Monday, March 21, 2016

The Joy of Printing

This is a humble view of maker-inner-peace. 

It is brought to you by a move to a half house in which Mr. True Love and I rent several rooms of delicious empty space in an adorable old country house and the culmination of much research and invaluable advice and support of online designer/maker friends who have been trying to help me figure out the best way to bring pre-printed embroidery fabric panels and kits to my shop.

The original plan was to hire out to print on fabric because I simply did not have even a tiny bit more space for setting up a printer at home which happens to be one of the methods I explain for transferring my PDF patterns onto fabric when you buy my patterns. We have been living in shares and caretaking situations with just a bedroom for us and our stuff for five years.

But, oh! oh! Lookit! Lookit me now! I have a table and a workcounter and, of course, all this floor to work on. And so the printer became a reality, the freezer paper was purchased, and it's all Let The Games Begin in my house.

As long as we're on the subject of printing PDF patterns onto fabric, I'll let you in one some tests I did and what I liked best.

First things first: wash the fabric or not? I used a lovely white homespun cotton I bought at Caloundra Sewing Centre. It's great for embroidery with a nice even weave but a natural linen-like quality. The piece on the left was washed and then ironed and on the right, the piece was just sprayed with a bit of filtered water and ironed. But the washed piece came out a bit more relaxed than I preferred for a hoop art piece.

Why wash it at all? Some blogs report sizing can interfere with printing. I did not find that to be true but the cotton I used didn't seem to have much if any sizing in it anyway. I found that both pieces printed well, but the one I washed also absorbed the ink a bit more and the lines were thicker. Not a desired outcome. I want to be able to cover those lines easily with my embroidery floss.

But the end result is pretty awesome. I can print fabric panels ready to go in the hoop.

Last discovery of the day. I am playing around with an abstract roses geometric I wanted to stitch up.

Problem? My settings for the new printer defaulted to print at 97% instead of 100% so this pattern did not print to fill the 6 inch hoop to the edges as intended. Still I'm stitching it up as a sample because I love the black on the natural calico/muslin fabric and I don't like to waste stuff. You can see this fabric is also washed and the cotton relaxes on the surface. This is natural and can only be seen when looking really closely.

I love working on these designs. I have a strong affinity for art deco and arts and crafts movement styles as well as early 20th century folk Scandinavian design. And the Big Eyes paintings of the 1960s. Okay, I like a lot of stuff you could cram between 1890 and 1975. 

No matter where and no matter when, there's no place like home when you're fortunate enough to have one. I am grateful to be settling in.


  1. Are your kits going to use this fabric? I don't think I would like it as it couldnt be washed after stitching if needed. Otherwise its all great!

    1. Hi, Linda. Yes, this fabric can be washed. It is an embroidery cotton fabric. And pilling was not the right word and I will correct that. ALL cotton fabrics relax when washed. And most people don't machine wash hand embroidered items which is how I had washed the fabric in question.

      Your question sparked me to do more testing on this fabric. Check out my next post which is coming by end of the day and includes another fabric test and care instructions for hand embroidered items. And thanks for your great question!

    2. I did some more testing and posted the results here:

      Bottom line is: this is a great fabric. I simply applied a method to it that no one would who was hand embroidering. Check out the article!