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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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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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Summer Quilting ecourses quilts to make

Summer Quilting ecourses is all about quilting this summer with a brand new range of mini quilting ecourses to learn at home or whilst on holiday. Machine and hand quilting ecourses are available.

New ecourses

The first Summer Quilting ecourses are now available on the website and include a rust dyed quilt with instructions for rust dyeing, complete quilt instructions and a fabulous Rust inspiration ebook. You can see the ecourse here

Machine Stitched Rust Dyed Quilt

The ecourse will teach you about design and quilting and get you thinking creatively. It has step by step photos and instructions.

You can also buy the Rust inspiration ebook here on its own. The book contains 500 photos plus inspirational examples of my work.

Rust ebook

New to ecourses? This is distance learning in your own home, at your pace in your time, whenever you want. You get 24/7 access and get to keep the instructions and ebook for your own personal use. If you need to clarify anything, I am on hand to ask. Longer ecourses have a special group to share makes etc.

More new ecourses with ebooks will follow, such as create a tree bark picture with the embellisher machine and hand stitch, which includes the Bark ebook.

Coming Soon

I am very excited about my current work. I am, as usual, working on many projects at once. More good things to come include:

New Use Leftover Fabrics Creatively ecourse with projects large and small. You’ll be able to make gorgeous quilts like this one with scraps.

Summer quilting ecourses
Summer quilting ecourses

Make Your Patchwork Jacket ecourse

New Hand Knitting Patterns on Ravelry for single patterns or on the website for pattern books

knitting patterns on Ravelry

New affordable BOM quilt pattern, sign up ready shortly for September start

New Yorkshire travel inspiration ebook. Be inspired by England’s biggest county and the land I call home.

Have a great week everyone, happy creativity. Check back next week to see my progress and keep up with what’s going on.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 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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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

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Quilting and Textiles Blog Fabric Book

In my quilting and textiles blog I like to show you what I have been working on during the week. This has been a week of continuing (slowly) with the scrap quilt and making the fabric book based on the Stay At Home theme of fruit and vegetables. I have been creating fabric pears. You can ask to join the group here. I also managed some knitting and finished two small Cathedral Windows Quilts.

Stay at home and create
fabric book

My quilting and textiles blog is a good way to get to know my work and to support me through my online shop. Bear in mind that during the coronvirus outbreak I am staying in, so you can still buy products online as long as they can be emailed – i.e. ebooks or ecourses. There is lots to keep you going through this crisis.

Quilting

It is a quick mention for quilting this week as owing to not feeling well, I have been a lot slower and still have 5 more blocks to make. I have been thinking of different ways with stripes. However I did finish two Cathedral Window Quilts with buttons. You can access my Cathedral Windows tutorial here.

Cathedral Windows quilt
Cathedral Windows Quilt
Cathedral Windows Quilt
Cathedral Windows Quilt

Knitting

For the first time in years I am knitting in lace. I have designed a textured lace knit in cotton. It is knitting up quite quickly.

knitting pattern
knitting pattern

Textiles

My textiles fabric book is looking great. It is finished, but I might make a cord with beads to finish off the spine. I made each page using different stitches and techniques. The centre page is in last week’s blog. I am really pleased with this work. It was great to use up some of my stash of green fabrics and threads.

quilting and textiles blog
pears
quilting and textiles blog
pears fabric book
fabric textile book
fabric book

Catch up next week when I hope to have some garden themed work to show you; the quilt finished and more besides. Stay occupied, positive and please stay home and safe.

quilting and textiles blog
fabric book

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Knitting Patterns The Peak District Collection

Knitting Patterns a new collection of patterns inspired by the Peak District and available exclusively on the website.

knitting patterns
The cover of my new knitting pattern booklet

Knitting Patterns

This collection of knitting patterns was inspired by the colours and textures of the Peak District. 10 knitting patterns are included in ebook pdf format only from the website, click the link to see all 10 patterns. I have really enjoyed designing and making up my patterns for you to enjoy too. The patterns include shawls, a stole, hats, mitts and scarves plus a cardigan and bolero. They are all patterns for women. I have concentrated on wraps because the weather often suddenly changes in the Peak and it is good to wear layers or have a stole, hat and gloves with you.

knitting patterns
scarf and matching hat
knitting patterns
part of one of the shawl patterns

The range of patterns was inspired by the Peak District from a walk along Stanage Edge one day last year. The yarns used made me think of the Peak in all its glory, no matter what the season.

stole knitting patterns
It’s always good to have a wrap with you in the Peak, this stole is a real winner

A variety of stitches is used in the projects and there is something for beginners and intermediate knitters too.

The second collection of exclusive designer knitwear is already underway, inspired by Cornwall. I have four books planned with all the knitting already done.

Textiles

A number of textile pieces were also finished this week. The hearts were one of the first things I made. I have some felted ones I am thinking of using in a project.

hearts
You’ve gotta have heart, miles and miles …

This green piece is all about texture and is based on lichen. This is part of a series. It was loved on Instagram.

textile art
My textile inspired by lichen

This circles piece is part of my work inspired by The Sahara. Most of the work in this series is already online and shown in the Sahara inspiration ebook.

textile art
Sahara inspired textile

My mother textile piece did not get worked on at all, I am still pondering. I think it is taking on a new direction.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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New Work Quilting, Inspiration and ebooks

It really has been a bumper week with new work and it would have been even more splendid had not the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome not visited. I am no stranger to this, but have kept it at bay for years. This week I overstepped the mark with new work quilting, knitting and on the computer (the worst for my wrist and hand). It is the scourge of all crafters, so a few tips if you are a sufferer. It is of prime importance to rest. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Exercise might help, they take time, clench a fist and release, splaying the fingers. Buy a wrist support. Do not try to keep on doing what you are doing. Rest, rest, rest.

wrist brace

Quilt a doodle do

I am loving my new work in the quilting arena. Just putting wonderful colours together. A colourful scrap quilt, something new out of next to nothing. It’s looking good and I am pleased. A quick and easy quilt to make. It was a bit like doodling with fabric.

new work
Quilt in progress

Knit wit

Oh yes, I have fingerless mitts and flip tops. Can life get any more exciting? Love these. The pattern is going in the Peak Collection Knitting Pattern booklet – it’s nearly there. This will launch on my Ravelry Store.

new work
new knitting pattern

New ebooks

Two ebooks almost finished. Inspiration Book 11 Pattern Circles with almost 300 images and Inspiration Book 12 Pattern Repetition with over 500 images. Now you know why I have the carpal tunnel syndrome 🙂 I promise I will get book 10 finished too, it got left behind. See all the inspiration books and more here

new work
Inspiration ebook circles
new work
Inspiration ebook repetition

Coming Up

Starting next Sunday, 1st December 2019 I shall be taking part in a 31 day blog writing challenge organised by Muppin. Lots of quilt bloggers are taking part, so come and read all about lovely quilts and quilting. I’ve got some special offers too throughout December, so don’t miss the daily posts. There’ll be lots of inspiration taking you through to 2020.

blog challenge December 2019

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019