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Achievement is the Buzz Word for January 2019

Achievement is indeed the buzz word for January 2019. Each week of this New Year has brought fantastic news.

Achievement is my kind of success and involves markers along the way to the ultimate goal. I have always given 100% plus to whatever I do and it is great to see some recognition.

Talks at Quilting Shows
My first talks on Colour For Quilters are at the British Quilt & Stitch Village 2019 in April. I am speaking on each day at that event at Uttoxeter racecourse – 12-14th April.

I have just heard that on 4th August 2019, I shall be giving two talks at the ultimate quilt show – FOQ (Festival of Quilts) at the NEC, Birmingham, UK. The first is on Quilt Design, the second on the same day is on Colour. This is preliminary notice, actual dates and times are to be confirmed.

I am thrilled. Feeling very lucky. Book your tickets now and I’ll see you on the day. How do I top that achievement?

Quilting
I have made great progress with my latest Winter Inspirations quilt. The snowflakes are being added now. Perhaps just one more round of motifs and it will be finished. It is a quilt as you go, so once I have the top done, there will not be much more quilting when I add the backing.

I was gathering scraps today and might fit in a scrap quilt next. I am mindful now of getting my FOQ design finished. It will be great to have a quilt hanging when I am speaking there.

My sewing machine needs to go off for its annual service, but I really need it now. If it were not for so many projects, I might just think of starting my millefiori quilt, which will be by hand.

Knitting
Finally I am knitting a textured sleeveless top. Enjoying making up my own stitch pattern too.

Art
Opening on Saturday 26th at the Montgomery Theatre cafe, Sheffield I have an exhibition of art and framed quilts on show until Friday 20th February 2019.

Words, images and work copyright Karen Platt 2019

achievement knitting

achievement winter quilt

achievement art exhibition

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Book Review Sew Beautiful Quilted Bags by Akemi Shibata

quilted bagsBook Review Sew Beautiful Quilted Bags by Akemi Shibata, softback, published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216308, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

What a fabulous book. 28 bags from Japan that you are sure to want to make. When it says beautiful, believe it. The author has a signature style that really speaks volumes. Elegant and stylish. Great bag shapes, beautiful fabrics, practical style. These are bags you will be proud to make and own. Different patterns include purses, pouches, shoulder bags, backpacks, cases, totes and more. There really is something for everyone. I think that, like me, you will want to make each one. It is often hard to find something different in the bag world, but this book offers a unique and distinguished feel. Learn techniques such as patchwork, applique, embroidery and beading. Use scraps of fabric and turn them into works of art. Clear instructions with colour diagrams and photographs. Full size templates are given where necessary for pattern parts but you have to trace them. The finished bags look fantastic but I do prefer to make fabric handles. There is also a lovely embroidery sampler and a sewing case in redwork. An applique collage is also included. In addition at the back of the book, you will find basic quilting techniques with personal tips. This includes finishing techniques and making covered buttons. There is a short embroidery stitch guide. Most importantly at the the back of the book you’ll find pattern sheets for all the projects – these are full size. They are to be photocopies or traced as the sheets are double-sided. I am happy to highly recommend this wonderful book. I cannot wait to see more of this author’s work in print. Don’t keep it to yourself, this is a book to buy for all your sewing friends and bag makers. Just as good as her first book, but a few less patterns.

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Learn As You Quilt What’s New In Quilting

Learn to quilt with Karen. If you follow me on social media, you cannot have missed the fact that I have been working on an exciting new quilt design. It’s new in more ways than one:
1. It’s the first quilt pattern I have written
2. It’s more than just a pattern – it involves several tutorials
3. You learn as you quilt building your skills

How great is that? This is a new style of quilting skill builder – one where you learn whilst quilting. This new pattern actually involves 12 skills and once you have mastered this one, there will be more patterns to enjoy with different skills. Because you are learning along the way – the pattern can be used in different ways. It also presents many options and variations for the quilter. Patterns can be found on the pattern section of the website.

I have been developing this new style of quilting for a year now. I’m hoping it is going to make a lasting impact on the quilt world. It should make it easier for beginners to achieve good results from the beginning and give them the confidence to build their skills quickly. For intermediate quilters, it offers a challenge to the established method of quilting and even advanced quilters might find a skill they have not yet tried.

This latest design concentrates on autumn (fall) in theme and colour. This will be available as a pattern and tutorials. The next design will be for spring. I shall be offering a special pack, launching exclusively on the website, for everyone who wants to join in and make the quilt.

It’s been a challenge to find a way to describe this new slant on learning to quilt. I have settled on the abbreviation QUILTSKI for Quilt Skills, to describe my methods. I do hope you will join me in this exciting adventure launching this week.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Book Review 50 Little Gifts compiled by Susanne Woods

Book Review 50 Little Gifts compiled by Susanne Woods, softback published by Lucky Spool. ISBN 9781940655338, price 20.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

Subtitled ‘Easy Patchwork Projects To Give Or Swap’ this book is just that. A compilation of useful projects to use up scraps. Pouches, potholders, purses, baskets, keyrings, bags of all sizes – all with one thing in common – colourful patchwork. The projects are from different designers, and many are the usual organiser projects, mats, baskets, zipped purse and so on, but this book brings 50 such projects together and makes a super gift itself. Each project has a colour photo – clear instructions, with an at-a-glance box of essentials showing Size, Materials, Cutting and Tips. There are clear line drawings where needed and mini tutorials. I like the triangular log cabin pincushion, patchwork dog and passport holder. You’ll find a basic guide to embroidery at the front of the book and templates at the back; some are actual size, some need enlarging. Good patchwork fun.

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Designing Your Own Quilt

Designing your own quilt does not seem to occur to most quilters. Think of the millions of quilters around the world and how few actually design. It can also be said that some designers do not quilt, that goes for other textile areas too like knitting.

I am a hands-on designer and quilter. I do prefer the design aspect. I respect that you think you might not have the skills to design your own quilt, but those skills can be learned. Wherever you live, take a look at my ecourses

Top five skills designing skills (but remember they can be learned!)

1. Creativity

2. Understanding fabric, texture and placement

3. Strong sense of colour

4. Sewing skills

5. Problem solving

If you can piece and follow quilting patterns, chances are you can design your own quilt. Being a quilt designer is a bit like being a juggler. You also have to add in a bit of you, a bit of magic, something that makes your work stand out from the crowd. This comes with practice.

Of course you can design with software these days, which eliminates some of the skills, but learning to design is a fascinating subject and one I urge you to try. Designing your own quilt is so satisfying.

If you need a certificate, your choices are a University or C&G course. As funding is being withdrawn, I believe some of the C&G courses are ending shortly. Typically a University design degree will cost around 10,000 pounds. A C&G course Level 1 costs around 900 pounds for the academic year (i.e. not a full year). Both of these give you recognised qualifications.

My own Quilting Design course is a full 12 months for under 500 pounds and includes more than C&G Level 1. As a fully qualified and trained teacher, I develop my own ecourses
and teach in person too. I also offer a good range of shorter courses and skill-based courses. New courses are being added all the time.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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My Year Offering Quilting ecourses

As a quilt designer I have taken the route of offering quilting ecourses. There are also other routes I can pursue – the doors are open far and wide.

It’s one of the first decisions you have to make as a professional – which path to follow and build upon. I chose teaching because I am a fully qualified and experienced teacher. I wanted to bring ecourses within the reach of the many not the few. I have not cut corners, just costs.

I started offering quilt design ecourses just over a year ago to start in September 2017. My first group of wonderful ladies finish their ecourse in the first week of September. It’s all gone very well, with good feedback. FOQ helped to publicise the ecourses, the feedback and interest were fantastic.

So where to for 2019 and beyond? I am offering in situ courses in a number of places, and looking for other places to offer courses too, see the website under ecourses, the link is above. I am also working on videos to expand the desirability of the ecourses. If you are looking to learn, please take a look at that section of the website – so much more than just design, I cover many aspects of patchwork and quilting.

So where to next? One of my desires was to produce my own fabrics – costs are a little preventative, but I can still produce hand dyed fabrics, so I shall develop one-off art cloths to be used in quilting. The kits are developing too alongside a range of unique quilts. I am creating my own quilt style now. Ones that build quilting skills. This second year will be building on the good foundations of 2017-2018. Wish me luck! The culmination will hopefully be a show quilt at FOQ 2019 and better recognition for all my hard work.

I finished 2 full-size quilts, one almost full-size, 4 lap quilts, at least 3 art quilts and 3 Cathedral Windows quilts. I am working on a new skill builder quilt design.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018
Karen Platt teapot quilt series

Karen Platt tea quilt series

Karen Platt elephant quilt

Karen Platt bird quilt

Karen Platt Quilt along

hand dyeing Karen Platt

One Block Wonder Quilt Karen Platt

One Block Wonder Quilt Karen Platt

strip quilting, pre-cuts
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Festival of Quilts Quilting Countdown 3

Quilting countdown for the festival made great progress this week. My aim last week was to finish more quilt tops, then in the last ten days before the show to quilt everything. The hot weather is still playing a part in how much quilting I can get done. Therefore I took the decision this weekend to actually start quilting.

It was therefore a week of straightening up, making borders, backing, pinning layers and actually getting on to that machine and quilting. This is the reason for the throat space and walking foot attachment. I highly recommend you get a walking foot if you do not already have one.

I had a slight hiccup attaching the walking foot. It just would not fit. When I re-read the instructions, I understood what I was doing wrong. I had removed the usual presser foot but not the foot holder. I also have the guide attachment to help keep stitching straight, but I did not attach it this time as I am following the triangles on the quilt itself.

I had attempted to quilt on the Singer Confidence without a walking foot – I am still trying to unpick it. It’s so annoying. I have to admit I was nervous. In fact that was the reason for putting off the quilting. I just had to bite the bullet.

I tested that my needle was not hitting the walking foot plate. I also tested a few stitches on a scrap piece of fabric and off I went. It was just great I am relieved to say. Much easier than I imagined. I am not working on a full-size quilt, just a lap quilt. This is the way to start for all you beginners. My beginners ecourse will show you how.

When I am not on the sewing machine, I am quilting by hand. The hexagons is one new quilt design I am trying to finish for the show. If you wish to learn quilt design, this is the ecourse for you.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Festival of Quilts 2018 Countdown 2

My second post about work for the Festival of Quilts 2018.

I was beaten by the weather last week. However I now have three quilt tops ready for quilting. The two dark OBW quilts, and the pink one featured here. That feels like an achievement.

It was a week of straightening off fabric, cutting borders and attaching. Sewing backing. I like this finishing off period. Somehow it is very calming in contrast to the frenzy of piecing. Although there is still the frenzy of making sure everything is ordered for the festival.

Before I change to the walking foot, there are at least two more quilt tops in preparation. I would like to get these finished too. I have about two weeks to work on these. That will leave me two weeks to quilt five quilt tops. Sounds like a plan.

Happy quilting everyone. See you on Stand C5 at the biggest quilt show of the year in the U.K., Festival of Quilts, NEC 8-12 August 2018.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Foolproof Quilting For Beginners

Where do you start with quilting? If it all looks so difficult and you are having difficulty getting started in quilting, there is help at hand. For years I would stare at quilting books and magazines totally bewildered. Quilts can look so complicated. Most of them are not. The trick is to break them down into bite-sized pieces. Even better there are foolproof ways to quilt for beginners.

It is important to recognise your sewing skills and to work on something you can finish. Build your sewing and quilting skills and improve as you learn. Concentrate on your strengths. If you are confident with one aspect of quilting – make that shine. Get one quilt finished and you’ll be hooked.

1. Work with plain fabrics if you find it easier to begin with Kona have a wonderful range of plain fabrics. I know I would love to have a fat quarter or more of every one. There are plenty of outlets in the U.K. for these fabrics and new colours are introduced regularly.
2. Introduce pattern with easy-to-use pre-cuts. You have lots of choice from strips to squares and if you are not so hot on cutting, this is a good way to start that first quilt.
3. Keep the design and colour choice simple at first.
4. Decide whether the design or the quilting is most important. This will depend on your own individual skills. Consider taking the design course.
5. Look for simple ways to cut your fabrics that have a magic complicated effect.
6. Work on small projects that you can finish in a day or a weekend.
7. Try quilt as you go – it’s an easier way to complete a quilt. There is a tutorial coming up soon.
8. Short of time but still want to quilt? Try number 7 or try hand quilting that can be done in short bursts like EPP. See our guide to different types of quilting.
9. Build your skills – once you can piece in straight strips or squares, try dividing the squares and piecing triangles.
10. If piecing is not your thing, try a multi- coloured background and applique.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018