn easily. Quilting cotton comes in a range of weights because of different manufacturing processes. You know how sheets have different thread counts and the more expensive sheets have higher thread count? Well it’s the same with quilting fabric. The denser the weave the better the fabric because it will have more body and be more stable – and when it’s part of a 2,400 piece quilt that’s important.

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At Apatchy we stock only top quality fabric rather than the el cheapo options available. Why? Because you put a lot of effort into your project. You put a lot of time into it. The success of the finished project will depend almost totally on the fabric. Ok well maybe on your sewing too. But really the quilt is all about the fabric so why begin with an inferior product? Often the cheaper fabrics have an inferior grade cotton or lower quality inks used in the dyeing process.

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Sizing is also used in the manufacture of cotton – it is what makes some fabrics feel stiff. Cheaper fabrics often have a lot of sizing and then, when you wash them, they turn into dish rags or, as Mum says, “something you could shell peas through”. Think about that for a little while – that’s THIN!

Good-quality fabric feels different. It handles better, holds it’s creases and lines and generally makes a better quilt. Don’t be mean when it comes to this aspect of your quilting. Ok here endeth the lesson.

So you need good quality fabric but at a cheaper price – now – to make it easy for you – let’s make this week from Tuesday until next Monday the

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This time we are going to make things work a little differently. Here’s how:

  • Buy less than 1 metre get 10% discount
  • Buy more than one metre get 20% discount
  • Finish the bolt (regardless of the amount left) and get 25% discount
  • For things that aren’t fabric (that would be books, ribbons, haberdashery and all things not fabric except classes) – get 20% discount

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As always Geronimo members get an additional  10% off. That means you get up to 35% off! You do the maths. Not a Geronimo member? You should be – have a look at the link here to join. Not a Brisbane class-goer? No problem just order online and mention SUMMER in your order.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Countdown series and are ready for classes. As you would probably have realised by now – they don’t start tomorrow, they start on Tuesday (and so does the sale). ‘So why are we down to Number 1 on the Countdown’ I hear you ask. It’s because I’m being kind to you and giving you a free day to get everything organised that you were supposed to do in the last ten days but maybe haven’t quite got there yet.

See you on Tuesday

Happy quilting

Kaye

If you’ve missed the ‘Countdown to classes’ series you can catch up here – just click on the numbers to take you to that tip:

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Paradise Found

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Welcome to Paradise Island. This beautiful range from Michael Miller includes exotic flowers printed on the cotton couture combed cotton basecloth. Team it with solids of olive, mermaid and azure for a stunning project.

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There is a free pattern for this fabric range and you can find it here. Maybe you don’t want another quilt (is that possible) but still love this fabric – how about a beautiful skirt?

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Speaking of paradise, here in Brisbane it has been wonderful weather – not too hot not too cold – great quilting weather (isn’t it always). Our classes started off the year last week and Jan hit the ground running. She asked me to remind you about our class times. As last year, classes are on Tuesday and Wednesdays – the morning class is 9.30am to 12.30 and the evening class is 6.00pm to 9.00pm. If you are new to quilting we recommend all but the Tuesday morning class as it is so popular it is difficult to fit a machine on the worktables! You will have better chance at tuition at one of the other classes. Make sure you phone if you are planning on starting beginner classes this year so we have everything ready for you.

Thanks for making Jan feel right at home and stay tuned to next week’s blog – we will be announcing our block of the month for the year and may even give you a sneak peek. It’s related to paradise too and quite tropical – no more hints. Until next week……

Spring into Laidley

We’re AWOL this weekend enjoying the sunshine and country hospitality at the Laidley Spring Festival. The town has been re-energised this weekend after a disastrous two years of floodIng. Many places have only just re-opened after being inundated with floodwater for the second time in January. You won’t see anyone downcast though. The streets are filled with craft stalls, the garden show is in full swing and flower baskets are hanging on poles all the way through the main street.

So if you’re at a loss tomorrow and want to help a little community with a big heart then come to the final day of the Spring Festival. You can see the shows and enjoy the street parade at noon. Don’t forget to come to the Quilt Show at the Uniting Church. We’ll be waiting for you – and we’ll try not to eat all the homemade cakes or the ice creams with strawberries!

We had to take photos of our stand before the show opened because the crowds meant we couldn’t get in for a photo after that. Here’s some things you’ll see at our stand:

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Oh yes did I mention that Laidley has the best peach blossoms in all the land? No not on the trees – they’re the delicious little cakes above. Actually I think it must be cup-of-tea time now………

Winter Blues

It’s been very chilly in this part of the world lately – perfect quilting weather in fact! Here are some winter blues that won’t give you the sniffles.

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Blue is one of my favourite colours and I love the variation from aqua to the deepest navy. Do you feel inspired?

Speaking of inspiration I was fortunate to attend the opening of the Textile Art Academy’s tutors exhibition last night. What a wonderful bohemian group was there – and really inspirational pieces. It certainly inspired me to think about the next project. Here are a couple of photos of the people I saw there. Aren’t they colourful! These girls know how to live life that’s for sure.

Janet de Boer

Janet de Boer

Jan and Phillippa enjoy the evening

Jan and Philippa enjoy the night

One of the artists Sandra Pearce

One of the artists Sandra Pearce

I was reminded in another way this weekend of the importance of living life and taking time out to pursue your inspirations. I had a call from a lady whose sister is suffering from dementia and is now living in an intensive care facility. This lady wanted to give me her sister’s stash because she doesn’t sew and doesn’t know anyone who quilts. As I am in the phone book under A I was the first one called. I thought it was so sad and vowed to distribute the fabric to those who make charity quilts. Although this will be a positive end to the situation I still think it’s very sad. So…really…. make sure you have a plan for your stash because you don’t want your family to give it all away to strangers now do you?

Since we last spoke we had a birthday in class. I always feel honoured when someone comes to class on their birthday – what an important day to attend. Here’s June having a special wish on hers.

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Almost finished the stocktaking – don’t forget to enter the competition to guess the number of fabric bolts in the shop – you have until New Year’s Eve – that’s accountant’s new year of course – or this Saturday night if your not sure.

New project, new fabric, new baby

Isn’t it strange that the things we like to do seem to be difficult to start? When I am sewing I am quite happy but there are always other things to do and sometimes I seem to fiddle around until it’s almost too late to start. The past two days have been a classic example of this. I have been hoping for a free weekend for a month now and when I finally have one I managed to find all manner of tasks to do rather than sitting down for a weekend of quilting – and I have two projects ‘on the go’ so there is no excuse. But no Poz E Dogg had a bath, shopping was done, a new book was read from cover to cover. Only a meagre amount of sewing was achieved and now the weekend is over and it went so quickly. Reminds me of ‘The Church’ song ‘Life Speeds Up’. That’s for sure! Do you ever have trouble getting started on something you actually enjoy?

Anyway this one of the current projects – the fabric version of a vintage travel poster that I found in an old diary. I did manage to sew it to the background but still lots of embellishing to do, not to mention the quilting………

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The other new thing this week was the fabric range ‘Salt Water’ by Tula Pink. I am really taken by this range – especially the aqua colour theme.

PicMonkey Collagesalt waterPicMonkey Collage coral

As usual the suppliers do not have the full range to send me but the fabrics above are in stock. They are sufficient to make one of the great cushions in the free pattern. This pattern features combi van cushions (Remember the 60’s?) Definitely have to have one of those. Have a look here for the pattern.

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Finally some other ‘new’ news – the lovely Nicole who has been with us on Wednesday evenings (and has the pink and grey sampler quilt in the gallery) has a new baby girl called Isla Rose and weighing in at only 6lb so quite a small bundle. It’s wonderful to have such good news and we all wish Nicola and her family the best. No photo yet but stay tuned.

Happy Days

OK enough of the sadness of the last week – we need a much-needed injection of happiness at this point. What makes you happy (apart from your stash of course)?

Hearing from you all this last week has made me happy and oh Valentine’s Day morning what do you think Luvvy had done? He left early for work and when I went to the kitchen this is what I found:

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The card is a musical one which plays The Turtles song “So Happy Together”. I have been playing it ever since and am amazed that the battery hasn’t run out. The little bag had a necklace which is engraved ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ – how appropriate. So of course he is back in my good books after having been annoyed with him for a week for not having noticed any changes to the house after I’d spent a whole month re-arranging things and de-cluttering.

Of course fabric makes me happy too are so many boxes to unpack I don’t know where to start. How about here at the range the workshop girls saw last week. This one is the autumn neutral version of Plume that was so successful last year. We already have a quilt under construction with this. Watch this space!

PicMonkey Collage

If you would like a free pattern then go to the Timeless Treasures website here.

But wait there’s more! I have a link to my Pinterest boards. There are currently 8 boards with beautiful images from art quilts to organisation ideas. If you would like to have a look just click on the link on the right (at the bottom of the column).

And just to finish – if you aren’t the neutral type and like a little more colour then I should show you the ‘Perfectly Perched’ range that arrived – there are some great projects on the net with this fabric but first have a sneak peek of the colours.

PicMonkey Collage

So it is a lovely Sunday (a little cloudy but quite warm), Luvvy is in the good books, the Teenager is practising his bass guitar in readiness to become a rock god and I am unpacking fabric. All is right with the world. There’ll be more fabulous fabric next post – enjoy your Sunday!

Look What Postie Brought

Just finished tonight’s class and thought we’d unpack what the postie brought this morning.

PicMonkey Collage

How nice is this fabric – and fits perfectly with the pink theme for February. The fabric is by Timeless Treasures and is called ‘Flora’. There are several sizes of magnolias in this range from the very large scale luscious full-blown variety to small pink buds. A border fabric and coordinating textured ‘plains’ complete the range. This is perfect for quilting, home decor or apparel projects. Large graphic prints are on trend at the moment and they can be used for appliques or just as part of a pieced quilt as in the central photo. It is a quilt made from a free pattern here http://www.ttfabrics.com/projects/flora/ (well you all said you wanted free patterns so here’s one for starters – an interesting asymmetrical design. Let me know what you think.