Repeating Patterns

On Saturday, the first of three fine weather days before our 70° Easter Sunday, I spent too much time in front of the computer – happy to be warm, sitting in a pool of sunshine, obsessively learning how to make a repeat pattern.

I had recently recommended Spoonflower to a friend. It’s a fabric (also wallpaper and decal) on-demand Website (I’d heard of it but not tried), and I got sidetracked big time in a wander through that looking glass.

All I could think, while watching the cherries and the wedding elephants I’d uploaded multiply instantly in brick or tile pattern on Spoonflower’s site – even appearing on a wall behind a table and chair – is that I would have died for this in my fabric screen-printing days. Now you can do anything with a few clicks!

Spoonflower offers software that’s easy to manipulate, no set up fees, and an eight-inch test patch for five dollars. It even includes access to PicMonkey, a “fearless photo embetterment” site that can crop or resize your image.

Spoonflower holds a weekly design challenge contest (last week was “Living in Jane Austen” and the fabrics are fun to see). This week’s challenge is to design a fabric featuring garden tools – that’s what set me off. I could imagine using the art from my garden journal, resizing and repositioning individual images to make a block to repeat – and also thinking with exitement of other possibilities from the archive – fabric with spring flowers, vegetables, shoes!

I did feel pangs of guilt, pushing those garden tools around with my mouse, thinking I should probably pick up a real trowel or weeding fork and go outside. But the excitement of challenge defeated guilt, and eventually I’d figured out the required “fat quarter” (a piece of fabric bigger than an ordinary quarter of a yard), and nervously posted “Garden Tools, Garden Pleasures!”

A detail:

And a miniature fat quarter: