Day 5 quilting of the December challenge. I am in for the long haul, others might not have the stamina. Initiated by Muppin, we (those of us taking part) blog about quilting for the whole month. Stick around for tips, techniques and discounts.
Theme of the day for Day 5 quilting is the first project I made. I am going with my first machine made quilt. Sometimes I might deviate from the suggested theme, but today seems like a good topic for any quilter. My quilting started slowly, very slowly. I found it hard, no that is too gentle, impossible to follow instructions in books. I had dreams, big dreams of making quilts, but I was stuck on square one. There are only two things to do in that position a) give up or b) find a way through. I am no quitter, so the latter was the way to go.
Designing My Own Quilt
I got up one day and thought ‘There is no way that fabric can stay in the drawer any longer’. I took it out and began to quilt. A simple strip roll with two added fabrics as ominous as an old bed sheet and broderie anglaise turned into not only my first bed sized quilt but one of my favourites. It’s on my bed for some time to come.
Advent Calendar Christmas Countdown
My gift to you today is 20% off any finished quilt design. A quilt ready to enhance your own home. These are mainly lap quilts or large wall hangings. Some are one-offs, some are repeatable, some even have a bigger discount. All are unique designs. Grab them while you can. They are on offer for one day only. Tomorrow there will be another discount.
On Day 4 Quilting I hope you are enjoying all ‘behind the scenes’ quilt know-how and tips. Today I am bringing you more of what I love and more discounts. Great ideas for gifts today for the quilter who has everything.
Hand or Machine
On Day 4 Quilting are you hand or machine quilting today? I tend to do both. Even my machine made quilts are finished by hand with the binding stitched to the back by hand. It gives a good professional finish. Although hand stitching takes longer, I find I can relax with it in the evening, and it hardly seems like work.
Cathedral Windows Quilting
One of my favourite methods for hand stitching is Cathedral Windows. I love the rhythm of folding back and stitching in place. Apart from basic patchwork, this was how I got into quilting. Last year speaking at quilt shows, one lady was amused by how my samples were nearly all Cathedral Windows. I was speaking on my favourite design topic – colour but I had taken mostly samples of my Cathedral Window quilts.
Hello Quilters, here I am with day 2 of 31 day blog challenge for all you quilters out there.
More About Me
I started quilting seriously just 3 years ago. I am a fully qualified teacher and I now teach quilting. I also teach hand knitting and textiles. I am a bit of a computer whizz and love digital design. I love all styles of quilting from traditional through to modern. This is my fantastic job – designing and making quilts. I love it.
When I finally started quilting, I decided I had to design. I had looked at almost every book on how to quilt and it just was not happening for me. I did not get quilting at all. So I basically started teaching myself. I just sat down one day with some of my stash of fabrics and decided this is the day I quilt. I was already a designer, so the design aspect never bothered me. It was all that cut 10 of this, stitch it together, cut it up again malarkey that had me confused. I still love the design aspect the best. It really is a thrill for me. I start all my quilts from scratch. I do not use quilting design software.
Discount Day 2
Since we have been talking about design, I would love you to take one of my exciting quilting or textile design ecourses. The Christmas Countdown is in full swing now. The advent calendar discount today is 20% off all ecourses over 100 pounds, this includes all the longer ecourses : Creative Quilting, First Steps Patchwork and Quilting, Colour Confidence, Design in Quilting and Patchwork, Photoshop For Textiles. Each unique ecourse is written by me from my own experience and study. You will not find this content elsewhere. See all the ecourses by clicking through to the website
Come back tomorrow for more on quilting and another Advent Calendar discount.
Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019.
31 Day Blog challenge as set by a fellow quilter. On that website you can see all the other quilters who are taking part in this blog challenge. Welcome to Day 1 of the quilters’ blog challenge.
What I Hope To Do
I’ll be using the 31 Day Blog Challenge to give tips, techniques, wip, ufos and all things quilting so pop along every day to make sure you do not miss anything. At the same time I have an ‘advent calendar’ of discounts on items from my quilting website. Each discount will last one day only, the discounts vary from day to day. Some items are unique and one only, others are available to more than one purchaser. So keep tuned as we go through the next 31 days. I am currently working on 3 new quilts.
A little introduction for people who do not know me. I am a hands on quilter and teacher in the UK. I design all my quilts from scratch. I tend towards the more modern side of quilting, but enjoy all styles and techniques. I write my own patterns. I teach online, so it does not matter where you live. Quilts can also be purchased. You can see all my work so far on this page of my website.
Today’s Special Discount
Every day there will be a different discount. The discount runs until the launch of the next blog post on the following day, so make sure you place your order without delay. Day 1 on the 31 Day Quilters’ Blog Challenge is 15% off a one and only unique quilt. The for sale price has been put on the website. The higher price was marked from when the item was listed to 30 November 2019, it will revert back to the full price on 2nd December when discount 2 is launched.
It really has been a bumper week with new work and it would have been even more splendid had not the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome not visited. I am no stranger to this, but have kept it at bay for years. This week I overstepped the mark with new work quilting, knitting and on the computer (the worst for my wrist and hand). It is the scourge of all crafters, so a few tips if you are a sufferer. It is of prime importance to rest. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Exercise might help, they take time, clench a fist and release, splaying the fingers. Buy a wrist support. Do not try to keep on doing what you are doing. Rest, rest, rest.
Quilt a doodle do
I am loving my new work in the quilting arena. Just putting wonderful colours together. A colourful scrap quilt, something new out of next to nothing. It’s looking good and I am pleased. A quick and easy quilt to make. It was a bit like doodling with fabric.
Oh yes, I have fingerless mitts and flip tops. Can life get any more exciting? Love these. The pattern is going in the Peak Collection Knitting Pattern booklet – it’s nearly there. This will launch on my Ravelry Store.
Two ebooks almost finished. Inspiration Book 11 Pattern Circles with almost 300 images and Inspiration Book 12 Pattern Repetition with over 500 images. Now you know why I have the carpal tunnel syndrome 🙂 I promise I will get book 10 finished too, it got left behind. See all the inspiration books and more here
Starting next Sunday, 1st December 2019 I shall be taking part in a 31 day blog writing challenge organised by Muppin. Lots of quilt bloggers are taking part, so come and read all about lovely quilts and quilting. I’ve got some special offers too throughout December, so don’t miss the daily posts. There’ll be lots of inspiration taking you through to 2020.
New Products In Store Quilts and ebooks including two new quilted wall hangings and two new Inspiration ebooks. If you are looking for Part 3 of the Scrap Quilt, give me another week and it will be finished. This week was all about getting some new products in store. I also completed two more knitting patterns for the Peak District Knitting Book I am writing. So it was a very productive week after what has seemed like being in the wilderness.
I know quilters who seem to make a quilt a day and I am much much slower, which worries me sometimes but maybe it is just tortoise and hare stuff. I started the ‘Indian Wedding’ quilts on 25 September 2019. They would both have been finished one month later, but I had no binding for the second one. Now completed, here they are in all their loveliness and they are for sale here. More photos on the listing.
New Inspiration ebooks
New products in store also includes lots of new ebooks. At just 7.99, these are superb value. Each ebook in the series features hundreds of photos you can use to inspire your own work, often with examples of my work too. They are downloadable pfds. The new titles are Flaking Paint and Trees. Existing titles include Skies, Rust, Lichen, Bark, Coast. I am working on three forthcoming titles concerning pattern. You can see all the ebooks here
I am doing very well putting the Peak District Knitting Pattern book together. So far I have a hat, scarf, shawl, stole. Next up is a pair of socks. This knitting pattern book will be sold on Ravelry, where I already have a few patterns (nowhere near all my patterns!)
Did I say I would finish that Scrap Quilt for next week???
Quilt design solutions is the process you go through from start to finish when designing a quilt from scratch. Quit design is all about problem solving. It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. This post follows on from the one last Monday, so check that out if you have not seen it. I have not progressed as much as I would have liked, but at least I have done something.
Last week we looked at the scrap pieces I had left to make this quilt. This week I have done some more sorting.
Quilt design solutions involves a lot of decision making. For this quilt I had various shapes and sizes. I have had to decide the best way forward. Although I loved the diamonds and toyed with the idea of working on point, I discarded that.
The semi-circles were also wonderful and would have added a lot to the design, but I did not feel they fitted in with the rest. So it all boiled to making those sort of triangle shapes into squares.
So my principle quilt design solution so far has been to decide on squares. Now everything is sewn into squares, I need to sort them again. I sorted according to size. I pressed each one. They have been pinned to the wall to see how many I have. A few more than you see here as I unpicked the top of the hexagons from the last quilt and added the semi-circle pieces as squares too.
My next task is to decide what comes next. Many options are still available to me. Drop by next Monday for the latest stage. Remember, you too can be a quilt designer – take my one year ecourse in Quilt Design here.
What does that mean? For me being a quilt designer means starting a new design from scratch. You can buy software, but the designs tend to look very similar, fresh and modern. Very attractive but I prefer to approach each quilt differently.
This latest quilt is one in which I am using the scraps left over from the previous two quilts.
How To Start
Being a quilt designer is not following a given formula for me, each quilt is different. For this quilt, I have my fabrics ready to hand. All I need do is make the best of them. I need to tap into my colour sense, but also my sense of space, placement, alignment etc. The elements and principles of design that I believe suit this individual quilt best of all. First I sort my scraps.
Working With What You Have
As a quilt designer, I am usually working with what I have as I do not have the financial resources to just go and buy new fabrics etc all the time. This is a scrap quilt, making the best of leftovers. So my colourway has already been set – it is basically blue with a hint of off white, sand and a touch of pink. That gives me a great basis to start with.
My first task is to sort shapes. Some of the pieces were cut from the hexagons of the previous two quilts. These could make good diamonds. I can also make various rectangles, squares and have some half circles. I have to bring all these factors together and decide on the best way forward. To that end, I always pin to my design board and leave overnight.
Beginners often get stuck at this point, but really you can let the pieces do the work for you. What are they suggesting? I will show you next week how I solved the problems and made decisions. Here is one of the finished quilts that provided all these scraps. It will be on sale of the website shortly.
Quilting Know How Pinning brings you good quilting practices you need to know to make professional looking quilts. Last week I talked about some of the practices and this week I am taking a closer look at pinning your quilt.
Preparation – Pinning
Quilting Know How Pinning this week shows you how to get rid of those ‘tucks’ that appear in poorly quilted work. Recently I made two One Block Wonder quilts with panels. I have always been able to keep my quilting flat, right from the beginning. It was a box I ticked proudly.
Then disaster struck. As I quilted the first panel, I got tucks. I realised the fabric was perhaps a little stretchy, the border a little tight to the rest of the quilt but most importantly I had been meagre with the pins. I was desperate not to make the same mistake with the second panel. I made sure my border was perfect. But I did something else that made all the difference – Pinning.
Quilting Know How Pinning is all about using enough pins. I am a sparse pinner! This time, I took the time to pin thoroughly. I wanted this to look right. It worked. I stitched one way, adjusted my pins and stitched the other way.
It is fabulous when you get it right, but a disaster if you get it wrong. It is simpler to get small projects flat. Large quilts are usually the problem. Having the space to lay out a large quilt can be problematic and result in your quilt not being flat. Follow my tips:
Take as much time as it takes
Leave it and come back to it if you have to
Smooth and pin from the centre
Check as you go
Before you start to quilt ensure the back is also flat
Start to quilt in the centre
Quilts pucker when washed and that is ok, that is what they are meant to do. This is entirely a different thing to the uneven surface of a badly pinned quilt. See our tutorials online here
Quilting in Practice – Fabric, Stitch, Pinning – yes I am talking about what really matters this week – the devil really is in the details when it comes to quilting. It takes a lot to get it right every time. Starting with good fabric is a very good place to start.
Quilting in Practice
Fabric – so many times I see people mention cheap fabric and I cringe. Honestly it makes me ill. Quilting takes hours and you enjoy it for sure, but quality is much better than quantity when it comes to quilting. I had a tingle down my spine when last week, for the first time, I actually saw some fabric in that famous supermarket that begins with A. I took one look at it, and left it on the shelf. Just not quality fabric and therefore not something I would quilt with. Having said that, price, whilst usually an indication of quality, is not always the case when it comes to digitally produced fabrics. I was rather disappointed with some I bought from the USA a while back. If you are not familiar with the brand of fabric, go somewhere you can see and feel it. My favourite brands? Liberty, Moda and Kona solids.
My quilting still does not live up to what is in my mind. Piecing, I have my accuracy pretty good except when I am tired. But top quilting, the bit that matters, the bit you can see? It is a learning curve. I still get my quilt sticking on the corners. I also get so tense it is unreal. After an hour of quilting I feel like I have gone ten rounds in a boxing ring. Confidence is everything. I have improved so much in three years. Concentration is a must. What? You mean I have to make even more and more quilts??? For all my existing work, click online here
How important is pinning! When we gain confidence, we happily piece straight pieces and even binding without pins. Pins go in sideways too not lengthways as in dressmaking. Seams need to be nested too, correct pinning helps immensely. For top quilting, it’s definitely a case of the more pins the merrier. I have pins that are long and thin and bend like Beckham, pins that are long and thicker and leave big holes and oh, those stick in your fingers and thumbs curved quilting pins that I really loathe. It is like doing battle with a thorny bush, you never escape without bleeding fingers.