Classes!

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Hi everyone!

Some of you have been waiting an age for me to get some classes sorted and let you know what’s happening. BUT due to the general chaos that has been the start of this year, the lack of commitment from the venues I was chasing and the lack of space in my own house I had to put it all off.

UNTIL NOW!

A few weeks ago I was offered a teaching position at the Hobbysew store at Erina Fair. I accepted and classes start this weekend.

If anyone who follows me here is interested in attending please follow the link to book in via the Hobbysew website or ring the girls at the Erina store on (02) 4365 1127.

My classes are detailed below –

Contemporary Crafters
Fortnightly on Sundays 10. 30 till 3.30
July 5 and 19
August 2, 16 and 30
September 13 and 27

Colour Theory
Thursday July 23
9.30 till 12.30

Create Your Own Appliqué Design from Scratch
Wednesday September 2
9.30 – 3.00

http://www.hobbysew.com.au/classes.aspx – ensure you select the Erina store.

If anyone has any questions about the classes please let me know. There are full class descriptions on the booking forms.

Charity Quilting #1 – Kristyn of Melon Patch Quilts

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A little while ago I posted this blog here about the charity quilting that I do for BlanketLovez. This week I’ll be chatting to Kristyn from Melon Patch Quilts about the charity work she does for a variety of worthwhile causes.

How did you get into quilting for charity?
I first got into charity quilting when I joined my local quilt guild and started my long-arm quilting business. The guild needed their charity quilts finished and I wanted to practice some designs and patterns, so it benefitted both of us.

Learn to quilt student's quilt

How long have you been doing it for?
Since I started my business 14 years ago.

What charity/charities do you quilt for?
This is only a brief list of the organizations I have quilted for: Quilts of Valour, Make a Wish, various local churches, local sports teams, local Home and School organizations, local Quilt Guilds, May Court, Habitat for Humanity, Hutton House, The Quilt-A Breast Cancer Support Project.

Guild Quilt copy

Do you make quilt tops, complete quilts or just long-arm for them?
I do the long-arm quilting for the charity quilts, either an individual or an organization pieces the quilt top and then finishes the binding once I give it back to them.

How many quilts would you do in a year?  
I used to limit how many charity quilts I quilted, as I was so busy with everything else in my life (as well as quilting) but now I quilt all of the quilts that come to me. I want to see as many organisations/charities/people benefit from having a completed quilt.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 8.45.55 AM

If you long-arm – do you assess a charity quilt in a different way to a customer’s quilt, or even one of your own, for quilting?
Usually the quilts that come to me as a charity quilt are quite scrappy and an overall quilting pattern looks great on them. I have only custom quilted a few charity quilts; the majority were quilted with an overall pattern.

Are you asked to do certain quilting designs or given free reign?
If there is a particular theme to the quilt top, then I try to match that theme – children’s quilts get more of a youthful design; floral fabrics may get a flower design etc. I quilt for Quilts of Valour which gives quilts to injured Canadian soldiers and quite often fabrics within the quilt top have a Canadian maple leaf, so I try to use a maple leaf quilting pattern or echo around the leaf on the fabric, just to be a little patriotic.

guild quilt

What do you enjoy most about quilting for charity?
I have lots of things I enjoy most. That it helps the organisation complete more quilts that they can donate. That the organisation can raise money if it is a fundraising quilt. With our London MQG Outreach programme, I enjoy helping the students complete their first quilts they have sewn. Seeing these students each week, and what they have accomplished makes my heart swell! They should be so proud of themselves. Within 1 ½ years the amount of quilts they have made is incredible. I also love that on my two trips to teach sewing and quilting, we were teaching women, so they can sew for a business and make money to support their families. We gave them a skill that will last them a lifetime.

How would you encourage others to start?
Probably the easiest way to start quilting for charity is to ask at your local quilt guild, as most of them have an outreach program. I am sure they would be overjoyed to have help!

What’s your ‘process’ for doing charity quilts and does it differ from your 
regular quilting jobs? Eg. Writing up a docket with quilt’s info, deadlines, thread choices etc.
The only way ‘processing’ charity quilts is different for me is that when I quilt for my customers; we discuss in length what pattern, thread colour etc. they would like. For the most part, when I quilt a charity quilt I am the one who decides on the design, thread etc. A lot of times I just pick up the quilts from guild one month and drop them off the next – and the way they are quilted is left up to me. I still make a work order for my files, so I can keep track of things.

To read about Kristyn’s adventure’s overseas to train and teach quilting:

Humanitarian trip to South Africa to teach Long Arm quilting:
http://melonpatchquilts.com/?page_id=99

We sponsored Lungile to come to Canada for more training:
http://melonpatchquilts.com/?page_id=147

Humanitarian trip to Nicaragua to teach them to quilt:
http://melonpatchquilts.com/?page_id=101

teaching in Nicaragua

Most of the organizations I quilt for don’t have websites related specifically to charity quilting. Here is a link to our London MQG page specifically on our Outreach Learn to Quilt classes.
http://www.londonmodernquiltguildcanada.com/home/category/outreach

LMQGC logo

To follow along with Kristyn’s quilting you can find her here:

IMG_2533

A big thank you to Kristyn for taking the time to speak with me. :)

Melon Patch Quilts

Have you ever…?

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I am a habitual collector of random images from the internet… usually cat memes and things that tickle my dark sense of humour but I also collect images that inspire and make me feel something. Especially if they ignite that flicker of an idea, slightly intangible at the time but one that moves more and more into a solid idea for a quilt.

I have an external hard drive that is fit to bursting with images, notes for quilts, drafts for book chapters, all my phone and laptop backups and pretty much every picture I’ve ever taken with a digital device. This poor hard drive holds some of that idea intangibility but even though I rarely look at whats actually stored on there I know what’s there. It’s the promise of a design, the pattern potential and the seed of creativity that makes what I do worth getting up in the morning.

BUT…

Occasionally an idea will stall. It will sit there and be a bit stubborn and doesn’t want to play.

I’ve had an idea for a quilt (more a wall hanging originally but it’s scale isn’t really important in this tale) that incorporates something that I’ve long believed in, practice and aim to improve within myself. It’s not religious although there is spirituality involved and the symbols I’d like to replicate in some way, are meaningful to the belief system. I’ve been looking at these images for months and nothing has jumped out at me to give me the clarification I need.

I have the colours and the fabrics in mind already, I have the designs and the pattern – what eludes me is what technique to use to create them.

Which might sound a little odd considering everything else is ready to go but I assure you that’s usually the stumbling block that most people find they come up against. This is me every now and then – usually when something is important or is laden with some kind of obligation (usually a gift).

So as I imagine my finished piece in all sorts of ways I ask you  –

Have you ever been stuck like this before? How did you get unstuck?

Pop your comments below. :)

Marni x

Charity Quilting

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It’s well known that when disaster strikes many of us who craft are amongst the first to put our hands up to help. Natural disasters, sick children, soldiers, injured and rescue animals are just some of the worthwhile causes that quilters shave helped.

Something about crafting an item and donating it to a recipient who needs it in a time of great turmoil seems to work well and bring people together.

Many of you know that I am a permanent long-arm quilter for BlanketLovez. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and enjoy every minute of it. I love seeing what quilts people are making, the huge variety of fabrics that I haven’t seen (secret stash fabrics) and I love experimenting with the pantographs and free-motion.

Charity quilting gives something to my quilting adventure that my own personal quilting can’t give me – there’s an overwhelming feeling of doing good with the skills I have but there’s more to it than that. It’s hard to define but if anyone ever asked me about what I do I would encourage them to give it a try and see for themselves.

In this series of blogs I’ll be interviewing other quilter’s who do the same – we all quilt for charity – whatever charity that may be.

I hope you’ll join me and the fabulous quilter’s who’ll join in along the way.

Marni x

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Current quilting for RMD House OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Quilts

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Making quilts is something of an obsession with me – not only is it my job but it is the one thing that keeps me going emotionally and mentally when everything else gets a bit mad.

Quilting is my therapy.

But one unfortunate side effect of making so many quilts is the fact that there is no where to keep them all unless I sell them.

So to clear the decks a little, some of my current quilt listings are 40% off, click here to see them.

All quilts are ready to post and are perfect for these cooler, rainy days. Snuggle up on the lounge underneath a handmade quilt.

If you don’t find what you are looking for I also make quilts to order. See here for more info.

The smallest piece… v3.0

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So I’ve been trying to write this blog post for over a week now. It’s one of those posts that drives me nuts because I have the idea and I can see where it’s going but I just can’t get the words onto the screen in a way that doesn’t make me sound like a whiny, self-centred lunatic.

Life shouldn’t be easy. But sometimes things happen that make it seem like you are copping every bad thing that’s ever happened to everyone in the history of the world (slight exaggeration there but you get what I mean) and you start to wallow… deeply… because it’s easier than trying to fight it.

If life was easy it wouldn’t be life. It wouldn’t be interesting, it wouldn’t be challenging and sure as eggs it wouldn’t be fun.

Lately I’ve felt like the aforementioned ^^^ wallower in self-pity, procrastinating and quite simply over it and anything that was coming my way. I was tired after a month of being ill and then trying to catch up with everything that I’d signed up for (can’t say no….) and I was just not happy within myself.

I am the first to admit that I’m not the perkiest of people. If you know me or have met me you will know that I take things very seriously. I like control and I like things to be just so but even though I’m not perky (or any of the things that go with that) I am happy. I have my family, my cat, my health and my work. Things aren’t always peachy but I have it a damn sight better than lots of people out there and I am immensely grateful for that.

I am not depressed.

I go through stages of what I like to think of as distance. I remove myself from my life in an emotional sense because I either cannot deal with something or I am just tired of feeling things.

My quilting helps me with that distancing because there is nothing quite like setting up the machine and just working on a quilt, no distractions, no thoughts or feelings other than what I am putting into that quilt. All I do is stitch. I listen to the hum of the machine, and watch by the glow of the light as the stitches appear from under the needle, working their way across the fabric.

And this is why I do what I do.

The past few months have been difficult for me. I know there’s nothing wrong but I had serious trouble mustering much enthusiasm for anything I was doing except work related things. I think that’s why I ended up sick with bronchitis for a month… I was just exhausted.

But something strange happened the other day that turned months of misery around.

It was as I was rummaging around in my craft room (cleaning actually because it was a dump) and I found two things – a packet of beads that I’d forgotten I had and a small scrap of fabric.

The colour of the beads captured my eye and made me feel something I hadn’t felt in a while. Itchy fingers wanting to pick up my jewellery tools again but it was the fabric that really got me…

Now as I held this scrap of fabric in my hand it reached out and grabbed me, threw me back into myself and inspired me again. I basically got slapped upside the head by a scrap of fabric no bigger than my palm.

Now I’m not going to show you these beads or fabric because there’s no point. These two things were meant for my eyes only. I was meant to re-discover them at that time, just for me to receive the inspiration from. If I show you they lose that kick that they had because you won’t see the same thing I did and then that makes this story the ravings of a nutter.

But that’s not the point either.

When you feel your worst, look around you because it literally is the smallest piece that can change your life.

Marni x

 

 

 

Focus shift…

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Some things in my life have changed recently and will continue to change in the coming months and in order to cope with these new avenues of opportunity I need to adjust what I’m doing here at Frankenstein’s Fabrics.

So I’m shifting my focus to be more on the machine quilting side of things and less of stocking fabrics and supplies. I will still stock some things and will be happy to order in things for you but there will be less stock.

I’m having a stock clearance with pretty much everything* go at 50% off starting tomorrow (Sunday 12th April) and running until there is nothing left.

I will pop up the code you need for the checkout and then you can start shopping. Payments will be made through Paypal or credit card.

*There will be a list of items included in the 50% off – pending.

Some days…

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I made this quilt (currently named ‘Matchsticks’) about 6 months ago. It was an experiment in staggering my measurements, the piecing was all vertical and it was fairly straightforward to graph it out.

10347792_593859640711822_5879110520642892352_n copy

The thing that’s driving me batty with this quilt is what design to quilt it with…

Do I go full custom? Geometric? Swirls? Find a pantograph that has elephants on it?

The backing is a chocolate brown with baby pink spot and the binding is a multi-coloured stripe (pink, blue, brown and white).

If you have any thoughts on what I might quilt on it please pop them in the comments below.

Do you want to win?

If you would like the chance to win a $20 gift voucher to use in the web-store please comment below with your suggestion for a name for this quilt. I will choose the winner at 5pm AEDST on the 22nd of February 2015.

Rules:

Gift voucher will be valid from 6 months from the date of winner announcement. This prize is a one off and the voucher cannot be redeemed for cash. This voucher cannot be used towards machine quilting costs (if you need a machine quilting voucher they are available for purchase). Your information, submitted for this competition will not be used for any other purpose except this competition and will not be passed onto any third parties.

To ensure that you are able to be contacted in the case of you winning please make sure you comment with a profile/avatar that has an email address.

If in case of the winner not responding within 24hours of the announcement a second winner shall be chosen.

 

I’ve been a bad blogger….

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*waves*

So I’ve been a little lost over in the world of Instagram since before Christmas, I haven’t been blogging, I kind of hid from the world over New Year and then I hit the big 3-0 and I’m way behind where I should be. Schedule schmedule.

So MerryChristmasHappyNewYearHappyAustraliaDay etc….

Frankenstein’s Fabrics HQ has been a tad adrift since early December when I lost my sew-jo. I wasn’t feeling up to anything much, and I was pretty much giving myself permission to wallow in some self pity. I was exhausted and not feeling much of anything emotionally. Partly because that time of year is my kryptonite and gets me down anyway but the ramped up social expectation drives me crazy and I just want to hibernate with my laptop, sewing machine and my wi-fi.

BUT

Now that craziness is past and the rest of the world has chuffed the kids back to school, normal viewing can commence.

So to get things back on track and the new year bringing new things and exciting adventures in the world of me (not being narcissistic just really into my plans for this year) here’s a quick round-up of the important things you’ll need to know for this first quarter of the year.

1. I started a Facebook group, which will have one free quilting patten released each month for the whole year. This is in order to get people motivated and inspired. The group is 40+ strong at the moment and we’d love for you to join us. We are also using the group to help each other whittle down that sneaky tub of UFOs, ask questions, get help with troublesome projects/techniques and anything in between.

2. Mum is stitching away nicely at her quilt (which was meant for winter last year but life got in the way). It’s about to have the last border popped on and then it will be ready for quilting. There will be proper detailed blog posts about this as she proceeds and you’ll be able to get the instructions if you would like to make this quilt as well.

3. I am loving Instagram! It is so much more rewarding and friendly than Facebook,  I think because it’s more instantaneous and visual which is a must for all of us creative types. Please feel free to follow me if you have an account. The most amazing thing about it is the swaps that I have signed up for – hoops, bags and mini quilts everywhere! I’m met lovely people who are like-minded as well as starting my own mini quilt swap. I dived right in and #kittenmqs2015 was the result – inspired by Vladimir.

10644943_10152668009245390_5000703811634144244_n

4. Charity quilting – Quilting for charity is a unique and humbling experience. At the moment I have 8 quilts pending for BlanketLovez, I’m also quilting two very special quilts for the families of the Lindt Cafe victims. This has been organised by Molli Sparkles and the team of Glitterati who have donated hashtag blocks from all around the world.

5. In an effort to get things back on track for my poor body and my health, mum and I took up Tai Chi last year and have managed to stick with it into 2015. If you are on the central coast and would like to come to classes head to Central Coast Yang Tai Chi for more info. Steve is an excellent teacher.

6. Lastly, things haven’t quite panned out the way I wanted them too with classes in the new year. I was waiting on some information to come my way but it wasn’t to be and now the schedule is up in the air again. I will be sending out a newsletter with class info mid-February so if you would like to know what’s happening sign up here.

Anyways, I think that catches everything up for now.

I’m off to bed and will be back later with more happenings at FF HQ.

Happy quilting!

Marni x