The great ironing debate

Steam or no steam?

Iron and push or press and lift?

Ironing really shouldn’t be that hard but when it comes to patchwork the technique does matter.

I personally like to use a bit of steam. I don’t press the steam button on my iron but just use the steam as it happens. I really dislike the finish that ironing without steam looks like. Especially because we use 100% cotton for quilts it needs a bit of steam assistance to get the wrinkles out. But this is a choice – personal preference plays a huge role in many of the things we do in this hobby so try both options and see which you prefer.

Ironing clothes to me is a bit easier because you can just push the iron allover your shirt (mind the buttons!) and its in a lot better shape than when you pulled it out of the clean clothes basket. However, your shirt does not require accuracy because you aren’t going to join it up to another shirt. This is where the push v press and lift comes into play.

Pushing the iron can drag the fabric and warp the seam. Meaning your nice straight seam is now a nice curve and won’t match up to his buddy in the quilt. Fine for shirts not fine for patchwork pieces.

Pressing and lifting the ironing gives you far more control. It means you are heating the area that needs to be pressed and lifting the iron away without distorting the seam.

My general rules are:

  • Press the seam open or to the darker of the fabrics
  • Press the seam and then turn the pieces over and check the front of the fabric to ensure that the seam hasn’t rolled (see photos)
  • Press seams in opposite directions to make joining pieces easier. e.g. Quilt with 9 rows of blocks in it, press all even numbered rows to the right and odd numbered rows to the left
  • You can always re-iron something
  • Sometimes a fabric will tell you which way it wants to be pressed – don’t fight it unless you absolutely have to
  • Make friends with your iron, you will be using it a lot. I iron more patchwork fabric than I’ve ever ironed clothes in my lifetime
  • Starch is your friend too, use it on tricky to manage fabrics, any time you plan on cutting triangles and anytime you feel a fabric is misbehaving

If you have any questions about ironing please let me know in the comments.

Happy quilting,

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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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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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. 🙂
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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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Quilts

Making quilts is something of an obsession with me – not only is it my job but it is the one thing that keeps me going emotionally and mentally when everything else gets a bit mad.

Quilting is my therapy.

But one unfortunate side effect of making so many quilts is the fact that there is no where to keep them all unless I sell them.

So to clear the decks a little, some of my current quilt listings are 40% off, click here to see them.

All quilts are ready to post and are perfect for these cooler, rainy days. Snuggle up on the lounge underneath a handmade quilt.

If you don’t find what you are looking for I also make quilts to order. See here for more info.

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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….

*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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