A New Class in August & A Look Back at the Spoonflower Handbook Master Class

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This is seriously the best class I have ever taken. Tons of great information presented clearly and enthusiastically. Inspiration everywhere from Becka, and Spoonflower!

It was one of the best classes I have ever taught and I wrote about it for the Spoonflower blog. It’s up today! I laughed at that photo because I look like I am wearing a Pen Tool Party Hat.

Also I am thrilled to announce the next Spoonflower Handbook Master Class in August 2016! You can read up on all the details here and registration opens tomorrow.


Find your sound.

Spoonflower posted this video today and I am re-posting it so I can find it again. It’s fun and I love the sneak peeks at all the little parts of the process of printing, cutting, shipping.

New Work: Shadows, Spoonflower & Davie




Digitally printed polyester pique.

I had the photo studio set up for another big project shoot, and I realized that I hadn’t had a chance to talk about this dress that I made this spring. The pattern is a modified version of the Davie dress by Sewaholic. I love the way this one fits and I have made several versions of it. The fabric is Spoonflower’s performance pique.

The design is a combination of cut painted paper and text. The paper design started out like this and I actually used it in a fabric collection of “Fish Market” designs that I have up at Spoonflower.

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I layered two copies of that cut paper together and then cut text from one layer. The text is the closing speech delivered by Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear…”

Why that text? Because I like it. And Midsummer is my favorite Shakespeare play. I wanted to do a text based design, where it wasn’t something necessarily readable, but text was a design element.

I manipulated the colors, but you can still see all of the texture of the painted papers in the design. The tie is made from a small repeated section of that aqua with black polkadots pattern you see below.

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A little note about the fabric. It’s polyester, and I feel like I spend a lot of time defending things for being polyester. This is awesome polyester. Seriously. Comfy, soft, breathable, unwrinkleable, machine wash, amazing print quality. There’s nothing negative on that list. I understand that there are yucky polyesters. There are also horrific wools, nasty nylons and even some unwearable cottons. So this is a little bit of a soap box and a little bit encouragement to not judge a fabric by its label.

Book Plates for your Spoonflower Handbook

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 10.28.05 AMI have been busy traveling and teaching the last few weeks (hi NY and NC!) and I had so many people say “Oh, if I knew you were going to be here I would have brought my book for you to sign.” (Which is awesome and super flattering. Makes a girl feel loved.) Then I had a light-bulb-moment.  I could make bookplates to sign and then I could send them to you, no matter where you are (and you don’t have to remember to bring your book)! This little toucan made an appearance in our Spoonflower Handbook Master Class this weekend, so he seemed like the perfect character to star on this book plate.

If you have a Spoonflower Handbook and you would like a hand-signed bookplate, just send me an email (beckarahn at gmail dot com) and I will mail it to you. I will also bring them along to the events I have coming up (WMQFA University Days, Shepherd’s Harvest) and you can just ask me for one. They are printed on Spoonflower’s woven wallpaper, which is peel-and-stick, so you can stick it right in your book when you get it. I did a limited run of these, so they are first-come-first-served.

I have many things to tell you about classes and events near-and-far, but that will have to wait for another day.

How do I repost in Instagram? A tutorial

I have had an Instagram account for a while, but I just wasn’t using it.  One of my goals for this spring was to dust off that account and start finding ways to use it and see if Instagram was a good social media match for me. I have been trying to post from art shows that I am at and take more behind the scenes photos while I am working on pieces. (And I post photos of my cute dogs, naturally.)

I realized that there were also some cool things I wanted to be able to “re-gram” or share from other Instagram friends, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that, so I asked my friend Google. It turns out that sharing is a little bit complicated. There isn’t a “share” button in Instagram. I read a bunch of articles and help docs and this is what I decided is my favorite solution. Keep in mind that Instagram is basically only for phone and tablets, so all of these screenshots in the tutorial are from my iPhone.

I downloaded an app called Repost. It’s a free app and my favorite part about it is that it adds a sticker to the photo you are reposting, so it is really apparent that you are sharing something from another person. That’s important to me.

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Connect Repost to your Instagram account and you are ready to go. Choose the photo you want to repost from your Instagram feed.  You can also choose to repost things from your likes or favorites by choosing those tabs at the top.  Choose the photo and tap “Repost”.

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The next screen lets you set where Repost puts that photo credit. The buttons at the bottom of the screen let you place the credit on different sides of the photo and give it a light or dark background. Then tap Repost again.Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.48.01 PM

A pop up will let you know that it has copied the original caption from the photo to your clipboard. (I don’t need to remember the caption – that’s pretty great too!) Just tap OK. Next it will ask you where you want to Repost this photo. Tap the Instagram icon.

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Finally, you now have the photo moved over to Instagram. When you first pop in to Instagram, the caption is blank. Tap and hold inside the caption text box. When you release your tap, a bubble will pop up that says “Paste”. Remember when we said OK to copying the caption? This is how you get to it. Tap “Paste” in the bubble and it will add the original caption and a little extra text which says: #Repost @username with @repostapp.  This tags the person who posted the original photo, so they will know you reposted it, and your followers can see whose photo you are sharing. You can also add your own text and tags to the caption.

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Then go ahead and post it. Here’s what a repost looks like in my feed. Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.58.34 PMThere are lots of other ways to do this, but like I said, this was my favorite solution.  I like the way that I can easily re-post the caption as well as the photo and I like the “sticker” on the photo that identifies the original author. Thanks to my friend Robbin for having such a lovely photo for me to share.

Do you have a different app or method that you use to repost? I’d love to know what’s your favorite.

Dyeing Wool Yarn with Easter Egg Dye (A tutorial)

When you are an artist, nearly everything has the potential to be an art material. We dyed some easter eggs on Saturday and there was some leftover dye. Which was obviously a great excuse to dye some yarn.

These are 100% wool yarn, dyed using a basic set of PAAS easter egg tablets made up according to instructions: 1/2 c warm water and a tablespoon of vinegar. You can use them following the same basic formula as dyeing with koolaid or food coloring: color + acid + heat.  After we finished dyeing a dozen eggs, I dropped these mini skeins into the coffee cups full of dye and microwaved each one for 2 minutes. I know that wool needs more heat than eggs would be happy with in order to make that dye permanent.

After you microwave it, let them sit on the counter until the liquid is room temperature and the dye is exhausted (ie the water is clear). Don’t skip the heat step, or these colors will be much more likely to fade and bleed. No stirring or playing with the fibers when they are hot, if you don’t want it to felt. And this will only work with yarn that is wool or another protein fiber: silk, alpaca, llama etc.

These are super saturated colors because I had a lot of dye and not very much yarn. I estimate that you could dye up to .5 oz of yarn with 1 tablet and get colors this intense. The more yarn you add, the more pastel the color will be.

For a few, I mixed the colors just to see what else I could get. The top 6 colors are the plain tablet, the bottom four are a 50/50 mix of two colors, which I poured into an extra coffee cup. Interestingly, the green was an aqua turquoise color on my eggs, but true emerald green on the yarn.


I am sure the PAAS tablets are on clearance at the grocery store today, so I am planning a walk over there to stock up on a few more boxes.  Just because this is fun.  The same thing goes for yarn dyed this way as I said in my yarn dye/food coloring tutorial: Your colorfastness may vary. I wouldn’t make an heirloom knit with yarn dyed this way, but it is super fun for a hat or mittens that will get you through a few winter seasons.