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Book Review Stitched Textiles Nature by Stephanie Redfern

Book Review Stitched Textiles Nature by Stephanie Redfern, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782214526, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Another book in the Stitched Textiles series. Step-by-step techniques for textiles interpreting the natural world. Sources include the ocean, rainforest, flowers, birds and other animals. Textile techniques include hand and machine stitching, painting, printing and embellishment. There are three original projects to follow to practice the techniques. See how Stephanie uses her photos to develop design ideas, how she uses a sketchbook, creates collage and design sheets. Her sample textiles often use paper. You’ll discover how she goes from idea to design. Stephanie creates some fabulous cut-out shapes of animals and birds, but for me, some of her backgrounds are far too busy and detract from the focus of her work. Her simple Rainforest 1 works much better. She also shows her artist’s books and scrolls. Well worth buying.

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Book Review Print Pattern Sew by Jen Hewett

Book Review Print Pattern Sew by Jen Hewett, hardback, spiral bound, published by Roost Books. ISBN 9781611804621, price 25.00.

Simple block prints can transform fabric, expressing your own individuality. Anyonw who wishes to learn block printing and how to make their own clothes would do well to add this book to their list of must-haves. Spiral bound so that it lays flat, clear and concise instructions and good photography combine to make this book easy to use. Find out all you need to know about preparation, fabric choice, block printing basics, creating a design, carving a block, printing on fabric and troubleshooting. Section Two is all about pattern. Discover how to design and print repeat patterns including half drop and brick repeats; multicolour prints and layering. There is also a block print gallery of work included of Jen’s fabulous work. In Sew, you will find examples of the prints on clothes – a jacket (coat), short-sleeved dress, short-sleeved blouse, cap-sleeved dress and blouse, full skirt, espadrilles, apron, cross-body bag, clutch and tote. This is followed by a pattern section that includes the above plus a square and an oblong scarf. There are templates for the designs and the full-size patterns to 40″ chest are included in a flap at the back of the book. Not too difficult to alter the size. Recommended.

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Designing Your Own Quilt

Designing your own quilt does not seem to occur to most quilters. Think of the millions of quilters around the world and how few actually design. It can also be said that some designers do not quilt, that goes for other textile areas too like knitting.

I am a hands-on designer and quilter. I do prefer the design aspect. I respect that you think you might not have the skills to design your own quilt, but those skills can be learned. Wherever you live, take a look at my ecourses

Top five skills designing skills (but remember they can be learned!)

1. Creativity

2. Understanding fabric, texture and placement

3. Strong sense of colour

4. Sewing skills

5. Problem solving

If you can piece and follow quilting patterns, chances are you can design your own quilt. Being a quilt designer is a bit like being a juggler. You also have to add in a bit of you, a bit of magic, something that makes your work stand out from the crowd. This comes with practice.

Of course you can design with software these days, which eliminates some of the skills, but learning to design is a fascinating subject and one I urge you to try. Designing your own quilt is so satisfying.

If you need a certificate, your choices are a University or C&G course. As funding is being withdrawn, I believe some of the C&G courses are ending shortly. Typically a University design degree will cost around 10,000 pounds. A C&G course Level 1 costs around 900 pounds for the academic year (i.e. not a full year). Both of these give you recognised qualifications.

My own Quilting Design course is a full 12 months for under 500 pounds and includes more than C&G Level 1. As a fully qualified and trained teacher, I develop my own ecourses
and teach in person too. I also offer a good range of shorter courses and skill-based courses. New courses are being added all the time.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018