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Made by Hand Handmade Textiles Knit and Stitch

Made by hand has been the byword for my work throughout my creative career. Although I sometimes use a sewing machine and at one time I owned a knitting machine, I prefer to work with my hands. Sometimes things made by machine are labelled made by hand and I think it’s important to distinguish the real thing because it takes a lot longer to make.

Handknitting

made by hand
made by hand my own knitting designs

I have been a handknitter for over 50 years. Gone are the days when it was knit one, drop one on my first knitting project at school, the dishcloth. Gone also are waking up at 5am to knit as I did eagerly in my teens. So too the eight hours a day knitting that I was so fond of right into my thirties. Now I am a more sedate knitter of an hour or two a day, dragged there by my hair screaming, for I honestly wish I could still knit eight hours a day. I find it peaceful and my mother always said I had a Mona Lisa smile when knitting. Yet the hands, wrists, elbows and even shoulders will not allow me to do that any more, so I have to be content to pick it up and put it down in short spells. That’s the beauty of knitting.

Since the last blog on Monday, I finished a colourwork cardigan that had sat around for thirty years! That’s the very last of knitting someone else’s pattern. I have been a knitwear designer for over thirty years myself. I designed and knitted up a lovely little shoulder wrap this week. It’s perfect for the cooler evenings.

I managed six rows of the my new design – a fairisle sweater in true Shetland yarn from Jamiesons of Lerwick. I enjoyed choosing the colours and today the first pattern section was reached. So looking forward to this.

You can find my knitting patterns on Ravelry

and my knitting pattern booklet on the website, 10 fabulous patterns for 15.00 gbp

Karen Platt knitting patterns
Karen Platt knitting patterns

Stitching

When I can knit no longer, I sew. Sometimes because of my hands, that has to be on the sewing machine, but I still fit in a fair bit of hand stitching too. The pile of to do for sewing is quite extensive. I remembered I had stalled on the fabulous indigo jacket. This is a sewing machine project, but I am making it reversible therefore all the seams are machine stitched and then stitched in place by hand. I set in the sleeves this week.

indigo jacket
machine sewn indigo jacket with handsewn seams

I also returned to the new coat project, which is all hand stitched after a break of a week. It stitches up quickly, even though it is by hand.

made by hand
made by hand embroidered coat

That’s all for this week. I shall be continuing these handmade projects and maybe more. See you next week.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2021

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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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ebook Traditional Tunisian Dress Launch

I am so pleased to launch my new ebook Traditional Tunisian Dress. When I returned to Tunisia in 2014 to write several books about the country I had come to love, this one was top of the list. I find Tunisian dress just as enchanting as the rugs that I am also in love with and wrote about in my book on Woven Textiles. In fact, this makes no less than six books I have written on Tunisia. The three guide books, the book on the Sahara make up the six titles. You can find all six including many others (current total 44) on my ebook page here

ebook Traditional Tunisian Dress

Traditional Costume of Tunisia

So here it is at last the ebook Traditional Tunisian Dress of fabulous embroidery, wedding costumes, hand embroidered dress for men and women, headgear and everything else. It is a feast for the eyes. It includes over 400 photos of Tunisian costume. Learn about regional differences, style and type of dress and where Tunisian dress is heading in the future. Discover the different types of dress. It has been a great pleasure to write about the different styles of dress and to meet some of the makers.

Woven Textiles of Tunisia

Allow me to remind you that this is the definitive book on Tunisian rugs, carpets and shawls.

Woven Textiles of Tunisia

Cathedral Windows

I think that was quite enough excitement for this week. However, my hands are rarely still and I finished my Cathedral Windows Quilted Cross that I started in February. It is the only piece I managed to finish this week as I have been confined to writing because of health. The unique stained glass window fabric is available in the shop.

Knitting Patterns

I have started to enter the single patterns from the Peak District Collection on Ravelry. The complete ebook is only available in my website shop but if you want a single pattern, then take a look at my Ravelry shop

Peak collection knitting patterns

See you next week

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Day 16 quilting of the 31 day blog challenge

Day 16 quilting means I have past the half way mark in the blog challenge. Lots of news and tips today.

day 16 quilting
zigzag applique

Quilt Tip of The Day

I don’t know if it happens to you and I won’t blame my sewing machine, but take it from a lady whose sewing needle has gone in the opposite direction to what she thought when doing zigzag and turning corners, or even starting off, there is a way to know which way it will go. Like me, you probably have a machine, that depending on the selection the zigzag goes left or right. Yes, I have that. But sometimes, it still seems to have a mind of its own, and I know its me, I kept getting it wrong. So assuming there is someone else out there as crazy as me. Here is what to do if this keeps happening to you:

  1. Make sure you have selected the correct zigzag to go left or right as desired.
  2. Turning the corner, keep it true by stopping at the edge with your needle down (it does not really matter if you are on the outside or inside of the fabric
  3. Lift the foot
  4. Turn your fabric
  5. Put the foot down
  6. Lift the needle and you will see which way it is going to go
  7. Adjust, lifting the foot as necessary so that the needle will be insert on the outer edge of the fabric

No more ugly corners

day 16 quilting
turning the corner with zigzag stitch

New Products In Store

New Inspiration ebook Seven Clocks

I am so pleased to have finished my 12th Inspiration ebook in time for Christmas. These are manual pdf downloads so they make great last minute gifts for someone you forgot. I can send it to any email you give and it can be delivered on Christmas morning or any time you desire.

This one is all about Clocks, and it goes in at number 7, making the total of 12 Inspiration ebooks. I have moved Churches (which was number 7 because that along with Tunisian Doors is an art Inspiration ebook of my work only, so slightly different to the others that contain original photos for inspiration as well as my work.

Inspiration ebook Seven Clocks

Coming shortly is the new Karen Platt Peak Collection of knitting patterns. It will be added to my Ravelry pattern store. I should finish the final design today. So more news about that in a few days. I am so pleased with all the new work I have completed in the last few weeks. It has been a very productive time for me.

Karen Platt knitwear design
latest Karen Platt knitwear design

Today’s Discount

Day 16 quilting discount is on the Inspiration Clocks ebook. Take 10 off for today only.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019