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Archive for 'Fabric Design'

TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Seven minutes of inspiring fiber art images. In this video TAFA shares members visions of red: of boldness, love, and passion…
some heat to get our fiber circulation pumping for Valentines Day crafts!

TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List is a business community of entrepreneurs rooted in textile and fiber art products and traditions. A majority of our members have social and environmental agendas at the core of their business. TAFA unites old and new traditions, their historical and modern importance, giving a shared platform to both contemporary and traditional textile techniques from all cultures.”

TAFA presents an inspiring collection of all things Fiber Arts….Beautiful pictures and links to fiber artists and fiber suppliers around the world….a delightful place to spend a few Sunday hours with a cup of tea!

Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie is a regular contributor to Living Crafts.

In her studio on Salt Spring Island, BC, she creates in a bountiful beauty of color, wool, and texture, inspired by the natural world. Fiona designs fine feltwork, felting and knitting patterns, gives workshops in natural craft, and runs her hand dyed, artisan fibre company, Kattikloo. You can read more about her fibers, projects and creative living at and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Feb 3, 2013 12:43 PM | 2 Comments

Winner: Harmony Susalla Fabric Cloth Bags


We have a winner for the Harmony Susalla Fabric Giveaway!

Noelle   Submitted on 2011/08/20 at 3:36 pm
“This is so inspiring! I love all the designs and her method of working! I would LOVE to win this giveaway and show all sewing buddies her fabulous work!

Be sure to read the wonderful interview story  My Life My Craft:  Harmony Susalla of Harmony Art.

Posted by Living Crafts on Aug 25, 2011 05:52 AM | No Comments

My Life My Craft: Harmony Susalla of Harmony Art

Harmony Susalla is one of the most honest designers in the organic fabric community. She is true to herself and to her work, and she is dedicated to bringing good organic fabric to those who need and appreciate it. All of this is reflected in the quality of her fabric and design.

Harmony Art Organic Design, her organic fabric company, was listed as one of the top companies in both of our articles on organic fabric. The first, in the Spring 2009 Issue, written by Tara Boyd and Winnie Culp of Nearsea Naturals, as well as the current Summer 2011 issue, with our Organic Cotton Fabric Resources by Fiona Duthie, which includes a Selection Criteria section by Tara Boyd and Winnie Culp.

Harmony’s fabric.

photo selected from our Summer 2011 article photo shoot with Harmony’s Ten Flowers, Morning Dew, and Thirty Nine.

Here is an interview so our readers can get to know her better:

When did you start doing handwork?

It’s funny, but I am not sure where or when my crafty/arty side started to develop. I always loved to color and draw and create things. My earliest memories of doing art are from when I was a child and would go to work with my father. He worked at the Space Science Lab at U.C. Berkeley as an engineer designing layouts for circuit boards and such. He would set me up on his tall stool with paper and lots of colored pens and pencils. I would spend hours drawing and coloring while he worked.

At summer camp, I always picked the arts and crafts projects. I remember making cards for friends and family in third or fourth grade and signing the back of each one with “Harmony Art” and a copyright symbol …like I saw on Hallmark cards. So, it was the very young me who named my company. No one in my immediate family is particularly artistic or crafts oriented. The only art my mother ever created was the result of a painting class she took when she was pregnant with me.

Mom's painting

I like to think that seeing those paintings and knowing she created them had something to do with my own artistic bent. This painting of hers hangs in my home/studio (she painted a grand total of three paintings in that art class in 1968). I cherish it.


I did have a wonderful art teacher in high school who was very influential in supporting my own creative spark. Her name was Mrs. Hermann. She was a gem.

What were your interests when you started making things and how did you stumble upon fabric design?

For years, I made a lot of cards, particularly collages for Valentine’s Day. I spent a few years making beads out of FIMO clay and selling necklaces and earrings at Grateful Dead shows. I took art classes and did a bit of batik and tie-dye too. I worked at an after-school child-care program and dreamed up lots of art projects during that time of my life. I stumbled upon fabric design back in 1997 in a chance conversation with a second cousin. Here’s a link to the longer version of how Harmony Art Organic Design came to be:

Can you share your story of how Harmony Art started and any advice you have for others who want to have their own textile business?

I guess my advice would be to start with a question: Why do you want to design textiles? If the answer is about seeing your own artwork on fabric, I would refer you to one of the ever-growing providers of digital printing services, such as Spoonflower, KarmaKraft, and AdaptiveTextiles just to name a few. The prices aren’t cheap, but the initial investment is manageable, and you can make that dream a reality with very inexpensive start-up costs.

If your reason for designing textiles is that you want to make money, well, that’s a different story altogether. Honestly, the easiest way to make money is to work for someone else. To start your own business takes a lot of cash, and the more successful you are the more money you will need to keep pouring into the company to keep up with demand. Having no business background, this was a very rude awakening for me. With the explosion of Etsy and digital printing, you can get your feet wet at a much more reasonable cost, but to produce a line of fabric that can compete price-wise with the big fabric houses is no easy, or cheap, task.

Working for another company designing textiles (which I did for five years) is a great way to get experience and have a steady stream of income. However, when designing for someone else, it is best to let go of your artistic ego and attachment. It really doesn’t matter what you like, as you are tasked to design what the client wants. I know many designers who struggle with designing to another’s tastes. To be successful and happy in the textile design industry while working for someone else, I would provide this advice (collectively gleaned from my time at the California School of Professional Fabric Design): Get over your “self.”

Where do you get your inspirations for your design?

Nature, nature, nature, nature, nature. If you go to and click on an individual design, such as Morning Dew, on the left you can read description of how I was inspired to create that particular print. Here’s a photo of dew drops hanging in a spider web, which inspired the Morning Dew print.


Do you teach fabric design or other design?

I don’t teach fabric or any other design, but I do have some interest in doing so. I have often imagined a one-week course of hiking, sketching, designing. Of course the program would also include dining on organic meals. Anyone interested? Contact me!

Can you tell us anything about your personal life?

Harmony Art is so woven into my personal life, it is often hard to know where one stops and the other begins. I make it a point to go hiking at least twice a week. An ideal week provides me at least five days of getting out there and looking for inspiration, but realistically, I am lucky if I get my standard two, with one extra hike to watch the sun set. I am lucky to live 2.2 miles (straight downhill) from a sweet Pacific Ocean beach. I will often run out the door to “catch the sunset” and hope to catch a ride back up the hill from my husband.

sus and me

Sus (husband) and me. I couldn't have created Harmony Art without his never-ending love, support and confidence in me.

Me on a hike

I find that being outside, surrounded by nature, keeps me sane and refills my artistic well. So, although I do it for “fun and fitness,” I also consider it time spent working, as I am always on the lookout for patterns or pattern ideas from nature. Having lived in the same rural environment for almost 10 years, I have come to appreciate the small changes that happen throughout each season.

Besides your web site, where can our readers find your products?

One of the great perks of Harmony Art has been getting to meet and work with so many wonderful people. I truly believe that I have the best customers in the world!

Here’s a link to the retailers who sell my fabrics

And here’s a link to some of the companies who use my fabrics in their product lines:

Facebook Fan Page.

One thing that makes me a bit crazy is the single-use-plastic-bag phenomenon. Did you know that the average single-use plastic bag is used for only 12 minutes, and only one percent is ever recycled? Each year, people the world over use a total of 500 billion to one trillion single-use plastic bags. In fact, in the U.S., it is estimated that every five seconds 60,000 of these bags are used! Plastic bags break down into small, highly toxic chemical particles, which end up floating in our ocean water. These tiny particles are eaten by sea animals, and thus enter our food chain, which then threatens our health. Birds, fish, turtles and other animals consume larger pieces of these bags, as the plastic can be indistinguishable from other sources of food. Unable to digest these items, the creatures’ stomachs become bloated, often causing death by starvation, as plastic contains no nutrients and blocks passage of any other food that does.


In an effort to assist you in quitting the single-use-plastic-bag addiction and help you transition to fabric bags, we will be giving away three organic cotton (Harmony Art fabric) Green Bag Lady reusable bags. The Green Bag Lady began as an eco-friendly art project in 2008, the brainchild of artist Teresa VanHatten-Granath. Teresa and her team of volunteer “Bagettes” sew reusable bags created out of donated fabric and give them away in exchange for a promise to refuse paper and plastic when shopping. The use of these bags worldwide is documented on her web site She also has step-by-step tutorials, patterns, and a video on how to make your own fabric shopping bag.


Shopping Bags

Shopping Bags

Please enter comments on this post by Sunday, August 21st midnight pacific time, and a winner will be drawn at random. In addition, you will receive some of the fabric sent to us for our article’s photo shoot (shown above), which includes one yard of Ten Flowers, 1/4-yard of Morning Dew, and 1/4-yard of Thirty Nine, all at 110″ wide,  making this giveaway valued at least $90.  Good luck!

We have a winner!

Noelle   Submitted on 2011/08/20 at 3:36 pm

“This is so inspiring! I love all the designs and her method of working! I would LOVE to win this giveaway and show all sewing buddies her fabulous work!

Posted by Living Crafts on Aug 18, 2011 03:05 PM | 512 Comments

Embroidered Fabric

Beautiful embroidered fabric, handmade by Mexican Otomi Indians. Help sustain an old tradition in jeopardy of extinction. One can take up to three months to make!! Sold in squares and 2 meter [about 2.2 yards] or larger. You can also buy small squares.

Posted by Living Crafts on Mar 28, 2011 05:44 PM | 17 Comments

Fabric and Surf Boards?


What does fabric design and surfing have to do together? Well, Heather Ross can only explain it. Heather is one of my absolute most favorite fabric designers of all time. I have a collection of her vintage, old, and new designs and also have made some special items with them. One day when I start sharing my own personal projects (knitting, sewing, felting) on this blog, you will see them. But meanwhile, I want to tell you Walden Surfboards hired her to design surfboards for them. Having lived in Southern California for several years, watching so many surfers and surf boards, I know if I start surfing (in my next life), this is what I’ll be surfing on!

Mendocino collection by Heather Ross

Posted by Living Crafts on Jan 24, 2011 08:12 AM | 5 Comments

Girls Who Love Horses Fabric

This adorable design by Heather Ross is available in spring.

Posted by Living Crafts on Jan 17, 2011 09:05 AM | 2 Comments

Fabric Design to Do Together


This is such a precious way of designing your own striped fabric. I found this blog through Britex Fabrics blog and just reading Sandra’s profile and home page was worth the distraction!

Posted by Living Crafts on Jan 15, 2011 08:03 AM | No Comments

Designing Your Own Wool Fabric – Part II

by Annette Ringeisen

In today’s post, we bring you Part II of the project, (Part I was posted last week, with a tutorial on dyeing your wool fabric), which includes transferring your design into the fabric by a special felting process. Brought to you by Living Crafts in two parts, Annette Ringeisen, an accomplished fiber artist, and Living Crafts magazine contributor, teaches you how to dye your own wool fabric, felt your design, and prepare it for any sewing project you wish.

Today’s tutorial is sponsored by ArtFelt offering a huge giveaway at the end of this post! Here comes Annette in her own words with Part II:

Thinking of a Design

My idea is to embellish my fabric with a needle-felted design, and I’ve chosen two images: a bird sitting on a branch and a branch with red berries. This process is going to be very different from what I am used to. I tend to be very “free hand” in my designs, but I want a repeated design for this project, so I must work with patterns. First, I create the patterns by drawing the design on a sheet of, either, ArtFelt paper for felting or a stabilizer (one that that will wash out).

Next, I copy each design onto a square of the stabilizer (I use ArtFelt paper). I copy the designs over and over again. Wow! How many squares fit onto just one yard of fabric? If you are like me, you might not want to know. It’s better to just get started, knowing you’ll be impressed with yourself when you count up all those squares later.

I feel like I finally can get started…

… on needle felting that is. Fortunately, I have a table that I can leave everything set up on; otherwise, I would have to roll up my fabric every time and also clean up my needles and fibers.

So first I lay out the squares across the fabric to see how I want it to look. Keep in mind what you want to make. Will you need all the pictures facing in the same direction? Is it better to spread them randomly? How close together should they be? I recommend picturing the final piece in your mind’s eye, maybe even sketching it.

Coloring in

Using the felting needle and wool fiber, I start filling in the pattern. It is almost like coloring in a coloring book. I put felting foam underneath the square I am working on and move it to every new square.

Though you will only need a small amount of wool fiber for each square, this amount, of course, multiplies by the number squares you have. In the beginning, you are making just a rough outline, but as you move along you will needle more precisely. Moving the felting needle up and down into the background will felt the fibers together. In the beginning when fibers are still “loose,” they can be moved. Once they are tightly felted they should not be pulled out again.

This is what I am singing in my head right now!:

99 felted squares on the fabric, 99 felted squares. Felt one down and pass to the next, 98 felted squares on the fabric.

Yes, I have never before been so happy to be done with a needle/wet-felting project!

I say this, but do not let it stop you from trying this project because, in the end, it is all worth it!

It is time to wet felt!

Remember:  the design is tightly needle-felted into the fabric, so you needn’t fear it moving around. On a large piece of bubble wrap spread out the fabric and wet it down with soapy water (olive soap or Ivory dish soap and water). Cover it with bubble wrap and roll it up. Moving it back and forth will felt the fabric in one direction, so after a few minutes switch the direction and roll up the fabric the long way.

In order to get rid of the stabilizer, pour boiling water over the entire fabric. I was able to do this in the kitchen sink. Once done, the fabric can go into the washing machine to shrink it down a little more.

Once air-dried the fabric is ready to be turned into a beautiful piece of clothing.

But now that I am finished, I am thinking…oh, wouldn’t it be nice to make fabric like this to cover the old armchair, or maybe the sofa in the other room… You know, the pillows could really use a new cover…Well, I decided I want a soft, warm jacket for myself. Here it is!

The jacket was sewn by Nikki, the hands and heart behind Tadpoles & Butterflies (custom sewn children clothing) and Kobieta (custom sewn clothing for women).


Artfelt is sponsoring today’s tutorial, with giving away two each 5′ x 10′ pieces of ArtFelt paper each valued at $45 plus 20 hanks of wool roving in a variety of colors, each weighing 50 grams, each valued $10.50. Total retail value is $255. To enter drawing, please leave a comment on this post by end of the day Sunday 16th, 8:00 p.m. EST.

Our winner for this giveaway is Colette: “Lovely results. I would like to try it!”

Posted by Living Crafts on Jan 13, 2011 01:50 PM | 396 Comments

Designing Your Own Wool Fabric – Part I

by Annette Ringeisen

Project Picture

In this project, brought to you by Living Crafts in two parts, Annette Ringeisen, an accomplished fiber artist, and Living Crafts magazine contributor, teaches you how to dye your own wool fabric, needle felt your design, and prepare it for any sewing project you wish. To get to know Annette and her company, Wool Creations, visit

The first part is to dye the fabric with acid dyes, and is sponsored by Jacquard Products, offering a giveaway to die for at the end of this post! Here comes Annette in her own words with Part I:

Here’s my plan:

I’ll start with two yards of woven wool fabric, add a bit of dye and some needle-felting, and end up with a richly colored and beautifully patterned piece that I will sew into a lovely jacket.

I know this won’t be the quickest project I’ve ever dreamed up, and I know that I can sometimes, perhaps, get a little ambitious with an idea and before long find myself knee-deep trying to complete it. As a child I would get big ideas. I’d start them, but then not ever finish the project. But I’ve come a long way since then.

(or so I hope…)

Dyeing the fabric

To start, I’ll need to prepare my fabric by soaking it for 30 minutes in a mix of warm water and a good amount of vinegar. I used 58” Wide Wool Melton Beige Fabric By The Yard by Tuva Textiles often available in fabric stores, but any woven wool fabric will do.  Here’s a close up shot of the fabric before dyeing:

It is important for the fiber to really absorb the liquid so the dye will be taken in easily.

While I wait, I can mix my colors. I’m in the mood for an earthy palate, so I go with yellow, orange, brown, blue, and red.

I follow the directions on the container of the acid dyes from Jacquard Products. Always be sure to use all recommended cautions and follow the directions for best results! Also, as they say on their website, the only acid is the vinegar you use.

I’ve decided to dye my fabric with the low water immersion technique. The outcome is always a bit of a surprise, and I guess I am in the mood for a bit of surprise. I use an old large crock-pot, a perfect fit for all my fabric. Along with the fabric, the warm water and the 2 cups of vinegar, I leave enough space for the dyes to be added. I like to experiment with dye order. Depending on how and in which order the dyes are added, the results can be very different. These pictures show that it can be fun to experiment.

To dye my fabric, I first pour yellow onto one area of the immersed wool and watch it creep along the fabric. The color will be more intense where it first touches and more subdued where the fabric folds. Try to move the fabric as little as possible if you would like more variations of shade, but move it more if you prefer a more uniform saturation. After a few minutes, I add the next color. I have to be patient—my colors will get “dirty” if I add them too soon. When the water is clear, I know my color is absorbed and another color can be added. By the way, as I do all this, my crock-pot is on. The temperature is kept just below boiling, as recommended for the dyes I
am using. This is important for the dyes to set.

Now it is time to let the dye-bath cool down and then to lift out the fabric. I rinse well in water till the water runs clear. I’m eager, but I cannot felt the fabric just yet.

Please stay tuned for Part II on Monday, when you will learn how to design and transfer it onto your fabric. Here’s a peek:


Dye Giveaway Photo

Jacquard Products is sponsoring today’s tutorial, with giving away one complete set, including one each of their 40 colors of acid dyes! This is valued at $175. To enter drawing, please leave a comment on this post by end of the day Monday, January 9th 8:00 p.m. EST.

The winner for this Giveaway by Jacquard Products is Melinda Zinda:

I have always wanted to try dying my own fabrics. The colors are so beautiful. I would love this win!

Posted by Living Crafts on Jan 7, 2011 09:22 PM | 474 Comments


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