Turtle Tee

Another week, another Spoonflower design contest.  This one is in partnership with the publishers of the series of books called One-Yard Wonders — sewing books with projects you can make with one yard of fabric.  They’re putting together a new book aimed at projects to make for children.  The contest was to design a girl’s tee shirt with the theme “Under the Sea”, and the winning design will be in the new book.  The pattern for the tee shirt was provided.

With Under the Sea as the theme, I immediately though about doing a version of a Hawaiian shirt, using the turtles that I’ve used in a quilt design and in a chevron pattern for another contest. Continue reading

Watercolor Coneflowers

Watercolor Coneflowers is my quilt for the Fall 2012 Blogger’s Quilt Festival.  It’s a small art quilt that I’ve been working on to donate to the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (which has already raised over $773,000 to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and fund research).  Both of my parents suffered from Alzheimer’s, and you can read more about why I support AAQI here. Continue reading

Pointy Pink Plaid and Illustrator CS6’s New Pattern Function

I’ve been learning to use Adobe Illustrator to create repeating designs for fabric (here’s an example, and another one).  There’s a new version of Illustrator (CS6) which has a new feature allowing you to easily create repeat patterns.  I’ve been wanting to try it, and as luck would have it, Spoonflower.com announced a contest to create an Arrow-themed fabric design using the new version of Illustrator.  Perfect excuse to try it out, and I learned some important things about how the pattern function works in Illustrator.  (You can see my final design here and vote for your favorites in the contest here.) Continue reading

Variations on a Fabric

A while ago, Spoonflower had a contest to create a Hawaiian ‘cheater’ quilt design, and I wrote about my design here and about the wall quilt I made from the fabric here.

Here’s the original design, using the turtles and flowers of Kauai.
Continue reading

Painted Daisies, Take 2

I played around some more with my Painted Daisies design, done for the Fabric8 Contest at Spoonflower.  Here was the previous version.

While I like the colors, the design seems boring.  I decided to try adding lots more layers of daisies to fill in all the spaces.  I made this first attempt by duplicating the layer and moving it–just to see if the idea might work. Continue reading

Painted Daisies, Take 1

Another week, another fabric design challenge…  Spoonflower and Robert Kaufman Fabrics are sponsoring the Fabric8 contest.  The challenge is to create a modern fabric design that evokes the style of pen & ink drawings colored with watercolor paints.  This isn’t my usual style, so I thought it would be a good challenge to tackle to stretch myself.

When I think of modern fabrics, I think of bright colors and bold styles–again, not exactly what I’d picture for pen and ink drawings colored with watercolors.  So, anyway, here’s my interpretation of the theme. Continue reading

My Early Experiments with On-Demand Fabric Printing

I started making my own fabric designs in 2009, partly because I discovered a company (Spoonflower) that would take your digital image and print it on fabric.  Prior to that time, I’d done some printing on fabric using my own ink jet printer.  However, I never got results that I was satisfied with when printing on fabric.  I had color-calibrated my computer monitor, and when I printed on good quality ink-jet paper the results were fine, but I could never get that to translate to good colors on the fabric.  Combined with the potential for the inkjet prints to fade over time, and the high cost of ink, using the inkjet printer wasn’t a good option for me.

I decided to give one of the print-on-demand services a try.  I thought I’d make a quilt for my nephew using a few photos he’d taken – photos of dramatic clouds, a close-up shot of a rusty grill, and a photo of a leaf.

I made various kaleidoscopic images using Photoshop and a free plug-in (available here).  I then laid out all these kaleidoscopic images into one file that corresponded to one yard of fabric (i.e. 42 inches wide by 36 inches long).  I uploaded the file to Spoonflower and waited for my fabric.  It was really exciting when the fabric arrived—there’s something very cool about seeing a yard of your own fabric design.  I had rushed through the design part in my impatience to get the fabric, so not all the squares are the same size and not all are exactly square, but I loved the fabric and I was hooked.  This picture shows the yard of fabric, and you can view the resulting quilt here.

With all the fun I had making kaleidoscopes from photos, I designed another yard of fabric, this time with 132 different 2.5 inch square kaleidoscopes, made using flower photos I’d taken.  From this fabric, I’ve made a few small quilts for the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative, and you can see a couple of them here or here.  Following this, I designed another yard of fabric with kaleidoscopic images — this time based on photos of Chicago architecture I took while on a river cruise (you can see one of the Chicago quilts here), and then another yard using photos of a lake and lily pads.  I still have quite a few of these squares left 😉

For holiday gifts a year ago, I printed some photos on fabric, using Spoonflower, and made one small whole cloth quilt (here) and a couple small quilts where I fused the photo onto a larger piece of fabric (here and here).

This photo compares the same image printed 3 different ways — on the left is the image printed with an ink jet printer on glossy photo paper; in the middle is the Spoonflower fabric sample; on the right is the image printed with the ink jet printer onto fabric.  Each of these samples is 2.5 inches square.  Compared to the print on photo paper, the Spoonflower swatch has colors which are fairly true and the detail is quite crisp.  The swatch printed with the ink jet on fabric has colors which are quite washed out.  This comparison shows why I’m hooked on printing fabrics using Spoonflower.

Note:  while I only have experience with Spoonflower, there are other on-demand printing services, including Fabric On Demand, Karma Kraft and Eye Candey.