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

 

 

 

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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.

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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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Not quite myself

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Lately I just haven’t felt like myself.

I lost a bit of my sew-jo, things have been a bit weird at home and I’m tired. I haven’t been sleeping properly for a long time now and its starting to take its toll. Not only that the weather we’ve been copping lately is killer on my body. I suffer from weather headaches (barometric pressure) and I can predict storms better than the local weather person.

Now before you jump to conclusions about my mental state and claim I’m depressed and need to seek help – I’m not. And I’m not in denial about it either.

Just every now and then I like to live remotely in my own mind. I leave my autopilot on and go camping in the deep recesses of my psyche and take a break from real life.

Why?

Because my brain does not switch off the creative flow and sometimes that hurts. I literally rolled out of bed at 3am the other morning and scribbled something down on the notepad beside my bed because I’d had some genius idea that I knew if I didn’t write it down I would forget in the wispy grey fog of the following morning.

Can I read the gibberish I wrote down? Not quite, but its enough to help me remember my idea. Which is still awesome in the harsh light of day…just sayin’.

Part of my all consuming feelings of ‘meh’ at the moment is this time of year. I’m not a big fan of Christmas (if you’ve been following me for a while you will know that), mainly because everyone goes a bit bananas.

I’ve had a lot of highs this year, good things that have happened but there’s a lot that wasn’t great and I’ve struggled with. I won’t go into massive detail but a girl can only take so much rejection without explanation. Even though I like to think of myself as able to shake off these rejections my ego has taken a hit and the reason I’m struggling is because it doesn’t make sense and I can’t get a straight answer from anyone involved. It’s beyond frustrating and I’d like to be able to put it all aside but I need to keep trying – not only because I’m stubborn like that but because I need to for my own peace of mind.

So my aim is for 2015, to make it better, make it bigger, achieve more and get healthier. Find that happy place so I can get some sleep and make sense of my life again.

 

 

 

 

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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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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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Quilts for sale!

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Since moving the shop I’ve found myself rather low on space. It’s always been at a premium but now it’s top priority.

SO

I’m having a massive quilt sale on all the pre-made quilts that I have ready to post.

The quilts are all listed here in a Facebook album and to purchase all you need to do is comment SOLD and message me your email and postal details and choice of payment method (Paypal invoice, credit card over the phone or direct deposit).

There is an assortment of quilts from cot size, to double bed along with a few wallhangings and table runners AND they are all 50% OFF!!

I want these quilts to go to good homes that will use them, throw them on the floor, on the lounge, use them as a picnic rug or even buy one for your favourite furry friend. I put a lot of work into them and I want people to enjoy them as much as I enjoy making them. 🙂

These quilts (with a few exceptions) are ready to post now – you purchase it and I’ll pop it in the mail. These quilts have been made over the past few years, some as recently as a month or so ago.

A few pictures below of some of what’s available.

As I unpack I will load more quilt pictures of what I have available.

And as always if you see something you like but it’s not in your colours or theme I can make a custom order quilt for you. Just get in touch with your ideas. 😀

 

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Mid-Year…

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So nearly at the middle of the year, tax time, 6 months till the end of the year and time to reassess what I’m doing.

At the start of the year I made myself a resolution to finish UFOs. I have done a few, not as many quilts as I would have liked but I have also made inroads to finish other UFOs – runners, bags and other craft stuff that I’ve been working on….

I’m doing a Classic Horror Movie Monster cross-stitch from Cloudsfactory that I bought ages ago but have done barely any on. I’ve done Frankenstein’s monster, the Bride and the creature from the Black Lagoon, next is the Invisible Man, then Dracula, Wolfman and the Mummy. I can’t wait until it’s finished and I can get it framed.

3/7 done

I love cross-stitch but I’m really slow to get things finished – handwork is really not my forté so it takes me three times as long to do.

I’ve also been working on using pre-cuts to make a few items. I collect pre-cuts like most quilters do, you pick one up at a show or on sale and it sits in a box or the bag it came in and gets forgotten because you don’t know what to do with it or you struggle with the limitations of the size that its been cut at. I have a jelly roll sitting waiting for me but the project I’m saving that for is something that some friends and I are working on. The other pre-cuts I love at the moment are the mini charm square packs – 42, 2.5in squares – I’ve made a few things with them, but because they are so small its hard to keep coming up with ideas. This is the zippered pouch I’m doing today.

I’m also working on  new quilt. I spotted a wreath on Pinterest sometime last year and it was lovely and soft grey tones with brighter peach flowers on it. I loved the colour combination so much I decided that I wanted to make a quilt in those colours. I did start this quilt last year but it has sat in a bag since as I got distracted by other projects. Yesterday I sat and pieced almost all of it and it will be on the quilting machine next week. I’m really looking forward to free-motion quilting something gorgeous in those wide spans of grey linen. YUM!

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The move is going well. The new space is nearly cleared out and I’m still packing over at the studio. I’m aiming to be out by the end of the month but it is a little flexible. I really don’t want to muck around with moving as it is such a painful process but it is good in a way because it forces you to declutter and clean things out that you’ve left on shelves and in boxes for far too long.

I’m really looking forward to the new space as it means I can work more to my body’s natural hours. I’m a night owl, its well known that I’m no good in the mornings… 🙂 and because of the new space I am able to teach small classes. Nothing just yet, after mid-July when I’m all sorted, but you can book in now – just email or ring me.

Colour Class – 1.5 hours, $15.
Binding Class – 2 hours, $20, learn several types of binding.
Cutting and Piecing Class – 3 hours, $30, learn about all the tools needed for cutting, how to calculate and cut, then how to piece, press and iron.
Basic Pouch Class – 2 hours, $20, includes inserting a zip.
Basic Table Runner – 3 hours, $30, learn to design and piece a basic runner for your table.

I am located in Gosford so classes are intended for locals or those traveling through the Central Coast. If you are interstate please don’t worry as I can do video classes for you – please PM me if you are interested in those. I’m taking bookings now so if you’d like to secure your place please let me know and I will organise an invoice for a $10 deposit.

Anyways, its another wet and miserable day here on the coast so I’m off to make another cup of tea and get back to my sewing.

Marni x

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Washing, Ironing and Cutting

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After washing all of your fabrics, iron and starch them.

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This is how much fraying and threads that happened when we washed these homespuns, we lost just under 3/4in on this green fabric and the others lost about the same but none more than an inch. This is why I urge you to consider buying extra fabric to save you the grief and hassle of going back and buying more fabric.

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Watch this video for using starch.

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Fold your fabrics in half with wrong sides together, selvedges aligned. You may need to allow the fabric to dictate to you where the fold is, which may pull the selvedges out of line but they will be cut off so don’t worry too much. Your selvedges will not match up – in the photo below you can see the teal fabric selvedges are way off – this is due to two things, washing and grain line. When we washed our fabrics they have shrunk, we removed the sizing that was keeping them nice for the shelves in the shop and the grain line has been ‘relaxed’. By adjusting the position of the selvedge when folding your fabric in half for cutting you will get a much better and more natural grain line and it will be straighter.

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Trim off the frayed edge to straighten up the fabric. If you are left-handed you can continue cutting as the fabric is laid out in the right position for you. Right-handers turn the fabric’s newly straight edge to the left-hand side of your board and then continue cutting.

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From your five fabrics (50cm pieces of homespun in the materials list) cut three 2 1/2in strips.

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Note: the remaining fabric will be used to piece the backing for Mum’s quilt, you can choose to do the same if you wish.

Set up your sewing machine with the neutral thread for piecing, the 1/4in foot and a straight stitch that is the average for your machine – check your manual for tips on this. My Janome likes a stitch width of 5.5 and a length of 2.

Piece the strips together in the sequence of your choice. This is the sequence we have chosen for mum. There is reason behind it, it’s not just random. If you paint put your mind into that way of thinking, but I will explain.

1. Green is on this end because it has a yellow base colour and is essentially the odd one out in this range of colours.

2. Teal is next because it is made up of blue and green so it can sit nicely next to green to help tie it into the block.

3. The blue is in the middle as it is the darkest fabric and will draw the eye in, but it is also there because it is blue – the teal has blue in it so they can sit next to each other, and the blue also is used in making the colour for the next strip so it is tying the two sides of this block together.

4. Purple has a red base (mix red and blue together to make purple) and so this is why it’s next to the blue.

5. Brown is often classed as a red based colour so it belongs next to the purple for this reason. It is also technically an odd one out so it is also balancing the green’s oddness on the other side.

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Piecing

Start with the green strip and place it on top of the teal strip. Pin if you feel you need to hold the strips together.

Note: I like to sew my strips together so that as they are being joined so that they are off to the left side of the machine – this keeps them out of the way and doesn’t clutter up the throat of the machine. I am right-handed, as is mum. Left-handers may like to try both ways and see what suits you better. Like all my other notes these are just suggestions of things that I find easier and have discovered over many years of quilting, it’s not gospel and you don’t have to treat it as such. Find what is comfortable for you and your machine.

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Continuing adding your strips, keeping them in order and making sure that you are sewing so that the seams are all on the same side. Always start from the same edge.

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Once you have joined the 5 strips, press the seams in one direction.

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You may notice that the strips are not all the same length.

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This is fairly common and is a manufacturing issue and a washing issue. It’s not something that can be fixed. But if you always start from the same edge when joining strips you will reduce the waste of fabric.

Trim the selvedges off the edge that you started piecing on.

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Then cut your pieced unit into four 10 1/2in blocks.

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Repeat for your other sets of strips and you have made all of your blocks.

In the next blog post we will be cutting the focal piece, adding a small border, assembling the quilt top and preparing for quilting.

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