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Quilts inspired by the river Don

Over a dozen quilts inspired by the river, already designed. A little while ago I started using the river Don in Sheffield as a source of inspiration. My research has turned up quite a few surprises and is almost complete.

How can a river inspire quilts? You might well ask. Well, the answer to that is everything can provide inspiration. Quilts inspired by the river for me has meant looking at shapes and trying to engage with a sense of the past, meaning in the landscape, what was and what is now.

The industry is all but disappearing with few traces left. I set out to interpret what the local river means to Sheffield and the other areas it flows through. Once the raison d’etre for the steel industry, the river is being transformed for residential and leisure use. It was residential use that brought me to this area. However, the past is what is inspiring my new quilts.

The rolling mills, the base of a watermill, furnaces. As a schoolgirl I visited Templeborough Steel Mills (now the site of Magna). It made an impression on me, the heat, the noise, the red hot steel being moulded into shape. I also visited the crucible steel making at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet many years ago.

Some of the old cutlery firms have been re-furbished to form residential apartments. The old Dixon firm is one of the best. There is only one complete cementation furnace left, out of hundreds and hundreds.

Quilts inspired by the river
Visit to Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield

I shall be exploring new techniques and ways to interpret what I find. I am enjoying this work immensely. I want to record my feelings about the Sheffield I knew, the Sheffield that existed along the river before I was even born. First I look for shapes related to the images that have inspired me. I translate these into quilts, interpreting the design. Then it is all down to my cutting and piecing skills. Best get stitching.

Quilts inspired by River Don
Sketchbook work inspired by River Don
Sketchbook River Don
Sketchbook working with shapes
Sktachbook River Don
Sketchbook work River Don

Tune in next Monday for the weekly blog

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book Review Hand Stitched Landscapes & Flowers by Katrina Witten

Book Review Hand Stitched Landscapes & Flowers by Katrina Witten, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 978782214519, price 17.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Exploring the natural world through stitch is something that many of us do, so I am sure this book will prove popular. It embraces a variety of subjects from flowers to butterflies. A good variety of techniques and stitches are used throughout the 10 embroidery projects included. This is a book full of inspiration and ideas for embroiderers new and old. Learn to use different fabrics and threads. Find equipment, materials and embellishments to enhance projects. There is a short section on design and composition. The stitch section is very good and amply illustrated. The techniques section includes working with organza and three-dimensional effects. The projects included are Hedgerow, Woodland, Cornflowers, Sunflowers, Butterfly, Poppy Field, Poppies, Flower, Buddleja and Hydrangea. Templates and outlines are included at the back of the book. However, if you study the techniques, stitch and equipment sections, you will be able to use them to create many other projects. A lovely introduction to capturing nature in stitch.

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Competition Quilts British Stitch and Quilt Show April 2019

Competition quilts are what so many visitors to shows come to see. This small show with a village atmosphere does not disappoint. There were many competition quilts on show and I just want to share some of them with you.

I am going to start with one of my favourite competition quilts at the show in the Traditional category. It is a ‘Dear Jane’ quilt by Francis Meredith. I wonder what your favourite is? This is so beautiful and the kind of quilt I would want on my bed.

Competition Quilts Dear Jane by Francis Meredith
Francis Meredith

The next one is also a favourite and was so realistic it looked like you could just walk into the church. Applique and some cut-outs. Michael Fitchett was a deserving winner with the Heart of The Midlands Group entry.

competition quilts Michael Fitchett's group entry Heart of The Midlands
Michael Fitchett

This was stunning but it was not lying flat ‘Egyptian Dahlia’ by Alison Francis.

Alison Francis competition quilt 'Egyptian Dahlia'
Alison Francis

‘Autumn Leaves’ are always a good theme and colourway. This was made by Anthea Stokes.

'Autumn Leaves' by Anthea Stokes.
Anthea Stokes

If you like that theme, you might find my own design I created last autumn of interest, it is available as a pattern

The quilt itself is also available for sale and I have another autumn wall hanging quilt kit

Heather Hasthorpe was a winner with a group entry quilt based on baskets. It was long armed.

Heather Hasthorpe
Heather Hasthorpe

Kathy Unwin 'Plastic Ocean
Kathy Unwin

Kathy Unwin’s ‘Plastic Ocean’ above, which I believe was shown at FOQ 2018 and below Susan Brown’s ‘Log-A-Rhythm’, also a winner.

Susan Brown's Log-A-Rhythm
Susan Brown

Michelle Whitby’s ‘Woodland Peaks’ – a masterpiece in quilting.

Woodland Peaks by Michelle Whitby
Michelle Whitby

Last of all here are the quilts in the Miniature category. My own design is the hydrangea blue one. This will shortly be available as a kit.

Join me for the next quilting blog, every Monday. I write about various aspects of design plus anything else that fits in with quilting. copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Inspiration for Quilters Local Landscape

Inspiration for quilters can be found anywhere and everywhere. The local landscape is always an excellent place to start when looking for inspiration for quilters. Your local landscape (unless you live in this location) may be different to mine, but you’ll find the inspiration you need if you just look.

You’ll be looking for inspiring views but also concentrating on shapes. Absolutely anything from the banal to the extraordinary can spark off the imagination. Be prepared to look anew, with fresh eyes and open your mind. If you are stuck for inspiration, take a look at my series of ebooks to get you going.

It is true that I have often wished to live somewhere more inspiring, but really my home city is proving to be full of inspiration, right on my doorstep. Take a look around and see what you can find.

I have already talked about one or two ideas I have had from the local landscape and that it is my wish to concentrate on the River Don. This week I walked further along the Don than ever before. I found the nearest ‘picturesque’ spot to the city centre.

I love all the bridges, most of them are from the 1800s. The ripples on the river. The plants along the riverside. The teams have been working hard to rid the river of invasive species. The trees on this part of the river are beautiful and there is a small nature reserve. Occasionally the route goes back to the road. In one spot, the brightly coloured Spiraea was aflame with orange.

What inspiration did I gather from my walk? I noted down patterns, shapes, reflections, a possible landscape quilt. Flora and fauna. I loved the fresh greens of the new leaves. Colours were gathered and recorded. I also made use of some of the photographs digitally, you can see below.

The wonderful thing about inspiration from a natural habitat such as a river or garden, is that it will change through the seasons. So you can keep returning and recording the changes. Until next time, keep quilting.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt

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Book Review The Encyclopedia of Knitting Techniques by Lesley Stanfield & Melody Griffiths

The Encyclopedia of Knitting Techniques by Lesley Stanfield & Melody Griffiths, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216445, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com

A new, updated edition of this classic reference book for hand knitters. A great step-by-step guide to knitting for beginners upwards. A colourful stitch dictionary and projects show the full versatility of knitting. All the various types of stitch are covered from texture to lace, plain stocking stitch to fair-isle. This book has some good stitch combinations such as honeycomb and oxo. Includes knitting skills, stitches and design. Once you have mastered the basics of knit and purl, cast on and off, your needles are your oyster. You can create anything. A classic reference.



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Photography For Quilters What To Photograph

Photography For Quilters is a wide subject. Basically almost anything goes when using photography for quilters. In this week’s blog I am going to give you some tips of what to photograph and what you can get out of your photographs for quilting. See my Advanced Photoshop techniques ecourse about unique techniques for quilting.

Obviously photography for quilters can include images of any subject, say a flower and use it as is. Or a landscape that you simplify. In this blog, I am going to take you through the walk I did with my camera yesterday afternoon.

I have started a ‘river’ theme. I am working on my local river, looking for ideas for my art, which includes not only quilts but textiles and digital manipulation.

I have done this walk many times, sometimes with the camera, sometimes not. I am actually hoping to see the kingfishers and herons that are often on this part of the river. So far one flash of heron a long time ago.

Come walk with me. This bit of the river is very close to the city centre. On my way to the river, I pass the Kelham Island museum and the remains of the rolling mills, which I showed you a few weeks ago. I have decided this will be one of my quilts. In my image, I have a basic shape.

Photo 2 is looking down the river to Kelham Island. I have already created a few years ago, digital manipulations of this, that one day I might make into quilts. I also love the Bessemer converter, texture is something I like to include in my work.

I am loving the reflection in the glass of the bridge, I am sure I can work with this image in terms of repeated pattern.

Lady’s bridge is the oldest bridge. As a landscape it does not offer me much, but sometimes you have to be prepared to use more than one photo and apply a little artistic licence.

The Church and Mill again I have already used as digital manipulations and am hoping to turn those into quilts too.

This stone bridge has an interesting detail. Details can be used in quilts to add a personal touch.

There is always a new view. I did not even know there was a rusty old bridge there. Rust is something I love and I have lots of bits of rusted fabric that I hand dyed to make a wall quilt.

So my half hour or so has produced so much inspiration, I shall need an army of quilters to help.

Words work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilting blog modern quilts and modern quilting for everyone

Modern quilting. What is it? Is it for you?

I must admit I love most modern quilting, but the term is becoming very loosely used and almost describes everything that is not traditional.

There are subcategories within modern quilts –

Contemporary – what I think of as the typical modern quilt. A quilt with bold design, bold use of colour and striking quilting. This style often has large areas of plain colour and almost always uses fmq – free motion quilting. The quilts fit into the modern home. I am concentrating on this style in my new ecourse on Contemporary Modern Quilts. I will be introducing simple modern lines with a twist. The ecourse will discuss design, elements and how to create fabulous modern quilts, with many examples.

Trad-Modern Quilts – these are a halfway house between traditional quilting and modern. So it might be an updated quilting block, a new colourway or something unusual to make it not quite traditional.

Now there also seems to be a category developing where anything that does not fit into any other category, is called modern. We have to be careful here because modern quilts are not the trashcan for quilts that cannot be categorised. I have seen some quite busy quilts with very definite traditional techniques recently called ‘modern’. We have to be careful not the dilute the term.

Techniques are one area that can help define modern quilts. Sometimes the techniques are traditional but the cutting is modern freeform. We can also introduce new fabrics that we would not put into a traditional quilt.

As designs go, as long as you are happy with the use of space and colour, you’ll crack designing modern quilts quite easily.

This style can be used for bed quilts, wall quilts, small accessories and projects and for table runners, bed runners and so on. It is a style that lends itself easily to interpretation. So have a go.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

modern quilting
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Book review 200 More Crochet Stitches by Tracey Todhunter

200 crochet stitches

Book review 200 More Crochet Stitches by Tracey Todhunter, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216636, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

A fabulous stitchopedia of 200 more crochet stitches. A companion to the 200 crochet stitches already published by the same publisher. A book you will thumb through often to choose the right stitch for all your crochet projects. Great clear photos and easy to follow charts and step-by-step instructions. This practical guide will be your best crochet buddy. The Directory is divided into 24 basic stitches, 16 fans and shells, 20 clusters, puffs and popcorns, 14 spikes, 19 raised, 17 mesh, 18 lace, 13 chevron, 19 textured, 10 Tunisian, 15 coloured and 11 edgings. A fabulous range of stitches for every crocheter. In addition there are the basic techniques and stitches, variations and abbreviations. A full colour book that is a must for crochet addicts.

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Book Review Cozy Wool Applique by Elizabeth A Angus

wool applique

Cozy Wool Applique by Elizabeth A Angus, published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 978-1617456008, price 14.99, available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

Make a start with wool applique with 11 seasonal projects for the home. Simple but effective shape and style embraces the joy of hand stitching wool motifs. Embroidery adds a homely touch. Make cushions and table runners. This small volume starts with general guidelines, pillow and table runner construction, stitch glossary and then straight into the handsome projects. The snowmen are my favourites. At the back of the book, you’ll find all the pattern pieces to trace off as templates. Good for beginners.

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Monday blog quilting news and products

Monday blog Spring Inspirations ebook

It’s Monday and in my home, that means blog day. Monday blog is a way to get my week off to a swing. I was hoping for good, good, good news all the way but it’s sort of good, good, oh hum. Not quite the good, the bad and the ugly, but a close shave!

Let’s kick start this Monday blog with good because that is my favourite place to start. My new Spring Inspirations ebook is out. 500 fabulous photos offer tons of inspiration for artists and textiles. Looking for a fab flower to quilt? You’ve got it. How about a coastal scene? No problem. You can use the images to design your textiles or quilts, to paint, inspire your pottery or whatever. Sorted. The ebook is on the website now, and at just 7.99 makes a superb gift too. I think you are going to love the cover.

More good news, yes, the lovely original sunflower quilt, the pattern for which was launched last week, is now on sale on the website. There is only one made, although I can make similar, but grab this original Karen Platt quilt now, while you can. It’s pure sunshine all the way. You want a piece of me, be happy with a quilt x

Now we come to ho hum. When I joked that version 3 of the competition quilt was a goer and looking great, but that finishing 3 weeks early meant that I would have time to do version 4 if not 5, I had no idea that by Sunday I would truly be on version 4. There was much cursing and hating of quilts. Then I put my head down and got on with it. What else to do? The main problem is that when I entered this quilt competition at the British Stitch and Quilt Village, I had no idea what I was going to quilt, but had to come up with a category and a title. Not only that a price too. Ever since I have cursed myself. I limited myself to something I thought of on the spur of the moment. I am not saying anything about version 4, I have learned my lesson. Version 1 was slightly too large. Version 2 at least twice the work I had priced the quilt at. Version 3 an utter mess – what was I doing? Not a word about version 4. If I have to go to version 5, I am giving up not just on quilting but on life. I am also doing a colour workshop at this show, so sign up now, I have heard tickets are going fast.

It cannot be all that bad. The sun is shining. I can still quilt. Version 1 is now on sale on the website. I have a lovely version 2 hand-stitching project going on. I am dying to start the FOQ quilt, but before I name it and price it, I am going to work out exactly what I am doing and how.

See you next week with all my quilting news x