Posted on

Quilting in Practice – Fabric, Stitch, Pinning

Quilting in Practice – Fabric, Stitch, Pinning – yes I am talking about what really matters this week – the devil really is in the details when it comes to quilting. It takes a lot to get it right every time. Starting with good fabric is a very good place to start.

Accurate piecing

Quilting in Practice

FABRIC

Fabric – so many times I see people mention cheap fabric and I cringe. Honestly it makes me ill. Quilting takes hours and you enjoy it for sure, but quality is much better than quantity when it comes to quilting. I had a tingle down my spine when last week, for the first time, I actually saw some fabric in that famous supermarket that begins with A. I took one look at it, and left it on the shelf. Just not quality fabric and therefore not something I would quilt with. Having said that, price, whilst usually an indication of quality, is not always the case when it comes to digitally produced fabrics. I was rather disappointed with some I bought from the USA a while back. If you are not familiar with the brand of fabric, go somewhere you can see and feel it. My favourite brands? Liberty, Moda and Kona solids.

quilting in practice
Good quality Moda fabrics

STITCH

My quilting still does not live up to what is in my mind. Piecing, I have my accuracy pretty good except when I am tired. But top quilting, the bit that matters, the bit you can see? It is a learning curve. I still get my quilt sticking on the corners. I also get so tense it is unreal. After an hour of quilting I feel like I have gone ten rounds in a boxing ring. Confidence is everything. I have improved so much in three years. Concentration is a must. What? You mean I have to make even more and more quilts??? For all my existing work, click online here

Karen Platt quilts
My latest quilt – that panel was a real pain

PINNING

How important is pinning! When we gain confidence, we happily piece straight pieces and even binding without pins. Pins go in sideways too not lengthways as in dressmaking. Seams need to be nested too, correct pinning helps immensely. For top quilting, it’s definitely a case of the more pins the merrier. I have pins that are long and thin and bend like Beckham, pins that are long and thicker and leave big holes and oh, those stick in your fingers and thumbs curved quilting pins that I really loathe. It is like doing battle with a thorny bush, you never escape without bleeding fingers.

Quilting in Practice
Simple straight seams can be stitched without pinning
More complicated shapes often need pinning

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

Posted on

Book Review The Art of Annemieke Mein

The Art of Annemieke Mein, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782217657, price 25 gbp available from www.searchpress.com

Marvel at the textile skills of Annemieke Mein in this wondrous book of her work. Find skilful and amazing use of fabric, stitch, paint and embroidery to create imaginative flora and fauna that is sheer delight. Her subjects come to life, Mr. Frog is so textured you can almost feel his skin. Annemieke uses textiles as a sculptural medium to portray insects and other wildlife in natural settings. There are no less than 60 works of art shown in this book. Step into the world of a wildlife artist, outstanding in her field. See the detailed drawings and notes she makes. Discover how she selects fabrics and stitch to convey her subjects. She reveals the progression in her work, from early flat works through relief work (I am certain that Eastern Water Dragon’s eye just blinked) to the more sculptural work. Backgrounds blend, as they do in real life, as camouflage; the colours being very natural. Stitch just flows along leaves or quietly in the background. Even intense stitching just seems to blend at one with the fabrics and subjects; like a symbiotic relationship. In the high-relief wall sculpture, ‘Cup Moths’ the background shapes and colours are repeated in the leaf work, the cocoons blending beautifully; the moths themselves in relief but beautifully camouflaged. Other subjects include birds, beetles, wasps, gulls, branches, sea urchins, barnacles, mussels and kelp, seed pods, gum blossoms and grasshoppers. Each piece is accompanied by a description and often by drawings. Note the size of the panels, they are reasonably large wall pieces. Annemieke has also worked on costumes. She captures Australian wildlife like no other textile artist, detailed work to marvel at and admire. There is so much the textile artist can learn from this book – how to approach work, how to instil a feeling of reality, how to use colour and stitch to give form. This book was previously published in Australia in 1992. Highly recommended.

Posted on

Creative Quilting and textiles, travel and inspiration

Creative quilting and textiles are two of the loves of my life. Knitting and photography are two others. Everything is an inspiration, it’s just the way you see it, or often don’t see it that makes all the difference. Learn to look anew.

Creative Quilting and Textiles

Often with a subject such as quilting and textiles, it’s all about interpreting that source of inspiration. Taking something ordinary and turning it into the extraordinary. It’s not about copying, it’s about you. What speaks to you? This is the essence of my latest ‘Creative Textiles’ programme that you can join here

A 12-month inspirational ecourse to learn wherever you are. Discover how to interpret your world and be more creative. It will help you build your own style by exploring different methods of interpretation. What could be better?

Creative quilting ecourse
Creative quilting ecourse

Inspiration

I have written a lot about inspiration from patterns to the more unusual sources. As well as ways to interpret those sources from drawing, photography, painting and more. For me it usually starts with a photo and I like to play with photo manipulation. However, the same source can be interpreted in so many ways. It’s all about seeing and working with what you have. Let’s look at this church doorway.

You could interpret it in many ways – play with a photo, slice, collage, manipulate, draw, paint, embroider and so on. What do you see? The columns and Norman style are obvious.

Pick up on the pattern on the doors. Isn’t that a glorious pattern? What could that become if we play with line? A few ideas follow from my half hour playing this morning in Photoshop.

The final is never truly final. I could change colour, placement, the central piece of work, the background, the size, shape and so on. This was just a 30 minute exercise to demonstrate the possibilities. I could now start to draw, make paterns, think about colour and so on.

pattern
pattern on the doorway
Interpreting a photo
Interpreting a photo
creative quilting
Creative quilting
creative quilting
adding colour
creative quilting
adding colour
creative quilting
simplifying
creative quilting
detail
creative quilting
a very stitchy interpretation
interpretation
detail
interpretation
outline
creative quilting
creative quilting and textile
creative quilting and textiles
final interpretation

Resources

I have written many books on inspiration from gardening to textiles, available as pdf ebooks to download. My latest ebook is about ready to launch looking back at the sources of my quilting inspiration, more next week.

On the theme of this particular topic, is Inspiration Book Seven, which can be purchased along with the other Inspiration ebooks here

They make excellent gifts. Doors of Tunisia is also of interest if you love doors.

Inspiration book 7
inspiration book 7
Art inspiration ebook
An Art inpsiration ebook

Learn more about photo manipulation in my ecourses, the shorter photo techniques ecourse is now on offer. These and more ecourses can be purchased here

creative quilting
creative quilting
creative textiles
creative textiles

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

Posted on

Quilting Work In Progress Quilt Magic

Quilting work in progress is all about the projects on the go. Looking at what I have been working on but what is not yet finished. It’s true, occasionally projects fall by the wayside and do not get finished for one reason or another. I have become pretty good at completing projects and trying not to start another one until the project I have started on is finished.

Quilting Work In Progress – OBW

It was only on the 25th September 2019 that I decided to use up some fabric bought in 2017, two years ago. I had initially bought a panel and some fabric for One Block Wonder (OBW) quilt. When the fabrics arrived, they had been put in the to do drawer. I was unsure they would work.

Quilting work in progress
Fabric bought for OBW

Last week, I decided to find out. As I looked at the panel, I cut some off either side. It needs a border. I cut the detached pieces into large triangles. This will form the border around the panel.

quilting work in progress
the cut down panel and first hexagons

The next day, when I started cutting my 6 pieces needed for OBW, I found that I was short. I racked my brain to think what I could do and the solution was simple. It was a 12 inch repeat, that I had cut as 24 inch repeats, as that is what the ladies who wrote the OBW books recommend. But that 12 inch repeat still meant I had the required 6 identical pieces to make my hexagons. Phew.

Cutting hexagons
Cutting 6 repeats

When selecting this eagle fabric, I had put the fabric into the OBW design helper and it looked great. However I had done that with fabrics before and it had not quite the effect I had hoped for. Like my others, this fabric was pretty much one colour – a problem for OBW. You can see my OBW quilts and the way I work in my ecourse tutorial and on quilts for sale.

quilting work in progress

Yet the cuts have been great and I am more than pleased with the 57 different blocks I have made. I think this looks terrific. Next one up? Another panel that goes with this one. Yes, I have a matching pair.

quilting work in progress
Progress so far

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

Posted on

Book Review The Embroidered Art of Chloe Giordano

The Embroidered Art of Chloe Giordano, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215837, price 25.00 available from www.searchpress.com

An exquisite book of gentle embroidery. Follow Chloe into her woodland wonderland of flora and fauna. Encounter rabbits, foxes, hares, a wolf cub, a fawn or dormouse all lovingly embroidered. See how the author works and how her embroidery has progressed into delicate backgrounds that complement the subject. She uses sketching and painting to create the designs, blending thread colours for each piece. Good details are given on the working methods. However, there are no guides to threads used or what to buy. This is the artist talking you through her work. Each embroidery is produced in a hoop. There are many samples of work and detailed step by step photographs to guide you. An inspiring look at the artist’s work for any lover of animals and embroidered art.

Posted on

Book Review Stitched Textiles: Seascapes by Amanda Hislop

Stitched Textiles: Seascapes by Amanda Hislop, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215646, price 15.99 from www.searchpress.com

An exciting addition to this wonderful series that explores textile techniques and design. Step inside the wonderful world of seascapes with artist Amanda Hislop. Find original projects, step-by-step demonstrations, clear photographs and instructions and inspiration through design exercises. Discover how to capture the magic of the seaside, the shore and sea in stitch. Many wonderful samples of finished work and of how the artist works. Looks at inspiration, sketchbooks, drawing and mark making as well as methods. A delight for anyone who loves the sea and stitch.

Posted on

2020 Quilt Retreat Quilting and Design in North Yorkshire

2020 Quilt Retreat

2020 quilt retreat
Whitby Abbey copyright Karen Platt 2019
Whitby
Caedmon cross
North Yorkshire coast
Whitby North Yorkshire coast

2020 Quilt Retreat in North Yorkshire, right on the coast, opposite a beach and a few miles (walking distance) to Whitby and a short bus ride to other fantastic coastal villages countryside. That is a wow, and when you add 7 days accommodation (6 nights) and no less than 18 tutorials to get you inspired and quilting, you are going to be running on sea air. Sew away days by the sea. Believe me, this is going to be the perfect retreat. Plenty of time to relax for those who want to chill, plenty of time to quilt and plenty of time to enjoy the surroundings.

Staithes
Staithes will be just a up the road
seaside inspiration rust
seaside inspiration rust
seaside inspiration North Yorkshire
seaside inspiration

Fabulous things to do and see, great teaching, wonderful surroundings, like-minded people and a comfortable holiday home for the week. Get away from it all and quilt. Who would not want to escape to a quilt retreat? Visit dramatic Whitby Abbey and translate it into a quilt. Learn how to transform the coast into landscape quilts. Discover how to really make a stained glass quilt without that ugly black tape that is supposed to represent the solder. It always looks so wrong.

quilt retreat coastal walks
quilt retreat coastal walks
quilt retreat
quilt retreat coastal inspiration
quilt retreat
quilt retreat costal walks

I shall be showing you how to get the best from the wonderful scenery, the history, the architecture and historical figures and demonstrate how you can make your own personal quilts by following my steps to interpretation. I’ll be on hand 9-5 to teach and inspire. We’ll have the chance to visit several places and soak up the atmosphere of this wonderful coast. I have kept the price low for what you are getting. So join me now. So click here to read more and register your interest today. There is only room for around half a dozen people and if it’s not booked quickly, the accommodation will be taken by someone else. Just drop me a line, I will take bookings when we have enough people. Don’t miss your place. Also great for photographers and artists.

quilt retreat coastal villages
quilt retreat coastal villages
North Yorkshire Moors
inspiring scenery
garden inspiration
local garden

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

Posted on

Drunkard’s Path Classroom Tutorial Back To School Blog Hop 2019

A huge welcome to my Drunkard’s Path Classroom Tutorial for the Blog Hop hosted and arranged by Sam Hunter’s Design Studio. I am a hands-on quilt designer and pattern writer with a big interest in textiles and knitting too. I am a fully qualified and experienced teacher.

Back To School Blog Hop

Drunkard’s Path Classroom

Do you struggle with curves? Can’t work out the best way to sew them? The struggle is over with my techniques and tips for perfect Drunkard’s Path curves. This easy way makes your quilting life a whole lot simpler. At the same time it gives you the wonderful versatility associated with the many ways of putting Drunkard’s Path shapes together.

Drunkard's Path Classroom
Drunkard’s Path gives easy curves

Cutting

Cutting accurately is important. My number one tip here is to keep as close to the template as you can. Holding your marker upright and not at an angle helps. The inner half circle can be cut with a rotary cutter. The outer can too, but much more care is needed. You might slice into the template. You can also use a pin to mark the fabric enough to see a clear line for cutting with scissors.

cutting fabrics
A template gives accurate results when cutting shapes

Templates

You can cut from card, mylar or paper but for a template that will be used over and over again, a good transparent template is ideal. The ones photographed here were free with a magazine and I have used them twice, but the amount of material left above the curve after the seams are joined is negligible and I believe a deeper margin is better.

templates
Templates
Templates
I’d like more arc around my circles than this template gives

Sewing Circles

Accuracy is necessary for the semi circle and the outer to match up. In the Drunkard’s Path camp we have pinners and non pinners. One thing of note is never to stretch the fabric. Some fabrics stretch more than others, so that is something to beware of when choosing fabrics and using a non pinning method. Larger templates are easier than small ones. It just gets fiddlier.

  1. As a beginner I suggest you pin. All you need is three pins.
  2. It is the way you pin it that matters.
  3. It is also when you remove those pins that matter.
  4. Find the centre of each part.

If after making x amount, you feel like going pin free, try it.

3-pin method
My 3 pin method

When you remove the pins is also important.

  1. Secure the first stitch and remove the first pin.
  2. Work to the centre pin and remove as you approach. Never stitch over a pin.
  3. Hold that last pin there until the very last second to keep the edges together.
Drunkard's Path Classroom
Remove the pins as you stitch the curve

The Fun Part

The fun in Drunkard’s Path comes in all the different ways of putting those pieces together, so use a design wall and play. Once you have them perfect, it makes play easy. You can join them in circles, half circles, diagonals, and so on to create great patterns.

Drunkard's Path Classroom
Drunkard’s Path Pattern
Drunkard's Path Classroom
Drunkard Path Pattern

For a list of other tutorials in the Back To School Blog Hop 2019 see the list here and many thanks to Sam Hunter for organising this and giving me the opportunity to be a part of it.

Share, with your friends, sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of the home page. My quilting blog comes out every Monday. You can follow my quilting page on Facebook for daily news and Instagram for great pics.

Posted on

Creating quilts as landscape wall hanging quilts

Creating quilts as landscape can be realistic or imaginary and abstract. I like to create quilts as landscape based on places I have been to or favourite scenes such as the sea. It’s a fun way to interpret holidays or day trips but you can also use photographs, as I do in my latest ecourse for quilters to develop your quilting skills without using any special software, just a photograph and your imagination and creative skill. You can see the ecourse online here. It takes a different photograph and subject each month and shows how to interpret it in different ways with useful and practical knowledge on techniques and design. A great way to learn how to use your own photos and create satisfying quilts. You can create quilts of any size with this unique ecourse.

Countryside landscape quilts

Recently I have been interpreting the wonderful Peak District and the walks I have made in the area into quilted landscapes and quilted pictures as part of the ecourse mentioned above. I am now working on different topics to extend the subject of the quilts. Creating quilts as landscape is a fun topic and can be interpreted in so many ways. You can also use a variety of materials that you would not use in bed or lap quilts. The quilts are for sale individually and I have also made a triptych, three landscape quilts to hang together. You can purchase them online here

Creating quilts as landscape

Blog Hop

Before the landscapes I was concentrating on Drunkard’s Path techniques and the blog as part of this hop will be revealed on 20th September 2019, so stay tuned. It’s a USA blog hop, so likely to be released in the evening UK time. Day 1 is here (1st September 2019)

blog hop

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

Posted on

Book review – Whitework Embroidery by Ayako Otsuka

Whitework Embroidery by Ayako Otsuka, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216896, price 14.99, available from www.searchpress.com

What a beautiful book this is. 30 gorgeous whitework embroidery designs for you to make. These interesting and varied designs use traditional stitches. The detailed techniques section is accompanied by step-by-step illustrations. The instructions show different types of whitework including drawn, counted and pulled. Two sampler patterns allow you to practice your skills. This book is suitable for beginner upwards. Handmade projects make perfect gifts and keepsakes and include table linens and items such as a teacosy, cushions, accessories, gifts for babies including a heirloom christening gown, and gifts for a wedding such as a ringbearer pillow. Embroiderers will find this book a pleasure to look at and practical with good projects and clear instructions. The projects are elegant. I have one niggle, all the photos are at the front followed by tools, materials, techniques and then the instructions and the back with only line drawings. I prefer clear photos with the project instructions.