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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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Learn As You Quilt What’s New In Quilting

Learn to quilt with Karen. If you follow me on social media, you cannot have missed the fact that I have been working on an exciting new quilt design. It’s new in more ways than one:
1. It’s the first quilt pattern I have written
2. It’s more than just a pattern – it involves several tutorials
3. You learn as you quilt building your skills

How great is that? This is a new style of quilting skill builder – one where you learn whilst quilting. This new pattern actually involves 12 skills and once you have mastered this one, there will be more patterns to enjoy with different skills. Because you are learning along the way – the pattern can be used in different ways. It also presents many options and variations for the quilter. Patterns can be found on the pattern section of the website.

I have been developing this new style of quilting for a year now. I’m hoping it is going to make a lasting impact on the quilt world. It should make it easier for beginners to achieve good results from the beginning and give them the confidence to build their skills quickly. For intermediate quilters, it offers a challenge to the established method of quilting and even advanced quilters might find a skill they have not yet tried.

This latest design concentrates on autumn (fall) in theme and colour. This will be available as a pattern and tutorials. The next design will be for spring. I shall be offering a special pack, launching exclusively on the website, for everyone who wants to join in and make the quilt.

It’s been a challenge to find a way to describe this new slant on learning to quilt. I have settled on the abbreviation QUILTSKI for Quilt Skills, to describe my methods. I do hope you will join me in this exciting adventure launching this week.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Retrospective of Quilting Becoming A Professional Quilter

learn quilting Karen Platt

Retrospective of my quilting life so far. My professional quilt life began just 21 months ago but the retrospective goes back much further to my humble beginnings.

I never thought of being a professional quilter. I don’t have any connections. Heck I could not even follow a quilting pattern, nor sew a straight line. That’s the very reason I know I can teach you how to quilt. I did it the hard way – I taught myself.

I am a professional, fully qualified and experienced teacher. I had always been interested in making things. I still am rarely seen without knitting needles and have designed my own patterns since the early 90s. For the past ten years I have dabbled with hand dyeing yarn, threads and fabric.

At the same time I became a self-published author of gardening books. I was very successful, particularly in the USA and Australia. I became a professional gardening speaker, speaking up and down the west coast of America.

About ten years ago I went back to college to study art and design. Chiefly I wanted to learn to draw. The year before I had studied ceramics and fallen in love with it, but there was no way I could afford nor house a kiln. So I was thinking of doing fine art. Then I became very interested in digital art and I have had some success in that field. I developed unique ways of manipulating photos. My interest in photography extends to decades ago. As does my interesting in painting and art.

After that I took a morning course in Japanese Folded Patchwork and fell in love with this hand sewing method. I was developing textiles at the time but my interests have always been broad.

In late 2011 I went to a stitch show and bought some fabric for quilting. I had no idea what to do with it. I eventually put it together for tiny pram quilts and made lots of mistakes. That was final then. I’d never make it as a quilter. Quilting books completely baffled me. However I had not bought one lot of fabric, I had bought four lots falling in love with the colours. This fabric languished for some years. In 2012 I thought it was a shame not to use the fabric and started a quilt, but got stuck and it became a UFO.

I continued to sell gardening books, paint and create digital art. I did an art residency.

In 2013, I made four quilted place mats. I found them difficult to do and I forget how many hours they took me. I moved house and it became more difficult to dye. I was still living from the sales of my gardening books and had more to write. I lived in Tunisia for much of the time producing art and writing gardening books. I also wrote a book on Tunisian textiles. I was making embroideries and textile art and still do.

My interest in digital art deepened and everyone keep saying the designs would make great quilts. I kept thinking, maybe, but I am no good at quilting. It was not until late 2015 I tried to quilt again, making a knitting needle holder. It was a hobby I was struggling with. I had at least three garden writing projects on the go. I was approached by a publisher to write for them also. I made a couple of bags and a couple of dresses. I would tense up every time I did sewing, waiting for something to go wrong.

Dramatically in late 2016/early 2017 through no fault of my own, I was left without the means to earn a living. I was told my stock of books had been destroyed. I had no money to replace them. I took stock of what I could do, and my immediate thought was stitch. I set out to become a professional quilter.

I learned to do Cathedral Window Quilting and wrote my own tutorials for quilting. I started to design my own stained glass fabrics for it. It was a slow process, being hand quilted but I was still so wary of sewing machines. By March 2017, I taught my first quilting classes. I developed online classes for people to take wherever they live. I moved into landscape quilting on the machine, designing my own quilts and writing up tutorials. I took the advice of friends and turned some of my digital designs into quilts also.

It was not until August 2017 that I finished my first bed-sized quilt, that UFO started five years earlier. I used my talents in design and colour to get me through. My challenge was mastering my sewing machine. I did and my latest design features free-motion sewing. Perseverance got me there in the end.

I developed more tutorials and ecourses including design. I challenged myself to make three kaleidoscope quilts this year, to prove that my skills are there.

My next stage is to use my own fabric designs to continue my quilting journey with my own quilting designs. So there you have it a retrospective of my bumpy quilting journey that might never have happened if circumstances had not forced it. Design is still my driving factor but I don’t hate sewing any more, I have embraced it. I don;t get stuck any more, I have perfected my sewing skills. I am making quilts for sale. I did FOQ 2018 to dip my toes into the quilting market.

Click the link for ecourses

Click the link for fabrics

Click the link for quilts

My ravelry store

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018
quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting dyeing retrospective Karen Platt

knitting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting textiles retrospective Karen Platt

quilting textiles retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting textiles retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

quilting retrospective Karen Platt

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Quilt As You Go Mage Vintage by Jera Brandwig

Quilt As You Go Made Vintage by Jera Brandwig, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing USA). ISBN 9781617454721, price 18.99, available in the UK from www.searchpress.com

A follow on from the best selling Quilt As You Go Made Modern. Jera has come up with another winner, based on the ever-popular vintage theme. The book gives materials and tools, information on batting and quilt sizes plus everything you need to know about what is unique about this way of quilting. It has become one of my favourite techniques for working on a domestic sewing machine. It is far easier to join the blocks, having quilted them, than to quilt the whole top in one go. 51 classic vintage blocks (12 inches (30cm) square, nine projects and three joining methods are included. You can even make your quilt reversible. Easy to follow instructions and great photographs and line drawings. The book is suitable for all levels of quilters. Versatile and easy, qaygo can be applied to any quilt block. It is absolutely fantastic with quilts small and large, a cushion and a table runner. The smaller quilts could be used as wall hangings. There’s a little bit of improvisation in there too. Recommended.

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Book Review Tote Bags by Debbie Shore

Tote Bags by Debbie Shore, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216186, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Totes are so easy to make and this beginners book offers the bag maker some ideas to transform the basic pattern. It includes just two re-usable templates that can be drawn around and kept inside the hardback folder that encloses the paperback book. The easy to follow, step by step instructions are just about foolproof, the illustrations are very good. The book includes simple totes with alterations to a basic pattern by adding a bow, flap or a knotted twist of fabric. With the purse and drawstring bag, you have three basic patterns although the book claims there are 15 patterns. This is still good value for money however for the inspirational variations.

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Book Review Occasion Bags by Debbie Shore

Book Review Occasion Bags by Debbie Shore, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782216193, price 15.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Debbie Shore provides insight into bag making. I love the format of this book – the package includes a paperback book and re-usable templates bound in a hardback cover. There are 15 projects to sew. There are only two templates however, and this has limited the scope of bag styles. Having a different fastening or flap is not sufficient in my opinion and the book desperately needed a wider range of bag shapes and sizes. The concept is however fantastic. Owing to the limited number of styles, I would say that this book is excellent for beginners. Get to grips with basic bag making. The projects include: curved, round and scalloped flap handbags; bow, curved, zipped, patchwork and scalloped flap, slim, chain strap clutches, cosmetic bag; fringed, piped, triple pocket handbags and a zipped purse. The illustrations are very good and the instructions clear and easy to use with step-by-step images for you to follow. The templates are drawn around and can be used time and again. You could change the size with a little initiative and add your own embellishments, however to me this is more like 4 patterns dressed up to look like 15 but still good value.

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Book Review Fabulous Facades by Gloria Loughman

Book Review Fabulous Facades by Gloria Loughman, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617453441, price 24.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com

Subtitled ‘Create Breathtaking Results With Fused Fabric’, this book shows you how to take photos of facades and make quilts. It includes Design, Color (retained American spelling), Fabric, Creating a Pattern, Construction, Putting It Together, Finishing and Projects as well as a gallery of work. The book deals with a theme – the theme of facades – architecture, doors, buildings, skyscrapers, shape. Gloria explains how the technique can be applied to other subjects. All patterns are available as a download.
Looking at Gloria’s photos and finished quilts is very inspiring. Other artists work is included too. There are many examples of buildings from around the world. A detailed account is given of the method and techniques used. This is a fabulous addition to Gloria’s already published books. It gives practical information that is easy to follow accompanied by fabulous photos. Very inspiring use of photos to art quilts.

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Book Review Print Pattern Sew by Jen Hewett

Book Review Print Pattern Sew by Jen Hewett, hardback, spiral bound, published by Roost Books. ISBN 9781611804621, price 25.00.

Simple block prints can transform fabric, expressing your own individuality. Anyonw who wishes to learn block printing and how to make their own clothes would do well to add this book to their list of must-haves. Spiral bound so that it lays flat, clear and concise instructions and good photography combine to make this book easy to use. Find out all you need to know about preparation, fabric choice, block printing basics, creating a design, carving a block, printing on fabric and troubleshooting. Section Two is all about pattern. Discover how to design and print repeat patterns including half drop and brick repeats; multicolour prints and layering. There is also a block print gallery of work included of Jen’s fabulous work. In Sew, you will find examples of the prints on clothes – a jacket (coat), short-sleeved dress, short-sleeved blouse, cap-sleeved dress and blouse, full skirt, espadrilles, apron, cross-body bag, clutch and tote. This is followed by a pattern section that includes the above plus a square and an oblong scarf. There are templates for the designs and the full-size patterns to 40″ chest are included in a flap at the back of the book. Not too difficult to alter the size. Recommended.

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Festival of Quilts Countdown 4

Quilting Progress
It seems like not much to report this week but progress has been made – it’s just that I was quilting and finishing quilts rather than, for me, the most exciting part of designing new ones.

As I post this Monday morning – Two black OBW quilts are completely finished. The third one, the pink quilt, is finished on the machine quilting front. I still have the binding to do.

I also started hand stitching a few more hexagons. I’ve gone through no they do not join, to yes they do, back to no they do not. I know how to get this to work, but I am exploring a different design for them.

Behind the Scenes
Apart from quilting, taking a trade stand involves a lot more behind the scenes work. Thinking about the design of the space, how to hang quilts, pricing up products. Remembering to order everything and have ready all types of hanging etc. This takes up so much time. This week I designed and had printed the leaflets. You can see all ecourses and tutorials here

What will this week bring?
With just under three weeks to go, I am tempted to finish another quilt. The first one that I designed for the show. This was going to be my showcase so it would be nice to finish it. First task with that is cutting more hexagons or as I said above, changing the design. This is a multi-technique quilt to give your skills a workout. Also on the work schedule are all the wall hangings that need finishing and mounting. That’s a priority too. I am also working on either a BOM, Quilt challenge or something that people can sign up to. I shall be designing this next week. I am thinking about a competition too – this is a great opportunity for visitors. It’s all working out so well. Stand C5 9-12th August at the NEC.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018

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Book Review – Modern Plus Sign Quilts by C. Brickey and P. Alexander

Modern Plus Sign Quilts by Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander, softback published by Stash Books. ISBN 9781617455698, price 21.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com

Modern take on a classic favourite with 16 interesting projects using a variety of quilting techniques. These girls found the plus in plus providing a range of quilts from easy to challenging. Instructions are included for foundation paper piecing and fusible applique. Patterns range from table runner to bed quilt. You will find general instructions at the front and finishing at the back. Each pattern gives materials needed, finished block measurement, finished quilt, cutting, assembly instructions and finishing. Each one is accompanied by excellent photos. The skill level is shown with plus signs. A clever take on geometrics. The faceted rings quilt is my favourite shown top of the front cover.