Hit the Wall Tour -news from the front

It is now day 5 on the expedition and the company remains in good spirits. Prepare for lots of photos, some of which you will have seen if you follow us on Facebook…

On Wednesday Petermus Maximus celebrated his big birthday by walking from Carlisle to Crosby-on-Eden. We enjoyed the sunshine and almost had to break out the sunscreen. Here are some sights…


We arrived at our camp for the night – the Oakwood Park Hotel – to find that it was actually a large Georgian house beautifully decorated and with the most wonderful grounds teeming with sheep, chicken, ducks and even pheasants. The lady who owns the house had even made Petermus a birthday cake!



Yesterday we marched from Crosby-on-Eden to Lanercost. The fields were a little steeper but the glorious weather continued. One of the disadvantages of this walk is that there are often NO facilities in the small towns. This presents a problem for the female members of the company particularly.  I had to take advantage of the offer from an anonymous lady in Newtown to use her loo – an offer for which I will be eternally grateful!


The last two photos are of Lanercost Priory. This is special because it is the first time that we see large parts of Hadrian’s Wall – that’s because the Augustinian monks who built the place knew where they could find a ready supply of stone when they came to build the priory – yes they ‘recycled’ the wall. They weren’t the only ones – many builders did the same but they did it in style. The border thugs regularly popped in to cause an ‘infinity of injuries’ until finally King Henry VIII shut it down in the great dissolution of the monasteries. Subsequently it was given to a nobleman and eventually English Heritage took over so everyone can enjoy it all.

Day 5 started with casualties. The selfie stick used to record a group photo at the start of each day cracked under pressure and threw its claw in. A memorial service was held before the expedition set off this morning.  The march was a little steeper again and some members of the legion had additional problems with their transportation. Petermus had problems when his boots took turns to attack him. Yesterday the left one inflicted minor injuries and today, for no apparent reason the right one assaulted him. Fortunately there were medical supplies in the garrison and disaster was averted. Indeed when he was asked if his toe was sore he replied “No, I can’t feel anything below my knee”. Good result.

Although there were a few clouds today the weather was still excellent and we actually walked beside the wall for much of the day. The scenery changed from riverbank to forest to rolling hills. The only problem the legion has with rolling hills is that while it may be a pleasure to go down, going up the next hill is not so enjoyable.


Isn’t it magnificent? Until the next despatch….


Hit the Wall Tour – An Update

Day 1 – at first light, around 9am, the expedition to walk Hadrian’s Wall path got underway after a light meal the locals call a ‘full English breakfast’. The sun was shining and the views across the Solway Firth were magnificent.

The walk started at Solway-on-Bowness, a fascinating town with some rather amusing history. The locals have a history of fighting with the Scots across the firth and in 1626 border raiders stole the bells from the local church. As the thieves were escaping across the firth they accidentally dropped the bells into the water. The bells have never been recovered. Subsequently some locals went across to Scotland and stole two new bells from Scotland and here they remain.


The thought of walking 84 miles was a little daunting but the small company (of two) set off in good humour. At the end of the first mile we meet an interesting character Roger Brough, who has set up a signpost which enables him to add any place in the world. Naturally we asked for Brisbane. And naturally there was a photo. And a donation box.


We watched the sea birds, followed narrow paths and crossed through timber gates. All the way the views were wonderful, sometimes the water, sometimes patchwork fields.


We saw apple trees weighted down with fruit and the ever-present bramble bushes. Apparently you can call them blackberries if the fruit is bigger.


We saw some other walkers, although most think it is too cold. More fool them it is wonderful here. We see many locals, some of whom have four legs. Signs warn us that we must share the road at times.


We arrive at our accommodation – Hillside Farm – and the view is very rural. The colours are so nice.


The end of the first day is at Burgh-on-Sands where King Edward 1 met his untimely end. In fact there is so much history here that it is difficult to take it all in.


On the second day we are heading for Carlisle. There are many hazards along the way – steep riverbanks, the threat of violence

imageand locals plying us with temptations such as caramel ice-cream from the Lakes District or homemade bramble jelly


The road was a little more difficult that the flat marshland from yesterday although, again, it was a beautiful day. We started by walking through fields lined with hawthorn and ash


and finished by following the river Eden. We had a break on the riverbank and watched a man fly fishing.


And finished the day in Carlisle


So 24km and all without the aid of a Medivac helicopter or even a blister pad – that’s a result!!

Stay tuned




Holiday Mode

Wednesday is cancelled. Well not the whole day, obviously. As many of you know I am jetting off on Wednesday morning to the other side of the world to help Luvvy celebrate a significant birthday. The world’s-best-right-hand-woman Jan will be ensuring that the Apatcheez continue their classes and will look after the four legged Apatcheez, the house, and, well, just about everything really. BUT she is not available on Wednesday morning and I will be flat out like a lizard drinking working out whether to take the extra t-shirt/jeans/coat. This means that there will be no Wednesday morning class but normal service will be resumed for the evening class and you hardly notice that I’ve gone.

The Bowie post last week resonated with many of you and it was the 100th blog post so that’s a milestone.  I was asked what else we saw in Melbourne. The Facebook followers were treated to some of these photos at the time but here they are some more for you.

Melbourne is….

The old and the new side by side


Melbourne is…. a chocolate shop at every turn


Melbourne is… bad for your waistline


Melbourne is… trams and history and St Kilda Pier and Luna Park


And Melbourne is….Flinders Street station and wonderful restaurants and funny laneways


That one was for the teenager-in-residence. And while we’re on that subject…Melbourne is…the excitement when your Mum finds a patchwork shop…


Say no more.

Last week the Apatcheez finished more projects. Here’s some show-and-tell

Di's bespoke sashiko by the pool

Di’s bespoke sashiko by the pool

Elaine's great hack where she changed a softie kit into a cushion

Elaine’s great hack where she changed a softie kit into a cushion

And the back....is the back

And the back….is the back


Isn’t that lovely? This is Lesa’s beautifully embroidered ring-bearer’s cushion for her daughter’s wedding. This wedding has been all about the special touches that only handmade can bring – from this cushion to the beads embroidered on the veil. I’m sure it will be very special and all my best wishes for the wedding on 10th October. I’ll be thinking of you while I watch the Australia v Wales rugby match.

The postie did bring lots of new Kaffe Fassett Collective fabric as well as another range Letter Stitch – very graphic. Also a big bundle of loveliness from Tilda..


Have a look on the website under Tilda fabric, kits, Tilda Club and embellishments to see what all the fuss is about.

And we had lots to see in class last week. Everyone was very focused…


Until next time happy quilting





And the stars look very different today….

imageThere was less of a crowd than I had expected at the Bowie show in Melbourne today. Those of us there waited expectantly, as our tickets were checked and we were allocated headphones and a recording device. The crowd had grown during this process but filed quietly into the doorway that marked the beginning of this amazing retrospective. Almost reverently, with bowed heads, the assembled shuffled into the space, reading about the life and times of this amazing artist.


Had I closed  my eyes while I listened to Space Oddity I may have been 15 again, sitting in my bedroom with a cassette recorder listening for the first time. But I could not close my eyes as there was much to see – from the video of the song with the strange angular, thin man with crazy orange spiky hair and funny eyes to the sheet music from which it had all evolved to photos of the time – the moon landing and the photograph of earth from the moon. Maybe, because this had happened on my 10th birthday I was somehow more connected to the event and the song that had been (paradoxically) used at the time to underscore it. Maybe it just came at a time when I was most impressionable. Whatever the reason, ever since I heard that song I have been enamoured of Bowie’s music and art and his ability as a showman. How he managed to bring the avant garde to the masses and his ability to metamorphose himself into different characters, at a time when other artists took the easy road and repeated themselves until they lapsed from mediocrity to insignificance – well it beggared belief. His greatest design was and is himself and it it this design and his influence on culture that is presented at this show. And what a show it is – here is a taste.

imageMany of the costumes used in his music videos and on album covers were here – looking strangely still on faceless mannequins. He must be a small man – not very tall and quite a petite frame – I thought the same when I saw Admiral Nelson’s uniform at the museum in Greenwich but of course both men had no need of physical stature.image

Apparently there is a vast archive of his belongings – like Warhol (another person who needs only one name) he must have kept everything from the significant to the everyday. There are posters and rough notes for songs, costume designs and lighting plans for concerts. Such was his certainty that he would be famous he clearly kept it all. And good thing too.imageThe iconic Aladdin Sane woollen costume by Kanzai Yamamoto  looked vaguely sinister without the mannequin inside don’t you think?imageAnd what has this to do with quilting? Well Bowie was certainly an influence for many musicians but he also influenced modern culture. Was his interest in the Kabuki theatre, the fashion and the Japanese culture something that led to the popularity of Sashiko and Japanese textiles? Possibly. When he dressed in suits that had a female cut did that somehow lead us to the modern penchant for asymmetrical design? Maybe. And did his interest in the use of unusual cloth such as knitwear or sparkle lead us to innovations in the texture of art quilts and their ilk? I like to think so.

I think I feel a quilt coming on…commencing countdown engines on…

Until next time happy quilting


Formally yours

Last Friday it was the teenager-in-residence’s formal and we hosted the ‘pre’. I have been asked for some photos so here goes.

He scrubbed up quite well don’t you think?


Once the girls arrived and discovered the fabric room they decided it would make a great backdrop for photos – which it did. Aren’t they all beautiful?




Even the back view of their gowns were amazing:


The rain stopped just long enough for some photos around the pool:


and some fun:


And then the limo came to take them to City Hall for a lovely night


I’ll update you with quilting news soon but thought you might like to see how our apatchee has grown!

Picture 062

Until next time happy quilting


Lovely Laidley

I was chastised at Laidley Quilt show on the weekend for not keeping up with my blog posts. The lady in question was from Murwillambah and mentioned that she looked forward to my posts and noted that it had been a while….. Ok Apatcheez I’ve been a bit slack but here goes…..

Before we get to Laidley let’s recap what the ladies have been doing over the past couple of weeks. Margaret has been very productive and wowed us with this quilt for her friend…

Not to mention the pillowcases she made with printable fabric


Naturally her friend was very impressed.

Lynette also made a quilt and pillow for her friend and we have seen this coming together over the past few weeks – isn’t it lovely?


While on the subject of people making quilts to give away, Robyn, who is always very generous with her creations finished this striking quilt which she donated to be raffled for an organisation which provides medical aid to women in Uganda.

Robyns uganda quilt

Chris is still making quilts but had a little hiatus recently which produced this beauty –


Mum and Dad came up to help with the Laidley show and Mum brought a few of her recent pieces to show-and-tell. We didn’t know whether to be inspired or depressed when we saw what she’d been able to achieve in a couple of months. Here are just a few of the projects-


Impressive isn’t she??? Not bad for 85!

As I mentioned, the reason she was here was to help deliver the Apatchy experience to the good people of Laidley and their visitors. Dad lugged the boxes from the car (and back again when it was all over) and Jan and I arranged and re-arranged until we were happy with the stall. With Mum on customer service it was time for the show. The good people of Laidley put on a great show as usual and even ordered perfect weather. The little touches like the table decorations are just one sign that this is a special event.


Here are some of the quilts that were on display ….


The organisers made sure that each stall holder was also demonstrating their craft. We had Jan in charge of that department and she showed everyone how easy the hexies are to make into great projects. Speaking of great projects isn’t this lady’s necklace great?


Another demonstrator showed everyone how easy and satisfying hand quilting is to do. She certainly made it look easy…


You can see how neat her stitching is in the photo above. She said she hopes to finish the quilting by Christmas – which shows you that quilting isn’t fast (especially if you do it by hand) and that it involves lots of work.

Of course it wasn’t all work – there was the street parade to watch on Saturday, lots of craft stalls to wander through to see what treasures you could find to bring home or maybe to eat there (don’t ask me about the incident involving the coconut ice stall. Let’s just say they made record profits this year). And let’s not forget the strawberries and ice cream. Laidley is famous for this delicacy and many people enjoy a serving after a hard day’s festival-going. Here’s a couple of people who did just that.


Until next time, happy quilting


Bridges, Butterflies and Blue Skies

After seeing the ‘My Small World’ Quilt project in Quilt Mania and on the verykerryberry blog thought it would be a good pieced project to do. Generally I prefer appliqué but like to diversify a little. Also I thought it would be an interesting project to show the Apatcheez, especially those doing the beginner sampler quilt. It was rather tricky finding additional copies of the magazine, however, there are now several of us underway (or at least the project now appears on serval UFO lists).

I’ll keep you up to date with the progress as we go along. So far I managed to find twenty different fabrics for the sky, yes twenty!


The original quilt has a cream-coloured sky, however, I wanted a little higher contrast. It took a couple of days to decide what look I wanted. Was it going to be a night sky of navy blues and black? What about shades of light blues? A real estate advertisement arrived in the mailbox showing the suburb at sunset – with a sky of pink, soft oranges and deep purples. It was a dilemma until I was driving home from the shops last week and saw the most wonderful winter sky – of the brightest blue with clouds that were so white.


And so it was decided. I drew the design on paper and coloured it accordingly. It was then that I had to start cutting one inch squares – dozens of them! I sewed the first two rows of the first part and….it was dreadful. Trying to control the squares was difficult as they weren’t long enough to hold and I had to let them go when they went under the foot of the machine. I gave up at that point and slept on it. The answer was there in the morning – paper piecing (or foundation piecing if you prefer). The first two rows came together much better and then a few more.


The above is only a small section of the first part of the project but I was quite satisfied with the results. The project is quite time-consuming but I think it will be quite pleasant. I’ll post more photos as we go along because others are using very different colours so it should be interesting. Let me know if you would like to do it too and we’ll talk skies.

No time to see any more today because I was walking across the Story Bridge to commemorate the 75th anniversary. I walked the bridge with the children on the 50th anniversary so it is like a  tradition now. How many people does it take to celebrate a bridge? Approximately 74,000 apparently. That’s how many walked the bridge today – and it did seem very crowded I must say. And hot. Winter in Brissie certainly isn’t cold, cold, cold.

The Apatcheez didn’t disappoint this week. Sue finished her row-by-row quilt that have been on the UFO list for a while. I think this pattern might be an inspiration to a few others who are keen to make an under-the-sea quilt because it turned out very well.


Di has also had a UFO project on the go for a while and it is evolving into quite an amazing piece. What started as a series of Sashiko samplers has become a much larger piece with appliquéd hexagons. We can’t wait to see this one finished.


So lots of blue projects so far but not for long. The queen of colour, Bec brought a brilliant swap that she received that day.


This gave everyone ideas of course. Not to be outdone Bec has another fabulous project (or two) of her own including this paper-pieced beauty…


So I am looking forward to another inspirational week. Hope to see you and hear more ideas. Until then happy quilting.