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New QUILTING Launches June is Bursting Out All Over


Good Quilting News

New quilting launches. It’s one of those months when I just know things are coming to fruition. June is absolutely chock full of new quilting launches. My new quilting launches include quilts, BOM, tutorials, features, workshops. What more could the quilting world want?

My FOQ quilt is well on its way, hurrah. It’s not the one I wanted to do, but hey ho, that happens sometimes as a designer when you set the bar too high. I am satisfied that it is something I can finish, it has a twist and good colour combination. That’s good enough for me. Another wall hanging quilt is planned and another in the Don River series. Yesterday I walked some more of the river. I think I have quilted more than last year.

River Don
River Don


Autumn Quilting Launch

A brand new quilting launch for me – my first BOM. This is an autumn start BOM, not a one year long haul, but something manageable for everyone. Something everyone can do. Join me now. It is going to be exciting. Fabrics are available or you can buy your own. This is not an expensive BOM, but one I hope everyone feels they can afford.

New quilting launches

There will be at least one new tutorial, maybe more. All the new launches will be on the website, click here. The July issue of British Quilting & Patchwork features my first and last quilt. How tremendous is this my first feature in a quilting magazine! More great news is that booking should now be open online at the West Country Quilt Show, where you can book one of three workshops I am teaching at this show. The workshops are repeated each day, so take your pick from quilting coasters, quilting a landscape or hand stitched Cathedral Window quilting. One workshop has already sold out. I have heard fantastic recommendations of this show, so I hope you will join me. Book here

Join me next Monday on the blog, Karen

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilt Design Abandoning A Design

Abandoning a design at making stage seems to be my thing when it comes to competition quilts. It’s not something I normally do, nor would recommend. I know many quilters have UFO’s, quilts they have not finished, but for me, as a designer, I’m not into abandoning a design. Yet each time I have designed for competitions, it has happened.

So my FOQ quilt is the latest victim. I love my idea, but it is rather complicated and there are silences in the quilt room – no whirr of the machine, no progress. I loved the hand quilted section, and this will be used in another quilt. Everything else was not gelling and I realised this morning that although the difference in scale still meant that the hand quilted section matched up with the machine quilted ones eventually, when I came to do the top quilting, it was not going to look right. There were also numerous problems yet to solve. So I called it a day, having thought of another idea to pursue.

abandoning a design

I have already made a start on the new quilt and four small blocks have been joined into one. Although this is a much simpler design than the one I wanted to enter, at least it will not cause long periods of no progress. And there is a lot to be said for that. The fabrics will not be wasted. If I work at this a few hours a day, it will be finished in 10 days maximum. So that’s perfect too and I can get back to the quilting I want to do.

quilt design

However, it has left me wondering if this is really for me or if this is my last quilt competition entry. Only time will tell, but I have not made a very auspicious start. Designs for sale are here

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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River Theme Quilt Design 2 Exhibition

The River Theme Quilt 2 is underway as of today. Whilst it is true that I have not quite finished the first River Theme Quilt, I have started Quilt 2. On the first one I still have to do the binding, that was halted by health issues. I have the design ready for quilt 2 and have started the cutting. These two quilts form a mini-series based on the flow of the river itself. I have used my existing blue offcuts in this quilt. I think I shall have enough to make it work.

river theme quilt

The River Theme is just what it says it is. I am following the course of the River Don and interpreting it in artistic ways with a view to exhibiting in several towns and cities along its course. There will also be an online exhibition of work and all work will be for sale here. This will include all original work, digital prints, original quilts and quilt kits.

I managed two river walks this week. There is still much to do, but I am already using my skills to interpret the inspiration I have finding. The latter is so varied from old steel mills and the cutlery industry to beautiful landscapes. Apart from the quilts, I have already created a series of digital prints. I intend to paint and create some textiles too and to offer some teaching. It is my biggest project yet.

River Theme

This is a period of great quilting activity for me, as I also took the plunge and sent off my form to exhibit a quilt at this year’s FOQ as well as offering two talks there, don’t forget to book. I hope that does not come back to bite me. I think I am juggling at least three balls (make that quilts).

Happy creating until next time.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Book review – Visual Guide to Art Quilting

Visual Guide to Art Quilting, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing), price 20.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

If you have ever wondered want an art quilt is, or how to make one, this is the book for you. Chapter 1 covers Design theory and inspiration; chapter 2 Supplies and tools; chapter 3 is all about fabric whilst chapter 4 will tell you all about surface design; chapter 5 delves into dimension; chapter 6 deals with quilting and chapter 7 rounds everything off nicely with finishing and presentation. There is also a glossary and index. Each chapter has mini essays by different quilters. Offers tips for beginners. Brief ideas on how to design, use colour, fuse, dye, paint, stamping, printing, texture, needle felting, overlays, cords, embellishments, creative stitch, thread painting, quilting by hand and machine, bindings, hanging options, sleeves and labels. Small bites of information but too brief for anything but beginners.

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Competition Quilt Entry Date FOQ Approaches

The competition quilt entry date for the Fine Art Quilts at FOQ was earlier than the competition quilt entry date for the other categories. Friday 3rd May 2019 was the latest entry date for the Vlieseline Fine Art category. Not only that, it was also the final date for an image of the submission. I am afraid that counted me out of that category that I wanted to enter. I thought it was the date for the form only. There is always another year.

In all reality I think I prefer to just make quilts, and if there is one I want to select for a show, then I believe that is the way to do it. Since I decided to enter shows (I never imagined I would) my life has been taken over by not being satisfied with my work, which is not the aim. Trying to design for a show, by a specific date, just has not worked for me. I have discarded quilt after quilt as not making the grade in some way.

Even my latest quilt, which is probably the best I have made, I kind of rejected as not good enough today. So I am going to move forwards from here. A quick slapped hand and a good talking to and get on with it.

The deadline for all other entries for FOQ is 24th May 2019, so still time to finish what I had in mind for the Art category perhaps. I am working very hard. To be honest I find it very difficult to categorise my work, is it art, contemporary or modern? Anyway the pressure is off now. If you are not enjoying it, there is little point in doing it. So I have decided if I finish it, I will decide on entry, but from now on, I am not going to decide in advance and perhaps I can stop producing so many quilts that I worry about. I already have a quilt finished for the other show I am entering this year, so that feels good. Plenty of ideas on stream, a couple shown here for my next River Series quilts.

competition quilt entry
Competition quilt entry

You can check the categories and dates for FOQ here

Find out more about designing your own quilts here

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilts inspired by the river Don

Over a dozen quilts inspired by the river, already designed. A little while ago I started using the river Don in Sheffield as a source of inspiration. My research has turned up quite a few surprises and is almost complete.

How can a river inspire quilts? You might well ask. Well, the answer to that is everything can provide inspiration. Quilts inspired by the river for me has meant looking at shapes and trying to engage with a sense of the past, meaning in the landscape, what was and what is now.

The industry is all but disappearing with few traces left. I set out to interpret what the local river means to Sheffield and the other areas it flows through. Once the raison d’etre for the steel industry, the river is being transformed for residential and leisure use. It was residential use that brought me to this area. However, the past is what is inspiring my new quilts.

The rolling mills, the base of a watermill, furnaces. As a schoolgirl I visited Templeborough Steel Mills (now the site of Magna). It made an impression on me, the heat, the noise, the red hot steel being moulded into shape. I also visited the crucible steel making at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet many years ago.

Some of the old cutlery firms have been re-furbished to form residential apartments. The old Dixon firm is one of the best. There is only one complete cementation furnace left, out of hundreds and hundreds.

Quilts inspired by the river
Visit to Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield

I shall be exploring new techniques and ways to interpret what I find. I am enjoying this work immensely. I want to record my feelings about the Sheffield I knew, the Sheffield that existed along the river before I was even born. First I look for shapes related to the images that have inspired me. I translate these into quilts, interpreting the design. Then it is all down to my cutting and piecing skills. Best get stitching.

Quilts inspired by River Don
Sketchbook work inspired by River Don
Sketchbook River Don
Sketchbook working with shapes
Sktachbook River Don
Sketchbook work River Don

Tune in next Monday for the weekly blog

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Competition Quilts British Stitch and Quilt Show April 2019

Competition quilts are what so many visitors to shows come to see. This small show with a village atmosphere does not disappoint. There were many competition quilts on show and I just want to share some of them with you.

I am going to start with one of my favourite competition quilts at the show in the Traditional category. It is a ‘Dear Jane’ quilt by Francis Meredith. I wonder what your favourite is? This is so beautiful and the kind of quilt I would want on my bed.

Competition Quilts Dear Jane by Francis Meredith
Francis Meredith

The next one is also a favourite and was so realistic it looked like you could just walk into the church. Applique and some cut-outs. Michael Fitchett was a deserving winner with the Heart of The Midlands Group entry.

competition quilts Michael Fitchett's group entry Heart of The Midlands
Michael Fitchett

This was stunning but it was not lying flat ‘Egyptian Dahlia’ by Alison Francis.

Alison Francis competition quilt 'Egyptian Dahlia'
Alison Francis

‘Autumn Leaves’ are always a good theme and colourway. This was made by Anthea Stokes.

'Autumn Leaves' by Anthea Stokes.
Anthea Stokes

If you like that theme, you might find my own design I created last autumn of interest, it is available as a pattern

The quilt itself is also available for sale and I have another autumn wall hanging quilt kit

Heather Hasthorpe was a winner with a group entry quilt based on baskets. It was long armed.

Heather Hasthorpe
Heather Hasthorpe

Kathy Unwin 'Plastic Ocean
Kathy Unwin

Kathy Unwin’s ‘Plastic Ocean’ above, which I believe was shown at FOQ 2018 and below Susan Brown’s ‘Log-A-Rhythm’, also a winner.

Susan Brown's Log-A-Rhythm
Susan Brown

Michelle Whitby’s ‘Woodland Peaks’ – a masterpiece in quilting.

Woodland Peaks by Michelle Whitby
Michelle Whitby

Last of all here are the quilts in the Miniature category. My own design is the hydrangea blue one. This will shortly be available as a kit.

Join me for the next quilting blog, every Monday. I write about various aspects of design plus anything else that fits in with quilting. copyright Karen Platt 2019

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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

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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

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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