Why hello there, 2016!

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As we waved goodbye to 2015 last night, like all new years celebrations before it, many of us turned introspective. Minds turning towards the potential of the new year, whether it be personal or for business.

This year things are changing here at FF HQ. In fact they started changing a little while ago but the big jump into the new things is happening NOW.

Firstly – many of you know I am teaching. You might have been to a class or spoken with me about coming to one when you’re ready. This year is chock-a-block FULL of classes. Click here to sign up for class news. I’m running basic blocks for those who want to get started, project classes where we tackle specific quilts or designs, colour theory for those who are struggling with choosing fabrics and one-on-one classes for those who are determined to get to the bottom of the UFO box.

I am also in the process of designing a new range of quilts and unlike many of my previous designs these will not be headed to the magazines. These will only be able to be purchased through my online store. I’m returning to my designing and writing roots this year because that’s what makes me happy.

This year Dawn Lewis from DawnLewisImagery and I will be utilising a new video style platform in order to bring tutorials and unprecedented access to us in an interactive online session. This will enable you to sit in on a Skype-style video call and talk to us live online and with other customers. If you don’t want to be ‘seen’ on the video call then you are also able to jump in the question section and ask us anything you like. All you need to get started is a Twitter account! I have a session scheduled on the 20th of January at 10:30am if you’d like to join us  and see what it’s like. For those who aren’t quite ready for it you can watch online but you won’t be able to ask questions or join in live.

I’m also working on a batch of videos – reworking basic skills and techniques and getting a good bank of videos we can all refer back too whenever we need a refresher or if you want to encourage a friend to join in on this hobby. If there’s something specific you’d like help with please let me know.

I am still contributing to the magazines this year as well – you will continue to see my projects in Handmade and Patchwork & Stitching magazines as well as a few other projects elsewhere, that you’ll see later on in the year.

I’m re-working the shopping cart on this site as I am no longer selling fabrics online, most of the products will be digital and instant download (no shipping!!) as well as copies of Mollie Makes and hard copies of vouchers if people need them sent out.

Machine quilting bookings are filling up. January is full, February – April have some spaces available. Please book ASAP to ensure you get the slot needed for your quilt. I will be introducing a loyalty card system for machine quilting (retrospectively adding quilt jobs), with discounts and incentives for customers.

Currently though I’m having a bit of downtime as January is full of some crazy things that are happening. My birthday, a few health things I need to take care of and my cat requires some surgery so I will be around but if you  miss me I’ll get back to you all when I can. I am working at The Gosford Sewing Machine Centre – usually Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays but if you need to see me specifically please give me a call.

I hope everyone has had a lovely festive season and is now ready for bigger and brighter things in 2016. I also hope that you join me this year and continue to support Frankenstein’s Fabrics and the new direction that we are headed in.

Happy Quilting!
Marni x

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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.

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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.

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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

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Christmas

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So the man in the red and white suit will be headed our way shortly (38 days!!) so it’s time for everyone to run around like headless chicken and get gifts, festivities and food sorted out.

I’m here to help 🙂

I have pre-made quilts and quilted items ready to post NOW if you head over to my hand-made store. All you need to do is purchase and it will be winging its way to you in no time at all.

However if you have a person to buy for who is crafty I have a few more options –

1. You could purchase a gift voucher which allows them to purchase the goodies they want/need.

2. You could buy them a selection of fabrics/haberdashery and make up a lovely craft pack.

3. If they quilt but never seem to finish any quilts – get them a machine quilting voucher.

Vouchers are here.

Fabrics are here on the website under the store tab.

Custom orders for the year are CLOSED but I am taking bookings for them for 2015.

Also if you are interested in classes in the new year please head over  and sign up for the newsletter.

I will be updating the webstore shortly so if there is something you are after but can’t see – let me know and I’ll sort it out for you. 🙂

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Scrap busting solutions!

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If you are anything like me you have scraps tucked into every storage box, bag and tub in your craft room (or tucked away from hubby in secret cupboards) and you dread the thought of dealing with the sheer quantity of it all BUT you cannot bear the thought of throwing it away either.

Short of just bagging the whole lot up without looking at it and dropping it off to your nearest charity (Salvos, Vinnies or if you would like to help Angel Gowns) there’s not much you can do unless you want to spend forever ironing, cutting and piecing scrap quilts, which as much as I love scrap quilts I would prefer to be making things I purposely designed.

I was lying in bed the other night at about 1am, still working online, looking for inspiration, researching and tweaking website when I had an idea. It’s probably not the first time this idea has been had but it will work for my plans and so I’m sharing it with you so that you can find out if it works for you.

I have decided that every time I piece a project from now on I will cut up what’s left into these 2in Drunkard’s Path shapes. I have always loved DP blocks from the moment I first saw one.

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So by the end of 2015 I should have a terrific assortment of tiny blocks ready for my next scrap quilt. I will piece as I go so that the task is not overwhelming and so that I can keep track of how many blocks I have.

If you would like to join in with me on the mini DP block progress you can order your 2in templates from me here.

Of course if you aren’t a fan of the DP blocks you could do something else such as hexagons or clamshells if you love hand sewing. You could even cut small squares!

Stay tuned for more stash busting solutions!!

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October!

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October is by far my favourite month of the year.

It not only has my favourite holiday Halloween but is also the birthday of the shop and this year for the shop’s third birthday I’ll be doing all sorts of wonderful things to celebrate.

Firstly there will be the ongoing competition.

To enter all you need to do is place a mail order (or orders) during the month of October. For every $5 you spend you will receive a numbered ticket. At the end of the month everyone’s numbers will go in my lucky witches hat and I will draw out a winner.

The prize: a $50 gift voucher to spend on fabrics (or it could go towards quilting costs if you prefer), a blue size 16 singlet top that has a screen printed black bat on it that I made in my screen printing class in September and some of my quilt patterns.

I will also be doing an overhaul on the store section of the website – this is more from an inventory standpoint so that all future sales are easier to track. There will be a heap of quilts listed on my hand-made store, all ready to be posted and perfect for Christmas gifts.

We’ve also passed 1000 likes of FB and 100 followers on IG so I’l be doing a little something to celebrate those.

Also if you would like to join in my fabric swap please drop me an email – frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com. The cut off date for sign ups was today but life go out of hand so I’m extending it for October.

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There will be more details on the competition as well as a picture or two of the singlet top and the patterns etc so stay tuned!

 

Marni x

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A bit of info…

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Hey all!

I’ve been busy the past few months catching up on life and things in order to make sure that as we hurtle towards the end of the year and Christmas everything runs nice and smoothly. 😀

So…

Custom quilt orders will be cut off as of midnight the 5th of October. There are 2 spaces available between now and Christmas.

Custom orders for other items (cushions, runners, placemats, hair accessories, aprons etc) will be cut off mid-November to ensure Christmas delivery.

Machine quilting will be cut off on the 8th of December with the last day for quilt returns being the 19th of December. There are spaces available just contact me to find out more.

I am in the process of looking for a suitable venue with dates and times for some basics classes (understanding your machine, patchwork basics, patchwork patterns and binding). If you would like to be popped on a mailing list for class information please email me: frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com

As always – any questions just ask. 🙂

 

 

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Machine quilting

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The other day I was fortunate enough to see this link that a friend (also a quilter) posted on her FB page.

I read it with interest, agreeing with some points, recognising that I could adjust my own view on others.

But one thing has struck me since reading this blog and that is if you piece a backing PLEASE piece it with the same care and attention to detail as you would the front.

Backing is important regardless of your view on it because it will be important to the overall finish of your quilt. Whether it gets professionally quilted on a long-arm or a DSM it doesn’t matter but how the backing sits is a key point in making sure your whole quilt looks its best.

I’ve often found there are several schools of thought on backing. I myself fall into the first category.

1. The ‘Match the backing’ club: This group wants the backing to match the front in some way. Using up the leftover fabrics from the front or matching it with another fabric altogether. This group often consists of Modern quilter’s with lovely pieced backings, those who like symmetry and those who like to use what they bought for that project.

2. The ‘it’s only backing’ club: This group seem to not worry about matching – theme, colour or style – they pick up cheap backings whenever they see it and whatever takes their fancy at the time a quilt is finished, it goes on as backing.

3. The ‘I’ll use something plain’ club: This group use primarily homespun, calico, quilter’s muslin or a very plain wide back. This group is rare. I hardly see any quilts like this anymore.

There is nothing wrong with any of the above ideas for backing. I’ve used all three types over the almost 300 things I’ve quilted over the last decade BUT the one thing that has been the same is that whenever I piece a backing it’s done with care.

Because a backing needs to be attached in a certain way to the ‘leaders’ (the fabric attached to the roll bars on a long-arm frame) it needs to be as accurate as you can make it. As a quilter I have seen many backings – some have come to me off the roll, some cut to size and some pieced – off the roll is best for less changes to the nature of the fabric as I can pin the straight selvedge to the top leader and adjust the bottom one as necessary. Cut to size is problematic as cutting it to size often results in too small, or it shifts during quilting and then one side has less, the bottom doesn’t make it all the way, corners are way off…. Pieced backings cause issue, because lets face it a seam creates a weak spot – seams undo themselves, seams might not be straight and seams may have been stitched incorrectly causing rippling.

So in order to solve these problems –

1. Off the roll: Where you can, leave a selvedge for the top edge of your backing. Talk to your quilter about it and if needed mark it as the top of your backing.

2. Cut to size: Backing for many long-arm quilters needs to be at the barest minimum 4in extra ALL the way around a quilt top size. This is mentioned in the link above. I would say 6in to be safer and 8in if you are getting dense quilting done. Please don’t cut backing ‘to size’ because it just won’t do. If you intend on machine quilting on your own domestic machine then cutting to size can be preferable as it reduces bulk BUT if you change your mind and want it quilted on a long-arm please piece some extra around your backing – an extra strip of homespun, or the like to help us get your quilt onto the machine – or rethink your backing altogether and start again.

3. Pieced backings: Lay your quilt top out flat and measure it. Use those measurements and then add your 4-8in all the way around. Draw up on graph paper your backing dimensions and then work out your piecing from the outside edge in. (Craftsy have a really good class on modern quilt backings with Elizabeth Hartman called Creative Quilt Backs, this may help with your backings if you have trouble). Piece your backing together as carefully as you would the front, taking the time to press as you go and run a row of stitching all the way around the edge of the backing to prevent seams unravelling. Use starch if you like and make sure all threads are trimmed away. Above all don’t rush, I know it’s exciting being nearly done or nearly ready to quilt but don’t rush your backing.

If you are sending your quilt away to be quilted make sure everything is pressed, trimmed and stitched securely so that it can handle any jostling while it travels to the along-arm quilter. Be clear with what you want for your quilt, discuss your options with the quilter and make sure you get anything you need in writing. I use an invoice book when I’m booking in a quilt, I write down the size, price, batting, backing, thread, design and due date (timeframe if the quilt is needed by a certain date: birthday etc). My customers pay a deposit and then the balance when the quilt is picked up. So the deposit amount and date is also included on the paperwork. Other things that we quilters look for when booking in your quilts are things like – do you want the quilt trimmed down ready for binding, do you want us to attach the binding, make the binding, are there labels that need to be quilted on as well?

There’s many things that need to be thought about in the process of making a quilt but if you trust in your long-arm quilter, their experience and talent you will have a finished quilt to be very proud of.

If you would like to know more about long-arm quilting you can check out the machine quilting page, email me frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com, ring 0416 023 637 or comment on this post.

Watch this quick video to see the machine in action

 

 

 

 

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Creative musings…

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I am not a morning person and will probably never be one. Ever.

Sure I can get into the routine of getting up and going to work, and maintain such a routine but I don’t like it and it has repercussions on my mind and body. When I’m up early (early for me anyway) I actually feel ill. Eating before 10am is a problem because my stomach hasn’t caught up with the rest of my body being awake and just can’t process anything. I’m no good mentally until midday without coffee or a can of some sticky stimulant drink (and that has its own issues). So I crave a life that lets me be free to wander nocturnally and still pay the bills.

I am at my most creative in the dark. In the middle of the night when the world is asleep, the cars have stopped rushing past my bedroom window and silence descends upon everything the darkness touches, I am awake and ready to design, create and make. I’ve never really understood why this is the way my brain works but have just accepted it and moved on. I have read a few things about creative types being more likely to be up all hours so there must be something scientific and chemical behind it.

I like being awake when no-one else is. It’s soothing to me for some reason, I get more done and there are no distractions. The down side for me is that I can’t run my machine at all hours of the night because it is noisy. So I spend the time drawing new designs, writing patterns and cutting up the next quilt. I love to do all the little ‘process’ jobs that come before the actually assembly of a quilt at night. These smaller steps are the ones that many struggle with – first concept through to execution – because getting started is hard. So for me its easier to do at the best time for me, at night, opening my mind to the quiet of the world and just let the inspiration pour through me.

Daylight hours are for work. The hard stuff, the physical, the things that need to be seen clearly and with lots of light shining on every detail. Night is for freedom of thought, dreaming and wondering what if.

The past couple of nights have been late ones for me going to bed well after 2am. I spend some time in my office, sketching and colouring in, dreaming up all sorts of things. Then I head to bed and read for a little while and then when the burn starts in my eyes I sleep.

I’m in the middle of lots of magazine commissions – quilts, wall hangings, table runners, softies and a bit of jewellery. So sketching is a great way for me to get the designs out of my head and tweak them as needed. Nothing works better than graph paper and a pencil, with a really good eraser and a ruler. I keep my set of colouring pencils handy for when I design things with lots of fabrics that way I can mark out each fabric with a colour and get a better view of what I’m thinking. Drawing these things helps me to clarify my design. Even though I have already visualised the finished project in my mind I work backwards deconstructing the piece into its components and then I can work out how to rebuild it and write notes for it so you can make your own versions.

My world is full of colour. I love it, dream it, mix it and match it. My bedroom and craft room are full of colourful clutter because that is what inspires me. I could never design in an office that was all white, with clean lines and everything in its place and so very neat. My design method is entropic. Chaos and colour all rolled into one brain. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Many people ask me how I come up with so many things all the time. My answer is because my brain never stops. I walk around like a normal person all the while my brain is chugging along at the back designing, calculating and dreaming up new things. I can be having a conversation with someone and can literally feel my brain working in the background. If I stopped I think my world would stop, my life would stop and I wouldn’t be me.

I wouldn’t have my creativity any other way. I enjoy what I do, it makes me who I am and it makes me happy. I am so grateful to have found my life’s passion at such an early stage in my life.

How do you create? Design? Are you a morning or night person

 

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Festive Sale and end of year happenings…

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So it’s all over for another year…

Food and presents were great, a nice quiet day with family.

It’s Boxing Day now. Mum’s reading, Dad’s watching the cricket and I’m about to do some sewing.

Working on a few quilts that will be up for sale in the new year along with a few magazine pieces. I’m also getting a head start with the 55 Fox Fiasco projects. The girls and I are very excited about the launch.

If you head over to the STORE tab and do some shopping, when you get to the checkout make sure you enter FESTIVE2013 into the coupon code box to receive 25% off your purchases (excluding kits, patterns, sewing baskets and quilting hoops).

Make sure you don’t miss out on these bargains as I love to encourage you to create while you are on holidays – relaxation aids inspiration. 🙂

Any orders placed will be posted as soon as possible, as with all of the public holiday days dotted in amongst this time of year makes getting to the post office a little more tricky. So allow a few extra days delivery.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, are enjoying their Boxing Day and looking forward to the New Year.

Marni x

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