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Six month retrospective – quilting, writing, inspiration

Six month retrospective – a look back at my textiles, quilting and writing work. A retrospective of all my work from 21 December 2018 to 21 June 2019.

It’s always good to look back over work and remind yourself of your achievements. I did this for the six previous months to 21 Dec 2018 also, and it popped up in my facebook feed. My immediate reaction was, I have not really done much since then. That is how it felt. So I checked. I am amazed. Here is my six month retrospective of all the work finished and completed in the last six months. Sit back and enjoy.

Quilts

It is odd that you can persuade yourself that the past six months have been a wilderness. I completed not one, not two, but five quilts. Yes five. That is a huge increase in production for me. After two years, I have obviously got the hang of things. Quilt patterns are Hydrangea and Sunflower wall hangings, Charm Quilt (recently featured in British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine – first feature in a quilting magazine), Snowflakes and my favourite Bells of St. Clements Quilt. All quilts are also for sale. Patterns and quilts are on sale on the website.

retrospective hydrangea quilt
Hydrangea quilt pattern
retrospective sunflower quilt
Sunflower Quilt Pattern
Retrospective Charm Quilt
Charm Quilt Pattern
Snowflakes Quilts
Snowflakes Quilt Pattern
quilt pattern
Bells of St Clements Quilt Pattern

Unique Quilting Fabrics

My work has given rise to the creation of digital fabrics for you to enjoy. I created original fabrics based on snowflakes, tiles and stained glass. They are all for sale on the website.

stained glass fabric

Quilting eCourses

Well I perhaps have been a bit slow on the introduction of new quilting ecourses, but the one that was launched is a whopper on the subject of Colour for Quilters (and any other artists). It was entirely written by me from hands on experience and study of the subject over many years.

quilting ecourses
Colour for Quilters ecourse

Inspiration ebooks

We all need inspiration from time to time and I have been building up a library of Inspiration ebooks from my own photos. The Inspiration ebooks are dedicated to themes, seasons or travel. Three new ones were launched in the past six months, bringing the total number to ten. Church Architecture, Spring and Summer are the new additions to the website.

Inspiration ebook churches
Inspiration for artists and quilters – churches
Inspirations ebook spring
Spring Inspiration ebook
Inspiration summer ebook
Summer Inspirations ebook

Finally, this period also saw the launch of a free brochure available for you to download for the ecourses and more. So all that remains is for me to tell you what is in the pipeline for the next six months. Many more quilts, I shall be concentrating on some pieced work as well as art quilts. The first BOM will be launched, more about that next week. I have a quilt going off to FOQ shortly. The Desert Inspirations ebook is almost ready to launch, as is the first travel inspiration book on Madeira. I think the next six months look very interesting. If nothing else it launches the talks at FOQ, another first. All my work is original.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Visiting Manchester and Salford for Houses, Arts, Crafts and Cathedrals

Visiting Manchester this week became one of my favourite things. I managed to visit one Manchester Elizabethan house, three art exhibitions and two cathedrals. This was an impromptu visit, totally unplanned, it arose as the result of double booking a hotel. I was fortunate that they allowed me to change the booking.

Visiting Manchester is quick, easy and cheap from Sheffield. Last Tuesday I caught the train to Manchester for the bargain price of 5.90 return! Then I caught the Metro to Salford Quays. Yes, even if you did not see my Guess where? photos this week, you have probably guessed my first destination.

The Lowry

My first stop on my midweek trail was The Lowry to see Lowry’s art. I know some who describe it in less than endearing terms, but if you go to the gallery, you will see the classical nudes he drew when he was studying. Don’t say the man painted as he did because he lacked technical skill, he did not. Then I tried to walk to my second pitstop, but the body was not willing, so at 3pm, I had to go to the hotel.

Visiting Manchester

https://thelowry.com/whats-on/ls-lowry-the-art-the-artist/

Salford
Salford Quays

Ordsall Hall

Fortunately second on my list was just around the corner, although no-one seemed to know. Ordsall Hall deserves to be on everyone’s ‘to visit’ list. Not only is it fabulous, the staff are truly wonderful. Within a few minutes of my arrival I had to sit down as a migraine had started. The aura soon passed off with a couple of tablets and I really enjoyed this house, garden and the staff are so friendly and knowledgable, not to mention helpful. Two quilts were hanging in the Great Hall and there is a wonderful period bed. A map of how to get to destination three was kindly given to me.

Visiting Manchester
Ordsall Hall

https://ordsallhall.com

Salford Museum and Art gallery

It was a bit of a longer walk than I had imagined, but hey, struggling with lack of sleep, vertigo and a migraine, I was getting there on sheer determination. So glad I did! Salford Museum and Art gallery is a little gem with an excellent printmaking exhibition entitled Transformations at the moment. I popped my head into Salford Cathedral, nosing into the small gallery on the way (GK Gallery and tearoom on Chapel St), which would have been great if I were not suffering nausea. Long walk back to the hotel and again I had to crash out at 4pm. https://salfordmuseum.com

Salford
Salford
Salford Museum
Salford Art Gallery
Salford Art Gallery

https://salfordmuseum.com/event/exhibition-transformations/

Transformations printmaking


Salford University
Salford University
Salford
Peel Park
Peel Park
Peel Park


Manchester Cathedral

Final day was a trip into Manchester on the Metro. Store the small suitcase, then off on the free bus. I stopped off at Manchester Cathedral – oh what fabulous stained glass, but unfortunately they were setting up for an exhibition, so much of the Cathedral was out of bounds. Some beautiful tapestry kneelers.

Manchester Cathedral

http://www.manchestercathedral.org

Whitworth Gallery

My final stop was none other than the Whitworth Gallery to see the Goya prints. Very excited to see the small Andean textiles exhibition. Always worth a visit. I was lucky enough for the next exhibition on Islamic textiles to be set up too for the opening night. https://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk

Manchester Whitworth Gallery
Whitworth Gallery

All the venues and exhibitions were free entry. Visiting Manchester could also have included a trip to Mrs Gaskell’s House, Platt Museum of Textiles and the Lowry Theatre to name a few. I have not recovered yet, feeling under the weather and drained. Must get cracking with my quilts and writing. It’s awfully nice to be out and about, but it’s good to come home 🙂

See my current work on https://karenplatt.co.uk

Words, images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilting Blog Hands-on Quilt Designer

In the quilting blog this week is my progress with the FOQ 2019 quilt, appearances and workshops.

Quilting Progress

For the FOQ quilt it was a case of leave it until I realised what was bugging me about it. That took 6 days. Never think designing a quilt happens in minutes and is then just sewn together perfectly. What is on paper, if you are designing from scratch, often changes when you are stitching when you realise a) it does not work b) it would work better another way or c) something else entirely will work better.

Something had been bugging me about the quilt since the second section. I just could not see what it was. When I finally realised I kicked myself, not only because I had not followed my gut feeling about piecing, but because I had to unpick. There might be six letters in that word but it really is a four-letter word to quilters. It not only means tedium, but is time consuming. However, it is all done now and the next section is also pieced. Just the final section to go and I am there. I have two ideas for that running around my head. I might not use either of them.

What’s New

Whilst I was waiting for things to click, I started cutting another quilt. I am playing with ways to piece this.

quilting
piecing
quilting piecing
quilting blog

Quilting Workshops

Finally I believe the workshop bookings are open at the West Country Quilt Show, so you can book any three of the workshops I am offering.

Quilters’ Guild Members Discount

If you are a member of the Quilter’s Guild, you’ll also see I am offering 10% off purchases online. You can also see my online page on there and ask about booking me for a talk or workshop in your region. You can see all my work on my website here

Join me next week for the quilting blog, when I hope to have that FOQ quilt nearing completion.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book review – Organic Applique by Kathy Doughty

Organic Applique by Kathy Doughty, softback published by Stash Books. ISBN 978-1617458231, price 21.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

The intro chapters are more Doughty’s philosophy on life than quilting per se. I am very attracted to the colourful quilts and applique shapes in this book. I am particularly drawn to the organic flowers and plants. There are useful exercises for choosing fabrics. Instructions include basting, needle turn applique, EPP and hand quilting. You’ll also find a chapter on inspiration, although the photos in this are not very inspiring and poor quality. Design tips for those who prefer to use the book purely for inspiration and projects for those who need something more concrete to follow. If you are a Doughty fan and a lover of interesting fabrics and applique, you’ll most likely love this book. Something of a pot boiler perhaps.

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New QUILTING Launches June is Bursting Out All Over


Good Quilting News

New quilting launches. It’s one of those months when I just know things are coming to fruition. June is absolutely chock full of new quilting launches. My new quilting launches include quilts, BOM, tutorials, features, workshops. What more could the quilting world want?

My FOQ quilt is well on its way, hurrah. It’s not the one I wanted to do, but hey ho, that happens sometimes as a designer when you set the bar too high. I am satisfied that it is something I can finish, it has a twist and good colour combination. That’s good enough for me. Another wall hanging quilt is planned and another in the Don River series. Yesterday I walked some more of the river. I think I have quilted more than last year.

River Don
River Don


Autumn Quilting Launch

A brand new quilting launch for me – my first BOM. This is an autumn start BOM, not a one year long haul, but something manageable for everyone. Something everyone can do. Join me now. It is going to be exciting. Fabrics are available or you can buy your own. This is not an expensive BOM, but one I hope everyone feels they can afford.

New quilting launches

There will be at least one new tutorial, maybe more. All the new launches will be on the website, click here. The July issue of British Quilting & Patchwork features my first and last quilt. How tremendous is this my first feature in a quilting magazine! More great news is that booking should now be open online at the West Country Quilt Show, where you can book one of three workshops I am teaching at this show. The workshops are repeated each day, so take your pick from quilting coasters, quilting a landscape or hand stitched Cathedral Window quilting. One workshop has already sold out. I have heard fantastic recommendations of this show, so I hope you will join me. Book here

Join me next Monday on the blog, Karen

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilt Design Abandoning A Design

Abandoning a design at making stage seems to be my thing when it comes to competition quilts. It’s not something I normally do, nor would recommend. I know many quilters have UFO’s, quilts they have not finished, but for me, as a designer, I’m not into abandoning a design. Yet each time I have designed for competitions, it has happened.

So my FOQ quilt is the latest victim. I love my idea, but it is rather complicated and there are silences in the quilt room – no whirr of the machine, no progress. I loved the hand quilted section, and this will be used in another quilt. Everything else was not gelling and I realised this morning that although the difference in scale still meant that the hand quilted section matched up with the machine quilted ones eventually, when I came to do the top quilting, it was not going to look right. There were also numerous problems yet to solve. So I called it a day, having thought of another idea to pursue.

abandoning a design

I have already made a start on the new quilt and four small blocks have been joined into one. Although this is a much simpler design than the one I wanted to enter, at least it will not cause long periods of no progress. And there is a lot to be said for that. The fabrics will not be wasted. If I work at this a few hours a day, it will be finished in 10 days maximum. So that’s perfect too and I can get back to the quilting I want to do.

quilt design

However, it has left me wondering if this is really for me or if this is my last quilt competition entry. Only time will tell, but I have not made a very auspicious start. Designs for sale are here

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book Review Painting Expressive Landscapes by Carole Robson

Painting Expressive Landscapes by Carole Robson, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215530, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

A hallmark of this work is semi-abstract landscapes in watercolour and mixed media. The latter is water-soluble media and collage. The book is well illustrated with wonderful paintings, which should offer much inspiration. Flowing media are used to capture the essence of the natural landscape. You’ll find information on paint consistency; the usual watercolour techniques such as wet-in-wet and washes; pigments and their properties; colour and tools. There is also a section on ‘expressive techniques’. The author states these are not new and began with Turner, but mention should also be made of Ann Blockley, who has made many of these techniques her own. I love Carole’s paintings of her local landscape, although her work is very reminiscent of Ann’s to a point. Yet there is much here that is Carole, and for that I am glad. She is an experimenter and is pushing the boundaries. I like the abstracts and the use of digital art too. There are three step-by-step projects: Woodland with Silver Birch; Wayside Verge and Beach At Sunset, which explore the techniques. Fabulous images and easy to use.

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Book Review 200 Crochet Stitches by Sarah Hazell

200 Crochet Stitches by Sarah Hazell, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781844489633, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com

crochet

Discover new stitches and ways to work with crochet. For all levels, this book includes a fabulous directory of stitches and techniques. It is so easy to use. Clear step-by-step photos guide you all the way. A wonderful array of stitches to add a little oomph to your crochet projects. At a glance stitches at the front of the book are divided into stitch type. Getting Started takes you through everything you need to know from materials and tools to basic techniques. For each stitch, you will see a clear photograph, at least two step-by-step photos and a chart. There are too many stitches to single out, but I always love the waves and picots, the cross-over stitches and more. Lots to try out and beautifully presented.

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River Theme Quilt Design 2 Exhibition

The River Theme Quilt 2 is underway as of today. Whilst it is true that I have not quite finished the first River Theme Quilt, I have started Quilt 2. On the first one I still have to do the binding, that was halted by health issues. I have the design ready for quilt 2 and have started the cutting. These two quilts form a mini-series based on the flow of the river itself. I have used my existing blue offcuts in this quilt. I think I shall have enough to make it work.

river theme quilt

The River Theme is just what it says it is. I am following the course of the River Don and interpreting it in artistic ways with a view to exhibiting in several towns and cities along its course. There will also be an online exhibition of work and all work will be for sale here. This will include all original work, digital prints, original quilts and quilt kits.

I managed two river walks this week. There is still much to do, but I am already using my skills to interpret the inspiration I have finding. The latter is so varied from old steel mills and the cutlery industry to beautiful landscapes. Apart from the quilts, I have already created a series of digital prints. I intend to paint and create some textiles too and to offer some teaching. It is my biggest project yet.

River Theme

This is a period of great quilting activity for me, as I also took the plunge and sent off my form to exhibit a quilt at this year’s FOQ as well as offering two talks there, don’t forget to book. I hope that does not come back to bite me. I think I am juggling at least three balls (make that quilts).

Happy creating until next time.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book Review Modern Art Quilts by Sue Bleiweiss

Modern Art Quilts by Sue Bleiweiss, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing). ISBN 978-1617456817, price 22.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

This book includes Art & Design, Inspiration, Tools & Materials, Techniques, Putting It All Together, Projects, What’s Next? and an appendix for dyeing fabric. There are 7 projects to make and templates are included. The book concentrates on fusing and quilt as you go. This is a book for absolute beginners. It gives a basic introduction to the elements of design with very basic exercises. The inspiration section is also very limited. There is a good example of an artist statement. However, with everything that is already available on every subject broached in this book, there is a wealth of better information and examples to be found. I was disappointed.