I was the victim of a stupid sewing accident last night. I was working on this dress out of the Stylish Dress Book, a Japanese pattern book I bought recently from Pomadour, and just realizing I'd made a mistake. As I wondered to myself whether I might pick up sewing Japanese as fast as I once learned kitchen Spanish in my professional baking days, I stepped backward, tripped over a corner of a rug, and fell hard. One crushed antique market basket, a banged head, two scraped forearms, and a bloody cut back later...well, I think I'll give my sewing room a little breather today. Who knew sewing could be so hazardous?
Perhaps working up some new designs would be a little easier on my body? Or better yet, since my computer time is likely to be limited by kidnicks today, perhaps I should work on downloading this free design from Petchy to print up. Read here about Petchy's fledgling plan to offer designs for purchase that you can upload and print with Spoonflower. I've got to hand it to you all out there for constantly coming up with surprising new things to do with our site! And now to go download those pretty trees...
We're all taking a much needed break this weekend after a very busy week spent moving furniture, packing fabric orders, and just generally trying to get our bearings in the new space. I was lazing about online yesterday and ran across Wordle.net, courtesy of Suzanne at Mimilou. Here's a Spoonflower "word cloud" I made by pasting in a bit of text from our about page.
Since designer Jonathan Feinberg permits any images you create to be used however you wish, it's not a stretch to imagine that you could design some wordy fabric this way. Perhaps kitchen towels with cooking related words? A framed piece of word art for a kid's room? Bet y'all will think of something interesting!
I find myself in a position all of a sudden to be exposed to a whole lotta great design. And lucky for me, I don't have to spend hours trawling the internet tracking it down. Instead, it gets uploaded to Spoonflower or to our Flickr pool . Then, quite a lot of it also comes right into my house through the front door! I don't think I've been quite able to express to you all how much this aspect of Spoonflower thrills me. It is SO exciting.
Some of my favorite designs lately come from Kayanna Nelson, posting as juneprints on Flickr. She also sells gocco prints through her Etsy shop, junecraft. She's just one more reason I don't need to bother trying to come up with great designs on my own. Knowing there are that many talented people out there makes me want to relax and just keep watching the printer!
A quick post from Topsail Island, NC here. I just wanted to thank all of you who submitted holiday themed designs for the upcoming CraftStylish piece on Spoonflower (including Cynthia Frenette of Hula-la.com, designer of the sample left). Today was the deadline for submissions, so we are no longer accepting any more. We'll be letting you all know if your designs are chosen and will link to the piece here. Thanks again!
For those of you asking for further clarification on exactly which holidays were being referenced in yesterday's post calling for "holiday-themed" designs I have asked for clarification from our contact person at Taunton Press and have so far received none. Lest I forget completely during the packing of 3 girl children for a beach trip tomorrow, I just wanted to say I had tried to do something to get more information for you. I think it's safe to assume that the winter holidays are what they're asking for--Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah. With--let's be honest here--probably a heavy emphasis on Christmas. I'll keep y'all posted if I hear otherwise from the CraftStylish powers that be.
In other news, Stephen and I were up 'til 1:00 a.m. last night, packing up your many, many orders for shipment today. (You people have been busy doing some fabric designing, huh?) We would've been up way later if we had not also had the help of our mailing guru friend, Paul. Thanks so much, Paul! Truly, you rock!
Lastly, but not leastly, I just wanted to point out some very inspiring craftiness going on. You may have seen this in our Flickr pool but just in case you haven't, check out Rebecca's Miss Sunshine doll. I've seen a few large scale figure designs coming through and wondered if they were destined for stuffing. Please let us know if you, too, have any projects underway (or completed!) using Spoonflower fabric. We start to get kinda fond of your printed designs, you see, and it's nice to know how they fare after they leave us!
Calling all crafters and fabric designers! We've just had a request from Taunton Press' new publication CraftStylish for some holiday-themed fabric designs that they can use in a Spoonflower mention in their upcoming holiday decorating issue. If you're interested in submitting something for possible inclusion, you can either upload it to our Flickr pool or email it directly to me. (Either way, please include a note indicating that your design is intended for this use.) If your design is chosen, CraftStylish will be printing it to be photographed, and we'll be sure you get proper credit for your work. The deadline for submission to us is this Monday, 6/23. Oh, and a word of caution--designs using very saturated reds could end up with the reds looking a touch washed out. Happy designing!
We've gotten a few concerned emails this week from some of you asking whether your designs are protected from being seen and used by the rest of the world. The answer is yes, any designs you upload to Spoonflower are currently viewable only by us employees who would never dream of doing anything sinister with them (however much we might like to make a cute summer skirt out of a certain adorable house print...). They are your designs and we have zero claim on them whatsoever.
That said, in our excitement at showing the world some of these wonderful designs, it's finally occurred to us that showing your fabrics in our weekly recorded fabric displays might be something that some of you might want NOT to happen. You may have noticed that the resolution in our little movies is pretty low, and the sole intent is to make up for the (temporary!) lack of Spoonflower galleries just now. But if you want us to exclude your prints from our video round-up, please drop me an email at email@example.com and I'll be more than happy to leave yours out.
I've just gotta say here how excited I am about my new Spoonflower job. I had a half-formed mental picture of what it might look like, but I don't think I was prepared for how incredibly cool it is to see people's fabric designs printed up and in a big stack in my own house. It's like going to a new fabric store with designs you've never seen before! Really, that almost NO ONE has seen before. So cool. One thing I wasn't expecting was how much being printed on fabric really warms up a design. It might look digital on the Flickr site, but in real life, on cotton, all the designs looked warm and organic.
Stephen's working on a little video to be posted soon of some of these fabrics before we wrap 'em up and ship 'em out to their rightful owners. I can't wait for the next round!
We're shipping the first round of real orders this week and the batch we printed included Kim's first computer design using the (free) ArtRage download suggested by Meggiecat. It came out well, don't you think?
What a weekend! If it wasn't apparent from his many posts about the site, Stephen spent pretty much the whole weekend sitting in front of a computer. For my part, I'm helping with idiot-proofing. I'm positive that I'm the most tech-UNsavvy person helping start an internet company there is.
That said, though, I'm a fast learner. I'm getting the hang of trying to "draw" on a computer and managed to produce a little floral design that Stephen says got printed today. It ain't fabulous, but it's mine! I'm looking forward to seeing a fat quarter of my design when Stephen gets home this evening. I forgot to set my resolution to 150 dsi and have no idea how pixels translate into inches--though I told Stephen a conversion chart might be a handy feature for us non-techy types--so it should be interesting...
Thanks, Rebecca, for the link to a great tutorial on how to make repeat patterns. Written by guest blogger Julia Rothman for design sponge, this could be the perfect one-stop lesson on how to tile a design so that you don't end up with bizarre, empty seam lines on your custom printed fabric.
Now, if only I could draw like Julia Rothman...
I got my copy of Lotta Jandsdotter's Lotta Prints in the mail yesterday and I'm so inspired now! I already had a copy of her Simple Sewing in my possession and, while it is an equally lovely, approachable book, I was deep in the throes of projects from Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing at the time and didn't want to switch inspiration just then. Lotta Prints, though! It's one of those must.do.this.now kind of books. Her instructions are crystal clear and the photos taken by her best friend, Jenny Hallengren, show the connection between Lotta's designs and what she sees around her. I've already run out to buy several bottles of fabric paint and some cheap stencil brushes to work on some stencil designs (hopefully!) this afternoon. Or maybe some potato prints with the girls...
I really don't know if my liking for fabric designs that don't look "digital"--while still being digitally printed--is more because I do not myself know how to maneuver in Photoshop and the like, or if I am just genuinely drawn to designs that look...well, drawn. One way or another, I sure like these little pillows from Jamtartbaby. I keep wondering how I can inspire my daughters to work up their own fabric designs to print on Spoonflower once we're live, and simple designs like these might be something they could appreciate and relate to.
I was feeling a bit groggy this morning after a night alone caring for our three daughters. (Stephen's gone fishing with friends this weekend.) But I got a nice little jolt of excitement along with my Earl Grey when I stumbled on PataPri. A resident of Chicago by way of Japan, Yuko Uemura has just recently begun selling her own fabric designs in honor of her shop's one-year anniversary. Her fruit, animal, and other nature-inspired designs are silk-screened onto 100% linen and are fresh and simple in colors like aqua, orange, olive, and gold. You can buy these little treasures for projects of your own--Yuko generously allows others to sell items made from her fabrics--or you can purchase her tea towels, accent pillow covers, and tablecloths. Get the yardage while it lasts! According to her blog, these fabrics will only be available for a limited time.
Last week we had our first chance to mess about with a printer and one of the designs uploaded to our Spoonflower Flickr pool (an Indian maid created by okiegirl97). I've photographed the swatches we printed and added those photos to the pool as well, although it's hard to tell much from a photo like this one. As soon as we can, we'll print more swatches and send them out.
So I have to admit here that I'm not the most tech savvy girl around. As a sewist--not to be confused with a sewer, right?--I love the idea of designing my own fabric but am intimidated by the prospect of learning my way around Photoshop and Illustrator software. This is why I was intrigued when Marcy at Oonaballoona sent me a photo and told me about her method of creating the fabric she wanted. Here is her canvas, along with an explanation of her process:
The canvas (which is huge... 5 by 5 feet) had been painted over many, many times in a vain attempt to come up with something I liked. My husband liked the 10th attempt so much he wouldn't let me paint over it, but as I couldn't stand to look at it, I decided covering it in fabric would keep us both happy. I actually wanted a specific piece of Ikea fabric with a sort of organic cityscape on it, but when I got there I found it had been discontinued. I couldn't find another ready made scene that I liked, so I decided to create my own. I picked a few patterns I liked (one form Ikea, one from Urban Outfitters) dug through the scrap bin and came up with my treehouse scene. I started by putting the background together, then did a freehand of the birds & branches on velvet & leather. I quilted the freehand shapes onto the background with my trusty featherweight 221 (handled the entire job with just a regular foot, LOVE that machine), and with my heavy duty staple gun secured it to the canvas.
Marcy says she'd like to do more of these and condense them down into a smaller repeating pattern--with copyright-free background fabrics, of course!
About 6 months ago or so, I had the privilege of attending a lecture given by Kaffe Fassett, sponsored by our wonderful local quilt shop, Thimble Pleasures. I remember a lot of gorgeous slides of some of his quilts and knitting projects, and I also remember a question someone asked from the audience. The question was, "Where do you find inspiration?" He sort of chuckled and said, "Everywhere! Just look around you at all the color combinations that pop up in the world!" (I'm paraphrasing here.) To illustrate his point, his next slide was of an enormous pile of colored grain sacks at a railroad depot in Portugal (or some random place like that). They were all chalky pinks, reds, blues, greens, and yellows--a really beautiful pile of just grain sacks!
So sort of in the same spirit, I recommend taking a look at the little floral vignettes that illustrator and children's author, Jeremy Tankard has his little animal guys living among. I can't stop looking at them in my copy of Grumpy Bird. And imagining how I might take pencil and watercolors to paper and try something similar applied to cotton one of these days....
I've been stewing for the past week about fabric design, as in how the heck do I come up with my own? I definitely know what I like, but there are just so many ways to go when I consider the prospect of making up something from scratch. I have a good friend who's been running a vintage thrift shop here in Chapel Hill, Time After TIme, for the last 30 years. When I told her about Spoonflower, she told me about a customer of hers, a fabric designer, who used to come in every few months or so to buy up enormous stacks of '30's era print dresses. The condition of the dress didn't matter--holes, tears, and armpit stains were all fine. This customer was buying them to copy their prints. Huh. Research on the whole issue of vintage print copyright has led me to understand that this is a pretty common practice. Amy Butler did it, right?
I do love me some vintage prints and, as friend to someone who can give me access to LOTS of them, I could have all the inspiration I needed pretty easily. But is this a legitimate thing to do? I still can't decide...
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