Tag Archives: Spoonflower

Slow Motion Finish

Finally it’s done, I thought as I sewed the hanging sleeve on “Shattered” yesterday. Unlike most of my work, this piece has been a multi-year effort. I wrote about its genesis from a photo of a broken mirror earlier (here and here.) To recap, I had Spoonflower print fabric from my photo in 2019, did the initial composition in 2020, solidified the design in early 2021, and quilted the piece in June and July of 2021.

Usually it wouldn’t take me four weeks to quilt a small (roughly 2 by 3 feet) piece, but problems with my neck have limited my sewing machine time. Like Nora Ephron “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” In my case though the bad feeling is from pain, not vanity.

“Shattered” 22 inches by 38.5 inches

The materials I used besides the printed photo include hand dyed cotton and damask, silver lame, and novelty yarn.

You’d think I would choose to go light on the quilting. Hah!


I did walking foot and free motion quilting using six different threads, including metallic, which was a pain as usual. The edges are faced, but I tried sewing 1/8 inch grosgrain ribbon along the raw edges before adding the facings. It’s a technique for stabilizing edges I read about in a Jean Wells’ book. It seems to reduce waviness, but the true test will be on a larger quilt.


I’m relieved to have it done and be able to move on to a new project. At this point I can’t tell how I feel about it beyond relief since I’ve been so close to it for four weeks. I should reach a better assessment after I’ve ignored it for a few months.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Fabric Printing

My Spoonflower Addiction

As digital fabric printing becomes more prevalent, fabric users have even more choices for printing their own without resorting to the vagaries of their home printers. The latest SAQA Journal has a good comparison by the Pixeladies of fabric printing services. In the future I may try some of the services reviewed, but for now I’m sticking with Spoonflower as I know their interface and have been satisfied with their work. And it doesn’t hurt that they’ve been running 20% off sales.

I’ve turned to photos printed on fabric as a way to continue creating now that intense piecing is literally painful for me. I aspire to create work like the one below, but I’ve a ways to go.

“Union Station” Jill Kerttula

Jill Kerttula uses fabric printed photographs as a starting point for her work. Her blog entry about “6 of Chaos”shows her process. You can see more of her work on her website.

From my latest fabric order I created “Corrugated,” which uses four fat quarters of Photoshop edited versions of a photo my friend Penny took. I’ve inset narrow strips of varying widths to spice up the palette.

“Corrugated” detail

I don’t know if I’ll add more embellishment or quilt it as is. Any opinions are welcome.

Inspiration for how to deal with another fabric from the same order has been slow in coming. This is another photo from Penny that I played with in Photoshop. I want to emphasize the gritty textures, and may add some of the fabric I painted for my Tansy Hargan class.

Just in case you wondered, I’ve never had any flower photos printed for me, though I’ve used photos of trees.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Everything Else, Fabric Printing, In Process

Mail Call

The pandemic has heightened my anticipation of mail. No more store browsing for me. I dash in, list in hand, and grab what I need. It reminds me of the name of a South Dakota convenience store I once passed, the Whoa ‘n Go.

The internet is all well and good for classes, resources, and keeping in touch, but I miss actually handling items. So, I look forward to brown paper packages wrapped up in string, or the modern equivalent of them. Recently I’ve received two packages that made their way to me in spite of USPS difficulties. (Three day delivery is a fantasy right now.)

First, my blogging friend Ann Scott raffled off four fabric artist postcards, and I was the lucky winner. Ann created the cards as part of the postcard class she teaches. You can follow her blog and her YouTube channel.

Second, Spoonflower ran a 50% off fat quarters sale and since I am unable to pass up a sale I had to have several of my Photoshop edited pictures printed. The price worked out to about $5 each. Most are on cotton, and I may cut them up or use them whole.

A barrel used as an outdoor fireplace
A peeling barn door in Pennsylvania
Weird microscopic thing, color totally changed
Dried reeds with several color filters
Winter sunrise through a screen

I had more printed which I’m not showing as I don’t want to give you any more reason to question whether my sanity has been affected by our current situation. Well, of course it has, but as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, who cares?


Filed under Commentary, Fabric Printing

I Can’t Resist A Sale

When I saw Spoonflower had their new signature petal fabric yardage on sale I knew it was time to print some of my photo-shopped inspiration pix. After some time trying various layouts available, I settled on the following:

Before, a footbridge over the Cuyahoga River:


Before, a shattered mirror backstage:


Before, a garden shed made of recycled soda bottles:


Before, construction materials:


How is the new fabric? It’s better than Spoonflower’s basic cotton and certainly equal to their Kona cotton option. As always, printing leaves the fabric stiff even after washing. If that bothers you, then this process isn’t for you.

No, I have no idea how I’ll use my new fabric, but it’s fun to consider the possibilities.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays, a bit late.


Filed under Fabric Printing

If The Shoe Fits

For a few months in 2018 I photographed shoes on people’s feet at rest and in motion. Why shoes? One of my volunteer jobs requires me to spend time in a theater lobby, and sometimes I have nothing immediate to do. I began to observe the groups in the lobby and became interested in what they did with their feet. I used my phone to take photos and a series was born.

Theater lobby

I also took photos of people waiting in lines at an art exhibit and generally hanging around. Since I had so many shoe photos I stopped, and concentrated on digitally reworking some of the photos, using what skills I remembered from my PhotoShop Elements class.

After a deep dive into PhotoShop’s effects and filters and a frustrating time sizing the edited photos for printing, I had a bunch printed off by Spoonflower in an eight by eight inch format. I used a bulk test print format Spoonflower offers. The results were a bit mixed. I should have standardized my photos more. But I had enough to combine into a quilt.

Pointilized sneakers before resizing

The next step was to devise a layout with the 8 inch squares. I sure wasn’t going to cut them up. After several days and reworkings I settled on one. Then, in a moment of genius or severe derangement, I decided to do the squares as three separate panels held together with laced up grommet tape.

Through Etsy I found Lace and Trims, which provided a reasonably priced product and speedy shipping. While I waited I quilted my panels in a simple diagonal pattern. Then, I sewed strips of the grommet tape to the panel sides and bottoms. It was tricky to avoid the grommets, yet sew on the tape. Looking back, I should have paid more attention to the width of the tape and the spacing of the grommets.

After the tape was on, I sewed a hanging sleeve across the tops of the panels (the only point at which the panels are sewn to each other) and turned under that edge. I will hand sew the sleeve’s bottom edge, along with bits I couldn’t machine sew because of the grommets. One broken sewing machine needle was enough.

Now I’m lacing up the grommet tape with various cordings and need to decide whether to try a single color or a mix. Right now I lean toward red cord for the contrast.

Black cord on left, silver in middle, red on right

I never realized there are so many ways to lace shoes. Check out some of the possibilities here.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under In Process, Techniques

Playing With Spoonflower

One of the reasons I took all those photos in 2017 was to build up a stock of images I could manipulate and print out on fabric. I got an early start in December when I succumbed to a special offer from Spoonflower and tried out their fill-a-yard offering.

Last summer I got carried away and took lots of German expressionist shots of our newly painted deck.

I downloaded them to my Spoonflower account and started playing with different arrangements. You can arrange your image to print several ways: just by itself, in rows, in what’s called half brick staggered rows, and in mirror image. You can also change the colors in your photo (both the number of colors and hues) and do some editing of your photo via PicMonkey. So, prepare to waste spend lots of time jiggering with your images before you even decide on a layout.

For my order I decided to use the fill-a-yard option to print half yards of four photos, two per yard. I chose cotton sateen because I love its silky hand. Yes, it costs more ($27/yard) than basic cotton or Kona but it’s wider (56 inches) and hey, I’m worth it.  You do get a bit of a discount if you’re the fabric designer.

I had Spoonflower print two of the deck photos, plus a shot of icicles on my neighbor’s downspout and a sun print I had made. My slightly manipulated photos are below. I changed them even more in Spoonflower.

For all of them I chose the mirror image layout as I love the kaleidoscope effects that can give. Did I mention you should set aside large amounts of time to play with all the possibilities?

It took 12 days from Spoonflower’s acknowledgement of my order to shipping, then a few more days for my order to arrive. You can speed up an order a bit by paying more for shipping, but don’t expect to get your finished fabric a day or so after ordering it.

How did my fabric look? (Please ignore the wrinkles)



I’ve washed and ironed my fabrics per Spoonflower’s recommendation. The color catcher I put in the wash showed almost no bleeding, despite the dark colors.

There are other fabric printing options available in addition to Spoonflower. Check out this article by the Pixeladies for their review of three services.



Filed under Fabric Printing

I’m A Fabric Designer

As promised, I want to talk about my Spoonflower printed fabric order. The biggest piece I ordered I can’t show as it’s a surprise. I can tell you that it was printed on very white Kona cotton, unlike the greige base color of the samples I ordered.

First, Spoonflower gets the power of presentation. My order arrived promptly and was packaged like this.

Spoonflower order

The color card is actually printed on basic cotton. Now all I have to do is figure out how to use it.

Spoonflower color card

The yard printed on Kona had a slight stiffness before I washed it. After I washed and dried it the surface still had a slight stickiness. When I ironed it, I found some of the color transferred to my iron. A more careful reading of laundry instructions revealed I was supposed to iron it on the wrong side.

I ordered four 8 by 8 inch sample swatches to test my designs and the fabrics available.  The first one is printed on the basic cotton. The second one is printed on cotton poplin. My lesson learned here (and elsewhere) is to do a better job of editing my photos before sending them in. Of course the sample size means that any design repeats don’t show.

The basic cotton is just that. The Kona is heavier and thicker. The poplin is closely woven, but doesn’t offer any advantage that I could see for quilting.

Spoonflower basic cotton

Basic cotton

Spoonflower poplin

Cotton poplin

The next sample was printed on linen/cotton, and is my favorite. The fabric has a nice heft and would be good for bags, home dec, etc.

Spoonflower cotton linen blend

Cotton linen

Finally, I had a sample printed on silk crepe to see how the printing process affected the hand of the cloth. The silk remained supple and soft, so it would be good for making scarves.

Spoonflower silk crepe

silk crepe

Spoonflower folded silk crepe

Now that I’ve dabbled a bit in DIY fabric printing, I’m eager to correct my mistakes – either use crystal clear photos or really blur them; and size my image better to get a larger image printed. I think I’ll be looking at more online videos.

If you’ve gone through this process I’d love to hear about your experiences. My best learning has always been through my peeps.



Filed under Fabric Printing

Technology To The Rescue?

My quilting has slowed to a crawl this past month due to my arm/hand issues. I’ve tried to experiment with alternative ways to work with fabric that don’t involve sewing. After some fabric painting and stamping (the fabric, not my feet) I got around to digital fabric creation.

Oh my, I think I’ve found my next time waster. I decided to create a special fabric for an upcoming occasion using Spoonflower. Two clicks and I saw my first design on the screen. I won’t show that one to you, as it’s a surprise, but I can show you other designs I developed.

Using either photos I’ve taken or scans of fabric I’ve made I came up with the following:

This winter’s amaryllis in a fat quarter size (mirror image).


A bug tunneled log, mirror image, fat quarter size.


My backlit string pieced top, arranged in tiles and then mirrored. The first image is fat quarter size; the second is a yard.



Then, I played with a piece of crinoline I had sewn tucks into and painted. The first image is the orginal, the second fat quarter size, and the third is a yard.




As you can see, I’m enamored of the mirror image effect. Remember making butterflies that way in school? You get different effects when you change the size of the fabric, which ranges from a small sample to a yard.

I haven’t ordered anything yet as I may want to edit my photos more before I have them printed. Change colors, fuzz out edges – whatever I can do with free editing software. But it’s all so much fun.


Filed under Fabric Printing, In Process, Techniques

Digital Fabric Printing

2015 may be the year digital fabric printing becomes huge in the quilting community. I’m basing this prediction on the increased availability of commercial and DIY digitally printed fabric.

I realize that quilters have been printing photos on fabric for a while, though I’ve seen the method used mostly for family photos. I confess that the results haven’t really wowed me, so I never attempted it. Besides, my home printer is temperamental, and I didn’t want to ruin the expensive specially treated sheets of fabric with malfunctioning color ink nozzles.

Of course the art quilt community took to digital printing on fabric a few years ago, to judge from entries at Quilt National.

A year or so ago I learned about Spoonflower, an online service that allows you to design and print your own yardage. You can also purchase yardage designed by others. This is a step up from 8.5 by 11 inch pieces of fabric.

Then, I found that fabric manufacturers are offering digitally printed yardage. Here’s a selection offered at eQuilter. Some of the fabrics could make me give up dyeing/painting my own.

For now, I have one digitally printed bit of fabric to play with. A photo taken by my brother was Photoshop enhanced by a fellow quilt guild member and printed on a June Tailor inkjet fabric sheet as part of a program on digital fabric printing. Here it’s resting on top of some hand dyed damask I thought of using with it.

photo on fabric

I’m getting glimmerings of possibilities here. A favorite piece of dyed or painted fabric could be replicated. That 1/4 yard of no longer available fabric needed to complete a quilt could be scanned and printed digitally. Piecing could be eliminated totally by creating a unique “cheater” panel. I may never have to piece again.




Filed under Commentary, Techniques