Weekly musings #4

Coming to you a little later than usual this week. Life is so full at the moment but the aim of this blog is to record and share my thoughts and favourite designs, tutorials and tips weekly. So, here we are with week 4, and the theme is dogs.


Origami doggie friends, Dog noses, Zak the Collie Dog mug and Dogs Aplenty

Clockwise from left:

Selma Cardoso is a Portuguese designer and has a whole collection of designs on Redbubble that are origami animals. This origami dog design looks great on a pillow.

Dog Noses by Mongiesama was one of the entries in the Spoonflower challenge Dog Days. I wrote a little about my first foray into Spoonflower challenges in last week’s post.

My favourite mug has a fabulous, eye-catching dog design on it. Cherrydidi is based in Cumbria in the UK and this is one of her Zak the Collie Dog products. Zak is a real dog and you can see pictures of him here.


The winner of the Dog Days Spoonflower challenger was Scrummy with Dogs Aplenty. This design would work on just about anything, I think. I keep imagining it made up as a By Hand London Anna dress.


I have mentioned The Honest Designers podcast in a previous blogpost. Their most recent podcast is all about persevering through the early stages of setting yourself up as a designer. Calamity Katie Designs is very much in its early stages and this podcast reasonated with me. Please give this episode a listen if you are at the same period of your design career or thinking to launch a design career. Top takeaways for me were:

  • Stop comparing yourself with your peers
  • Never stop learning and growing; don’t stand still
  • Stay curious!

Tip of the week

I was recently asked by a fellow textile pattern designer if I would recommend selling designs with Spoonflower. I didn’t hesitate to say yes but added that you have to order a swatch before you can put your design up for sale. If you order individual samples of your patterns then it will cost £2.00 or $5.00 which will quickly mount up. There are a couple of ways to save money though.

Fill-a-yard cheater quilt

You can proof up to 42 designs at once by creating a Fill-a-yard cheater quilt.

  1. Add the patterns to be proofed to a “Collection”
  2. Choose a basic yard or Fill-A-Project® template
  3. Apply the designs you have collected and arrange them how you wish
  4. Order your yard!

Swatch Sampler

For testing a smaller number of designs the Swatch Sampler is the best option. With this method you can test up to 30 swatches at a time.

  1. As above, you need to create a “Collection” of your patterns
  2. Click the “Get a Sampler” button on the top right
  3. Click on the design thumbnail to check how each design will print
  4. Select the type of fabric
  5. Order your sample

I haven’t tried either of these yet but I plan to and I’ll share my experience in a future post.

More detailed instructions can be found on the Spoonflower blog.


I have been working on a new design this week, featuring a watercolour pattern I painted a while ago. I decided to add a background to this pattern but wanted to keep it simple. I discovered Adobe Illustrator has textured backgrounds built-in; never having used these before, I looked for an online tutorial and found this one:

Helen Bradley’s YouTube tutorial for backgrounds in AI

I have used a number of Helen’s tutorials in the past and they have saved me many a frustrated hour trying to figure something out. This one also covers downloading textures from other websites and uploading them to AI.

I wish you all the best for the week ahead!

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