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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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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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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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.

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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.

 

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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 #4 – Small projects

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If you’ve been following along with the Scrap Busting Solution posts you’ll know the focus has been on your scraps, how to sort and what to make but that has all been geared towards bulk – using it in a large quilt. But what about all those cute smaller projects you could be doing?

Placemats, table runners, a mug cosy, coasters, makeup bags and pencil cases… you can make all of these using scraps too and they are especially helpful if you’ve sorted your scraps into groups that don’t have lots of matching friends.

I made my parents a quilt at the beginning of 2014 and the scraps left over from that I kept separate from the rest of my scraps because I wanted to make a matching set of pillowcases and a couple of placemats for my parents to use on their bedside tables. When those are done the leftovers from that will go into the main bulk of scraps for use in other projects.

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If you’d like to see the quick quilt-as-you-go tutorial for the mats I made Mum and Dad click here.

There are plenty of small projects you can make to use up scraps – Pinterest is an excellent source for this but please be careful of copyright (see previous posts for how to deal with copyright).

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/23010648070774558/

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Next blog post will be about how I’ll go about starting to sort through my stash and will be the final blog in the scrap busting solutions series. I’d love to see photos of what you all get up to and maybe if you get stuck with something send in a picture of that too so we can try and help.

I’d love for the blog to become a place where we can share and mingle, where we can help each other and be a virtual crafting community.

Hopefully I’ll get to start this week but if not it will be up early November.

Happy scrapping!

Marni x

 

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Scrap Busting Solutions #3 – Choosing a pattern

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Once you’ve sorted your scrap stash, it’s time to choose what pattern you’ll stitch it into.

There are a few things to look out for when deciding on what you want to sew, the first and most important is what size are your scraps?

Because the whole point of doing this is to not need to go out and buy more fabric. That won’t help the situation that we’re trying to fix here.

So the aim is look for patterns that use pieces that are the same size or smaller than what is in your stash – remember how we spoke about sorting into size as an option for how to divvy up the scraps – then you can work out what scarps to use and what to save for the next quilt (because there will be one).

I like to peruse Pinterest for ideas for scrap quilts because there are so many options. Pinterest is a great way to utilise the resources of the internet BUT be very careful about infringing on someone else’s intellectual property, copyright and trademarking. When you start looking for ideas make sure you follow it all the way back to the original source/designer/quilter and if you really love what they do there are a few options –

1. Buy the pattern from them (if there is one).

2. Contact them and ask for permission to use their design, explain what you are doing and what the end use will be; personal quilt, quilt for sale, charity donation etc. Then make sure that what you are doing is okay with them. I always like to get this in writing.

I will speak in more detail about copyright, trademarking and intellectual property at a later date, but basically when in doubt about a pattern or design ask and if you can’t find the original designer don’t use it.

Often with scrap quilts you will see that the scraps are used with a solid fabric in a neutral colour (white, cream, grey, black etc). This is a great way to showcase your scraps and downplay the busy-ness that comes with lots of fabrics that may not necessarily match or come from the same sorts of fabric ranges.

Here are some quilts that I like, that I found via Pinterest, that you could make using scraps (this doesn’t mean that they were designed this way) –

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/246994360786475452/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/256564509996618993/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/172192385724753266/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/34691859602370021/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/30751209925435163/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/128915608058993940/

If you prefer hand-sewing you can use your scraps to do some English Paper Piecing – hexagons, apple cores, clam shells etc.

Just back to the copyright for a moment –

If you choose to use one of my designs:

1. All of the quilt designs belong to me. I am happy for you to use them (the designs, not the photos) if you ask permission or purchase the pattern from me. Please send me an email: frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com. You need to ask in writing so we are both covered for any potential issues. If you will be selling items made from my patterns I ask that you give credit to me in the form of FB link, email address, shop name etc – whether it’s noted down on the quilts label or the sign used to sell the quilt and on any info supplied to the person/s who purchase the quilt.

2. The patterns that you purchase from me (in hardcopy or PDF format) are for personal use. I ask that you do not use them as teaching aids (unless all students in the class purchase the patterns – happy to do group discount), I ask that you do not photocopy/email and share my work.

If you have any questions about scrap quilts or anything in this blog post please don’t hesitate to ask.

 

Marni x

 

 

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