Sunday, January 12, 2014

I Believe In Snowmen

INGENIOUS? INSANE? LAZY? or a bit of all 3?
Here's the story...
Just started working on my I Believe In Snowmen quilt, designed by Bunny Hill Designs. It's a redwork quilt, but I'm trying hard this year to use of some of this fabric stash that I have. There is a piece of Thimbleberries winter style fabric that I've had for at least ten years...and I love it. So, I reworked the idea of the quilt and am using that. I'll post more on this later on as I get a section complete...but today, I wanted to share with you how I prepared my linen for the embroidery work. Yes, I'm using linen instead of just quilters cotton for the embroidery blocks...mostly because I had about seven yards of this oatmeal colored linen...and it matches perfectly with the Thimbleberries fabric.
If you go to the Bunny Hill Designs link above and check out the'd see that it is full of embroidery blocks. And these are about six inch a lot of tracing. 
My time is precious, and I was not looking forward to tracing all of those, instead...I printed them on the printer. (well, technically...I put the pattern page on the glass and hit the COPY, really I copied them instead of printing them...but, you get the idea.)
First, I prepared my linen by washing, ironing, and starching. Then I cut a piece of freezer paper (waxed paper used to wrap meat at the butchers)...and ironed it with the wax side against the linen. The paper and fabric was about 10 x 12 at this point.
Then, I trimmed the newly created linen/paper piece to exactly 8.5 x 11.0 inches since that's what my printer likes to take.
I fed this into the single-feed area of my printer. (NOTE: My printer like the paper to be face-up for the linen is on top. Some printers like this to be if you try this...mark a piece of fabric...then feed it in (remember the way you face the marked side) and copy something...when done, look to see what side of the paper the copy image was put it the marked side or the other side? This will let you know how to feed your fabric/paper piece.)
Now, here's where it gets scary...the blocks printed (this one is now in my hoop ready to stitch). Of course, there is a lot of other information of the pattern page that I didn't need...but, I'm okay with the waste of that bit of linen. I only wanted the center image with the embroidery on it. BUT, I was mortified when I saw that the linen had also picked up a shadow image. You can see that at the bottom of the hoop above. This occurred I think because the image was on the DRUM when it turned the first time and it kept printing. My laser printer is at least fifteen years old...although the drum is only about a year old. Your print might or might not do this...and mine didn't do it on the snowflake block as you can see from the first photo above.
But, all is well...because I stitched one snowman block...and soaked it for about 15 minutes in dish-washing detergent after a quick little scrub of Borax washing powder too. Rinsed...and all of the printer powder came out. Whew! (Laser printer use a dry powder...not sure if this will be true if you use an ink-jet printer because the liquid might be more easily absorbed by your fabric.)
Then, I designed some snowflakes to add to the pattern...and since I was creating them for printing...I could make the ink color dark gray...instead of black. These printed and did not have any shadowing (see first photo), this technique saved me hours and hours of bending over my light table and tracing...but if I was limited in my amount of linen I would have stopped after seeing the first "shadow print" as that was scary!
It was worth my time to continue and hope that the extra image washed out...and it did. So, use caution...but this might be worth you time to test out on your printer...and see if it washes out.
I'd test each fabric before doing this...but, I'll certainly consider it if I have some fabric to waste in the test. Thought you might think it worth your time too.


Denise :) said...

Hey Kathy! I regularly print designs on fabric through my HP 8500 series ink jet printer. It does *great*! I typically sent the graphic to single color, light gray. Just enough so I can see it, but that it's not in your face. I've used several different fabrics, too -- never had a single problem! :)

Wendy said...

Kathy, this is a great idea...I have a laser jet as well and never thought you could run cloth through for embroidery on it...thanks for the idea...

margaret said...

I had no idea that you could do this with freezer paper, have ideas now of using old photos and somehow getting them onto fabric, mine is a ink jet printer and I am not sure if it will take something as thick as parer with fabric attached but no harm in trying. thanks for the good tutorial on how to do ut