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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org. The cut off date for sign ups was today but life go out of hand so I’m extending it for October.
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!
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. 😀
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: email@example.com
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.
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. 😀
I’ve made this Christmas Table Runner using only a mini charm square pack and just over half a metre of Riley Blake Honeycomb Dot in grey (available in the store).
I know so many people who pick up pre-cuts thinking that they will make something from them, but inevitably they end up in a box or cupboard and don’t see the light of day for a very long time. I know it happens, I’m guilty of it myself. But this year one of my resolutions was to FINISH things and so in an effort to help you out there in quilt-blog-land finish things as well…here we go…
Aspen Frost mini charm square pack (42, 2 1/2in squares)
To start there’s a few little things that I need to make sure you know so we are all on the same page.
We will not be washing these fabrics. Pre-cuts don’t take well to pre-washing and you will lose more of a 2 1/2in square in fraying than you will have left to sew.
There will be minimal left overs as we will have scraps of the grey and a handful of squares that you won’t use.
Starch is optional but recommended. Starch will help your tiny pre-cuts retain what stability they have and will make your finished blocks easier to handle. Starch washes out. Starch recommendation is Mary Ellen’s Best Press, which you can purchase here.
If you have trouble remembering a layout sequence, make sure you have your camera nearby. Snap a quick picture of the blocks once you are happy with the design so you can refer back to it if needed when you start piecing.
The techniques used in this tutorial can apply to any quilted project you just need to adjust your measurements and design as needed.
From your mini charm square pack select four lots of nine sets of squares. From the Aspen Frost pack I was able to refine my choice by colour – red, green, blue and white – but whatever pack you have you need to make that judgment call. It could be by print, scale, theme, directionality* etc.
Layout your nine squares in a 3×3 block that you like. Take a photo for reference if needed. See note 5.
Thread up your machine with neutral colour thread (cream, white, black, grey) and your 1/4in foot. Set the machine for straight sewing, with average stitch length and width. My Janome likes a stitch width of just over 5 and a length of 2.
Take two of the mini charm squares and place them right sides together. Stitch the squares together down one side. Without taking the stitched squares off the machine continue piecing all the pairs of squares that you can from each block (this is where the photos of the blocks will help). Once you have stitched the pairs (12 pairs) you can remove the strand of pairs off the machine. This is called chain piecing** and saves time and thread.
Starting with the first of the stitched pairs go along and add the third square for that row.
Once you have joined the rows of three squares, take everything over to your ironing board, bring your scissors or thread snips.
Snip the threads holding each row together. Set the three rows for one block face down on the ironing board. Check that you have them in the right order (use your photos) and press the seams in alternating directions.
Taking two rows align the seams as shown. This is called abutting*** the seams and will ensure that you have better matching points. This technique can be used anytime you have two seams meeting.
Pin the two rows together making sure you have the seams matching.
Stitch along the edge, remove the pins and check you intersecting seams. Press the rows open and then repeat the process for the third row of that block.
Assemble all 4 of your 9-Patch blocks.
From your 55cm of grey fabric cut three, 2 1/2in strips.
Place your 9-patch block right side down on the right side of one grey strip and stitch along the edge. Attach all four blocks onto the strip in this way
Place the pieced strip down on your cutting mat as shown in the picture and trim the blocks/strip down to size.
At this point I like to spray starch my blocks to aid in keeping them straight and neat, it also helps press out the strips that I’ve just attached to the centre blocks.
Set the seams and then press the strip away from the block.
Layout your blocks in the order you want them in.
Piece the blocks together making sure there is a strip of grey in between each block. You can piece one by one or piece in pairs and then piece the pairs together.
Make sure you have a strip of grey on either end of your table runner length as well.
Trim down any excess grey fabric and press the seams you just stitched in towards the grey strips. Turn the runner over and press from the front to make sure there are no pleats in your seams.
Take one of the remaining grey strips and place it right sides together with your runner, and stitch along the length. Pin if you feel you need to.
Trim the excess fabric strip and then set the seam.
Starch the strip and then press it away from the centre of your runner.
Repeat for the other grey strip and your runner top is finished!
Press your remaining grey fabric (approx. 35cm). Starch if you like.
Lay the fabric right side down on a flat surface. Tape the selvedge edges down and then tape at intervals along the length, making sure the fabric is taut but not stretched.
Lay your rectangle of wadding on top of the fabric and smooth out so its flat and there are no lumps, wrinkles or loose threads.
Place your table runner right side up on the wadding and smooth from the centre out so there are no lumps or folds.
Pin baste with safety pins, no more than 4in apart. If the pins hurt your hands to close them – use a teaspoon.
Set your sewing machine up with your walking foot. You can increase your stitch length slightly, I tend not to but it does make it harder to unpick if you have a small stitch when quilting. Test a few sizes to find one you like.
I quilted this runner in straight lines – ditch stitching in each of the 9-Patch blocks and then ditch stitching the rows and extending it out onto the border. I also did a 1/4in stitch away from the edge of the border to secure the whole runner edge to make binding easier.
To tie in the loose thread ends – from the top of the runner thread the ends onto a needle and pull through to the back of the runner. Tie the threads in a knot and let the knot sit about 1/8th of an inch away from the runner surface. Thread all four threads on to the needle and thread into the runner and away from the stitches, hiding the threads and the knot inside the runner. Wiggle the knot so that it slips under the fabric, if you need to. Clip off the excess thread.
Trim down your backing and wadding to the edge of the table runner and you are ready for binding.
Food and presents were great, a nice quiet day with family.
It’s Boxing Day now. Mum’s reading, Dad’s watching the cricket and I’m about to do some sewing.
Working on a few quilts that will be up for sale in the new year along with a few magazine pieces. I’m also getting a head start with the 55 Fox Fiasco projects. The girls and I are very excited about the launch.
If you head over to the STORE tab and do some shopping, when you get to the checkout make sure you enter FESTIVE2013 into the coupon code box to receive 25% off your purchases (excluding kits, patterns, sewing baskets and quilting hoops).
Make sure you don’t miss out on these bargains as I love to encourage you to create while you are on holidays – relaxation aids inspiration. 🙂
Any orders placed will be posted as soon as possible, as with all of the public holiday days dotted in amongst this time of year makes getting to the post office a little more tricky. So allow a few extra days delivery.
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, are enjoying their Boxing Day and looking forward to the New Year.