Creative Textile Blog Week 32 Part 2

In preparation for my teaching today, this week I prepared two booklets for attendees and course notes.

Yesterday I spent the early evening preparing the room for teaching. It’s all looking good and I am feeling very positive. The sun is shining and we are going to have a lovely day hand quilting. Today I am teaching Cathedral Windows quilting and Japanese Folded Patchwork, both techniques that I have practised for some time and am injecting new ideas into. There will be advanced courses on offer shortly.

Take a look at the face-to-face courses and online ecourses on the website for the full range of hand quilting, hand knitting or Photoshop courses. If you love creating and making, there is a course for you to take in Sheffield in person or to do in the comfort of your own home.

Have a great weekend, see you on Monday

A-Z of Sewing for Smockers

A-Z of Sewing for Smockers, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782211754, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com

The A-Z series presents time and tested crafts that are beloved by many. This is a new edition. Turn your smocking into an heirloom. It’s for people who already know how to smock, but want to know how to put a garment together. The book is aimed at the construction process of creating traditional garments, using clear step-by-step instructions with photographs. It contains techniques for piping, pleating, attaching lace, sashes and more but is not a how to smock book. There is a materials section, techniques and construction. The photographs are good and the instructions are professional. The book would be even better if it laid flat, for it is difficult to hold it open and follow the instructions for a project.

Creative Textile Blog Week 32 Part 1

Very little to report as I have been away for a special celebration. However, I did manage a quick visit to Exeter Cathedral. It was rather bizarre as after we had been in there 10 minutes, people were piling in for a service and we could therefore not enter the main part of the cathedral with all the beautiful painted wood and the best stained glass window. We could only walk down the aisles and into the chapels. It was bizarre because the service was a funeral service.

It is a wonderful small cathedral with amazing bosses and two towers from the 11th century. I thought you might enjoy some of the embroidered work I saw there.

I had never been to Exeter before, been driven past it many a time on my way to Cornwall (my ultimate destination) but it was the first time I had stopped there. On the way out of the car park, I spotted a couple of medieval buildings we had missed!

Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

 

Creative Textile Blog Week 31 Part 2

This time last week I was having my lumbar puncture and it has taken the best part of the week to recover. In fact, I went for my first long walk yesterday and had to rest for the remainder of the day. So I have hardly got any work done and nothing to show you. So I thought I would have a little reminiscing.

Here are the pots I made in 2009. The walk around the botanic garden in 2010 with the crocus under the still bare beech tree and the wonderful stone. I used the garden as a journey theme for an art project. 2011 found me walking around Chatsworth. Whilst in 2012 I was on one of my many visits to the British Museum, a great source of inspiration for me. I was also there in March 2013, and had been making the first of my bracelets. In March 2014, I was in Kairouan, Tunisia researching for my carpets book. In 2015, my digital explorations began in earnest and I have created so much digital work in two years. Last year I was getting ready for a painting exhibition and this year I am getting ready to teach.

It’s a varied creative life and love every aspect of it.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Find out more about my work on my website

Freeform Crochet With Confidence by Carol Meldrum

Freeform Crochet With Confidence by Carol Meldrum, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782212676, price 10.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Explore creative crochet with this book through 30 easy projects. Take a look at what you can do with shapes and stitches to create practical projects. Most people attempt freeform when they have mastered all the basic stitches. There are step-by-step instructions for the basic stitches at the front of the book and you will need to be confident with these first. This book concentrates on simple freeform ideas to build your confidence. Like changing colour or adding a stitch or motif ad hoc. These projects are fine to learn the basics. The chapters on Organic Patterns and Lace are what I really think of as freeform crochet. I love the cream scarf and the lace scarf. The mix and match cardi looks interesting and I like the flower shawl too. The basic ideas can be used to form your own patterns. Unfortunately the book only mentions yarns by brand name and is using a well-known but rather expensive brand. It does, however give tension and if you refer to the front of the book, you should be able to work out what other kinds of yarns to use. This is important, because the joy of freeform is that you can use up scraps of yarn. Spiral-bound would have been an advantage.

Creative Textile Blog Week 31 Part 1

I am making a good recovery from the lumbar puncture, but it has taken its toll. I have got a tiny bit of stitching done and I have started writing another online textile course, but more about that later. Today I am going to take you to the Treasurer’s House in York.

I started my day out at the railway station, and walked towards Bootham, towards the Minster area, over the Ouse which was looking gorgeous. I do love the almost white stone of the riverside buildings. Along my way I passed on the left hand side, York Museum and its gardens. It was years before I discovered that here are the remains of an Abbey and now I always make a detour. The Abbey was looking wonderful in the sunshine. Arches are such a wonderful inspiration in my textile work. The gardens were filled with spring bulbs but I have saved these pics for my garden blog.

I popped into the Museum, which has had a facelift, but the entrance fee is now 7.50 and I passed it by. There is an exhibition coming up later in the year and I might go back. Next I passed by the Art Gallery where the statue of the Yorkshire artist, Etty looks over to the Minster. I had never noticed before the charming building to the left with its coat of arms. I popped into the Gallery, always a delight because in the past it has always been free. I once saw an excellent exhibition of Japanese quilting here, mainly fishermen’s jackets. Now it too has had a re-design, lost its funding and is 7.50 to enter. Someone in the government needs to recognise that Arts Funding is important. I decided to continue with my day as planned. These things should be accessible to all, not just those who can afford them.

I headed for the Minster, walked round the back until I came to the Treasurer’s House, tucked away with marvellous views of the rear of the Minster. It is a tiny house, with a tiny garden, a NT property. I did enjoy it but was not in there for long because it is so tiny. I spent the rest of my day looking at other churches and photographing the oldest houses in York, on Goodramgate. Just look at those blue skies.

Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Atmospheric Landscapes in Acrylics by Fraser Scarfe

Atmospheric Landscapes in Acrylics by Fraser Scarfe, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782212836, price 19.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Painting through the seasons, using acrylics to depict the natural landscape. This book includes an introduction about acrylics, four sections relating to each season and a final chapter ‘Reflections on The Year’. Throughout you will find exciting examples of Fraser’s work. You’ll discover journal entries, thoughts on painting, a close look at projects in a typical year, offering insights into the practicalities and challenges of painting. He discusses materials, drawing, sketching, sketchbooks, media, photography and using photos in work, brushes, light, composition, depth, skies, trees and colour. There are exercises to follow. The book is instructional without really being step-by-step, it is open to your interpretation. The book deals primarily with landscapes. Fraser shows paintings from all over the country, the east coast, Lincoln, Baslow Edge, Dumfries, the Lake District and London and many more places as subjects. This is a superb book, Fraser has a wonderful approach, easily understood, unstuffy. Recommended.

Creative Textile Blog Week 30 Part 2

I promised to show you pics from Cliffe Castle, Keighley, so without further ado, here we go. It is quite a long post, so make a cup of tea and sit back and enjoy.

I had never heard of this place before, but I thought it sounded interesting. I took a bus from the centre of town and got off near the lower entrance. As I walked up the hill, I was greeted with a mass of spring crocus, breathtakingly beautiful amongst the mature trees. The gardens are being renovated and work is due to be finished in July.

Just outside the Castle is a blossom tree, looking like heaven against the blue sky. The pink was so vivid and the warmth of spring was evident.

The house is imposing from the outside, castle-like with its turret. However the interior is just sheer elegance and delight. Filled with amazing furniture. Three rooms are preserved. Cliffe Castle was originally the home of Victorian millionaire and textile manufacturer, Henry Isaac Butterfield. Completed in the 1880s the building was funded by the Butterfield family’s industrial empire which included wool textile mills and a shipping business. He had impeccable taste. It is full of interesting and inspiring objects.

In the remaining rooms open to the public is the museum with its collections of teapots and ceramics, tools and local industry, animal bones such as mammoth tooth, rocks, fossils, minerals and gems, an incredible long piece of fibre art made by a local artist Naomi Parker on the Evolution of Life, a paper cut from over a hundred years ago, Indian textiles, fabulous paintings, taxidermy (not fond of it but it struck me that if you really want to draw, it is easier with dead animals than ones that move:)), amazing stained glass and fashion through the ages.

Until 23 April 2017, you can also see the incredible art of Kate Lycett and her beautiful paintings of lost South Pennines houses.

I found it all thoroughly absorbing, and have only shown you a fraction of what I photographed. Cliffe Castle is a good 15 minute walk from the centre, or a short bus ride. It is free. It makes a great day out with East Riddlesdon Hall that I wrote about in Part 1 of the blog this week. The green hills will beckon too.

http://www.bradfordmuseums.org/venues/cliffe-castle-museum

See you after the weekend, have an enjoyable one

Words, images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Make It With Air-Dry Clay by Fay De Winter

Make It With Air-Dry Clay by Fay De Winter, published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215165, price 9.99 available from www.searchpress.com

These easy-to-make projects are ideal for beginners. Create ‘ceramic’ makes that do not need to be fired with air-dry clay. It is often thought of as not as versatile as clay that needs to be fired in a kiln. The advantages are that this clay is easy to use with children. This book takes you through all the basics, making projects along the way and building your skills as you go along. There are step-by-step photos and instructions to make sure you don’t fail. Mostly this book avoids the amateur, lumpy look of air-dry clay, although there are a few projects I would not have included. There are 20 projects in all. The best is shown on the front cover – the bubble shallow dish. In Chapter One you will find Tools, Techniques including basic pinching, coiling and slabs. Chapter Two is the projects including, feather tags, miniature mirror frames, tealight holders and marbled pinch pots. A good introduction to air-dry clay.

Allie Aller’s Stained Glass Quilts Reimagined

Allie Aller’s Stained Glass Quilts Reimagined, published by C & T Publishing. ISBN 9781617452864, price 21.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com

Creating a stained glass effect in quilting is fascinating. There are only 6 projects in this book from quilts to wall decor. There are also 3 ways to create the ‘leading’ without bias tape. The front cover shows a beautiful peacock and typical stained glass colours in the border of the cover that belong to another quilt called ‘Mondrian’s Window’. The back cover shows a beautiful ‘vine’ in gorgeous greens. These form the best three projects in the book in my opinion. Chapter One deals with design sources and strategies; the sources might surprise you, Chapter Two with Glass and Leading supplies and approaches – any experienced quilter will probably already have tried these methods, especially if they do applique. In the close-up of Frank’s Window you can see how far out the leading is (and again twice in the instructions) and Chapter Three with Techniques and Exercises including a Gallery with some superb samples and Chapter Four with Work Flow plus Projects. The instructions for making the projects are clear. Whilst I like the projects and samples, I am not convinced that the ‘leading’ ideas work that well. Personally I am not fond of glue applique. Cutting fiddly strips is as bad as if not worse than using bias tape and we have surely all done couching and sewn applique so I was at a loss to figure out what exactly were the fresh techniques.

Creative Textile Blog Week 30 Part 1

I am a little late today. There was no space on the computer to download photos. Sorted now, but it has taken the best part of the day.

I am not sharing my work today, but some of the wonderful things I saw at East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley. It is a very small NT property, but extremely interesting. The view across the pond to the house is worth coming for on its own. I cannot speak for other times of the year, but on my visit on 4th March the garden was not worth coming to see. The house is on two floors and was at times shared by several families. You cannot visit the attic. On the first floor there is a very interesting large wool hanging. Some of the bed and settee covers are original and very interesting too. There are good examples of crewel work and blackwork, as well as stumpwork in the upstairs rooms. All the blackwork was done by a retired policeman, it’s the best I have ever seen. You’ll also find rag rugs, some quilting and tapestries. Children are encouraged to have a go at embroidery. The plaster ceilings are very good too in some rooms, mainly downstairs. The house is reputedly haunted. I’m glad I didn’t see any ghosts. My visit only took about an hour and that was with a stroll around the garden and talking to the volunteers. On a summer’s day you could sit in the garden. I had come for the embroidery and I was not disappointed. Part 2 of the blog on Friday, will be about my afternoon visit in Keighley.

Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Pot Holders For All Seasons by Chris Malone

Pot Holders For All Seasons by Chris Malone, softback published by Annie’s Quilting. ISBN 9781590126707, price 10.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

Jazz up your pot holders and bring life to the kitchen with these fun designs. Practical yet charming to look at. These quilted pot holders are in a variety of designs, quick to make and perfect for gifts. Chris has created pot holders for occasions and more. There are traditional square pot holders but with adorable animals, round ones and there are also pear-shaped, apple-shaped or leaf-shaped, fish-shaped, heart-shaped pot holders and many are decorated with animals. The camper van and house are superb. There is even a microwave bowl cosy. Great for fetes and bazaars, these quilted pot holders will use up your scraps too. There are 20 in all to choose from, and you might wish to make them all. Some are based on traditional quilt block patterns, some are pieced and some appliqued. You’ll find general instructions and also raw-edge fusible applique, padded applique, mitered corner binding, bias strip cutting instructions too. Each project comes with clear photos and step-by-step instructions. Pattens are graded for skill level. The templates are given full size. Recommended.

Stitch, Fabric & Thread by Elizabeth Healey

Stitch, Fabric & Thread by Elizabeth Healey, softback published by Search Press. ISBN9781782212850, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

I bet that gorgeous cover grabbed your attention. It gives you some idea of the inspiration this book provides through practical exercises. The many techniques explored in this book are quilting, shisha embroidery, printing, mola, dyeing, couching, Japanese bookbinding and needlelace. You’ll discover stitch galleries and features on sewing movements such as Boro textiles.

Subtitled ‘An Inspirational Guide For Creative Stitchers’ this book includes : Before The Stitches – all about research and preparation; Running Stitches explores straight stitches; Chain and Blanket Stitches is another exploration of stitches and includes creating penny mats, one of my favourite projects in the book as well as stitched memories; Raised Stitches has some nice experimental ideas including Dorset buttons and More Than Stitches including Shibori techniques and mola and gathered circles and stitches at the very back of the book.

The book is a basic introduction to stitch with projects that you can follow. Since it covers a lot of things, it should have broad appeal. With over 40 exercises there is bound to be many things you will love. I felt that even if you encountered nothing new, you would still find value in the projects and expression in this creative book. So much to love for stitchers here.

Creative Textile Blog Week 29 Part 2

This week seems to have gone by in a flash. I have almost finished another cathedral windows quilting project. Come and join the classes in Sheffield. I have been busy developing borders. Still no knitting, it is looking neglected.

I promised myself I would not purchase anything else until all my stash is used up, but was tempted by some bright fat quarters for another project. Whilst there I was shown some cotton wadding and caved in and went back this week to buy it and some backing fabric to finish my first full-sized quilt. I have to finish it now, no excuses. It was started in October 2012, so it might get finished for it’s 5th birthday! I stopped because I was introducing something new into the quilt mix and was not sure, full steam ahead now. I also picked up these gorgeous tapestry wools at just 50p each.

I jotted down on Monday night another 10 workshops I could offer. I need to arrange my calendar. I shall also be uploading new digital fabrics shortly and perhaps deleting some of those online.

On Wednesday I went to Kedleston Hall near Derby and I have had to rest a lot since that time. I tried to embroider on the train but could not get the needle to go where I wanted it to, so after four stitches, I had to stop. It does look like a very wet weekend, so I am hoping to get through lots of work and have more to show you on Monday.

Have a great weekend, see you then

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

How To Paint Skies by Geoff Kersey

How To Paint Skies by Geoff Kersey, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782214205, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com

A flick through this book reveals some wonderful examples of watercolour not just skies. Skies are often difficult to capture, to make them look real and if you get it wrong, the whole painting can be spoiled. Geoff offers solutions in this book and ways to paint skies. At the front of the book, you’ll find techniques that will help you paint not just skies, but that can also be applied other features of a painting too. You’ll find all the information on materials too. You’ll discover how to depict some popular ‘themes’ regarding skies – stormy, low cloud, a glow, sunset and summer skies. Geoff’s paintings shown throughout the book provide plenty of inspiration. The 6 step-by-step projects ensure that you can have a go and improve your techniques. This updated and revised edition includes previously published work, so if you have any of Geoff’s other books be aware of that. Recommended.

Creative Textile Blog Week 29 Part 1

That was one very exhausting weekend. I achieved so much but I am shattered and will have to take it easier.

Last week I painted 5 doors, one a day. Thank heavens it is done, because I could not do another.

I created some more courses – this time ecourses so that you can do them wherever you are – learn a new skill for fun or business. The ones I uploaded at the weekend are Kaleidoscopes in Photoshop – a technique that can be used to create fun kaleidoscopes. You can print them on paper or fabric for art, quilting and more. Each one is unique to you.

The other is for creating patterns that can be used for fabrics or art. Create Fabrics with Photoshop

I know many of you have asked me over the years how I created my fabrics and art posters – well now is your chance to find out. Each online course has step-by-step instructions. Work at your own pace in your own home from your own photos, or come to one of my face-to-face workshops in Sheffield.

I have also started another new Cathedral windows project but not taken pics yet and no knitting for the last 3 days. I do need a rest, I’ll go and lie down (actually going to exercise and start my day). See you on Friday with more news and updates.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Just Charm Quilts

Just Charm Quilts, softback published by Annie’s. ISBN 9781590127483, price 10.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

This book uses charm packs, the 5″ pre-cut squares. It delvers 11 creative ways to use them including quilts, table runners, mug mats and hot pads. There are 4 patterns for beginners and the rest are for confident beginners. You’ll see at a glance the skill level, finished size, materials needed, project notes, cutting, construction and assembly, all accompanied by excellent photography and easy-to-folow instruction. The projects include making blocks, prairie points, sewing long strips, stars and pinwheels, half triangles, stash busters and free-motion quilting. There is also a full raw-edge fusible applique tutorial and another on paper piecing. You’ll find a quilting basics section at the back of the book too. Appealing designs using a variety of techniques, you’ll never get bored.

Creative Textile Blog Week 28 Part 2

A whirlwind of a week. I think I might have forgotten half of what I did, there was so much.

Since Monday I have not got any further with the Cathedral Windows quilt, because I need to cut some material to size and I have had so much to do. Ditto with the blouse, I need to find my interfacing. I do live with gremlins who take my hand sewing needles too, they have run off with the interfacing. But I have done some more Cathedral window ‘squares’ for another project and half of another is also done. So progress is being made. The knitting is also coming along and I shall finish the second front and get on to the sleeves this weekend.

I have had a couple of orders to go out, some scrim ribbon, and also some interest in the quilting courses. So it is looking good. This weekend and next week I shall be concentrating on getting all the courses up online as ecourses, so that you can do them wherever you are. New courses launched this week face-to-face in Sheffield are Japanese Folded Patchwork a hand-quilting technique, and create a Kaleidoscope pattern, great for a quilt panel, to create a repeat fabric pattern or for artists, they can be printed on canvas or paper.

I think this is my fourth week of sugar free (with 3 lapses! but not one this week) and I have lost 2 kilos, gained energy and much better sleep whilst losing most of the pain. My average sleep in now 6 hours, instead of 3-4, it is making a big difference. I shall get round to launching the sugar free plan hopefully next week.

Meantime, I am feeling as sunny as the weather and it is glorious if colder this morning.

Enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see you on Monday.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Quick & Easy Quilts For Kids by Connie Ewbank

Quick & Easy Quilts For Kids by Connie Ewbank, softback published by Annie’s. ISBN 9781592173754, price 7.48 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

Make quilts for kids from a gift for a newborn to toddlers. These designs can be made in a day. The sampler quilt is a beginner’s project using many of the blocks in the book in one design. You could just as easily keep repeating certain blocks or add more blocks that you know to vary the design. Baby Blocks is an even simpler beginner’s quilt, Bugs is similar and Baby Bricks is simple enough and very effective. Here’s My Heart is classed as beginner’s but with its two-blocks plus borders, I thought that this on was moving up to an intermediate skill level. Both this, Nine-Patch and Critters use triangles. Chevron is another I thought would be better classed as intermediate. It is probably my favourite quilt in the book, but also seems aimed at a much older teenager, if not adult. Check This,  and Let’s Go are two more beginner’s quilts. Call of the Wild is based on strip blocks alternating with squares. Around The Block is also an effective way of using up strips. The instructions are clear, with great photos of the finished quilts and step-by-step line drawings of construction. Great ideas, adaptable designs and lots of fun.

Creative Textile Blog Week 28 Part 1

All blogs hit lulls and last week was one of mine. It was not that I was not working but that I was working at a much slower pace and still on the same projects that you have already seen. The Cathedral Windows Quilt now has the first part of its border – the red bird material that I have used for the blouse (still not stitched, slapped wrist). I have to go in search of some plain beige material for another narrower border and then I shall decide if it needs finishing off in red or not. I have a couple of ideas to try.

The other project that is progressing is the front of the cardigan, I am almost there. With things coming to fruition, there should be more photos next time.

Sunday saw me take a trip to a country park and I almost had a whole day without creating.

My non-working time was taken up with more ideas for courses and classes and on re-doing or at least tidying the ‘workroom’ to make better use of the existing space. The first of the knitting courses was launched, you can find it here Searching for photos for it, I was reminded that I have many knitting patterns still to put up on the website. Tomorrow will see the launch of the hand quilting course. So it is full steam ahead and I wish you all a very creative and happy week.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Hygge Knits by Nikki Trench

Hygge Knits by Nikki Trench, softback published by Cico Books. ISBN 9781782494782, price 12.99 available from www.rylandpeters.com

Hygge is all the craze, so here is a reprint of Trench’s book Fair-Isle & Nordic Knits published in 2014. Coziness with a Danish/Scandinavian style. There are 25 Scandinavian-style patterns. Full-colour charts and instructions for makes for adults and children as well as accessories for the home. The designs have tension pulled on colourwork and some very ugly stitching up and basic mistakes such as the too tight band on the child’s cardigan, too loose neckbands on at least two designs. I love the Nordic Blue Sweater. The colours on some of the designs leave a lot to be desired. A lot of the book is taken up with accessories such as bunting, cushions and hats. Given that you can opt for different colourways of your own choosing, and that you can substitute yarns by checking tension, this is a book of not new designs, no ground-breaking here but interesting take on hygge. It is very reasonably priced.

Creative Textile Blog week 27 Part 2

Yes, I have finished my large hand-stitched Cathedral Windows Quilt – all 36 squares. This is something I have done every day for weeks. At the moment I am thinking wall hanging, I have just the perfect place for it. Also makes a good settee back cover and looks great as a lap quilt – and I could do the border with the leftover material from the blouse. I am feeling so pleased.

Part of the back of the new cardigan is finished. I say part, because it is one of my designs with a peplum. Seems to be my favourite lately. I have started a front.

I have almost finished the weight loss plan and recipe book. Lots of achievements this week again. I concocted a new biscuit recipe, new pancakes and a new healthy bar – this is my favourite one so far.

There has been a lot of writing this week, about health, gardening and sewing plus recipe making and pattern writing.

I did not launch the knitting nor quilting courses. Been feeling a bit tired and weak. So I hope to get those done today. Neither did I get the blouse sewn – so it is full steam ahead this weekend, with quite a bit to do.

Tune in on Monday to see what I get up to at the weekend.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

The Quiltmaker’s Butterfly Forest by Felicia T Brenoe

The Quiltmaker’s Butterfly Forest by Felicia T Brenoe, softback published by C&T Publishing. ISBN 9781617453588, price 16.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com

Love butterflies? Find 12 full-size patterns and 6 wreath patterns that incorporate beautiful butterflies. Raw edge applique and a block a month for the Tiputini sampler, plus 8 projects from quilts to cushions and place mats. There is a dramatic black and white quilt and I love the place mats. All the instructions are included, techniques tips and template patterns. A wonderful book for any lover of butterflies. They can also be transformed by changing the fabric.

Learn To Paint in Watercolour With 50 Small Paintings by Wil Freeborn

Learn To Paint in Watercolour With 50 Small Paintings by Wil Freeborn, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782214397, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com

The cover has ‘glossy’ paintings, it has a nice feel. This is a watercolour course in a book. It will teach beginners to look at different subjects, learn the techniques and acquire the skills to paint them. Contents include Getting Started; Simple Still Life; Landscapes; Cityscapes; Animals and People. The first chapter includes materials and how to use them in washes, colour, light and sketchbooks. Then the remaining chapters deal with examples defined by subject matter. With each sample painting, Wil gives a lesson, including techniques, and a step-by-step demonstration. These techniques and demonstrations, once learned, can be applied to what you personally want to paint. I like the flowers on page 44, 46 and also the breakfast painting on page 48. I find Stormy Seascape very effective. The whippet on page 110 is excellent too. Wil has managed to effectively combine teaching through samples that you can copy and learn, then apply to your own paintings. It is a masterclass for beginners. No-one need be afraid of watercolour any more.

A-Z of Wool Embroidery

A-Z of Wool Embroidery, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782211808, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com

The A-Z Series is being reprinted as classics and form a veritable library of easy-to-use comprehensive guides that have stood the test of time. This one is all about the stitches used in wool embroidery and how you can incorporate them into stitch designs. Instructions are clear with numerous stitches shown in photos plus tips and more. 60 stitches are shown with step-by-step instructions. The book is further enhanced with traditional project designs that you can follow. The designs are mainly of flowers or animals and use a variety of stitches. I like the Crewel Sampler by Jean Harry and the Pansy by Carolyn Pearce. The patterns for all 29 designs are given at the back of the book. My only criticism is that it is not spiral bound.

Creative Textile Blog Week 27 Part 1

I am working on projects I cannot show as they are for books I hope to have published. So meantime, I thought I would talk about my new upcoming course and share some of my past work.

Since the 1990s I have been a knitwear designer. I recently put most of my knitting patterns online. I have actually knitted since the 60s, so I had well over 20 years experience before I started to design my own knitwear. Some say that you have to have a mathematical brain to be a knitwear designer, but maths was always one of my weakest subjects, so that is simply not true. The course will teach you all the processes you need to know to design your own knitwear. I shall be launching the course tomorrow, for those who want to learn how it is all done. I have a bias towards texture, mainly cable, using interesting patterns and colour work.

Take a look at the patterns.

Words, images and work copyright Karen Platt 2017

 

The Complete Guide to Anatomy by Gottfried Bammes

412g8sGBf3L._SX354_BO1,204,203,200_The Complete Guide to Anatomy for Artists and Illustrators by Gottfried Bammes, hardback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782213581, price 50.00 from www.searchpress.com

Originally published in Germany in 1964, this has become a definitive guide to drawing the human figure. This is the first English translation of the complete work. The tome contains over 12,000 drawings, diagrams and photographs covering all aspects of the human form. Structure, function and anatomical processes are all described in detail. It is a systematic approach to learning anatomy offering steps and exercises to reveal practical development for the artist. It provides an in-depth look at the subject. The book includes Anatomy For Artists Past and Present; The Proportions of The Human Body; Bearing and Movement; Building Blocks; Lower Extremities; Skeleton; Muscles; Upper Extremities; Neck; Head including facial features and Artistic Freedom. It talks about measuring processes, developmental stage and proportion3-dimension and space, poses and all factors that have to be taken into account when drawing. The developmental sequences, for example, of knee construction are fascinating. The highly detailed instruction is probably beyond the Sunday painter, but for any serious painter of the human form, this is the best book I have seen. Illustrated with fine examples of well-known artists such as Michelangelo, Matisse and Durer. Brilliant.

Creative Textile Blog Week 26 Part 2

When I start something new, I am reminded of unfinished projects. Then I go ahead and start something new anyway.

I had purchased some gorgeous fabrics a while ago as a 5″ charm pack. At the time I loved them so much that I bought some matching fabrics in some of the designs with the intention of making a full-sized quilt. The sort of fabrics you take out every once in a while and then cannot bring yourself to cut into them because they are simply too gorgeous.

Then I started my Cathedral Windows quilt project, but I had already cut the material before I realised that most of what I loved about the fabric would be hidden by the folding and placement of the ‘window’. I also realised that the fabric I loved best, I had neglected to buy more of. I did a search and managed to get the last 2 and a half metres. That would form the basis of a quilt and the 5″ squares would be highlights. When it arrived though, I thought what a lovely blouse it would make. So that is what it has become. There is enough left over for some quilting. Maybe a border for my Cathedral Windows.

I searched through 21 Burda mags for a pattern. Found one to adapt. This one is from 1993, and I was struck by the thought that in those days, the patterns were not as complicated – not as many patterns on one sheet as there are in today’s Burda. Still had trouble finding those lines. I trace my pattern onto dressmaking quality tracing paper, so if I need to use it again, I can. Wish it came in a wider width though.

Placing the pattern pieces was tricky, because my fabric was not as wide as that stipulated, so lucky that I had extra length to play with. All the pieces were cut. I pinned it and tried it on the next morning. This is going to be good.

Finally photographed the last sweater. I must press my ‘fair-isle’ bits. I also finished a painting on paper again, although I am still tempted to fiddle.

Just one new course launched this week. Come and learn fabric design in Sheffield. If you have problems adding the course to the basket, let me know.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Boho Embroidery by Nichole Vogelsinger

61QWNrKv4qL._SX473_BO1,204,203,200_Boho Embroidery by Nichole Vogelsinger, softback published by Lucky Spool Media. ISBN 978-1-940655-20-8, price 24.95 USD, or 17.11 in the UK available from www.searchpress.com

Boho-chic hit the heights in 2005, but it lives on in embroidery. It is very loosely interpreted and what one thinks of as Bohemian, is open to interpretation. The Boho look of the 60s owed much to the hippie style. It is associated with ‘folk’ style. Like many other styles, it floats in and out of fashion. There is nothing particularly Boho about this book. In fact, most of the book is ‘let’s talk about stitches’, ‘let’s talk about needles’. I know someone who creates fabulous  Boho textiles. This book is about a few rather ordinary stitches, that most will already have in their repertoire, about using hoops to frame your work (like there is any mystery to that), about looking around you and using nature, going to thrift shops and finding buts and pieces you can use, selecting fabric. It is almost pure waffle. Sorry but that is my opinion. There are templates at the book and a few stitches given, very little else, now actual how-to, not even a clear definition of boho. It’s pretty and full of colour, but a bit like sugar, there is no substance that I can see. perhaps it has appeal to the very young, who are just discovering embroidery but there are far better books out there.

Knit Me, Dress Me, Love Me by Sue Stratford

514dOozOlzL._AC_US218_Knit Me, Dress Me, Love Me by Sue Stratford, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782213796, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Love paper dressing dolls? Here’s the equivalent in knit. Seven characters to knit, each with a mini version, clothes and accessories. They are all the same size so the outfits can be worn by any of the little creatures. Great for using scraps of yarn and lots of fun to knit and to play with. Bunny, mouse, kitten, puppy, monkey panda or teddy will give hours of joy. Create accessories for school, beach, picnic, snow and bedtime. Find sections on materials, step-by-step techniques with photos, instructions for knitting the cute animals in two sizes plus all their ‘play’ accessories, including a pink pussyhat (I kid you not, Sue must have great foresight). Simply charming for kids of all ages. Highly recommended.

Creative Textile Blog Week 26 Part 1

It was a productive weekend. I finished a painting, I think. Like the last one, the sky is perhaps better than the sea. I enjoyed doing it and that’t the main thing. I thought I had photographed it, but alas no.

I have now finished 9 x 4 blocks of Cathedral windows, I also have 4 x 4 of blue, but I don’t think they look so good together, so I am keeping them separate. My task this week is to get them joined up.

I finished one sweater and started another.

Then there was my favourite task of all, the one I really love doing the best. I tried to walk to the botanic garden in Sheffield, which is almost one hour’s walk up hill. Then I have to consider up to two hours walk around the garden and the walk home (downhill so not as bad unless the knees play up). Wanting to see plants is a great incentive, but after 10 minutes I realised it was not going to happen. I had to turn around to come home. As I turned I realised I was looking down on the place I live. I took some photos and had a play in Photoshop. I like the results and will be adding them to the shop.

You can see my digital art and paintings online and take a look at the courses I am running online and in person in Sheffield. I shall be adding more courses this week including the fabric design course and the Cathedral window quilting course. Come and join me.

Modern Triangle Quilts by Rebecca Bryan

51M3L9ikdtL._AC_US218_Modern Triangle Quilts by Rebecca Bryan, softback published by C&T Publishing (Stash Books). ISBN 9781617453137, price 19.99 gbp, available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

70 pieced triangle blocks make bold, geometric designs to play with in your quilt-making. There are 3 basic triangular shapes used to make blocks. These are used singly or joined to make diamonds or larger triangles. You’ll also find 11 sampler quilts that are simple to piece with no set-in seams. Explore bold, dynamic design, colour, visual texture and balance. Enhance with stitch. I love the Upstart quilt (I would have put this one on the front cover). It is dynamic and a very adaptable design, as shown in Skylines and Facets. At the back of the book are fold-out template patterns. The instructions are clear and I would expect this to be one to be a bestseller.

Creative Textile Blog Week 25 Part 2

I am 2/3rds of the way through a set of pink/red/beige Cathedral Windows quilting and still enjoying it immensely. Most of this is done in the evening and I am finding it very relaxing. So that and the knitting are going fine, but I have not photographed them.

This week has been a week of getting the new classes in Sheffield underway. Why not come and join me on a class? I am a fully qualified and experienced teacher and you will learn so much. Lots of dates, if you don’t see the dates you want, please email me or send a fb message. I look forward to meeting some of you.

More classes will follow on creating kaleidoscopes in Photoshop and also fabric design in Photoshop, all the classes are using Photoshop in creative ways. So if you have Photoshop installed but don’t use its full potential, come and see what you can do.

In person in Sheffield, if you want a talk/workshop near you, pls ask your organiser to contact me

Course – from photo or drawing to portrait

Course – from photo to Art Quilt

Course – Photoshop for textiles and art

 Online Course – 35 tutorials, pdf book and more

See you soon

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Creative Textile Blog Week 25 Part 1

I have stitched, knitted and painted this weekend. So enjoyable. I am continuing with my Cathedral windows quilting, both hand and machine, this is a hand stitched one shown below.

I have finished a sweater but not photographed it yet, just got to set the sleeves in.

I have not had my paints out for ages, months. So I finally grabbed a brush and painted this one and another, which is not quite finished. They are both on paper, but have inspired ideas for a canvas.

Just now, I have made more of my no added sugar snacks. I love these. I am into the second week of no sugar and as soon as I can write up the plan and recipes, I shall share it.

Carried on writing the Madeira book, the end is in sight. I shall launch more classes tomorrow, I am hoping to get them all launched this week. It’s organising the dates that is the difficult part. I’d like to start travelling to teach again, if my health will let me. Having a few wobbles, feeling unsteady today, but in general much improved.

Stay creative until next time.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

200 Fun Things to Crochet ed Victoria Lyle

61MsNdbwOrL._SS300_200 Fun Things To Crochet ed by Victoria Lyle, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215219, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

200 small projects to crochet no matter what your skill level. Levels are indicated from beginner to advanced. 3D projects are inspired by nature and include crocheted flowers, birds, bugs, leaves and sea creatures. You’ll also find floral block designs. Projects are a great way to use up odd leftover yarn. Equipment, yarn, crochet as well as finishing techniques are given at the back of the book, with useful images. Photos of all the projects appear at the front of the book, then again with the instructions. Some of the floral blocks have chart designs, favourites are lazy daisy and sunflower. There are circles, squares and triangles. Square blocks could be stitched together to make a blanket. I can see the porcini mushrooms, oak leaves and acorns as well as butterflies being very popular. The hammerhead shark and whales are must-crochet.

From Sketch to Watercolour Painting by Wendy Jelbert

61nVQpFmOWL._SS300_From Sketch to Watercolour Painting by Wendy Jelbert, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782213062, price 12.99 available from www.searchpress.com

Using pen line and wash, Wendy creates inspirational paintings for those who love to sketch and paint. She uses a loose, fresh technique that is ideal for both sketching and finished artworks. Discover a series of step-by-step projects that that will help you to develop your sketching skills and to transform them into artwork. Three of the projects are windows, two farmyards and one harbour. Yet the subject matter shown as finished paintings in the book is much wider, incorporating landscapes, people, bridges and buildings. Inject energy into your paintings with this technique. It covers sketching from life and photographs, building your skills and from sketch to painting. You’ll find all you need to know about the subject and at the same time enjoy all the full colour images of superb sketches and paintings. Please note this book contains material that was previously published as Watercolour Tips & Techniques: From Sketch to Painting in 2003.

200 Fun Things To Knit ed by Victoria Lyle

61yP-AfV3lL._AC_US174_200 Fun Things To Knit ed by Victoria Lyle, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781782215202, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

200 small projects to knit no matter what your skill level. Levels are indicated from beginner to advanced. 3D projects are inspired by nature and include knitted flowers, birds, bugs, leaves and sea creatures. You’ll also find floral block designs. Projects are a great way to use up odd leftover yarn. Equipment, yarn, knitting and crochet as well as finishing techniques are given at the back of the book, with useful images. Photos of all the projects appear at the front of the book, then again with the instructions. Some of the floral blocks have chart designs, I like the flower beds and these blocks could be stitched together to make a blanket. I can see the crab and bird’s nests being very popular. The blue-tit is a must-knit.

Creative Textile Blog Week 24 Part 2

It was another big week for me as I created and announced the first live Photoshop courses for artists and textiles. Next week I shall launch the ones for quiltmaking and special days for portraits, pattern making for fabrics etc. So it is a fun time and very busy. I am so looking forward to meeting like-minded people who want to learn the tricks of the trade and create fabulous personal work for fun or for business use.

Working out dates is tricky. I have done them for March so far, but I intend to run them throughout the year and I have provided a variety of options for people who can only come in the week, or those who can only attend at weekends. But if you want a date you cannot see, please let me know.

I receive many compliments about my digital work, so I am expecting the courses to fill up quickly. There aren’t many spaces for each so please book early to avoid disappointment. There is also a special offer running, normally 75 pounds for a course, now only 60 pounds until end February 2016 for courses in March and April.

And it is not all digital, I am launching some hand knitting and some hand stitching courses too, both quilting and contemporary embroidery. As a fully qualified teacher and experienced artist and crafter, you can expect a high level of teaching and the courses are unique.

You can find all the courses here, there is the online one, and then the in person ones, they all take place in Sheffield at the moment, but I am seeking other venues around the country and abroad. Come and say hello.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2016

Course – learn how to use Photoshop for Textiles and Art

Come and join experienced teacher Karen Platt in Sheffield and learn how to really use Photoshop for fun or business. Transform your photos into art, create backgrounds on which to stitch. Learn how to get the best from Photoshop.

Learn how to use colour, edit photos, create backgrounds using Photoshop.

Ideal introduction to the fundamentals of design in Photoshop. Create your own artwork, posters, art for fun or business.

Course details

6 weeks, one hour a week

Maximum 4 students at a time.

What’s Included

Understanding file formats and saving files

Cleaning images, adjusting colour, exposure

Colour – options for creating colour and black and white work, gradients

Layers – working with layers, combining and manipulating the layers palette

Filters – fun with filters

Cropping, rotating

Photoshop history

Exporting files for web and print

About me

I have used Photoshop since before 1996. I have a large and diverse skillset having used Photoshop to create newsletters, book covers, art, quilts, design cards, for textiles, fabric design and more. I am an experienced and fully qualified teacher. So many people never get to grips with Photoshop, I want to change that. The groups are small – just max 4 people so you get personal attention. I wanted to create affordable Photoshop courses that delivered the goods but did not cost the hefty 60 pounds an hour that courses often charge. In fact, Photoshop courses are often between 500 and 1,000 pounds. As your Photoshop trainer I have developed these courses, bearing in mind the skills I had to learn and the ones I found the most useful. I deliver the courses personally. They are also available online with online help.

Please note these are not retouching nor digital painting courses. They are courses that teach you how to use Photoshop creatively.

You can see examples of my work on the website under paintings for digital art and under fabrics for digital fabrics.

What to bring with you

Laptop (make sure it is fully charged)

Notepad and pen if you want but all course notes will be given to you as part of the course and you can make notes on your computer as you work

Photographs downloaded onto your computer that you want to use, but please bring your own photographs to work on.

COURSE DATES

Dates are suggestions and I hope these dates and times fill up, however, if you are interested but cannot make these dates, please message me and we can perhaps arrange another date and time to suit you. If you have problems adding the course to your basket, please contact me.

The course takes 6 hours, one hour a week or you can choose a weekend or weekday course or a full day.

When you book, you will receive a booking confirmation and a reminder of what to bring with you.

Dates: 1 hour each Saturday  March 25th, April 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd 10-11 am

Dates: 2 hours each Wednesday March 22nd and 29th, April 5th, 10-12am

Dates: 3 hour each day Saturday and Sunday 8th and 9th April, 2pm-5pm each day

Dates: full 6 hour course Saturday 4th March – 9.30am- 12.30am, 1.30pm-4.30pm

Course Venue

Sheffield

PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL WITH YOUR PREFERRED DATE AND AN ALTERNATIVE IF POSSIBLE.

Can’t make it – see our online course that offers much more as well as online help and a fb group page

Join the course NOW

Creative Textile Blog Week 24 Part 1

I have now made several pieces of Cathedral Window quilting, including a fun project for a children’s room. The images below are Cathedral window quilting by machine. Have to admit, I prefer doing it by hand.

Otherwise been knitting and writing. Felt pretty grotty all week. I have got a lot planned including the launch of the No Sugar Weight Loss Programme and the in person courses for using Photoshop creatively. The Madeira plant book is coming along nicely. I feel like I need to get painting again. Hoping for energy, the will is there, it’s just the body.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Creative Textile Blog Week 23 Part 2

The sewing machine is set up to do more Cathedral Quilting by machine. Yes, it is quicker, but I prefer doing it by hand. Using the Higgs & Higgs fabrics for this project. Cracking on with that this morning.

Been playing with my London pics in readiness for launching the Photoshop for Textiles and Art courses in person. Very excited about this. Hope some of you will join me, but I shall create more online courses too for those who cannot attend. Would not want you to miss the fun.

Also launching the Go Sugar-free course shortly. Very excited about that too.

Lots to do, just arranged some days out if I can make them. The body is still not behaving, but I live in hope of being able to do what I would like, at least on a few days a year. Recovering from last weekend’s trip to London has been hard.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

 

Creative Textile Blog Week 23 Part 1

What an interesting weekend. For work I went to a book fair, there was much interest in the gardening books, but nothing concrete yet. Fingers and toes crossed.

Whilst in London, I made good use of my time for my textile work. First up was the Opus Anglicanum exhibition at the V & A. It is excellent if small, I would have liked more. The lighting is dark, preserving textiles demands this but I found it hard to see with or without my glasses and at least two others were saying the same. However, I would not have missed it for the world. I love this work, the tiny stitches are breathtaking and the work is incredible. No photography allowed but the book is excellent too. I met some interesting ladies, including one who had travelled from near Hull twice to do the workshops associated with the exhibition. The cafe is expensive, Benugo I have to say you are a rip off and it is a pity that many of the museums use you. Sitting in the cafe is a real treat though. I re-acquainted myself with the stained glass gallery.

Then I went off to St. Paul’s, lovely to see, it’s the first time I have been inside, but again no photos. Tick the right box online and you not only save two pounds on entrance, but your entrance lasts 12 months.

Down to the river to take pics, past Monument and all those modern bits of architecture that tower over the ancient buildings. There was ice on parts of the Thames path. It was chilly and sun only came out for about 15 minutes. Sunday was pouring.

Next morning it was the book fair, and I managed to squeeze in my beloved British Museum. Ah the wonders of the ancient world.

Back in the 21st century and I am combining pics to create some great artworks that will be on sale in the shop later this week. Just a couple of snippets of those. If you want to learn how to create art from your photos, join my online course. The train journeys meant I finished my latest stitching project – but that is under wraps for now. Back to the exercising now.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Creative Textile Blog Week 22 Part 2

I have hardly posted all week and I am sure you are thinking I am not making, but I am preparing and making projects for books and projects normally have to not have been published, so I think it is best not to show them. As it takes up all my making time, I don’t have much to show. So I thought I would show a few hand dyed fabrics.

Neither have I had any time this week to play with pics. I have been writing my Madeira plants book, slowly.

I have kept up with my knitting, slowly again. Just knitting a cable sleeve.

Something exciting coming up that I shall tell you about in the next blog on Monday. Have a good weekend everyone.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Creative Textile Blog Week 22 Part 1

9 days into the New Year and I have created new textile and digital courses that I shall be launching this week. I am glad to tick this off my list. I shall also be adding more online courses. Why not join a course now?

The new books are shaping up too. Do you ever get the ‘I’ve started and can’t stop now’ feeling? That’s what is happening with my cathedral window quilting. Still doing it all by hand too, but the next project will be machine stitched. I had fun working out a sequence with these pretty fabrics and here’s the first row.

I was also very grateful to Higgs&Higgs for sending some fabrics for use in the book. They have a great selection. This geometric selection in oranges is perfect for my projects.

I created an interesting panel in Photoshop that might still take a bit more working up, but is looking very promising. I am also still writing the Illustrator/Photoshop fabric pattern making course.

So it is all very busy here, keeping me out of mischief. For fun I created two lovely tree fractals in Photolab.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Stripe Quilts Made Modern by L. S. Palmer

61hmzhny4xl-_ac_us218_Stripe Quilts Made Modern by L. S. Palmer, softback published by Stash Books (C&T Publishing). ISBN 9781617452598, price 18.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

A modern slant on stripes. Discover 12 projects that use bold striped patterns. Find colour options and 3 sizes for each project. The projects are equally divided into easy, intermediate and advanced. The book includes information on working with stripes and takes a creative approach to design. Includes tips for using stripes, cutting on the bias, matching seams and more. For each project you will clearly see the materials needed, cutting, construction and alternate colourways. Great attention to detail, easy-to-follow instructions and excellent photos throughout. My favourite is the Modern American quilt. This book not only provides 36 size options in 12 designs, it will get you thinking seriously about stripes and how to incorporate them into your quilts.

Creative Textile Blog Week 21 Part 2

So life goes on much as before. I have stitched, knitted, written proposals and parts of books, created much digital stuff, progressed with fabric design, thought about dyeing fabric, was rather shocked at the price of natural dyes. Lugged 3 kilo of salt home. Need some pennies. Could almost say ‘What do you think of it so far?’ ‘Rubbish’, but I won’t be so negative.

I don’t very often mention the books I review in my work blog, but must mention Trish Burr’s Whitework With Colour – go and get a copy if you love stitching – it is truly wonderful. I have reviewed it.

Someone bought me Turkish Delight for Xmas, instead of throwing the box away, I have opened it out to use as a template to make fabric boxes, a long-held desire, and I fancy making them with a twist.

The Photolab fractals are such fun, didn’t do any this week, these are from before the New Year. Did take some inspiration from the sky for a possible quilt idea this week though. Did finally use my 8″ square template for more cathedral windows. Makes it easier to be accurate.

Made chestnut puree pancake recipe, but won’t be making it again. Spur of the moment, I just thought wonder what happens if you add chestnut puree, so I did it. Edible but a bit heavy. I survived.

Spark of the week – working on this gorgeous fabric, soon to be launched. I must have Christmas hangover as it is a bit Christmassy. The beginnings of a collection I hope, that will be produced as metreage. To see my digital fabrics take a look at the website.

Also finished putting almost 900 photos into the new Madeira gardens book. Not too bad a week but the big promise of the year from a publisher now seems to be fading and I am still working on those other book proposals, so feel a bit let down. I will soldier on.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Whitework by Trish Burr

51fitfwmcsl-_sx373_bo1204203200_Whitework by Trish Burr, hardback published by Milner Publishing. ISBN 9781863514965, price 24.99 available in the U.K. from www.searchpress.com

It is impossible to praise this book too much, for any superlatives do not do it justice. It is supreme, beyond compare and in a league of its own. I have often admired Trish Burr’s books, but this is a book that dreams are made of. In this book Trish is inspired by elegant French whitework, but she has added a twist of colour. The moment I saw it I was in rhapsody. Then I opened the book and discovered that the 17 projects are every bit as good as the front cover. No special skills are required to make the projects, but being a practised embroiderer will help along the way. Raised and padded satin stitch, dot stitch and eyelets are some of the embroidery techniques used. Trish herself is a self-taught embroiderer. Each fantastic project lists the materials with a detailed stitch diagram, step-by-step instructions that are easy-to-follow and good photographs. The book also provides everything you need to know about transferring designs, stitches and preparation. The only problem you will have is deciding which of the incredible projects to begin first. They included floral and animal subjects, landscapes, a car, a heart and a tribal lady. The projects begin with a simple flower in monochrome. I love the owls, summer in a teacup, the hummingbird and the lion. I like them all. This hardback book is a real keeper, an absolute masterpiece.

Creative Textile Blog Week 21 Part 1

Happy New Year. The first week of 2017, and although we are still contending with the doom and gloom of Brexit, I intend this year to be positive.

2016 was a hard year, so too 2015, in fact going right back to 2010 has been very difficult and even that was not as good as the golden years from 2000-2008. This year I am determined to shine again, to draw on all my experience and good qualities to see me through, out of the struggle and where I deserve to be, professionally and personally.

To that aim, I have put together book proposals, begun writing another ecourse for textile artists, am offering courses in person and so much more. I have worked so hard for all this, it is time some of it came to fruition. I have decided it is going to be this year. I know I can do it.

I have been stitching more cathedral windows and playing with a free App called Photolab, which has been such fun. If you love gardening, the Madeira Gardens book is nearing completion. I know my hard work will pay off.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2017

Sew Flower Quilts & Gifts by Atsuko Matsuyama

6124ceyol3l-_ac_us174_Sew Flower Quilts & Gifts by Atsuko Matsuyama, softback published by Search Press. ISBN 9781872214892, price 14.99 available from www.searchpress.com

30 colourful quilted projects that would make anyone happy. Find a step-by-step guide to quilting techniques such as piecing, applique, embroidery and binding. Clear instructions and diagrams as well as good photography and full-size templates. There is also a pull-out sheet for pattern pieces. Large colour photos are shown at the front of the book, followed by the instructions themselves with a small photo of the project and diagrams where necessary. The projects include a baby quilt, pencil case, scissor holder, pin cushions, sewing kit, lanyards, bracelet, bags and purses, teapot cosy and mat as well as placemats, passport holder, mini quilts and wall hangings. All the projects have great charm and wide appeal. The step-by-step guides use small photos. This book was previously published in Japan.

All Things Quilting with Alex Anderson

51hu56mndsl-_ac_us174_All Things Quilting with Alex Anderson, softback published by C & T Publishing. ISBN 9781607058564, price 19.99 in the U.K. available from www.searchpress.com

Don’t know how to quilt? Want to learn but can’t get to classes? Here is a superb book to help you along the journey. Few sit down and create a masterpiece straight away, but this book will certainly iron out a few wrinkles. Learn all about materials, tools and techniques. Found out how to design, draft, cut, piece, applique, construct, quilt and finish. Expand your quilting horizons no matter what your skill level. This is not just about tips and measurements, this book encourages you to play and think before committing. Includes great photography and easy to follow instructions throughout. An absolute classic.