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Book review – Organic Applique by Kathy Doughty

Organic Applique by Kathy Doughty, softback published by Stash Books. ISBN 978-1617458231, price 21.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

The intro chapters are more Doughty’s philosophy on life than quilting per se. I am very attracted to the colourful quilts and applique shapes in this book. I am particularly drawn to the organic flowers and plants. There are useful exercises for choosing fabrics. Instructions include basting, needle turn applique, EPP and hand quilting. You’ll also find a chapter on inspiration, although the photos in this are not very inspiring and poor quality. Design tips for those who prefer to use the book purely for inspiration and projects for those who need something more concrete to follow. If you are a Doughty fan and a lover of interesting fabrics and applique, you’ll most likely love this book. Something of a pot boiler perhaps.

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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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Book Review – Free Motion Quilting by Jenny K Lyon

Free Motion Quilting From Ordinary to Extraordinary by Jenny K Lyon, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 978-1617456374, price 23.99, available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

Subtitled ‘3 Steps To Joyful Machine Stitching in 21 Days’, this sounds like a challenge I need to take. The book is separated into chapters: Inspiration – a look at what inspires you; Before You Take A Stitch – the basics of needles, batting (wadding), sewing feet and great tips for setting up your workspace; 21 Days Of Practice to build confidence in twenty minutes a day; Five To Learn On involves more practice on set projects such as postcards, a panel quilt, quilting from the back; quilt as you go and a panel for a Denim jacket. Your Personal Quilting World – all about finding yourself and enjoying your work plus a stunning gallery of work, motifs and more. This book is for the not so confident free-motion quilter. Jenny has us thinking about density, scale and repeats. It is not a how to do stippling or other set patterns, it is more about finding and creating your own motifs. By week three, you’ll be making small projects to show off your skills such as placemats, a small quilt, hot pads and a larger quilt.

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Book review Adventures in Paper Piecing by S E Sharp

Adventures in Paper Piecing and Design by Sarah Elisabeth Sharp, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing). ISBN 978-1617455575, price 23.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

Get set to go with foundation paper piecing for quilters with step by step instructions and design exercises. This book includes The Method, Design and Prompts providing a detailed overview of foundation piecing, building blocks, design and how to get your creativity flowing. Foundation paper piecing enables the quilter to craft intricate designs. You’ll find everything you need to know from paper, needles and tips on fussy cutting and mirrors. Enjoy the quirky houseplant designs that let you get comfortable with the process. In the design section, you’ll see how to transform a photograph into a foundation paper piecing design. The 7 design prompts give you ideas for design. Examples and patterns are given by the author, including quilt construction for each prompt. There is also a crash course in repeat design. Some great patterns and templates here including a double wedding ring, various plants, animals and much more.

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Book Review – The Art of Mixing Textiles in Quilts by Lynn Schmitt

The Art of Mixing Textiles in Quilts by Lynn Schmitt, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 978-1617455407, price 24.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

A sumptuous cover with the subtitle ‘using wool, silk, cotton and home decor fabrics’ so this is textiles as in fabrics, not techniques. There are 14 fabulously coloured and exciting projects in this book, including pin cushion, bolster pillow, throw, table runner, needle case, tote, wallhanging and quilts. You’ll discover fabric guidelines, how-to’s on wool applique, double-fold binding, embroidery and favourite tools of the trade. The projects show the materials, block size, construction, methods, assembly, templates and finishing. The projects explore a wide variety of piecing and applique techniques. Lynn encourages you to engage in quilting with a free spirit, a willingness to embrace eclectic fabrics and come up with something a little bit different. This is a book that really appeals to the designer in me.

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Book Review Free Spirit Block Party

Free Spirit Block Party, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing). ISBN 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, price 23.99 available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

Take a bunch of modern quilt designers to design 40 quilt blocks and 5 samplers for the best kind of block party. The sampler quilts are pretty but quite ordinary in layout but with 40 quilt blocks, you can make lots of sampler quilts of your own design and perhaps come up with some blocks of your own to individualise your designs. This books is all about inspiration and possibilities. All the blocks measure 12 inches and assembly is given for each one. Techniques vary from foundation paper-piecing to simple patchwork or applique. Free Spirit fabrics are used but you could substitute. The templates are available in the book but also downloadable as printable pdfs. The 40 blocks are based on classics such as Log Cabin, Windmill or Orange Peel. I like the selection of blocks. You will see the block finished in fabric and as a colour line drawing with written instructions including materials needed, technique, cutting and construction. I would actually substitute fabrics on some of these as the block does not work well in the chosen fabrics for me and lack definition. The blocks will work better with other fabrics. The Sampler Quilts have great quilting, simple arrangement of blocks. They are suitable from beginners upwards. At the back of the book you will find a techniques section including half square triangles, foundation paper piecing and needle-turn applique.

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Book Review Easy Precision Piecing by Shelley Scott Tobisch

Easy Precision Piecing by Shelley Scott Tobisch, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, price 24.99, available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

Subtitled ‘A New Approach to Accuracy and Organization For Quilters’ I think this quilting book would intrigue most quilters from beginners to advanced. Accuracy and organization (as in order of sewing) come top of the list for many quilters I know. So what does this book offer? An Introduction to the system; quilt block builders and bases, precision tools, choosing preparing fabric, precision cutting, blocks and patchwork as well as projects. There are just 6 projects, all appealing. The introduction highlights 6 problem areas, but even as a beginner I never had the problems highlighted. I have however seen these questions come up in forums, so they are problem common. The book claims to be about effortlessly achieving precision. The block builder is for placement of fabric, the base is like a mini design wall and a place to stow away your blocks. Arrows indicate direction of pressing. This system, although to me seems a little over the top, is a lifesaver for preventing accidental knocking over of blocks and the order they were in. It is hardly time saving though. Same with sewing with headers and footers, for most projects this is unnecessary. Her techniques also make frequent use of basting glue, which I dislike immensely.

There is a lot of ideas for pressing and so on and storing fabric. Useful information on grain, selvedge, bias, cutting and sewing machine tension. Basic common sense but I did not see anything new here.

Shows accuracy for making basic blocks such as squares, pinwheels and nine patches.

Clear instructions including photographs and line drawings for each project and good finishing techniques.

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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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Quilting Finishing Techniques For Borders and Binding

finishing techniques quilting

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

Borders are somewhat easier to do than binding, although there is nothing difficult about either of these finishing techniques.

  1. Decide on the width in relation to the actual quilt.
  2. Decide how many borders.
  3. You can mix widths of borders, say one at 8cm wide and one at 2.5cm wide.
  4. You can also use different colours, but I would always choose colours that are in the quilt, even if in a tiny amount.
  5. 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.
  6. Cut on the grain.
  7. Do not stretch when attaching.
  8. Attach by machine, right sides together.
  9. Attach before quilting your sandwich.

BINDING

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:

  1. Always cut on the bias. Make your own binding.
  2. Join strips together on the diagonal.
  3. Machine stitch, right sides together to the front of the quilt
  4. Hand stitch to the back of the quilt.
  5. Do not stretch.
  6. Attach after quilting your sandwich, making sure that the wadding goes into the border.
  7. Narrow binding is often best.

I include finishing details in my tutorials and quilt patterns which can be purchased here

You can often see images of my work on my facebook page

Work, words and images copyright Karen Platt 2019.