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Quilting Blog Hands-on Quilt Designer

In the quilting blog this week is my progress with the FOQ 2019 quilt, appearances and workshops.

Quilting Progress

For the FOQ quilt it was a case of leave it until I realised what was bugging me about it. That took 6 days. Never think designing a quilt happens in minutes and is then just sewn together perfectly. What is on paper, if you are designing from scratch, often changes when you are stitching when you realise a) it does not work b) it would work better another way or c) something else entirely will work better.

Something had been bugging me about the quilt since the second section. I just could not see what it was. When I finally realised I kicked myself, not only because I had not followed my gut feeling about piecing, but because I had to unpick. There might be six letters in that word but it really is a four-letter word to quilters. It not only means tedium, but is time consuming. However, it is all done now and the next section is also pieced. Just the final section to go and I am there. I have two ideas for that running around my head. I might not use either of them.

What’s New

Whilst I was waiting for things to click, I started cutting another quilt. I am playing with ways to piece this.

quilting
piecing
quilting piecing
quilting blog

Quilting Workshops

Finally I believe the workshop bookings are open at the West Country Quilt Show, so you can book any three of the workshops I am offering.

Quilters’ Guild Members Discount

If you are a member of the Quilter’s Guild, you’ll also see I am offering 10% off purchases online. You can also see my online page on there and ask about booking me for a talk or workshop in your region. You can see all my work on my website here

Join me next week for the quilting blog, when I hope to have that FOQ quilt nearing completion.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilt Design Abandoning A Design

Abandoning a design at making stage seems to be my thing when it comes to competition quilts. It’s not something I normally do, nor would recommend. I know many quilters have UFO’s, quilts they have not finished, but for me, as a designer, I’m not into abandoning a design. Yet each time I have designed for competitions, it has happened.

So my FOQ quilt is the latest victim. I love my idea, but it is rather complicated and there are silences in the quilt room – no whirr of the machine, no progress. I loved the hand quilted section, and this will be used in another quilt. Everything else was not gelling and I realised this morning that although the difference in scale still meant that the hand quilted section matched up with the machine quilted ones eventually, when I came to do the top quilting, it was not going to look right. There were also numerous problems yet to solve. So I called it a day, having thought of another idea to pursue.

abandoning a design

I have already made a start on the new quilt and four small blocks have been joined into one. Although this is a much simpler design than the one I wanted to enter, at least it will not cause long periods of no progress. And there is a lot to be said for that. The fabrics will not be wasted. If I work at this a few hours a day, it will be finished in 10 days maximum. So that’s perfect too and I can get back to the quilting I want to do.

quilt design

However, it has left me wondering if this is really for me or if this is my last quilt competition entry. Only time will tell, but I have not made a very auspicious start. Designs for sale are here

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Competition Quilt Entry Date FOQ Approaches

The competition quilt entry date for the Fine Art Quilts at FOQ was earlier than the competition quilt entry date for the other categories. Friday 3rd May 2019 was the latest entry date for the Vlieseline Fine Art category. Not only that, it was also the final date for an image of the submission. I am afraid that counted me out of that category that I wanted to enter. I thought it was the date for the form only. There is always another year.

In all reality I think I prefer to just make quilts, and if there is one I want to select for a show, then I believe that is the way to do it. Since I decided to enter shows (I never imagined I would) my life has been taken over by not being satisfied with my work, which is not the aim. Trying to design for a show, by a specific date, just has not worked for me. I have discarded quilt after quilt as not making the grade in some way.

Even my latest quilt, which is probably the best I have made, I kind of rejected as not good enough today. So I am going to move forwards from here. A quick slapped hand and a good talking to and get on with it.

The deadline for all other entries for FOQ is 24th May 2019, so still time to finish what I had in mind for the Art category perhaps. I am working very hard. To be honest I find it very difficult to categorise my work, is it art, contemporary or modern? Anyway the pressure is off now. If you are not enjoying it, there is little point in doing it. So I have decided if I finish it, I will decide on entry, but from now on, I am not going to decide in advance and perhaps I can stop producing so many quilts that I worry about. I already have a quilt finished for the other show I am entering this year, so that feels good. Plenty of ideas on stream, a couple shown here for my next River Series quilts.

competition quilt entry
Competition quilt entry

You can check the categories and dates for FOQ here

Find out more about designing your own quilts here

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilts inspired by the river Don

Over a dozen quilts inspired by the river, already designed. A little while ago I started using the river Don in Sheffield as a source of inspiration. My research has turned up quite a few surprises and is almost complete.

How can a river inspire quilts? You might well ask. Well, the answer to that is everything can provide inspiration. Quilts inspired by the river for me has meant looking at shapes and trying to engage with a sense of the past, meaning in the landscape, what was and what is now.

The industry is all but disappearing with few traces left. I set out to interpret what the local river means to Sheffield and the other areas it flows through. Once the raison d’etre for the steel industry, the river is being transformed for residential and leisure use. It was residential use that brought me to this area. However, the past is what is inspiring my new quilts.

The rolling mills, the base of a watermill, furnaces. As a schoolgirl I visited Templeborough Steel Mills (now the site of Magna). It made an impression on me, the heat, the noise, the red hot steel being moulded into shape. I also visited the crucible steel making at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet many years ago.

Some of the old cutlery firms have been re-furbished to form residential apartments. The old Dixon firm is one of the best. There is only one complete cementation furnace left, out of hundreds and hundreds.

Quilts inspired by the river
Visit to Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield

I shall be exploring new techniques and ways to interpret what I find. I am enjoying this work immensely. I want to record my feelings about the Sheffield I knew, the Sheffield that existed along the river before I was even born. First I look for shapes related to the images that have inspired me. I translate these into quilts, interpreting the design. Then it is all down to my cutting and piecing skills. Best get stitching.

Quilts inspired by River Don
Sketchbook work inspired by River Don
Sketchbook River Don
Sketchbook working with shapes
Sktachbook River Don
Sketchbook work River Don

Tune in next Monday for the weekly blog

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Inspiration for Quilters Local Landscape

Inspiration for quilters can be found anywhere and everywhere. The local landscape is always an excellent place to start when looking for inspiration for quilters. Your local landscape (unless you live in this location) may be different to mine, but you’ll find the inspiration you need if you just look.

You’ll be looking for inspiring views but also concentrating on shapes. Absolutely anything from the banal to the extraordinary can spark off the imagination. Be prepared to look anew, with fresh eyes and open your mind. If you are stuck for inspiration, take a look at my series of ebooks to get you going.

It is true that I have often wished to live somewhere more inspiring, but really my home city is proving to be full of inspiration, right on my doorstep. Take a look around and see what you can find.

I have already talked about one or two ideas I have had from the local landscape and that it is my wish to concentrate on the River Don. This week I walked further along the Don than ever before. I found the nearest ‘picturesque’ spot to the city centre.

I love all the bridges, most of them are from the 1800s. The ripples on the river. The plants along the riverside. The teams have been working hard to rid the river of invasive species. The trees on this part of the river are beautiful and there is a small nature reserve. Occasionally the route goes back to the road. In one spot, the brightly coloured Spiraea was aflame with orange.

What inspiration did I gather from my walk? I noted down patterns, shapes, reflections, a possible landscape quilt. Flora and fauna. I loved the fresh greens of the new leaves. Colours were gathered and recorded. I also made use of some of the photographs digitally, you can see below.

The wonderful thing about inspiration from a natural habitat such as a river or garden, is that it will change through the seasons. So you can keep returning and recording the changes. Until next time, keep quilting.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt

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Photography For Quilters What To Photograph

Photography For Quilters is a wide subject. Basically almost anything goes when using photography for quilters. In this week’s blog I am going to give you some tips of what to photograph and what you can get out of your photographs for quilting. See my Advanced Photoshop techniques ecourse about unique techniques for quilting.

Obviously photography for quilters can include images of any subject, say a flower and use it as is. Or a landscape that you simplify. In this blog, I am going to take you through the walk I did with my camera yesterday afternoon.

I have started a ‘river’ theme. I am working on my local river, looking for ideas for my art, which includes not only quilts but textiles and digital manipulation.

I have done this walk many times, sometimes with the camera, sometimes not. I am actually hoping to see the kingfishers and herons that are often on this part of the river. So far one flash of heron a long time ago.

Come walk with me. This bit of the river is very close to the city centre. On my way to the river, I pass the Kelham Island museum and the remains of the rolling mills, which I showed you a few weeks ago. I have decided this will be one of my quilts. In my image, I have a basic shape.

Photo 2 is looking down the river to Kelham Island. I have already created a few years ago, digital manipulations of this, that one day I might make into quilts. I also love the Bessemer converter, texture is something I like to include in my work.

I am loving the reflection in the glass of the bridge, I am sure I can work with this image in terms of repeated pattern.

Lady’s bridge is the oldest bridge. As a landscape it does not offer me much, but sometimes you have to be prepared to use more than one photo and apply a little artistic licence.

The Church and Mill again I have already used as digital manipulations and am hoping to turn those into quilts too.

This stone bridge has an interesting detail. Details can be used in quilts to add a personal touch.

There is always a new view. I did not even know there was a rusty old bridge there. Rust is something I love and I have lots of bits of rusted fabric that I hand dyed to make a wall quilt.

So my half hour or so has produced so much inspiration, I shall need an army of quilters to help.

Words work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilting blog modern quilts and modern quilting for everyone

Modern quilting. What is it? Is it for you?

I must admit I love most modern quilting, but the term is becoming very loosely used and almost describes everything that is not traditional.

There are subcategories within modern quilts –

Contemporary – what I think of as the typical modern quilt. A quilt with bold design, bold use of colour and striking quilting. This style often has large areas of plain colour and almost always uses fmq – free motion quilting. The quilts fit into the modern home. I am concentrating on this style in my new ecourse on Contemporary Modern Quilts. I will be introducing simple modern lines with a twist. The ecourse will discuss design, elements and how to create fabulous modern quilts, with many examples.

Trad-Modern Quilts – these are a halfway house between traditional quilting and modern. So it might be an updated quilting block, a new colourway or something unusual to make it not quite traditional.

Now there also seems to be a category developing where anything that does not fit into any other category, is called modern. We have to be careful here because modern quilts are not the trashcan for quilts that cannot be categorised. I have seen some quite busy quilts with very definite traditional techniques recently called ‘modern’. We have to be careful not the dilute the term.

Techniques are one area that can help define modern quilts. Sometimes the techniques are traditional but the cutting is modern freeform. We can also introduce new fabrics that we would not put into a traditional quilt.

As designs go, as long as you are happy with the use of space and colour, you’ll crack designing modern quilts quite easily.

This style can be used for bed quilts, wall quilts, small accessories and projects and for table runners, bed runners and so on. It is a style that lends itself easily to interpretation. So have a go.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

modern quilting
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Monday blog quilting news and products

Monday blog Spring Inspirations ebook

It’s Monday and in my home, that means blog day. Monday blog is a way to get my week off to a swing. I was hoping for good, good, good news all the way but it’s sort of good, good, oh hum. Not quite the good, the bad and the ugly, but a close shave!

Let’s kick start this Monday blog with good because that is my favourite place to start. My new Spring Inspirations ebook is out. 500 fabulous photos offer tons of inspiration for artists and textiles. Looking for a fab flower to quilt? You’ve got it. How about a coastal scene? No problem. You can use the images to design your textiles or quilts, to paint, inspire your pottery or whatever. Sorted. The ebook is on the website now, and at just 7.99 makes a superb gift too. I think you are going to love the cover.

More good news, yes, the lovely original sunflower quilt, the pattern for which was launched last week, is now on sale on the website. There is only one made, although I can make similar, but grab this original Karen Platt quilt now, while you can. It’s pure sunshine all the way. You want a piece of me, be happy with a quilt x

Now we come to ho hum. When I joked that version 3 of the competition quilt was a goer and looking great, but that finishing 3 weeks early meant that I would have time to do version 4 if not 5, I had no idea that by Sunday I would truly be on version 4. There was much cursing and hating of quilts. Then I put my head down and got on with it. What else to do? The main problem is that when I entered this quilt competition at the British Stitch and Quilt Village, I had no idea what I was going to quilt, but had to come up with a category and a title. Not only that a price too. Ever since I have cursed myself. I limited myself to something I thought of on the spur of the moment. I am not saying anything about version 4, I have learned my lesson. Version 1 was slightly too large. Version 2 at least twice the work I had priced the quilt at. Version 3 an utter mess – what was I doing? Not a word about version 4. If I have to go to version 5, I am giving up not just on quilting but on life. I am also doing a colour workshop at this show, so sign up now, I have heard tickets are going fast.

It cannot be all that bad. The sun is shining. I can still quilt. Version 1 is now on sale on the website. I have a lovely version 2 hand-stitching project going on. I am dying to start the FOQ quilt, but before I name it and price it, I am going to work out exactly what I am doing and how.

See you next week with all my quilting news x

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New Quilt Patterns instore now

snowflakes quilt patterns Karen Platt

I have just added exciting new quilt patterns to the store. Yes the Snowflakes and Polar Bears winter inspirations quilt is now written up with over 50 photos and complete step by step instructions. Everyone can do it, even beginners.

Since I started quilting, it has been my aim to build a library of unique quilt patterns, all my own design. This dream is slowly coming true. There are now three quilts patterns for sale in the pattern store. More will be added throughout the year.

This wonderful quilt is great as a wall quilt. The snowflake fabrics are available separately and there is a fabulous range of choices online.

I have two more new quilts to add next week. It has been a hellish week, so things got delayed but I am back on track now. I’ll be added the Charm quilt and the sunflower quilt patterns.

If you love making quilts from kits, we already have seven quilt kits under this same heading and I will be adding this new quilt pattern as a quilting kit too. The wonderful thing about kits is that you can get started straight away.

On the same page you can also see our finished quilts for sale too.

Last week I added the brand new International Quilt Textiles School Brochure – download yours for free here 

Start learning now with our unique and cost effective courses. You can also join me at quilt shows around the country where I shall be offering workshops on colour, and also scrap coasters and landscape quilts. My first appearance is in April, just about one month’s time at the British Stitch And Quilt Village. Sign up now for the workshops here, they take place on 12-14th April 2019. I look forward to meeting you.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019.

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Exhibition Quilts at UK Quilt Shows

Exhibition quilts have the power to fill one with dread. Whilst visitors marvel and judges may criticise or praise, the intrepid quilter takes her skills in her hands, hopefully meets the deadline and achieves what she set out to do.

The world of exhibition quilts is one I said I never would enter. Some exhibition quilts are gobsmackingly amazing. What on earth has made me decide to enter quilts this year?

You think I have the answer? Not absolutely sure I do. I think it was a mad moment but then I have had months to think about it, so I am fooling anyone who believes that. To be honest, I found the art category at FOQ 2018 slightly underwhelming. I found myself thinking I can do this.

Of course, that is just stage one. I have the design created already. I have changed it a dozen times in my mind’s eye. I have settled on the subject, how I want it to look, down to the fine details of fabrics and threads. The problem is can I quilt it?

I have not entered the FOQ one yet, but expect to before the deadline. Before I make my final decision, I have entered another quilt show entirely. I encourage everyone to do this if they are thinking of entering FOQ. Try somewhere else first – a smaller show preferably in the previous year. Less pressure is always good.

I have entered the Miniature Quilts section of the British Stitch and Quilt Village show at Uttoxeter racecourse 12-14th April. Make a date in your diary. This one too is already designed and I know definitely how to quilt this one. Just have to make sure it does not measure more than is allowed.

I am not sharing work prior to the competitions. So I shall keep you entertained in other ways. I will still be quilting other designs. Talking of which, I have now designed the back of the Snowflake quilt. Not quite like the image, I will be using my tea dyed not rust dyed fabric. There will be snowflakes. I need to get a move on and finish this one now. The spring one is also just about designed and ready to start.

The other winter quilt is already available as a kit.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

snowflake quilt
winter quilt kit