We've had a couple of requests for Spoonflower gift credits, so I've put Paypal's gift certificate feature to use here. If people like this idea, we will make a more concerted effort to make sure everyone knows about it. Please email us if you have questions.
Gift the gift of creative possibility: Buy a Spoonflower gift certificate with welcome pack!
There sure are a lot of you out there doing some amazing design work! Even a quick glance at our Flickr pool will prove my point. But we’ve had a rash of questions lately about how a fabric design novice goes about creating an image to print. Stephen posted about this early on in the life of Spoonflower, but I thought I’d post about this again for all you new users.
Though I’ve mentioned Julia Rothman’s repeat pattern tutorial on design*sponge before, it’s worth posting here again because it’s a very low-tech, approachable way to work up a seamlessly repeating design. All’s you need are paper, drawing or painting materials, scissors, and tape! Oh, and a scanner. But the important point is that you don’t need Photoshop or Illustrator to create a repeating pattern. If our own scanner didn’t currently lack a power cord, I would show you all a repeating pattern that I myself designed. This method works great, and if I can do it, I assure you that anyone can!
For those of you who would like to try composing images on your computer, you may want to take a first stab at this with ArtRage before investing in one of the more sophisticated design programs. ArtRage offers a free, limited version of its painting program, but at $25 for the full-scale program, it’s very affordable and easy to use. This program contains painting and drawing tools as well as rulers and stencils, including the ability to create your own stencils.
If manipulating photographs is more what you have in mind but you don’t actually own Photoshop, you can download a free 30-day trial of this super-sophisticated photo manipulation and design program. There are a zillion fun tutorials out there that will teach you what to do with your photos if you want more than just a simple photograph on fabric. You can turn your photos into line drawings (perhaps to embroider over?) or Andy Warhol-esque popart prints for framing, or you can cut and paste elements of photos onto new canvases to create repeating patterns. I have an antique Dresden plate quilt made of hundreds of different scraps, one of which is a dog’s head repeated on a white and green polka dot background. It cracks me up every time I spot it. While it was obviously designed in the days before Photoshop, it would be so easy to make something similar and equally hilarious.
So there are some ideas for you design beginners out there. For those of you who are more adept at design, feel free to chime in with some other easy ideas here. If there are enough of them, I can post about those, too!
Thanks to Danielle's work, we now have an updated set of Adobe color swatches, along with a printable color guide that you can order for a nominal $1.
These are the sorts of things that are useful to designer types who are already pretty proficient with digital design. Over the next couple of days I'm also going to start posting a few tips for non-Photoshop types.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I intend to spend tonight glued to the sofa, watching the election results unfold. A hand-sewing project comes in awfully handy at times like these, doesn’t it? Here you can see the progress I’ve made so far on the quilt/wall hanging I posted about awhile back, starting with the help of some good friends on our annual beach trip. It’s coming along much slower than if I’d decided to piece it by machine, but I’m really enjoying the slow pace and the portability. Especially tonight, as I’m going to need something to keep me from biting my nails down any further!
The internet feels like a ghost town this Halloween afternoon. Get it? Ghost town? On Halloween? I’m cracking myself up here…
I’m guessing everyone’s finishing up costumes or putting the final touches on their Halloween lawn art or maybe laughing it up with co-workers at office parties or what-have-you. When y’all are done with Halloween this weekend, though, do check out the premier issue of the new sewing magazine, Stitch. Put out by the folks at Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors, but with a much more modern feel, this issue is billed as a "sewing magazine for the 21st century." If the incredible asymmetrically-folded skirt on the front cover is any indication, that’s just right. The best part is that the patterns for this skirt and two other lovelies are included in the magazine as well, with two others available as free downloads here. (And I promise that their kind write-up of Spoonflower had nothing to do with the making of this blog post!)
Thanks to my good friend, Kat, now a contributing blogger for my local fabulous quilt store’s blog for the tip. Now I wonder if I could squeeze one of those skirts in for myself before the real holiday gift sewing begins in earnest….
The other day I posted about the Fresh:chiyogami pool of free-to-use designs and perhaps was unclear that they could indeed be printed on fabric as long as you weren’t intending to use said fabric to craft items for sale to others. If you go this route, be sure to get in touch with the individual designers for complete details about what things are permitted in using their designs. I hope that’s a little clearer. I’m bad about thinking I’ve communicated all relevant details when in fact, the conversation I had or the blog post I wrote was mostly in my head. Just ask Stephen. Sigh.
I’ll be clearer about Patternhead, though. Patternhead is a website that offers repeating patterns for sale to print on fabric. I say "for sale," but in fact what’s for sale is a license to use the pattern–you won’t own it exclusively. These designs are not free but at $5 per pattern they’re pretty close. (That’s $5 for personal use only. It’s $125 per pattern if you need an extended use license that allows you to print the pattern for resale items.)
When you purchase a license to use a Patternhead design, you’ll receive a link to a file–in both jpeg and EPS format–that you can download, unzip, and print. Stephen printed up a pretty zinnia design yesterday to test out the shift from their CYMK image to LAB color. That’s their image on the left and the printed fabric on the right. We thought it looked pretty nice!
Do you ever waste large chunks of time searching for web pages where you just know you read about something or other? And you never find the original thing you were looking for, but you find something equally cool? I do the time-wasting part all the time, but don’t always luck out stumbling across something else. That’s because usually one of the little girls wakes from her nap and my computer time is over for the day. Today, though, an extra-long nap yielded me Nerdcereal’s plaid maker tool. I’ll admit that it’s a bit geeky for someone with my level of Photoshop experience. Which is to say, someone who is just finishing up her last class at the local art center and whose free month trial version expired last week. But this stuff is still fun to play with.
Turns out the original tartan generator I was looking for is here, though I can’t seem to find who among you originally posted about it. But how about a stripe generator? There sure are a lot of ways to fritter away precious naptime on the internet…
I’m knocking out some easy little library book tote bags for the girls today. They’re very fast and, since they include some of PataPri’s lively animal screen-printed linen, are very cute, if I do say so myself. I feel like a lot of the sewing I’ve done since my daughter count has increased in the last year has been on projects I knew I could get done quickly. With literally only a few minutes snatched from the chaos of every day to sew, I need the gratification of actually finishing something within a reasonable time frame. Enter tote bags, cloth napkins, baby blankets, and the occasional small handbag.
Tomorrow, though, I’m heading to the NC State Fair where I’ll get to ogle hand-stitched quilts, intricately smocked christening gowns, and fancy prom dresses that their makers took weeks, if not months, to make. I love the sewing exhibits at our state fair. The fabric choices aren’t always the ones I might have made, but you won’t find a single whipped up or thrown together project among the many submissions. I always walk away feeling humbled by the knowledge that I have a long way to go to improve my sewing skills. Fortunately, I love sewing anyway, whether or not anyone would give me any blue ribbons. (And I assure you, they wouldn’t!)
The baby was eating dirt from a houseplant, my older daughter was suffering through studying for a math test all on her own, and our 3-year old watched an episode–okay, maybe two episodes–of "Curious George" this afternoon because I was completely unable to tear myself away from browsing through the fresh chiyogami Flickr pool. Oh my! There are some seriously talented designers out there to be stumbled across!
I was especially intrigued to note that only designs "free to use" are allowed in this pool, though it’s true that they’re intended to be shared for printing on paper. Click through this lovely group of images to get the specifics on permission to use each design–some have a link to a creative commons license in the right side bar–and for contact information for individual designers.