As much as I love collecting and learning about textiles, I love even more to use them to create.  I would view myself as “improvisational” or “experimental” in style – there is not enough time to actually make all the fantastic textiles I can imagine making, so sometimes I just make quick versions in paper.  Maybe one day I will create beautifully crafted, detailed versions of these ideas – but probably not.

Valentine’s Day brings to mind those great old lacy, beribboned cards.  I would love to make my own, but it would take hours, so I decided to scan some of my lace scraps and use those to create cards.  (It ended up still taking hours, but at least now I can re-use the scans and designs.)

While pulling out odds and ends of lace, I noticed how many different types of red textiles I had, and decided to add them into the mix.   I used some of my antique fabrics, as well as some pieces I had made  over the years. Here are a couple of the results.

If you would like to make some of your own, here’s how I did it. (I like to use Microsoft Excel to design cards, because it’s so easy to place the pictures where you want them.  I use Excel 2003.  A more-up-to-date program may have different menus and options.)

1. Scan the textiles and save them as jpg files.  Crop them to a size that allows the textile to completely fill the shape.

Have the swatch go all the way to the edges, like this:

Not like this

2:  Open Microsoft Excel.  From the drawing toolbar, click on the Autoshapes menu and choose the heart.  Click and drag to draw one on your spreadsheet.  Copy the heart and paste as many of them as you like.  (This is much easier than trying to click and drag equal shaped hearts.)

3. Right click on one heart and choose “Format autoshape.”    The menu box will open with the “colors and lines” tab active.    Click on the drop-down arrow in the “fill” section.  Scroll to the bottom of the choices and pick “fill effects.”  Then choose the “picture” tab in the window that opens.
4. Click on “select picture” from that menu, and find the picture you want in your files.  Click on it to insert it, then click “ok”.   You will now see a tiny fraction of the picture in the “fill” bar.  Click “ok”.  You can’t really control how the picture is arranged in the shape, so don’t obsess over it.
5. Once you have the hearts filled with the pictures you want, you can rotate them, resize them, or overlap them as you like.  Don’t forget to “print preview” to make sure it all fits on the paper before you print!  Or just send them as e-cards.
Of course you could choose any of the other autoshapes for other occasions.  Have fun showcasing and sharing your textiles!