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

2015-11-07 21.03.41

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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.

10347792_593859640711822_5879110520642892352_n copy

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

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

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

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

Do you want to win?

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

Rules:

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

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

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

 

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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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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/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/356065914263253875/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/392305817514528106/

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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Scrap Solutions #2 – Sorting

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During the month of October I will be talking a lot about scrap quilts and UFOs.

I’m a person who likes to get things done BUT because my brain likes to bounce around from idea to idea I do have a box of UFOs that are in various stages of completion and there is more than a few tubs of scraps that I have trouble dealing with.

My aim is to help us all solve some of the scrap fabric problem and to motivate some UFO sewing along the way.

So if you saw my post from a few days ago (read it here) you’ll know where I’m at for one of my stash busting options… That post talks about future scraps…

This post and this coming will be mainly about past scraps – all those scraps currently hiding in tubs and cupboards all around your craft room.

So to get you started here are a few of my suggestions to get you started. I’ll be doing the same so we’ll all be playing along together.

1. Pull out ALL the scraps:

This will help you see everything that you have and give you an idea about just exactly you need to do. Call a friend if you need help, put the kettle on and get sorting. This whole process can be overwhelming so you need to pick your time to sort (or have a friend who won’t take no for an answer) otherwise you will end up with a job half done and getting nowhere fast.

Take your time and plan it. If you think that sorting the whole pile in one hit is too much, try attacking smaller piles to begin with but jump ahead to steps 2 and 3 to make sure as you sort that everything stays sorted.

2. Decide how you want to sort the scraps:

I tend to sort by colour, but I also sort into collections of things (especially if I have an idea when I’m sorting), sort by what suits you. Other options could be theme (novelty, floral etc) or try styles, like country, christmas, pastels, brights etc. Or if you are feeling a tad more adventurous and want to sort them down to the underlying tones in the fabrics try sorting by tonal value or by colour family. You could also sort by size – squares bigger than 4in, smaller than, strips, fat quarters etc.

3. Make sure you have ziplock bags or tubs to pop your newly assorted selections into.

4. Label if you want to – I don’t but I know others who do (check out Dawn’s Colour Labels here) – and stack your tubs or bags in their new home.

Now that you have them sorted you need to find the scrap quilt that you are going to make!

Next we’ll talk about how to select patterns for scraps and UFOs.

Marni x

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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.

image

 

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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