Thanks for dropping by to take a look at some of my thoughts and ideals. Hope you will let me know if this has been helpful, useful, inspiring or whatever, and remember to come back soon.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Picture Transfers

A few years ago the place where I work my regular job had outgrown their space so they decided it was time to step out and build a new building.  In our old space some previous person had hung a tapestry in one of the back hallways.  After she had moved to greener pastures those that remained decided they did not want that particular piece of art to remain and I had a quilt that I brought in and hung in that space.  I would bring different quilts and change them and we had one for Christmas and a different one I made in the spring and so forth.  We had an enormous number of comments on the new and changing art work.  I was asked if I would do a quilt for the new building.  Of course I said yes and I began planning. 

Since they wanted this quilt to be permanent it would need to be something that would be appropriate for any season.  I finally hit on the ideal of making a quilt with baby pictures of all the employees.  Since this is a fairly small office it was a really doable project.  Then I decided that I would make the quilt so it would depict a bookcase with pictures in frames.  I had no pattern.  In addition the decor in the new place would be modern. 

I collected pictures from the staff and was amazed at how quickly people shared their photos.  I did not tell them only baby pictures, but stated pictures when they were very young.  Now for this part I had to know a little about computers because I did scan the pictures in and then changed them all to black and white and also changed the size so they would all be the same size.  (I have made a lot of memory quilts using pictures since that time and they do not all have to be the same size and it is fine to use a mixture of colored pictures and black and white photos.)  Then I printed the pictures onto paper backed fabric.  You can purchase packs of the paper backed fabric, one brand is Printed Treasures and it works very well, or you can make your own.  Directions for making your own will be at the bottom of this post.  Follow directions on whichever brand of printable fabric you  purchase.

Remember, once your pictures are printed onto the fabric you will need to have a seam allowance around each picture.  Make allowances for this before you print!!  I've made the mistake of forgetting to leave enough around the edges of the pictures more than once and had to go back and reprint pictures which can be expensive if you are purchasing the printable fabric.

I agonized over my fabric choices for months.  It is a really good thing that it takes so long for a building to be built in this area, or at least it did at that time.  I finally picked my fabric and got to work on the actual quilt.  I can't begin to tell you how many comments have been made about that quilt since it was hung.  I am always amazed.  I also get a few giggles when someone comes in and says, "Oh, what a pretty blanket!"  I am very proud of my picture quilt that hangs in the office.

The quilt hanging on the wall at our office.  As you can
see I did fix the pictures so it would appear they
were matted and framed. 

This is a close up of one of a couple of the pictures. 
I'm the cutie on the right.  I used to be a pretty girl.
Oh well, times change.
 Of course, I have made other memory quilts since that time using pictures.  This particular quilt was made as a graduation gift and many of the pictures were pictures of the sports she participated in, as well as prom, and baby pictures.  In this quilt I actually would sew pictures side by side and use them as the center block and I even used 3 pictures together in a couple of the blocks.  I did not change the size of the pictures or make them all black and white.  One of the blocks has a picture of her and her graduation from kindergarten and then her graduation from high school.  Made a really nice comparison. 

This snowball pattern really gave this memory quilt a special look.
I also made a memory quilt with pictures using a star pattern and the picture was the center of the stars.  That particular quilt was all about the lady's father and he was a very special star in her life.

Memory quilts using pictures are typically meant to be wall hangings or display pieces.  They will not stand up to frequent laundering.  While they can be washed on gentle cycle in cold water, they are not made to be washed every month.  Quilts can hang as wall hanging for several years before they have to be washed.  You may want to take them down and vacumn the dust off a few times, or just toss them into the dryer with a fabric softener sheet,  if you wait two or three years to launder.

If you have decided to embark on your own journey into a memory quilt and have any questions, please feel free to ask.  I don't have all the answers, but since I've made quite a few I have worked out some of the bugs.   I hope you have a great day.  

To make your own paper backed fabric purchase freezer paper and fabric.  Wash the fabric to remove all sizing that may cause your ink not to adhere to the fabric.  After fabric is dry, press the fabric smooth.  It will need to be very smooth to prevent problems with the printing.  Cut your freezer paper and fabric to 8 1/2" x 11", or whatever size your printer will accomidate.  Place the freezer paper, waxey side up on your ironing board and place your fabric over the freezer paper with wrong side of fabric against the waxey side of the freezer paper.  Using a hot iron press the freezer paper and fabric together.  Do not rub the iron back and forth over the surface of the fabric since this will cause shifting and the fabric will not adhere well.  Make sure all strings are cut so they will not pull or come off in your printer.  Once the fabric is adhered and trimmed it is ready for your printer.

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