When I was a child, one of my favourite books (and movie) was Roald Dahl’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I used to dream about winning a golden ticket and getting to see inside – the chocolate river, the everlasting gobstoppers, the chewing gum that tasted like an entire meal, the fizzy drink that made you float – I would have liked to have thought of myself as Charlie, eventually being awarded the whole Chocolate Factory by Willy Wonka. The reality is, I am much more like Veruca Salt…
“Daddy, I want a golden ticket and I want it NOW!”
I’m not a little kid anymore (although I do still eat more chocolate than is probably healthy) which means I have long since stopped dreaming about Charlie and his chocolate factory. Now that I’m older, I have different dreams…
“I want a Matilda’s Own rotating cutting mat and I want it NOW!”
So when I was recently invited to visit Victorian Textiles, I swear it was just like going to meet Willy Wonka and getting to see inside the Chocolate Factory. I got a golden ticket!
Victorian Textiles are the creators of Matilda’s Own rulers, templates, batting and cutting mats, as well as the distributor for lots of amazing quilty things including Kokka, Nani Iro, Hoffman’s me_and y0u and Dear Stella fabrics, Best Press, Mettler Thread and many others too numerous to mention.
Getting to see behind the scenes of a quilting wholesaler/distributor is probably a dream come true for most quilting enthusiasts and I have to say I was pretty excited going into the meet up. Tony, the owner, took me on the grand tour and, just like in the chocolate factory, there are so many unique rooms – around each corner there is another thing to “ooooh” and “aahhh” about!
We started out in the showrooms where quilting businesses come to see what’s on offer… and oh my lord there is so much good stuff! I had visions of one of those competitions where you have a 60 second shopping spree… you know, you get a trolley and chuck as much as you can in said trolley in under 60 seconds. (I knew where all the high value stuff was so I would have made a beeline straight there!)
Seriously though. The first room held spool after spool of thread of all kinds, for piecing, long arm quilting, hand quilting and embroidery. As well as all the Matilda’s Own batting (again with the choices – wool, polyester, bamboo, cotton and the blends).
Next up was the big room, filled with patterns, templates, rulers, cutting mats, Best Press and 505 spray, rotary cutters, needles – pretty much anything you can think of, they have it!
Tony told me that they could make any ruler or template you could think of. They don’t have to have a massive order to do it either – they can do a one off just by programming it in on their special laser cutting machine.
And speaking of laser cutting machines….
The next room on the
chocolate quilting factory tour was the room where they program and laser cut all of the Matilda’s Own rulers and templates. I got to watch one of the machines at work laser cutting all of the precise inch measurements on a set of rulers. It was a bit mesmerising!
One lucky person will get to win this one of a kind Modern Makers ruler that Tony custom made for our #mmrcushionpalooza competition!
I wasn’t sure I could be more impressed than the laser cutter… but then I saw the fabric cutter! It’s like a Sizzix or Accuquilt on steroids! This electronic machine can cut hundreds of charm packs, layer cakes or jellyrolls in a couple of minutes. I already checked with hubby and he said I can’t have one… (*stamps foot*)
Oh my golly gosh… I was already a bit giddy with all the stuff around me, so when we got to the racks of fabric I thought I might faint. The fabric was stacked 8 shelves wide and 3 bays long. There was Kokka, Hoffman’s Me and You, Nani Iro double gauze, Dear Stella, solids, stripes, spots, batiks…. it was ridiculous really. I didn’t know where to look next.
After that there were racks and racks of thread, templates, rulers, more thread. There were also
Oompa Loompas people packing stuff into boxes to be sent out.
Then I came to a wall of massive rolls of batting! Victorian Textiles manufacture all of the batting at their own factory in Geelong. It’s transported all over the world and really is of the highest quality. Tony told me that the stock was getting a bit low – jeepers I would have loved to have seen what his definition of what high stock looked like.
Finally, I got to go up into the fabric viewing room where all of the fabric is displayed. There I saw the new deliveries of Me and You batiks (oh my, they’re so saturated and gorgeous) as well as new Kokka (metalics anyone?).
Tony was a wonderful host – I told him I would go home and pack up some stuff and that I could move in on Monday! Seriously though, if you ever get the chance for a behind the scenes tour of a wholesaler/distributor, do it – its so much fun to see things on the other side!
Victorian Textiles are wonderfully generous, supporting charities like Very Snuggly Quilts by donating fabric and batting, and they have also sponsored one of prizes for the Modern Makers Retreat Cushion Palooza.
So a huge thanks and a big shout out to Tony and the crew at Victorian Textiles!
But now… I’m off to find some chocolate!