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Lockdown Creativity – Drawing, Quilting and more

Lockdown creativity is about staying positive. Last week I started a new group on facebook called Stay At Home And Create, so if you want to join me, you’ll find it here. Over 50 members have already joined. Reduce stress, take your mind off the news and make something. Do it alone or with family and share on the fb page.

lockdown creativity
figs on the worktop

We are moving into drawing and painting fruit for Week 2. Here’s some ideas I have been working with. I am exploring ideas at this stage with a view to producing quilts, or a textile fabric book.

lockdown creativity
pears from my original painting
lockdown creativity
ideas developed in software
pear watercolour painting
another in the pear series

Work

Lockdown creativity for me has been limited as I developed shingles mid week. It could keep my creativity limited for some time. Financially it’s difficult for so many of us and I am one that relies on sales from my website and would appreciate any support people can offer at this time, particularly the online ecourses or ebooks so that I do not have to go out to post. Please take a look.

There is just one more block to go on my scrap quilt. Qaygo might be easier for me to quilt this. I might prefer to quilt in one go, but it definitely needs binding and sashing, which at the moment I do not have.

scrap quilting
scrap quilting

New ebook Travel Inspiration Corfu

I have finished ebook Five in the Inspiration travel series. It is a pictorial guide book to Corfu, where I enjoyed a fabulous holiday in 2017. The ebook has 250 photos including some art I created. It is available here

Inspiration travel ebook five Corfu

Join me next week for more textiles and quilting and more

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Teaching Online Time To Create At Home

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.

Teaching online ecourses
Creative quilting ecourse

Teaching Online

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.

inspirational ebooks
one of my inspirational ebooks

Gardening ebooks are also available exclusively on the website under ebooks.

gardening ebooks
one of my gardening 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.

Facebook Videos

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.

teaching online
sample drawing not looking at paper
teaching online
developing the drawing into an idea for textiles

You can find out more on my fb page

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Stay At Home Quilter Working From Home

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.

stay at home quilter
fabrics to use in my self isolation

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.

travel inspiration Lisbon
travel inspiration Lisbon

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.

stay at home quilter
stay at home quilter

Talking of scraps, I also gathered some tiny bits of fabric and created a fabric and thread bowl.

stay at home quilter
stay at home quilter

Lessons Online

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

stay at home quilter
stay at home quilter

Words work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Quilt Those Scraps Quilting

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
scrap fabrics

Scrap Quilting

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

quilting tutorial
tutorial

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.

quilt those scraps
scrap quilting

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.

log cabin with scrap fabric

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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New ebooks Quilting and Travel ebooks

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

quilting journey

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

travel inspiration Marseille

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

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Knitting Patterns The Peak District Collection

Knitting Patterns a new collection of patterns inspired by the Peak District and available exclusively on the website.

knitting patterns
The cover of my new knitting pattern booklet

Knitting Patterns

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.

knitting patterns
scarf and matching hat
knitting patterns
part of one of the shawl patterns

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.

stole knitting patterns
It’s always good to have a wrap with you in the Peak, this stole is a real winner

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.

Textiles

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.

hearts
You’ve gotta have heart, miles and miles …

This green piece is all about texture and is based on lichen. This is part of a series. It was loved on Instagram.

textile art
My textile inspired by lichen

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.

textile art
Sahara inspired textile

My mother textile piece did not get worked on at all, I am still pondering. I think it is taking on a new direction.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Quilting My Heart Out

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.

quilting my heart out
quilting my heart out church art quilt by Karen Platt

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.

quilting my heart out
quilting my heart out Shapes by Karen Platt

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.

Quilt design by Karen Platt
Fine Feathered Friend Quilt by Karen Platt

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).

Tea quilt by Karen Platt
Camellia sinensis quilt by Karen Platt

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.

fantastic bird quilt by Karen Platt
Fantastic bird quilt by Karen Platt

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.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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The Only Inspiration You Need For Creative Work

Yes, I have read a blog ‘headlines that get clicked’ post! So click me now. The basis of any creative work is inspiration. It’s the one thing everyone wants to know about. Where does it come from and how do you get from that initial spark to the end product?

It’s Almost Magic

Yes, there is definitely something magical about it. As artists we see things differently. We see shapes instead of objects and so on. Sometimes even for creatives, getting to that end project can be difficult. That’s why we have unfinished work. The reasons are many – it did not work out as it did inside my head, I got waylaid, interrupted, lost my flow, could not find the product I needed. Much of my work these days is digitally manipulated using multiple photos for effect and therefore very personal in its source.

the only inspiration you need
digital manipulation of two of my own images

The Beginning Is the Same or Similar

Something always catches my eye. It can be something very ordinary or unusual. It does not matter. I do not spend my time thinking ‘must find something today’. I look until I see and a little spark is set alight. This might happen several times a month, week or even day. Often in the middle of the night, curse it. However, I am extremely grateful that there is a constant source, like a tap of water.

New Work

I have two stunning and rather different inspiration ebooks for you this week. They will get your creative juices going, so do click and make that purchase.

Domes are exquisite architectural features along with cupolas, turrets and towers. I have included 580 images plus twenty of my work created with these images. The ebook, a pdf sent to your email, can be found here

The only inspiration you need

I also finished my Madeira ebook this week, which consists of two halves – a travel diary of where I went and the gardens visited with over 800 photos plus a directory of plants growing on the island. It is the second inspiration travel ebook and is available as a pdf here

The only inspiration you need

Join me next Monday to find more inspiration and what I am working on, until then

Words, work and copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Old Textile Work and New

Old textile work was found in my drawer last week. I had discovered a few unfinished projects. This week I had planned new art quilts I had mentioned in last week’s blog. However, having been ill all week, I could not manage much at all.

Friday saw me scramble to get something done and I started my second project with the pink and green fabric. However it is feeling a bit like the other project and I want it to be different. I have an idea for it now.

art quilt
New project
art quilt
new project

Old Textile Work

First though I went back to the old textile work. In my drawer was a four year old project (does not feel that long ago). Based on a photo in Tunisia, and a subsequent drawing as well as an altered image idea. I had gathered all my fabrics only to shove it all in a drawer owing to the death of a loved one. Yesterday I managed to finish it. Not strictly a quilt as it has no wadding, this stitched picture is now complete. I think my object here was to use as many fabrics as I could and this packs in at least eight. Is that a record for a tiny piece?

old textile work
My altered image
old textile work
old textile work finished at last

No sooner have you finished one, that another old textile work beckons. This is one I lost confidence with. It was my very first piece of free motion stitching on a painting. So wobbly, but I think I can pull it together now.

old textile work
old textile work

Looking Ahead

There are still lots of art quilts to get down into fabric and stitch. I am also about to launch my next Inspiration ebook – Domes, Towers and Turrets. It’s been very exciting to work on this one and it is the last of the themes for the moment. There are 14 of them and 3 art/travel ones. Next up in February or March will be the original themes I started doing before I got waylaid. These are not just photos but textile work. More about that next time. Visit the website to see all my work.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Small Art Quilts Work For Sale

With my small art quilts I am moving on this week to new ways of creating art quilts. I am working with scraps, paint and digitally. However before I show you those, I want to show what I finished last week. No less than five small art quilts. I did not make any changes to the Seagull quilt but he is now on the website for sale as are all the quilts, just click the links. However, the Kingfisher quilt has a few new tail feathers. I also made a change to the Bird Quilt, he now has an eye and the gold pieces are couched onto the black. The skeleton leaf was causing problems but is now fixed. How? See the ecourse for modern quilts to learn this and many more techniques.

Seagull quilt
Seagull Quilt by Karen Platt
small art quilt
Kingfisher by Karen Platt 2020
small art quilt
Bird Quilt by Karen Platt

There Are Always More Fish In The Sea

Three fish to be exact. This was a small art quilt that I thought was finished, but I had a little niggle, the left hand side looked empty. I tried a buoy, but making it look as if it was submerged was difficult and I abandoned that idea. Then looking for something else, I came across a piece of silk rod that was perfect. Then to finish it off, in the same bag was a plied yarn. I am really happy with this now.

small art quilt
Fish quilt by Karen Platt

Rusty Scissors

This is the largest of these small art quilts. Inspired by the River Don and the cutlery industry in Sheffield, this quilt was made with my handmade rusted fabrics. It is a subtle palette and good viewed up close. It has the most quilting I have done to date. N.B. Yes I know stainless steel does not rust. You can see the quilt here

River Don quilt series
Rusty Scissors by Karen Platt

What’s New?

I am working on more ideas and hope to finish three pieces this week. There is a small scrap picture quilt. I have started the sky, not thought about the rest of it yet. I have ideas for four larger pieces, one based on my mother, the others city scapes. More about that next time.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020