Hit the Wall Tour – the campaign strengthens

It is now day 8 in the campaign and the scribes tell of the gruelling two days just past. Saturday saw the company leave the secluded valley of Greenhead for the wild crags of the Housesteads fort. The path along the wall continued and the first hill did not hint at what was to come.

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The company had to make it over the peak of Winshields Crag and further.

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The scouts reported back that it would be a mixture of minor roads and field paths, steep in places with varying gradients across several valleys and ridges, with a total descent of 430 metres and ascent of 620 metres. What they didn’t mention was that the descent would be almost perpendicular into deep narrow valleys that were the gaps between the crags and then the ascent would be likewise to the top again and again and again.

The local animals with which we shared the path continued to be the most timid creatures and we were amazed at how close we could walk to them without startling them in any way.

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Always the wall kept us on the right track as we celebrated the victory of another hill. The company was unusually quiet, each with their own thoughts of how we would survive this most gruelling of marches yet.

Everywhere we saw milecastles, turrets and the shadow of the Empire’s efficiency.

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As we reached the top of each crag we were treated to magnificent views, the air cool but the day clear. We continued the arduous route through more crags and down though Sycamore Gap. Further on the sun broke through the clouds over the patchwork fields and the pines and sycamores standing above the waters of Crag Lough.

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Another two miles across paths that climbed again, to tackle the last slope at Hotbank Crags. The scout had foretold that the gradient eased along the top although Petermus Maximus doubted the validity of the claim. Finally we came to our camp where the commander said we could rest for the night. The owner, a very talented chef, as well as some medicine in the form of gin and tonics helped the legion start to forget the trials of the day.image

It was with heavy heart and aching legs that the company left Hunter Crook Lodge. The campaign was now to head to Chollerford and Chester’s Fort. We set off from Housteads Fort, the sun shining brightly once again.

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The anaesthetic of the night before had renewed the resolve of Petermus Maximus and, as he had no use for his knees anyway, he continued along the first path at good speed.

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At the end we could see that it would be more marching uphill to reach the top of Sewingshields Crags.

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At the top more wonderful views

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And another path – into a wooded area that had been cursed by a necromancer and appeared to get further away the more you walked towards it.

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Petermus enjoyed the fact that we were walking on level ground, although the spirits of the company dipped slightly when we found there was still another 6 miles to go until camp.

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A visit to the Carrawburgh temple fortified us although we had nothing to sacrifice at the altar. Petermus thought that the bloke who organised the tour would be a good candidate but unfortunately he was not in the garrison so we marched on.

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The legion rested at Limestone Corner, an area with huge stones, actually made of basalt, some weighing 13 tons.

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Here we changed direction now heading to south of east. Another two miles of grassy paths, wooded areas and finally the road to Chollerford and Chester’s fort where we would rest up for a day.

And all the while the beautiful wild flowers, placid farm animals and wild things to see.

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So a day here to rejuvenate … Until the next despatch

Kaye

 

 

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…

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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!

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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!

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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.

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

Kaye

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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

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

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And finished the day in Carlisle

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

Stay tuned

Kaye

 

 

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

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Melbourne is…. a chocolate shop at every turn

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Melbourne is… bad for your waistline

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

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

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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…

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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

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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..

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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…

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Until next time happy quilting

Kaye

 

 

 

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.

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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

Kaye

Massed Flowers and Quilts

After the Laidley show weekend you would have thought the next weekend would be quiet but no – we managed to pack quite a lot into the days. Friday night was the teenager-in-residence’s formal and I trust you enjoyed the photos in the last post. On Sunday we decided to take a very pleasant drive to Toowoomba and see what all the fuss was about with the Carnival of the Flowers. For those who haven’t seen this spectacular make sure you add it to your diaries next year because it was definitely worth the trip. In fact we all decided we should stay for a couple of days next time so we could see everything. One day just wasn’t enough.

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Of course while we were there we had to check out the quilt show and see what the Toowoomba quilters had been busy doing all year. Like the massed flowers in the parks, the quilts were arranged en masse and they really were quite striking. With so many techniques on display there was something for everyone from intricate appliqué to avant garde art quilts. Here’s a few to whet your appetite:-

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This one didn’t have the maker’s name anywhere I could see. It featured beautiful needleturn and sashiko in an interesting way.image

imageDorothy Cottee – Talking PointimageTrish Ostwald – StonefieldsimageSorry about the main photo – there was a breeze where this was hanging. This was a beautiful quilt with lovely needleturn and clever fussy cutting like the piece above.

imageimageJean Swincer – A Bug’s LifeimageimageNorelle White – New from Old What a great way to showcase doilies!imageimageLyn Crimp – AFGEPPABimage

Lyn did amazing quilting on this (no surprise there) and there were interesting angles on the borders.imageRobyn Ginn – Quilted Wallpaper The photo doesn’t do this one justice.imageKathy Adams – Hobart – What a Site! This was an amazing art quilt which utilised printable fabric in a clever way and texture too – each piece of the grid was separately bound.imageimageKerrie Klan – Graduation Quilt for MatthewimageDorothy Cottee – Memories of Notre Dame

Our own Apatcheez have also been busy as usual – here’s what they’ve been up to:-

Maureen's modern quilt made with multiple half square triangles -nice one Maureen

Maureen’s modern quilt made with multiple half square triangles -nice one Maureen

Tracey's finished the baby quilt just in time

Tracey’s finished the baby quilt just in time

Margaret manages to make Audrey even more magnificent

Margaret manages to make Audrey even more magnificent

Suzanne's tea cosy design goes medieval

Suzanne’s tea cosy design goes medieval

Don’t forget the Apatchy challenge for the end of the year – due on 4th December – and the theme ‘Home’.

After the success of the pincushion swap last year, we thought we’d try the same type of thing this year at the Christmas Party only this year we’ll make it a needle book. If you would like to participate just bring a needle book as a gift. We’ll mix them all up and call numbers. When we call your number you get to choose a gift et voila you’ll have a new addition to your sewing tool arsenal.

Also now’s the time to start thinking about a trip to Melbourne for the AQC (Aust Quilt Convention. It is on mid April and I’m sure accommodation will go quickly.

That’s about it this week – until next happy quilting

Kaye

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?

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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?

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Even the back view of their gowns were amazing:

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

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and some fun:

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

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

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Until next time happy quilting

Kaye

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…
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Not to mention the pillowcases she made with printable fabric

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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?

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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.

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

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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-

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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.

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

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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?

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

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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.

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Until next time, happy quilting

Kaye

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:-

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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 www.apatchyquilting.com.au 

See you next week. Until then, happy quilting

Kaye

 

 

 

Weekly pow wow

The Apatcheez have been as productive as ever this week with several completed projects. Some are a little shy at first at being photographed for the blog but eventually they see the funny side.

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Yes it’s Chris with her lovely scrappy quilt. Surprisingly Chris didn’t like the way this turned out at first. We thought it looked wonderful and her quilting is extremely good. That’s what practice does for you girls.

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This stunner was worked by Bev – a lady who always tries lots of different techniques and isn’t frightened to try something new. This quilt was difficult to photograph because it was so large but you can see the impact even with the poor photographic technique. It shows the effectiveness of the humble log cabin block, the force of the large block and of course the optical strength of the colour against the greys.

Elaine brought her Harry Potter quilt in for show-and-tell.

imageThis machine-embroidered beauty makes great use of the fabric and is also an excellent example of how asymmetry can work well in a design.

Margaret has been a bit quiet lately in terms of finished projects. She has still been sewing, but set the bar high earlier in the year when she would bring several items every week. This week she had a very striking version of one of the Appliqué Club projects – love the bright colours…

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Lynette finished this quilt which is to be a gift for her friend.

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Lynette quilted this in class by tackling one long section at a time before joining the three sections together. This quilt-as-you-go method is a great way to approach a large quilt and complete the quilting on your domestic machine.

Finally, there is news of another Apatcheez victory. Lesa has taken out the  Hangers’ Award (akin to the Packing Room Prize for the Archibald) at the EKKA for her entry “Laura’s Garden”. You will have seen this quilt before when she won her section at the Brookfield Show. Well done Lesa. It is a beautiful quilt and a well-deserved win. Look at all those fussy-cut hexies people and be amazed!

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Until next time happy quilting

Kaye