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. I have now completed a quilt based on my 100 favourite novels, a Bookshelf quilt of eighteen blocks. To see the finished quilt, 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. Please visit the Books page for more information, and to read the opening chapters.
My Quilt Detective series introduces textile 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. The stories combine patchwork and quilting with murder mystery and include templates for crafts and applique. More information here on the Books page. The third book is finally progressing.




3 ships card

After a busy autumn, the postal strikes prompted me to get on with making my textile cards for the family. Above is the 'Three Ships' card which combines silver card galleons cut on the Silhouette Cameo, on a textile sea. There is a covering of blue net to hold the pieces in place. I hope to do more work next year combining paper craft and textiles.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy and creative New Year.


garden textile picture

Summer is always a busy time with local art exhibitions. The season started with the Open Art competition at MOMA Machynlleth. This year the theme was Home, and my textile piece, above, is based on our garden. I was thrilled to have it selected for the exhibition which runs until 7 September. Following on, and still in a garden theme, I painted two views of our favourite garden locally, Wollaton Old Hall. These were for the Shropshire Art Society exhibition which has now just closed, but I was very pleased to have sold my painting of 'Arles Rooftops'.


Roses at Wollaton Old Hall garden Wollaton Old Hall porch


Secret Garden

The next exhibition is the Open Arts competition at the Qube, Oswestry and runs from 21 July to 12 September. I was very pleased to have my 'Secret Garden' cut paper piece accepted for this. Some of the shapes were designed and cut on the Sihouette Cameo, and the simpler shapes were cut by hand from paper printed with text from the story. Frances Hodgson Burnett's book has always been a favourite of mine and of course features in my Bookshelf quilt.

Finally, the Church Stretton Arts Festival 2022 is fast approaching, and I have three paintings destined to be exhibited there, two of them featuring local gardens, at Hodnet Hall and The Dingle in Welshpool. The exhibition will be held this year in St Lawrence's Primary School, from 26 July to 6 August.


Bookshelf quilt

Since New Year I have been trying to catch up and complete some UFOs, and finally finished my Bookshelf quilt, pictured above. Click here to see the shelves with my choice of books set out in eighteen blocks. I did cheat a little. It was intended to be my favourite 100 books, all with face on pictures, but I quickly realised just how huge that was going to be so I decided to make one face on book per block and the rest would be spines. It was difficult sticking to a limit of 100 and a lot of my choices, especially in crime fiction, are for a whole series where it was impossible to pick out one favourite. The final selection totals about 350 books.

Aside from the Bookshelf quilt I have been busy crocheting soft toys and a jumper but hope to get back to painting now the weather is a little warmer and the days are lighter. The new Quilt Detective story is at last taking shape so I am aiming to finish it by the summer.


hare card winter fields card

Happy New Year. Not sure what happened to last year, it seemed to disappear rather quickly. During the pandemic I have done quite a few workshops online, and my Christmas card of a hare is based on a course I did with Jo Hill. Her design was for a cushion sized hare, so I had to simplify it quite a bit for a small card. I also made some Winter Fields cards, from a real live workshop with Deborah Collum. Her book of stitched pictures based on her lockdown walks around her neighbouring countryside was really inspiring, and has the added advantage that you can use up lots of those very small bits and pieces of fabric and trims that you can't bear to throw away. My Bookshelf quilt is almost finished so I will be adding some pictures soon. For this year I have a mariners compass quilt planned and of course lots of birthday and easter cards to do. Hopefully all those workshops last year will continue to inspire me. I feel I learned a lot but now need to put it into practice. Happy crafting.




Easter card

Hopefully we will all be out and about enjoying the Spring weather before too long. I made a batch of Easter cards, adapted from the Winter Wonderland workshop I did with Angie Hughes. Now I need to catch up on the birthday cards for the family. We have quite a clutch coming up in March and April.


Tuscan door embroidery

A little taste of summer sunshine. I joined Abigail Mill's online workshop on landscapes and had a go at making this image. I used Inktense pencils to make more shadows and patches on the stucco. Most of the picture is free machine embroidered, but I have used some hand embroidery for the flowers, and added some leaves stitched on water soluble film.


Snowdrops at Attingham 2021

A new year, new challenges, even if we haven't quite finished with the old challenges yet. I love starting a new diary though. All that potential. This year I am planning a new quilt, using a Mariners Compass pattern, and aim to complete my Bookshelf quilt. I am also replanning the next Quilt Detective novel, which has been on my To Do list for too long. I hope you still have plenty to occupy yourself and are enjoying your crafting. Not long till the snowdrops emerge to cheer us all up.


Some of my recent paintings are now on view in the Ludlow Art Society virtual exhibition 2021
and the snowdrops are just opening at Attingham.

Happy New Year




Jo Hill festive wreath

A busy month making textile cards from the lovely online workshops I did with Jo Hill on flowers and grasses. Above is the little festive wreath card I made, four inches square. I did Angie Hughes Zoom workshop, Winter Wonderland, and produced about a dozen cards. It was great combining hand and machine stitch, using all sorts of hoarded bits and pieces, and ironing angelina for the Christmas tree shapes. Every card is different, a part of the wider Winter landscape. See image below for one of them.

It will certainly be a strange Christmas, unlike any other I've known. I hope you keep safe and well, and look forward to hopefully a better and brighter New Year.

Merry Christmas

Winter Wonderland from Angie Hughes class

Kilpeck church door Christmas cottage card

Dark days, and with little to do in the garden now, I have had all the more time for sewing and painting. I joined a super Zoom workshop with Wendy Dolan on architecture in stitch. Above left is my version of the beautiful door of Kilpeck church. I did learn a lot from the day. I have also been busy with some Christmas projects. I made two Christmas tree skirts in a Dresden plate pattern, using up scraps of past years' Christmas fabrics, and finished two advent calendars for the grandchildren, with felt finger puppets in some of the pockets, as a change from all that chocolate, below right. I have also been cutting out some silhouettes to make window features come December. Above right is my first Christmas card this year, a stitched collage using a template I made a couple of years ago as a gingerbread cottage. I love the red and white Scandi style.

Still enjoying all the tuition from Norfolk Painting School. This month I finished a view of Whitby in the style of Percy Kelly. I now need to go back through my photos and see what else I have that I can paint in a similar style as I really enjoyed this. It brought back many happy memories of visiting that area. Maybe next year we will get to go back.

Whitby in the style of Percy Kelly Advent calendar

fungi card chocolates card

It's been a busy month so far for sewing. I have been making birthday cards and started on some Christmas projects. The fungi card, above, is made with scraps of silk stitched for leaves and silk and cotton fungi. The second card was inspired by the box of chocolates I was given. Made me hungry, working on that.
Having painted a study of Mondrian's Red Tree at Evening last month, I couldn't wait to have a go at stitching a version. Below is my attempt, using red silk stitched on a blue batik background, with scraps of silk for fallen leaves and bark detail.

I now have two Advent calendars to start work on, for the grandchildren, and will post pictures as soon as they are done.

Mondrian red tree study in stitch

cathedral windows quilt

Thanks to lockdown, I have now had time to finish the king size Cathedral Windows quilt I started in March, pictured above. Not only that, but I have also made a seaside themed quilt for the narrow single bed in the caravan, pictured below. I have also been busy painting along with Norfolk Painting School's excellent Studio Talk demonstrations every week. It has been great studying painters I might not have come across before, like Mondrian's earlier paintings before the colour blocks, and the beautiful garden paintings by Sorolla.

Another good thing about lockdown is it has given me time to rethink my Books quilt as progress had stalled. At last year's Festival of Quilts I fell in love with a couple of bookshelf quilts and this has led to a new design limiting the number of face on books to about twenty, with the rest being spine on and the titles and authors hand stitched. There will be eighteen blocks in total, and 109 books featured. For an update on my progress, click here.

Here's hoping for a gentle Autumn, with plenty of stitching and painting as the evenings draw in.

Seaside quilt

Cake card

I hope you are surviving lockdown so far, and managing to enjoy your arts and crafts. I have been busy sewing my cathedral windows quilt, as well as making family birthday and anniversary cards. Above is one of the cake cards and below, one of the scrappy heart cards I made for wedding anniversaries. These are a great way of using up snippets of fabric, ribbon and lace. I cut a square of white cotton as a base, then bondawebbed it. I then covered it with a collage of scraps and ironed these on before cutting out the heart shape. The heart was then stitched and beads added before zigzag stitching it onto the hessian with a thin insert of wadding to give it a little more shape.

One good thing about lockdown is it has given me more thinking time. I have now reworked my ideas for the 100 Books quilt. Of the 100 pictures I was going to design I had only completed sixteen before the project stalled. Now I have decided to make it a bookshelf quilt with only twenty face on books and the rest will be spines with book titles and small images. Unfortunately the total of my favourite books has now grown to about 112, so I am adding another shelf, but this time I will leave a few spare spines so I can add the next books I fall in love with. For an update on my progress, click here.

Take care, keep safe and keep on being creative.

heart card

Cathedral windows

So who could have guessed the dire straits we now all find ourselves in. Sad to say the wonderful Shropshire Art Society exhibition planned for Wem Town Hall gallery in April has had to be cancelled. Still, I have plenty of time now for all things creative, and a chance to get to grips with the garden. I have made a start on a new quilt using a form of Cathedral windows. It's nice to have some hand sewing to do that I can pick up when I have a spare few minutes. Our oil portraits class with Aberystwyth Uni lifelong learning is shortly coming to an end. Think I've had enough of self portraits. I'm fed up of looking at myself in a mirror.

Stay safe and well, and keep on being creative.


Happy New Year

Happy New Year. It's great to look ahead to a whole new year of crafts and creating. Now that my City & Guilds course is completed, I hope to get back to my Favourite Books quilt, as well as starting some new projects, and of course completing the third novel in the Quilt Detective series.

So far this year I have been practising Free Machine Quilting and am enjoying a course run by Cecilia Slinn as well as getting to grips with painting oil portraits as part of Aberystwyth University's Lifelong Learning programme. In April we will be setting up a new Spring exhibition with Shropshire Art Society, at Wem Town Hall, which I am looking forward to. We are including some of the beautiful crafts our members have made, as well as paintings in a wide variety of media: watercolours, pastels, acrylics and oils, as well as linocuts and greeting cards. It should make for a colourful and interesting exhibition.

Unfortunately I didn't have chance to upload my cutting template for my Christmas cards. I picked up the cold that was doing the rounds, so everything was delayed. Below is the image for the card, and the template link, ready for next time.

Hare and woods card

Silhouette Studio cutting file
Alphabet quilt boat

The Hobbit quilt block

Christmas scrapbook
My books MY BOOKS
Teddy quilt
Geese at Brockton Barn

To find out more about my books please visit my books page.

Updated January 2021 All website images and content
© Karen Lowe 2011 to 2022