Posted on

Inspiration for Quilters Local Landscape

Inspiration for quilters can be found anywhere and everywhere. The local landscape is always an excellent place to start when looking for inspiration for quilters. Your local landscape (unless you live in this location) may be different to mine, but you’ll find the inspiration you need if you just look.

You’ll be looking for inspiring views but also concentrating on shapes. Absolutely anything from the banal to the extraordinary can spark off the imagination. Be prepared to look anew, with fresh eyes and open your mind. If you are stuck for inspiration, take a look at my series of ebooks to get you going.

It is true that I have often wished to live somewhere more inspiring, but really my home city is proving to be full of inspiration, right on my doorstep. Take a look around and see what you can find.

I have already talked about one or two ideas I have had from the local landscape and that it is my wish to concentrate on the River Don. This week I walked further along the Don than ever before. I found the nearest ‘picturesque’ spot to the city centre.

I love all the bridges, most of them are from the 1800s. The ripples on the river. The plants along the riverside. The teams have been working hard to rid the river of invasive species. The trees on this part of the river are beautiful and there is a small nature reserve. Occasionally the route goes back to the road. In one spot, the brightly coloured Spiraea was aflame with orange.

What inspiration did I gather from my walk? I noted down patterns, shapes, reflections, a possible landscape quilt. Flora and fauna. I loved the fresh greens of the new leaves. Colours were gathered and recorded. I also made use of some of the photographs digitally, you can see below.

The wonderful thing about inspiration from a natural habitat such as a river or garden, is that it will change through the seasons. So you can keep returning and recording the changes. Until next time, keep quilting.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt

Posted on

Photography For Quilters What To Photograph

Photography For Quilters is a wide subject. Basically almost anything goes when using photography for quilters. In this week’s blog I am going to give you some tips of what to photograph and what you can get out of your photographs for quilting. See my Advanced Photoshop techniques ecourse about unique techniques for quilting.

Obviously photography for quilters can include images of any subject, say a flower and use it as is. Or a landscape that you simplify. In this blog, I am going to take you through the walk I did with my camera yesterday afternoon.

I have started a ‘river’ theme. I am working on my local river, looking for ideas for my art, which includes not only quilts but textiles and digital manipulation.

I have done this walk many times, sometimes with the camera, sometimes not. I am actually hoping to see the kingfishers and herons that are often on this part of the river. So far one flash of heron a long time ago.

Come walk with me. This bit of the river is very close to the city centre. On my way to the river, I pass the Kelham Island museum and the remains of the rolling mills, which I showed you a few weeks ago. I have decided this will be one of my quilts. In my image, I have a basic shape.

Photo 2 is looking down the river to Kelham Island. I have already created a few years ago, digital manipulations of this, that one day I might make into quilts. I also love the Bessemer converter, texture is something I like to include in my work.

I am loving the reflection in the glass of the bridge, I am sure I can work with this image in terms of repeated pattern.

Lady’s bridge is the oldest bridge. As a landscape it does not offer me much, but sometimes you have to be prepared to use more than one photo and apply a little artistic licence.

The Church and Mill again I have already used as digital manipulations and am hoping to turn those into quilts too.

This stone bridge has an interesting detail. Details can be used in quilts to add a personal touch.

There is always a new view. I did not even know there was a rusty old bridge there. Rust is something I love and I have lots of bits of rusted fabric that I hand dyed to make a wall quilt.

So my half hour or so has produced so much inspiration, I shall need an army of quilters to help.

Words work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

Posted on

Quilting blog modern quilts and modern quilting for everyone

Modern quilting. What is it? Is it for you?

I must admit I love most modern quilting, but the term is becoming very loosely used and almost describes everything that is not traditional.

There are subcategories within modern quilts –

Contemporary – what I think of as the typical modern quilt. A quilt with bold design, bold use of colour and striking quilting. This style often has large areas of plain colour and almost always uses fmq – free motion quilting. The quilts fit into the modern home. I am concentrating on this style in my new ecourse on Contemporary Modern Quilts. I will be introducing simple modern lines with a twist. The ecourse will discuss design, elements and how to create fabulous modern quilts, with many examples.

Trad-Modern Quilts – these are a halfway house between traditional quilting and modern. So it might be an updated quilting block, a new colourway or something unusual to make it not quite traditional.

Now there also seems to be a category developing where anything that does not fit into any other category, is called modern. We have to be careful here because modern quilts are not the trashcan for quilts that cannot be categorised. I have seen some quite busy quilts with very definite traditional techniques recently called ‘modern’. We have to be careful not the dilute the term.

Techniques are one area that can help define modern quilts. Sometimes the techniques are traditional but the cutting is modern freeform. We can also introduce new fabrics that we would not put into a traditional quilt.

As designs go, as long as you are happy with the use of space and colour, you’ll crack designing modern quilts quite easily.

This style can be used for bed quilts, wall quilts, small accessories and projects and for table runners, bed runners and so on. It is a style that lends itself easily to interpretation. So have a go.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

modern quilting
Posted on

Monday blog quilting news and products

Monday blog Spring Inspirations ebook

It’s Monday and in my home, that means blog day. Monday blog is a way to get my week off to a swing. I was hoping for good, good, good news all the way but it’s sort of good, good, oh hum. Not quite the good, the bad and the ugly, but a close shave!

Let’s kick start this Monday blog with good because that is my favourite place to start. My new Spring Inspirations ebook is out. 500 fabulous photos offer tons of inspiration for artists and textiles. Looking for a fab flower to quilt? You’ve got it. How about a coastal scene? No problem. You can use the images to design your textiles or quilts, to paint, inspire your pottery or whatever. Sorted. The ebook is on the website now, and at just 7.99 makes a superb gift too. I think you are going to love the cover.

More good news, yes, the lovely original sunflower quilt, the pattern for which was launched last week, is now on sale on the website. There is only one made, although I can make similar, but grab this original Karen Platt quilt now, while you can. It’s pure sunshine all the way. You want a piece of me, be happy with a quilt x

Now we come to ho hum. When I joked that version 3 of the competition quilt was a goer and looking great, but that finishing 3 weeks early meant that I would have time to do version 4 if not 5, I had no idea that by Sunday I would truly be on version 4. There was much cursing and hating of quilts. Then I put my head down and got on with it. What else to do? The main problem is that when I entered this quilt competition at the British Stitch and Quilt Village, I had no idea what I was going to quilt, but had to come up with a category and a title. Not only that a price too. Ever since I have cursed myself. I limited myself to something I thought of on the spur of the moment. I am not saying anything about version 4, I have learned my lesson. Version 1 was slightly too large. Version 2 at least twice the work I had priced the quilt at. Version 3 an utter mess – what was I doing? Not a word about version 4. If I have to go to version 5, I am giving up not just on quilting but on life. I am also doing a colour workshop at this show, so sign up now, I have heard tickets are going fast.

It cannot be all that bad. The sun is shining. I can still quilt. Version 1 is now on sale on the website. I have a lovely version 2 hand-stitching project going on. I am dying to start the FOQ quilt, but before I name it and price it, I am going to work out exactly what I am doing and how.

See you next week with all my quilting news x

Posted on

New Quilt Patterns instore now

snowflakes quilt patterns Karen Platt

I have just added exciting new quilt patterns to the store. Yes the Snowflakes and Polar Bears winter inspirations quilt is now written up with over 50 photos and complete step by step instructions. Everyone can do it, even beginners.

Since I started quilting, it has been my aim to build a library of unique quilt patterns, all my own design. This dream is slowly coming true. There are now three quilts patterns for sale in the pattern store. More will be added throughout the year.

This wonderful quilt is great as a wall quilt. The snowflake fabrics are available separately and there is a fabulous range of choices online.

I have two more new quilts to add next week. It has been a hellish week, so things got delayed but I am back on track now. I’ll be added the Charm quilt and the sunflower quilt patterns.

If you love making quilts from kits, we already have seven quilt kits under this same heading and I will be adding this new quilt pattern as a quilting kit too. The wonderful thing about kits is that you can get started straight away.

On the same page you can also see our finished quilts for sale too.

Last week I added the brand new International Quilt Textiles School Brochure – download yours for free here 

Start learning now with our unique and cost effective courses. You can also join me at quilt shows around the country where I shall be offering workshops on colour, and also scrap coasters and landscape quilts. My first appearance is in April, just about one month’s time at the British Stitch And Quilt Village. Sign up now for the workshops here, they take place on 12-14th April 2019. I look forward to meeting you.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019.

Posted on

Design Choices – Designing and Making Quilts

Design choices is all about visual effect. Does everything look right? Can we improve it? Everything we do is about choice – do we walk, take the car or bus, get a lift? Is it sunny or cloudy – do I need the umbrella? Just so when we design, everything comes down to choice.

Some design choices are easier to make than others. Some find making decisions very hard. Perhaps for them design is not the way to go and they need to find quilting patterns, mine are here (being added to all the time).

Yet I strongly believe that these design choices can be learned by everyone. Some need a course to learn, to others it comes more naturally. My Design in Quilting ecourse is perfect if you want to make sure you understand how to design quilts.

Did you know that choosing your fabrics is the first design choice you make? Those fabrics determine so much, so it is important to get it right. I add to my fabric designs regularly and also offer a range on undyed fabrics for quilters as well as a hand dyed fabric range. They can all be found on the supplies page.

Then there are the principles of design and how to apply them. Whilst it is more important to understand these for modern quilts or art quilts, the principles still apply to traditional quilting, but tend to be easier to apply. It all comes down to making decision after decision. Having a design wall helps immensely and I blogged about that when I made mine. They are cheap and easy to make and you can get everything on the wall and leave it there until you have made your choice. You can try out different fabrics, alter one aspect and see how it affects the rest and so on.

My latest quilt is finished and the pattern will be on sale this week.

Words, work and images copyright 2019 Karen Platt

Posted on

eCourses Brochure Patchwork and Quilting and Textiles

eCourses Brochure for all my ecourses is now ready to download for free from my website. Please feel free to share the eCourses brochure with friends and family. It has all the ecourses and ebooks for inspiration and new forthcoming ecourses too. As you can see I have adopted the title ‘International Quilting & Textiles School’ to embrace all the ecourses I teach.

You can browse offline and read all about each ecourse. Compare those prices with like for like, because these are the most affordable ecourses I know for patchwork, quilting and textiles anywhere. Each ecourse is unique and these are not a copy of a City & Guilds course because I have not taken one of those. My ecourses are all designed and written by me as a fully qualified teacher and hands-on artist in my chosen fields.

As an introductory offer, there is a 20 per cent discount on any ecourse booked and paid for before the end of March 2019. All the ecourses can be started straight away, there is no need to wait for an enrolment date and you’ll be pleased to hear there is no enrolment fee. All long ecourses have tutor input online (or we can Skype) and you have access to a fb closed group too.

I am also building the workshops in person with 6 more added this week for August 2019 at the West Country Quilt & Textile Show. If you know someone looking for a speaker, please ask them to get in touch. I have dates available this year and next. I can do talks, workshops or longer courses on a variety of patchwork and quilting topics.

I cannot show you the competition quilts yet, but the small miniature quilt is coming along. In work I can show you, I was pleased to finish a lap quilt this week. It went well. This quilt is part of my Beginners’ ecourse. 

The pattern for this quilt will be available next week.

Words, work and images copyright 2019 Karen Platt

quilting ecourses. brochure
beginners' charm quilt
Posted on

Quilting Finishing Techniques For Borders and Binding

finishing techniques quilting

Quilt Finishing Techniques. I see so many questions about this. What method do you use? As I am finishing a quilt, in fact two quilts this week, I thought I would take this opportunity to share my finishing methods.

I remember the days when I was baffled too as a beginner, but it really is quite simple. I tried several different methods of binding, but there is only one I use now. Here are my tips for the best professional finishing techniques for quilting.

BORDERS

Borders are somewhat easier to do than binding, although there is nothing difficult about either of these finishing techniques.

  1. Decide on the width in relation to the actual quilt.
  2. Decide how many borders.
  3. You can mix widths of borders, say one at 8cm wide and one at 2.5cm wide.
  4. You can also use different colours, but I would always choose colours that are in the quilt, even if in a tiny amount.
  5. Decide on straight or mitred. I prefer the latter. A bit trickier but not impossible by any means. Mitred corners take a bit more fabric.
  6. Cut on the grain.
  7. Do not stretch when attaching.
  8. Attach by machine, right sides together.
  9. Attach before quilting your sandwich.

BINDING

Binding finishing techniques is what gets most people, they just do not know how to bind. There are many ways to bind, but by far the best for a professional finish and worth taking the extra effort is:

  1. Always cut on the bias. Make your own binding.
  2. Join strips together on the diagonal.
  3. Machine stitch, right sides together to the front of the quilt
  4. Hand stitch to the back of the quilt.
  5. Do not stretch.
  6. Attach after quilting your sandwich, making sure that the wadding goes into the border.
  7. Narrow binding is often best.

I include finishing details in my tutorials and quilt patterns which can be purchased here

You can often see images of my work on my facebook page

Work, words and images copyright Karen Platt 2019.

Posted on

Exhibition Quilts at UK Quilt Shows

Exhibition quilts have the power to fill one with dread. Whilst visitors marvel and judges may criticise or praise, the intrepid quilter takes her skills in her hands, hopefully meets the deadline and achieves what she set out to do.

The world of exhibition quilts is one I said I never would enter. Some exhibition quilts are gobsmackingly amazing. What on earth has made me decide to enter quilts this year?

You think I have the answer? Not absolutely sure I do. I think it was a mad moment but then I have had months to think about it, so I am fooling anyone who believes that. To be honest, I found the art category at FOQ 2018 slightly underwhelming. I found myself thinking I can do this.

Of course, that is just stage one. I have the design created already. I have changed it a dozen times in my mind’s eye. I have settled on the subject, how I want it to look, down to the fine details of fabrics and threads. The problem is can I quilt it?

I have not entered the FOQ one yet, but expect to before the deadline. Before I make my final decision, I have entered another quilt show entirely. I encourage everyone to do this if they are thinking of entering FOQ. Try somewhere else first – a smaller show preferably in the previous year. Less pressure is always good.

I have entered the Miniature Quilts section of the British Stitch and Quilt Village show at Uttoxeter racecourse 12-14th April. Make a date in your diary. This one too is already designed and I know definitely how to quilt this one. Just have to make sure it does not measure more than is allowed.

I am not sharing work prior to the competitions. So I shall keep you entertained in other ways. I will still be quilting other designs. Talking of which, I have now designed the back of the Snowflake quilt. Not quite like the image, I will be using my tea dyed not rust dyed fabric. There will be snowflakes. I need to get a move on and finish this one now. The spring one is also just about designed and ready to start.

The other winter quilt is already available as a kit.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

snowflake quilt
winter quilt kit
Posted on

Speaking at Quilting Shows 2019

speaking

Speaking engagements are my excitement for this week. Get booking please ladies and any men out there. First engagement of the year is 12-14th April 2019 at the British Stitch and Quilt Village at Uttoxeter, so please grab your space now to hear my take on colour in quilts. I am speaking at the same time each day.

At the moment my next speaking engagement is not until August 4th at the Festival of Quilts, where I speak twice on the same day, once on colour and once on design. So you can have a double whammy. Booking is not open yet, but keep your eyes on the website.

I have some more lined up, to be confirmed. Don’t forget you also have the fantastic opportunity to come to India with me, on a Colouricious holiday. The chance of a lifetime. I need 9 more people for this to go ahead, so please book on the Colouricious website today. 11 months to go, we leave on 7 January 2020.

I finished January with a sort of ho-hum week. Everything is hanging in the balance. People who were supposed to come back to me have still to do so. I wait with bated breath to see if it all comes to fruition. In anticipation, I had a lot of writing to do – contracts and so on. Lots of contacting to do, for if they don’t come through, trying to find someone who does. All under wraps and I have everything crossed to make it happen. I am hoping next week is the one.

Apart from the flurry of writing, I am hand stitching the calico quilt. When I am not doing that, I am writing up the pattern for it. Sore finger into the bargain – the only negative of hand quilting. The machine stitched quilt is ready to start again since the snowflake panels are now cured and ready to heat set then attach.

I am almost there with a hand knitting pattern too, just the last armhole bands and that pattern needs writing up too.

I took photos of the painting exhibition and I must find space for my paintings on my website again because I have given up on Artfinder, it just does not work for me. They have changed their costs twice, in their own favour of course.

Words, images and work copyright Karen Platt 2019