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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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New creative quilting ecourse for quilters

New creative quilting ecourse for all quilters interested in making quilts. Join this new 12 month ecourse now and enjoy a full 12 months of inspiration plus information and suggestions on how to use the inspiration.

I am so looking forward to welcoming people to this new style ecourse that will bring out and develop your creative side. The new creative quilting quilting ecourse shows you how to interpret a photo to create quilts that are unique to you. It’s more than just a photo, there is lots of information to help you along the way. It’s all about you, finding your voice and creating individual quilts that express your unique creativity.

The subjects can be used in many ways and I shall be highlighting those throughout the ecourse. It is suitable for any level of quilter as you will be adapting the inspiration to how you want it to be.

There will be a unique fb page that you can join to share work. You can spend as much or as little time on the projects as you wish. It’s a lovely way to start designing your own quilts without following what the teacher is doing and without copying.

I am a fully qualified and experienced teacher who has enjoyed bringing out the best potential in students.

creative quilting ecourse

My new quilt

I have also finished my new quilt and I am very happy with it. The pattern is now available, and the quilt is also available for sale on the link below with the kits. It was such a joy working on this quilt. I have also added new kits to the website.

Tiled quilt pattern
Tiled Quilt Pattern

Blog hop

Check out this blog hop that started last week. I am involved on 20 September 2019. Lots of great quilting blogs.

blog hop

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019. Blog hop image Sam Hunter designs.

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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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Seven Days of Design, quilts, knitwear and dry felting

Seven days of design – what Karen did last week. They say seven days is a long time in politics, but you can fit an awful lot of work into seven days.

My seven days of design was varied and interesting, it has been a good week. There is rarely a dull time as a designer and rarely a minute to spare. I divide my week into different media. Usually all in one day. This is mainly because I have to switch activity owing to avoiding painful repetitive syndrome that affects many crafters and textile artists.

For my work, check out the quilts and textiles pages

For my knitting patterns, see Ravelry

Quilt Design

My main area of work for almost three years now has been quilting. With my latest design I have taken another direction. My new quilt is inspired by a digital design that happened one morning out of the blue, unexpected and looking promising. I had to shelf it until I had finished other projects. Seven days of design involved selecting fabrics, size, colour, deciding on surface design, order of stitch and much more. It’s under wraps at the moment until finished (should be next week), but I can give you a sneak view.

seven days of design
Karen Platt Seven Days of Design Quilts

Knitwear Design

For years I designed knitwear and knitted up to eight hours a day. Now I am only able to knit one or two hours maximum. It is a real shame as it is my favourite craft. My designs these days are just using up wool I have. I had quite a lot of grey and cream and decided to put in a few odds and ends to make a fair-isle. Seven days of design involved stitch and pattern selection, colour, size and more. Like all good fair-isle, it is in fine yarn and takes about 100 hours to complete.

Karen Platt knitting
Karen Platt fair-isle

Dry Felting

I was considering selling my embellisher machine, but I still have rather a lot of supplies. So I decided to use them up in new designs. Seven days of design involved inspiration and research, arrangement, selecting fibres and colours amongst other things. I am finding inspiration in the Peak District for my landscapes.

Design inspiration Peak District
Design inspiration Peak District Karen Platt
Karen Platt dry felting embellisher
Karen Platt dry felting

More next week. Images, words and 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

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Six month retrospective – quilting, writing, inspiration

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.

Quilts

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.

retrospective hydrangea quilt
Hydrangea quilt pattern
retrospective sunflower quilt
Sunflower Quilt Pattern
Retrospective Charm Quilt
Charm Quilt Pattern
Snowflakes Quilts
Snowflakes Quilt Pattern
quilt pattern
Bells of St Clements Quilt Pattern

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.

stained glass fabric

Quilting eCourses

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.

quilting ecourses
Colour for Quilters ecourse

Inspiration ebooks

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.

Inspiration ebook churches
Inspiration for artists and quilters – churches
Inspirations ebook spring
Spring Inspiration ebook
Inspiration summer ebook
Summer Inspirations ebook

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.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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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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New Year New Quilt and Fabric Products Launched

I said I had a lot to finish and add to the website before the New Year and I am almost there. Just the new ecourses to add – Colour Confidence For Quilters and Hand Embroidery For Textile Artists. Looking forward to launch those before New Year’s Eve.

Yesterday I launched the new Bells of St. Clements quilt for sale. Alongside it the quilt pattern and tutorial was also launched. It is a bright and cheery design. This is the latest pattern in my Skill Builders and is also the Summer Inspirations quilt. You can see the quilt here and the pattern is here

I am also working on venues to offer courses in person again in 2019 anywhere in the country or overseas if possible. Some courses are listed on the website. Remember you can travel with me to India for blocking printing workshops in Jan 2020. Sign up here. You can also sign up directly on the Colouricious website. They have been running tours successfully for more than 10 years.

Ready to launch are 17 new fabrics inspired by stained glass and tiles. These fabrics are unique and designed by me. I am listing them now under digital fabrics on the website.They are most suitable for the Cathedral Windows projects and tutorial.

As you can see I am concentrating on offering more fabric for quilters and more ecourses, patterns and tutorials for quilters and textile artists. It’s been a tough year but I am convinced that with my new, unique products and supplies, I will gain a foothold in the quilting market.

Just yesterday I block printed my first fabric for my new Winter Inspirations quilt that will be launched very soon. This will sell as printed panels and as metreage as well as a quilt kit. It is also hand dyed first, then block printed by hand.

I am looking forward to meeting many of you online, or in person throughout the New Year. Wishing everyone all the best.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Sketchbook Work For Quilting Ideas

Sketchbook work is great for quilting ideas. You can work out blocks, motifs, collage, save templates and all sorts of things in a sketchbook.

The templates and a leaf from my autumn quilt were sitting on my sewing table. Actually I had removed my tool box from the sewing machine because the extension table is attached. Templates and the leaf were in the toolbox tray so as not to lose them.

Then I thought, I should create a little sketchbook to keep these safe and record the quilt. Now, it is best to do this before you make the quilt, not afterwards! However, I had designed it on odd bits of scrap paper and as I went along. I wanted a record of it.

I looked for a spare sketchbook, but alas no. You’ve already seen what I was doing with junk mail envelopes a little while ago – the C5 long ones. I also had quite a few large envelopes, I think they are D-something, anyway slightly larger than A5 paper size. This size would be perfect.

My main aim was to gather together key elements of the design and to save the templates. The centre of the quilt is log-cabin based, a leaf motif and hand stitched hexagons. So these were the elements I wished to record in my sketchbook.

I glued together envelopes for sturdiness and taped them together with washi tape. That wide one with the foxes kept tearing. Hexagons and log cabin designs were created in pencil crayon. Magazine images were cut up as hexagons – this was great fun and gave me an idea for another quilt. On these pages I also created pockets for the templates. I might add more in future – fabric scraps etc from the quilt. I found some thick card to make a cover and bind it all together.

I am now starting another sketchbook for my next new quilt.

You can see the quilt tutorial here and the quilt is for sale here.

Words, work and images Karen Platt 2018

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New Quilts and Quilting Tutorials From Karen Platt

Autumn is well and truly here and last week I finished the new autumn quilt, so it is already to launch. If you do not have the pennies to buy a finished quilt, I have also created a new quilt tutorial to go with this new design. All the work has been designed by me and I created the quilt myself from scratch. I set myself a few headaches along the way, but solved them so that when you use the tutorial, you will not have any problems. I had so much fun designing and making this quilt and know that you will too. It is my first quilt pattern for sale on the website.

The quilt itself is for sale on the website. It is a one-off unique sample quilt I made, so there is only one – grab it while you can.

I have also designed and made a new landscape quilt. I am loving the colours of this one, called ‘Pebbles On The Beach’ and the original is on sale here. You can find my methods for making this type of quilt in my landscape quilt tutorial. The quilt that I made for that tutorial is also for sale here.

I have still to write my knitting pattern up, and will be uploading several patterns to Ravelry shortly.

Meantime I am also working on a new Inspiration book – Autumn. The Churches Inspiration book is finished but waiting for me to finish off the textiles. Keep checking back and meantime why not check out the existing Inspiration Series? So much to inspire for art, textiles and more. These are all manual downloads as pdfs so that you can enjoy the photos. So much to keep me busy.

Am I doing anything else? Yes, I found an embroidery I started some months ago – that will be finished soon too.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018