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Hand Dyeing Fabrics At Home For Quilting and Quilters

Hand dyeing fabrics at home is a fairly simple and straight forward process. It takes a few minutes and a bit of patience to do. All you need is a small space with a sink, a measuring jug, spoon (dedicated to dyeing, not for food use), some recycled containers, and a way to protect your surface against spills. Dyes of course, you also need some soda ash. To ensure you love the end result, it also takes some knowledge of colour mixing.

hand dyeing fabrics
two mixed greens

Procion Dyes

Hand dyeing my fabrics for a new quilt, I am going for a colour combination that I have not used before – greens and pinks. My design is computer generated, so I have to generate a design from it that I am happy I can replicate. I could print from the computer, but I want to make my own fabrics and use the design as inspiration. Greens can be tricky to mix in art, and I ordered up some new Procion dyes. These are cold water dyes. The process is included for this type of hand dyeing and many more in my design ecourse.

hand dyeing fabrics
hand dyeing fabrics for quilting

Colour Mixing

What I want to discuss here is the single greens you can purchase against mixing your own. There is a rule in art that you never use a bought green, but you mix your own. I was not dissatisfied with the results of the bought greens, but still I used my signature method for mixing the two, so they are not ‘out of pot’. However I was unconvinced that I had quite the right green I was looking for.

mixing colours
mixing colours to make green

I went back to my dyes and mixed more and was rather annoyed to find that the dyes I already had made a more suitable green for my project. I also made a more suitable pink with the dyes I already had than the ones I had purchased.

 
mixing pinks
mixing pinks

Alchemy

Mixing dyes is fun and if you measure dyes, you can replicate results exactly. I now have the 6 fabric colours I was hoping for to start my project. You do need a little colour knowledge though not to end up with something sludgy. Colour mixing is part of my online ecourse Colour for Quilters.

hand dyeing fabrics
the pinks and greens I hand dyed

Hand Dyed Fabrics

My hand dyed fabrics, are available to purchase exclusively here

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilting The River Series Quilts Inspired By The River Don

Quilting the River Series Quilts is a joy. I am so enjoying the process. My work involves several aspects that have become natural to me – researching, designing, finished product. If I can involve another medium I do – so photography, painting, printing and hand stitch also appear in my work. So far I have completed one quilt. The fabric is cut for a second and there are several more at design stage. I shall stop when I have completed all the ones I think are worth taking to final product. I am talking about quilt design on Sunday 4th August at the Festival of Quilts NEC. You can book your place here and quote WT57 for a discount.


The First Quilt

Quilting the River Series Quilts has led me to explore the river on foot, take photos and drawings to get a feel of the river. I have so far visited four areas of the river and recorded each walk. I have written them up in an ebook that will form part of the exhibition of work. The first quilt is a big step forward and I chose to keep it simple. The blues represent the river and the rust represents the industry that was once a huge part of the river. It has simple quilting too. It will also be featured in my Beginners’ Quilting ecourse here.

quilting the river series

Quilting The River Series

The Second Quilt

The second quilt is also about the flow of the river. It is in all blue (at the moment). I am still cutting the fabrics. It uses a traditional quilt block – The Drunkard’s Path. Through the inspiration of the river, I am finding different ways to interpret it in quilts.

quilting the river series
Cutting fabric for the second wuilt


Quilting Patterns

Almost all my quilts are available as patterns and some are available as kits too. The first quilt is hand dyed and kits are available. The second is made from scraps. In addition I sell many of my finished sample quilts. Patterns, kits and finished quilts can all be found on the website

quilting pattern
quilting pattern

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilting Mitred Corners Binding with Four Strips – Free Tutorial

Quilting Mitred Corners

I have just finished another quilt by quilting mitred corners. You might believe the quilting myth that mitred corners are difficult. They are not. Until this week I was totally unaware that many quilters believe there is only one way to achieve a mitred corner. The continuous strip method – almost every quilter that ever lived has done a YouTube video on this. It might still be the best way but it relies on

a) quilting to the back first

b) either hand stitching or machine stitching neatly to the front

c) relies on you folding the fabric perfectly so that your corner is not too tight

d) some quilters still opt to cut binding on this bias for this method, others don’t, I belong to the latter for this type of binding – you are not doing a curve.

So if you are not skilful at those things, your faults are easily spotted on the front.

Flange Method

My queries were prompted by doing a flange binding for the first time. Again the continuous method is all over the internet. Few quilters can fail to be familiar with it. Yet, everyone I asked without fail seemed to ignore my particular problem. I had not started my binding with a continuous strip but with 4 separate strips, one for each border, and sewn to the back. For some reason I thought this would come to the front without problem, it does not. Maybe with a lot of effort, being brave to cut a quarter inch seam, it would work.

However I was disconcerted that quilters were happy to state that continuous strip was the only method for mitred corners and it is impossible to get a neat mitred corner any other way. With a flange yes, but with ordinary binding it is possible to use 4 strips and get perfect mitred corners.

Quilting Mitred Corners With 4 Strips

Just like mitred borders. This easy and fool proof method ensures

a) accurate corners

b) strips sewn to the front

c) hand sewn to the back

Simple cut lengths long enough to allow for the mitred corner.

Quilting Mitred Corners
Position the ruler a quarter inch beyond the last stitch

Machine sew each of the four lengths to the front of the quilt, starting and stopping one quarter inch from the end. Either work out your angle, or use a Binding Buddy Ruler. Cut your mitres. Take the two corners together, fold the quilt. Place it in position, where the last stitch was and stitch.

Quilting Mitred Corners
Ensure your ruler is straight
Folding a Mitred Corner
You can fold if you want to mark the line for quilting, but there is no need
mitred corner
mitred corner
mitred corner
Take the two edges together lined up neatly
mitred corner
Fold the quilt away from the corner
quater inch seam
Under the sewing machine, line up with your quarter inch seam
quilting mitred corners
perfect mitred corner
mitred corner
front
mitred corner
back

More Tutorials

More tutorials can be found here

Words work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book review Jean Haines Paint Yourself Positive

Jean Haines Paint Yourself Positive, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216537, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com

With its glorious mix of pink and yellow watercolour paint dispersing in water, the cover is most enticing. However, there are so many similar pages in the book of just a splash of paint, that I felt a little disappointed. Jean is a wonderful painter but she has perhaps taken ‘loose’ a little too far in this book. The paintings that are there, like Starfish, or A Special Bridge, Roar and All That Glitters are truly wonderful. The simple building technique is very good. So why so many splashes instead of paintings? Yes, painting brings positivity into our lives. Yes, believing in yourself is good. Yes splodges of paint look good and you can call them by wonderful names such as ‘Positive Energy’ but does this make a good painting book? I would prefer to have seen more paintings than the author’s thoughts on positivity. More painting content would have been better.

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Quilting Block of the Month BOM for quilters

Quilting Block of the Month launches are coming online shortly. I am designing a Tile BOM and others that are reasonably priced and feature unique hand dyed fabrics. I always like to push the boundaries and add something new and I am sure these quilting block of the month courses will fit the bill.

Tile BOM

The Tile quilting block of the month will feature a tile pattern to make each month. You can either buy the pattern or buy the pattern and fabrics. Each design is unique and designed by me. Find new quilt patterns, BOM etc on my website

Quilting Block of the month
Tile fabric
Tile fabric
Tile fabric
Tile fabric
Tile fabric
Quilting Block of The Month
Quilting Block of The Month


New ecourse

This month will also see the launch of a new quilting ecourse to improve your quilting in 12 easy steps, so look out for that shortly.

quilting ecourse
New quilting ecourse

New ebook

I shall shortly complete my latest Inspiration ebook Desert. Taken from my multiple trips to the Sahara, this is sure to inspire textiles, quilters and artists.

Sahara ebook cover
Sahara ebook cover

New Quilts

Finally my FOQ quilt is finished and it is back to the river series for me. This series has found inspiration in the River Don. This weekend saw me learn how to use the circular attachment for my sewing machine and experiment with circular patterns. I also went back to my hand stitching and my calico quilt is nearing completion and will form a hand quilting BOM. Don’t forget to join me every Monday for updates on the blog of current work.

River Don quilts
River Don series quilts


Workshop Tickets Now On Sale

The workshop tickets for the West Country Quilt Show are definitely on sale now. More workshops were added for me. On each day you can choose Cathedral Window Quilting, Making Scrappy Coasters or Making a Landscape, and on the last two days you can also choose Making a Sunflower Quilt. All workshops can be booked on the website

Don’t forget my two talks at FOQ 2019 this year, booking on their website.https://www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk/tickets/

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019