7…Sew Ready

Here’s the next in our countdown to Apatchy Quilting classes –


How are you going with your countdown to classes? I had the stereo cranked up listening to David Bowie while I sorted out my UFO list and I nearly Ziggy Stardusted when I realised how many I had – occupational hazard when you own a quilt shop!

Pozzie Dog was helping me sort out the paperwork. He just turned ten and, even though he’s now a senior citizen of the canine world, still turned up to work to consider what to do with the boxes of paper around the office.


But I digress. Now supposedly quilters are practical folk who strive to maintain order in their piecing and their precise points. So we shouldn’t have any problem with today’s task….

Make sure your sewing machine is ready for all the action it’s going to get this year.

Maybe you have a top of the range machine that cost the equivalent of a luxury car


Maybe you’re using Aunty Glad’s cast-off

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Whatever your mode of acceleration, just make sure Betsy or Bernie is ready for the massive workload ahead. This means getting a service if you haven’t done so in the past year. No really, your machine likes getting its insides cleaned and oiled and will be ever-so-grateful.


You might even consider unearthing the instruction book – the one at the bottom of the sewing box under the spare bobbins and screwdrivers and elastic you bought for something but now you can’t remember what (or is that just me?). Have a bit of browse inside – it’s amazing what gems you might pick up. Maybe there IS a dedicated setting for that elusive 1/4″ seam??

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The sewing machine has been around for quite a while. They were used during the Industrial Revolution to speed up the manufacture of clothing, but the first machine was invented by Thomas Saint in 1790! Apparently he was about as good at inventing as I am at free motion quilting so it wasn’t until 1830 that a couple of Frenchmen (bien sûr) patented machines to make uniforms for the French Army. Or so says Wikipedia and he would know. This is why the French have the jump on fashion and why their soldiers may not have always won the battles but always looked very smart.


If you’re guilty of neglecting your machine and it’s running like Thomas Saint’s, now’s your chance to make amends. Give it a good clean, use the cover that came with it to keep it free from dust and for goodness sake pamper the poor little pet.

Did you know that 13th June this year is Sewing Machine Day – me neither but we can’t wait that long – do it now!


You’ve got 7 days to give him/her the ultimate makeover. Go for it. Whether it’s computerised or a deadly treadly show some respect and at least vacuum the dust out.

Don’t forget to make sure you have your 1/4″ foot, walking foot and darning foot (for free motion quilting). You know you’re going to need them. Oh and make sure you’ve got enough bobbins.

Until tomorrow

Happy Quilting (well not yet but soon)


8…UFO Sightings

Here’s the next in our countdown to classes at Apatchy Quilting


So now your sewing room is organised and you can see what’s in there – now I know the joy is in the journey not the destination BUT your job for today is to unearth your UFOs – all of them! Now I’m not talking about the magazine pages you marked with little Post-it notes while you were reading and decided to make-that-when-I-get-a-chance (or is that just me?).

I’m talking about the unopened kits that you bought at the last four Craft Shows – the ones in the basket under the spare bed (just me again?). Also the half-done quilt tops, tablerunners, bags and other major works buried at the back of the cupboard, in the to-be-done bag or in their own dedicated plastic tub (you know who you are).

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Oh and what about the quilt tops that are finished but just need the quilting, or the binding or the labeling? (My end-of-year challenge quilt is a candidate for that.)

Today get them all out and make a list – maybe it’s a big list – even better. Maybe you’ll have new projects that you don’t yet know about (even though you promised yourself you weren’t buying anything else from the Craft Show until you finished what you had). They won’t be on your list now but we can always add a supplementary list for newcomers.


I like the AllPeopleQuilt challenge here but there is only space for twelve projects and I might need more or maybe less. This challenge only works if there’s twelve exactly. So I’d like to be a little more flexible than that.


As I see it we should be celebrating every time we finish a UFO – even if it hasn’t yet been identified as unidentified! Sounds a bit existential doesn’t it? This is why I like to add your projects to the Gallery and mine too – so we can all celebrate when things are DONE.

Why don’t you just make a list of all your projects from the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny to the oh-my-God-is-that-even-possible with the option of extending the aforementioned list should subsequent projects identify themselves during the course of the year? Much simpler. Then we can have a celebration at the end of the year. Maybe we should have an end-of-year prize for the most UFO’s – or maybe we just all give ourselves a pat on the back for finishing what we can?

So rifle through that organised sewing space of yours – right now – and get out your UFO’s. Make a list with the details of each UFO and where it’s up to then send me a copy too (send it to kaye@apatchyquilting.com.au). Use this 2015 UFO Challenge form if it helps. We’ll keep a tally of the number of projects my clever Apatchy people finish during 2015.

Teresa from the fabrictherapy blog has an excellent post on how to organise your UFOs if you want to have half a chance of actually finishing them. The pictures of the tubs above are from her page. Have a look if you are having trouble. She is almost as organised in real life as I would like to be in my mind. Until tomorrow

Happy Quilting (well not quilting as such but getting ready for quilting)



9 …. Sew You’re Organised?

Here’s the next in our Countdown to classes at Apatchy Quilting ………maxresdefault

This month it seems like every blog and every magazine are concerning themselves with what must be the universal problem of how to keep your sewing gear organised.


There are 30 day detox programmes for your home, the top 10 tips to tackle clutter and all manner of good advice on ow you should organise your ‘space’. Not to mention ‘storage solutions’ (we don’t call them ‘plastic tubs from the cheap shop’ anymore Jan that’s not politically correct!)


Now as many of you know I am not averse to the odd organisational challenge myself. I have a Pinterest board devoted to this concept. And every January I dutifully re-arrange Apatchy Quilting  in an attempt to create the ultimate quilt-shop-from-home layout (and so that you don’t know what to expect when you start the new year). Here’s a shop I came across in Germany – I like the sample shelf Helga


What inevitably happens is I create a dreadful mess and burn out about two days before it all comes together wishing I’d never started. I have to persevere though because otherwise it is like a scene from Hoarders.

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Nor am I immune from the latest wisdom on the subject. Why only last month I studied ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying’  The author Marie Kondo suggests that storage is not the solution. that we have too many possessions and and what we should do is, well, chuck 90% of it. The result – a neat and tidy house with no chance of it becoming cluttered again. Well yes Marie but then what do we serve the food on when visitors come around if we jettisoned all the plates? And do you mean ‘neat and tidy’ or do you mean ’empty’?

So here’s the problem – I need a lot of stuff – here’s a shot of the van when we left Rye in England to drive to the Cotswolds.


Don’t laugh we needed all that stuff – there were six of us – and there’s still room for more so what’s the problem?

And for quilting I need a LOT of stuff – and to make a gross generalisation – I like all of it! Sure I could de-clutter YOUR house because I don’t care for your stuff personally. But mine is special. Chuck the lot and have a clutter-free house? Not this little black duck!

So that’s settled – I’m keeping everything and sometimes it will overflow and not be in the space it belongs. Rather than spend days trying to tame this beast I think I’ll try to enjoy it and pursue more creative pastimes – like trying to actually use some of it.

fabric & scissors

Rather than infinitely re-arranging I realise I have limited quilting time – and I’m not going to get any more this year or have any extra energy or change dramatically – so I need to make the most of it. So the ApatchyK method of organising is to realise it will never be perfect and I’m just going to appreciate being able to look at it and imagine the possibilities.


One of my clever ladies sews for one hour every night. I told her the Debbie method would be annoying because you would just get started and then have to stop. But she says “at least I get an hour every night and instead of organising fabrics I create beautiful quilts out of them” or words to that effect – and she does get a lot done. So as for de-cluttering and organising – there’ll be no more of that.

Ok well I have actually re-arranged the shop (again) and my office and the coffee room and the storeroom…..and now there’s a dreadful mess in the classroom area that will have to be sorted out before next week and I do feel a little burnt out. But never fear it will all be beautiful and I’ll definitely get my sewing machine out very soon…or should I tackle the colour coordination of my thread collection?

My name is Kaye and I’m an organiser-holic.

Seriously though you might want to have a good look at your sewing space and see if you’re ready for 2015. From what I can tell storage solution boxes are the larval form of fabric and that’s why the fabric seems to have reproduced and you don’t have enough boxes to hold it. Have a look and see if you can arrange things a little better – maybe you need to add a shelf higher, maybe you can store things below your cutting table.

Of course the challenge here is that you need to be able to see what’s in your stash so you can actually use it. Those clear plastic tubs are good for storing fabric and you could have a rainbow collection going. I found this on Pinterest

What's REALLY in your fabric stash?

If you have a whole room or even a wardrobe don’t forget you can hang long lengths of fabric on coathangers. For smaller lengths I do like the Fabric Organizers that we sell (shameless promotion)


Basically you want it to be colour-coded and you can store it on shelves, racks, curtain rods, baskets and many other choices. Go and have a look at the Pinterest page for ideas – and don’t burn yourself out because there’s another chore tomorrow.

Happy Quilting


PS Remember the lovely Martha from Wisconsin who came to visit us in February 2013? Well she bought some Aboriginal fabric from Apatchy Quilting, and, because she clearly has her stash in order, she finished her quilt and sent me photos to prove it. Have a look at her amazing quilt in the Gallery.

The Countdown has begun

A rather belated happy new year to everyone. I hope you have enjoyed your little break and look forward to a motivating and inspirational year at Apatchy Quilting.

I arrived back in Brisbane early in the new year after a wonderful holiday with Luvvy, the teenager-in-residence, my parents and aunt. I, of course, enjoyed it all – from the tuk-tuk ride in Bangkok to the iconic stone houses of the English Cotswolds to the twinkling lights of the German and French Christmas markets. It is certainly a magical place to spend Christmas.


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Ok that’s it – if you want to see more you’ll have to wait for the slide night!

It was difficult to choose a highlight although snow on Boxing Day was hard to beat. How beautiful it was to see the way it gently fell and swirled around and such silence – quite an experience for people used to the tropics. Luvvy said it was a very tough assignment and, after the disappointment of the 2014 campaign where we circumnavigated the globe and didn’t see one drop of snow, he was pleased we were rewarded. Thanks Freiburg.


The teenager-in-residence also agreed that it was difficult to choose a highlight – he was torn between the superior wifi in Singapore or the day he stayed at the hotel in Rothenburg and talked to his friends on Facebook… In fact there was no competition – it was the day he met Steve Tyler from the band Aerosmith and actually had the presence of mind to ask for a photo. And Steve had the good grace to oblige. Since he’d just come through security at Heathrow Airport it must have been a little annoying to be accosted by a fan. No doubt he was trying to grab his belongings from the conveyor belt before they became entangled with others owned by mere mortals. I thought he looked very rock star – especially the fur coat. What do you think? Nice one Steve.

Steve and Huw

Here is Brizzie there was another VIP arrival with the birth of Sophie Blake on 30th December seen here with her unbelievably yummy mummy Sarah – one of our evening class ladies. Sarah started at Apatchy last year and did a great job finishing a lovely cot quilt – and just in time for Sophie’s arrival – check it out in the gallery.

Sarah and Sophie

And so we are all back from holidays and special events and it is back to realty. Sarah has a good reason to be a bit disorganised in the sewing department but what about you?

There’s 10 days left until the week classes start again and so I’m going to shock you all by posting a daily blog for the next 10 days to help you get ready. I know you want to be in top form so I’ll be giving you advice and tips on how you can start the year off so it will be productive and enjoyable – things that you can ACTUALLY incorporate into your real life – things that are ACHIEVABLE!

Stay tuned

What are you all looking forward to in 2015? How can I make it the best year ever? I’d love to hear from you. Until tomorrow..

Happy Quilting