Inside the Field Guide

I recently made some time to sit down with Kim Kight’s A Field Guide to Fabric Design. I’ve enjoyed reading Kim’s blog, True Up, and love getting the chance to hang out with her at Quilt Market. But I wasn’t sure her book was really for me. After all, I’m definitely more of a writer than an artist.

Let me tell you something: I was wrong.

Kim’s definitely written a book for anyone who aspires to design fabric, whether for a manufacturer or just themselves (either screenprinting or digitally through a service like Spoonflower). Even if that’s not your goal, however, there is gold in those pages for anyone who loves fabric, sewing, embroidery or designing.

At the point that I curled up with the Field Guide, I was in the midst of helping my friend Meredith with her World Cosplay Summit costume. It’s an amazing outfit with tons of embroidery and embellishments. When my embroidery machine decided to go on strike, Meredith decided to change gears on one piece of her costume and opted to embellish the dozen or so tabbards with some screenprinting.

Now, while I have owned a Yudu screenprinting unit for some time, I don’t use it that often and certainly not for anything as elaborate as Mer had in mind. I’d been trying to work through it in my head when, lo and behold, I found exactly the tips I needed in the Field Guide. Kim’s tips on repeats and creating them while screenprinting made our work infinitely easier. It’s easy to see how I can apply the same concepts to other things like embroidering designs along a hem or creating backgrounds for mixed-media pieces. I’m definitely glad I gave it a chance.

Disclosure: A Field Guide to Fabric Design is published by Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing, which also published my book. The opinions expressed in this blog post are my own. I paid retail price for this book. 🙂

Yudu, Take Two

I wasn’t quite satisfied with my first attempts at using the Yudu, so I had to do a little reading and try again. Normally I’m not much of a second-chance kind of gal but given the cost and coolness factor of this thing, I figured I owed it to myself to try to make it work before ignoring it for another six months.

I’m happy to say that my research paid off and I’ve ended up with a much better product this time around. And while it’s still not perfect, it’s at least wearable outside of the house.

One thing I’m noticing as I go along is that the emulsion isn’t necessarily holding up to having the ink rinsed out after each use. (I’m using two screens to create a layered design on mulitple shirts.) I’ve started checking the screens before each use to see if new spots have appeared that will allow the ink to seep through in places I’d rather it not be. The careful application of pieces of packing tape seems to fix the problem but it’s getting pretty tedious to have to do it.

I picked up a couple of the Tulip t-shirt painting cardboards from Hobby Lobby to make it easier to swap out shirts, rather than have to wait for things to dry enough to reuse the same t-shirt platen over and over again. They’re only $1.50, which is much cheaper than the Yudu one (which, in its defense, is much nicer and sturdier).

I invested in the nicer “pro” squeegee, which works a thousand times better than the squeegee that came in the box. Of course, it’s one more expense for an already pricy machine. I’m afraid to tally up what I’ve spent so far but it includes an extra screen, a two-pack of emulsion sheets, a five-pack of transparencies, a bottle of silver ink, a three-pack of bright inks plus the squeegee and the cardboard inserts. Fortunately, I picked up some tees on sale ($2 each), which is a little easier to stomach. I