Many people enjoy a readymade meal that they can just heat up and eat up. Others prefer to prepare their own dish, finding pleasure in the journey as well as the destination. Others still go even further and handle every element from scratch. These folks take great joy in the process and often believe that the extra work enhances the result.
One can apply this same thought process to many crafts and hobbies. As many enthusiasts will tell you, quilting is no exception. Making your own quilting fabric and using digital quilting print panels yourself can, according to them, produce greater quilts and provide greater satisfaction. At the very least, learning about the processes may prove useful. Read on to start learning.
The Steps to Creating Fabric
Anyone can get fabric at the store and start working with it immediately. It is so readily available that many dedicated quilting hobbyists can go a long time without even considering where it comes from. The process is a fascinating one, in our eyes, and we will describe it in detail below.
From Raw Materials to Fiber
Quilting materials do not grow on trees, but everything in their composition comes from nature. Cotton, for instance, grows on plants. They only become usable once they are machine-picked, stripped of their seeds, and baled. This process produces a natural fiber, and textile workers can start working with it right away.
One more example we all know is wool, which is shorn from the hides of sheep and certain other animals. The quality of wool depends on which part of the body it grows from, and a single sheep’s wool is separated accordingly. The material is washed clean of contaminants, then straightened by running it through a set of metal teeth called cards.
From Fiber to Yarn
You could have a hundred pounds of high-quality cotton fibers and still would not be ready to start quilting. On their own, they are too weak and fragile to be of much use. When you wrap them around each other, though, they form a cord with much greater strength. Spinning is an extremely important step towards creating good quilting fabric.
One can use several tools for “spinning,” as it is called. Drop spindles are an old and simple tool for twisting fibers together by hand. Spinning wheels are much larger, more expensive, and more difficult for beginners. The machine’s advantage is more power and faster production. Either way, proper handling will produce the interlocked series of fibers we call yarn.
From Yarn to Fabric
Yarn consists of fibers, and fabric consists of yarn. Putting enough of it together to create an actual usable textile is the final step. Prepare a loom, the machine used for weaving yarn together, and take two strands of yarn. The first one, called the warp, will run vertically. The other one, called the weft, will run under and over the warp in a pattern.
Once you loop them together, you will have yourself a piece of fabric. Before you do anything with it, give it a once-over. Are there any contaminants, oils, traces of wax, or spots of discoloration? Run it through some chemicals in a process known as, well, processing. Soon enough, your fabric will be ready for you to use as you please.
Digital Quilting Print Panels 101
Fabrics made from cotton and wool usually come out white. However, that does not restrict you from making something colorful. Both materials respond well to dyes, making them excellent for visually elaborate quilts. When graphical splendor is your goal, digital quilting print panels are ideal tools. We will describe them in greater detail here.
What is Digital Quilt Printing?
Perhaps we should explain this one word at a time. “Printing” here refers to the act of imbuing a fabric with artwork made from ink, often in a pattern. It is not to be confused with dyeing, which splashes one color over the entire piece. Printed designs can be more complex, and they are more resistant to washing out.
Quilt printing is our term of choice for the combination of printed fabrics into one piece. That piece will serve as the woven top layer of a quilt. The aforementioned intricacy of printed designs makes them well-suited for quilting projects.
Digital quilt printing uses computer technology to take that advantage to the next level. Traditional screen printing forces people into applying one color at a time, limiting the sophistication of the artwork. This digital process can apply all the colors at once with great precision. It significantly expands the possibilities for both imaginative fabric designers and quilting enthusiasts.
What Do I Need to Know?
Digital quilting print panels work well with cotton and wool. You can even use them on a wide array of other materials, including synthetic ones like nylon and polyester. It may vary depending on the process and other factors, though, so we advise inquiring the artist and/or vendor for more information.
The digital printing process does not simply splatter ink onto fabric. It fuses the ink with the fabric, making it much more difficult to wash out. You can run quilts made from the fabric through machine washers without worry of fading or running.
Panels come in an array of sizes ranging from small to enormous. We recommend always looking at the dimensions of a panel before ordering it, particularly if you already have a quilting design in mind.
Get High-Quality Fabric & Digital Print Panels Here
The last thing you need to know about digital quilting print panels is that they are widely available. Top artists have created countless designs with vivid and near-photorealistic renderings on high-quality fabrics. They can be purchased for relatively low prices, allowing anyone to create extraordinary custom quilts.
Here at Hingeley Road Quilt Shop, we do not turn away from technological advancements. We embrace them and their exciting potential, as you can see from our 400-plus collection of digital quilting print panels. View our stunning gallery today and find the next brilliant digital designs for your quilt.