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.
eCourses Brochure for all my ecourses is now ready to download for free from my website. Please feel free to share the eCourses brochure with friends and family. It has all the ecourses and ebooks for inspiration and new forthcoming ecourses too. As you can see I have adopted the title ‘International Quilting & Textiles School’ to embrace all the ecourses I teach.
You can browse offline and read all about each ecourse. Compare those prices with like for like, because these are the most affordable ecourses I know for patchwork, quilting and textiles anywhere. Each ecourse is unique and these are not a copy of a City & Guilds course because I have not taken one of those. My ecourses are all designed and written by me as a fully qualified teacher and hands-on artist in my chosen fields.
As an introductory offer, there is a 20 per cent discount on any ecourse booked and paid for before the end of March 2019. All the ecourses can be started straight away, there is no need to wait for an enrolment date and you’ll be pleased to hear there is no enrolment fee. All long ecourses have tutor input online (or we can Skype) and you have access to a fb closed group too.
I am also building the workshops in person with 6 more added this week for August 2019 at the West Country Quilt & Textile Show. If you know someone looking for a speaker, please ask them to get in touch. I have dates available this year and next. I can do talks, workshops or longer courses on a variety of patchwork and quilting topics.
I cannot show you the competition quilts yet, but the small miniature quilt is coming along. In work I can show you, I was pleased to finish a lap quilt this week. It went well. This quilt is part of my Beginners’ ecourse.
The pattern for this quilt will be available next week.
Quilt Finishing Techniques. I see so many questions about this. What method do you use? As I am finishing a quilt, in fact two quilts this week, I thought I would take this opportunity to share my finishing methods.
I remember the days when I was baffled too as a beginner, but it really is quite simple. I tried several different methods of binding, but there is only one I use now. Here are my tips for the best professional finishing techniques for quilting.
Borders are somewhat easier to do than binding, although there is nothing difficult about either of these finishing techniques.
Decide on the width in relation to the actual quilt.
Decide how many borders.
You can mix widths of borders, say one at 8cm wide and one at 2.5cm wide.
You can also use different colours, but I would always choose colours that are in the quilt, even if in a tiny amount.
Decide on straight or mitred. I prefer the latter. A bit trickier but not impossible by any means. Mitred corners take a bit more fabric.
Cut on the grain.
Do not stretch when attaching.
Attach by machine, right sides together.
Attach before quilting your sandwich.
Binding finishing techniques is what gets most people, they just do not know how to bind. There are many ways to bind, but by far the best for a professional finish and worth taking the extra effort is:
Always cut on the bias. Make your own binding.
Join strips together on the diagonal.
Machine stitch, right sides together to the front of the quilt
Hand stitch to the back of the quilt.
Do not stretch.
Attach after quilting your sandwich, making sure that the wadding goes into the border.
Narrow binding is often best.
I include finishing details in my tutorials and quilt patterns which can be purchased here
I keep reminding myself that we are still in the first week of January 2019 and this is not a race. January is not known for go-getters! I’m out of the starting blocks and winning the race.
Notwithstanding, I have so far designed over 20 new fabrics. 17 of them are snowflake designs. Not all quite uploaded yet but I am getting there. As if that is not enough for one week’s work, I have also designed the Winter Inspirations quilt and what I have done so far is looking fantastic. This quilt, following on from the Summer Inspirations and Autumn Inspirations quilts, consists of several techniques. It is part of my Quilt As You Learn patterns. There is little more inspiring or confidence building than learning as you quilt. The patterns are a mix of tutorial and step by step photographic and written instructions. I am aiming to have this new quilt finished by the end of the month.
The fabrics have been designed for this quilt, although I am not using every design. They are available to buy with or without the pattern. Earlier in the week I designed some new rust inspired fabrics. I am also designing other new fabrics for the quilt above.
Elsewhere I went out to an exhibition in Lincoln. The Land, Sea and Air exhibition, I found a little disappointing.
My own exhibition of mainly paintings with some small textile pieces that are framed is at The Montgomery 25th January – 21st February 2019. It is in the cafe, which is open to the public at all times the Montgomery is open, whether the actual cafe is serving drinks or not. All works on show are available for sale.
The Colour ecourse has been launched and is a fantastic course for anyone who wants to learn about colour for quilters and textile artists. Learn how colours go together, what is right and wrong and most importantly something that no course tackles to my knowledge, how to go beyond the colour wheel.
More next week, stay creative.
Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019
Best of 2018 Review. Yes there were good things about 2018 but it was more of a year that did not go according to plan.
What was the plan? With the ugly three-headed monster known as Brexit looming, I planned to travel. Big time. Travel like I had never travelled before. See as many places as I could. Workwise I had travel plans – travel means inspiration.
What went wrong? Through no fault of my own, I had next to no travel money, so I made it to the one place I had pre-booked – Lisbon. I for one am sincerely hoping that Brexit can still be blown away and I retain my freedom of movement.
I introduced so many new ecourses, tutorials and even quilt patterns that I began to feel like a one-woman factory churning out inspiration by the bucket load to an audience that is increasing day by day. I am feeling a positive flow of energy to my work.
My new website launched this year and an Instagram account. Both looking good and receptive people building daily. Phew – but this is like a job within a job. I want to design and I find myself wrapped up in social media. It’s tricky.
So let’s look at a few highlights. The current New In page of the website is looking fantastic with my new range of quilting fabrics. There are now seven inspirations ebooks. There are now several quilts and patterns for sale. I have just launched the Colour For Quilters ecourse. This extends my work done between 1996 – 2018 on colour in gardening. Colour is my thing. I am still dyeing and now printing my own fabrics.
Do I have plans for 2019? It’s more work for little miss workaholic and I aim to build that audience and get positive vibes and sales with new products. There’s everything to play for. See you on the other side. Stay tuned for more exciting textiles and quilts.
Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018 (just!)
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.
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.
New products – a look back at the last six months. I have worked so hard on my core skills of writing, teaching and publishing. Here are the new products:
The last six months have seen me create a brand new website of new products
In the last six months, I have launched six new ebooks providing inspiration for artists in every field. These include numerous photos you can use to create your own work, no matter what kind of artist you are. The ebooks also include examples of my work (these cannot be used but can inspire). The six titles are
6. Stone and Strata
They can all be viewed here
The next title in preparation is Desert.
My digital work receives a lot of interest. The question I am most asked is ‘How did you do that?’. To answer that I created an Advanced Photoshop ecourse. It is Advanced in that it takes a few processes but is still simple to use and produce the effects I do. You can purchase it here.
As my main focus is now quilting, there are many ecourses and tutorials I have created for quilters. I am still finishing the writing of two ecourses for hand quilting, which will be launched shortly together with a beginner’s quilting course. I have been busy hand dyeing and rust dyeing fabric too. I intend to expand the range further. These are found under the supplies section of the website.
A future focus will be an ecourse in colour and themed work.
My main focus for the next two months is getting ready to take part in the Festival of Quilts for the first time and to showcase my ecourses and quilt kits. You will find me on Stand C5, come and say hello.
Discover different ways to quilt. Here’s my exclusive guide to quilting to help beginners upwards decide which types and styles of quilting they want to try.
Check out the eCourses page regularly for new courses and why not ask your quilting group to host me as a speaker.
Quilts are made of 3 parts, often referred to as a sandwich
The quilt top
The wadding or batting in the middle
The pieced top is usually referred to as patchwork
The quilting is stitching by hand or machine usually through all 3 layers
A quilt is normally a bed sized quilt, but these days there are far more uses of quilting in wall hangings, clothes, home accessories including anything from mug rugs and coasters to cushions and sewing machine covers plus quilt sizes ranging from mini to King Size bed quilts.
There are different types of quilts
Block quilts have existed from the 1800s at least and are still extremely popular today. There are many traditional and modern block patterns. Take a look at our Block Design eCourse.
Applique is also a traditional quilting technique.
Historical methods of quilting include Cathedral Window Quilting and Japanese Folded Patchwork. Take a look at our eCourses on these two subjects.
Whole cloths or traditional hand stitch quilts are heirlooms. They take a long time to make, but are worth it. See our modern slant on a hand stitched calico cloth quilt in the eCourses section of the website.
Modern or Contemporary
With the advent of freeform quilts – informal designs and free motion machine quilting, this art form has really taken on a free spirit again. We offer a number of eCourses on modern methods of quilting including design eCourses and tutorials using traditional hand stitch methods or computer design.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of some methods of putting a quilt together:
A method of adding cut shapes to quilts to the surface of the quilt top. There are several types of applique. This can be done n formal blocks or informal designs.
Technical ability: Confident beginners to Advanced
Technique: there are various techniques of machine or hand stitching shapes to the quilt top some more complicated than others. You need to find a way of cutting and piecing the shapes to the surface. Hawaiiian quilts are a form of appliqué. There is also reverse appliqué – Mola is a form of reverse applique. Broderie Perse is another type of appliqué.
A freeform design that conveys a beautiful image or a message. This type of quilt is usually a wall hanging and can use traditional or modern methods.
Technical ability: Intermediate up
Techniques: often involves multiple techniques including appliqué, free—motion or hand stitching, embroidery, hand-dyed fabrics, text and more
As challenging as you want it to be, a chance to show off your ability
Improvisational quilts are ones which are not bound by rules and often include freehand cutting and innovative piecing.
Landscape quilts are art quilts that mimic the landscape, they often rely heavily on stitch and using the right fabrics.
Photo quilts use your own photos, transferred to fabrics.
Repetitive blocks are an easy way to create harmony. Blocks are often referred to as units. They are used in traditional quilting.
Technical ability: Beginners to Advanced depending on the complexity involved. Simple blocks can be made using geometric shapes.
Technique: accurate straight stitch quarter inch seam. Piecing can be more challenging depending on the design and include matching points
Versatile including anything from two colour simple striped blocks up to the exhilarating challenge of Double Wedding Ring or Dear Jane quilts or Sampler Quilts which contain different blocks.
Attic Windows Quilts are another type of block involving an optical illusion using a frame to give the effect of windows.
Simple blocks are an excellent introduction to traditional quilting.
Cathedral Window Quilting
A type of quilting that requires no wadding, so is often referred to as a patchwork method
Technical ability: Beginners to Intermediate
Technique: Accurate hand stitching. Can also be machine stitched, but I do not find it any quicker. Accurate cutting and folding to ensure all the ‘blocks’ are the same size
Design can be varied to offer challenges
A style of irregularly-pieced quilting. Shapes can be random or follow a design pattern. Embellishments are usually added including buttons, beads and embroidery. Unusual fabrics such as velvet and lace might be introduced.
Technical ability: Confident beginner up
Technique: Accurate piecing of different shapes.
You need expert knowledge on how fabrics behave and if they will behave the same when washed.
English Paper Piecing or EPP for short
An easy way to achieve precision. If you are struggling with accurate seams, inset seams or matching up shapes – this is the way to do it.
Technical ability: Beginners
Technique: easy accurate piecing using whip stitch
Challenging depending on the design but easy to accomplish accuracy. Hexagons are a favourite of EPP
Bonus: portable. These days you can repeat your template easily in software and print out as many templates as you need in the size you want. Templates are removed once the top is completed.
Foundation Paper Piecing or FPP for short
Fabric is stitched to paper or muslin forming foundation pieces. It’s another accurate paper piecing method. When you look at perfect points – this is the way it is done. Patterns that look complicated can be achieved easily with this method from triangles to picture quilts. The paper pieces are numbered for piecing.
Technical ability: Confident beginners to Intermediate
Technique: accurate machine piecing
Easy to accomplish complicated designs.
Japanese Folded Patchwork
This is known as patchwork even though it does have a type of wadding, though it is usually felt
Technical ability: Beginners
Technique: Accurate hand stitching. Accurate cutting of circles to ensure all the ‘blocks’ are the same size.
A style of quilting that traditionally uses the clothing of someone you wish to remember or to give to someone as a keepsake. Photo quilts can also be a type of memory quilt.
Modern or Contemporary Quilting
Emphasis on bold colours, design, use of space enhanced by quilting stitches. These quilts often look equally good on the wall as on a bed.
Technical ability: Confident beginner up
Technique: can be as simple as lines breaking up negative space to challenging designs with multiple techniques.
One Block Wonder Quilts or OBW for short
A way of cutting and arranging fabric to produce a stunning look from just one fabric
Technical ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Technique: Accurate cutting of triangles with points
Challenging to find a fabric that will work. Challenges accuracy of cutting through several layers of fabric. Takes more fabric than other quilts. Can be boring to piece but can produce stunning results from fabrics you would not normally use BUT not every fabric works. See the tutorial on OBW from my own hands-on experience
Pre-cuts – squares, layer cakes, jelly rolls
Like strip quilting but you can cut into shapes
Technical ability: Beginners to Intermediate
Technique: accurate straight stitch quarter inch seam. Piecing can be more challenging if you cut your squares into triangles.
Lots of examples in the Quilting for Beginners eCourse
Quilt As You Go or Quaygo (or QAYG) for short
A simplified way of working on one block at a time, piecing onto wadding then quilting before you move on to the next block. Blocks are then joined together to form the quilt with minimal quilting of the whole quilt because the quilting has already been done.
Technical ability: Beginners
Technique: quilting on smaller pieces as you work that avoids having to do extensive quilting on the whole quilt.
Bonus: can be fitted into small sessions and you feel as if you have accomplished something because you have a pieced and quilted block.
These are quilts using traditional methods but including non-traditional materials such as denim. The seams are exposed on the front. They are assembled differently to traditional quilts.
Raw Edge Quilts
A type of quilting with exposed raw edges.
Japanese quilting with precise stitches that form designs. Special sashiko cotton is available in different colours. The fabric is usually dark blue (indigo). Sashiko quilts traditionally have no padding.
Scrap or Scrappy Quilts
A quilt that uses leftover bits, often in small pieces to make a quilt.
The selvedge (selvage) is normally cut off the fabric as it does not behave like the rest of the fabrics as it is woven differently. However recently, people have started putting selvedges together to form accessories or quilts. Nothing is wasted.
Strip quilting is an easy method and you can use pre-cut strips
Technical Ability: Beginners
Technique: accurate straight stitch quarter inch seam
Challenge yourself with a Bargello strip quilt. You could also try different ways to cut up strips once sewn together.
Seminole Patchwork is another type of strip quilting.
An Italian style of quilting that is ‘stuffed’ with padding to add dimension to the design, a bit like stumpwork.
Technical Ability: Intermediate
Technique: raised areas are formed by inserting padding
This guide is free for personal use only. The contents are not to be copied nor shared nor distributed in any way.
Copyright Karen Platt 2018