Problem solving #1

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I asked on my FB page a few days weeks ago for followers/customers to let me know what patchwork/quilting problems they’ve been having or would just like to know more about. There were a few requests that I’ll work my way through and if you have anymore ideas to add please let me know in the comments or email me – frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com

This blog post is aimed at one question –

“How to arrange a quilt top and backing when both are pieced? To centre both when there’s wadding in the middle and keep them in place while basting.”

Firstly we need to separate your randomly pieced backings from those that have a feature. Also you will need a flat surface to work on, plenty of room, safety pins, thread snips, ventilation if you use spray glues and some patience.

Randomly pieced backings can simply be centred by folding in half and marking the folds top and bottom. Fold in half in the other direction and mark the side folds. Repeat this process with your quilt front and when basting match up the marks. You can make extra marks if you choose – thirds for example – to make sure your matching up is as straight as it can be. Marks can be made by marking pens/pencils or safety pins. I find pins to be better as you can feel them and it just makes it that much easier to locate them underneath the fabric and wadding.

For a backing with a feature you can use the same process but you will also need to mark the centre of the quilt. You can use the folding technique as described above but you should also check the centre mark by measuring from the edges of the quilt into the centre point.

I have helped students baste quilts like this – pieced back and front for reversible quilts – and the easiest option for basting is to use a spray basting glue like 505 (we sell this at Gosford Sewing Machine Centre for $17 per can, it’s unable to be posted). The reason it is easier is that you can spread the quilt and the backing out and spray baste in sections allowing the matching up of marking points as you go. You can always peel back a section that has been basted and re-lay it to realign and match marks.


Alternatively if you want to take matching marks to a whole new level you can use a fabric marking pen and mark grids on your wadding. I have done this a couple of times but only on small projects in a similar way to marking up grids for pixel images. It is more fiddly because marking pens don’t always work well on wadding so it does take longer to draw out the marks you need.

If you are sending your quilt away to be quilted you will need to discuss with your long-armer what you want to achieve with your centred backing and ensure that there is sufficient allowance around all sides of the backing and wadding to accommodate any adjustments.

If you are quilting your quilt on your machine at home you may need to quilt in small sections and then take the quilt off the machine and lay it out again to ensure that there hasn’t been any shifting of the backing/wadding/quilt top. It does mean spending extra time preparing and working on a quilt but in the long run it will be better for it. Take it slowly and don’t rush.

If you have any questions about this post please ask in the comments and I’ll get back to you.

Happy quilting!

Marni x

 

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2017 My Modern Round Robin

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Late last year I signed up for a round robin being run by @cedacanthus on Instagram.
I’ve never participated in a round robin before and I jumped at the chance to tick this off my quilting bucket list.

We had to make our own centre – designing something that we loved and would help the group add to it. We are in groups of 7 quilters, and each of us will add a border of our choosing to 6 centres. Each centre that we receive will mean we add a different border on at each stage – meaning so far I have added a first border and a second border.

My centre, as usual Halloween related –

We posted off our centres at the start of the year. We’ve received the first person’s centre and attached the first border, then posted it to the next quilter in the queue. And at the beginning of March we received the second centre which is currently being worked on and is due to be shipped on the 1st of May. We get two months to receive, design, and sew before the next shipping deadline.

This is @red_flossy’s hot air balloon centre that I added a polaroid block border and continued her request for the film strip edge –

I’m currently working on an appliqué border for the next one. But I’m keeping it under wraps until I’m ready to send. 🙂

This year has brought me some different opportunities and I’ve taken them because life is just too damned short. Last year reinforced that lesson and this year I’m making changes. I’ll be sharing these exciting things with you this year, on this blog, now that I feel like writing again.

Marni x

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Kitten Mini Quilt Swap 2016

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Hello all!

Welcome to round two of the #kittenmqs2016.

Round one was a huge success without too much chasing of parcels and requiring angels to step in for flakers so I’m hosting round two but with a few changes.

Firstly there will only be 30 swappers in this round. Each applicant will be checked thoroughly against the black list. We will also be in two groups – Vlad’s Villains and Amity’s Angels

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty!

To apply you will need to come back here or my IG on the 10th of January and click on the link provided to fill in the details. I am opening up the signups at 12pm my time – NSW AEDST

Once you have registered your application, I and co-host Fiona from @bendigolioness will sort through, check the blacklist and allocate partners and groups.

This swap is open to Australians ONLY – this is due to the mammoth task of chasing international parcels and the extensive shipping times. I will be running another kitten swap either later on this year or in 2017, and it will be open to ALL.  I apologise profusely to all international friends who want to join in but its just not possible now due to so many variables.

Your mission: You have just over 3 months to create a mini quilt to send to your secret partner. The theme is Cats and Kittens. Mini quilts are generally larger than 16in and no more than 24in but please use your judgement. You are also required to make one smaller item – pincushion, zip pouch, basket etc Extras are encouraged, but not compulsory.

Swap Info: Signups open on the 10th of January and close on the 14th or when signups fill up. Swappers will receive an email with their partner info on the 15th (and 16th if it takes us a little while to get through them). You then have from the moment you receive your partner’s info until the 20th of April to create a parcel to their liking.

Swap tip 1: Read your partner’s info carefully. VERY carefully – we will be asking about allergies and this is important.

Swap tip 2: Post a mosaic with styles of quilts you like, cats you love and cat themed things. Everyone MUST post a mosaic to help guide your partner’s designing. Mosaics need to be posted on IG by the 20th of January.

Swap tip 3: We will be checking in – dates TBA – progress shots will be necessary. Failure to comply will result in you being removed from the swap and your partner reallocated to those on the waiting list.

Waiting List: Those of you who don’t make the final 30 will be kept on a list in case of flakers. You can choose to step in if we get in touch with you or say no. If you say no we just move onto the next person on the list. No problem.

If anyone has any questions please post in the comments below, DM on IG or email frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com

Happy quilting!

Marni x

Unknown

 

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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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Cushion Cut

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A few weeks ago Caroline of Nightingale Quilts put a call out for pattern testers.

Now those of you who know my backstory know that I’ve worked for some of the craft magazines and that part of what I did was work on instructions – so naturally I jumped at the chance!

Caroline has designed a quilt that was quick, efficient and stunning. As you know I’m not one to work to someone else’s pattern as I’m usually designing my own. It is rare that I purchase a pattern or follow along with someone else’s creative process but something about this pattern drew me in.

I made my version of Cushion Cut using a selection of Halloween prints from my stash. Plus a few newer additions. 🙂
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As I finished cutting I decided to not use the yellow.

I pieced some sections while I was at the shop and packed it all in a tub ready to go when I got home.

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And then I set myself up for a sewing session!

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I am a fast sewer and I also have no obligations (read: no kids) so for me it was a case of sit and sew until it was done. I timed myself to see roughly how long it would take (curious) and it was just over 15 hours to cut and piece. Quilting took me about 4 days (not solidly working on it, in and around other things) and binding took me an hour.
This quilt is a fabulous all rounder project – good for those just starting out, a quick one for those with more experience and one that works in all fabric styles for the perfect gift.

Mine is currently on my bed as it will be the quilt that I use in this warmer weather and the orange matches my bedroom curtains perfectly!

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I decided that I would quilt mine in an allover spiderweb pantograph from Dave Hudson.
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My backing fabric is called Scary Chandelier from Michael Miller. I have some in white for sale if anyone is interested (PM, email or ring for details).

I loved making this quilt. So much that I put aside pretty much everything else I was working on to make it. I felt rejuvenated after making it – taking the time out from my usual schedule to pattern test for Caroline helped me re-focus on my own work.
*drumroll*

My finished version of Cushion Cut!

My finished Cushion Cut quilt, shot at the Haven at Terrigal, NSW

My finished Cushion Cut quilt, shot at the Haven at Terrigal, NSW

So what’s next?

Well…. Caroline has graciously given all the pattern testers a FREE PDF copy of her pattern to give away to one of our followers. To enter simply head over to my IG and like the picture, tag a friend and I will draw one winner at random tomorrow evening (30th August AEST). If you don’t have IG please comment below on this blog post.

And to sweeten the deal – anyone who makes this quilt (either pattern winners or those who buy the pattern from Caroline’s Craftsy store) and books in to have their quilt top machine quilted by me will receive a 10% discount on their quilting costs (does not include backing, wadding, thread or postage). This is open to Australian residents only as the postage from overseas will not be worth the hassle. 🙁

Bookings must be made and paid between 1st December 2015 and 31st May 2016. You can book during that time but bookings can be set for later on in 2016 if you so choose. Quilts will be quilted in line with the requirements set out here on my machine quilting page. Any questions please do not hesitate to ask. 🙂

BEST PART!

10% of every cushion cut quilt top sent to me for machine quilting will be donated to Caroline to help her care for her rescue flying foxes and bats. You can read more about what she does here.

I’ll be back with a list of the other testers so you can go and check out their designs!

Happy Quilting,

Marni x

 

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Charity Quilting #2 – Anita LaHay of Daydreams of Quilts

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Good evening all!

I have been well and truly incommunicado with this little blog of mine for almost 6 weeks! Things have been rolling along with classes and all sorts of other exciting things (including general life stuff) that I haven’t been back here. But now I am back into the swing of things!

We’ve spoken in the past of charity quilting and this post I’d like to introduce Anita from Daydreams of Quilts.

How did you get into quilting for charity?

I knew about Quilts of Valour for years but I didn’t feel I had time to sew for them with babies in the house. My husband is a Canadian soldier so I know quite a few soldiers and their wives. I have probably known more soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than without. After hearing from some of the wives what their husband’s were going through I wanted to help but I didn’t know what I could do. Then it occurred to me that I could sew quilts. Quilts are a source of comfort, warmth, security and they can be healing.

How long have you been doing it for?

I sewed my first Quilt of Valour in 2013.

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This Rainbow Canadian flag quilt was sewn with a pattern by Cheryl Arkison and was given to a Candadian soldier with (PTSD).

 

What charity/charities do you quilt for?

I have sewn quilts for Quilts of Valour Canada and my local Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC). (Raffle quilt.)

Do you make quilt tops, complete quilts or just long-arm for them?

I make complete quilts. There are some who just make tops and some who long arm them. I make them from start to finish. I quilt them on my Juki. My Juki was left to me by a friend who died of breast cancer. In her last letter to me she asked that I consider making some Quilts of Valour with the machine so of course that’s what I did.

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This Red and White quilt was sewn with a pattern by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced and was given to a Canadian Soldier with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

 

How many quilts would you do in a year?

Last year (2014) I did three quilts; two for Quilts of Valour and one for the MFRC. In 2013 I sewed one. Now I have a new baby so I don’t think I’ll get one done this year.

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?

I do not long arm (but I would love to!)

Are you asked to do certain quilting designs or given free reign?

We are given free reign on design but I like to sew the Quilts of Valour in a Canadian theme. There are guidelines on the Quilts of Valour website. www.quiltsofvalour.ca

What do you enjoy most about quilting for charity?

I enjoy feeling that I could share my talents to help someone feel better in their time of need. The reaction from the recipients and their families is also very special. It usually involves tears and a lump in the throat on both sides, mine and theirs.

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This Hashtag quilt was sewn with a pattern by Camille Roskelley. This one was donated to the Military Family Resource Centre for a fundraising quilt raffle.

 

How would you encourage others to start?

  1. Check if your chosen charity has a website and if they have guidelines to follow. Quilts of Valour Canada is specific to quilting and they do have guidelines on their site. If you are wanting to sew for a charity that is not specific to quilting contact them and ask who you should speak to. Often there is a volunteer coordinator or a fundraising coordinator that you can speak to.
  2. I am an “insider” with the military so I know the people who are in need of a quilt. Most people would sew a quilt and send it to Quilts of Valour Canada. I sew specifically for a soldier that I know and send it to him. I then send photos of the quilts to Quilts of Valour Canada for their records. I do not reveal the names of the people I send to (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is often a very private struggle) but I do say where they are located. I always make a label that says “Quilt of Valour” Made for: (military rank)so and so Made by: Anita LaHay and the year and place where it was made. I find it very helpful to know the person I am sewing for . It helps me to be inspired and come up with ideas suited to that person. Knowing what they are going through also helps me to push through the frustrations that sometimes come up when making a quilt that is bigger than a lap quilt. All my quilts are sewn with Quilter’s cotton, cotton batting and high quality cotton thread.
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This quilt with the Canadian themed panel and swoon blocks was my arrangement using the Swoon pattern by Camille Roskelley.

 

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

DDOQ Bus Card-001

A big thank you to Anita for taking the time to speak with me. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

Melon Patch Quilts

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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

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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

 

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