Category Archives for "Product Reviews"

September 27, 2017

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine – Unboxing & Demo (BLQK2 Model)

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine We have a new sewing machine in the studio and it’s the Baby Lock Sashiko machine. This is a specialty machine as it only stitches one stitch…but oh what a wonderful stitch! The stitch it produces looks like it has been hand stitched so you can get some beautiful results using just this one stitch.

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine

The Sashiko style of stitch originated in Japan and was traditionally used as what you might call a functional stitch. So it was used originally to repair fabric. The more traditional Sashiko creations that you might see at craft fairs and the like are done on indigo blue, red or brown coloured fabrics but these days with all of these lovely colours we have at our fingertips, personally it’s a bit limiting for me to stick with just just a few colours.

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine

The BabyLock Sashiko is perfect for quilting. It looks gorgeous on a baby quilt but you can work it in to any sized quilt. It makes the perfect decorative stitch on clothing, table runners, bags, cushions…the skies the limit really.

The Sashiko machine doesn’t use a top thread – it works solely from the bobbin. BUT, this isn’t simply a matter of popping in the bobbin like you would on a regular machine. It can be a bit finicky until you get the hang of it. Even as we were creating the video unboxing and demo, we had to refer to the manual multiple times to figure out how to get the bobbin thread up, but we got there in the end. It really is just a matter of practicing a few times until you get the hang of it.

The Baby Lock Sashiko is limited to one stitch but you do have the option of changing up the stitch by using the levers on the front of the machine. You can lengthen or shorten the stitch and you can lengthen or shorten the space between those stitches.

Important Note: One thing you must remember is to make sure that you don’t sew off the fabric. This is in the instruction book but  I thought I should emphasise it here.

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine

The image below shows what the stitch looks like from the back.

babylock sashiko stitch from the back

What’s in the Box

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine Unboxing

Bear in mind, that we live in Australia and what we get in the box may vary slightly to what you might get if you are living in another country. Also watch the video below to see the unboxing and demo.

  • Sashiko machine
  • power cord
  • foot pedal
  • 3 spool caps in varying sizes
  • quilting guide
  • packet of needles
  • bobbins
  • cleaning brush
  • latch wires (which are part of the needle mechanism)
  • tweezers
  • 2 screw drivers
  • instruction guide
  • quick start guide

Baby Lock Sashiko Machine

We purchased our Sashiko Machine from Echidna Sewing in Capalaba, Queensland, a great business to deal with. They do awesome deals and provide excellent after sales service. So don’t forget to check them out for a variety of sewing and embroidery machines and notions.

July 20, 2017

The Curves for Squares Quilt – Creative Grids Curves for Squares Ruler Review

I just love this ruler. It has given a whole new look to my layer cake quilts. The gentle curves add movement and dimension to the quilt.  The Creative Grids Curves for Squares Ruler lets you add curves to fabric squares measuring 5″,  6″,  7″,  8″,  9″ or 10″.


Where Can I Buy the Creative Grids Curves for Squares Ruler?

You can find these great rulers at Amazon.

Like all Creative Grids rulers this ruler has grips on the back so that you can move it freely around on the fabric until it is in the position you want it to be, then when you apply pressure with your hand, the ruler grips onto the fabric and doesn’t slip or move.


We keep getting asked about the pressing mat used in this video. It is the Magic Pressing Mat which you can get from Amazon here.

Watch the video here on how to use this ruler. We show you how to cut and sew curves for squares.

How to Make a Curves for Squares Quilt Using a Layer Cake or 10″ Squares.


  • Take 1 layer cake or cut 42  x 10″ squares from fabrics of your choice.  For this quilt I used the Simply Style by V & Co for Moda layer cake.
  • Lay the squares out on the table and sort them into contrasting pairs. It is entirely up to you how you match your fabrics.
  • Take one square and place it on your work surface with the right side facing up.
  • Take another square and place it on top of the first square also with right side facing up.


  • Line up the edges and the diagonal corners.


  • Place the ruler with  on top of the squares, making sure that the black 10″ runs along the top edge of the squares and down the left hand side of the squares.  The point where the line runs off the edge of the ruler needs to be exactly on the diagonal corners.
  • I have played around with this ruler and find it easier to work with if I lay my fabric on the mat, on point rather than  square on. But this is just a personal choice, I am short and it suits me best.


  • Take a rotary cutter, I use an Olfa 28mm cutter (I prefer the smaller cutter for cutting curves), and carefully cut along the curved line of the ruler.



  • You now have 2 curved half square triangles.


  • Take one of the top pieces from one square and match it to the bottom piece of the other square. You now have a curved half square triangle with contrasting colours.


  • Take the two squares and lay one on top of the other, right sides together. You will notice that nothing lines up, but that’s okay.

curves-for-squares-quilt, creative grids curves for squares ruler, review,

  • Line up the pointed ends  and the edges of both pieces and place a pin about ½” from the end. You will remove this pin once the material is caught in the machine.


  • Have your sewing machine needle in the needle down position.
  • Use your left hand to control the top fabric and you right hand to control the bottom fabric. Do not pull or stretch the fabric. Manipulate the fabric, keeping the edges together as you sew. Take your time.


  • Finger press the seam to one side.
  • Press along the seam line and finally press the square flat.


  • Trim the square to 9″ inches. As yo don’t have a straight seam line to lay your ruler along, just make sure to lay the the 45º line so that it matches the diagonal corners.
  • (Note: in the video I have used 5″ squares and trimmed them to 4½”) This was just to demonstrate the ruler, but the principle is the same for whatever size squares you are using.
  • I find it handy to use a rotating mat but it’s not a requirement if you don’t have one.

Trim as per a normal half square triangle. See our tutorial here.


As you can see below, you can lay the blocks out in rows, as curved diamonds, as a curved pinwheel, or as curved flying geese or arrow heads. There is plenty you can do with this block.

Curves for Squares – Diagonal Rows.


Curves for Squares – Curved diamond

Curves for Squares – Pinwheel


Curves for Squares – Curved Arrow Head


More views of the quilt

Close up of the squares and the beautiful quilting which was done by Chris from Sew ‘n’ Sew Sisters.

curves-for-squares-quilt, curves for squares ruler, quilting, sewing, craft, curves for squares ruler review, creative grids

The backing is a dark grey with light grey stars and you can see  how lovely the quilting pattern stands out on the back.

April 15, 2017

Our Oliso Pro Smart Iron Review

We have received many comments on the iron that we use in our tutorials.   The first time we saw someone using one of these irons we were blown away went it popped up. “How awesome is that” we squealed with delight.

No more burnt ironing mats, no more worrying if the iron had been turned off when we were miles from home and couldn’t do anything about it anyway. You know what it’s like, you can’t enjoy what you are doing as visions of the fire brigade breaking down your door to put out a fire started by your iron being left in the down position on your ironing mat.

Of course we just had to have one. Being here in Australia we purchased ours from Sew Much Easier here in Australia.  But the Oliso Iron is readily available from Amazon for those in the USA.

Now I have to say that this is our second Oliso iron. We purchased the first one in March 2014 and around September 2015 the feet stopped working, although the iron still worked fine.  However, despite that, we loved the iron so much we bought a second one and this is the iron we are still using today.

So what are some of the features the Oliso Iron.

  • I guess the main feature for me is the iTouch Technology. This means that the iron detects your touch and lowers itself so that you can start ironing. The iron lifts itself onto the ‘feet’ when you let it go. So no more scorching your fabric.
  • The iron automatically shuts off if you leave it untouched for 30 minutes. So if you do forget to turn it off you won’t have to worry about it, as firstly it will be standing on the feet, well away from the fabric and secondly it will turn itself off. So this gives you peace of mind.
  • The Oliso has ‘OnePass Technology to make your ironing quick and easy. This is the extra-thick stainless steel soleplate which is also scratch resistant, meaning that the iron glides smoothly over the fabric as you iron.

oliso-iron-base-plate,iron review,

  • We have found that you need to touch the iron to have it heat up after leaving it on its feet for a while. You know what it’s like when you are quilting, you sew, then iron, then sew, well depending on how long it is since you did that last press, the iron may well have turned off, so simply touch it so that it goes into the down position and then let it go so it pops up again, and it will heat up nicely. If we don’t let it reheat, then it won’t iron out the wrinkles. It is 1800 watts so it does heat up really quickly.

oliso-iron-feet,oliso iron review

  • We like having three different choices for the steam: Continuous, Horizontal Burst, and Vertical Burst, and of course you can select no steam for those fabrics that don’t like steam.
  • Although it only appears to have a few steam holes, it actually gives out a lot of steam which is ideal for setting seams.

oliso-iron-steam-function,iron review,

  • I really like the side access water tank. It makes it really easy to fill up the water tank.

oliso-iron-water-fill,oliso iron review

  • And the 12′ long cord is brilliant. This is something I really appreciated and it has been a godsend as it makes is so easy to move the iron around the room when we are doing our tutorials.  It also as a 360º pivot so that the cord can be moved to the best possible position while you are ironing.

This iron has mixed reviews on Amazon, but speaking for myself, I am very happy with this iron. We use it in the studio constantly so it has done a lot of work over the time we have owned it.

Where Can You Buy the Oliso Pro Smart Iron?

The Oliso Iron is readily available from Amazon.

Watch our Video Review Here for the Oliso Pro Smart Iron