Tag Archives: Tutorials

Who me? aka How to direct people to your social media sites.

I taught a class a few weeks ago about social media for fiber artists. We were at a conference, which is a great place to network with people who have similar interests and passions. One of the things we did at the very end of class was to pass around a sheet of paper for everyone to share their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media handles. I volunteered to gather up all of that information and email everyone a list of links so they could all follow each other. It would be like a jump start for your new social media account.

It wasn’t until I sat down to put it all together that I saw the flaw in my plan. Nobody knew how to share their handle or contact info for these various sites. For about half of the things that people wrote down, I couldn’t find them no matter how much I searched. I felt terrible. If you are an experienced user on any of these sites, this may seem like something that’s obvious to you, but I realized that nowhere is there an explanation for newbies that says “this is how you tell other people how to find you”.

So here it is; a quick-and-dirty guide to how to share your stuff.

Facebook Page

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 10.33.40 PMThey just redesigned the Facebook Page a little bit and now this information is super easy to find.

Go to your Facebook Page. Look on the left side under your profile picture and you will see the name of your page (ie Becka Rahn: Fiber Art). Right underneath that in lighter type it says @yourusername (ie @beckarahn.fiberart).

In the screenshot you can see it pops up a little help text box (black) if you hover over that username. By default, I think the username is a string of numbers, but you can change it to be whatever you like by going to Page Info in the About tab (which is further down on that left sidebar).

Note: this is not the same as your personal Facebook login username. If you want someone to get to your personal profile, they can just search for you by name or email. This is the way to get someone directly to your business or artist page.

If someone searches on Facebook for @beckarahn.fiberart they will go directly to my page. Or I can give the address as www.facebook.com/beckarahn.fiberart

Twitter

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For Twitter, your handle shows up just under your name. When you are logged in to your account, look just to the right of your profile photo. You will see your name on the top and below it @username (ie @beckarahn). Your account will be found at www.twitter.com/username (ie twitter.com/beckarahn) or someone can search on Twitter for @username and find you.

Instagram

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For Instagram, it’s even easier. The name that shows up there in the top center of the screen is your handle. So you are @username (ie @beckarahn) if someone wants to search or you can be found at www.instagram.com/username

 

 

Pinterest

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Pinterest makes you look just a little bit harder. If you log in to your Pinterest account, first click the person-shaped icon to look at your profile. It’s at the top right of your screen.

 

Then click the pencil icon in the top left corner of that profile screen, right above your name. Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 11.20.19 PM

Clicking the pencil will pop up an edit box and if you look about halfway down you will see the word Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 10.36.18 PMUsername. That’s the link to get to you: www.pinterest.com/username

 

Etsy

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 10.38.35 PMDon’t know your etsy shop’s direct link? Go to your shop and look in the very top of the browser window at the address of the page. It will say https://www.etsy.com/shop/username (ie www.etsy.com/shop/beckarahn).

You can also use username.etsy.com (ie beckarahn.etsy.com) and that will get you there too. Sometime searching for your shop name in the search box isn’t 100% reliable. By using the full address, you can be sure someone will get there.

Putting it together

So for example, if I were going to put my social media links on my business card, it would look something like this:

  • www.beckarahn.com
  • beckarahn.etsy.com
  • Facebook: @beckarahn.fiberart
  • Twitter/Instagram: @beckarahn
  • Pinterest: pinterest.com/beckarahn

If I wanted to add clickable links to an email, website post or anything else I’d use:

  • www.beckarahn.com
  • beckarahn.etsy.com
  • www.facebook.com/beckarahn.fiberart
  • www.twitter.com/beckarahn
  • www.instagram.com/beckarahn
  • www.pinterest.com/beckarahn

Know you’ll forget it?

WalletCard

Right-click or option-click this image to download it. Print it, write in your information and tuck this in your wallet. Or take a photo of it and store it in your phone. Then you’ll always have it when you need it. Like when you take a class with me and I pass around a sheet of paper for you to write down your links.

Tutorial: Seamless Arrows Pattern, Part Four

(This is part four of a tutorial for making a seamless arrow pattern.  Find Part One and Part Two and Part Three here.)

Proofing and touching up the pattern is the finishing step to create the seamless arrow design and I am going to do that with the Photoshop pattern tool.  The first thing I do is select the whole design (Edit -> Select All) and create a pattern tile by choosing Edit -> Define Pattern and click OK.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 10.46.34 AMIt will look like nothing has happened.  That’s ok!  The tile that you selected has been saved in the patterns palette, which is kind of hidden.

To proof the design, I create a new blank file that is the size of a yard of fabric. That’s an arbitrary size – I just think it’s nice to look at a large number of repeats.

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Then I choose Edit -> Fill from the menu.  From the pop-up Fill menu, choose Pattern from the contents drop down menu.  Just below that in Options there is another drop down and in it, you should find that pattern you just saved.  (See what I mean about a little hidden.)

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 10.47.25 AM

 

Now you can see what it looks like when the tile is repeating across a whole yard of fabric.  And right away a couple of things jump out at me.

arrow

Oops.  I didn’t think about the edges and I have a blank space where there aren’t any arrows.  I can fix that by cropping out some of the blank space.  The other thing that jumps out is a seam where the color changes. The color change is kind of abrupt and it makes a dark line.  I can fix that pretty easily by going back a step to my original file.  I select the photo layer of that flower because that is where the color is coming from.  The easiest way for me to make that contrasting line to go away is to just use a paintbrush to just touch it up. I choose a green color from the bottom of the image and paint some at the top where that really deep green was, hiding that seam line and blending the two together.

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After I do those two little edits…

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I have a pretty good finished design.  I save that tile and that is the repeat that I can upload to Spoonflower and print my fabric.  This is the version that I used for my grant project exhibition, which I will post photos of very soon.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 11.26.11 AM

More in this series: Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart Four

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Tutorial: Seamless Arrow Repeat Part 3

(This is part three of a tutorial for making a seamless arrow pattern.  Find Part One and Part Two here.)

For Part Three, I am going to move over and work with the design in Photoshop now.  Why?  I could easily add color in Illustrator, but the effect I want is to cut those arrowheads out of another photo, which will give it a very organic color wash instead of a solid color.

Open the file in Photoshop.

So first I open that file we just saved in Photoshop. I first double click the Layer marked Background to unlock it (making it Layer 0).  Then I use the Magic Wand tool and delete to remove the white background and just leave the pattern of black lines.  (Make sure the option marked contiguous at the top center is clicked off and you will select all of the white in the image and not just the parts touching where you click.)

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 10.11.41 AM

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That will leave a checkerboard pattern in the background.  That is Photoshop’s way of telling you that is now transparent.

Add the photo layer.

Next I will add something to create that colored layer.  For my grant project design, I used one of the layers from the photo created by my design partner, so that her print and mine would coordinate.  But really anything will work, as long as it has the colors you want.  So for this example, I used a photograph of a columbine.  Choose File -> Place Embedded and pick your image.  Size/resolution is not really important.  Once you have placed it, click and drag it to resize and fill the space.  Make sure the photo layer is on top and your arrows on the bottom.

You can add filters or adjust colors or edit this layer if you want to.  For example, I might blur it to make it look more watercolored and less photo sharp.  In my grant project design, I added a few pops of magenta with a paint brush to bring out that color in the coordinating fabric.

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Create a clipping mask.

Select the Layer with your image and right-click it to bring up a pop up menu or choose Layer -> Create Clipping Mask from the top menu.  This will cut from the photo in the shape of the layer underneath.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.54.48 AM

 

Add a background.

I will add a new layer to give the design a background color. You can click the new layer button in the palette (looks like a page with a bent corner) or choose Layer -> New from the menu.  I can choose Edit -> Fill from the menu to fill this layer with color and then drag it in the Layers palette to be on the bottom of the stack.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.00.47 PM

 

The last thing I did was to add a little texture to that flat grey layer.  When I double click the layer in the Layer Palette, I will get a menu of Layer Style options.  I chose an asphalt texture that I had saved previously and set it to be only 19% opaque.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 10.20.08 AM

 

In Part Four, I will show you how to proof your design and touch up any little flaws in the repeat and then it is finished and ready to go.

More in this series: Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart Four

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Tutorial: Seamless Arrows Print – Part Two

(This is Part Two of a tutorial for creating a seamless arrows print.  See Part 1 here.)

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 10.06.48 AM

Part two of the tutorial is all about making the design seamless.  What does that mean?  I want these arrows to look like they are traveling all over the fabric without having a a start and stop.  Even though I only made a small section of the design, I want it to look like I designed something bigger and disguise the edges of the repeating element.

Check and adjust your lines.

With this design, one way to make it look seamless is to make sure that any line that extends off the edge of the drawing, joins up with the design again.  In orange I circled two lines, which go off the edge at the top of the repeat, and then show up again at the bottom.  When I make this tile repeat and put two identical tiles next to each other, those lines will match up and look like they are one continuous line.  I should also say, you don’t have to always work in a repeat, in fact I don’t make repeats very often, but for this particular project I just needed some yardage and not a specific shape.  So a repeat was the easy way to go.  Make sense?

Try the Pattern Tool.

Illustrator also has a Pattern Tool which you can use to get a preview of what that repeating element will look like.  Select all of the elements in your design and then go to Object -> Pattern -> Make.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 10.09.17 AM

 

repeattoolThe pattern tool has lots of options for the kind of repeat style and the spacing, which you can play with.  I am using the tool in this screenshot to just show me what it looks like if I were to see 3×3 tiles.  And I can see when I have everything repeated that there are a couple of edits that I would make.

What do I look for?  Think about how your eye travels around the design.  My eye keeps going to and stopping at two arrowheads that are lined up side by side.  I think I need to move one of those around and break that up.  I also look for negative space – is there somewhere that is blank or has a gap that looks out of place?  Then look for things that are unique – there is only one line that stops (it’s between those 2 parallel arrowheads).  That might be a quirk that I want to leave in, or it might be distracting.

So my next step is to make all of those adjustments and then save this tile.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 10.08.21 AM

I am going to save it as a .jpg and check the box that says “Use Artboards” which will crop it to fit the tile (in case I have anything that hangs over the edge.)

In Part Three, we move to Photoshop to add color and texture to the design.

More in this series: Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart Four

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Design Tutorial: Creating a layered design

Often when I teach an intro fabric design class, the students and I create a collaborative fabric design during class, which I have printed and mail to them after class.  This most recent class played along with me and made this design using speech bubble shaped post-it-notes and wrote their favorite “clean” swear word.  I thought it would make a funny fabric, especially given the day I had before I got to class.  So I scanned our design and got ready to put it into a repeat and it just seemed sort of blah.  We needed a much more colorful fabric to match our colorful language.  So I added some color and after I sent the swatches, I told my class I would post a tutorial about how I did it so they could check back.  My screenshots for this are in Photoshop, but many other design programs have the same tools you can use.

We started with a scanned image of post-it-notes on black paper.  I scanned this at 150 dpi because I wanted to print it at the same size and that is the resolution I need for fabric.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.47.06 AMThe first thing I wanted to do was to move the speech bubbles to a layer all by themselves.  This way I could insert something into the background and have them float over top.  When I open the image in Photoshop, it automatically makes it a locked background layer. (See the lock icon?)  When I go to the Layers palette and double click the layer that says Background, it will unlock it and convert it to a regular layer (Layer 0), which is what we need.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.50.26 AMNext I want to remove the black background and leave just the speech bubbles by themselves on this layer.  Choose the Magic Wand tool and click anywhere in that black background.  You can see what’s selected because Photoshop traces around it with dashed lines.  Once you have it selected, hit the delete key.  Your black background will disappear.  The checkered pattern you now see indicates that this part of the design is transparent.  (It won’t show on your finished design.)

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.15.39 AM

Next I will add a new background layer back in, by choosing the new layer icon (looks like a page with a bent corner) to make Layer 1. Then choose Edit -> Fill from the menu to fill it with black.  You will probably also have to put your layers in the right order by clicking and dragging them in the palette to make sure the bubbles are on top and the black layer on the bottom.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.52.10 AMSo it doesn’t actually look like we have done much at this point, but what we have done is split the design into two layers so that we can now insert something in between them.  Next, I am going to add a Text layer, by clicking the text tool and dragging a text box to fill the design space.  Now I can type text into this layer.  I filled it with cartoon style swear words (*&%$!!@) to match our theme.  It doesn’t matter what color they are, we will change that next.  Drag the text layer so it is sandwiched between Layers 0 and 1.

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Now the color!  If you double click the Text layer in the Layers Palette, a window will pop up giving you options for Layer Styles.  We are going to use a Gradient Overlay to add a rainbow to this text.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.53.47 AM

The last little tweak I made to the design was to add a black outline to our speech bubbles to help make them pop out from the background a little more.  That is easy to do with the same Layer Styles tool.  Double click Layer 0 with the speech bubbles and choose Stroke from the style options.  I added a 3 px border of black.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.56.48 AM

And this is the finished design.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.57.24 AMNow I understand that this is a pretty silly fabric and you aren’t probably going to run right out and order yards of it.  But by using the same steps you learned here, you can create fabrics like these:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.32.00 AM

These sheep are drawn with a fine tip sharpie and scanned.  I cut them out from the background the same way and added a white Stroke to the layer so they have that white outline.  The background for this design instead of text, is a piece of painted paper that I scanned and added a Color Overlay (from the Layer Styles Palette) in green.

Or dancing sheep on a knitted background.

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Sometimes the best tutorial has no words

photo(5)I had a vast quantity of tiny rolled hems to do this week.  The project is something I can’t really share yet, but I can talk about rolled hems and what I learned.  So I have done both machine stitched and hand stitched rolled hems before and although I am pretty good at the machine variety, I hadn’t really mastered the hand stitch. I could make it work, but they were fiddly and so very slow.  It was frustrating.  So I started to do a little research.  Maybe there was a better way to do the stitch?

The tips that really helped?

Rolled Hem Hankies at the Purl Bee.  Not only are the photos beautiful and clear, but the tip about slobbering on your fingers is essential.  I did just grab a damp washcloth and throw it on the table in front of me, but it’s amazing how much of a difference that made in getting the roll to happen.  She also does the stitch just slightly differently than what I was taught (with much of the stitch hidden in the roll) and this is much nicer.

It turns out that the best “tutorial” I found has no words.  But just by watching an anonymous and skilled seamstress hem a Hermes scarf, I picked up another really helpful hint or two.  If you watch the video you will see how she pins the scarf to a heavy pincushion.  This is genius.  It’s like having an extra hand to put some tension on what you are stitching and I could go twice as fast.  My tomato pincushion isn’t heavy enough.  I ended up weighting it down awkwardly with a pair of scissors.  But the next time I have a batch of hemming to do, I will take a few minutes and make a heavy weighted pincushion.  You can also watch how she does the corner. I am not sure exactly what she did, but based on my observations, I folded just the tiny tip of the corner at 45 degrees and then double rolled to make a neat little miter at the corner and secured it with a couple of tiny stitches.

My own trick is to use a beading needle to do the stitching.  Although this one was a little long (I couldn’t find my short ones), I really like working with tiny needles.  When you are only trying to make a stitch that catches 2 or 3 threads of the fabric, it is so much easier with a small needle.  I almost always hand stitch my hems.  I like hand stitching and I like the way a hand stitched hem can just disappear and not draw attention to itself.

If you want to learn more beautiful hand stitched hems, the Coletterie blog has been posting a really great series about all kinds of hem finishes.  Here is their take on the hand rolled hem.