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

10 responses to “Technology To The Rescue?

  1. Lovely fabrics, and I think you can sell your designs on Spoonflower. I used Spoonflower to print my custom labels and was pleased with the result.

    • Good to hear your positive comments about this service. I don’t know if anyone would want to buy my designs, but I’ll look into that possibility more once I firm up my order. What fabric did you choose for your labels?

      • I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was cotton muslin, chosen for its neutral appearance. I would choose a higher thread count fabric for a quilting cotton, I think. Shall I send you one of the labels to see in person?

      • You may have ordered the basic cotton fabric. I think I’d order at least Kona cotton, which is about $1-2 more per yard. Thanks for the offer, but I think I may order some $5 samples of my designs to see how they look before I take a major plunge.

  2. This is one of those things I have been meaning to get to, so I am happy to read about your experiences and those of your commenters. I have not let myself go there until I finish up other projects, but I think I will get lost there too once I go.

    • You can try out designs to your heart’s content once you register with the site, and not pay anything until you place an order. I know Jane Dunnewold uses this service a lot. I mention her as she’s a fellow Texan.

  3. Ann

    These are so cool and unique. The sewn and painted piece is really clever with such a great pattern repeat. This post is timely for me as I an working on a line (or several lines) of fabric and recently got two pieces back from Spoonflower. I was sorry I went for the least expensive 100%cotton (as I do plan on making items with them) and in the future will have the designs printed on Kona. Sounds like you already know that. I think exploration and learning are never a waste of time especially when you are trying to let your body heal.

    • Please let me know of any tips you have for working with digital fabric designs. I appreciate your tip about the grade of cotton fabric. I’ve looked into one other online digital fabric printing site, but found it more difficult to use than Spoonflower and less directed at fabric for quilting.

  4. Jane

    Oh, Joanna, this could be the start of a new obsession! Your designs are quite intriguing, and I just LOVE the bug tunneled log! I’m visualizing in different color ways. Over the past few years I’ve been watching the aging process of an old cherry stump next to a woods path where I walk the beagle. It still has some of the warm reddish-brown glow. Digital fabric could be a fun way to use one or more of the pictures I’ve taken. Thanks as always for the inspirations! (janeherbst at roadrunner dot com)

    • I love this way to design your own fabrics and use all those photos that family and friends thought were weird. And Spoonflower has several options for type of fabric to print on, from Kona cotton to performance synthetics. The price is higher than commercial quilting cottons, but equivalent to that of hand dyed cottons. I hope you try it out.

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