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Book Review Painting Portraits in Acrylics by Hashim Akib

Painting Portraits in Acrylics by Hashim Akib, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215813, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Like most painters, I find painting portraits challenging. I found this book very interesting because for me it has a new approach. Treating the face like blocks. Akib tells us to beware of realism. This book enables you to master the essentials and capture the atmosphere, the character. It’s worth looking at no matter what your skill, for the treatment is quite different. Plenty of examples, male, female, young, old. Follow the 6 varied step-by-step projects. Faces, features and even full length portraits are covered. I particularly like the unusual expressions pages and the way they were presented. One thing of note, I found I liked the older style and not his new way of using very thick paint, but that is just personal preference and it is good to experiment and try different styles and ways of using paint. Also close-ups are not how the paintings will appear when viewed on a wall. I cannot believe it is 7 years since his last book, what a lot he has achieved.

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New creative quilting ecourse for quilters

New creative quilting ecourse for all quilters interested in making quilts. Join this new 12 month ecourse now and enjoy a full 12 months of inspiration plus information and suggestions on how to use the inspiration.

I am so looking forward to welcoming people to this new style ecourse that will bring out and develop your creative side. The new creative quilting quilting ecourse shows you how to interpret a photo to create quilts that are unique to you. It’s more than just a photo, there is lots of information to help you along the way. It’s all about you, finding your voice and creating individual quilts that express your unique creativity.

The subjects can be used in many ways and I shall be highlighting those throughout the ecourse. It is suitable for any level of quilter as you will be adapting the inspiration to how you want it to be.

There will be a unique fb page that you can join to share work. You can spend as much or as little time on the projects as you wish. It’s a lovely way to start designing your own quilts without following what the teacher is doing and without copying.

I am a fully qualified and experienced teacher who has enjoyed bringing out the best potential in students.

creative quilting ecourse

My new quilt

I have also finished my new quilt and I am very happy with it. The pattern is now available, and the quilt is also available for sale on the link below with the kits. It was such a joy working on this quilt. I have also added new kits to the website.

Tiled quilt pattern
Tiled Quilt Pattern

Blog hop

Check out this blog hop that started last week. I am involved on 20 September 2019. Lots of great quilting blogs.

blog hop

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019. Blog hop image Sam Hunter designs.

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Quilting styles to love – embracing all kinds of quilting

I must admit it is rather odd to me that some choose sides in quilting, loving this and hating that. So I have decided this week to write in my blog about my love of quilting styles and how to embrace all that is quilting. Year in year out at the shows, the argument rages as someone somewhere comments ‘That’s not a quilt.’

Traditional Quilts

This is where it all began – the quilting style everyone understands. At first, frugally using materials to make into a quilt for warmth. I like to think of it as the prairie spirit. From this blocks and patterns were passed down and preserved for future generations. Some argue that it simply has to be traditional or it is not quilting. There are many types of quilts in this category from Baltimore or wholecloth quilts to all the traditional blocks such as wedding ring. Yet from the roots a craft can grow, and quilting has branched in many directions.

quilting styles
500 Traditional Quilts
quilting styles
Embraces traditional and modern blocks
Welsh quilting
Welsh quilting
quilting styles
Baltimore quilts

Modern Quilts

The modern movement began in the USA and has firm connections with traditional quilting. Quilting is not stuck in a time period, it is an evolving craft and I love modern quilts. Modern can show off those who have truly honed their free motion or quilting skills. It lets the quilting shine. Modern style tends to suit our more modern homes. It caters for our desire to wrap ourselves in a quilt as well as have one on the bed. They also look good on walls. What can be wrong with more quilts, used in innovative ways?

quilting modern
modern quilting
Improv quilting
Modern Improv

Contemporary Quilts

There is nothing wrong with innovation. Being a little bit (or even a lot) different is fine by me. I see an overlap with Modern quilts and sometimes it is hard to work out what fits in which category. Contemporary has taken traditional and given it a twist.

Quilting styles
Contemporary Quilts
Landscape quilts
Landscape Quilts

Art Quilts

This seems to be the biggest area of contention. People who do not understand art quilts say they are not quilts. You might not like them, but that does not mean they are not quilts. Textile quilts fall into the same brackets with the same pre-conceived ideas of what is a quilt and what is not. This encompasses a huge category from humble pictorial quilts, which are not the same as the fine art quilts that technically fall into this category, making a statement or some kind. Yet surely there is always something to love?

pictorial quilts
art quilts
quilting styles
art quilts
quilt collage
quilt collage

Life is short. Another well-known quilting argument is not about quilting styles as such but whether to hand or machine stitch. Embrace the quilts and love them all. Most quilts have merit and someone loves them. Perhaps quilters just need to embrace the whole craft instead of creating barriers.

I am almost ready to release ‘My Quilting Journey’ recording the quilts I have made. Follow me on fb

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilting landscapes and pictorial kits and workshops

Quilting Landscapes

Quilting landscapes is something I regularly do in between larger projects. For me, it clears my mind to create a small landscape. These involve using different fabrics that I cannot really use in bed quilts and adding bits of ribbon, wool, felt and perhaps even a button or two. Anything that makes the landscape come alive.

The landscape workshops at shows are to make a seascape, concentrating on blue fabrics and sandy coloured ones for the beach.

I am teaching landscape quilts every day at the upcoming West Country Quilt Show 29-31 August 2019 and will be sharing my methods with attendees who book the workshop either through their website or on the day. All in all there are 11 workshops at the show, all lasting one hour each. So there is something to suit everyone at different times of the day.

quilting landscapes
Quilt landscapes, cutting fabrics for workshops

Pictorial Quilts

I am also teaching my sunflower mini quilt or block. This also uses a variety of fabrics and is a fun project. Today I was block printing sunflowers for the background fabric. I have been cutting all the pieces in readiness for the workshops. Have great fun making a sunflower with me.

Block printing fabric
Block printing fabric

Kits

Kits for these projects and others can also be found on my website. The original quilts are for sale too.

Sneak peek

I know you are probably wondering what happened to my new quilt design. It has taken so long to cut the workshop fabrics, that I have not had time to work on it this week. I also had to find matching thread, which took some time, but I am now ready to finish it.

Not ready to reveal it all yet, but here is a cheeky look.

Karen Platt quilt
Karen Platt quilt

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book Review Machine Quilting For Beginners by C.S. Vagts

Machine Quilting For Beginners by Carolyn S. Vagts, softback published by Annie’s Quilting. ISBN9781590128602, price 12.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

A step by step guide to free motion quilting. Going from very basic to feathers and more challenging designs. Most quilters I meet want to learn or to improve their free motion quilting. There is one thing to learn – practice. This book helps you do just that. With clear photos and directional diagrams, it will take you through simple lines, hoops, leaves, swirls and doodles to beautiful feathers and curlicue designs. It includes basics, exercises and using guides. The basics section contains all you need to know about fabric, thread and setting up your machine. The free-motion exercises increase in difficulty, taking you from easy to expert in 20 steps. So feasibly you could go from beginner to expert in less than 3 weeks. Chances are you might need to practice a little more. The final section is about using rulers to mark your work. The work shown is not perfect and I believe that we have to let go of perfect when we free-motion. A handy guide to learning free-motion quilting.

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Book Review Quilts With An Angle Sheila Christensen

A Field Guide Quilts With An Angle Sheila Christensen, softback published by C&T. ISBN 9781617456411. Price 24.99. Available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

Get started with tools, fabrics and basics. This book teaches angles – triangles, trapezoid, diamond, parallelogram and jewel, plus strip-pieced quilts and a primer ‘design your own blocks’. Each 60° shape section has great quilt patterns. The 60° shape is throughly explored through techniques and possibilities. Sheila has the same design philosophy as myself: one thing leads to another. Standard sizes make strips easy to rotary cut and piece. The colour section is basic with one glaring error, blue does not face yellow on the colour wheel. Basic quilting techniques include cutting, seam sewing, chain piecing. This book comes into its own when we get to the lessons. Great grids, instructions and quick reference charts, super blocks and fantastic quilts. Marks out of 10 – A plus for the quilt designs; as a designer myself I would still love to sit down and make most of these. Highly recommended as a thorough grounding in 60° shape, ease of use, inspiration for all levels and 15 wonderful quilt designs.

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Seven Days of Design, quilts, knitwear and dry felting

Seven days of design – what Karen did last week. They say seven days is a long time in politics, but you can fit an awful lot of work into seven days.

My seven days of design was varied and interesting, it has been a good week. There is rarely a dull time as a designer and rarely a minute to spare. I divide my week into different media. Usually all in one day. This is mainly because I have to switch activity owing to avoiding painful repetitive syndrome that affects many crafters and textile artists.

For my work, check out the quilts and textiles pages

For my knitting patterns, see Ravelry

Quilt Design

My main area of work for almost three years now has been quilting. With my latest design I have taken another direction. My new quilt is inspired by a digital design that happened one morning out of the blue, unexpected and looking promising. I had to shelf it until I had finished other projects. Seven days of design involved selecting fabrics, size, colour, deciding on surface design, order of stitch and much more. It’s under wraps at the moment until finished (should be next week), but I can give you a sneak view.

seven days of design
Karen Platt Seven Days of Design Quilts

Knitwear Design

For years I designed knitwear and knitted up to eight hours a day. Now I am only able to knit one or two hours maximum. It is a real shame as it is my favourite craft. My designs these days are just using up wool I have. I had quite a lot of grey and cream and decided to put in a few odds and ends to make a fair-isle. Seven days of design involved stitch and pattern selection, colour, size and more. Like all good fair-isle, it is in fine yarn and takes about 100 hours to complete.

Karen Platt knitting
Karen Platt fair-isle

Dry Felting

I was considering selling my embellisher machine, but I still have rather a lot of supplies. So I decided to use them up in new designs. Seven days of design involved inspiration and research, arrangement, selecting fibres and colours amongst other things. I am finding inspiration in the Peak District for my landscapes.

Design inspiration Peak District
Design inspiration Peak District Karen Platt
Karen Platt dry felting embellisher
Karen Platt dry felting

More next week. Images, words and copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Blog Quilting News – New Quilt, Workshops and Blog Hop, Website Registration

All the quilting news in one place. This is just for this week, it is getting so busy here.

New Quilt

My first quilting news is that I have just finished the new quilt, the second in the River Series Quilt patterns. I am so struggling with double vision, but hoping to move on to another new quilt design today.

Karen Platt quilt pattern
Karen Platt quilt pattern

New Workshops

My most exciting quilting news is that I am leading many workshops at the West Country Quilt Show in Bristol from 29 August for three days. Check out the show and workshop details on their website

Thursday 29th August 2019, 12.30 pm I am teaching how to make a Landscape Quilt, at 14.00pm scrap coasters – I’ll be showing lots of examples and how to do them and at 15.00 pm I’m doing Cathedral Windows with a difference.

quilting news
Karen Platt Landscape Quilt
quilting news
Karen Platt scrap coasters
quilting news
Cathedral Windows with my stained glass fabrics

Friday 30th at 10.30am I am teaching the sunflower quilt – this can be a 12″ pictorial wall hanging or quilt block. The rest are as above all 3 sessions. 4 sessions in total today.

Karen Platt quilting news
Karen Platt Sunflower Quilt

Saturday 31st is the same times and topics at the Friday. 4 sessions in total.

I hope to meet many quilters. I will be providing fabrics and teaching instructions. The fabrics might differ slightly to those shown. The Landscape is a smaller version. If you want to bring your own fabrics or bring scraps for other quilters, that would be fine. The booking form is at the bottom of the page on their website.

New Blog Hop

Welcome to my first blog hop, arranged by Sam of Hunter’s Design. On 20th September as part of the hop. I’ll be doing ‘Drunkard’s Path Made Easy’.

New Website Registration

You can now register on my website, and receive discounts an extra special goodies and pre-notifications. The Sign up is at the bottom of the home page, so make sure you scroll down. As a special thank you there is a mini ‘Inspiration’ pdf booklet that will be emailed to you.

If you missed the Festival of Quilts blogs – there is a 6 part series for 2019 highlighting many of the quilts on display. Just scroll on the menu to the right on the blog page to catch up.

Words, images and work copyright Karen Platt 2019. See you mext Monday.

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Festival of Quilts 2019 Part 6 More Exhibition Quilts

Festival of Quilts ended just a week ago and it seems like a lifetime ago. What joy the show brings with the biggest display of quilts in the UK and how hard everyone works to make it a success.

This is my final look at the quilts on display, with the makers’ names, so that you can have the pleasure of looking up your favourite makers and finding out more about them. I was prompted to write this series of blogs (it’s taken at least 9 hours to do so) as I felt incensed by all the social media posts that do not acknowledge the quilt maker. It is actually written into copyright law that the moral rights of creators of any art or craft are acknowledged. Despite this, even those that know do not always put the names with the quilts and ignorance has never been an excuse in law. For me it is essential to acknowledge the makers of these beautiful quilts. Some quilts take a long time to make, let’s celebrate the makers and find joy in their work. The quilt belongs to someone and it is common decency to give them their due, their moment in the spotlight.

I took a few photos where I could not read the label, and therefore have not shared. That’s how it should be – either we acknowledge the maker or in accordance with the law we keep the photos for personal reference, we do not share if we are not giving the makers’ names.

Aina Muze in the Eternal Thread exhibition, a quilt that used interesting fabrics. It was actually dated 2009.

Aina Muze
Aina Muze

Jenny Otto and Frances Meredith entered a two-person quilt called ‘Stonefields’ that I thought was sheer delight. There is a bunny in there. I long to make this kind of quilt, it is on my list to design one in the coming year.

Festival of Quilts
Jenny Otto and Frances Meredith

Magdalena Galinska and Agnieszka Wietczak entered ‘Promienie/Rays’ in the same category, which received a highly recommended from the judges. Striking design and colour.

Festival of Quilts
Rays

Tatiana Duffie’s ‘Bauble II’, a modern quilt, was a fabulous blend of immaculate piecing and quilting.

Festival of Quilts
modern quilt

Helen Butcher’s ‘Negative Space?’ was highly commended in the modern section. Soft greys with highlights. A lovely geometric medley.

Festival of Quilts
modern quilt

Sheena Roberts’ beautiful storm at sea quilt. I love this interpretation. Sorry my pic is a bit wonky, I was getting tired. It really stood out.

Sheena Roberts
Sheena Roberts

Lesley Brankin’s ‘Belonging’ was featured in the Guild’s Spotlight @ 40 and epitomises the joy of quilting and a great reason to belong to the Quilter’s Guild – the spirit of friendship.

Festival of Quilts
Lesley Brankin

I would like to finish this series of six blogs by mentioning the Guild’s page and membership. Why not join? It is not expensive and without them we would not have this show, so thank you to everyone involved again and my only question is ‘Why do we have to wait another year?’. Make sure you are at FOQ 2020. So much to see and do.

Words, images copyright Karen Platt, quilts copyright their respective makers.

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Michael James Digital Quilt Exhibition at Festival Of Quilts 2019 Part 5

Michael James Digital Quilt: When I first saw the announcement for this I was intrigued, because I have been creating digital images, digital fabrics and digital quilts for some time. In fact it was because people kept telling that my digital manipulations would make great quilts, that I, with very little sewing machine experience at all, came to be a quilter.

Karen Platt digital quilt
Karen Platt BOM quilt

I love playing with my images, and if I have a strength, it is probably that I have found a unique way of digital manipulation. Playing with photos to reveal layers. For further details see my ecourse

The first ecourse I wrote was also on this subject. It is very dear to my heart and I have created a number of smaller ecourses dedicated to digital kaleidoscope creation or blocks. The courses are taken at home, so are suitable wherever you live and all have tutor input. My latest ecourse: Digital Quilting, will be available shortly. If you are interested please use the contact form, with the name of the ecourse as the subject.

Karen Platt digital quilt
Karen Platt Kaleidoscope quilt block copyright Karen Platt

Michael James Digital Quilt was a fascinating gallery that seemed to be a gallery of two halves, the brights and the darks. I preferred the brighter quilts shown here. His pieces are beautifully machine quilted. All the images that follow are Michael James quilts and are copyright Michael James.

digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James

One more gallery to come in this series of 6 discovering the quilts at FOQ 2019. Words and images copyright Karen Platt