Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Self-Printed Quilt Labels

Here's a quick tutorial for printing quilt labels with an ink jet printer at home with regular fabric.  I fall back on this approach when I don't have any commercial printer ready fabric or when I want to use quilt fabric.  I think I learned how to do this from Caryl Bryer Fallert many years ago in a fabric printing workshop she taught for my shop.

It's simple but there are a few tricks for success.

This weekend, I finished the twelfth block for my version of Pamala Jo Designs Whirly Weeds 2023 Sewalong and I have a vision for a wallhanging but I want to label all the plants featured on the blocks.

I want them to be printed legibly on fabric that blends with the background prints and the easiest way to do that is create a Word document that I can print directly onto fabric.  I love having all those fonts to choose from and I can play around with the font size!
As you'll see, you can play around with ink color, too!
  The document is the easy part!  

To prepare the fabric, I use spray starch or Best Press to stabilize it - this helps keep it flat in the printer and helps keep the printer ink from bleeding out.  Then iron two layers of freezer paper to the back side of the fabric using a warm iron.
If you've never used freezer paper as a quilting tool, the shiny waxy side will fuse to fabric temporarily with an iron set on warm (too hot doesn't work).  There are lots of YouTube videos on using freezer paper for applique if you google it. 
   Each piece was about 9" by 11 1/2" and after fusing the paper in place, I trimmed the fabric/freezer paper layered pieces to a perfect 8 1/2" by 11", the size of a standard  sheet of paper.

I do a test print on paper to evaluate the size and spacing of my text.
Once I'm happy with the test print, I load the freezer backed fabric into my printer.  I had some trouble getting the printer to recognize the fabric as a sheet of paper and so went into "properties" and changed the paper setting to "thick paper".
My first attempt was a "fail" because I only used one piece of freezer paper -- must use two layers of paper and be sure to have a good bond between the fabric and the paper.
Once I added a second layer of freezer paper and changed the paper setting to "thick", it took less than 5 minutes to print out the three pages for my plant labels.

After letting the sheets set for a bit, I peel off the freezer paper and heat set the printing a couple times with my iron on the cotton setting.
I did use the bottom half of the messed up piece to make a label for my recently finished Homage to Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.
Lemons into lemonade!!
I framed the quilt label with 1 1/2" wide strips of fabric from the quilt, pressed the raw edges under and appliqued it to the back of my finished quilt!
So efficient!?!
More about those plant labels in a future post!!
Let me know if you try this and how it works for you!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

May is all about BIRDS

And native wildflowers, too.  

If you didn't already know, I've been a bit of a nature nerd since grade school -- love birding, seeking out new native plants, learning about insects.  That makes May a busy month for me because everything outside is waking up for the summer months.  So much to see and do!?!

For example, look at this little orchid -- just 6" tall??  It's a showy orchis -- I've read about them, but just saw my first one this past weekend!

I've been stitching along steadily all month but can't settle at my computer long enough to write a blogpost and I'm not sure I have anything to share except to brag a bit about stitching accomplishments?!?

I've stayed caught up with stitching the Whirly Weeds blocks from Pamalama Jo Designs -- major accomplishment since I don't enjoy machine applique -- these are the last three I've done and there is just one more to do this week. 

 I like the blocks and have this (awesome) idea in my head about the setting but I'm not sure I'll be able to get the idea out of my head and onto the design wall??
I knit this cute little pair of shorty socks with ruffled cuffs -- not sure if I'll keep them or gift them?
A quilting friend (very kindly) pointed out a new BOM from Celeste at Meerkat Shweshwe African Prints -- definitely not too late to join in the fun!!  Only six months long and each month features one block to be made six times.  I'm totally copying Celeste's color scheme because I am too tired (from birding) to think.
I'm still on track with the Flourishes BOM that has been ageing in my stash for 3 decades.  I am rediscovering an enjoyment of hand applique.
Each month, when I finish the Flourishes block, I work on making a couple more blocks for an EPP quilt from Australian design company, Rachaeldaisy Designs -- it's called Hextravaganza
My version won't be as "carefree" but I'm having fun pulling out piles of fabric and organizing interesting combinations!
My goal is twelve blocks with an emphasis on "using up stash"!!

  There has been a little machine quilting -- and as I write this, I'm remembering that there are two small quilts up in the studio -- quilting is finished, binding is ready.
I need a rainy day!?!
And of course, I have to hang out with the "littles"!  They will be four years old in a couple weeks!?!   (and I'll be older, too??)
When they were here on Mother's Day to help their Dad install a new bush for me, one of the butterflies I overwintered as chrysalis emerged -- oh my, were we all excited!!
It was a female spicebush swallowtail and we were so excited that a picture was not possible.  Since then three more have emerged including this male black swallowtail.
One of my "written down" goals this month was to get a few quilts listed for sale on ETSY -- it's so hard for me to let go of my makes but they do need to be thinned out a bit.  So if you've always wanted to own one of my pieces -- here is your chance!!

Time for 30 minutes weeding in the front flower bed!!