Stitch, Fabric & Thread by Elizabeth Healey, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782212850, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
A veritable feast of stitchery. This books presents more than 40 inspiring exercises to free your creative mind. Different techniques are explored including quilting, printing, dyeing, couching, needlelace and more inspired by cultures around the world. Includes a stitch gallery and templates. Features on boro, Gee’s Bend quilters and Dorset buttons. Small projects throughout to try out your new skills. Love the embroidered circles of felt and the raised stitch and pleats and folds sections, the rag book and mola. Crammed full of ideas.
Fair-Isle Knitting by Monica Russel, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215806, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
This book offers three separate things – instructions on techniques; 45 stitch designs and 14 knitting patterns under the umbrella Fair-Isle. You can choose to knit from charts or written instructions. It’s a very loose look at fair-isle, that people often mistake as just colour knitting. It borders on folk and intarsia instead of true fair-isle. The patterns use a variety of yarn including Jamesons shetland, which comes in a fabulous range of colours, but this author sadly has no colour sense at all. Some of the samples have had the yarn stretched tight at the back too, a rookie error with fair-isle. The projects, assuming you think about the colours, are better than the sample stitch patterns but still too many are just coloured knitting methods and not fair-isle. A big disappointment if you are expecting what the title says. There is so little in this book about real fair-isle knitting.
Teaching online is what I have been doing for over three years. Following on from last week’s post Stay At Home Quilter, here’s more tips and ideas.
It’s over three years since I started teaching online. On the website are a number of ecourses for textiles and quilting, inspirational ebooks for all artists and tutorials so that people can learn wherever they live. All my work is exclusive and is written from scratch from my personal hands-on experience and to my knowledge is unlike any other course. Everyone who has taken an ecourse so far has recommended it.
Gardening ebooks are also available exclusively on the website under ebooks.
I have been a languages teacher for over 40 years. Online French and Spanish lessons (beginners any age and adult conversation) are now available alongside online primary Maths and English. If you fear your children might fall behind and need some lessons, you can contact me, or find me on firsttutors.com (very reasonably priced as they take no commission) and from next week on tutorful. I am a fully qualified and experienced teacher.
Teaching online is so important to me as I am unable to go out to work and this is a lifeline to me.
I have created three facebook videos so far on my timeline. These are free to watch. They do not contain the same level of teaching as the paid ecourses but they are a way of tapping into ideas for free. They are all about creating from home. Time to Create at home is all about occupying the mind with positive thoughts and there is no better way to do that than to create. I talked about drawing and choosing something close to hand. There were tips for drawing and I showed some simple samples that anyone can do.
It’s not a structured course, just ideas to keep the mind occupied that anyone can do and develop on their own. If enough people are interested I will create a group where work can be shared. Join in as I don’t want to stop owing to lack of interest.
It’s not a new thing for me, I have been a stay at home quilter for many years and textile artist before that. I have been practising real social distancing, 2-3 metre between me and the next individual and I am holed up over 98% of the time indoors.
Occupying My Time
As a workaholic, working from home has always suited me. I am however struck by and alarmed by the misconception of social distancing. It is time to stay at home people, whether your government recommends it or not.
I start my day with an exercise programme. I keep moving through the day – this is important. There is no iron next to my sewing machine, I have to get up and move. There is no kettle, I have to go to the kitchen.
Fresh air is important so I choose a quiet time of the day for a walk ensuring I keep my distance. Stay safe.
I am staying in contact with people on social media so I do not feel isolated. I am not panicked nor fearful, I believe strongly in stopping the spread of the virus. Follow me on Fb, Instagram where I can be found as KarenPlatt_Textiles and Twitter
What did I Make This Week?
I have a new launch. I have released my inspirational guide to Lisbon and created new artwork for it, one of which is used as the front cover. That’s the fourth in the travel inspiration ebooks.
I have also been improv quilting, creating blocks. I am happy with these although they seem to take about 45 mins each, which seems a long time. It’s a great way of using up fabric scraps and scrap quilting.
Talking of scraps, I also gathered some tiny bits of fabric and created a fabric and thread bowl.
Apart from my quilting ecourses online, allowing you to be a stay at home quilter too, I am now also teaching French and Spanish online. I am a fully qualified and experienced languages teacher teaching children and adults. You can find me on this website
Quilt those scraps! When inspiration evades you, or you have too many scraps, just sit down and quilt. It doesn’t really matter if you make a project or not, just make a start.
It has been a very rough week for me, getting my foot and leg to behave (tendonitis) and coping with digestive problems that knocked me out. It was not until Saturday that I felt well enough to sit in front of the sewing machine and stand long enough to cut fabric.
Quilt those scraps. There must be a hundred ways to do it. You can gather together fabrics by colour, pattern, size. You can put together a colour scheme, or throw in the kitchen sink. The most important thing is to make a start and get going.
Quilting scraps serves two purposes. It can get you over the doldrums and it can reduce your scrap stash. Have you noticed how that multiplies?
Check out my scrap quilt tutorial, it was made with scraps from just one fabric. If you love that original quilt, it is for sale, but hurry as there is only one here
Wonky Line Scrap Quilting
Making wonky lines is fun. It’s a fairly quick way to use up scraps. Just find scraps of the same or similar length and stitch together, cutting some strips at an angle. I think these always look better with a limited colour scheme, but hey it’s scraps, so anything goes.
Wonky Log Cabin
An old take on the even older traditional log cabin block. Instead of all pieces being equal width, you cut some wonky ones. It’s a bit more challenging than the Wonky Line method. Again it is quick and uses up a bundle of scraps in no time. Each block you make can be different, so you don’t need too much of the same material. Just have fun and experiment.
New ebooks, two new ebooks have launched today in addition to my long list of ebooks already on the website. I had been writing my new quilting ebook for some months, dipping in and out, adding more quilts. This wonderful new ebook includes all the quilts I have made from 2015 when I made tentative steps in quilting, to 2019 as a fully fledged quilt designer.
However it is not just a pictorial book of my quilts, it is much more than that. It is a book to help quilters design their own quilts. It has over 130 images of inspiration, notes and guidelines on design and the finished quilt plus a critique of each quilt. Each of these areas are important if you are to become a successful quilt designer. It shows quilts of many kinds and how to design them.
So I hope that you will join me in my new project, the quilting ebook can be purchased here
It’s a great achievement to finish one new ebook, but I actually finished two! The second new ebook is my book of my journey to Marseille. It’s a step by step guide to where I went, what I saw, and how I felt about it all. Follow me and discover Marseille, not just the city but the coast and museums. This new ebook contains over 300 photos. So even if you are not planning a trip, but enjoy armchair travel, you can sit back and enjoy the photos. I spent a week in France’s second city and discovered all it has to offer. I now want to share this with you. This ebook can be purchased here
Next week I hope to show you some quilting, if I can stand on my leg to cut and sew, but that’s another story. If not, it’s knitting and writing, I might just finish the Improve Your Quilting ecourse x
Knitting Patterns a new collection of patterns inspired by the Peak District and available exclusively on the website.
This collection of knitting patterns was inspired by the colours and textures of the Peak District. 10 knitting patterns are included in ebook pdf format only from the website, click the link to see all 10 patterns. I have really enjoyed designing and making up my patterns for you to enjoy too. The patterns include shawls, a stole, hats, mitts and scarves plus a cardigan and bolero. They are all patterns for women. I have concentrated on wraps because the weather often suddenly changes in the Peak and it is good to wear layers or have a stole, hat and gloves with you.
The range of patterns was inspired by the Peak District from a walk along Stanage Edge one day last year. The yarns used made me think of the Peak in all its glory, no matter what the season.
A variety of stitches is used in the projects and there is something for beginners and intermediate knitters too.
The second collection of exclusive designer knitwear is already underway, inspired by Cornwall. I have four books planned with all the knitting already done.
A number of textile pieces were also finished this week. The hearts were one of the first things I made. I have some felted ones I am thinking of using in a project.
This green piece is all about texture and is based on lichen. This is part of a series. It was loved on Instagram.
This circles piece is part of my work inspired by The Sahara. Most of the work in this series is already online and shown in the Sahara inspiration ebook.
My mother textile piece did not get worked on at all, I am still pondering. I think it is taking on a new direction.
How To Make Cloth Dolls by Jan Horrox, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9871782217862, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Thorough step by step instructions to make six colourful character dolls including Titania and Morwenna, a fairy, nymph, mermaid and steampunk doll with some alternatives too. You’ll find detailed instructions to make each doll plus equally detailed instructions on basic techniques and advice on fabrics and tools. Use a wide range of fabrics to make beautiful dolls. Fabulous close ups of the dolls and techniques used to sculpt the face and body. Some of the dolls are jointed. The doll pattern pieces are full size.
If you do not own the previously published books, this is a great book on doll making. A stunning book with great photos and instructions. Take your doll making into an art form with Jan’s methods. She has deservedly earned a reputation amongst doll makers.
Wow what a bumper week, not one but six projects finished. One textile piece (not included today) and five art quilts. Plus some hand stitching done, knitting, writing and I am embarking on some voluntary work. Breathe. Quilting my heart out indeed and how joyful that was.
Digital Art Quilting
It was such fun working on my new art quilts. I just love the design process. First up was the church one, I have done this one once before but was very hesitant about the quilting. I have had much practice since then and this one went very well.
Next up was a Shapes design (actually there is more than one but I have only printed and stitched one so far), I am so in love with the colours and the threads matched very well.
Along with those two sitting forgotten about in the same drawer was big bird. What took me so long to put this under the machine? He is chirping away merrily now.
Fabric Collage Quilting
Also in that drawer was a few pieces left over from one of the tea quilts. So this is the third in the series, getting a bit bolder with my machine quilting now. I would not have attempted writing Camellia sinensis this time last year. (Note to self, the other two tea quilts are not on the website).
Last but not least is another bird, Fantastic bird, an imaginary masterpiece! I did the background last week and the bird this week. Just love him. Hope you agree and that all these new pieces quickly find homes.
Tune in next Monday for another bumper selection of work and find out if I was quilting my heart out again. There is a clue in there as to next week’s projects.
Lace Knitting by Denise Samson, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782218135, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com
Lace Knitting can be romantic yet practical. In this book you’ll discover lace knitting techniques, charts and patterns with 30 projects to make and 40 stitches offering much inspiration. The lace stitch patterns are divided into edgings and panels (12); leaves (4); diagonals (7); overall (11); reversible (3) and twisted (3) . The projects include garments, accessories and household textiles. You’ll find small projects such as hats using one stitch. I particularly like the chid’s cardigan with lace heart pockets and the lace top with scallop motifs. There are two attractive sock patterns and the bed coverlet is a heirloom pattern. My top make is the Bolero, it is beautiful. I’m not sure that many knit dresses and this book includes a fair few. The introduction includes gauge and blocking as well as charts. If you need full written instructions, this book is not for you as it relies totally on charts. Also if you are not used to working out which needle to use to give a specific tension, this is not for you as needle size is not given at all. An interesting addition for any lovers of lace knitting. This book was first published in Norwegian and has also been published in the USA.