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. 🙂

Into Twilight

Are you familiar with this whole Twilight phenomenon? It’s possibly a little wacky if you’re not into the books (or the movie and it’s upcoming sequels) but fans come in all ages — and include me. And a few of my friends.

I needed a break from some other things on which I was working, so I dusted off the Yudu and made a couple of tees to surprise a friend. I was a little afraid that they wouldn’t turn out, since I haven’t done too much with the screenprinter and my results have been inconsistent.

Luckily, the lapse in use didn’t erase everything I’d learned and I actually pulled these two shirts with minimal gnashing of teeth and sweating the details. Whew!

They’ve made their way to their new home and I can’t wait to see them modeled. Of course, I may still need to make one for little ol’ me …

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

Do Yudu? I Do … Sort Of

Before I bought my Yudu, I did a Google search to see if I could find any real-person reviews. The one I read said she’d had the Yudu for about two months (had received it to review) before she opened the box. “That’s crazy!” I said. “How could you leave it sitting in the box for two months?”

Let me tell you how: By not being able to commit to a design to try when you finally do open the box.

Yes, I bought a Yudu. In fact, I bought a Yudu shortly after I posted about wanting one. And it sat. In the box. For about two months. I might have commitment issues.

Can you blame me, though? It can get expensive to mess up screens and emulsions and shirts. To whit: The Wall of Shame:

In my defense, I went straight from the box to the Quick-Start Guide as I was experimenting. Maybe not the best way to go about it, but I’m a hands-on kinda learner. As you can see, I was doing a lot of learning. Or trying to. *sigh*

I think most people will probably get much better results, particularly if they watch the demos or do a little reading before getting started. Why I thought it would be a great idea to try a design with such small details on it is beyond me.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad. By the next afternoon, I had a better idea of how to resolve some of the issues I was having. And I ended up with a pretty cute shirt to show for it. It’s not perfect … but neither am I.

Can I Yudu?

I know that I babble on and on about sewing, but there’s a reason why this blog is called “Confessions of a Craft Addict” and not “Confessions of a Fabric Addict.”

To whit: YUDU.

I have been salivating over this product since I heard about, so when I saw it on a little Yudu island at Joann‘s on Friday, I did a little happy dance in the aisle, then ran over and hugged the box. Fortunately, my sons’ coworkers all know me and can t least feign amusement at my often kooky antics.

“Can’t you hear it? It wants to go home with me,” I asked some frightened looking passerby.

Aforementioned son pointed out that I already own the basics for screenprinting, so I really don’t need to drop $300+ on a fancy-schmancy home screenprinting unit. I, of course, disowned him on the spot. OK, not really. But I did remind him about all the pointless electronic crap he owns and that he does not have to pay rent or utilities plus gets to eat all of my food and take 40-minute showers on a daily basis.


I need this totally awesome toy cool crafty necessity so I can explore a brand-new area of crafting aka screenprinting. Think of all the cool things I could do with it: posters, gifts, special event tees. The possibilities are limitless.

Sadly, I’ve spent two months justifying to Honey buying all kinds of furniture for my sewing studio, so the odds of him giving a thumbs up to buying a Yudu are roughly equal to The Beatles playing at my next birthday party.

Hmmmm. Birthday. I think I know what just shot to the top of my wish list.