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Designing Textiles From Scratch Textile Designer

Designing textiles from scratch is not always as easy as you might think. Not only do you need a great idea, you need to be able to follow it through to a finished object or even a series.

You need to know how to transfer your ideas from your head or from sketches on paper to something concrete and practical or decorative.

There are many techniques, many fabrics that you can use, so sometimes it is hard to make a start. Often we start and get stuck.

My design ecourses can help you negotiate your way through design, this one is on textiles

Moving Through Mud

Designing textiles from scratch is sometimes like moving through mud. You can get bogged down with indecision, stuck with an idea that will not flow or find it impossible to bring things to fruition.

However if you are like me, I only get stuck when I am faced with a decision on how to proceed, usually based on a lack of technique. So it was with my current jacket project. I had started fine and sat and stitched each evening until I had made 80 hand stitched diamonds. Joined them together in rows.

Then came the crunch: What comes next?

Decisions, decisions

I am not bad at decisions, I usually sort things fairly quickly. However, for every designer there comes a time when they get truly stuck. Was this the right decision? Would that have been better? Will this work? Is my technique bad?

I made a decision to use a type of folded patchwork around the edge, I have not got there yet, and might never. First I started on a central panel for the back to liven things up a bit.

I cut enough pieces for five different patchwork shapes. Then I lost a piece, stitched a piece a bit off centre and lost interest. All along there was a nagging doubt. Was it what I wanted?

Having finished another project, I returned to this design problem yesterday. I laid out the pieces and thought does it look right? Part of me said yes, part said no. No decision there. Then I thought once more, what else can I do? I could stitch some more diamonds but that was not what I wanted. I stared at it for a few minutes and decided it was worth finishing.

Designing textiles from scratch
Designing Textiles from scratch

The pieces are all just about stitched in place now. Of course I need odd shapes to attach in between them at the sides. I draw my own templates. Then I still have to make a decision on what goes around the edge, not to mention quilting it.

It might take a while yet, but I am on the move. Meantime I cut the fabric for jacket number three.

African fabrics
Designing textiles from scratch

Knitting

Designing textiles from scratch
Designing textiles from scratch

I also finished a sleeveless top. I was hoping to have the pattern uploaded to Ravelry today, but it will still take a day or two. It will be my 10th knitting pattern on there.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2021

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Knitted Hats Hand Stitched Jackets

Knitted hats and hand stitched jackets was where I was at this week. After completing the new hand stitched jacket, all hand stitched with running stitches, I was thoroughly exhausted. The long journey of sore fingers and time spent in the to do drawer, forgotten about until re-discovered and eventually finished.

Completed new sewn jacket

So here it is, warts and all. More than a few mistakes but I am glad it is finished and wearable. On with the new one now. That’s the joy of finishing a project, you can look forward to starting another.

new hand stitched jacket

I am deliberating slightly whether to make this a sleeveless one too, or whether to buy more of these gorgeous fabrics. I suppose I am lucky, having bought these in 2010, that they, or similar that will work as they are the same fabric style, are still available.

African dyed indigo fabrics

I had a good look on there this morning and almost emptied my meagre bank account. I need a lining and a couple more pieces of fabric to make a long line jacket. I must be frugal as the orders are sadly not flowing freely.

Please do take a look and see, if from the hundreds of products, all exclusive to me, there is something you need on the website. Know that you are supporting an independent artist and designer when you buy from me.

Hand Knitted Hats

I managed to handknit no less than five hats in the past month. All my own designs and the patterns can be found in my Ravelry store.

Knitted hats
Knitted hats
Knitted fairisle hat
Hand knitting
Combining stitches

That’s all for this week on knitted hats and hand stitched jackets. Next week I shall be introducing you to some new textile work and topics. Thanks for staying tuned.

Words, work and images copyright 2020 Karen Platt.

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Stitching and Knitting Through the November Fog

Stitching and knitting my way through the months. It keeps the November fog and mist and the brain fog at bay. Keeping occupied is often the best way to combat the winter blues. Make the best of those infrequent blue skies and get out and walk. When it is dreary, sit indoors and dream with a bit of stitching and knitting.

stitching and knitting
The front of the jacket, ready for stitching

Hand Stitching The Patchwork Jacket

The jacket took a huge leap this week. Not only did I stitch through the pain of sciatica, when I could and finish the back of the jacket, but I got the front cut and sandwiched. It took me two days because of the sciatica, but I am there at last and ready to start my running stitches. This is usually my evening activity whilst watching a film or series. I am pretty sure at this point, that this is going to be sleeveless. In fact, I tried it on today and was rather surprised that it is quite weighty.

patchwork jacket
Cutting the backing of the patchwork jacket

Knitting Hats

With my leftover yarn, I like to knit hats. If you follow me, you will be aware that I notched up over 20 hats a couple of years ago and a fw have been added since. Two days ago, I started knitting up hats with my leftover 4 ply pure Falcon Wool from the late 70s. I made two hats in two days. I cast on the third last night and thought wow, this will use it all up, then this morning I found three more balls. Oh well, I guess it will be four hats in total this time around. See the knitting patterns on Ravelry

stitching and knitting
Fair isle hat designed by Karen Platt
stitching and knitting
ribbed hat designed by Karen Platt

New series of ebooks for launch

Very shortly I shall be launching the first in a new series of ebooks, that provide resources, ideas and inspiration plus projects for all textile artists, based on historical themes. This will be my 50th ebook. You can see the full range here on the website

stitching and knitting
new ebook Textiles

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Knitting Patterns, Hand Stitching and Writing

My work life seems to happen in threes. This week it has been new knitting patterns, hand stitching and writing. I like to change tasks to help allay the pain that occurs particularly in my right arm and my neck. I find rotating what I am doing helps. A bit like crop rotation, or maybe not.

Hand Knitting Patterns

If you know my knitting, you’ll know that I like to have a project on the go. This is the final one of three in this yarn, although I have a bit of leftover yarn and will do something with that. There is a long and short version of this sweater with and without a peplum. I am slowly adding all my knitting patterns from the last 30 years to Ravelry.

Knitting patterns
Knitting Patterns by Karen Platt

Hand Stitching and Quilting

I am losing track of when I started this hand stitched jacket, but it is fun to pick up of an evening, when I remember and do a few rows. The hand quilting is not as even nor straight as I would like but it is all hand stitched and I am not a machine. I hold the fabric in my hands not in a frame of any kind. I have almost finished the back and I have one half of the front done. I think this one will be sleeveless. It has silk wadding, which I like for clothes. I lost a needle this week as I had to get up and answer the phone, and poof, it vanished. These hand quilting needles are so small, it is difficult to find them again.

hand stitching
Hand stitching a jacket, designed and stitched by Karen Platt

Writing An Autobiography

What’s so special about writing you might be thinking, but this is different. This time I am not writing a textiles or quilting ecourse or ebook; I am writing my life story. I want to get it all down in glorious technicolour before the colour fades, if you get my meaning. I want to see if I learned life’s lessons before I kick the bucket. So far I have written over 5,000 words. I think it will make interesting reading. If someone had told me I would write an autobiography, I would have laughed.

That’s all for this week, I shall continue with my knitting patterns, hand stitching and writing or maybe there will be another task to talk about next week as I keep on drawing and more.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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New Knits, Quilts and Textiles Creative Design

This month I have created new knits, quilts and textiles. Obviously I am still not into the weekly swing of things as it has been a month since I blogged again. But hey, at least it isn’t waffle about nothing, it’s all about new work, new knits, quilts and textiles.

new knits
new knitwear design by Karen Platt

New Knits

I have two new knits that I designed and knitted this month. Yes my arm feels like it is going to drop off. The new knitting patterns will be in my ravelry store hopefully this week, so make sure you click the link and visit.

new knits
new knitwear design by Karen Platt

New Quilts

Ok I admit, technically that is not true, and I am abusing the word ‘new’ here as the patchwork was done some weeks ago, and I am just quilting the top now. I did not start straight away for two reasons

  1. not enough wadding
  2. no ideas were coming on the actual quilting design – which stitches and method to use

So I am glad to say that I made a start this week. Wow! I now have six quilt blocks quilted, and enough wadding for one more. The quilt design came quite easily, although there are still some obstacles with the more complicated quilt blocks, but I am on my way. In the end I decided qaygo, quilt as you go was the best for this quilt, and so far I have used straight stitch quilt designs that I have created myself. I am a bit out of practice.

quilting
quilting the patchwork top

New Textiles

Stretching the ‘new’ again as these bird textiles were started a few weeks ago too. Now they are all finished and will be on sale on the website. There is only one of each, so as soon as they are uploaded this week, dive in there quickly.

That’s all for now, join me again shortly.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Quilt Design Dreams Block of the Week

Achieving my quilt design dreams with my Block of the Week BOW quilt is so fulfilling. I am bursting at the seams with joy! I have stuck to my objectives and so far I am half way through the design and creating the quilting blocks. Interest in making this patchwork block quilt has been pouring in. I am thrilled with what’s happening. Don’t forget to register your interest. As soon as registration ends, I’ll start hand dyeing your fabrics, specially for you.

Quilt design dreams
Designing a quilt block

15 Quilt Blocks so far

My quilt design dreams told me to create a Block of the Week so that people who need guidance can create a fairly complicated look easily in just an hour or two a week. I have created 15 quilt blocks so far, half way through the design. There are 5 super easy ones, some a little bit harder, and some that might challenge one or two of you. Each one is a great way to build your quilting skills. I’ve got a great balance of blocks in my gorgeous, colourful hand dyed fabrics. Tomorrow’s block is designed, just waiting for me to make it. The next one too. I am designing as I go to make sure they all fit together well.

I am hoping that by next Monday I can launch Indian Summer Block of the Week quilt as a product. I am on target. I have had an idea for the next one BOM too. Check out the last two blogs for more on how to take part and what to do.

Quilt design dreams
Designing a Quilt block

What else?

I have been rather exhausted but have still almost managed to finish the big fair-isle knitted wrap. It’s going to need a backing. Earlier in the week I was still getting some hand stitch on the jacket too. Have not done any for four days. There are not enough hours in the day.

Quilt design dreams
Designing a patchwork quilt block

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020.

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Quilt On Design Wall, Knitting On Needles

It’s been a busy week with a quilt on the design wall and a knitwear design on the knitting needles. Both had hung around a bit, but I have made good progress despite another week of poor health. I think I have that nailed down to really bad food sensitivities now. I have been writing more of my Better Without cookbook, and also my first ebook in the Stitches in Time series as well as designing two new ecourses.

knitwear design
my latest knitting project

Quilt Design

The quilt on the design wall is one you might have seen if you follow me on fb, Instagram (karenplatt_textiles) or twitter (if you don’t already please do). It sat there for 10 days with no progress whilst I battled food sensitivities. Not out of the woods yet, but I am hopefully getting on top of that. Friday, I picked up where I left off and the quilt is now looking well on its way. This will be in a new Scrappy Quilt ecourse along with other scrappy quilts I have designed, like this one. My ecourses can now be seen on the website or from Craft Courses.

quilt on design wall
New scrap quilt design

Knitting

I dug out the fair isle I had started last year with wool from the 90s. It is on fine needles and I have done other projects in between because it takes a long time to knit something like this. Not to mention concentration. It is now finished and I am really pleased with it. It looks fantastic on and since I bought the wool so long ago, it cost about 10 pounds. So I started another project with the leftover yarn (see first pic). There is no stopping me.

knitting
My latest fair isle knitwear design

What’s Coming Up?

Stay tuned next week for more quilting, knitting and new art posters and knitting patterns. I’ll be working on more quilts and writing.

quilt on design wall

Have a great week.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Plat 2020

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Cutting, Piecing and Quilting This Week’s Diary

Cutting, Piecing and Quilting, repeat, repeat, repeat. It seems to be almost all I do but this week I did not quite keep up with the 5 projects that I finished last week.

I started off on target but lack of sleep and subsequent fatigue took their toll. I finished two and almost finished two others. So let’s take a look as I walk you through my quilting and work week.

cutting, piecing and quilting
Quilt design Karen Platt

Putting Together A Quilt

At the end of last week as I went live, I had a quilt on the design wall. It’s almost there, I am in the midst of quilting it, and it is looking good. I still have that feeling of wow it’s done and then remember I have to make a back and quilt it. So it was more cutting, piecing and quilting. I had hoped to finish but could not trust myself on the sewing machine for three days. (see image above).

Don’t worry I was still plenty busy. In between times, fabrics were chosen for the next two quilts. One is a scrap quilt and the other is a coat. Yes, I am finally getting round to making a quilted coat.

I did get one Cathedral Window Quilt finished with a border. This one has been around for a while waiting for me to figure out how to put the border on. It is going to hang in my hall way. I am so in love with that red bird fabric.

cutting, piecing and quilting
Cathedral Window Quilt designed by Karen Platt

All my larger hand dyed pieces of fabric in silk, cotton, cotton scrim, linen and muslin were sorted and went into my Etsy shop. I’d appreciate if you would take a look. I have had 122 sales, 43 five star reviews and over 600 people love my shop. I am sending out fabrics now. Good for quilting, textiles, mixed media.

hand dyed fabrics
Hand dyed fabrics by Karen Platt

Knitting

I have been knitting a dream project in alpaca and silk and I am loving it. I feel very luxurious. It’s not a commit to memory pattern I have designed for this one, but it’s worth doing even if you have to keep your eye on it.

Knitwear design
Knitwear design by Karen Platt

Embroidery

I finally picked up not one but three embroidery projects I have designed. I know, it’s like buses, they come in threes. Two were re-discovered in my drawer whilst looking for something else. The third is a brand new one. They are all exciting portraits and all slightly different. More of that next week. I put one of my embroideries into the #artistsupportpledge still looking for a buyer.

Inspiration ebook

Last of all today is Inspiration Travel Tunisia Part Three. Yes, I finished it today and like the others it has unique art inspired by my journeys included. I am thrilled to finish this three part guide book series.

Inspiration Travel Tunisia ebook
Inspiration Travel Tunisia Part Three

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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How Many Quilts Do You Make In A Week?

There are no prizes but how many quilts do you make in a week? Do you always complete a quilt each week, or does it vary? I take my quilting and other textile work as it comes, when I can I make. I am not sure I remember a week when I got quite so much done.

How many quilts o you make
Butterfly quilt designed by Karen Platt

Cheat’s Sheet

  1. Finish projects off instead of starting anew.
  2. Make smaller projects.
  3. Work in a group to get quilts finished.
  4. Make simple patchwork style quilts that are quick to make.

My Quilt Making Week

QUILTING

I started last Sunday with a possible new quilt design going up on the wall. I was amazed when by Thursday the Butterfly quilt was finished. See the front above.

How Many Quilts Do You Make In A Week
Back of the Butterfly Quilt

In the evenings, I like to handstitch. I had had a tidy up in the sewing room and discovered 5 panels of Cathedral Window Quilting that needed some work on them, so I started on those on Tuesday and finished them on Friday.

Cathedral Windows quilt
Cathedral Windows Quilt designed by Karen Platt

I trimmed off the threads on another Cathedral Window Quilt and decided it was a triptych and not to sew it together. Things were going well. My answer to how many quilts do you make in a week is three quilts completed in one week.

How many quilts do you make
Cathedral Window Triptych designed by Karen Platt

HAND KNITTING

In April I had started a knitwear design. This has taken over a month, but it is finished now. It just needs buttons. Time for a new knitting design.

Hand knitting knitwear design
Cardigan designed and hand knitted by Karen Platt

Project Number 5 This Week

Finally, if I have not already exhausted you, I launched Part Two of Inspiration Travel Tunisia, this is ebook eight in the series. I am now working on Part Three. I created almost 40 new pieces of artwork for this ebook.

Inspiration Travel book Eight Tunisia
Tunisia travel guide and unique artwork

Artist Support Pledge

I joined Artist Support Pledge to support myself and other artists. It is the brainchild of Matthew Burrows on Instagram. Works can be sold for up to 200 pounds each. When an artist has made 1,000 pounds, they pledge to buy another artists work to the value of 200 pounds. So far I have added the following work, but any work on the website around or slightly over 200 pounds I would be willing to sell under the pledge, so if there is something you want please let me know.

LIMITED EDITION OF 100 Prints. Digital High Res Print, numbered and signed. A3 size. 100 pounds each plus p&p.

Digital print
El Djem

High Res Print. 35 pounds each incl. p&p in UK, for elsewhere please check.

Digital Print
Bleeding Heart

One of my embroideries is also available at the reduced price of 200 gbp plus p&p.

hand embroidery artist support pledge
Beauty In Stone Hand Embroidery

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Four Month Retrospective 2020 Work So Far

A four month retrospective of work produced so far this year. There has been so much work, that I thought I would recap. The start of this year went well, then Covid 19 hit, (so far I am grateful not to have contracted it as I am self isolating) but I did get shingles and sciatica. Therefore precious little has been achieved this month. This four month retrospective looks at everything I have made from January to April with regard to art quilts and ebooks.

Four month retrospective
Kingfisher quilt for sale

Retrospective January 2020

I hit the ground running with some art quilts – the Kingfisher, Seagull, Rusty Scissors, There Are Always More Fish In The Sea (sold), Bird Art Quilt.

four month retrospective
Seagull art quilt for sale
art quilt
Rust Scissors art quilt for sale
Fish art quilt
There Are Always More Fish In The Sea Art Quilt Sold
Bird art quilt
Bird Art Quilt For Sale

I also completed one of my Inspiration ebooks – Reflections and Shadows was the first one of the year and thirteenth in the series.

Inspiration Reflections ebook
Inspiration Reflections ebook

Retrospective February 2020

Inspiration ebook number fourteen followed hot on its footsteps featuring Domes, Cupolas, Spires and Towers. Inspiration Madeira was also launched, the second of the travel ebooks.

Four Month retrospective
Inspiration ebook Domes
Travel Inspiration ebook Madeira
Travel Inspiration ebook

There was another flurry of art quilts, this time some digital ones – Fine Feathered Friend, Shapes and Church as well as more collage type, Fantastic Bird and Camellia Tea.

art quilt for sale
Fine Feathered Friend art quilt for sale
four month retrospective
Fantastic Bird collage art quilt for sale
Camellia tea art quilt
Camellia tea art quilt for sale
Church art quilt for sale
Church art quilt for sale
digital art quilt for sale
Shapes art quilt for sale

This month also saw the launch of my first book of knitting patterns inspired by the Peak District.

Hand Knitting Patterns
Hand Knitting Patterns

March Retrospective 2020

This month got off to a bang with a new ebook, charting the designs of my quilts so far. Each design is described and assessed by my cold and calculating eye!

Quilt Design ebook
Quilt Design ebook

The third travel inspiration ebook was launched – Marseille. Then the fourth – Lisbon. If that was not enough, the fifth one appeared too – Corfu.

Inspiration Marseille
Inspiration ebook Marseille
Four Month Retrospective
Inspiration ebook Lisbon
Inspiration Corfu
Inspiration ebook Corfu

April Retrospective 2020

There are still a few days to go. This month has already seen the launch of the sixth Travel Inspiration ebook – Athens.

Inspiration Athens four month retrospective
Inspiration ebook Athens

The scrappy quilt is almost finished and that will see the launch of a new Scrap Quilt ebook.

All ecourses are now on craftcourses.com as well as my own website. Did I do well? I certainly produced a lot of work, which is available on the website under quilts or ebooks and there are always the ecourses too.

I’ll see you in May. Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020