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.
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.