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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

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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