Blog2020-08-12T23:03:19-05:00
24August, 2020

Behind the scenes of my setup for Online Teaching

An Artist's Life, Tutorials, Videos|9 Comments

I posted a couple of “behind the scenes” posts of my online teaching set up on my social media last week and I had LOTS of questions from all of you about how I put it together. So I thought maybe I’d write a post and talk about it. All of my setup are the results of many months worth of experiments, trial and error. I’ve been teaching via video/online since April when a couple of projects I was scheduled to do suddenly needed to pivot to something else. I started with what I had and added to my setup as I discovered I needed something.

My Space

I do all of my filming or video meetings in my studio. For a very long time, I just worked anywhere in the house, but this spring (before all of the work-at-home things happened) I had decided to reclaim a room in our house into a space that would be easier for me to record things because I was intending to start doing more video based classes. We have a 1920s house so my studio is basically a “sun room” or “sitting room” space, but that means it has amazing huge windows on two sides. So I have tons of natural light, which is really helpful. I’d say 80% of the time, I can work with just that natural light. The wall behind my desk is a creamy white about the color of masking tape, so it makes a pretty neutral background and having a light color helps my space look brighter.

My Laptop & Microphone

I use my laptop as my webcamera and I film all of my class videos and screensharing videos with it. I have a Macbook Air. I don’t have an external microphone because so far, I haven’t needed one. The one […]

5June, 2020

Fabric Review Friday: Spoonflower’s Dogwood Denim

Fabric Reviews, Spoonflower & Fabric Design|Comments Off on Fabric Review Friday: Spoonflower’s Dogwood Denim

I skipped a week of fabric reviews due to the unsettled situation here in Minneapolis, but I am continuing my fabric review posts today talking about Spoonflower’s Dogwood Denim. In this series of fabric review posts I am going to tell you everything I know about these fabrics from having worked with them and give you my best tips and tricks.

ABOUT DOGWOOD DENIM

Dogwood Denim is a heavyweight twill fabric. Twill is a kind of weave structure that has a somewhat prominent diagonal line because instead of the threads just going over one-under one, twill has threads that go over and under 2 or more threads. The threads are much thicker than the ones used to make Petal Cotton or Sateen, which I talked about in my last post. Unlike the jeans you might have in your closet, this denim has no spandex/lycra and no stretch. This is something to keep in mind when you are thinking about sewing clothing.

Dogwood Denim is 100% cotton and is a nice bright white. It is 11.7 oz per yard, which means that it’s almost 3 times as heavy as Petal Cotton and is the heaviest and probably the most durable fabric in the Spoonflower collection. It doesn’t tear easily and it is 100% opaque. It has a 56 inch printable width. The shrinkage is marked as 1-2% in width and 7-8% in length. That’s 2.5 inches over a yard of fabric (lengthwise) so I would really make sure I washed this before I made anything from it and keep that in mind if you are trying to economize on fabric and use every bit of the length. It also softens up a lot when you wash it; when you get the freshly printed fabric it […]

22May, 2020

Friday Fabric Review: Spoonflower Organic Cotton Sateen and Cotton Poplin

Fabric Reviews, Spoonflower & Fabric Design|Comments Off on Friday Fabric Review: Spoonflower Organic Cotton Sateen and Cotton Poplin

I’m starting a new series talking about the different kinds of fabric bases you can print on at Spoonflower. I get an email from someone on a pretty regular basis asking for advice about different kinds of fabric and trying to decide what will work best for a project. I have worked with nearly every fabric base at Spoonflower for some project or another. I’ve printed my designs, sewed with them, washed them, and worn them. I wrote up a post about the Petal Signature Cotton and comparing it to the other cotton bases a while back. Starting with this post, on Fridays I am going to pick another fabric or two and tell you everything I know about them and tell you about what I like and don’t like about each one. I will also use Petal Cotton as a comparison for all of these since this is the lowest cost option and might be the one that more people have ordered a sample of.

I’m going to start today talking about Organic Cotton Sateen and Cotton Poplin.

About Sateen

I have definitely used the sateen for more projects than poplin and it is one of my favorite fabrics. This dress and coat (made for an exhibition in 2015) is made all with Sateen and the coat is lined with Satin. This is not a “coat weight” fabric by any means; I interlined this with a cotton twill to give it the body and weight for a coat. It is 3.8 oz per yard, which makes it slightly lighter weight than the Petal Cotton and it feels slightly thinner in your hand.

The Sateen has a very silky, smooth feel. It is a matte finish […]

6May, 2020

Brains… (no, zombies have not invaded my blog)

An Artist's Life, Spoonflower & Fabric Design|Comments Off on Brains… (no, zombies have not invaded my blog)

The Spoonflower design challenge theme for this week was “Designs for Good”. From the design spec, that is defined as “challenging you to create a repeating design inspired by a cause that is close to your heart. From raising autism awareness to creating food security in your local community, we want to know what inspires you every day.”

I decided to make my design about brains and if you follow any of my social media channels, you saw a little sneak peek of this design in a video I made for #GiveAtHomeMN to highlight some organizations that are trying really hard to figure out ways to help artists in this new world we are living in. In fact, I made the paper collage pieces for this design while I was listening and participating in an “Artists Town Hall” Zoom meeting.

I call this design “Your Brain’s Not Broken”. It is made from recycled magazine pictures and I really looked for things that were bright colors and interesting textures. I grouped them generally by color to make rough rectangles and then cut each one into the shape of a brain.

For the background of the design, I cut stripes of black and white patterns: the text from magazine pages and safety paper envelopes. I scanned each of these components and assembled the design in two layers, creating a seamless repeating pattern of the black and white bars and then putting the bright colored brains over top.

Why brains? I wanted a way to represent mental health, and although that might seem like a pretty obvious choice, I liked that it was easy to understand. I like that it’s a little science-y. And it feels busy and vibrant. This design is about […]

20April, 2020

Making masks. My version with some sewing tips.

Everything Else, Freebies & Patterns, Sewing & Design, Tutorials, Videos|3 Comments

I posted a tutorial for working with a bias tape maker today on my social media channels (I will post that again below) and got a bunch of questions about how I was making masks and what pattern to use. So here is what I have been making. This is a version that is based on one that was posted by Fairview Health (associated with the University of MN). I have simplified the sewing instructions they provided because I saw a simpler and cleaner way to construct them. I am not going to provide a step-by-step tutorial here, but I will give you the basics.

Cut two rectangles that are 9 inches by 7 inches. They recommended using 2 different fabrics so you can easily tell the inside and outside of the mask if you need to take it off and put it back on.

Place the rectangles right sides together and stitch just the short sides, using about a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Turn right side out and press flat.

Make three tuck pleats about 1/2 inch each along each short edge of the rectangle. You can pin these. (I have a lot of practice at this kind of thing, so I just eyeballed them.) I used a wide zig-zag stitch to then stitch over the pleats about 1/4 from the edge. This is thick, so don’t force your machine or you will break needles at this step. Do this on each short edge. It doesn’t matter which way you pleat, as long as the pleats go the same way on each end.

Cut two strips of fabric to make ties. I use the full width of a piece of 45″ super soft muslin, cut 2 inches high. (I fold the fabric in half, matching […]

29March, 2020

GameNight: Blueprints

Game Night|Comments Off on GameNight: Blueprints

We’re 14 days into “stay-at-home”. How about you? Hanging in there? We pulled out this game the other night as an effort to get away from screentime and I had forgotten how fun it is. I have to admit I bought this one without knowing anything about it. My dad is an architect, so any game called “Blueprints” was automatically appealing to me.

Blueprints is a dice game where the dice represent building materials: glass, stone, wood or recycled materials. It is played over 3 rounds and each round you get the blueprint for a building you are trying to build.

You keep your blueprint behind a screen so it is secret from the other players. Every building is made from 6 dice; the card shows you a side view and a top view and the numbers tell you how many stories high the building is.

Everyone takes turns picking dice from a shared pool, placing one in their building and then rolling and replacing one. It seems really simple, but there are a bunch of things to think about when you pick your dice. A dice that is on the second or third story of the building must have a higher numbered face than the one below it. So if you put a 6 on the first floor, you won’t be able to build the second floor.

Each color of the dice also scores differently. Glass (clear) is worth whatever the number is showing on the top face. So there are 7 points in Glass showing in the photo above. Wood (orange) is worth more for every side of the dice that’s touching another one. This orange is only touching one face, so it’s only worth 2 […]

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Hi, I’m Becka.

Talking about fabric design, Spoonflower, teaching, and the life and business of being an artist.

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