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 am now reworking on a quilt based on my 100 favourite novels, which will be a Bookshelf quilt of eighteen blocks. 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. The stories combine patchwork and quilting with murder mystery and include templates for crafts and applique. The third book in the series is now slowly evolving.




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. I will be posting pictures in early 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



Knot Garden cushion

A busy summer trying to complete my City & Guilds course before the September deadline. I am pleased to say I managed to finish both the Knot Garden cushion, above, and the Seaside Quilt, below, on time. Lots of curved piecing in both items, which I enjoy, and lots of wavy lines free machine embroidered, as well as bubbles and fishes. I have felt a bit lost since the three year project went away for assessment, but with Christmas looming, I hope to get started on some textile cards as well as a few bits and pieces for the tree.

This Autumn and Winter I will be back on a pastels course, something I haven’t done for quite some time, so that should be enjoyable. I have also been trying out some designs for the new Quilt Detective novel, which I hope to start sewing soon. The completed pattern will then be available to download once the book is finished. It should be interesting.

I will be uploading some templates of the Christmas crafts I am planning, hopefully early enough in November to get them finished in time for Christmas.

Seaside Quilt


Princess and the Pea bag

For Module 9 of my City & Guilds course I needed to make an accessory, and chose to make a bag, based on the Princess and the Pea fairy story. Above and below are pictures of the finished bag, back and front. As well as the bag, the course asked us to make a variety of buttons, including covered buttons and Dorset buttons, as well as painted clay buttons. I used up quite a few boring buttons from my tin, giving them a new lease of life with a fabric cover and making a backing for them as a version of Singleton buttons.

As part of Shropshire Art Society’s permanent exhibition, We currently have our paintings on show in St Marys church, Shrewsbury, until 21 June. After that I have two paintings go into the Art Society Summer Exhibition, though I still have to put the finishing touches to the second painting, Lunch in Lucca. Once the paintings are finished, I need to get back to my sewing and make a start on the knot garden cushion I have designed for Module 10. I hope the curved piecing won’t be too much of a challenge.

Princess and the Pea bag


Textile gingerbread house Textile gingerbread house

At last I have finished Module 8 of my City & Guilds course, and completed the textile box, above, which I had hoped to have ready for Christmas. Where did the time go? I also managed to make the little Tomte applique as a bottle bag, below. The hessian was a challenge to sew, though.

I will make a start on Module 9 in February. It is promising to be an interesting one, making buttons and fancy cords and tassels. I also have to make a bag, which hopefully will not take as long as the gingerbread house did. For this I have drawn a design based on the Princess and the Pea fairytale.

Wishing you a healthy and craft-filled 2019.

Tomte bottlebag

2018 2017 2016
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