Karen Lowe

Text & Textiles

text from textere ( Latin) to weave
textile a woven fabric

In these journal pages I will be sharing some of my craft ideas and inspiration, with free templates for you to use in your own projects. Last year I started a new quilt based on my 100 favourite novels, with each novel featuring as a 4 in x 6 in block. To check on my progress, click here for the Book Quilt page.
My first two Shropshire murder mystery novels featuring garden designer Fern Green, Death in the Physic Garden and Death in the Winter Garden, are on sale as Kindle ebooks from Amazon, or in paperback direct from me at Beanpole Books.
My Quilt Detective series introduces quilt artist Bronwen Jones. The first two books in the series, A Patchwork of Poison and Motif for Murder, are on sale as ebooks for Kindle and as paperbacks from Amazon, and as downloads for Nook from Kobo. The stories combine patchwork and quilting with murder mystery and include templates for crafts and applique. I am currently working on the third book in the series.





  Delighted to say I sold my two acrylic collage pictures at our recent exhibition at St Marys Church in Shrewsbury. I need to start on some new work for the Shropshire Art Society Summer Exhibition in June. I have just finished the design element of module 3 of the City & Guilds course in patchwork and quilting. The design below is one I completed, based on the tile patterns of William De Morgan. I had a great time researching at both the Jackfield Tile Museum and Wightwick Manor near Wolverhampton for tiles and textiles of De Morgan and William Morris. The dragon, above, is from a William Morris textile, which I have made up as a collage mobile using the coloured foils from chocolate wrappers. No chocolates left now unfortunately, so I am hoping for a refill over Easter...



St Brides

  Thanks to the Shropshire Art Society, I have some more paintings in an exhibition at St Marys Church in the centre of Shrewsbury. As well as the Seedheads painting I finished last year, I have two new pictures using collage and acrylic paint, and a textural style. The first is a view of Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como, based on a photo my husband took a few years ago. The second, above, is a view of the little bay at St Brides in Pembrokeshire, another favourite holiday spot of ours. I am enjoying this more textured style of painting, and trying to introduce some fabric elements, at the moment by printing through lace and net. The exhibition runs till 1st April.

I must start work on Module three of my City & Guilds course, which this time focuses on Colour, which should be interesting. I will post some pictures once I get started on the designs.



Pit head winding gear

  A busy January. I managed to finish the second Module of my City & Guilds course on Patchwork and Quilting. This module was based on industrial themed shapes. I designed the Pit head pattern, above, from my sketches of the winding gear at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Ironbridge. I think it would make a good applique cushion or mini quilt.

I also have two of my paintings on view in the Coffee shop gallery at the Gateway arts centre in Shrewsbury. The exhibition of students work runs till the end of February.

My next goal is to finish the first draft of the third 'Quilt Detective' story, which has been delayed due to the Patchwork course. I really need to get some of my New Year's resolutions achieved before the weather picks up and we are out and about again.




Robin card

  Thankfully I finished my first module for the City & Guilds Patchwork and Quilting course, and it passed its assessment. On to Module 2, which has an industrial theme and focuses on Shape. I already have a few ideas as we are based not far from Ironbridge, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

I also managed to finish making my quilted and applique Christmas cards for the family, this year featuring this robin. I have given Santa a list of craft items I could really do with, so hope he is able to find them.

Wishing you a peaceful Christmas and a craft-rich New Year.




Abstract design Mapping

Pembroke seedheads
Summer is now very much a distant memory but we did spend a beautiful week visiting Avignon and Arles by Eurostar, and enjoying their art galleries. On our return, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for the Level 3 City & Guilds course in Patchwork and Quilting. The twelve modules should take up to three years to complete, but it's very much at my own pace as the course is online with the School of Stitched Textiles. So far I have been working through the design element of Module 1, Line, and have found it great fun. It has given me a new way of approaching design for abstract quilts. The picture above shows one of the collages that emerged from the exercises. I decided the main shape looked like a river so have taken that as a starting point for a map themed collage. I have also been able to use some Zentangle doodling in the designs, which I love doing. I still have not had time to translate these into cushion covers.

I also managed to finish the painting, left, for the Shropshire Art Society Autumn Exhibition, based on the seedheads on a Pembroke coast path. I didn't have time to embellish it with sewing or beads, which was the original intention. Still, I am pleased with the result.

Another course I started this Autumn is on printing, again through Shropshire Art, as I was keen to have a go at linocuts. I have long been a fan of the woodblock prints used to decorate book pages, and I am hoping to try printing simple designs onto textiles. It has given me some ideas for Christmas cards this year, so here's hoping I manage to come up with a good, and simple, design.


JUNE 2016


Painting of Venice

We've had a busy few months since Easter, and the garden is looking at its best at the moment. All the rain has certainly helped settle in our new gunnera into what was the pond. We also enjoyed a short holiday in Carcassonne, France. We travelled by train with Great Rail Holidays, and luckily came back on time despite the French strikes. We took loads of photos which I hope to use as a basis for future paintings and quilts. I am also very pleased to have at last finished the applique for the ABC quilt. I still have a long way to go, as I now need to stitch round all the letters and images on the quilt top, and then quilt the whole thing, but so far I am pleased with it, and hope to have it finished by the Autumn when our little grandson should be ready to transfer from his cot to a little bed. The little red tractor is sure to be a favourite with him. To see my progress so far and download the templates, go to the ABC Quilt page.
The Shropshire Art Society Summer Exhibition is now underway in St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury, and I finally managed to finish my painting of Venice, based on a photo my husband took when we were there two years ago. It is in acrylics and painted on a box frame. This is my first exhibition so I would be interested in any feedback. With that painting finished, I now need to focus on a painting for the Autumn exhibition. It would be great to combine some textile paint and stitching.


MARCH 2016


Easter sheep card

I have just finished making a batch of Easter cards for the family. I decided to use the little sheep template I designed last March for the carrycot quilt. I printed the sheep template and traced it onto Bondaweb, then ironed the pieces onto white and black fabric. The sheep is assembled by Bondaweb then stitching onto an 8cm square of fabric which I have trimmed with pinking shears. The ears are simply fixed with Bondaweb. I used satin stitch for the legs and feet, and a single Y stitch for the nose and mouth. To complete the sheep, I stuck on two wobbly eyes with fabric glue, though you could use little black beads. I then pinned a smaller square of quilt wadding to the back of the fabric square and cut another larger square of fabric approx 10.5 cm, and stitched the smaller square to it to make a mini quilt. I stitched round the outline of the sheep's body to give it a little more dimension. I then used double sided tape to fix the little quilt to the card then stitched round the edge of the larger square of fabric. I used A4 hammer white card folded in half, so there is plenty of room for the greeting as well. The card has a Happy Easter greeting cut on the Silhouette Cameo using the Ballpark font. Inside the card, I simply glued a square of pale patterned paper to cover the square of stitching. To make your own Easter sheep card, download the template in PDF or for electronic cutters from the Quilt page.

Happy Easter.




fox quilt block

ABC quilt update
I have now completed the next batch of blocks for the ABC quilt, running from Elephant up to Owl. I have not as yet quilted them, but they are pieced together and I have just embroidered a few eyes and noses where required. Next on the list is the panda, which is nearly finished, followed by Q, and in the end I have decided on Quack and am using a duck template. The templates are ready to download from the ABC quilt page here.


Little Village wallhanging

Last month I attended a great workshop by Angela Morris, where we made these gorgeous Village wallhangings. The final quilt measures 15 inch square plus a half inch border. It is made up of bondaweb backed fabrics cut into squares, oblongs and step shapes, layered onto a square of backing fabric then ironed. The next stage was to add smaller squares and oblongs for windows and doors, then some triangular roof shapes. I also added some bondaweb squares and ironed on silver hot foils for some of the windows. Once everything was ironed securely, we topped it with a layer of tulle and tacked it to a thin layer of wadding and a backing fabric, then stitched around all the shapes. The quilt was finished off with a border and hanging loops. I decided mine was going to be a Christmas wallhanging, so added some white felt letters hung on silver wire.

Village card in progress I had quite a few scraps of fabric left over, so used them to make Christmas cards. This time I simply ironed the little pieces of bondawebbed fabric onto a rectangle of backing fabric 3 in x 3.5 in, then topped it with tulle. I stitched round the edges of the rectangle and added star sequins. The fabric picture was then glued onto silver card, using fabric glue, and that was mounted onto a larger rectangle of dark blue card. I think the cards look really cute, and it is a great way of using up scraps of fabric. And no two pictures are the same ! The picture on the left shows the little shapes ironed onto the backing, before adding the tulle and stars. The picture on the right is one of the completed cards.

Village card in progress

Alphabet quilt apple

It's been a busy summer here. We celebrated our daughter's wedding in late June, and had a fabulous day. After all those weeks of preparation, making the invitations, the Order of Service, painting and glittering flowerpots and table numbers, and not least, making all the sugarcraft roses for the wedding cake and 150 cupcakes, it was good to get away for a quiet few days in Pembroke. The sun even shone a few times.

I'm making an Alphabet quilt for my grandson, ready for when he moves from a cot to a bed. The quilt is made up of 28 nine inch blocks and a six inch border all round. Each block has a six inch square with the main picture, and two 3 inch wide strips with the initial letter and the word it refers to. The templates for the first four squares, Apple, Boat, Cow and Dog, are ready to download here on the ABC quilt page. I will upload another batch of templates in October.
So far I have simply ironed on the applique shapes using bondaweb. I will stitch the shapes once the quilt top is assembled and the quilt layers tacked together.

Apple GSD file
and Studio file
and as a PDF for cutting by hand.

Alphabet quilt boat

The Hobbit quilt block

Christmas scrapbook
80th birthday card
Teddy quilt
April template

To find out more about my books and crafts,
and contact details, please visit my online bookshop
Beanpole Books

Updated November 2015 All website images and content
© Karen Lowe 2011,2012,2013,2014,2015