Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yes, I know it's not until tomorrow, but not only did my husband and I already exchanged our presents, the Valentine's-associated contest at Spoonflower ended today. Actually, the theme of the contest was Anti-Valentine's Day, and in addition had to be faux cross stitch.

I spotted some early entries, before I started mine, which were pretty impressive: one that fully embraced the cross stitch format, and one that brought candy hearts into the mix - and both exhibiting exhilarating levels of unromantic snark. So I decided to take a different strategy. Rather than say something negative about the usual sentiments of the holiday, I wanted to say something positive about something that was the opposite any those sentiments. I looked around for quotes about being by yourself, and at various vintage samplers (you should be able to pick out my reference material from here). And for the colors, I decided that the Synergy "serenity" colors, which I had previously used for my newborn dinos, would be a good fit both for the material on its own, and as a further contrast from traditional Valentine's pinks. So assembled into a panel and put in a simple repeat, it came together like this:

Companionable Solitude Motto

But then I started thinking about how you might actually use this fabric, and decided to make a format where you could actually use (almost) everything in a standard fat quarter. That size actually makes a good fit for a 16" square (as we learned with the Spring Cheater contest), so I decided to go for something that you could make into a front for a 16" throw pillow.

Companionable Solitude FQ Panel

I'm very happy with how this came out. I even took the time to turn some of the elements into their own repeats - and I could happily add more, given time. I got a respectable 117 votes, and just squeaked in to the top third in the rankings.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


This week's contest was one of those that requires a format, instead of themed content. In honor of the Chinese new year, we were asked to make red and white designs that looked like Chinese paper cutting. I decided to take a sly approach to it and made an arrangement of shapes that looked like the leftover snippets.

Papercut Leavings

I got quite a few nice comments appreciative of the humor, but it obviously has more of a niche appeal when there were so many ACTUAL nice paper cut-style designs.. It got 56 votes and came in 133 out of 218, so just a hair better than last week. My favorite entries were the garden birdsstylized zodiac animals, patterned hexagons, and teapots. I also really liked the guitar-shaped dragon panel. And for a more usable general fabric, the simple clouds are a nice idea.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Little houses, all in a row

The theme this week was the "Great Barrier Reef." I found it rather intimidating, since I could picture right off all these amazing, hyper-colorful underwater seascape prints, brimming with dozens of different life forms. I decided to focus on just the coral part of things - and doing it in a cutesey, anthropomorphic style. My take was to draw a little village of coral polyps, each in its own little "house" of calcified excretions. I looked around for color inspiration and found this:

Color by COLOURlovers

I originally wanted it to be a little more organic - not so geometric of a layout, and each house is slightly different - but that was giving me fits so I stuck with one "style" of house in a regular hex layout. It's hard to see at this scale, but each little roof has a thatch texture and the walls have a brick texture.

Happy Calcareous Village of Coral Polyps

This came in 148 out of 228, with 49 votes. There actually weren't any fabrics that went as all-out as I had imagined (how much easier it is to imagine those kinds of illustrations than bring them to life!), but this one in graphic style one probably got the closest. I also liked this one in an indigo/gold color scheme, and this assortment of corals and sea plants. For more subtle entries, I liked the brain coral texture, tonal sea plants, and super-simplified fish.