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Quilting in Practice – Fabric, Stitch, Pinning

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.

Accurate piecing

Quilting in Practice

FABRIC

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.

quilting in practice
Good quality Moda fabrics

STITCH

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

Karen Platt quilts
My latest quilt – that panel was a real pain

PINNING

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.

Quilting in Practice
Simple straight seams can be stitched without pinning
More complicated shapes often need pinning

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilting Work In Progress Quilt Magic

Quilting work in progress is all about the projects on the go. Looking at what I have been working on but what is not yet finished. It’s true, occasionally projects fall by the wayside and do not get finished for one reason or another. I have become pretty good at completing projects and trying not to start another one until the project I have started on is finished.

Quilting Work In Progress – OBW

It was only on the 25th September 2019 that I decided to use up some fabric bought in 2017, two years ago. I had initially bought a panel and some fabric for One Block Wonder (OBW) quilt. When the fabrics arrived, they had been put in the to do drawer. I was unsure they would work.

Quilting work in progress
Fabric bought for OBW

Last week, I decided to find out. As I looked at the panel, I cut some off either side. It needs a border. I cut the detached pieces into large triangles. This will form the border around the panel.

quilting work in progress
the cut down panel and first hexagons

The next day, when I started cutting my 6 pieces needed for OBW, I found that I was short. I racked my brain to think what I could do and the solution was simple. It was a 12 inch repeat, that I had cut as 24 inch repeats, as that is what the ladies who wrote the OBW books recommend. But that 12 inch repeat still meant I had the required 6 identical pieces to make my hexagons. Phew.

Cutting hexagons
Cutting 6 repeats

When selecting this eagle fabric, I had put the fabric into the OBW design helper and it looked great. However I had done that with fabrics before and it had not quite the effect I had hoped for. Like my others, this fabric was pretty much one colour – a problem for OBW. You can see my OBW quilts and the way I work in my ecourse tutorial and on quilts for sale.

quilting work in progress

Yet the cuts have been great and I am more than pleased with the 57 different blocks I have made. I think this looks terrific. Next one up? Another panel that goes with this one. Yes, I have a matching pair.

quilting work in progress
Progress so far

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Quilting landscapes and pictorial kits and workshops

Quilting Landscapes

Quilting landscapes is something I regularly do in between larger projects. For me, it clears my mind to create a small landscape. These involve using different fabrics that I cannot really use in bed quilts and adding bits of ribbon, wool, felt and perhaps even a button or two. Anything that makes the landscape come alive.

The landscape workshops at shows are to make a seascape, concentrating on blue fabrics and sandy coloured ones for the beach.

I am teaching landscape quilts every day at the upcoming West Country Quilt Show 29-31 August 2019 and will be sharing my methods with attendees who book the workshop either through their website or on the day. All in all there are 11 workshops at the show, all lasting one hour each. So there is something to suit everyone at different times of the day.

quilting landscapes
Quilt landscapes, cutting fabrics for workshops

Pictorial Quilts

I am also teaching my sunflower mini quilt or block. This also uses a variety of fabrics and is a fun project. Today I was block printing sunflowers for the background fabric. I have been cutting all the pieces in readiness for the workshops. Have great fun making a sunflower with me.

Block printing fabric
Block printing fabric

Kits

Kits for these projects and others can also be found on my website. The original quilts are for sale too.

Sneak peek

I know you are probably wondering what happened to my new quilt design. It has taken so long to cut the workshop fabrics, that I have not had time to work on it this week. I also had to find matching thread, which took some time, but I am now ready to finish it.

Not ready to reveal it all yet, but here is a cheeky look.

Karen Platt quilt
Karen Platt quilt

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Festival of Quilts 2019 Part 6 More Exhibition Quilts

Festival of Quilts ended just a week ago and it seems like a lifetime ago. What joy the show brings with the biggest display of quilts in the UK and how hard everyone works to make it a success.

This is my final look at the quilts on display, with the makers’ names, so that you can have the pleasure of looking up your favourite makers and finding out more about them. I was prompted to write this series of blogs (it’s taken at least 9 hours to do so) as I felt incensed by all the social media posts that do not acknowledge the quilt maker. It is actually written into copyright law that the moral rights of creators of any art or craft are acknowledged. Despite this, even those that know do not always put the names with the quilts and ignorance has never been an excuse in law. For me it is essential to acknowledge the makers of these beautiful quilts. Some quilts take a long time to make, let’s celebrate the makers and find joy in their work. The quilt belongs to someone and it is common decency to give them their due, their moment in the spotlight.

I took a few photos where I could not read the label, and therefore have not shared. That’s how it should be – either we acknowledge the maker or in accordance with the law we keep the photos for personal reference, we do not share if we are not giving the makers’ names.

Aina Muze in the Eternal Thread exhibition, a quilt that used interesting fabrics. It was actually dated 2009.

Aina Muze
Aina Muze

Jenny Otto and Frances Meredith entered a two-person quilt called ‘Stonefields’ that I thought was sheer delight. There is a bunny in there. I long to make this kind of quilt, it is on my list to design one in the coming year.

Festival of Quilts
Jenny Otto and Frances Meredith

Magdalena Galinska and Agnieszka Wietczak entered ‘Promienie/Rays’ in the same category, which received a highly recommended from the judges. Striking design and colour.

Festival of Quilts
Rays

Tatiana Duffie’s ‘Bauble II’, a modern quilt, was a fabulous blend of immaculate piecing and quilting.

Festival of Quilts
modern quilt

Helen Butcher’s ‘Negative Space?’ was highly commended in the modern section. Soft greys with highlights. A lovely geometric medley.

Festival of Quilts
modern quilt

Sheena Roberts’ beautiful storm at sea quilt. I love this interpretation. Sorry my pic is a bit wonky, I was getting tired. It really stood out.

Sheena Roberts
Sheena Roberts

Lesley Brankin’s ‘Belonging’ was featured in the Guild’s Spotlight @ 40 and epitomises the joy of quilting and a great reason to belong to the Quilter’s Guild – the spirit of friendship.

Festival of Quilts
Lesley Brankin

I would like to finish this series of six blogs by mentioning the Guild’s page and membership. Why not join? It is not expensive and without them we would not have this show, so thank you to everyone involved again and my only question is ‘Why do we have to wait another year?’. Make sure you are at FOQ 2020. So much to see and do.

Words, images copyright Karen Platt, quilts copyright their respective makers.

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Michael James Digital Quilt Exhibition at Festival Of Quilts 2019 Part 5

Michael James Digital Quilt: When I first saw the announcement for this I was intrigued, because I have been creating digital images, digital fabrics and digital quilts for some time. In fact it was because people kept telling that my digital manipulations would make great quilts, that I, with very little sewing machine experience at all, came to be a quilter.

Karen Platt digital quilt
Karen Platt BOM quilt

I love playing with my images, and if I have a strength, it is probably that I have found a unique way of digital manipulation. Playing with photos to reveal layers. For further details see my ecourse

The first ecourse I wrote was also on this subject. It is very dear to my heart and I have created a number of smaller ecourses dedicated to digital kaleidoscope creation or blocks. The courses are taken at home, so are suitable wherever you live and all have tutor input. My latest ecourse: Digital Quilting, will be available shortly. If you are interested please use the contact form, with the name of the ecourse as the subject.

Karen Platt digital quilt
Karen Platt Kaleidoscope quilt block copyright Karen Platt

Michael James Digital Quilt was a fascinating gallery that seemed to be a gallery of two halves, the brights and the darks. I preferred the brighter quilts shown here. His pieces are beautifully machine quilted. All the images that follow are Michael James quilts and are copyright Michael James.

digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James
digital quilt
Michael James

One more gallery to come in this series of 6 discovering the quilts at FOQ 2019. Words and images copyright Karen Platt

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Quilt Exhibition Galleries at FOQ 2019 Part 4

Part 4 of my FOQ blogs concentrates on Exhibition Galleries with a bit of fascinating hand dyeing too. The Exhibition Galleries are where I always head straight after seeing the main quilts hung inside Hall 8. This year I thought the Exhibition Galleries were a real thrill. I shall cover the final one in Part 5.

Many of us are familiar with the striking work of Sandra Meech. She is one of the ladies who stirred a passion to quilt within me with her fabulous books published by Batsford. Her work is simply breathtaking when you see it. The small trio below were priced at 750 pounds each. She followed on from me, speaking in the same lecture room, so I was able to say hello and shake hands. Quilts as wall art has always interested me, something I have concentrated on in my own work.

Exhibition Galleries
Sandra Meech
Exhibition Galleries
Marielle Huijsman part of the Transparency and Transition gallery

Another must-see for me was the gallery of Eszter Bornemisza ‘You Are Here’. Such fabulous work. I loved the multi-layered effect and the shadows her work creates. Interesting work using a limited palette.

Exhibition Galleries
Eszter Bornemisza
FOQ
Eszter Bornemisza
FOQ
Eszter Bornemisza
FOQ
Eszer Bornemisza
FOQ
Eszter Bornemisza
FOQ
Eszter Bornemisza
FOQ
Eszter Bornemisza
Eszter Bornemisza
Eszter Bornemisza

The work of Sue Hotchkis deserves contemplation. It is so fascinating and intricately detailed. Wonderful use of colour. Her work usually hangs in the Fine Art Gallery. This piece was priced at 2,200 gbp.

Sue Hotchkis
Sue Hotchkis

The hand dyed fabrics were eye-catching, hanging outside the Committed to Cloth workshop space. I must get back to hand dyeing. My ecourse Hand Dyeing is almost ready to launch. This subject is also covered in my ecourse ‘Design Your Own Quilts’

Jude Kingshott
Jude Kingshott
Jude Kingshott
Jude Kingshott
eco dyeing
Brunhilde Scheidmeir

Part 5 and 6 coming shortly. Words and photos copyright Karen Platt. Artworks and quilts copyright their respective owners.

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Festival of Quilts 3-D Quilts and Exhibition Galleries Part 3

Mary Palmer and Ann Kiely’s quilt ‘Who Will Tell The Bees’ was perhaps the most controversial quilt at the show. It won two awards. A long-armed quilt with fantastic quilting and a story to tell that many failed to understand. It was one of the most interesting art quilts.

competition quilts
Mary Palmer and Ann Kiely

There were some wonderful, but much photographed winners, so I am not going to include those. They can be seen on the official website where you can find details of next year’s show and how to enter a competition quilt.

Away from the competition quilts are the other entries – the 3D and exhibition galleries. The 3-D section is always of interest, not least Kathy Knapp’s work, which always amazes me. I am a huge fan of her work, she has a fb page. ‘Rose Red Fantasy’ was breathtaking in its detail.

quilted and embellished outfit
Kathy Knapp

Marijke van Welzen’s coat was based more on patchwork and stitch and was wonderful to see. Very wearable. When I started quilting, this was what I imagined I would do. Now, I am going to start now (I said that last year too).

Patchwork coat quilting
Marijke van Welzen

I have at least one stitchy friend who is an author of 3-d dolls. Kate Crossley’s work was very detailed, especially around the base.

Kate Crossley

Caroline Nixon’s beautifully eco-dyed and stitched coat was very eye-catching.

Eco dyeing
Caroline Nixon

In the ‘Natural Selection’ exhibition gallery, Fabienne Rey’s glorious stitch piece ‘Travelling Through The Land Of Nonsense’ was wondrously executed on plant dyed silks and eco prints. Priced at 1800gbp.

exhibition galleries
Fabienne Rey

I loved the simplicity of Deborah Pawle’s ‘Sand Dunes’ with natural hand dyed threads, priced at 300gbp

exhibition galleries
Deborah Pawle

As well as these pieces by Ross Belton, priced at 320gbp each

Ross Belton
Ross Belton

Roxanne Lasky’s amazing jacket was part of this Natural Selection gallery. Priced at 3,500 gbp it was made with recycled fabric and eco prints.

Roxanne Lasky
Natural Selection
Roxanne Lasky

Part Four is coming soon with more exhibition gallery work. Words and images copyright Karen Platt. Copyright of quilts/artworks is with the respective makers.

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Final Thoughts on FOQ 2019 Beautiful Quilts

My final thoughts on FOQ 2019

  1. Terrific displays on quilts of all shapes, sizes, levels so inspiring
  2. Some quilts are better than others – after all this is not a juried show and quilters have different abilities
  3. Some awards seem as baffling as ever and some very deserving quilts get left out
  4. I still believe judges are poor on colour sense
  5. Talking for the first time at the show was fantastic
  6. Jenny Doan is definitely the world’s most famous quilter
  7. Wonderful stands of fabrics etc and if only I could have carried it all home
  8. It makes you spend more than you intend – those two packs of Voysey fat quarters were irresistible
  9. Exhausting but exhilarating. If you were not there, why not?
  10. I want it to last more days and I think we need a spring and winter FOQ, once a year is not enough

Judges comments on my quilt were all that my quilting was average and piecing needs attention. One judge (you get 3) said interesting use of fabrics and circles. (It was those fabrics that caused the problems). One said I did not have enough contrast!!! As you will know if you follow my work or blog, this was not the quilt I intended to enter and a lot of things went wrong. In fact, even though I had paid the entry fee, I almost did not send it in. People’s comments have been very kind. The pattern is available now. Absolutely everything I did in this quilt was new to me. Karen Platt ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’

Karen Platt Quilts
Can’t Find My Way Home Karen Platt

So what did I think was fabulous? Here are some of the ones I loved, and some that were not photographed by many others. Jeltje and Friends, Follow Your Dreams Quilt (although with slight reservations on colour). Price tag 6,000 gbp.

FOQ2019
Jelte and Friends

Nibelungenquilter Group Quilt Anna’s Birthday Roses

FOQ2019
Group quilt

The truly astonishing skill of Sandy Chandler ‘Fusion’

FOQ2019
Amazing quilt

Ditto, amazing skill of Robyn Fahy (Dogwood Daisys)

FOQ 2019
Robyn Fahy

Bowled over by the piecing skills (tiny pieces) Alison Gardiner ‘Who Was Sarah Monument?’

FOQ 2019
Tiny log cabin blocks

Excellent use of colour and fabric making this one of the best bargello quilts I have seen. Maria Cosmos ‘Get With The Flow’

Bargello Quilt
Fantastic Bargello Quilt

Joanne Holomeij ‘Slightly Blue Christmas’. Good design and use of monochrome.

I loved the use of fabric and clever quilting in this pictorial quilt. Beverly Rebelo ‘Cinderella and The Ugly Sister’

FOQ 2019
Cinderella

Interesting concept, I believe the transition between top and bottom needed to be more gradual. It received a Judges’ Choice. Anna Williams ‘Log Cabins In The City’.

FOQ 2019

I am still recovering, so there will be a Part 2.

Words and photos copyright Karen Platt 2019. My design copyright Karen Platt 2019, all other designs and quilts copyright of their respective makers.

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Drunkard’s Path Quilt Blocks – seams and accuracy

Drunkard’s Path Quilt Blocks and Accuracy

It is wonderful to be accurate all the time, but few of us achieve it. Drunkard’s Path Quilt Blocks have a few challenging issues. Quilters are so scared of curves. The curve is easy – I shall cover that in my tutorial soon. Sometimes though, when we lose accuracy, those blocks become out of square, and worse your curved seams might not line up. What can you do? Of course, you can unpick, but is there another way?

Drunkard's Path quilt
Drunkard’s Path

Squaring Up Blocks

  1. You can square up by cutting to size, but then you might end up with blocks of different sizes.
  2. Ensure your initial cutting of templates is as accurate as possible.
  3. Press blocks do not iron. Both ironing and steam can make your blocks go out of shape.
  4. If you are a tiny amount off, you could pin and steam, but steam is more likely to shrink.
Drunkard's Path quilt blocks
be willing to move blocks around

Arrangement

  1. Consider re-arranging your Drunkard’s Path blocks. This is a great idea, because if you are not matching those uneven curved seams, you do not have to worry about them.
  2. These blocks can be arranged in many different ways. Don’t be afraid to try something out.
  3. Playing with traditional blocks is one of the areas I cover in my comprehensive, year long quilt design ecourse, take a look here
Drunkard's Path quilt blocks
When blocks don’t match, think arrangement

What’s New

My first illustrated quilting talks are at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham on Sunday 4th August only. Seats are still available, but do not miss this. Colour Confidence from the only person to have written four books in single colours and Design Your Own Quilts (no software needed). Colour can make a huge improvement to your work and design is such fun and makes your quilt unique. Talks are reasonably priced and there is a bonus discount for attendees off the ecourses. You can book tickets here and if not sold out, they will be available on the day.

Registration

We are setting up registration on the website. There will be a gift for anyone registering.

YouTube

This week I have done 3 short videos, all posted on Facebook and Instagram to judge the response. It has been very enouraging, particularly on IG, so I shall now go ahead and create a YouTube channel. So it is all happening and thanks for being a part of this. See you next week with more exciting news and photos from the Festival of Quilts and how the talks went plus new products.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019


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Quilting The River Series Quilts Inspired By The River Don

Quilting the River Series Quilts is a joy. I am so enjoying the process. My work involves several aspects that have become natural to me – researching, designing, finished product. If I can involve another medium I do – so photography, painting, printing and hand stitch also appear in my work. So far I have completed one quilt. The fabric is cut for a second and there are several more at design stage. I shall stop when I have completed all the ones I think are worth taking to final product. I am talking about quilt design on Sunday 4th August at the Festival of Quilts NEC. You can book your place here and quote WT57 for a discount.


The First Quilt

Quilting the River Series Quilts has led me to explore the river on foot, take photos and drawings to get a feel of the river. I have so far visited four areas of the river and recorded each walk. I have written them up in an ebook that will form part of the exhibition of work. The first quilt is a big step forward and I chose to keep it simple. The blues represent the river and the rust represents the industry that was once a huge part of the river. It has simple quilting too. It will also be featured in my Beginners’ Quilting ecourse here.

quilting the river series

Quilting The River Series

The Second Quilt

The second quilt is also about the flow of the river. It is in all blue (at the moment). I am still cutting the fabrics. It uses a traditional quilt block – The Drunkard’s Path. Through the inspiration of the river, I am finding different ways to interpret it in quilts.

quilting the river series
Cutting fabric for the second wuilt


Quilting Patterns

Almost all my quilts are available as patterns and some are available as kits too. The first quilt is hand dyed and kits are available. The second is made from scraps. In addition I sell many of my finished sample quilts. Patterns, kits and finished quilts can all be found on the website

quilting pattern
quilting pattern

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019