2016 – It’s a wrap

Well that was 2016 – went quickly didn’t it? Remember I promised to show you some of the projects the clever Apatcheez finished last year but which didn’t fit into the last post? Well here they are. Make yourself a cuppa and sit down because there’s quite a list –

First up are the Tasmanians. You might recall that two ladies in particular had taken to vinyl mesh and were sewing up a storm. There were so many individual photos I had to make a collage and even now I’m not exactly certain I’ve covered everything. These are Clare’s creations –


and these are Robin’s –


Now bear in mind this is the output of just two ladies in the group – beggars belief doesn’t it! img_5381

In the second last week Faith came armed with her latest undertaking – this was a very popular pattern last year and Faith made it her own with a very unique method of embellishment –


Does Santa’s beard look familiar? Well it was kindly donated by Faith’s cat! Don’t sit still too long at Faith’s place or you could end up as part of the project!


Never one to rest on her laurels Faith also brought in this beauty and another –


Faith certainly knows how to motivate a crowd and so it was necessary for me to travel to Melbourne for AQC – the wholesalers’ quilt show – to find new and exciting projects for 2017. What I really noticed was the flair for visual merchandising that has gripped the industry. Everything is very professional but the artistic side shines through too. Here are a couple of excellent stalls –


Well Tilda was always very pretty and their Honey Pot collection doesn’t disappoint.


And then there was the sheer genius of Cottage Garden Threads. This vignette was to advertise their new range called ‘Stitchers Palette’.  See what they did with the thread – brilliant!


Many of the Apatcheez are big fans of these threads and you can expect to see them ‘in store’ this year.

What is already in store is the ‘Mod Corsage’ fabric range by Anna Maria Horner. These fabrics are so hot I haven’t even put them on the website yet but here they are in a fabulous quilt –


While we were in Melbourne we took a trip to the Arts Centre to check out the Kylie costume exhibition. My sister is a big fan and I have to say I was very impressed to see the quality of garments and the famous designers Ms K had at her disposal. Imagine sewing this frock up on your deadly treadly –


We also stopped by the National Gallery to see the Victor and Rolf exhibition and wandered through the atelier which is supposed to be for kids but hey we’re all kids at heart.



The little number above is very similar to what I generally wear to the supermarket, maybe not.

Meanwhile, back at the salt mines things were heating up. It was the last week and finished projects were coming out the rafters. Bindings were being sewn on in front of the TV and hanging sleeves were being attached like there was no tomorrow. And because it was the festive season we had visitors…

One day we had a great treat when an Apatchee from long ago (around four years) came back to visit us. The Tuesday group welcomed Sue from UK/Canada back to the colony and we had a little party to celebrate. This involved eating a lot of chocolate which is never a bad thing.



You’ll notice that Mr Bowie photo-bombed the first picture and I should tell you that his successor – Elvis Presley – my next quilt – is finished and is now in the US awaiting his fate. Unfortunately I am bound not to show you any part of the quilt so you will have to wait a little to see the result. He was made entirely from Kaffe Fassett Collective fabric so he is quite bright – that is all I can tell you.

The Tuesday night group cheered when Tracey finished her very sweet baby quilt – aren’t polka dots the best!



When the human power station that is Faith turned up with this pile of ‘finished’ on the last Wednesday everyone else just quietly sighed ‘you win’


And we all thought her family, who are the recipients of all these beauties are just so lucky, lucky, lucky – ooh there’s Kylie again…



Everyone’s rellies are getting a set of these next year so I hope you like them! We did.









Thanks to Robyn for being the human quilt hangar for Faith.

Others did try to vye for the championship as you can see –


Lynda finished her magnificent sashiko quilt which really needs to be seen to be appreciated.

And Elaine zoomed through kilometres of thread to create a few last minute Christmas gifts –


while Margaret whipped up a boro bag as well –


not to mention three fabulous shoe bags for my Christmas gift which were immediately utilised!

Sharyn finished her kaleidoscope quilt which is made up of only one fabric in the centre –


and newcomer Jan showed us two of her creations which piqued everyone’s interest – img_5885


Finally probably the most Christmassy project was the culmination of several years work for Dee when she finished her magnificent Santa. Again this one has to be seen to be believed. It’s a masterpiece.




Another year down (the eighth) and I have been amazed by the Apatcheez creativity and productivity – and also by the fact that the classes are welcoming and a nice place to spend a morning or evening. Thanks to everyone for your support and I look forward to seeing what you can do in 2017.

Classes start again on Tuesday 31st January and I am looking forward to having lots of new things to show you. Of course if you need an emergency supply I am generally here and this week we had an unexpected visit from Carol and Bill from Canada. Carol runs her local guild and I am hoping we can exchange information to keep up with our northern hemisphere cousins.

As many of you know, Luvvy, the teenager-in-residence and I had Christmas in Tokyo this year. One of the nice things about being there was seeing my nephew who has lived in Kyoto for some time. He brought his girlfriend to visit us and, blow me down with a feather, it turns out her mother runs a quilt shop in Spain!

As I tell the teenager-in-residence, the quilting fraternity is international and we have contacts everywhere. Isn’t it marvellous!

Until next time – happy quilting













And they’re racing……

Broadcast from the supplementary course – bag-making in the tropics – a short course to complete the project started two weeks ago in Gail McMahon’s class …….

And the field has gathered for the running of the supplementary bag-making course. There are two scratchings – Faith and Julia were unable to take the field and, as a result, Joan, previously on the reserves bench has been given a run.

So a great line up this morning with the field eager to start. But wait! Under starter’s orders and there has been a late suspension. Di has failed to bring her equipment so she is unable to participate today and has been relegated to the viewing enclosure. What an upset!


The field is now down to seven but these are the thoroughbreds. Jane would have to be the favourite being the first to finish the zigzag quilting leg at the last start. Testing her will be Elaine who came up well after the last run and started today with a bespoke embroidered bee on one of the flowers on her bag which caused some anxiety among the other runners.

So Gail starts the class and they’re away. Jane has gone out strongly, Debbie also steaming forward, Angie settling down well and Elaine pressing on with Tracey not far away.


The speed is on early on this track and the novice Joan appears to be hemmed in on the rails by the veteran Joananne. Both are two lengths back at the cutting table and appear to be struggling with the multiple strips required for the piping and handles.


Jane is keeping Debbie out wide and Elaine has settled in nicely on the rails. Tracey, opposite the air conditioner, is nicely placed for the length of the race and Angie is striding along well, after an initial problem at the start of the race.

The officials have called for an early suspension to the race so tea and coffee can be dispensed and then the field settles in for the final leg. Joananne has tired badly and is well back as her sewing machine becomes affected and starts to sew by itself. Clearly there is a problem here and Joananne has had to retire from the field and consult the vet. She may well claim interference and lodge a protest but for today her race is over.

The remaining field are travelling well. Joan has overcome her initial problems and is now up with the leaders. Oh and here’s another upset! Jane has not followed the starter’s orders and has chopped the ends off her piping cord before sewing the pocket onto the bag. Can she recover at this late stage?


Angie, the quiet achiever is in the clear and will start her home run soon. Elaine is assembling the lining and looks set to finish well. Debbie has pulled away and is two lengths away from the field.


The starter has signalled the end of the course as the field take the last turn. Jane has the whip out and looks set to test the frontrunners but it’s Tracey! Here comes Tracey! This outsider has come through on the outside and is ahead two lengths. Debbie is trying everything to peg her back and may have taken a unwarranted detour that will cause problems at the end, Angie is out wide and is giving it her all. Elaine is putting on speed here at the end but Joan is tiring badly and it looks like she is packing up. But it’s Tracey a length in front and Tracey takes the ribbon for the first completed bag. What a win!


Elaine and Jane in a photo for second, Angie not far off, Joan in next with a brave effort, Debbie disqualified for inappropriate pocket application. A very controversial win and another great course for the Apatcheez and we look forward to the next event.

Until then happy quilting.



Bag making in the tropics

Isaac Singer has a lot to answer for. Not for his bigamous private life that resulted in more than 20 children, but for his alterations to the mechanics of the sewing machine that resulted in his claim to fame – the Singer sewing machine – the forerunner of all the others we enjoy and curse today.


While Isaac didn’t invent the sewing machine, his improvements turned the machine from an expensive, industrial device to one that Isaac envisioned in every home. Does that remind you of the computer or maybe the mobile phone? Yes the antique treadly was the moby of its day.


Although they were expensive, Isaac and his business partner ensured that everyone could afford one of his machines because they utilised the installment system that had been used for purchasing farming equipment. So a small down payment and a few dollars a week meant they were very affordable. Remember this is before the personal loan or credit card. And so then they went global. Way to go Isaac.

As a result we quilters each have a machine. Maybe not a Singer but perhaps a Jerry Janome or maybe a Bernie Bernina. Whatever the livery I reckon it’s a fair bet that you don’t really know how to use it. Sure you can sew straight and maybe you can recognise the 1/4″ foot. Perhaps you’ve dabbled with the darning foot for free motion quilting and even tinkered with the occasional zigzag.


Ah yes the inoffensive zigzag, but have you ever used the twin needle that came in the little tool box that slides off the front of your appliance? What about the blind hem foot? And don’t even start on the stitch regulator. And who of us actually understands tension and how to regulate it? The actual sewing of the sewing machine looks quite a simple process…

So why is it so difficult to make ours work the way they are supposed to work? And how come we don’t even know about half the features? Fortunately there are those among us who do actually know about all the hidden secrets of the sewing machine – sewing machine whisperers if you will. Those who can speak the secret language of edge stitch feet and stitch regulators. Sometimes they will share their secrets.

And so it was that some of the Apatcheez gathered together in the humidity of the subtropical world last Saturday to learn from the wise. The very clever Gail McMahon took the girls through their paces while they marvelled as she revealed switches that created decorative details and knobs, previously hidden to the operator, that produced the most marvellous stitches. The project was a rather attractive bag and another day is needed for anyone to actually finish one, such was the intricacy of the design (or was that because of the ignorance of the operators?). Nevertheless the ladies enjoyed the day (apart from the heat which was not very conducive to learning as more than one of us noted). Wondering what it was like? Here’s some pictures..







It was a very serious business as you can see. I blame Isaac Singer.

Until next week

Happy quilting


Queen’s birthday weekend

Having a lovely time this weekend doing all things quilty. After spending weeks trying to get my new website up and running I put that all aside this weekend.

A free evening on Friday (just me and the muts) inspired me to try to finish one of my UFOs – a souvenir from Strasbourg at Christmas – and indeed I did manage to complete the entire project – a sewing machine cover – by Sunday night.


An early morning call on Saturday to take the teenager-in-residence to soccer meant I was back in time to travel over to Mexico (the south side of Brisbane for those not in the know) to attend the Beenleigh Quilt Show.

These girls know how to put on a show and there was entertainment, lots of quilts, demonstrations, stalls and cake! The theme was military and everyone received one of the poppies when they entered. I tried to take photos of a selection of techniques including piecing, appliqué, stitcheries and so on so hope you enjoy:imageimageimageimageimageimage


imageHow was that for a visual feast? And yet there’s more…

Another early start on Sunday led to breakfast at Woody Point where it was a beautiful day. I took this photo of a windsurfer enjoying the sunshine and the wind of course. Can you see him on the board?


Bugger – just missed him

The Apatcheez were also busy last week and produced quite a few projects which they were happy to share…..


Jan finished her amazing three dimensional project and it caused quite a bit of interest in class. Here are some close-ups…image


Margaret wanted to try out printable fabric and turned her trial into this beauty…


Not content with that effort, she also finished bespoke table setting again with cats – is there a series developing I wonder?


But wait there’s more! She also showed us this beauty – what a great design and what great use of novelty fabric.


Does that woman ever sleep? Apparently not. It is always exciting to be around someone who has so much enthusiasm for quilting and wants to make EVERY quilt. I know how she feels.

Speaking of excitement we had a surprise last week when Cathy from Cathquilts Bits n Bobs came to visit. We have been following her sea change on her blog Cath@Home but it was great to hear her stories first hand.


If you want to read about a wonderful crafty lifestyle check out her blogs.

And now to indulge in a little more of my crafty lifestyle. Until next time happy quilting.



Good golly I met Miss Molli!

Names, names names darling that’s what we have for you today. Over the past few days I have walked the halls of the Exhibition Building with the who’s who of Australian quilting. And I have the stories and the photos for you right here. Call me the patchwork paparazzi if you like. Lesa, my partner in crime and I have rubbed shoulders with everyone who’s anyone in the world of prairie points and here’s what we found:-

Our first piece in the quilt sandwich of AQC was Helen Stubbings from Hugs ‘n Kisses. Helen designs the projects for the hexie and appliqué clubs and she had those any many more on display.


It was useful to see the finished projects and gave us an idea of what to choose for the following months. Helen also had some other interesting projects that the stitchers in the group would love.


Next up we had a laugh with Deb Layt. Deb has just published a book on her original technique she calls ‘Geoweb’. If her quilt ‘Fire and Ice’ is anything to go by this will inspire many people to read how she achieves such wonderful results.


A frequent visitor to Apatchy Quilting, Lisa Walton was on duty at the show and in fact had to step in to cover Lenore Crawford’s classes when the latter was unable to attend due to illness. Quite big shoes to fill but I’m sure Lisa managed. We were discussing another class at Apatchy and she suggested her ‘Fusion’ class. It involves improvisational piecing and proved very popular at AQC with the classes being booked out in two hours. Way to go Lisa.


While we’re on the subject of improvisational piecing, Deborah Louie, on the Bernina stand, was obtaining interesting results from improvisational stitching providing additional texture to quilted fabric.


Marg Low had whimsical stitcheries on her stand, many of which she partners with buttons from Theodora Cleave. She has promised to send me a catalogue so that will be another blow to the budget.

We already stock patterns from ‘Don’t Look Now’ and the designer Kellie Wuhlfson had a delightful stand full of whimsical projects. I particularly liked the woodland creatures in the one shown on the left here-


Another impressive display was from the guest artist Segolaine  Schweitzer. She works with wool and although we haven’t seen anything like this at Apatchy, it was very interesting and inspired us to think what we could do with our projects. Particularly interesting was her 52-block piece – that’s one block every week for a year – does that give you any ideas?


Ironically we came to Melbourne and caught up on the Brissie gossip with Kez from CheraBella Buttons. You can always rely on her to know absolutely everything that’s been going on in town and she promised to drop in to  Apatchy to do a trunk show very soon so we will lock her into that when we get back! I didn’t get a photo with Kez because I was too busy talking to her!

Just up from Kez’s stand were the Bloc Loc people. I watched a demo on Saturday from Janna Andrews showing the rulers that she and her husband developed. These rulers have been designed to take the stress out of half square triangles and actually just about every other tricky piecing shape including the drunkard’s path block. These rulers ‘lock’ onto the diagonal seam and take your accuracy to a whole new level. I was quite impressed and thought of several girls who could benefit from one of these rulers (me for one). I think they will have to be on next month’s purchases list. Thanks Janna.


Speaking of demos, the amazingly talented Helen Godden was showing everyone how to use the Sweet 16 machine to couch wool. Have you ever heard of a couched wool quilt? Helen said she thinks it is the first one in the world and I wasn’t about to disagree. Here’s the quilt

And here’s Helen effortlessly making it happen.

Looks easy doesn’t it?

The highlight of the show was meeting Molli Sparkles. Molli blogs about his quilting adventures and I have followed his blog for some time. For much of that time he has been the darling of the modern quilt movement. And rightly  so. His photographic training ensures that his composition is spot on and an artistic eye ensures his quilts are striking. I did wonder how he would manage the crowd at AQC – more the sensible-shoe brigade than his usual followers and Melbourne such a conservative city. Knock me down with a feather boa though I should not have doubted – His Shineiness was in fine form. Even as his alter-ego Joshua Helms, the ambassador for Juki sewing machines, he was charming and I’m sure they sold more machines because he was there.


Of course many people may not have known Molli Sparkles the blogger (and maybe you don’t. Have a look here then) but there were enough of the glitterati, as he calls his followers, to ensure that he was kept busy. We had a chat about the difficulties of running a successful blog. I would have liked to discuss this in greater detail but his public beckoned. He had a quilted sign on his table saying “Selfie with Sparkle” designed to encourage the fan photo and really how could you refuse?


I’ll have to leave the stories about what’s trending until tomorrow as it’s midnight now and I’m back home and plum tuckered out.

Until then happy quilting


And the winner is……..

A great day yesterday after our annual Challenge Quilt competition and Christmas event. We had a record number of entries with 16 clever ladies going with the theme ‘Music’ and creating wonderful projects. Because the scope of the entries was wide open we had a wide range of exhibits and techniques.

Suzanne's winning entry

Suzanne’s winning entry

The winner of the day was Suzanne with her amazing creation called “Bad Moon Rising” after the Creedence Clearwater Revival song. Not only was her piece filled with all manner of visual allusions to the song but she had LED lights lighting the alley but also had an MP3 player with the song playing. One person who looked at  it said “is that really coming from there?” And yes it was!

The runner-up was Margaret with her musical cat table runner. Apparently Margaret’s husband suggested the design so he was in the good books. Here’s their joint effort-

Margaret's musical table runner

Margaret’s musical table runner

Since this competition was such a broad scope we decided one judge would be hard-pressed to determine the winner. So we came up with the perfect system – let the people decide! So it was viewers’ choice that determined both the runner-up and winner.

Here are the other entries:

Chris' bird song quilt

Chris’ bird song quilt

Sue's musical score

Sue’s musical score

Angie's homage to Michael Jackson

Angie’s homage to Michael Jackson

Bev's Sashiko meets song

Bev’s Sashiko meets song

Cathy's "Madame Butterfly meets Liberace"

Cathy’s “Madame Butterfly meets Liberace”

Debbie's abstract guitar canvas

Debbie’s abstract guitar canvas

Elaine's wonderfully colourful instrument quilt

Elaine’s wonderfully colourful instrument quilt

Bec said that "even at dawn the laugh of the kookaburra is music to my soul"

Bec said that “even at dawn the laugh of the kookaburra is music to my soul”

Stephanie produced this sumptuously embroidered treble clef

Stephanie produced this sumptuously embroidered treble clef

Jan cleverly made a beautiful stitchery and some squares into a wonderful file book cover

Jan cleverly made a beautiful stitchery and some squares into a wonderful file book cover

Julia was inspired by Mozart for her beautiful piece

Julia was inspired by Mozart for her beautiful piece

Lesa thought outside the box and created "My Green Tambourine" with a matching bag - a child of the 60's indeed

Lesa thought outside the box and created “My Green Tambourine” with a matching bag – a child of the 60’s indeed

Sharyn's creation reflected her love of Mozart and his 'Moonlight Sonata'

Sharyn’s creation reflected her love of Mozart and his ‘Moonlight Sonata’

Speaking of 'outside the box' June's purple people eater definitely ticked the creative box

Speaking of ‘outside the box’ June’s purple people eater definitely ticked the creative box

I talked about some of the trials and tribulations of my own creation and the fact I had decided to have it quilted by a professional. Here is the top so far:

My Top 40

My Top 40

The other important event was the drawing of the raffle of our collaborative quilt ‘Flowers for Trudy’ (won by Susan Seeney). We were very happy to welcome members of Trudy’s family Arnold, Julie, Thomas and Anna to witness the event. Julia from Bluecare drew the winning ticket and was happy to accept a cheque for an amazing $972.20. (sorry I don’t have a photo yet). I was so pleased to be involved with this and really glad when we added the ticket sales and found we had raised so much for such a worthy group of people. Well done Bluecare and well done Apatchy people!

“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.

I’m Back!

Ok so it’s been a while since my last post. For the past week I have been working furiously on my challenge quilt. I hope to find a way to finish it by the due date although at this stage it will be a push. Do you always leave things to the last minute like me?

Apart from running around trying to do a three month job in three weeks we enjoyed a lovely morning last week for the Melbourne Cup. We had a wonderful spectacle with the annual parade of hats as we have the ‘Best Hat Competition’ judged, as usual, by the patriarch of the family. Luvvy made the pool area look very nice and placed my miniature roses along the path so it all looked very much like a famous racecourse – well done Luvvy!

Here’s some photos from the enclosure:



And here’s Lesa – winner of the best hat – complete with the sewing embellishments (sorry about the picture quality – it must have been the excitement).


Wonderfil Thread

For those of you who come to classes here in Brisbane – tomorrow morning the wonderful Barrie will be explaining all things thread- related. Barrie comes to us form Wonderfil Specialty Threads and, although she is busy setting up for the upcoming Quilt and Craft Show, she has kindly agreed to visit Apatchy Quilting. She will bring samples and advice for what-thread-to-use-when and where.

If you can make it tomorrow you’ll be very welcome. She will only have around 1/2 hour so don’t be late – 9.30am please.

For those who can’t make it have a look at the Wonderfil Video Library or at their YouTube channel to see what you can do.

More Opulence

Sadly we’ve come to the end of the Opulence Overlays workshop. Lisa Walton is teaching this class at Houston so those travelling to the show there should sign up before the places are all gone! Here’s the beautiful results our clever ladies achieved with Lisa’s help: