Hand dyeing fabrics at home is a fairly simple and straight forward process. It takes a few minutes and a bit of patience to do. All you need is a small space with a sink, a measuring jug, spoon (dedicated to dyeing, not for food use), some recycled containers, and a way to protect your surface against spills. Dyes of course, you also need some soda ash. To ensure you love the end result, it also takes some knowledge of colour mixing.
Hand dyeing my fabrics for a new quilt, I am going for a colour combination that I have not used before – greens and pinks. My design is computer generated, so I have to generate a design from it that I am happy I can replicate. I could print from the computer, but I want to make my own fabrics and use the design as inspiration. Greens can be tricky to mix in art, and I ordered up some new Procion dyes. These are cold water dyes. The process is included for this type of hand dyeing and many more in my design ecourse.
What I want to discuss here is the single greens you can purchase against mixing your own. There is a rule in art that you never use a bought green, but you mix your own. I was not dissatisfied with the results of the bought greens, but still I used my signature method for mixing the two, so they are not ‘out of pot’. However I was unconvinced that I had quite the right green I was looking for.
I went back to my dyes and mixed more and was rather annoyed to find that the dyes I already had made a more suitable green for my project. I also made a more suitable pink with the dyes I already had than the ones I had purchased.
Mixing dyes is fun and if you measure dyes, you can replicate results exactly. I now have the 6 fabric colours I was hoping for to start my project. You do need a little colour knowledge though not to end up with something sludgy. Colour mixing is part of my online ecourse Colour for Quilters.
Hand Dyed Fabrics
My hand dyed fabrics, are available to purchase exclusively here
Six month retrospective – a look back at my textiles, quilting and writing work. A retrospective of all my work from 21 December 2018 to 21 June 2019.
It’s always good to look back over work and remind yourself of your achievements. I did this for the six previous months to 21 Dec 2018 also, and it popped up in my facebook feed. My immediate reaction was, I have not really done much since then. That is how it felt. So I checked. I am amazed. Here is my six month retrospective of all the work finished and completed in the last six months. Sit back and enjoy.
It is odd that you can persuade yourself that the past six months have been a wilderness. I completed not one, not two, but five quilts. Yes five. That is a huge increase in production for me. After two years, I have obviously got the hang of things. Quilt patterns are Hydrangea and Sunflower wall hangings, Charm Quilt (recently featured in British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine – first feature in a quilting magazine), Snowflakes and my favourite Bells of St. Clements Quilt. All quilts are also for sale. Patterns and quilts are on sale on the website.
Unique Quilting Fabrics
My work has given rise to the creation of digital fabrics for you to enjoy. I created original fabrics based on snowflakes, tiles and stained glass. They are all for sale on the website.
Well I perhaps have been a bit slow on the introduction of new quilting ecourses, but the one that was launched is a whopper on the subject of Colour for Quilters (and any other artists). It was entirely written by me from hands on experience and study of the subject over many years.
We all need inspiration from time to time and I have been building up a library of Inspiration ebooks from my own photos. The Inspiration ebooks are dedicated to themes, seasons or travel. Three new ones were launched in the past six months, bringing the total number to ten. Church Architecture, Spring and Summer are the new additions to the website.
Finally, this period also saw the launch of a free brochure available for you to download for the ecourses and more. So all that remains is for me to tell you what is in the pipeline for the next six months. Many more quilts, I shall be concentrating on some pieced work as well as art quilts. The first BOM will be launched, more about that next week. I have a quilt going off to FOQ shortly. The Desert Inspirations ebook is almost ready to launch, as is the first travel inspiration book on Madeira. I think the next six months look very interesting. If nothing else it launches the talks at FOQ, another first. All my work is original.
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.