The Perfect Quilter

If you’re perfect you will have re-arranged your sewing studio into the optimum ‘mission control for quilting’ by now. You will know where all your tools are and how to access them easily. All your fabric will not only be colour-coded but will also be systematically sorted into sizes and shapes based on an algorithm that you would have worked out in your scheduled downtime. Your embellishments will also be categorised according to colour and shape and items will never be found migrating throughout the house due to lack of space. Naturally there will be a place for everything and everything in it place will ensure that there is never any visual distraction from the project at hand. Dust will not be game to enter your space let alone settle. Spider webs will be unknown.
Instinctively you will have considered your strategic goals for 2017 in terms of quilting-project-completion-outcomes and will have already have established a template to record the status of these projects. Your inspiration board will be the inspirational embodiment of your workflow for this year and will communicate your ideas to your visitors.


Children, partners and work have no impact on your sewing time because you are so organised. Time in your personal studio space is scheduled regularly and often and there are never any obstacles to the full enjoyment of this time.

It is unlikely that you will actually have what the rest of us call ‘scraps’ because you are so efficient all materials will have been used to their optimum. At the end of each project you religiously cut and cross-cut any leftovers and file them accordingly in the ‘diminutive-resources-for-utilisation-in-future-manufacturing ‘ drawer.

It is also unlikely that you will have any UFO’s apart from the current project on which you work diligently during the allotted time for ‘Sewing – Domestic’. Should any have been located in the aforementioned studio re-arrangement they would have been allocated, catalogued or jettisoned. Similarly all your previous projects will have been perfectly quilted either on your state-of-the-art, turbo-charged sewing machine or else quilted by hand while you cooked a gourmet dinner for twelve guests.

Your quilts will all have personalised labels that elicit gasps when your perfect quilts are turned around to check on them. These labels may well be eligible for Judges’ Choice awards themselves.

All your family will own at least one of your masterpieces and of course your perfect house will be decorated with them in a “that’s filled with vintage charm” or else “it’s just like walking through an art gallery” kind of way. All new babies in the family will snuggle into one of those perfect quilts and close friends and family who have any kind of special occasion will know that there will be a perfect quilt for them just in time for the event (and never late).

That’s if you’re a perfect quilter.
If you’re like the rest of us everything above is probably the opposite. Which is perfectly fine . As Jane Kelly from Make Modern magazine says “Sometimes I worry that we’re all complicating our quilting processes by trying to be amazing and prolific and incredible all the time. It’s great to want to better yourself and do amazing work…but if that consumes you then the stress, pressure and deadlines begin to suck the joy out of the process.”


If that’s the case you will be pleased to hear that Apatchy classes start again next week on 31st January and here you will meet quilters who actually do enjoy the process and have a lot of fun getting to the end result.

As fabric accumulation will also be a joyous thing for you, you will also be delighted to hear that we are starting the year off with a super sale (that’s a normal sale but with exceptional qualities).


This week only, from Monday, you can enjoy 20% off all stock (apart from classes and other sale stock*) and, if you’ve been clever enough to be a Geronimo Club member you will receive an additional 10% – so that’s a great big 30% off – one week only – here’s your chance to grab that fabric that’s been calling to you over the past few weeks! *Oh and by other stock we mean the huge 50% off table that is groaning with fabrics, books, patterns and other goodies. If you can’t make it to the store don’t despair – just mention SALE in your comments when you order online and you’ll receive the discount too.

I wanted to show you a couple of photos from our recent trip to Tokyo – where we decided to spend Christmas – away from the heat! It is a remarkable city and I would definitely like to return – maybe around this time of year when the quilt show is on. I thought you might like to see a few photos. We were only away for a week but we managed to see and do a lot. What we did see were beautiful costumes –


strange food –


beautiful Christmas lights –


the sun setting on Mt Fuji viewed from the Tokyo Skytree –


the very old and the very new….and maybe some fabric too –


So there’s another project for this year on my list.

And finally I wanted to show you a couple of photos of the teenager-in-residence who was commandeered in Guangzhou to help with a fashion shoot


and who has the first gig with his band (Vesper Green) coming up


And this week I’m off to Sydney to help the family celebrate Mum and Dad’s 65th wedding anniversary – now that’s an achievement!

Looks like it’s going to be a busy year.

Until next week – happy quilting


Coat of many colours and an event not to be missed

Although I’ve been absent from Smoke Signals for a couple of weeks the Apatcheez have been very busy as usual. I won’t show you all the lovely creations in one go but here are a few. Some girls are working on their challenge – don’t forget about that – details here. Others have new projects. Some are thinking about holidays and the star this week is Sharyn who is one of those – about to embark on a long trip to Europe. What does every traveller need for the continent? Why a quilted jacket of course. Sharyn made this beauty and brought it for show-and-tell this week:-


It was a big hit wit those of us at the class and many have plans to make one as their next project.  I shared this photo on Facebook, as Sharyn knows, and there were several ‘likes’. What Sharyn didn’t know was that I also shared it on a group I follow – the Kaffe Fassett Collective and you can see the response below. See how many people like it? And there were 22 comments – all of them complimentary. Many of the people who follow this group are American and they know a thing or two about quilted jackets.

Facebook Sharyn

Well done Sharyn – even the teenager-in-residence was impressed with those numbers!

Sharyn wasn’t the only one impressing us over the past two weeks. Chris finished this beauty


Chris is very precise in her work and it shows – all her seams are perfect! She has been concentrating on her free-motion quilting this year and is proof that practice-makes-perfect in that area too.

Our hexie projects continue to be popular and Margaret surprised us with this charmer last week


Not content with that she also finished her sashiko tablerunner. Sashiko is one method that has been extremely popular with the Apatcheez this year – I blame June who was converted when she travelled to Japan on a quilting tour – or was she struck before that? Anyway she has infected many of the girls with the sashiko bug.


Over the years there have been so many beautiful projects finished by the Apatcheez, it is difficult to believe we have been here for seven years this month. Of course such a milestone cannot go by unnoticed so earmark this coming week for some bargains with our annual

balloons2 sale sign

This week only, from Monday, you can enjoy 20% off all stock (apart from block of the month) and, if you’ve been clever enough to be a Geronimo Club member you will receive an additional 10% – so that’s a great big 30% off all stock – one week only – here’s your chance to grab that fabric that’s been calling to you over the past few weeks!

If you can’t make it to the store don’t despair – just mention SALE in your comments when you order online and you’ll receive the discount too.

Speaking of the website – we are pretty well up and running with the new website – a couple of tweaks to make it super dooper but most of the fabric is loaded onto the site. If you haven’t visited for a while go and have a look and let me know what you think. It is at 

See you next week. Until then, happy quilting





Top Quilting Tips No. 1- The Fabric of Life

In the Countdown to Classes series here’s number

countdown 1 again

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.

lantern bloom range

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.

PicMonkey Collage

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.



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.

old quilts blog 016

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


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

lux collection 12

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


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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“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come”

Thanks Shakespeare. Well maybe not too many wrinkles but definitely with the rest. So it’s that time of year again when there are birthdays galore at Apatchy. Mine was a few weeks past but this week we have the wonderful Jan’s on Sunday (a day she shares with a few others such as Joananne and Susan) and then there’s Mum’s on Wednesday – she will be visiting us and so we can celebrate her special day together – 84 candles this year. Last but not least Apatchy Quilting is 6 years old this year. This means we’ve beaten the statistic that says most small businesses fail within 5 years. Not only are we not failing we are going from one success to the next. To celebrate we’re having an event – here’s a clue
PicMonkey Collage birthday sale
This week only – we’re having a birthday sale – 20% off EVERYTHING (except classes and the sale table). Oh and an additional 10% for those clever people who are in our Geronimo Club. As usual Jan will be running the Tuesday and Wednesday classes and I will be around after Wednesday too so give me a call if you can’t make it for the classes. And for those who live far away – just mention BIRTHDAY in your order and you too will receive the discount.

All’s well that ends well

It’s just after 10.00pm and I have just finished getting the fabric room back to normal after the recent ‘flood’. Well when I say ‘normal’, actually it looks FANtastic. It’s gone from this:


To this:


OK so you can’t really see much and there’s a reason for that – since you’ve been inconvenienced for the last two weeks AND since it’s Apatchy Quilting’s 5th birthday this month I think we need to have a sale to celebrate that and the new-look fabric room.

So……come and see the new improved space and save some money. This week only

20% off everything (or if you’re a Geronimo Club member add another 10%)

If you’re not able to get to the shop then you won’t miss out – just mention the word sale and we’ll make the necessary adjustments.

See you this week…………..