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.
Thanks to the keen eye of our friend Kim at the fabulous new fabric blog True Up, you can admire some stunning pillows made from digitally printed fabric (available through the French company Bonjour Mon Coussin) while planning your own future projects using Spoonflower. Kim at True Up points out that it is a mistake to get too hung up on learning how to create repeats & use special software to design patterns. There are an infinite number of cool, uncomplicated projects you can concoct without knowing the first thing about Photoshop & its ilk.
While we’re on the subject of creating repeats, be sure to check out a-print-a-day, a blog a by Yasmine, a San Francisco designer who has set herself the challenge of “creating a surface print every day.”
Last but not least I am happy to report that the behind-the-scenes work on the beta version of Spoonflower is going swimmingly. Look for the excitement to begin sometime in early May, although at least some beta testers will be hearing from me before then. Thanks to all of you for the support and excitement you’ve shown so far, including the lovely folks at (the much admired) Wee Wonderfuls, who are welcome to “stalk” us anytime.
Kim Kight, the fabulous fabric blogger (flogger?) over at True Up ("All Fabric, All the Time"), gave Spoonflower a lovely and thoughtful shout-out today. She talks about the democratizing power of digital production technology, which represents many of same advances for textile design that it does for industries like book publishing, photography, music, and video. Apart from giving many, many more creative people access to the tools to realize their visions, a sometimes overlooked aspect of digital production is its lower environmental impact. This is especially true in the case of textile production, which in its conventional form is highly wasteful and highly polluting. But the most pleasing bit of the post was being compared to Etsy, a site that may actually be the best Internet business ever.
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.
Am I the last person in the crafting world to catch wind of this project?
Thanks to the folks at the Purl Bee for the tutorial on this one. I’ve been so bogged down lately in complicated projects for which I can’t seem to find the time that I kinda need some instant crafting gratification this week. There’s also a Flickr photo pool here if you want to view even more fabric loveliness.
Did you ever run across someone so talented that it boggles your mind to think they’re the same species as you? This is how I feel about Lynne and Melissa at Sugar City Journal. Check out this absolutely stunning little girl’s dress made out of turquoise linen. And then check out all the posts on their blog labeled sewing. Do you think if we all begged them long enough they would publish the patterns that they’re making up themselves?
I’m totally blown away.
…printing your own artfully designed fabric labels to go inside the gorgeous items you have made with your artfully designed custom fabric! You could size them however big or small you wanted, include washing instructions, a website address, anything! I’ll bet quite a few would fit onto a yard, and a rotary cutter would make short work of cutting them apart. How to finish edges, though–hmmm….
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!
And in Spoonflower news:
We ran our first sample fabric yesterday using a dear reader’s design. I’ll post photos soon. It looks fabulous. Over the next few weeks we’ll be running more samples, so if you have requests please email me.
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….