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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 As funding is being withdrawn, I believe some of the C&G courses are ending shortly.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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Exclusive – Making a Quilting Design Board

There comes a time in every quilter’s life when they no longer want to lay a quilt on the floor, dining room table or other surface. When you need to see a quilt in front of you and not at a skewed angle – your best option is a quilting design board.

When I moved into my new workspace, even though it is small, I decided a quilting design board was essential. My floor space is limited anyway so I was struggling to lay out a full-sized double quilt on the floor. The wall seemed the perfect option. I can now step back from my quilt, leave it for an overnight test, play with different layouts.

It is super easy to make a quilting design board. Materials needed:
1. Foamboard, cheap and available
2. Fixings
3. Fabric or pins

1. I used 10mm thick foamboard. It is lightweight. If you have it delivered, understand that it might arrive damaged, but that probably is unlikely to matter because you are going to cover it. I bought 8 A2 panels. Size matters – think of your ultimate space and how best you can have a layout to view the size of quilts you make. I used just 6 of the panels.
2. To fix the panels to my wall, I used Command picture hanging strips.
3. You can pin directly into the foamboard, but one thing to consider is that with all the pinning, you will one day have to replace your panels. Better to use fabric to cover your panels and pin it at regular intervals. Your quilting fabric will then just magically stay put without pins. I used scrim available here
Alternatives are felt – try any fabric and see if your quilting pieces will stay put.

Opt for a wall that does not receive direct sun, otherwise your fabric might fade if left in situ for long. You do need good light though.

I now use my quilting design board for all my quilt layouts. It cost under 25 pounds and is my favourite quilting design aid.The only problem now is that I would like more wall space to have at least one more design board!