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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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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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Back To Quilting Art Quilts

It’s back to quilting after the break. It’s not quite a week since I finished doing every day of the 31 day blog challenge. I have had a very short rest and then started new work.

back to quilting
Bird 1 almost finished

Quilting

Back to quilting and I stitched two backgrounds and put them to one side. This morning I started another and I am determined to finish all three.

They go with the last one I made (see pic above), which still needs a couple of small things doing to it. I also found a fifth in the drawer, a piece that was cut off a longer quilt, which I now know how to use. So begins my year of art quilts, the main focus of this year along with colour. Check out the website for quilts

back to quilting
This piece developed nicely, it will be fishy
back to quilting
I am also liking this piece and have started stitching it

Inspiration

I have always said that inspiration can come from anywhere. I was having a sleepless night and I began to read a book of poetry. Right there, I found words that resonated and started off ideas for not one but three quilts. I don’t think I have quite the right fabrics for those yet, but nonetheless, it started off another train of thought about birds. So I looked through my sketches and found a kingfisher I had sketched some years ago and he has been the start of a new quilt.

Kingfisher
Kingfisher copyright Karen Platt 2017
kingfisher art quilt
I changed the background and he is ready to stitch

In turn this connects to my river series because the kingfishers are sometimes seen on the River Don.

“To everything, turn, turn, turn

There is a season turn, turn, turn 
And a time to every purpose 
Under heaven” Pete Seeger

Other Work

I am well into a series of art that might just become quilts. My knitting is doing well too. Launch of the Peak District Knitting Pattern Collection looks like February 2020. Next week will see the launch of my latest insiration Book 13, Reflections. All in all a very exciting beginning to 2020.

art print
art print

Words (except the quote), images and work copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Day 31 quilting of 31 day blog challenge

Day 31 quilting – All good things come to an end and this is the final day of the 31 day blog challenge. However, it is not the end, but a beginning. The beginning of 2020, the beginning of new work, so tune in to the blog every Monday.

Looking Forwards

Day 31 quilting is a time to try and shape the future, how I want it to be. In 2016 I decided to make a living from teaching quilting, I know I made the right decision as a trained and qualified teacher with an eye for design, I am doing what makes me happy. Some of the quilts I made last year.

day 31 quilting
Karen Platt Original Quilts

The Unfinished

That first quilt is still there. It must be unpicked and finished. Good news is I found enough calico to finish the hand quilting one, so that will be launched shortly and the quilt along will happen. I also have a BOM planned, finally!

day 31 quilting
Quilt along

There is an Inspiration Travel ebook on Madeira that is also almost finished but was abandoned for three years. I also have one planned on Portugal. I have one other Inspiration ebook planned on Reflections.

Apart from those, in 2015 I planned a whole series of Inspiration books based on artwork inspired by historical themes. I hope to get round to publishing some of those in 2020.

Inspiration Travel Madeira
Inspiration Travel Book Two Madeira Gardens

Quilting Plans

I am concentrating on art quilts and colour this year. I hope to be teaching more, but I find venues in the UK reluctant to pay travel and there is nowhere locally to teach. I have made efforts to make this work.

day 31 quilting
quilt design Karen Platt

The quilt retreat should go ahead in June, which I am looking forward to. Join me for a great week of quilting and inspiration that will last a lot longer.

I have one unfinished ecourses for quilters almost ready to launch – Improve Your Quilting in 12 Easy Steps. I also have an Inspiration ebook on My Quilting Journey, so those will be coming next month.

day 31 quilting
ecourse by Karen Platt

Knitting

Also launching early in 2020 will be the Peak Collection of Knitting Patterns. I am also well on the way with other knitting pattern collections.

Discount

Day 31 quilting, the 20% off everything on the website is still running until midnight tonight. Happy New Year everyone.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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New Products In Store Quilts and ebooks

New Products In Store Quilts and ebooks including two new quilted wall hangings and two new Inspiration ebooks. If you are looking for Part 3 of the Scrap Quilt, give me another week and it will be finished. This week was all about getting some new products in store. I also completed two more knitting patterns for the Peak District Knitting Book I am writing. So it was a very productive week after what has seemed like being in the wilderness.

new products in store
back of the quilts

New Quilts

I know quilters who seem to make a quilt a day and I am much much slower, which worries me sometimes but maybe it is just tortoise and hare stuff. I started the ‘Indian Wedding’ quilts on 25 September 2019. They would both have been finished one month later, but I had no binding for the second one. Now completed, here they are in all their loveliness and they are for sale here. More photos on the listing.

new products in store
Indian Wedding Quilt
new products in store
Indian Wedding Quilt

New Inspiration ebooks

New products in store also includes lots of new ebooks. At just 7.99, these are superb value. Each ebook in the series features hundreds of photos you can use to inspire your own work, often with examples of my work too. They are downloadable pfds. The new titles are Flaking Paint and Trees. Existing titles include Skies, Rust, Lichen, Bark, Coast. I am working on three forthcoming titles concerning pattern. You can see all the ebooks here

new products in store
Inspiration Book 8 Flaking Paint
Inspiration ebook nine Trees
Inspiration ebook nine Trees

Knitting Patterns

I am doing very well putting the Peak District Knitting Pattern book together. So far I have a hat, scarf, shawl, stole. Next up is a pair of socks. This knitting pattern book will be sold on Ravelry, where I already have a few patterns (nowhere near all my patterns!)

new products in store
new knitting patterns

Did I say I would finish that Scrap Quilt for next week???

Words, work and copyright Karen Platt 2019

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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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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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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