Sunday, May 11, 2014

Photograph Your Quilt & Print Out Variations

A couple of weeks back, I showed you a denim quilt I made by cutting wavy slices from jeans (tutorial here.) Here it is:
I liked it a lot, and it was even selected for a juried gallery show. This was so exciting that I started writing up directions more detailed than those in the original blog post. These days, I write my patterns mostly in CorelDRAW, a flexible and intuitive program for both graphics and text that I've been using for years and recommend highly. 

While placing the photos in CorelDRAW, I started playing around different arrangements and pieces. Here are some pages from this doodling

First, just thinking: 
Then: What if I arranged them like a window? And added some red patches? 
 Or, what about alternating circles with rectangles?
Skip ahead a few more experiments: What about rotating a slice 360 degrees, for a woven look? And then adding black rectangles shadowing one edge?
Whoa!!!! I was so enamored with that last design that I immediately printed it out onto photo fabric, backed it with white felt and white fabric, straight-stitched around all the edges, cut out the windows, and wound up with this very cool thing that can be dangled from a finger, if you're in that kind of a mood: 
Here it is against a flat black background: 
It measures about 7" x 7". Can you imagine if you had to piece this thing? 

If it didn't had windows, it could have been a very elaborate potholder. I quilted it with a simple straight stitch down the center both ways - just two perpendicular lines.  That added a dimensionality, begging to fold along the lines, maybe into a dish or a cootie catcher sculpture: 
Hmm, if I run wires through the back, or used moldable interfacing inside (like Inn-spire), I could fold each corner inward as much as I like, and have an interesting candy dish with holes in it, so that the candy ultimately drops through the dish to hide from people like me who don't need it. 

But never mind the practicality - talk about your shortcuts! Since virtually the invention of the home printer, quilters have printed out photos,words,  fabrics and even entire quilts (learn how from the awesome Gloria Hansen) onto fabric, but I'd never really gotten far beyond words and photos. I kinda had to do it to appreciate the miracle! 

It hit me full force that we can do hundreds of hours worth of piecing in the time it takes to play and print. What a great way to explore alternative arrangements for our quilts, not to mention fast, small, and impractical gifts such as wallhangings, potholders, and candy dishes with holes in them!

You can do this at home, too. If you don't have a good graphics program at home, you can simply take pictures of your finished quilt, print out several copies in various sizes, cut and paste pieces into something you like. Scan that and print the results onto fabric.  However you get there, I know you'll have a lot of fun with it!


  1. Very cool Cathy! I have recently done some work with printing photos and I will post them soon on my blog.
    stay tuned!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Daniela, can't wait to see what you make !

    2. really like the last pattern adaptation. makes a great wallhanging.

  2. Cathy! You are so clever! I love all the jean work!

  3. Glad you like it, Roberta. Now I'm making faux printed out jeans!


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