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From Quilt Design to Completion

From Quilt Design to Completion, this morning I finished designing the scrap quilt. Boy that feels good. It took a few twists and turns along the way but it is finished and I love it. Finishing a quilt design always brings euphoria! Or should that be sewphoria!

quilt design

Progressing the Design

Last time I left you with the rectangles made and pondering where to go from there. It seems a lifetime has passed by. Many quilt ideas came and bit the dust since 31 October 2019. I spent a lot of time pinning things to the design wall and taking them down and re-pinning. From Quilt Design to Completion has been quite a journey. I kept an open mind throughout.

from quilt design to completion
arranging by size

Challenges

All design brings challenges and it is how we deal with those challenges that make or break the design. The particular challenge here was that I was dealing with different lengths and different widths of rectangle. Somehow I had to make it coherent. There were a few crazy ideas along the way.

from quilt design to completion
I cannot believe I tried this one

Bringing It All Together

Eventually something always clicks. It might come immediately, or it might take weeks, but it always happens. Patience is a virtue. Once it falls into place, it is like a dream. Every scrap of that Eagle fabric was used. Each decision you make along the process affects the final design. I had to add more length and width and opted for bands of colour. I also chose a matching fabric in colour and theme for the main player.

from quilt design to completion

The Finished Lap Quilt

Finally everything fell into place and the quilt was easy to finish. This unique quilt is on sale here, ready for one lucky buyer. The full instructions to make a quilt like this will be on sale in the quilts and patterns section of the website, so please take a look. You can also take the Design and Quilting ecourse to learn how to design your own quilts. Last of all check out the past blogs on this quilt and don’t forget to read the blog every Monday. Thanks for stopping by.

quilt design

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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New Products In Store Quilts and ebooks

New Products In Store Quilts and ebooks including two new quilted wall hangings and two new Inspiration ebooks. If you are looking for Part 3 of the Scrap Quilt, give me another week and it will be finished. This week was all about getting some new products in store. I also completed two more knitting patterns for the Peak District Knitting Book I am writing. So it was a very productive week after what has seemed like being in the wilderness.

new products in store
back of the quilts

New Quilts

I know quilters who seem to make a quilt a day and I am much much slower, which worries me sometimes but maybe it is just tortoise and hare stuff. I started the ‘Indian Wedding’ quilts on 25 September 2019. They would both have been finished one month later, but I had no binding for the second one. Now completed, here they are in all their loveliness and they are for sale here. More photos on the listing.

new products in store
Indian Wedding Quilt
new products in store
Indian Wedding Quilt

New Inspiration ebooks

New products in store also includes lots of new ebooks. At just 7.99, these are superb value. Each ebook in the series features hundreds of photos you can use to inspire your own work, often with examples of my work too. They are downloadable pfds. The new titles are Flaking Paint and Trees. Existing titles include Skies, Rust, Lichen, Bark, Coast. I am working on three forthcoming titles concerning pattern. You can see all the ebooks here

new products in store
Inspiration Book 8 Flaking Paint
Inspiration ebook nine Trees
Inspiration ebook nine Trees

Knitting Patterns

I am doing very well putting the Peak District Knitting Pattern book together. So far I have a hat, scarf, shawl, stole. Next up is a pair of socks. This knitting pattern book will be sold on Ravelry, where I already have a few patterns (nowhere near all my patterns!)

new products in store
new knitting patterns

Did I say I would finish that Scrap Quilt for next week???

Words, work and copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book Review Blended Embroidery by Brian Haggard

Blended Embroidery by Brian Haggard, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617458095, price 23.99 gbp. Available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

Always great to see a new book from this author. I love his style. This book covers how to blend the old and new, something Brian does to perfection. It covers inspiration, fabrics, stitch and projects. The introduction gives the story of Etta Mae and her trousseau. Seek and Find is all about finding things you can use in your work – it’s like treasure hunting. The projects are very satisfying. The Lacemaker is a very special piece; a small quilt with a beautiful lace edge and embellishments. There is a scissor holder and matching pincushion; a fabulous table runner; photo pincushions and sachets; a sewing butler including another pincushion, scissor holder and bag. There is also a gallery of work. Such a wonderful textile and quilting artist with a unique look. I recommend this book for its style and embellishments that could be applied to your own work.

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Quilt Design Solutions – Progressing A New Design

Where do all the bits fit?

Quilt design solutions is the process you go through from start to finish when designing a quilt from scratch. Quit design is all about problem solving. It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. This post follows on from the one last Monday, so check that out if you have not seen it. I have not progressed as much as I would have liked, but at least I have done something.

Last week we looked at the scrap pieces I had left to make this quilt. This week I have done some more sorting.

Design Decisions

Quilt design solutions involves a lot of decision making. For this quilt I had various shapes and sizes. I have had to decide the best way forward. Although I loved the diamonds and toyed with the idea of working on point, I discarded that.

The semi-circles were also wonderful and would have added a lot to the design, but I did not feel they fitted in with the rest. So it all boiled to making those sort of triangle shapes into squares.

quilt design solutions
from triangle to square

Squares

quilt design solutions
squares assembled and pressed

So my principle quilt design solution so far has been to decide on squares. Now everything is sewn into squares, I need to sort them again. I sorted according to size. I pressed each one. They have been pinned to the wall to see how many I have. A few more than you see here as I unpicked the top of the hexagons from the last quilt and added the semi-circle pieces as squares too.

quilt design solutions
sorted into sizes

My next task is to decide what comes next. Many options are still available to me. Drop by next Monday for the latest stage. Remember, you too can be a quilt designer – take my one year ecourse in Quilt Design here.

quilt design solutions
pinned to the wall for the overnight test

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilt Designer – Designing A New Design From Scratch

Quilt Designer

What does that mean? For me being a quilt designer means starting a new design from scratch. You can buy software, but the designs tend to look very similar, fresh and modern. Very attractive but I prefer to approach each quilt differently.

This latest quilt is one in which I am using the scraps left over from the previous two quilts.

How To Start

Being a quilt designer is not following a given formula for me, each quilt is different. For this quilt, I have my fabrics ready to hand. All I need do is make the best of them. I need to tap into my colour sense, but also my sense of space, placement, alignment etc. The elements and principles of design that I believe suit this individual quilt best of all. First I sort my scraps.

Quilt designer
Quilt designer sorting scraps
quilt designer
larger scraps

Working With What You Have

As a quilt designer, I am usually working with what I have as I do not have the financial resources to just go and buy new fabrics etc all the time. This is a scrap quilt, making the best of leftovers. So my colourway has already been set – it is basically blue with a hint of off white, sand and a touch of pink. That gives me a great basis to start with.

Sorting Shapes

My first task is to sort shapes. Some of the pieces were cut from the hexagons of the previous two quilts. These could make good diamonds. I can also make various rectangles, squares and have some half circles. I have to bring all these factors together and decide on the best way forward. To that end, I always pin to my design board and leave overnight.

Quilt designer
Cut from the hexagons of the previous quilt
quilt designer
various shapes sorted from the scraps

Making Decisions

Beginners often get stuck at this point, but really you can let the pieces do the work for you. What are they suggesting? I will show you next week how I solved the problems and made decisions. Here is one of the finished quilts that provided all these scraps. It will be on sale of the website shortly.

quilt designer
One of my finished quilts

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilting Know How Pinning Your Quilt

Quilting Know How Pinning brings you good quilting practices you need to know to make professional looking quilts. Last week I talked about some of the practices and this week I am taking a closer look at pinning your quilt.

Preparation – Pinning

Quilting Know How Pinning this week shows you how to get rid of those ‘tucks’ that appear in poorly quilted work. Recently I made two One Block Wonder quilts with panels. I have always been able to keep my quilting flat, right from the beginning. It was a box I ticked proudly.

Then disaster struck. As I quilted the first panel, I got tucks. I realised the fabric was perhaps a little stretchy, the border a little tight to the rest of the quilt but most importantly I had been meagre with the pins. I was desperate not to make the same mistake with the second panel. I made sure my border was perfect. But I did something else that made all the difference – Pinning.

Quilting Know How Pinning
Puckers happen when a quilt is not well pinned

Quilting Know How Pinning is all about using enough pins. I am a sparse pinner! This time, I took the time to pin thoroughly. I wanted this to look right. It worked. I stitched one way, adjusted my pins and stitched the other way.

Quilting Know How Pinnng
Pin well for a flat quilt

It is fabulous when you get it right, but a disaster if you get it wrong. It is simpler to get small projects flat. Large quilts are usually the problem. Having the space to lay out a large quilt can be problematic and result in your quilt not being flat. Follow my tips:

  1. Take as much time as it takes
  2. Never rush
  3. Leave it and come back to it if you have to
  4. Smooth and pin from the centre
  5. Check as you go
  6. Before you start to quilt ensure the back is also flat
  7. Start to quilt in the centre
Quilting Know How Pinning
Check the back is flat

Quilts pucker when washed and that is ok, that is what they are meant to do. This is entirely a different thing to the uneven surface of a badly pinned quilt. See our tutorials online here

Words, Images and Work Copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book Review Sarah Payne’s Quilt School

Sarah Payne’s Quilt School, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782217305, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Simple projects, simple steps using pre-cuts for the novice quilter. For the novice one would expect greater detail about sewing machines, tools and materials, yet this section is brief. The book gets straight into the ‘lessons’. Each lesson teaches a simple skill with a simple project. The projects are useful and practical, the instructions clear and well photographed. There are 15 projects in all. However not one of the projects is made with care – the quilting is not lying flat or not in straight lines or not quite matching in most of the photos and it is very obvious. It just does not look like professional work. This poorly executed work is throughout the book and spoils the aim of the book, which is supposed to be to teach you to quilt with accuracy.

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Quilting in Practice – Fabric, Stitch, Pinning

Quilting in Practice – Fabric, Stitch, Pinning – yes I am talking about what really matters this week – the devil really is in the details when it comes to quilting. It takes a lot to get it right every time. Starting with good fabric is a very good place to start.

Accurate piecing

Quilting in Practice

FABRIC

Fabric – so many times I see people mention cheap fabric and I cringe. Honestly it makes me ill. Quilting takes hours and you enjoy it for sure, but quality is much better than quantity when it comes to quilting. I had a tingle down my spine when last week, for the first time, I actually saw some fabric in that famous supermarket that begins with A. I took one look at it, and left it on the shelf. Just not quality fabric and therefore not something I would quilt with. Having said that, price, whilst usually an indication of quality, is not always the case when it comes to digitally produced fabrics. I was rather disappointed with some I bought from the USA a while back. If you are not familiar with the brand of fabric, go somewhere you can see and feel it. My favourite brands? Liberty, Moda and Kona solids.

quilting in practice
Good quality Moda fabrics

STITCH

My quilting still does not live up to what is in my mind. Piecing, I have my accuracy pretty good except when I am tired. But top quilting, the bit that matters, the bit you can see? It is a learning curve. I still get my quilt sticking on the corners. I also get so tense it is unreal. After an hour of quilting I feel like I have gone ten rounds in a boxing ring. Confidence is everything. I have improved so much in three years. Concentration is a must. What? You mean I have to make even more and more quilts??? For all my existing work, click online here

Karen Platt quilts
My latest quilt – that panel was a real pain

PINNING

How important is pinning! When we gain confidence, we happily piece straight pieces and even binding without pins. Pins go in sideways too not lengthways as in dressmaking. Seams need to be nested too, correct pinning helps immensely. For top quilting, it’s definitely a case of the more pins the merrier. I have pins that are long and thin and bend like Beckham, pins that are long and thicker and leave big holes and oh, those stick in your fingers and thumbs curved quilting pins that I really loathe. It is like doing battle with a thorny bush, you never escape without bleeding fingers.

Quilting in Practice
Simple straight seams can be stitched without pinning
More complicated shapes often need pinning

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book Review The Art of Annemieke Mein

The Art of Annemieke Mein, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782217657, price 25 gbp available from www.searchpress.com

Marvel at the textile skills of Annemieke Mein in this wondrous book of her work. Find skilful and amazing use of fabric, stitch, paint and embroidery to create imaginative flora and fauna that is sheer delight. Her subjects come to life, Mr. Frog is so textured you can almost feel his skin. Annemieke uses textiles as a sculptural medium to portray insects and other wildlife in natural settings. There are no less than 60 works of art shown in this book. Step into the world of a wildlife artist, outstanding in her field. See the detailed drawings and notes she makes. Discover how she selects fabrics and stitch to convey her subjects. She reveals the progression in her work, from early flat works through relief work (I am certain that Eastern Water Dragon’s eye just blinked) to the more sculptural work. Backgrounds blend, as they do in real life, as camouflage; the colours being very natural. Stitch just flows along leaves or quietly in the background. Even intense stitching just seems to blend at one with the fabrics and subjects; like a symbiotic relationship. In the high-relief wall sculpture, ‘Cup Moths’ the background shapes and colours are repeated in the leaf work, the cocoons blending beautifully; the moths themselves in relief but beautifully camouflaged. Other subjects include birds, beetles, wasps, gulls, branches, sea urchins, barnacles, mussels and kelp, seed pods, gum blossoms and grasshoppers. Each piece is accompanied by a description and often by drawings. Note the size of the panels, they are reasonably large wall pieces. Annemieke has also worked on costumes. She captures Australian wildlife like no other textile artist, detailed work to marvel at and admire. There is so much the textile artist can learn from this book – how to approach work, how to instil a feeling of reality, how to use colour and stitch to give form. This book was previously published in Australia in 1992. Highly recommended.

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Creative Quilting and textiles, travel and inspiration

Creative quilting and textiles are two of the loves of my life. Knitting and photography are two others. Everything is an inspiration, it’s just the way you see it, or often don’t see it that makes all the difference. Learn to look anew.

Creative Quilting and Textiles

Often with a subject such as quilting and textiles, it’s all about interpreting that source of inspiration. Taking something ordinary and turning it into the extraordinary. It’s not about copying, it’s about you. What speaks to you? This is the essence of my latest ‘Creative Textiles’ programme that you can join here

A 12-month inspirational ecourse to learn wherever you are. Discover how to interpret your world and be more creative. It will help you build your own style by exploring different methods of interpretation. What could be better?

Creative quilting ecourse
Creative quilting ecourse

Inspiration

I have written a lot about inspiration from patterns to the more unusual sources. As well as ways to interpret those sources from drawing, photography, painting and more. For me it usually starts with a photo and I like to play with photo manipulation. However, the same source can be interpreted in so many ways. It’s all about seeing and working with what you have. Let’s look at this church doorway.

You could interpret it in many ways – play with a photo, slice, collage, manipulate, draw, paint, embroider and so on. What do you see? The columns and Norman style are obvious.

Pick up on the pattern on the doors. Isn’t that a glorious pattern? What could that become if we play with line? A few ideas follow from my half hour playing this morning in Photoshop.

The final is never truly final. I could change colour, placement, the central piece of work, the background, the size, shape and so on. This was just a 30 minute exercise to demonstrate the possibilities. I could now start to draw, make paterns, think about colour and so on.

pattern
pattern on the doorway
Interpreting a photo
Interpreting a photo
creative quilting
Creative quilting
creative quilting
adding colour
creative quilting
adding colour
creative quilting
simplifying
creative quilting
detail
creative quilting
a very stitchy interpretation
interpretation
detail
interpretation
outline
creative quilting
creative quilting and textile
creative quilting and textiles
final interpretation

Resources

I have written many books on inspiration from gardening to textiles, available as pdf ebooks to download. My latest ebook is about ready to launch looking back at the sources of my quilting inspiration, more next week.

On the theme of this particular topic, is Inspiration Book Seven, which can be purchased along with the other Inspiration ebooks here

They make excellent gifts. Doors of Tunisia is also of interest if you love doors.

Inspiration book 7
inspiration book 7
Art inspiration ebook
An Art inpsiration ebook

Learn more about photo manipulation in my ecourses, the shorter photo techniques ecourse is now on offer. These and more ecourses can be purchased here

creative quilting
creative quilting
creative textiles
creative textiles

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019