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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
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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

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Artist Exhibition Until February 21st 2019

Artist Exhibition Until February 21st 2019. There has been so much good news this month and it continues. On 26th January 2019, my first exhibition of paintings for some time opened up at the Montgomery Theatre Gallery on Surrey Street, Sheffield.

I must admit that the paintings nearly did not get hung. In my excitement of finding somewhere to exhibit, I forgot about the practicalities of hanging my own work. I have never had to hang it before. When the ladder was brought into the room, fear crept into my heart. I have never been very good on ladders. This ladder had very thin rungs and the thought of holding a painting and attaching it to the hanging system whilst clinging to the ladder had my heart in my mouth.

My gung-ho spirit nevertheless saw me climbing the ladder but I went as far up as I dare and I could not reach the hanging system. I climbed down with a heavy heart and having no clue what to do. So I had to go back into the office and say that I just could not hang the paintings. Fortunately a young man came to my rescue and I shall forever be in his debt. Phew. Even if I say so myself the exhibition looks wonderful.

The Montgomery is found on Surrey Street in the city centre and is open 10-4pm normally, but check with the theatre and ask if the gallery is open if you are travelling especially to see it. I am willing to meet people there if they want to say hello. All work is for sale. The Gallery is upstairs. On Saturday 2nd February the cafe is open serving drinks and cake, so that sounds like a great time to pop in.

I am hoping to have some more brilliant news for you next week. There is something in the pipeline that I am hoping will come through.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Achievement is the Buzz Word for January 2019

Achievement is indeed the buzz word for January 2019. Each week of this New Year has brought fantastic news.

Achievement is my kind of success and involves markers along the way to the ultimate goal. I have always given 100% plus to whatever I do and it is great to see some recognition.

Talks at Quilting Shows
My first talks on Colour For Quilters are at the British Quilt & Stitch Village 2019 in April. I am speaking on each day at that event at Uttoxeter racecourse – 12-14th April.

I have just heard that on 4th August 2019, I shall be giving two talks at the ultimate quilt show – FOQ (Festival of Quilts) at the NEC, Birmingham, UK. The first is on Quilt Design, the second on the same day is on Colour. This is preliminary notice, actual dates and times are to be confirmed.

I am thrilled. Feeling very lucky. Book your tickets now and I’ll see you on the day. How do I top that achievement?

Quilting
I have made great progress with my latest Winter Inspirations quilt. The snowflakes are being added now. Perhaps just one more round of motifs and it will be finished. It is a quilt as you go, so once I have the top done, there will not be much more quilting when I add the backing.

I was gathering scraps today and might fit in a scrap quilt next. I am mindful now of getting my FOQ design finished. It will be great to have a quilt hanging when I am speaking there.

My sewing machine needs to go off for its annual service, but I really need it now. If it were not for so many projects, I might just think of starting my millefiori quilt, which will be by hand.

Knitting
Finally I am knitting a textured sleeveless top. Enjoying making up my own stitch pattern too.

Art
Opening on Saturday 26th at the Montgomery Theatre cafe, Sheffield I have an exhibition of art and framed quilts on show until Friday 20th February 2019.

Words, images and work copyright Karen Platt 2019

achievement knitting

achievement winter quilt

achievement art exhibition

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Book Review Head To Toe Winter Knits by Monica Russel

knittingBook Review Head To Toe Winter Knits by Monica Russel, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216087, price 9.99 available from www.searchpress.com

You cannot beat 100 patterns for this price. A good variety of hand knitting patterns including hats, all manner of scarves and neck, wrist and leg warmers, cuffs, boot toppers, all manner of gloves and mitts plus headgear. From plain knits to stripes, cable, fair-isle, lacy and more. This book of big patterns has big appeal. Designs are mainly for women, over 90% with a few men’s designs and children’s designs. Clear photos and easy to follow pattern instructions.

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Book Review Sew Beautiful Quilted Bags by Akemi Shibata

quilted bagsBook Review Sew Beautiful Quilted Bags by Akemi Shibata, softback, published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216308, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

What a fabulous book. 28 bags from Japan that you are sure to want to make. When it says beautiful, believe it. The author has a signature style that really speaks volumes. Elegant and stylish. Great bag shapes, beautiful fabrics, practical style. These are bags you will be proud to make and own. Different patterns include purses, pouches, shoulder bags, backpacks, cases, totes and more. There really is something for everyone. I think that, like me, you will want to make each one. It is often hard to find something different in the bag world, but this book offers a unique and distinguished feel. Learn techniques such as patchwork, applique, embroidery and beading. Use scraps of fabric and turn them into works of art. Clear instructions with colour diagrams and photographs. Full size templates are given where necessary for pattern parts but you have to trace them. The finished bags look fantastic but I do prefer to make fabric handles. There is also a lovely embroidery sampler and a sewing case in redwork. An applique collage is also included. In addition at the back of the book, you will find basic quilting techniques with personal tips. This includes finishing techniques and making covered buttons. There is a short embroidery stitch guide. Most importantly at the the back of the book you’ll find pattern sheets for all the projects – these are full size. They are to be photocopies or traced as the sheets are double-sided. I am happy to highly recommend this wonderful book. I cannot wait to see more of this author’s work in print. Don’t keep it to yourself, this is a book to buy for all your sewing friends and bag makers. Just as good as her first book, but a few less patterns.

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Progress and only two weeks into the New Year

Progress is sometimes hard to come by. No matter how hard you try progress can be elusive. This happens in all walks of life and it certainly happens in textiles.

Sometimes it’s that the ideas will not come (never suffer with that one), often it’s not having the right materials and occasionally you are stumped in great need of a technique that you do not know.

Experimenting can help overcome this – trying out different things and thinking outside the box.

This second week of January 2019, I spent launching a brand new, exciting range of snowflake fabrics. There are a total of 16 mix n match fabrics in my new permanent range. I am delighted with these.

I also made great progress with my latest Winter Inspirations quilt at last. I am trying to ignore another idea I have had for a second winter quilt until much later in the year. This one has not followed my initial sketches too closely. I tried out an idea that does not work either, but I have a final design. I am hoping it comes together quickly now and will be added to the website by the end of the month.

I was more than pleased to return to hand quilting this week and a UFO that has been sitting there for a few months. I am hand stitching a patchwork jacket using a running stitch. The wadding is silk and the front is a patchwork of fabrics with a blue lining.

I finished a cardigan and hat and started knitting a cabled waistcoat. I have altered the basic stitch pattern to make it unique to me. I think this really is the last of my Rowan lightweight double knitting wool bought in the 1990s!

Enjoy your creative projects, whatever you are making. See you soon when I will be telling you of my first speaking engagement at a quilt show in April.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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On the 7th day of January 2019

January new ecourse

I keep reminding myself that we are still in the first week of January 2019 and this is not a race. January is not known for go-getters! I’m out of the starting blocks and winning the race.

Notwithstanding, I have so far designed over 20 new fabrics. 17 of them are snowflake designs. Not all quite uploaded yet but I am getting there. As if that is not enough for one week’s work, I have also designed the Winter Inspirations quilt and what I have done so far is looking fantastic. This quilt, following on from the Summer Inspirations and Autumn Inspirations quilts, consists of several techniques. It is part of my Quilt As You Learn patterns. There is little more inspiring or confidence building than learning as you quilt. The patterns are a mix of tutorial and step by step photographic and written instructions. I am aiming to have this new quilt finished by the end of the month.

The fabrics have been designed for this quilt, although I am not using every design. They are available to buy with or without the pattern. Earlier in the week I designed some new rust inspired fabrics. I am also designing other new fabrics for the quilt above.

Elsewhere I went out to an exhibition in Lincoln. The Land, Sea and Air exhibition, I found a little disappointing.

My own exhibition of mainly paintings with some small textile pieces that are framed is at The Montgomery 25th January – 21st February 2019. It is in the cafe, which is open to the public at all times the Montgomery is open, whether the actual cafe is serving drinks or not. All works on show are available for sale.

The Colour ecourse has been launched and is a fantastic course for anyone who wants to learn about colour for quilters and textile artists. Learn how colours go together, what is right and wrong and most importantly something that no course tackles to my knowledge, how to go beyond the colour wheel.

More next week, stay creative.
Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Best of 2018 Review

Best of 2018 Review. Yes there were good things about 2018 but it was more of a year that did not go according to plan.

What was the plan? With the ugly three-headed monster known as Brexit looming, I planned to travel. Big time. Travel like I had never travelled before. See as many places as I could. Workwise I had travel plans – travel means inspiration.

What went wrong? Through no fault of my own, I had next to no travel money, so I made it to the one place I had pre-booked – Lisbon. I for one am sincerely hoping that Brexit can still be blown away and I retain my freedom of movement.

I introduced so many new ecourses, tutorials and even quilt patterns that I began to feel like a one-woman factory churning out inspiration by the bucket load to an audience that is increasing day by day. I am feeling a positive flow of energy to my work.

My new website launched this year and an Instagram account. Both looking good and receptive people building daily. Phew – but this is like a job within a job. I want to design and I find myself wrapped up in social media. It’s tricky.

So let’s look at a few highlights. The current New In page of the website is looking fantastic with my new range of quilting fabrics. There are now seven inspirations ebooks. There are now several quilts and patterns for sale. I have just launched the Colour For Quilters ecourse. This extends my work done between 1996 – 2018 on colour in gardening. Colour is my thing. I am still dyeing and now printing my own fabrics.

Do I have plans for 2019? It’s more work for little miss workaholic and I aim to build that audience and get positive vibes and sales with new products. There’s everything to play for. See you on the other side. Stay tuned for more exciting textiles and quilts.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018 (just!)

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New Year New Quilt and Fabric Products Launched

I said I had a lot to finish and add to the website before the New Year and I am almost there. Just the new ecourses to add – Colour Confidence For Quilters and Hand Embroidery For Textile Artists. Looking forward to launch those before New Year’s Eve.

Yesterday I launched the new Bells of St. Clements quilt for sale. Alongside it the quilt pattern and tutorial was also launched. It is a bright and cheery design. This is the latest pattern in my Skill Builders and is also the Summer Inspirations quilt. You can see the quilt here and the pattern is here

I am also working on venues to offer courses in person again in 2019 anywhere in the country or overseas if possible. Some courses are listed on the website. Remember you can travel with me to India for blocking printing workshops in Jan 2020. Sign up here. You can also sign up directly on the Colouricious website. They have been running tours successfully for more than 10 years.

Ready to launch are 17 new fabrics inspired by stained glass and tiles. These fabrics are unique and designed by me. I am listing them now under digital fabrics on the website.They are most suitable for the Cathedral Windows projects and tutorial.

As you can see I am concentrating on offering more fabric for quilters and more ecourses, patterns and tutorials for quilters and textile artists. It’s been a tough year but I am convinced that with my new, unique products and supplies, I will gain a foothold in the quilting market.

Just yesterday I block printed my first fabric for my new Winter Inspirations quilt that will be launched very soon. This will sell as printed panels and as metreage as well as a quilt kit. It is also hand dyed first, then block printed by hand.

I am looking forward to meeting many of you online, or in person throughout the New Year. Wishing everyone all the best.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018