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Blog Review of the Week

The blog is a review of my week. Sadly not only did I do something to my back but I am now struggling with energy levels. Despite that I have soldiered on a little and here is the blog with all the latest from your truly.

Where I hoped I would have had another quilt finished entirely – I am still sewing together 4 small strips of tiny half square triangles – not my best news of the week.

I have had better luck with knitting. Not only was I able to finish another hat and get the pattern uploaded to Ravelry but I have also started something that has been high on my list for a long time – a black lace sweater. I found that if I kept my arms as still as possible, I could knit for a while.

Otherwise it has been some writing, with ditto about keeping arms as still as possible! I just find it hard to rest, I have to be doing something. So I launched the fabulous Autumn Inspirations and started work on Winter Inspirations. If you are any kind of artist looking for inspiration or ideas, I am giving you oodles of that in the wonderful ebooks. All my own photos that you can use as you wish. They also contain some of my work.

Elsewhere, the Colour Confidence For Quilters ecourse is almost finished. I really hope quilters will take this to heart because people slavishly follow the colour wheel and I am here to show you that there is a better way to use colour.

One more ecourse almost ready is the Drawing For Textiles one. I am giving you a sneak peek of how you can begin to draw with my exciting new ecourse. So lots more still to come this month.

Meantime, I think I should lay down on a solid board! Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Painting Book Review – Complete Guide to Watercolour by David Webb

Complete Guide to Watercolour by David Webb, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215738, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com

From beginners up this book, one of an excellent series, provides all the techniques and essential skills you need to begin to understand watercolour and paint your first paintings. There is no doubt that watercolour takes skill and understanding and that how it works is key to being able to use it. Understand the medium, learn how to mix, apply and more. This great watercolour primer will help you achieve success. Washes, resists, colour charts, design and perspective, texture, step-by-step demonstrations and fabulous finished art. The only thing it does not include is a loose style.

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Embroidery Book Review – Joyful Daily Stitching by Valerie Bothell

Joyful Daily Stitching Seam By Seam by Valerie Bothell, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617455513, price 22.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com

Encouraging you to stitch a little every day, this book will be a big hit with embroiderers and lovers of stitch. Make samplers and treat the seam like a goddess. Use different threads and silk ribbons to produce creative work. First it shows you how to piece crazy quilting style. Next up are several embroidery stitches in step-by-step demonstrations but with small photos. I think this section could have been done much better. 500 stitch combinations are shown in full colour but without instructions, so you need to flip back to the embroidery stitch section to see how to do the stitches. I think there is enough here to keep beginner embroiderers happy, I am just not that keen on the layout of the book.

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Quilting Book review – Quilted Throws by Sanae Kona

Quilted Throws, Bags & Accessories by Sanae Kona, softball published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216292, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

A delightful collection of quilting projects based on traditional techniques. These include patchwork, EPP and appliqué using traditional motifs such as hexagons and techniques such as log cabin. There are 28 projects including bags, throws, punches, table runners and more. All practical and useful with a timeless beauty. You’ll see photos of all the projects at the beginning of the book, followed by tools, materials and techniques. The latter section is detailed and illustrated by many photos, albeit small ones. The instructions are good. Each project has a materials section, a project diagram, cutting instructions and step by step illustrated construction steps. This book teaches so much – techniques including broderie perse, mitred corners and more. You use different shapes, so it covers much of what you need to learn about quilting whilst you are making wonderful projects to enhance your home or give to friends. Only a few of the project instructions are in colour, the rest are in black and white. There is a pull-out template sheet.

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Progress Update – What Is Coming In The Next Month?

This is a progress update of new products and more. Even the smallest progress has to be acknowledged as a step in the right direction. Even though I am not quite where I wanted to be, I am making progress towards that goal.

Last week I added my first in a new series of Learn As You Quilt patterns and tutorials. You can find all the tutorials here. This week I almost completed two new ecourses that will launch this month – the long awaited one on COLOUR, and a new one on DRAWING FOR TEXTILES. These will be launched any time now here.

I made progress with my new quilt – tiny half square triangles have been made. A few problems to solve there. One round of triangles stitched into a row is not as long as the quilt, so I have to make a decision on positioning. Also still do not have the wadding yet.

There are now two knitting designs finished but not written up and launched. I have started another of my hats. I am thinking I might try payhip for the patterns although Ravelry seems the obvious choice.

The UFOs are mounting, so I must get those tackled this month. It is going to be a busy time. Number one on the list is the hand stitched quilt, it is so near the end and will allow me to launch the Hand Stitched Quilt tutorial.

I am also starting the Winter Quilt, the second in my Learn As You Quilt tutorials. I am very excited about this project. It will, of course, include the things I love about winter, but not be a Christmas quilt. I am not fond of quilts that you can only use for a short space of time.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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New Quilts and Quilting Tutorials From Karen Platt

Autumn is well and truly here and last week I finished the new autumn quilt, so it is already to launch. If you do not have the pennies to buy a finished quilt, I have also created a new quilt tutorial to go with this new design. All the work has been designed by me and I created the quilt myself from scratch. I set myself a few headaches along the way, but solved them so that when you use the tutorial, you will not have any problems. I had so much fun designing and making this quilt and know that you will too. It is my first quilt pattern for sale on the website.

The quilt itself is for sale on the website. It is a one-off unique sample quilt I made, so there is only one – grab it while you can.

I have also designed and made a new landscape quilt. I am loving the colours of this one, called ‘Pebbles On The Beach’ and the original is on sale here. You can find my methods for making this type of quilt in my landscape quilt tutorial. The quilt that I made for that tutorial is also for sale here.

I have still to write my knitting pattern up, and will be uploading several patterns to Ravelry shortly.

Meantime I am also working on a new Inspiration book – Autumn. The Churches Inspiration book is finished but waiting for me to finish off the textiles. Keep checking back and meantime why not check out the existing Inspiration Series? So much to inspire for art, textiles and more. These are all manual downloads as pdfs so that you can enjoy the photos. So much to keep me busy.

Am I doing anything else? Yes, I found an embroidery I started some months ago – that will be finished soon too.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Learn As You Quilt What’s New In Quilting

Learn to quilt with Karen. If you follow me on social media, you cannot have missed the fact that I have been working on an exciting new quilt design. It’s new in more ways than one:
1. It’s the first quilt pattern I have written
2. It’s more than just a pattern – it involves several tutorials
3. You learn as you quilt building your skills

How great is that? This is a new style of quilting skill builder – one where you learn whilst quilting. This new pattern actually involves 12 skills and once you have mastered this one, there will be more patterns to enjoy with different skills. Because you are learning along the way – the pattern can be used in different ways. It also presents many options and variations for the quilter. Patterns can be found on the pattern section of the website.

I have been developing this new style of quilting for a year now. I’m hoping it is going to make a lasting impact on the quilt world. It should make it easier for beginners to achieve good results from the beginning and give them the confidence to build their skills quickly. For intermediate quilters, it offers a challenge to the established method of quilting and even advanced quilters might find a skill they have not yet tried.

This latest design concentrates on autumn (fall) in theme and colour. This will be available as a pattern and tutorials. The next design will be for spring. I shall be offering a special pack, launching exclusively on the website, for everyone who wants to join in and make the quilt.

It’s been a challenge to find a way to describe this new slant on learning to quilt. I have settled on the abbreviation QUILTSKI for Quilt Skills, to describe my methods. I do hope you will join me in this exciting adventure launching this week.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Book Review Modern Quilts by Riane Menardi et al

Book Review Modern Quilts by Riane Menardi, Alissa Haight Carlton and Heather Grant, softback published by Stash Books (C & T Publishing). ISBN 9781617455988, price 33.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

I know so many traditional quilters, but modern quilts are so very interesting, not only from an artistic and design viewpoint, but also that most of us live in modern homes and these quilts fit better into our lifestyles. Subtitled ‘Designs of the New Century’ this book reveals modern quilt design. It explains the role of the Modern Quilt Guild and showcases some of the best modern designs. The history of modern quilting is tackled in chapters dealing with the stages: Before 1998; 1998-2004; 2005; 2005-2008; 2009 each highlighting key years and developments and finally the movement becoming mainstream. It’s a brief written history, fabulously illustrated with incredible quilts. That’s the focus of the book – the quilts. You’ll see simplicity, minimalism, deconstruction, blocks, text, colour, early improv, geometrics, pictorials and much more. No patterns, no how-to, just visual delight tracking the early beginnings of modernism right up to today.

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Book Review 50 Little Gifts compiled by Susanne Woods

Book Review 50 Little Gifts compiled by Susanne Woods, softback published by Lucky Spool. ISBN 9781940655338, price 20.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

Subtitled ‘Easy Patchwork Projects To Give Or Swap’ this book is just that. A compilation of useful projects to use up scraps. Pouches, potholders, purses, baskets, keyrings, bags of all sizes – all with one thing in common – colourful patchwork. The projects are from different designers, and many are the usual organiser projects, mats, baskets, zipped purse and so on, but this book brings 50 such projects together and makes a super gift itself. Each project has a colour photo – clear instructions, with an at-a-glance box of essentials showing Size, Materials, Cutting and Tips. There are clear line drawings where needed and mini tutorials. I like the triangular log cabin pincushion, patchwork dog and passport holder. You’ll find a basic guide to embroidery at the front of the book and templates at the back; some are actual size, some need enlarging. Good patchwork fun.

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Professional Designer Quilter – A Day In The Life of Being A Quilter

one block wonder quilt Karen Platt

Professional Quilter – A Day In The Life of Being A Quilter

You can be forgiven for thinking ‘I could do that’ or ‘What a wonderful life to quilt all day long’. However, as much as I enjoy it and I really do, there is so much more to being a quilter than sewing.

Whilst it is true that some quilters use other designers’ patterns, I decided at the very start (being a textiles designer anyway) that I would have to design my own quilt patterns.

I do not have a typical day, my days vary so much. My day often starts in the middle of the night when ideas come to me unbeckoned, or perhaps beckoned subconsciously. These days if I do not jot them down, by the morning they are lost. I let ideas ‘brew’, it does not do to jump straight in. See my design ecourse by clicking this link – believe me you too can design.

I usually start with social media – promotion is key to any business and it is often the hardest part. You have to identify and know your market and how to tap into it. It’s more than just keywords, it’s a slog that could do with an army working on it – but there’s just me. I sometimes spend about an hour a day promoting my business in one way or another. On Sundays I write this blog. Did I mention I am a 24/7 workaholic?

Much of my work involves intense research. I am a born researcher and believe it informs my work, allowing me to reach beyond the obvious.

If I am starting a quilt, I might spend a morning choosing fabrics, longer if I cannot find what I want. More and more, I am leaning towards only using my own fabrics. Any successful business has to have a USP – a unique selling point.

I might draw, doodle, play with Photoshop, paint, sew – to test ideas, strengthen ideas or just play and hope something clicks. This is all part of the process. Then it is all down to sewing. I have one machine, so if I am working on more than one quilted piece, I might do all the straight stitching, then all the free motion.

I must admit, I find most of the sewing quite tedious, but I am much more at ease with it these days. In the evenings, I concentrate on hand sewing for another two hours. This could be a hand stitched quilt, jacket or just hand finishing binding.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018