It’s been a busy week with a quilt on the design wall and a knitwear design on the knitting needles. Both had hung around a bit, but I have made good progress despite another week of poor health. I think I have that nailed down to really bad food sensitivities now. I have been writing more of my Better Without cookbook, and also my first ebook in the Stitches in Time series as well as designing two new ecourses.
The quilt on the design wall is one you might have seen if you follow me on fb, Instagram (karenplatt_textiles) or twitter (if you don’t already please do). It sat there for 10 days with no progress whilst I battled food sensitivities. Not out of the woods yet, but I am hopefully getting on top of that. Friday, I picked up where I left off and the quilt is now looking well on its way. This will be in a new Scrappy Quilt ecourse along with other scrappy quilts I have designed, like this one. My ecourses can now be seen on the website or from Craft Courses.
I dug out the fair isle I had started last year with wool from the 90s. It is on fine needles and I have done other projects in between because it takes a long time to knit something like this. Not to mention concentration. It is now finished and I am really pleased with it. It looks fantastic on and since I bought the wool so long ago, it cost about 10 pounds. So I started another project with the leftover yarn (see first pic). There is no stopping me.
What’s Coming Up?
Stay tuned next week for more quilting, knitting and new art posters and knitting patterns. I’ll be working on more quilts and writing.
Textile and art inspiration is still to be found in lockdown. Some of us are more housebound than others. Yet others have been housebound for many years through illness. Still in our surroundings or photos we can find inspiration in so much. Using your home or surroundings as inspiration is a very good place to start.
What Has Inspired Me This Week?
I am often housebound, through illness and even lack of money. How these things impact upon me and others is poorly understood. I use my artistic tendencies to stay occupied and inform my textile and art inspiration. This last few weeks I have been following a free online course with Future Learn. I also use my travels in the past to inform my work. This is not only an abundant source of inspiration but also lifts my spirit immensely and gives me hope to travel again.
I was fortunate enough to live in Tunisia for a time. Not only did I research Tunisian carpets and shawls to write a book, Textiles of Tunisia, but I also wrote about travels in the Sahara. Now I am happy to be launching Tunisia, the travel guide. This is only Part One, Part Two will follow shortly. As with all my inspiration ebooks, this one also includes exclusive artwork that is for sale. So my travels inspire my art. You can see one example on the front cover. This ebook is now available on the website , your purchase makes the world of difference to me as an independent artist.
Having a long term project that I can work on each day helps enormously. Quilting the scrap quilt was fun. I can procrastinate over quilting, torn between straight line, free motion and so on. I thought hearts were very appropriate to this quilt, given the situation with Covid19 and the increasing number of deaths worldwide. This won’t go on sale until I feel it is safe to go out and post it, but if you do want to purchase, please contact me. It is a two-sided quilt.
With my leftover threads and tiniest scraps of fabric, I made another thread bowl. These are an inspiration in themselves, a way to use every last bit of waste and turn it into something useful. Waste not want not.
Quilt those scraps! When inspiration evades you, or you have too many scraps, just sit down and quilt. It doesn’t really matter if you make a project or not, just make a start.
It has been a very rough week for me, getting my foot and leg to behave (tendonitis) and coping with digestive problems that knocked me out. It was not until Saturday that I felt well enough to sit in front of the sewing machine and stand long enough to cut fabric.
Quilt those scraps. There must be a hundred ways to do it. You can gather together fabrics by colour, pattern, size. You can put together a colour scheme, or throw in the kitchen sink. The most important thing is to make a start and get going.
Quilting scraps serves two purposes. It can get you over the doldrums and it can reduce your scrap stash. Have you noticed how that multiplies?
Check out my scrap quilt tutorial, it was made with scraps from just one fabric. If you love that original quilt, it is for sale, but hurry as there is only one here
Wonky Line Scrap Quilting
Making wonky lines is fun. It’s a fairly quick way to use up scraps. Just find scraps of the same or similar length and stitch together, cutting some strips at an angle. I think these always look better with a limited colour scheme, but hey it’s scraps, so anything goes.
Wonky Log Cabin
An old take on the even older traditional log cabin block. Instead of all pieces being equal width, you cut some wonky ones. It’s a bit more challenging than the Wonky Line method. Again it is quick and uses up a bundle of scraps in no time. Each block you make can be different, so you don’t need too much of the same material. Just have fun and experiment.
Day 27 quilting brings more stash and ideas for art quilts. I sorted through more fabrics and unfinished projects. This is necessary before I start something new.
On Day 27 quilting, I want to make it clear that certainly for me, it is not all about bed quilts. Many of my projects are wall quilts or lap quilts. Three years ago when I started quilting for a living, I made a decision that I would quilt jackets and coats. I have been rather slow in this area. It will receive more attention in 2020. I dug out the jacket I am making, I know I started the second front but have not found that yet. This is top of my list for finishing.
I tried out an idea for an art quilt. Whilst I do not dislike it, it was lacking something and so I put it to one side to think about it. I have many ideas buzzing around in my head.
Whilst I ponder that art quilt, I sorted a bag of scraps. You can see that I ended up with strips, skinny strips, pre-cut triangles and some odd shapes. I started putting together improv strips, for a possible scrap quilt. I am feeling a bit at odds with it all today.
I have been fortunate enough to travel to the Sahara more than once. In 2014 I started writing about the places I had visited and the art I had made, including textile art. Unfortunately in 2016 my partner died and it all became too painful. However, even though three years on, it still caused me much pain and tears, it is almost finished and ready to launch, so look out for that. I hope to launch it on what would have been Ali’s birthday on the 28th December.
Day 11 quilting introduces my latest quilt finished early evening yesterday as I hand stitched the binding to the back. A beautiful make for all quilters. I am really pleased with my latest quilt design. This quilt design also forms part of my new modern quilting ecourse. A special discount is available for quilters today see below.
New Modern Scrap Quilt
Yesterday I finished my latest quilt. A new modern scrap quilt design. It started with scraps of my most colourful quilts and I made large triangles. Since it’s a modern quilt, it was also all about the quilting. This is the most quilting I have ever done on a quilt to date. I found it very enjoyable. The border and quilting are quite time consuming, and just those alone took me 11 hours. Another new quilt is already on my work table.
What’s Your Quilting Speed?
I am not the fastest quilter I admit. My speed is just under half on my dial and I quilt without a pedal. When using my walking foot I keep a steady pace. Accuracy is more important to me than speed. I slow down on large projects to ensure the quilt does not stick on the end of the machine and catch me unawares.
Day 11 quilting discount is 20% off the original quilt for sale. There is only one unique original Karen Platt quilt, there will never be another exactly the same. Plus 20 per cent off the quilting pattern. Plus 10 per cent off the new modern quilting ecourse. Join me to learn all about modern quilting in a 12 month ecourse that gives exercises, techniques and design ideas for all types of modern quilting. So if you love improv, modern, contemporary or art quilts, come and have fun, we start in January 2020. These discounts run until 18 December 2019
From Quilt Design to Completion, this morning I finished designing the scrap quilt. Boy that feels good. It took a few twists and turns along the way but it is finished and I love it. Finishing a quilt design always brings euphoria! Or should that be sewphoria!
Progressing the Design
Last time I left you with the rectangles made and pondering where to go from there. It seems a lifetime has passed by. Many quilt ideas came and bit the dust since 31 October 2019. I spent a lot of time pinning things to the design wall and taking them down and re-pinning. From Quilt Design to Completion has been quite a journey. I kept an open mind throughout.
All design brings challenges and it is how we deal with those challenges that make or break the design. The particular challenge here was that I was dealing with different lengths and different widths of rectangle. Somehow I had to make it coherent. There were a few crazy ideas along the way.
Bringing It All Together
Eventually something always clicks. It might come immediately, or it might take weeks, but it always happens. Patience is a virtue. Once it falls into place, it is like a dream. Every scrap of that Eagle fabric was used. Each decision you make along the process affects the final design. I had to add more length and width and opted for bands of colour. I also chose a matching fabric in colour and theme for the main player.
The Finished Lap Quilt
Finally everything fell into place and the quilt was easy to finish. This unique quilt is on sale here, ready for one lucky buyer. The full instructions to make a quilt like this will be on sale in the quilts and patterns section of the website, so please take a look. You can also take the Design and Quilting ecourse to learn how to design your own quilts. Last of all check out the past blogs on this quilt and don’t forget to read the blog every Monday. Thanks for stopping by.
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.