Time Flies....

...when you are having fun... or anxiously anticipating a large sewing machine... or the start of a new school year which will mean that you can't use said sewing machine very often... It kind of sucks. In the past few weeks I have been hard at work on various endeavors. I have done a bit of sewing and a lot of drawing and painting. More recently I have taken my creativity to a new medium: the digital one! I started digitizing hand drawn designs with the intent of printing the designs on fabric through the website/company Spoonflower. If you have yet to discover Spoonflower you should boogie on over there right now! Actually, finish reading the post then check it out! It has been such a fun experiment. The results of which will be apparent here in the next few weeks... but I will get to that later.

      So yeah, fabric design is fun! And time consuming! I started out by scanning in some of the water color exercises I had done through on online class. Nothing special but they looked kind of nice.

After playing with Gimp (free photoshop: its awesome!) for a little while I got a bit ambitious and tried to put these already existing designs into a seamless repeat. That took a lot of playing... and swearing... and undoing but I think I got the hang of it! This is the first on that I was able to manipulate.

 After playing with the files I figured I should probably actually order some of the fabric.

The colors turn out a bit weird in the picture but they aren't bad on the fabric. I also made the mistake of ordering the cheapest type of fabric available and it really falls flat compared to the Kona that is only a few dollars more expensive. The awesome Doctor Who toile is not my design but I just couldn't resist. 

After having a bit of success with my first attempts at fabric design I decided to delve a bit deeper and started doing more computer manipulation and editing. I started out by creating a repeat by hand using a pen, 4 index cards and some tape. I then scanned it and printed a few copies to see how the design would actually look in repeat.

I then uploaded the image into inkscape (free illustrator: also awesome!) and traced all of my lines using the bezier curve tool. It took hours. I am not exaggerating. It was not entirely fun but I feel like it really helped me learn how to use the program. I ended up with a design that I could then play with by adding a background color. 

Or coloring in different parts. 

This experiment gave me the inspiration, confidence and ideas to start on a much bigger project and so I decided to enter the Fabric8 design contest! The theme for this year is "botanical notebook" so I started sketching. For some mysterious reason all I wanted to draw was food (If you knew me in person you would already know that I have a profoundly deep love of food that goes way beyond normal affinity. My husband finds it amusing...). I found my theme and had fun with it drawing all sorts of  fruit and vegetables while adding a little bit of commentary in with my labels. I was so into this project that I bought myself one of those fancy drawing tables. 

I love it!

I was able to draw, digitize and color in all of the components in several weeks and the results look something like this:

After putting it all together I realized that I had a very obvious repeat which made it look super blocky and that drove me insane. I set to work breaking apart all of the files I had created into individual fruits/veggies/etc. I was annoyed that I hadn't thought to do it at the beginning but now its done so that's that. 

Besides that I am really very pleased with it. It took a lot of work but it was also a lot of fun. I might be a bit sad if it doesn't make it into the finals but I will get over it. I still need to order some for myself! Maybe I will do that today....

Since completing that monstrosity (the repeat is 12"x24") I have played with several other designs and flushed out what could be considered a line of fabric I loving named Butterfly Bouquet.

It used some of the designs that I originally started experimenting with and is a combination of watercolor paintings and digital designs. I have no idea what I am going to with my swatches yet... I should probably figure something out.... If I get it done I could even bring it to the guild next week!

I also drew out and printed a feather FQ design. I thought that people might be interested in using it as a template for free motion quilting. I think it looks awesome so I want to create a continuous repeat of feather just for fun. 

A friend suggested that it might be fun to color in or decorate. I think that might happen with this guy...

I guess I have been fairly busy with this endeavor. It has filled up my summer nearly to the brim. As for my longarm... I think I am getting close! Its hard to contain my excitement. I still have a bit of work to do to prep my room but I don't think finding the motivation to do that will be an issue ;)

Oh! one last thing! I recently heard about this wonderful things called Sit Spots! There is a giveaway going on and I would love to win! They would me endlessly useful in my classroom! 

Until next time!


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