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Seven Days of Design, quilts, knitwear and dry felting

Seven days of design – what Karen did last week. They say seven days is a long time in politics, but you can fit an awful lot of work into seven days.

My seven days of design was varied and interesting, it has been a good week. There is rarely a dull time as a designer and rarely a minute to spare. I divide my week into different media. Usually all in one day. This is mainly because I have to switch activity owing to avoiding painful repetitive syndrome that affects many crafters and textile artists.

For my work, check out the quilts and textiles pages

For my knitting patterns, see Ravelry

Quilt Design

My main area of work for almost three years now has been quilting. With my latest design I have taken another direction. My new quilt is inspired by a digital design that happened one morning out of the blue, unexpected and looking promising. I had to shelf it until I had finished other projects. Seven days of design involved selecting fabrics, size, colour, deciding on surface design, order of stitch and much more. It’s under wraps at the moment until finished (should be next week), but I can give you a sneak view.

seven days of design
Karen Platt Seven Days of Design Quilts

Knitwear Design

For years I designed knitwear and knitted up to eight hours a day. Now I am only able to knit one or two hours maximum. It is a real shame as it is my favourite craft. My designs these days are just using up wool I have. I had quite a lot of grey and cream and decided to put in a few odds and ends to make a fair-isle. Seven days of design involved stitch and pattern selection, colour, size and more. Like all good fair-isle, it is in fine yarn and takes about 100 hours to complete.

Karen Platt knitting
Karen Platt fair-isle

Dry Felting

I was considering selling my embellisher machine, but I still have rather a lot of supplies. So I decided to use them up in new designs. Seven days of design involved inspiration and research, arrangement, selecting fibres and colours amongst other things. I am finding inspiration in the Peak District for my landscapes.

Design inspiration Peak District
Design inspiration Peak District Karen Platt
Karen Platt dry felting embellisher
Karen Platt dry felting

More next week. Images, words and copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Blog Quilting News – New Quilt, Workshops and Blog Hop, Website Registration

All the quilting news in one place. This is just for this week, it is getting so busy here.

New Quilt

My first quilting news is that I have just finished the new quilt, the second in the River Series Quilt patterns. I am so struggling with double vision, but hoping to move on to another new quilt design today.

Karen Platt quilt pattern
Karen Platt quilt pattern

New Workshops

My most exciting quilting news is that I am leading many workshops at the West Country Quilt Show in Bristol from 29 August for three days. Check out the show and workshop details on their website

Thursday 29th August 2019, 12.30 pm I am teaching how to make a Landscape Quilt, at 14.00pm scrap coasters – I’ll be showing lots of examples and how to do them and at 15.00 pm I’m doing Cathedral Windows with a difference.

quilting news
Karen Platt Landscape Quilt
quilting news
Karen Platt scrap coasters
quilting news
Cathedral Windows with my stained glass fabrics

Friday 30th at 10.30am I am teaching the sunflower quilt – this can be a 12″ pictorial wall hanging or quilt block. The rest are as above all 3 sessions. 4 sessions in total today.

Karen Platt quilting news
Karen Platt Sunflower Quilt

Saturday 31st is the same times and topics at the Friday. 4 sessions in total.

I hope to meet many quilters. I will be providing fabrics and teaching instructions. The fabrics might differ slightly to those shown. The Landscape is a smaller version. If you want to bring your own fabrics or bring scraps for other quilters, that would be fine. The booking form is at the bottom of the page on their website.

New Blog Hop

Welcome to my first blog hop, arranged by Sam of Hunter’s Design. On 20th September as part of the hop. I’ll be doing ‘Drunkard’s Path Made Easy’.

New Website Registration

You can now register on my website, and receive discounts an extra special goodies and pre-notifications. The Sign up is at the bottom of the home page, so make sure you scroll down. As a special thank you there is a mini ‘Inspiration’ pdf booklet that will be emailed to you.

If you missed the Festival of Quilts blogs – there is a 6 part series for 2019 highlighting many of the quilts on display. Just scroll on the menu to the right on the blog page to catch up.

Words, images and work copyright Karen Platt 2019. See you mext Monday.

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Quilting The River Series Quilts Inspired By The River Don

Quilting the River Series Quilts is a joy. I am so enjoying the process. My work involves several aspects that have become natural to me – researching, designing, finished product. If I can involve another medium I do – so photography, painting, printing and hand stitch also appear in my work. So far I have completed one quilt. The fabric is cut for a second and there are several more at design stage. I shall stop when I have completed all the ones I think are worth taking to final product. I am talking about quilt design on Sunday 4th August at the Festival of Quilts NEC. You can book your place here and quote WT57 for a discount.


The First Quilt

Quilting the River Series Quilts has led me to explore the river on foot, take photos and drawings to get a feel of the river. I have so far visited four areas of the river and recorded each walk. I have written them up in an ebook that will form part of the exhibition of work. The first quilt is a big step forward and I chose to keep it simple. The blues represent the river and the rust represents the industry that was once a huge part of the river. It has simple quilting too. It will also be featured in my Beginners’ Quilting ecourse here.

quilting the river series

Quilting The River Series

The Second Quilt

The second quilt is also about the flow of the river. It is in all blue (at the moment). I am still cutting the fabrics. It uses a traditional quilt block – The Drunkard’s Path. Through the inspiration of the river, I am finding different ways to interpret it in quilts.

quilting the river series
Cutting fabric for the second wuilt


Quilting Patterns

Almost all my quilts are available as patterns and some are available as kits too. The first quilt is hand dyed and kits are available. The second is made from scraps. In addition I sell many of my finished sample quilts. Patterns, kits and finished quilts can all be found on the website

quilting pattern
quilting pattern

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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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