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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Kona Solids Curated Block

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A little while ago I was asked by the fabulous Emily from HandmadebyEmily to curate a selection of 5 colours from the extensive Kona solids range for her Aussie Kona Club.

Having not really worked with Kona solids before I did have a bit of trouble choosing from over 300 colours, but as I love Halloween colours and tones I decided to run with it and see what happened.

I chose more muted tones rather than my usual brights and worked out a block that could be used for any colour way but still had enough of a Halloween ‘feel’ for me – using the hourglass blocks to represent little bats. 🙂

Instructions are below to make one block but I will be making a few to make a table runner.

Materials
Kona Solids: Parchment, Peapod, Charcoal, Orange and Eggplant

Cutting:
From Parchment cut one 3 1/2in strip and cross cut four 3 1/2in squares
From Peapod cut one 4 1/2in strip and cross cut five 4 1/2in squares
From Charcoal cut one 4 1/2in strip and cross cut five 4 1/2in squares
From Orange cut one 3 1/2in strip and cross cut four 3 1/2in squares
From Eggplant cut one 3 1/2in strip and cross cut eight 3 1/2in squares

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Hourglass Blocks

Pin the right sides of one solid Peapod square and one Charcoal square together. Draw a line across the diagonal on the lighter fabric. Stitch a 1/4in on both sides of the drawn line. Cut along the pencil line. Press the seams to the darker fabric. Pin the right sides of the opposing fabrics together, abutting the seams. Draw a line across the diagonal. Stitch a 1/4in on both sides of the drawn line. Cut along the pencil line. Press the seams. Makes 10, but you only need 9 units per block. Trim blocks to 3 1/2in square, checking the angles with a 45degree marking on your ruler.

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Next lay out all of your squares in the following rows –

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Piece together in rows. Then once all rows are pieced, press the seams in alternating directions per row. Eg. rows 1, 3 and 5 press to the left and rows 2 and 4 press to the right.

Pin rows together abutting the seams and join.

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Press the seams and trim up the block to ensure a 15in finish raw edge to raw edge.

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Ta da!

As I’m writing this tutorial I’m thinking that now I might even embroider some little Halloween motifs on the Parchment squares. I have a few in my stash that will work perfectly. 🙂

For those who are interested in the runner or even taking it further and making a larger quilt –

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As you can see the secondary and even tertiary designs made by this block create interesting effects. I’d love to see what everyone makes so feel free to post me pictures.

I love making this block and curating a set of solids for Emily – loads of fun!

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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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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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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Focus shift…

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Some things in my life have changed recently and will continue to change in the coming months and in order to cope with these new avenues of opportunity I need to adjust what I’m doing here at Frankenstein’s Fabrics.

So I’m shifting my focus to be more on the machine quilting side of things and less of stocking fabrics and supplies. I will still stock some things and will be happy to order in things for you but there will be less stock.

I’m having a stock clearance with pretty much everything* go at 50% off starting tomorrow (Sunday 12th April) and running until there is nothing left.

I will pop up the code you need for the checkout and then you can start shopping. Payments will be made through Paypal or credit card.

*There will be a list of items included in the 50% off – pending.

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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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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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