Change of direction

So…

Let’s start with the general news.

Last week I made the decision to remove all of my stock and quilts that have been on display at Gosford Sewing Centre for the last 4 years. Things have changed at the shop, its moving in one direction and Frankenstein’s Fabrics needed to move in another.

It’s a change that I needed to make because it has removed a level of stress off my shoulders that I didn’t realise was there until I moved the last piece home. I literally sat on the lounge room floor looking at all my bits and pieces, took a deep breath and released a burden that I hadn’t been aware of. It was a very strange feeling and those of you who know me well know I don’t poke around in my feelings too much, so the whole acknowledgment of this feeling was vaguely unsettling. Emotions are now packed back up in their boxes and on we go.

Now, some have asked if I’m leaving and the answer is no. I’m still working and teaching at the shop it’s just time for a change for FF HQ. This year started with a sneaking suspicion that things were on the move and now is that time. Change can be good and bad. I know this is a good change for me so its easy to embrace it and move forward. Bad changes are not always obvious in the moment and often seen with hindsight. You can only trust your instincts at the time and be aware that whatever the outcome you are prepared for the results.

I’ve spent the last two years in pain, dealing with my endometriosis and last months surgery has put me in a better condition but still with some issues. Incurable diseases are like that, but you just have to pick yourself up and keep moving. I hate being idle, I hate being kept from doing what I love so my fight with this illness is only going to keep going. There are things that I will be doing shortly that are part of that fight – if you would like to help please sign up here to my mailing list to stay in the loop. The more we talk about this shitty disease, the more fundraising and research will go towards it and the sooner we get an answer.

The only real diagnostic tool for endometriosis is surgery. Let that sink in for a moment.

The only way a doctor can say “yes, you have endometriosis” is to cut you open and check. That’s some epic level of screwed up right there. Especially when you think about how many other diseases are diagnosed – blood tests, x-rays and scans. Non-invasive and just mildly uncomfortable. And let’s not get into talking about the costs.

So my plans are to fight – because I’m mad that this disease has taken a lot from me this past two years, I’ve put off things because I physically just couldn’t handle it, my sleep patterns are screwed up and I’m on a bizarre cocktail of drugs to deal with it all. So I’m doing something about it in the only way  know how. Quilting.

The online shop will be back up and running soon. Quilting is as normal – current customer quilts are in a nice queue and bookings from mid-September onwards are being taken as we speak. Last drop-off date will be the 9th of December, with pick-up by the 20th. I’ll have a break over New Years and be back after the 12th of January.

Donations are still very much welcome for BlanketLovez – please get in touch via the Facebook page if you’d like to volunteer to make quilt tops or if you have fabric, backing or wadding donations.

My classes are back in September at Gosford Sewing. Class list is here. Bookings can be made directly with me, so we can discuss what you would like to achieve. Email me frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com or ring me on 0416 023 637. Class dates for other things I teach are pending (machine embroidery) and will be dependent on time constraints.

In the meantime, things are just chugging along. Many of the things I’ve been working on I can’t share – gifts and secret squirrel projects – but there will be some new stuff happening soon. I’m almost back to my normal brain capacity after the surgery so I’m definitely itching to get back to my regular levels of designing and sewing. Being forced to be idle has driven me up the wall. I NEED to make something… but I’m sure you all know how that feels. 🙂

Thank you for everyone’s understanding and patience during this time. It’s been a big relief to know I didn’t have to worry about quilting and teaching while I was off recovering.

Onwards and upwards!

Marni x 

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Welcome to 2019

Welcome to 2019 at Frankenstein’s Fabrics HQ!

This year has a lot already going on. Things that have been in the pipeline for a while and are finally coming together.

Classes:
I’m teaching a few different things this year including machine embroidery. It’s a specific project based on learning techniques and I will have more info on dates, prices etc towards the end of the month. To sign up for the mailing list click here.

Patterns:
Those of you who follow news in the crafting world may have seen the shake up that was announced by Craftsy a couple of weeks ago. Basically they decided to streamline their pattern platform and culled a lot of designers. I was one of them. To be honest it didn’t bother me because I had other avenues in place for selling and I was planning on moving away from Craftsy anyway. Many designers didn’t and they short notice has left many adrift.

So new to the website is a pattern only store. It’s a dropdown from the store button, under the header and will include free and paid for patterns. I am slowly transferring my designs there. They are all digital downloads. If you would like to purchase a hardcopy pattern please email me frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com with your address and what pattern you would like. Payment and post will be arranged. 

Website:
I will be tweaking the website throughout January, not only doing the pattern store but also getting rid of, changing and adding new things. I will be trying to blog more this year as well as now that some things have settled down I can focus again. The product store will change too, details to be advised.

Machine Quilting:
Machine quilting in 2018 was hectic. So in order for things to not get so crazy in 2019 I cannot stress enough that you book in your quilts with at least 6 weeks notice before you need it finished. Deposits are $50 – no exceptions. Bookings are welcome at any time of the year. Spaces do fill up so even if you haven’t finished the quilt yet please get in touch and secure a slot. Any questions please email me frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com or ring 0416 023 637.

My other job:
I am still working with the team at the Gosford Sewing Machine Centre. I am there Tuesday 10-3, Wednesday and Friday 10-4:30 and Saturday 9:30-12:30. If you need to see me in person this is the best way to do so. Please ring if you’re not sure I’ll be there. Frankenstein’s Fabrics stock is located in the shop as well.

Special Events:
This year there are a few special events that will be happening. Shows, charity days, one-off teaching days etc. If you would like to be kept in the loop for these notifications please sign up to the newsletter here.

Magazines:
As many of you know Express Publications shut down its remaining magazines in June last year. I had been a project contributor since 2007. It was sad to see it go this way after so many years, but things change and we must move forward. At this point in time I have no plans to contribute to magazines again. Mainly because when Express stopped publishing I was in the middle of some health issues and had decided to slow things down a little for myself. I am still working on my health and don’t necessarily wish to add that type of deadline stress back into my schedule just yet. I would consider it if asked and it would depend on the project.

January Special:
January is my birthday month so I decided that I shouldn’t be the only one getting a present! Stay tuned for a surprise a little later in the month.

That’s about all for now, so I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year and that 2019 brings us all the things we wish for, especially some sewing time!

Marni x

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The Honey Pot Bee – Coral Crown Block

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Hello and welcome to Frankenstein’s Fabrics! My name is Marni Franks and I’ll be one of your Queens for November’s block party.

The block I’ve chosen is one I designed, taking inspiration from traditional star and crown style blocks adding a little twist here and there.

When I first designed this quilt it was for a magazine commissioned piece and was sea-themed so in my head it was all about the ‘crown’ feel of the block – like sea anemones and sea urchins.

WARNING: This block has 69 pieces in it. I made 25 of these blocks for my quilt and it can be tedious making so many but making one block is fairly straight forward.

So let’s get started!

Note: Fabric descriptions as per my block

You will need:
Four, 4 1/2in squares of halloween character print
Four, 2in squares of dark sludge green spider web print
Four, 2 1/2in squares of light purple plain batik
Five, 2 1/2in squares of dark purple tone-on-tone spot
Four, 2 1/2in squares of light sludge green tone-on-tone spot
Eight, 1 1/2in x 2 1/2in rectangles of dark purple tone-on-tone spot
Eight, 1 1/2in squares of dark dark sludge green spider web print
Four, 3 1/2in squares of dark dark sludge green spider web print
Four, 3 1/2in squares of light purple plain batik
Eight, 3 1/2in squares of light sludge green tone-on-tone spot

Here we go!

9-Patch centre 
Dark Unit: Take one square of 2 1/2in light purple and two squares of dark purple. Stitch one dark square to either side of the light purple square and press the seams to the darker fabric. Make 2 units like this.

Light Unit: Take one square of 2 1/2in dark purple and two squares of light purple. Stitch one light square to either side of the dark square and press the seams to the darker fabric. Make 1 unit like this.

 

Abutting the seams stitch one dark unit to the side of a light unit. Press the seams. Attach a second dark unit to the other side of the light unit. Press the seams and set aside.

Half-Square Triangles
Pair up 4, 3 1/2in squares of light green with 4, 3 1/2in squares of light purple. With right sides facing, draw a pencil line diagonally from corner to corner across the wrong side of the pairs of squares. Stitch 1/4in either side of the drawn line. Cut along the drawn line and press open. Trim the squares down to 2 1/2in.

Note: I always make my HST units a little bigger than I need so I can trim down to size without any dramas. If you don’t feel comfortable with cutting squares at 3 1/2in go up to the 4in mark.

Repeat this for the remaining 4, 3 1/2in squares of light green and the 4, 3 1/2in squares of dark green.

Corners – make 4
Take one 4 1/2in square of halloween character print and in one corner place with right sides facing, a 2in square of dark green. Stitch across the diagonal, trim away the excess, 1/4in from the seam and press the corner open. NOTE: Please make note of rotation of your 4 1/2in square before attaching your dark green corners, in case you have a directional print like I do.

Tails – make 8
NOTE: Separate your pieces in half (two lots of four). You need to do this so that when you stitch them together you create a left and right-hand unit. 

Take a 1 1/2in square of dark green and a 1 1/2in x 2 1/2in rectangle of dark purple. Place the dark green square, with right sides facing, at the top of the purple rectangle. Stitch across the diagonal (either left or right), trim away the excess, 1/4in from the seam and press the corner open. Make 4 left and 4 right units.

Crown Unit – make 4 of each
Using the photos as a guide lay out the units, checking their orientation.

Take one light green 2 1/2in square and attach a dark green/light green HST unit to either side (check rotation). Press the seams. Piece 4 green units like this.

Take two light green/light purple HST units and piece them together (check rotation). Press the seam. Attach one left and one right tail unit to either side of the paired HST. Check the rotation of the tail unit. Press the seams. Make 4 units this way. See photo above.

Join a pair of the above units together lengthways. Press the seams. Repeat for all 4 units.

Take 2 Crown units and join them to either side of each of the 9-Patch centre. Press the seams.

Finishing the block
Take one of the Crown units and two 4 1/2in halloween character/dark green corner squares and attach one to each end rotating so that the dark green corner is in the bottom corner, use the photo as a guide. Repeat pairing up corners and units to make 2.

Using the above photo as a guide join one corner/Crown row to the upper edge of the Crown/9-Patch row, press the seams. Repeat with another corner/Crown row on the lower edge ensuring you check the rotation is correct. Press the seams.

Ta da!

Below is the quilt I made for Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine – it’s actually the current issue Volume 27 No 8 and is available now. As you can see the use of just two colours in a light and dark tone really reveals the tertiary and secondary designs that the block creates.

If you have any questions about this block you can comment below, email frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com, ring me on 0416 023 637 or you can find me in the Honey Pot Bee group on FB.

I can’t wait to see your blocks!

Happy sewing!

Marni xx

 

 

 

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Angled bindings other than 90degrees

Hello!

Been a little while since I’ve been here in blogland but I’ve been asked for my method of binding quilts with angles other than 90degrees. There are a few ways to do this but this is my method and as always I do recommend that you try a few ways first before settling on the method that works best for you.

I also use a 3in wide binding rather than the usual 2.5in as I find when binding by machine it allows me a little more wiggle room.

So here we go –

Join your 3in binding strips end to end with 45-degree seams, then trim the seams and press them open. Press the binding strip in half lengthways with the wrong sides facing. With raw edges aligned and mitring the corners as you go, stitch the binding to the back of the quilt top, starting on a straight edge.

When you reach the 120degree corner, stop a 1/4in away from the edge, and then stitch off the edge of the quilt top stitching to the point (photos 1-3). Fold up the binding as shown in photo 4. Fold it back down aligned with the raw edge (photo 5) and continue sewing, repeat on each point that is 120 degrees.

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

 

When you reach a concave (facing inwards) angle, snip a 1/4in clipped notched into the quilt top (photo 6), angle the quilt top so you are sewing a straight line (photo 7 and 8). This is easing the binding into the angle.

Photo 6

Photo 7

Photo 8

 

When you reach the 60degree corner, stop a 1/4in away from the edge (photo 9), and then stitch off the edge of the quilt top stitching to the point (photos 10 and 11). Fold up the binding as shown in photo 12. Fold it back down aligned with the raw edge (photo 13) and continue sewing, using the techniques for each angle.

Photo 9

Photo 10

Photo 11

Photo 12

Photo 13

 

Trim the surplus backing and batting 3/8in from the stitch line, and then turn the binding to the front and topstitch it in place using photos 14 – 18 to finish the 60 and 120 degree corners.

Photo 14

Photo 15

Photo 16

Photo 17

Photo 18

 

Photos 14/15/16 showed how to roll the binding up to finish the 60-degree point.

Photos 17 and 18 show how to position and finish the 120-degree point.

If you have any questions or would like me to make a video of this method, please let me know in the comments or you can ring 0416 023 637 or email me at frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com

Happy quilting!

Marni x

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Problem solving #1

I asked on my FB page a few days weeks ago for followers/customers to let me know what patchwork/quilting problems they’ve been having or would just like to know more about. There were a few requests that I’ll work my way through and if you have anymore ideas to add please let me know in the comments or email me – frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com

This blog post is aimed at one question –

“How to arrange a quilt top and backing when both are pieced? To centre both when there’s wadding in the middle and keep them in place while basting.”

Firstly we need to separate your randomly pieced backings from those that have a feature. Also you will need a flat surface to work on, plenty of room, safety pins, thread snips, ventilation if you use spray glues and some patience.

Randomly pieced backings can simply be centred by folding in half and marking the folds top and bottom. Fold in half in the other direction and mark the side folds. Repeat this process with your quilt front and when basting match up the marks. You can make extra marks if you choose – thirds for example – to make sure your matching up is as straight as it can be. Marks can be made by marking pens/pencils or safety pins. I find pins to be better as you can feel them and it just makes it that much easier to locate them underneath the fabric and wadding.

For a backing with a feature you can use the same process but you will also need to mark the centre of the quilt. You can use the folding technique as described above but you should also check the centre mark by measuring from the edges of the quilt into the centre point.

I have helped students baste quilts like this – pieced back and front for reversible quilts – and the easiest option for basting is to use a spray basting glue like 505 (we sell this at Gosford Sewing Machine Centre for $17 per can, it’s unable to be posted). The reason it is easier is that you can spread the quilt and the backing out and spray baste in sections allowing the matching up of marking points as you go. You can always peel back a section that has been basted and re-lay it to realign and match marks.


Alternatively if you want to take matching marks to a whole new level you can use a fabric marking pen and mark grids on your wadding. I have done this a couple of times but only on small projects in a similar way to marking up grids for pixel images. It is more fiddly because marking pens don’t always work well on wadding so it does take longer to draw out the marks you need.

If you are sending your quilt away to be quilted you will need to discuss with your long-armer what you want to achieve with your centred backing and ensure that there is sufficient allowance around all sides of the backing and wadding to accommodate any adjustments.

If you are quilting your quilt on your machine at home you may need to quilt in small sections and then take the quilt off the machine and lay it out again to ensure that there hasn’t been any shifting of the backing/wadding/quilt top. It does mean spending extra time preparing and working on a quilt but in the long run it will be better for it. Take it slowly and don’t rush.

If you have any questions about this post please ask in the comments and I’ll get back to you.

Happy quilting!

Marni x

 

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2017 My Modern Round Robin

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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Kitten Mini Quilt Swap 2016

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Hello all!

Welcome to round two of the #kittenmqs2016.

Round one was a huge success without too much chasing of parcels and requiring angels to step in for flakers so I’m hosting round two but with a few changes.

Firstly there will only be 30 swappers in this round. Each applicant will be checked thoroughly against the black list. We will also be in two groups – Vlad’s Villains and Amity’s Angels

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty!

To apply you will need to come back here or my IG on the 10th of January and click on the link provided to fill in the details. I am opening up the signups at 12pm my time – NSW AEDST

Once you have registered your application, I and co-host Fiona from @bendigolioness will sort through, check the blacklist and allocate partners and groups.

This swap is open to Australians ONLY – this is due to the mammoth task of chasing international parcels and the extensive shipping times. I will be running another kitten swap either later on this year or in 2017, and it will be open to ALL.  I apologise profusely to all international friends who want to join in but its just not possible now due to so many variables.

Your mission: You have just over 3 months to create a mini quilt to send to your secret partner. The theme is Cats and Kittens. Mini quilts are generally larger than 16in and no more than 24in but please use your judgement. You are also required to make one smaller item – pincushion, zip pouch, basket etc Extras are encouraged, but not compulsory.

Swap Info: Signups open on the 10th of January and close on the 14th or when signups fill up. Swappers will receive an email with their partner info on the 15th (and 16th if it takes us a little while to get through them). You then have from the moment you receive your partner’s info until the 20th of April to create a parcel to their liking.

Swap tip 1: Read your partner’s info carefully. VERY carefully – we will be asking about allergies and this is important.

Swap tip 2: Post a mosaic with styles of quilts you like, cats you love and cat themed things. Everyone MUST post a mosaic to help guide your partner’s designing. Mosaics need to be posted on IG by the 20th of January.

Swap tip 3: We will be checking in – dates TBA – progress shots will be necessary. Failure to comply will result in you being removed from the swap and your partner reallocated to those on the waiting list.

Waiting List: Those of you who don’t make the final 30 will be kept on a list in case of flakers. You can choose to step in if we get in touch with you or say no. If you say no we just move onto the next person on the list. No problem.

If anyone has any questions please post in the comments below, DM on IG or email frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com

Happy quilting!

Marni x

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Why hello there, 2016!

As we waved goodbye to 2015 last night, like all new years celebrations before it, many of us turned introspective. Minds turning towards the potential of the new year, whether it be personal or for business.

This year things are changing here at FF HQ. In fact they started changing a little while ago but the big jump into the new things is happening NOW.

Firstly – many of you know I am teaching. You might have been to a class or spoken with me about coming to one when you’re ready. This year is chock-a-block FULL of classes. Click here to sign up for class news. I’m running basic blocks for those who want to get started, project classes where we tackle specific quilts or designs, colour theory for those who are struggling with choosing fabrics and one-on-one classes for those who are determined to get to the bottom of the UFO box.

I am also in the process of designing a new range of quilts and unlike many of my previous designs these will not be headed to the magazines. These will only be able to be purchased through my online store. I’m returning to my designing and writing roots this year because that’s what makes me happy.

This year Dawn Lewis from DawnLewisImagery and I will be utilising a new video style platform in order to bring tutorials and unprecedented access to us in an interactive online session. This will enable you to sit in on a Skype-style video call and talk to us live online and with other customers. If you don’t want to be ‘seen’ on the video call then you are also able to jump in the question section and ask us anything you like. All you need to get started is a Twitter account! I have a session scheduled on the 20th of January at 10:30am if you’d like to join us  and see what it’s like. For those who aren’t quite ready for it you can watch online but you won’t be able to ask questions or join in live.

I’m also working on a batch of videos – reworking basic skills and techniques and getting a good bank of videos we can all refer back too whenever we need a refresher or if you want to encourage a friend to join in on this hobby. If there’s something specific you’d like help with please let me know.

I am still contributing to the magazines this year as well – you will continue to see my projects in Handmade and Patchwork & Stitching magazines as well as a few other projects elsewhere, that you’ll see later on in the year.

I’m re-working the shopping cart on this site as I am no longer selling fabrics online, most of the products will be digital and instant download (no shipping!!) as well as copies of Mollie Makes and hard copies of vouchers if people need them sent out.

Machine quilting bookings are filling up. January is full, February – April have some spaces available. Please book ASAP to ensure you get the slot needed for your quilt. I will be introducing a loyalty card system for machine quilting (retrospectively adding quilt jobs), with discounts and incentives for customers.

Currently though I’m having a bit of downtime as January is full of some crazy things that are happening. My birthday, a few health things I need to take care of and my cat requires some surgery so I will be around but if you  miss me I’ll get back to you all when I can. I am working at The Gosford Sewing Machine Centre – usually Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays but if you need to see me specifically please give me a call.

I hope everyone has had a lovely festive season and is now ready for bigger and brighter things in 2016. I also hope that you join me this year and continue to support Frankenstein’s Fabrics and the new direction that we are headed in.

Happy Quilting!
Marni x

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Cushion Cut

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A few weeks ago Caroline of Nightingale Quilts put a call out for pattern testers.

Now those of you who know my backstory know that I’ve worked for some of the craft magazines and that part of what I did was work on instructions – so naturally I jumped at the chance!

Caroline has designed a quilt that was quick, efficient and stunning. As you know I’m not one to work to someone else’s pattern as I’m usually designing my own. It is rare that I purchase a pattern or follow along with someone else’s creative process but something about this pattern drew me in.

I made my version of Cushion Cut using a selection of Halloween prints from my stash. Plus a few newer additions. 🙂
11912868_10153515583185390_1826834101_n   11897053_10153515583110390_999012406_n

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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11912983_10153515582770390_1054791012_n
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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Charity Quilting #2 – Anita LaHay of Daydreams of Quilts

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Good evening all!

I have been well and truly incommunicado with this little blog of mine for almost 6 weeks! Things have been rolling along with classes and all sorts of other exciting things (including general life stuff) that I haven’t been back here. But now I am back into the swing of things!

We’ve spoken in the past of charity quilting and this post I’d like to introduce Anita from Daydreams of Quilts.

How did you get into quilting for charity?

I knew about Quilts of Valour for years but I didn’t feel I had time to sew for them with babies in the house. My husband is a Canadian soldier so I know quite a few soldiers and their wives. I have probably known more soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than without. After hearing from some of the wives what their husband’s were going through I wanted to help but I didn’t know what I could do. Then it occurred to me that I could sew quilts. Quilts are a source of comfort, warmth, security and they can be healing.

How long have you been doing it for?

I sewed my first Quilt of Valour in 2013.

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This Rainbow Canadian flag quilt was sewn with a pattern by Cheryl Arkison and was given to a Candadian soldier with (PTSD).

 

What charity/charities do you quilt for?

I have sewn quilts for Quilts of Valour Canada and my local Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC). (Raffle quilt.)

Do you make quilt tops, complete quilts or just long-arm for them?

I make complete quilts. There are some who just make tops and some who long arm them. I make them from start to finish. I quilt them on my Juki. My Juki was left to me by a friend who died of breast cancer. In her last letter to me she asked that I consider making some Quilts of Valour with the machine so of course that’s what I did.

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This Red and White quilt was sewn with a pattern by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced and was given to a Canadian Soldier with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

 

How many quilts would you do in a year?

Last year (2014) I did three quilts; two for Quilts of Valour and one for the MFRC. In 2013 I sewed one. Now I have a new baby so I don’t think I’ll get one done this year.

If you long-arm – do you assess a charity quilt in a different way to a customer’s quilt, or even one of your own, for quilting?

I do not long arm (but I would love to!)

Are you asked to do certain quilting designs or given free reign?

We are given free reign on design but I like to sew the Quilts of Valour in a Canadian theme. There are guidelines on the Quilts of Valour website. www.quiltsofvalour.ca

What do you enjoy most about quilting for charity?

I enjoy feeling that I could share my talents to help someone feel better in their time of need. The reaction from the recipients and their families is also very special. It usually involves tears and a lump in the throat on both sides, mine and theirs.

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This Hashtag quilt was sewn with a pattern by Camille Roskelley. This one was donated to the Military Family Resource Centre for a fundraising quilt raffle.

 

How would you encourage others to start?

  1. Check if your chosen charity has a website and if they have guidelines to follow. Quilts of Valour Canada is specific to quilting and they do have guidelines on their site. If you are wanting to sew for a charity that is not specific to quilting contact them and ask who you should speak to. Often there is a volunteer coordinator or a fundraising coordinator that you can speak to.
  2. I am an “insider” with the military so I know the people who are in need of a quilt. Most people would sew a quilt and send it to Quilts of Valour Canada. I sew specifically for a soldier that I know and send it to him. I then send photos of the quilts to Quilts of Valour Canada for their records. I do not reveal the names of the people I send to (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is often a very private struggle) but I do say where they are located. I always make a label that says “Quilt of Valour” Made for: (military rank)so and so Made by: Anita LaHay and the year and place where it was made. I find it very helpful to know the person I am sewing for . It helps me to be inspired and come up with ideas suited to that person. Knowing what they are going through also helps me to push through the frustrations that sometimes come up when making a quilt that is bigger than a lap quilt. All my quilts are sewn with Quilter’s cotton, cotton batting and high quality cotton thread.
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This quilt with the Canadian themed panel and swoon blocks was my arrangement using the Swoon pattern by Camille Roskelley.

 

To follow along with Anita’s quilting you can find her here:

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A big thank you to Anita for taking the time to speak with me. 🙂

Find me here:
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