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: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m sitting here in bed typing on the very tiny bluetooth keyboard for my iPad thinking about all the things that happened today. It’s just before midnight and even though going to a market today was physically exhausting I am WIDE awake.
So I thought I might share with you what happens after a market –
After I have packed the truck at the venue, Mum and I drive home. We unload, collapse on the lounge with a cup of tea and just relax for a bit. Later on though my mind is filled with all the things that happened during the day – who I spoke to, what it was about, things I can change on the stall, things I can do next time, what I can bring etc.
Each market gives me its own unique feedback – sometimes that feedback comes in words from customers or event organisers, sometimes its as simple as monitoring what sells best/worst/in the middle – which means that for the next market I can try a different set of products, displays, set up and even to how I pack the truck. I try to maintain a balance between the efficiency of packing and unloading the truck (how many trips back and forth from the truck to the location of my stall) and what the customers would like to buy. Sometimes I get it spot on, sometimes I miss a few things, but that is why markets are so important to small businesses like mine.
I’m an online business selling an item that is tactile – which makes it hard to sell based on quality because as a customer you can’t feel the texture, see the brightness of a print or stack bolts in different sequences to see if your idea will work – but as a business owner I am relying on you to trust me about that quality, which you should because I am one of you. I’ve been there, starting from my first quilt (front was good but oh my the backing!), confused by all the tools and gadgets, even more confused by the maths (what are these inch things?) and not really understanding the accuracy of what I was doing.
You need to trust me to select the fabrics and products, trust that I would only stock good quality or things that I use myself. Which is exactly what I do.
Back to the markets…
I do markets to advertise, mingle and engage with my audience in a way that I can’t as an online business. I do the markets to help make the lack of a physical shop less an inconvenience to my customers – so that quilts tops can be dropped off for quilting, picked up once they are quilted, local mail orders can be picked up and so that I get some human contact. I’m in a studio all day on my own and it can make you a little crazy, all that solitude. I do enjoy it but it can be hard sometimes.
So after today’s fun at the Destash Market (my own stuff not the shop’s) I have some really fun things coming to the next market and I hope that if you do come to a market that I’m at that you do pop in and say hi.
I’m still not tired so I guess it’s more work for me until I feel sleepy, can’t do any sewing this late as mum and dad are already asleep. So is the cat…on my feet…
So nearly at the middle of the year, tax time, 6 months till the end of the year and time to reassess what I’m doing.
At the start of the year I made myself a resolution to finish UFOs. I have done a few, not as many quilts as I would have liked but I have also made inroads to finish other UFOs – runners, bags and other craft stuff that I’ve been working on….
I’m doing a Classic Horror Movie Monster cross-stitch from Cloudsfactory that I bought ages ago but have done barely any on. I’ve done Frankenstein’s monster, the Bride and the creature from the Black Lagoon, next is the Invisible Man, then Dracula, Wolfman and the Mummy. I can’t wait until it’s finished and I can get it framed.
I love cross-stitch but I’m really slow to get things finished – handwork is really not my forté so it takes me three times as long to do.
I’ve also been working on using pre-cuts to make a few items. I collect pre-cuts like most quilters do, you pick one up at a show or on sale and it sits in a box or the bag it came in and gets forgotten because you don’t know what to do with it or you struggle with the limitations of the size that its been cut at. I have a jelly roll sitting waiting for me but the project I’m saving that for is something that some friends and I are working on. The other pre-cuts I love at the moment are the mini charm square packs – 42, 2.5in squares – I’ve made a few things with them, but because they are so small its hard to keep coming up with ideas. This is the zippered pouch I’m doing today.
I’m also working on new quilt. I spotted a wreath on Pinterest sometime last year and it was lovely and soft grey tones with brighter peach flowers on it. I loved the colour combination so much I decided that I wanted to make a quilt in those colours. I did start this quilt last year but it has sat in a bag since as I got distracted by other projects. Yesterday I sat and pieced almost all of it and it will be on the quilting machine next week. I’m really looking forward to free-motion quilting something gorgeous in those wide spans of grey linen. YUM!
The move is going well. The new space is nearly cleared out and I’m still packing over at the studio. I’m aiming to be out by the end of the month but it is a little flexible. I really don’t want to muck around with moving as it is such a painful process but it is good in a way because it forces you to declutter and clean things out that you’ve left on shelves and in boxes for far too long.
I’m really looking forward to the new space as it means I can work more to my body’s natural hours. I’m a night owl, its well known that I’m no good in the mornings… 🙂 and because of the new space I am able to teach small classes. Nothing just yet, after mid-July when I’m all sorted, but you can book in now – just email or ring me.
Colour Class – 1.5 hours, $15.
Binding Class – 2 hours, $20, learn several types of binding.
Cutting and Piecing Class – 3 hours, $30, learn about all the tools needed for cutting, how to calculate and cut, then how to piece, press and iron.
Basic Pouch Class – 2 hours, $20, includes inserting a zip.
Basic Table Runner – 3 hours, $30, learn to design and piece a basic runner for your table.
I am located in Gosford so classes are intended for locals or those traveling through the Central Coast. If you are interstate please don’t worry as I can do video classes for you – please PM me if you are interested in those. I’m taking bookings now so if you’d like to secure your place please let me know and I will organise an invoice for a $10 deposit.
Anyways, its another wet and miserable day here on the coast so I’m off to make another cup of tea and get back to my sewing.
The other day I was fortunate enough to see this link that a friend (also a quilter) posted on her FB page.
I read it with interest, agreeing with some points, recognising that I could adjust my own view on others.
But one thing has struck me since reading this blog and that is if you piece a backing PLEASE piece it with the same care and attention to detail as you would the front.
Backing is important regardless of your view on it because it will be important to the overall finish of your quilt. Whether it gets professionally quilted on a long-arm or a DSM it doesn’t matter but how the backing sits is a key point in making sure your whole quilt looks its best.
I’ve often found there are several schools of thought on backing. I myself fall into the first category.
1. The ‘Match the backing’ club: This group wants the backing to match the front in some way. Using up the leftover fabrics from the front or matching it with another fabric altogether. This group often consists of Modern quilter’s with lovely pieced backings, those who like symmetry and those who like to use what they bought for that project.
2. The ‘it’s only backing’ club: This group seem to not worry about matching – theme, colour or style – they pick up cheap backings whenever they see it and whatever takes their fancy at the time a quilt is finished, it goes on as backing.
3. The ‘I’ll use something plain’ club: This group use primarily homespun, calico, quilter’s muslin or a very plain wide back. This group is rare. I hardly see any quilts like this anymore.
There is nothing wrong with any of the above ideas for backing. I’ve used all three types over the almost 300 things I’ve quilted over the last decade BUT the one thing that has been the same is that whenever I piece a backing it’s done with care.
Because a backing needs to be attached in a certain way to the ‘leaders’ (the fabric attached to the roll bars on a long-arm frame) it needs to be as accurate as you can make it. As a quilter I have seen many backings – some have come to me off the roll, some cut to size and some pieced – off the roll is best for less changes to the nature of the fabric as I can pin the straight selvedge to the top leader and adjust the bottom one as necessary. Cut to size is problematic as cutting it to size often results in too small, or it shifts during quilting and then one side has less, the bottom doesn’t make it all the way, corners are way off…. Pieced backings cause issue, because lets face it a seam creates a weak spot – seams undo themselves, seams might not be straight and seams may have been stitched incorrectly causing rippling.
So in order to solve these problems –
1. Off the roll: Where you can, leave a selvedge for the top edge of your backing. Talk to your quilter about it and if needed mark it as the top of your backing.
2. Cut to size: Backing for many long-arm quilters needs to be at the barest minimum 4in extra ALL the way around a quilt top size. This is mentioned in the link above. I would say 6in to be safer and 8in if you are getting dense quilting done. Please don’t cut backing ‘to size’ because it just won’t do. If you intend on machine quilting on your own domestic machine then cutting to size can be preferable as it reduces bulk BUT if you change your mind and want it quilted on a long-arm please piece some extra around your backing – an extra strip of homespun, or the like to help us get your quilt onto the machine – or rethink your backing altogether and start again.
3. Pieced backings: Lay your quilt top out flat and measure it. Use those measurements and then add your 4-8in all the way around. Draw up on graph paper your backing dimensions and then work out your piecing from the outside edge in. (Craftsy have a really good class on modern quilt backings with Elizabeth Hartman called Creative Quilt Backs, this may help with your backings if you have trouble). Piece your backing together as carefully as you would the front, taking the time to press as you go and run a row of stitching all the way around the edge of the backing to prevent seams unravelling. Use starch if you like and make sure all threads are trimmed away. Above all don’t rush, I know it’s exciting being nearly done or nearly ready to quilt but don’t rush your backing.
If you are sending your quilt away to be quilted make sure everything is pressed, trimmed and stitched securely so that it can handle any jostling while it travels to the along-arm quilter. Be clear with what you want for your quilt, discuss your options with the quilter and make sure you get anything you need in writing. I use an invoice book when I’m booking in a quilt, I write down the size, price, batting, backing, thread, design and due date (timeframe if the quilt is needed by a certain date: birthday etc). My customers pay a deposit and then the balance when the quilt is picked up. So the deposit amount and date is also included on the paperwork. Other things that we quilters look for when booking in your quilts are things like – do you want the quilt trimmed down ready for binding, do you want us to attach the binding, make the binding, are there labels that need to be quilted on as well?
There’s many things that need to be thought about in the process of making a quilt but if you trust in your long-arm quilter, their experience and talent you will have a finished quilt to be very proud of.
If you would like to know more about long-arm quilting you can check out the machine quilting page, email me email@example.com, ring 0416 023 637 or comment on this post.
Watch this quick video to see the machine in action
I am not a morning person and will probably never be one. Ever.
Sure I can get into the routine of getting up and going to work, and maintain such a routine but I don’t like it and it has repercussions on my mind and body. When I’m up early (early for me anyway) I actually feel ill. Eating before 10am is a problem because my stomach hasn’t caught up with the rest of my body being awake and just can’t process anything. I’m no good mentally until midday without coffee or a can of some sticky stimulant drink (and that has its own issues). So I crave a life that lets me be free to wander nocturnally and still pay the bills.
I am at my most creative in the dark. In the middle of the night when the world is asleep, the cars have stopped rushing past my bedroom window and silence descends upon everything the darkness touches, I am awake and ready to design, create and make. I’ve never really understood why this is the way my brain works but have just accepted it and moved on. I have read a few things about creative types being more likely to be up all hours so there must be something scientific and chemical behind it.
I like being awake when no-one else is. It’s soothing to me for some reason, I get more done and there are no distractions. The down side for me is that I can’t run my machine at all hours of the night because it is noisy. So I spend the time drawing new designs, writing patterns and cutting up the next quilt. I love to do all the little ‘process’ jobs that come before the actually assembly of a quilt at night. These smaller steps are the ones that many struggle with – first concept through to execution – because getting started is hard. So for me its easier to do at the best time for me, at night, opening my mind to the quiet of the world and just let the inspiration pour through me.
Daylight hours are for work. The hard stuff, the physical, the things that need to be seen clearly and with lots of light shining on every detail. Night is for freedom of thought, dreaming and wondering what if.
The past couple of nights have been late ones for me going to bed well after 2am. I spend some time in my office, sketching and colouring in, dreaming up all sorts of things. Then I head to bed and read for a little while and then when the burn starts in my eyes I sleep.
I’m in the middle of lots of magazine commissions – quilts, wall hangings, table runners, softies and a bit of jewellery. So sketching is a great way for me to get the designs out of my head and tweak them as needed. Nothing works better than graph paper and a pencil, with a really good eraser and a ruler. I keep my set of colouring pencils handy for when I design things with lots of fabrics that way I can mark out each fabric with a colour and get a better view of what I’m thinking. Drawing these things helps me to clarify my design. Even though I have already visualised the finished project in my mind I work backwards deconstructing the piece into its components and then I can work out how to rebuild it and write notes for it so you can make your own versions.
My world is full of colour. I love it, dream it, mix it and match it. My bedroom and craft room are full of colourful clutter because that is what inspires me. I could never design in an office that was all white, with clean lines and everything in its place and so very neat. My design method is entropic. Chaos and colour all rolled into one brain. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Many people ask me how I come up with so many things all the time. My answer is because my brain never stops. I walk around like a normal person all the while my brain is chugging along at the back designing, calculating and dreaming up new things. I can be having a conversation with someone and can literally feel my brain working in the background. If I stopped I think my world would stop, my life would stop and I wouldn’t be me.
I wouldn’t have my creativity any other way. I enjoy what I do, it makes me who I am and it makes me happy. I am so grateful to have found my life’s passion at such an early stage in my life.
How do you create? Design? Are you a morning or night person
And so here we stand a mere week out from Christmas 2013.
I’m not quite sure I believe we got here as fast as we did – it really does seem like a blur. Especially since we had so many big things happen in the last 12 months –
– The shop front closing and the restructuring of the business
– Dad being home for more than a year!
– New directions with the 55 Fox Fiasco
– And all the other random good stuff that happened.
Also in that time I started a new job… I’m doing some freelance work for the College of Law which is the complete opposite of the work I do in the shop. I’m working on word documents, behind a computer all day, not behind a sewing machine. My brain is finding the balance a little hard to come to terms with but the work is important as it is legal information for up and coming law students.
Nothing will take me away from the shop permanently, I’m just doing this job to help them through their busy time as I have the necessary skills and the flexibility with my time. 🙂
So to catch you all up with what’s happened since I last posted a blog entry (eep! the 21st of October) here’s a quick montage of pics –
I think that about covers the majority of what happened.
I’m not closing over the holidays – so if you need anything please feel free to ring, email or place your order through the shopping cart. I’ll only be going to the post office on non-public holiday days so please allow a couple of extra days for your deliveries.
It has come to my attention over the past 48hours that some of you believe that I have simply closed down.
To clarify – I have shut down the physical shop that I had over at Gosford. I changed the shop into an online and machine quilting only business to get some flexibility back into my family’s life so I could look after dad and help mum more.
There were tough decisions to be made but it was the best decision for me and my family. Since shutting just over 6 weeks ago it has made a massive difference to how things are at home.
The shop is still here and still on Facebook – but you can’t just pop in and see me, there are no classes. I am doing mail orders, machine quilting and a selection of markets (next market Handmade Craft Market – 30th November, Scholastic Stadium, Duffys Rd Terrigal).
I’m not sure where the confusion has come from but please if you have questions contact me. I don’t bite. Promise. 🙂
So this week is the last week with the doors open at the bricks and mortar version of Frankenstein’s Fabrics.
Unsure of what this week will bring as there is still so much happening outside of the packing, cleaning and moving.
We are open this week from Tuesday to Friday 9am -4pm and then on Saturday we will be at the Handmade Craft Market from 9:30am – 2:30pm.
Make sure you get in and grab some bargains as the sale will finish up at midnight on the 31st, with stock at the market on sale as well.
Some snippets of what’s available….
So now that I have my new video camera I’ve been planning what I will be doing for the first couple of tutorials.
Liz kindly requested a demo of French Knots and as I will be doing some of those on the project that I’m working on tomorrow I thought it was perfect timing. I will add in a few other stitches that also feature in the same project. In the video I will also talk about ways to make stitching easier on yourself – products I use and sell that aid in embroidery.
The second video will be on appliqué. The methods I use and how I approach it. Appliqué is a wonderful technique that can be used on pretty much anything you can imagine.
I’ve recently purchased some funky sewing baskets –
Small baskets are $23 and the medium baskets are $27, plus postage.
I must admit I am addicted, like most craftspeople, to storage…. between my fabric and stationary addictions storage is right up there. Top 5. Wayyyyy up there.
I have boxes and bags, stackable containers, tubs on wheels, cupboards with little drawers and jars with lids that go ‘thonk’. You know the ones I mean…. Storage is something that I think calls to us, that makes us feel like we are achieving some glorious organisational utopia.
Being organised and creative don’t often go hand-in-hand. Due to the ‘creative process’ keeping things tidy and streamlined can be a struggle. I for one like to work in a neat workspace, so I tidy as I go, or do one project, tidy and move onto the next one.
If anyone has any storage tips feel free to leave a comment below. 🙂
Anyways, I’m off to bed shortly (after I get in a little more sewing), so I hope to see you all in store this week or online to celebrate the last four days in the shop.
Thank you all for your support and kind words along the way with this massive change.
As the shop nears its second birthday we have made some BIG changes.
From the 30th of August, Frankenstein’s Fabrics will no longer be a bricks and mortar store. We are restructuring the business to be solely online plus machine quilting so I can have the flexibility to focus more on my family, especially looking after dad and getting our family back on track after the traumatic events of the past 12 months.
We will still be providing the customer service that you have all come to know and rely upon however these changes mean that things will need to be more organised and structured to make it work for all of us. I will still be attending local markets and shows where you will be able to view and purchase our products in person. At any other time it will be mail order only.
Machine quilting will now be posted to and from using the PO Box for the business – unless you are near a market or show that I’m attending then that venue will be used as a pick up and drop off point. I am also investigating a local courier as a delivery option so that quilts remain safe during transport and I will advise when I have answers for you.
There will be no classes at this stage – things may change in the future but at this point it is not possible. There will however be more tutorials and BOM style projects done via the blog, email and youtube – some will be freebies and others you will need to pay to join in but this way you can still have access to classes without the physical classroom. There will also be demonstrations and classes at future markets (from November onwards) – see Handmade Craft Market for more information as the market draws nearer.
I would like to thank all of our customers who have supported us over the past two years, your enthusiasm for this craft has made the shop a fun place to work, but changes need to be made and I hope that you will stick by us through this time as we take Frankenstein’s Fabrics into it’s next phase.
On the 31st of August we will be at the Handmade Craft Market as usual. During the month of August we’re having a sale to celebrate.
If you have any questions on what is happening please feel free to ring me at the shop (02) 4325 2638, email firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message via Facebook or comment below this blog post.
There will be a new phone number after the 31st of August (I will update that when I know) until then the current number will be in use.