A few months ago, I did this little article for ElleDecor.com about Spoonflower.  I’d never used Spoonflower before, but had heard the buzz about it and wanted to find out more (it’s pretty cool to have a job where you get paid to learn about various random things that interest you). I talked to co-founder Stephen Fraser about the North Carolina start-up, watched this short video and was very intrigued by this novel print-on-demand fabric venture that he and business partner Gart Davis started in 2008 (with much help from their wives, Kim and Anne).
Spoonflower founders Stephen Fraser and Gart Davis. Photo courtesy Spoonflower.
 They went from cutting fabric at their kitchen table to a community of 100,000 users in under three years—entirely by word of mouth. After I wrote the ElleDecor.com piece, I realized that Stephen would be a great person to do a Q&A/giveaway with, and he very generously agreed.
The Spoonflower home page. Photo courtesy Spoonflower.
Photo courtesy Spoonflower.
 So, in addition to a signed copy of Sew Retro, the winner of the giveaway will also get two yards (a 2-yard cut of one print, or two 1-yard cuts of two different prints) of Spoonflower fabric-- either your own design or someone else’s. This is your chance to try your hand at designing your own fabric, or to buy someone else’s custom-designed creation. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!

To enter, leave a comment about Spoonflower—perhaps your favorite Spoonflower print or a suggestion for their next design contest—by Wednesday, February 23nd, 2011, at noon EST.

And now, here is the Q&A with Stephen Fraser, with a little help from his wife, Kim. Enjoy!

Q: So, you are up to 100,000 strong in the Spoonflower community, and the site is positively brimming with talent from all over the world. Could you ever have envisioned this three years ago? What were your original goals for Spoonflower?

Fraser: Spoonflower came about because of a conversation I had one night with my wife, Kim, who wondered why she couldn't get her own fabric design printed to make curtains. Being an Internet guy, I found it strange that there wasn't already service that allowed people to create their own textiles, so I approached a friend, Gart Davis, about the idea and we ended up launching the first version of the Spoonflower site around May of 2008.

The Spoonflower community has grown to well over a 100,000 people at this point, which is a huge thrill for us. We keep a map on the wall—printed on fabric of course—with pins in it showing all 114 countries to which we've shipped fabric so far. When we got started we were hopeful, of course, that the idea of custom printed fabric would catch on, but from a personal standpoint it's a bit dizzying to look at where we are now compared with where we started. Building a manufacturing business from scratch using our own limited funds has been a learning experience full of challenges at every turn.

The goal with which we started was relatively simple. We wanted to take digital textile printing technology—which made it possible to print fabric with no minimum—and to make it accessible to regular people. By "regular people" I mean crafters—people like my wife Kim—who have a passion for fabric and making things but who would never spend $50 a yard to use a specialty printing service for custom fabric. To make that possible we had to solve two central problems. The first was to figure out a way to produce digitally printed fabric quickly and relatively inexpensively. The second challenge was to develop a web-based process for creating and ordering fabric with your own design that was simple and easy to use. So that's what my business partner Gart Davis and I set out to do when we started. We had a head start on the second challenge because we'd both worked for an Internet business that offered print on demand products before (Lulu.com), but we really had a lot to learn about textiles and handling digital printers. But in terms of learning the trade, we had the good fortune to live in an area with a lot of expertise not only in textiles, but also in digitally printed textiles specifically. The NC State College of Textiles is nearby, and so is a not-for-profit organization called [TC]2, which serves the sewn goods industry. They were extremely helpful to us as we went about learning what we needed to know to develop Spoonflower.

Q: Where did the name Spoonflower come from?

Fraser: Spoonflower is the common name of an endangered wildflower that is native to the Southeast and grows on the edges of swamps and bogs. Kim and I ran across the name several years ago when we were figuring out what kinds of plants we could use in the rain garden in our backyard. We thought it would be the perfect name for a business that was all about self-expression and individuality.
Q: The Spoonflower story sort of reminds me of the story of Butterick patterns. One night, Ebenezer Butterick’s wife mentioned that it would be great to have sewing patterns that were already graded (sized). Butterick, a tailor by trade, saw the light bulb and started Butterick patterns! How long was it from the time you had this conversation with Kim until Spoonflower launched, and what did you do to plant the seeds for your business?

Fraser: The conversation about Kim's curtains happened in the fall of 2007, when Kim was pregnant with our third daughter, who was born that December. I think Gart and I sat down for coffee in early January 2008 and decided to pursue the idea of a print on demand fabric business. We started by asking crafters what they thought of the idea and posting a short survey online, which was then picked up and linked by several crafting blogs, including Sew Mama Sew. Within a few days we had over 500 responses to the survey. What was clear to Gart and I immediately was that our wives were not the only ones excited about the idea of printing custom fabric—lots of people wanted us to create this service.

First we set up a blog to record our progress and then we went about the process of starting to build the software that would allow Spoonflower to exist. The buzz about Spoonflower spread from blog to blog through the spring and summer and by the time we opened up the site to one and all in October of 2008 we had thousands of people—not just signed up to use Spoonflower—but cheering us on.

Q: You mentioned that you had previously worked for Lulu.com, where you gained experience in print-on-demand. What was the learning curve like when you started working with printing fabric?

Fraser: Helping develop Lulu taught us a lot about giving people the power to publish their own creations online. We understood the landscape in the sense that we knew that our task was to provide tools that enable a creative community to accomplish various things associated with the central task of creating custom fabric. We knew that we always had to give people control over their own work, how to manage and nurture a community of people who want to share their creativity with one another, and how to encourage people to connect with others and discover new designs.

Having said that, the Spoonflower experience has been wildly different from Lulu in terms of the resources available to us. Lulu was a technology company that from the beginning had significant financial backing, whereas Spoonflower was a startup founded by two guys without a lot of money. Where Lulu had a team of software engineers, we had one (Gart). But the part we really had to learn from scratch was the fabric printing. The story of our efforts master digital textile printing would take a long time to relate, but suffice to say it has required a lot of persistence. What kept us going even though the dark days when we thought we'd go bankrupt before we had it figured out was the enthusiasm of the Spoonflower community—customers who were so passionate and excited to have the chance to create their own fabrics and who desperately wanted us to succeed. When we started out, Kim had to explain to me the difference between linen and cotton. I'm slightly more educated than that now.

Q: So, does being around all of this fabulous fabric all day make you want to sew?
Fraser: Yes! I am always imagining projects that would be perfect for digitally printed fabric, but am brought to an abrupt halt by my inability to sew. But that's probably for the best—my to-do list is pretty long and I stay behind as it is.

Q: A question for Kim: Stephen mentioned that you are part of a generation of women who has rediscovered domesticity and sewing (I think we’re the same generation—I’m 36, so I hope I’m not adding years on to you!). Can you talk about what this process of rediscovery has been like, and how technology has impacted it?

Kim Fraser: I'll be turning 40 this year so no offense taken!  As far as rediscovering domesticity, I should say straight off that I've always been a huge homebody and have been interested in learning how to make the things that I need for as long as I can remember, from growing and canning my own food, cooking and baking, sewing my own clothes, and making items for my house.  I only dabbled with sewing in college but got serious about it once I had children.  I remember trying to shop for dresses for my very tall oldest daughter—age six at the time—and finding nothing in the stores that didn't just look cheap or much too old for her. I started sewing simple dresses for her out of fabric that I let her pick out. (A god-awful dress made from a large horse print springs to mind.)  Then when I got pregnant with my second daughter, the nesting urge kicked in hard. That's when I started really sewing in earnest—quilts, baby bedding, stuffed toys, etc. I love making clothes for my girls, and I still get so much satisfaction out of feathering our "nest."  It's much more gratifying than buying stuff off a shelf that has no soul and no personal meaning to us.

Technology I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it can be so inspiring to cruise around online looking at all the beautiful things that fellow sewists and crafters are making. I also have to admit that I've struggled with guilty feelings about my domestic bent and worried that such interests weren't terribly modern or enlightened.  It's tremendously validating to know that there are literally thousands of other women out there who also share my interests. But on the other hand, the internet is a huge time suck! I often have to remind myself very sternly to shut the laptop and just make something already!

Q: Back to Stephen, where do you come up with all those wacky and wonderful contest themes?

Fraser: I usually come up with the contest themes late at night the evening before we send out our weekly contest email. We've now done well over a hundred contests, which means that I'm always looking for new ideas and often rely on suggestions from Spoonflower community members, Spoonflower staff, and Kim.

Q: What is the biggest challenge for Spoonflower right now?

Fraser: Our biggest challenge on any given day is typically managing the growth of our company using the limited resources we have. We have a small, very devoted and hard working team of people at Spoonflower who do an amazing amount to make our business run. And we're continuing to grow each month that goes by, which is very exciting—and never boring! We're looking forward to doing some new things this year, but the first task is always to make sure we can keep up with our core business, which is printing the fabric people order from us every day. Our next big announcement will involve a promotion we're doing with a major quilting fabric manufacturer, which I expect will generate a lot of excitement in the fabric-loving community.

2/17/2011 08:30:44 am

Spoonflower have the most sweetest fabrics,I would love to make my own fabric(I sign up ), but feel a little shy after seen all the beautiful work done there!
Next contest should be about Antique toys or specific dolls.

2/17/2011 08:31:56 am

Oh Yay!!! I bumped into Spoonflower a little over a week ago. I am so happy I found a place where I could make my own fabric. Trouble is I'm not the greatest at drawing...so I've been Googling sites on how to use Photoshop and Illustrator so that I can somehow create my own repeat pattern of a shape or design. I've also viewed some youtube tutorials that I need to try out. Next design...hmmm... I know they have a contest on breakfast theme. How about a pig(bacon), cow(milk) and chicken (eggs) eating some sort of human food?

2/17/2011 08:51:51 am

their service is fantastic! I have participated in their contests in the past and they are so much fun. really responsive on questions too.

2/17/2011 08:53:48 am

I LOVE Spoonflower! As a quilt designer, it is awesome to have the opportunity to purchase unique fabrics to use! Ideas for future themes: picnic, beach, Blythe dolls, kaleidoscope, rainbow, alphabet, clocks or spiders

2/17/2011 08:55:16 am

Ahh... the freedom to design my own fabric. I'm still drawing and can't wait to start printing and sewing.

Maybe the next contest can be endangered species?

2/17/2011 08:56:41 am

I am a Spoonflower addict! I've been designing and printing there for about a year and a half, since when they were still in beta phase! I've done over 100 designs and have so many more in my head and in my sketchbook!

Sarah Walden
2/17/2011 08:56:47 am

I am a huge fan of SF! I've been reinvesting my "spoondollars" from my sales into proofing more prints and now I get a decent little sum from just doodling on my computer! I love being able to create my own prints - I specialize in photographic prints like this one here:

2/17/2011 08:57:58 am

I love Spoonflower's weekly contests - they are so inspiring and fun!

Audrey Clayton
2/17/2011 08:59:55 am

I already have a Spoonflower account and I would love to be able to print off some more of my designs to use for some fun projects around my house!

2/17/2011 09:04:34 am

I'm totally addicted to Spoonflower! I especially love their weekly competitions, as they really stretch my design muscles. I've created fabrics that I would NEVER have developed with out their random suggestions. Plus it is so much fun to talk and get encouragement from other artists in the Spoonflower community! Thanks guys!

2/17/2011 09:07:18 am

I dream of making a wrap skirt from the tetris fabric, and can't wait for the Squid contest coming up. The world needs more cephalopod fabric!

2/17/2011 09:09:57 am

Spoonflower is not only a source for awesome fabric, but also for inspiration. I always feel creatively refueled when I drop by the site and browse for a bit.

2/17/2011 09:13:01 am

I LOVE Spoonflower! Their awesome designers and their super sweet prints! I love the fact that they can take something someone has drawn and make it into fabric! How Cool Is That!!

2/17/2011 09:17:38 am

I love Spoonflower and follow their contests every week. It's really amazing to hear that they really didn't know much about fabric printing, and have come such a long way!

I can't remember all their contests, but some fun ones would be circus themed, and textures (like how the faux wood has been so popular).

2/17/2011 09:31:45 am

I am absolutely nuts about spoonflower! Some neat contest themes: lions, architecture, moose, Eskimos, mythology, non-traditional color scheme, utensils, landscapes, and retro appliances.

2/17/2011 09:36:16 am

I could never pick a favorite Spoonflower design...that would be like trying to pick a favorite flower, impossible! There are too many wonderful designs!

2/17/2011 09:36:24 am

I love the Heather Ross fabric collections and their design contests.

2/17/2011 09:36:43 am

I discovered Spoonflower a few weeks ago through an artisan I follow. I've since ordered and received my sample swatches from Spoonflower. I'll be using their services to incorporate my textile designs for an upcoming line of children's apparel I'm completing.

Nice blog. I'm always curious about the story behind solutions.

2/17/2011 09:40:28 am

I would like to see more color palette restricted contests – it is neat to have diverse designs that can be coordinated.

Also, so many of the designs are small, for quilts I would guess, I would like to see a contest calling for large scale only.

And I think a contest to design play mats of at least one yard could be delightful, perhaps with a restriction that they be fantasy?

2/17/2011 09:41:28 am

Spoonflower has out of the box designs! My fav's are the toile and the cute one with windows! People have an outlet for their talents! Something I admire!

2/17/2011 09:43:49 am

As a graphic designer, I love being able to turn my designs into something tactile through Spoonflower. My favorite design so far is the Doctor Who-inspired design:


2/17/2011 09:49:57 am

Spoonflower gives me inspiration to do the "handi" crafts that my Grandmother did.

2/17/2011 09:50:22 am

I absolutely love Spoonflower because it has a wide range of fabrics, showing just how much they support diverse artists. I am tired of seeing so much fabric aimed at little girls or babies. I have two boys and am a geek myself. Already I have fabric from Spoonflower to make Dr Who pj's and a tetris skirt. Keep up the brilliant work!!

Laura Sanchez
2/17/2011 09:50:59 am

WoW! I just discovered Spoonflower and your blog, have bookmarked both and plan to try my luck at designing fabric.

2/17/2011 09:52:16 am

I've used Spoonflower a couple of times, and, as my budget allows, will use many more times. I have a ball both looking at other people's designs, and creating my own. And the only design software that I have is the basic Paint.

For future contests, well, I inherited a nice little collection of fabrics from my grandmother, mostly vintage/antique Scandinavian flannel and vintage/antique Irish linen. I love the prints, and would love to see contests with similar themes, that is regional themes, with or without additional restrictions (colour, time-period,etc.) Outback, South-Pacific, Polar regions, coastal, islands, Mediterranean, deep sea, and tropical rain forest all come to mind.

2/17/2011 10:04:31 am

I { a d o r e } Spoonflower! I swear I've spent hours going through designs. Already have a project planned in the works using some of the fabric created during the kawaii contest. :)

2/17/2011 10:06:35 am

I've heard of Spoonflower but never taken the time to look, what an amazing site. One of my favorites is Summer Owls.

Nancy Young
2/17/2011 10:06:40 am

I love spoonflower. I have turned some of my artwork into fabric and have even had people buy some of my fabric! the amount of creativity at Spoonflower is amazing. I am imspired by the variety of designs.

I love the the design contests and they cover such a wide variety of subjects. I would like to see a contest on birds that are original art.

2/17/2011 10:08:34 am

I love Spoonflower! My ideas for future contests: text-fabric, tulips, birds, insects, sports.

2/17/2011 10:14:59 am

I LOVE Spoonflower and have been wanting to design something myself :) I love all the great unique fabrics they have!

Patti Marrin
2/17/2011 10:18:26 am

Love this! Quilters and people like me who quilt and piece for others sometimes need "just the right fabric" and can't find it. Or have something in mind and need it printed! Yeah for Spoonflower!

2/17/2011 10:24:39 am

Spoonflower is doing something I was wishing for in High School some 35 years ago. Not even internet existed then, and I didn't even know how to begin to find out about fabric and design. I want to tell the world about Spoonflower so everyone who wants to express themselves can.

2/17/2011 10:27:52 am

I love the concept! And I love Spoonflower's designs!

2/17/2011 10:34:10 am

Have they had a manatee contest yet? I think 2011 should be the year of the manatee!

2/17/2011 10:47:09 am

oh, I love ALL the contests on Spoonflower... I'd most like to see something with transportation, I think... or maybe an educational theme (like, not just letters scattered, but something my preschool/elementary kid can learn from)

2/17/2011 10:47:50 am

Love Spoonflower! Some of my favorites (and a great design contest) would be the fabrics that have constructables on them, like dolls, animals, etc.

Sue Lipscomb
2/17/2011 10:50:13 am

My late friend Doris was a seamstress like me..we loved to sew having been doing it since we were kids in the 60's and 70's...She had a great saying, "You can never have enough fabric", a quote I have been using since she passed.

Spoonflower fabrics remind me, You cn never have enough fabric...the prints take me back to my childhood and I just want them all!

Love them and thanks for the rekindled memories of my youth!

Kathy Howard
2/17/2011 10:52:39 am

I found Spoonflower a while ago. I find designing fascinating and I enter the contest occasionally. I'm khowardquilts.
I'd like to see a repeat of the cheater quilt contest and maybe farm animals.

2/17/2011 10:53:37 am

What about a contest involving elephants? I think that would be fun.

2/17/2011 11:01:18 am

I think Spoonflower is fantastic! When I first heard about it, I was literally skipping around the house. Recently I designed some personalized fabric for my friends' newborn and am making him a baby quilt.

Jenn LB
2/17/2011 11:04:55 am

I love Spoonflower and am crossing both fingers, would love to get a chance to work with that inspiring fabric. Lots of talented folks working with Spoonflower.

2/17/2011 11:13:12 am

I loved the website and quickly found a fabric print covered with images from the show Doctor Who that my family would love!

2/17/2011 11:31:03 am

I just can't say how wonderful Spoonflower is, just wait 'til you get that first batch of custom fabric in your hands, with your design on it and tell me it's not the greatest thing! I'd love to see a theme with crustaceans, or maybe mythical beasts. Good job Spoonflower, keep it up! :)

2/17/2011 11:35:48 am

I just found Spoonflower a month ago, and I've had so much fun with it already! I'm printing custom fabric for accents for my wedding - I can't wait to see the results!

2/17/2011 11:37:06 am

I love Spoonflower. I've designed my own fabric there and have found other wonderful artists and designers.

2/17/2011 11:40:14 am

I have read about the labels you can design have made at Spoonflower. The idea of designing a custom label for my quilts makes me crazy excited...in a VERY good way!

2/17/2011 11:55:33 am

I LOVE Spoonflower. As a clothing designer for children, I always wanted to also design my own fabric but all the manufacturers wanted me to buy 1,000 yds at a time, Spoonflower allows me to create exactly the fabric I want so I can create and create and create and just buy exactly what I need. And the weight and quality of the fabric is outstanding! I tried another ondemand fabric service...using the same exact digital file and it didn't even compare to spoonflower, I wrote the other comapny back, attached a sample of my spoonflower fabric and demanded my money back! I'm a Spooner now until forever! My favorite fabric (besides my own?) that would be Cean's "The Firebird"(http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/337881)

2/17/2011 12:00:10 pm

I like to go to Spoonflower and moon over everything. I desperately want to try my hand at designing, but I get sucked into all the awesome things that other people design :)

2/17/2011 12:00:17 pm

I love the Spoonflower design contests--it's great to see how everyone interprets the themes in their fabric design ... it always sparks a lot of design ideas for me, too.

2/17/2011 12:49:07 pm

That was a great interview! I love Spoonflower-I'm totally artistcally challenged, but find great thing there and have ordered my fair share!

2/17/2011 01:21:43 pm

I LOVE spoonflower and when I found them I think I got myself in trouble...(mischievous smile). I'm not sure if they've had a contest yet on this or not, but it would be an interesting topic: Water. Water is so soothing, calming and feels great...would be fun to see how others view it.

Gail Goodhand
2/17/2011 01:50:46 pm

Wonderful knowing the back story for one of my favorite sites. I love all the fabric I've seen at the site, but some of my favorites are the steampunk inspired ones.
Would love to win, but would have a hard time figureing out what to order, but I'd manage, lol.

2/17/2011 01:57:22 pm

I really like: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/118112

Design my own fabric? I'd love to, but I'm not very creative...

2/17/2011 02:00:22 pm

I love Spoonflower. Because of them I'm able to make the things I imagine real. I used to spend hours walking in circles in the fabrics storms trying to find stuff that was like I had imagined for projects and I would get very frustrated. They've turned the art of sewing into art AND sewing. I'm hooked. My biggest challenge? Waiting for the fabric - even though they are incredibly fast, lately I've been so excited for my fabric that I spend the money to get it rushed. :) A Spoonflower day at my house is like Christmas Day. The kids watch out the window for the Fed Ex truck and cheer when it pulls up!!!

2/17/2011 02:02:13 pm

Spoonflower is wonderful because it gently encourages people to follow their designing dreams.

2/17/2011 02:08:50 pm

I've been drooling over some fabric on Spoonflower lately! Idea for another contest: Retro Kitchen. (I see tons of uses for this one!)

2/17/2011 02:45:18 pm

I love spoonflower. Have a lot of designs on it. I'm addicted. Just can't stop designing. A recent find is RepperPro, a software for making patterns, by StudioLudens. I think a contest in Spoonflower for this software would be awesome, but then again one would have to have the software. And no I'm not getting paid to advertise for them, I'm also addicted to Repper!!

2/17/2011 02:54:00 pm

What a wonderful service you are providing. I am excited and a bit nervous about designing my own fabric. I hope I'm the winner of the book. As a child of the Age of Aquarius, I hope to find designs I miss from that time.

Maj Carita
2/17/2011 03:05:11 pm

I didn't know it until a moment ago, Spoonflower is what I have been waiting for! Now I may translate my art to a medium I can carry out into my world - or wear it! Great idea! Thanyou Spoonflower.

2/17/2011 03:20:08 pm

I simply love spoonflower. Coming from a small city in a small country where sewing isn't as popular as some other places around the world, I almost never found any fabric that I really loved. It's great that i can make my own now, and I especially love that the shipping to Europe isn't more expensive than the fabric itself:)

2/17/2011 03:58:29 pm

I was referred to Spoonflower by a crafty friend, and I am amazed at how many ideas just browsing the site has given me!

To give a moderately self-serving contest suggestion: Gender-neutral nursery fabric! Extra points given for not being exclusively green. ;)

Rachal McKay
2/17/2011 05:18:48 pm

spoonflower is like a whole new universe you can get lost in!!! so many talented people. i love the little red riding hood designs on there

2/17/2011 05:25:23 pm

i can't remember where i discovered spoonflower weeks ago, but it is seems to be wonderful! i have just ordered fabric swatches and a color swatch card. i can't wait to order my first design!

2/17/2011 06:24:46 pm

omg i'd never heard of this website before! All my costumes and designs are becoming a reality!

2/17/2011 07:31:25 pm

The Spoonflower community is WONDERFUL! As Bee&Lotus, I have been designing textiles for a very short time but have received so much support and encouragment from complete strangers. Thankyou Spoonflower!

2/17/2011 07:45:19 pm

Spoonflower is one of my favorite sites.

As a consumer, they've got excellent customer service. While you sometimes have to wait awhile for fabric to be printed during busy times, they have by far the best customer service I've ever experienced. They're super prompt and polite when solving any problems or answering questions.

2/17/2011 09:22:10 pm

I love Spoonflower!

What about the contest theme "Severe Weather" or just "Weather".

2/17/2011 10:04:12 pm

I enjoy the Spoonflower fabric contests and vote each week. I like the restricted color weeks.

2/17/2011 10:16:01 pm

I love Spoonflower! Their shipping is so fast and having access to so many interesting designs is so inspirational.

Not going to lie, I'd love if it was a leetle bit cheaper! But it's so worth a splurge, and that makes it feel just a little bit more special :)

Stephanie Bailey
2/17/2011 10:29:17 pm

Oh my gosh!! This is so cool! I love so many, I don't know if I'd be able to pick! What creative minds there are out there!!

2/17/2011 11:04:38 pm

SF is wonderfull and I keep enjoying designing and printing with them.
My favorite designer is muhlenkott.

2/17/2011 11:14:53 pm

I love using spoonflower for fabric gifts (tea towels, quilts, etc). I hope to make my wedding dress from fabric I design too!

Elizabeth W
2/17/2011 11:31:21 pm

spoonflower is amazing! My co-workers all received tea towels from me this year and it was fun to see their reaction to receiving something homemade! Love!

2/17/2011 11:38:32 pm

Thank you Spoonflower, for allowing me (a single mother) to imagine, draw, create fabric and turn it into lovely creations to give away and sell! I am just another on your long list of admirers. I appreciated this interview to get to know your process a little more. Hmm...design contests...? perhaps moustaches... poppies...or trees?

2/17/2011 11:45:04 pm

Just discovered Spoonflower and there isn't a design I don't love. SPOONFLOWER - WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE!!!!!

2/17/2011 11:46:33 pm

I love spoonflower too :).

I am not really talented in designing but it makes fun to browse through all these wonderful designs there.

My most favorite designers there are Cynthia Frenette and Hamburger Liebe.

An idea for an upcoming contest is: Labels

2/17/2011 11:51:07 pm

Spoonflower is a great concept, and the story of their growth is amazing. I have ordered before, but have yet to print any of my own designs.

2/17/2011 11:57:41 pm

Love spoonflower. Some day I will print my own design. In the meantime the contests give me inspiration.

jill ballard
2/18/2011 12:08:42 am

Hi there, what beautiful fabrics - I am developing fabric envy. Textiles like this are not so easily available where I live and I have had the book on my Amazon wish list for soooooo very long!
Jill - Cambridge UK>

2/18/2011 12:15:07 am

I like making clothes, drawing and unique things, so yeah, I think Spoonflower is awesome!
As for contest themes, it would be interesting to see what people would do with cassical patterns such as stripes or polkadots!

2/18/2011 12:18:53 am

I love Spoonflower! I think the next contest should be houndstooth ... or umbrellas ... or hedgehogs. :)

2/18/2011 01:58:42 am

I loved the tea towel project they had done, maybe table squares would be a good contest idea!

Melissa Mitchell
2/18/2011 02:08:38 am

I love Spoonflower! The best customer service, too! My Etsy shop is filled with my Spoonflower creations.

2/18/2011 02:54:49 am

I discovered Spoonflower not long ago, and have had lots of fun designing fabrics - although I am very much an amateur at design! My favorite project was a tea towel I made for my stepmom for Christmas - the colors were so brilliant. Great company!

2/18/2011 03:02:38 am

I love Spoonflower and really enjoy their weekly fabric design contest. Fantastic entrants to vote for and a great way to feel involved. They certainly have found the perfect formula for success and I would just be overjoyed to win some of their incredible fabric!

2/18/2011 03:17:15 am

I LOVE spoonflower! I'm just a newbie at designing fabric, so I haven't placed my first order yet, but I know it'll be soon!
I'd love to see them do a "mid century modern" contest because its so hard to find retro-modern fabric!

2/18/2011 03:19:42 am

I've only recently discovered spoonflower and am fishing around for projects to work AROUND the amazing fabrics I'm finding. There's more great fabric prints than there are patterns/ideas/projects for me to use them with! I know the likelihood of me winning is small - but who cares?! I'm just excited to have a new world of fabrics open up to me!

2/18/2011 04:05:07 am

Spoonflower is amazing. I love that I can find virtually any type of "thing" printed onto fabric - there are so many cool designs!

Carina Povarchik
2/18/2011 05:27:12 am

I've been in Spoonflower since October 2010 now, just a few months... I don't remember how I came into their website... but... I have NO enough words to say how happy they make me, I think I'm all day saying Thanks God for inspiring them to make this company, such a GREAT idea! :)
I would be buying lot of fabric for sewing and crafting, although is not cheap for me (just a currency issue from my country, NOT Spoonflower's fault) I dream with the day my country were using dollars too :D OR with the day that Spoonflower could make another store here in Argentina :) :P
- Fairies could be a wonderful theme for a contest I think...
- Cities another one
- Xmas, with for example limited color palette.
Love you all!!!

2/18/2011 07:27:24 am

My whole life I have felt I should be designing fabric. As a high school art student most of my class work revolved around designs I thought would make great fabric. As a tiki artist, one of the first in the tiki revival scene, I could see that there was a market for vintage flavored hawaiian prints. Not just the same old stiff you see everywhere, but designs that really sparked a flash back. I have spent literally decades in fabric stores all over the place looking for fabrics to make my own clothes. Occasionally I'd find something I thought was cool, but usually it was a matter of picking the best of what was availible. I started with Spoonflower last year uploading a few of my original paintings and placing them into repeats. A good toe-dip in the fabric design pool. Other projects distarcted me for several months and I sort of forgot about the "want" for a bit. Recently as part of a bigger design project for an event I was asked to create a custom fabric and BOOM I was off. In a couple of weeks I had created and launched about 150 vintage flavored hawaiian prints. I cant wait to see people wearing custom made retro clothes from my designs. It's a complete vision and I'm on my way thanks to Spoonflower. Dawn aka Sophista-tiki

2/18/2011 07:40:30 am

Spoonflower has started printing a variety of fabric types----not just quilt weight cotton. I LOVE that. Whimsical prints on jersey-knit are so great for childrens clothes.

2/18/2011 09:36:05 am

Great to read some background about Spoonflower. I love that the site inspires so much creativity

Drea Roman
2/18/2011 11:12:56 am

I, too, cannot say enough about Spoonflower - not just the wonderful fabric and being able to see my designs in print, but the amazing community of designers that support each other during the process. Thank you Spoonflower for taking the risk and all the individual care you still give even as you grow to over 100,000!
Contest themes... family (there can be many interpretations), architecture, Earth Day, school or office supplies...
Thank you so much for the give-away! ♥

2/18/2011 12:05:27 pm

I LOVE Spoonflower! I was ecstatic to find the website just as I began brainstorming about different ways to create my educational quilts for children and classrooms. Of course, it is hard not to branch out and create all kinds of designs for your home and children!!! I would love to see the contests: peace, llamas, handwriting, alphabet, school, children, around the world, earth day, space, robots... the possibilities are endless!

2/18/2011 12:10:13 pm

I just had my first experience with Spoonflower & I love it! It helps fit the niche market in things like breed specific fabrics for those of us that want to show our love for our dogs in a rather stylish way.
I'm glad I ran in to it & I've recommended it to several people now.
<3 it!

2/18/2011 12:42:42 pm

Spoonflower is on my list of things to use some of my pocket money on, I would love to try my hand at designing some fabric too

2/18/2011 03:07:38 pm

I love Spoonflower. I love voting in the weekly design contest and seeing all the variations on a theme. Spoonflower rocks!

2/18/2011 03:50:01 pm

ive got dozens of creative textile projects in my head, using OOAK fabrics from Spoonflower is necessary to make the special!

2/18/2011 05:23:13 pm

I had spoonflower in my bookmarks-to-check forever and finally checked it recently. Wow! Exactly what I was looking for! I am designing my own fabric now and I am thrilled. I d love a contest about insects, alphabets, and more palette restricted themes.

2/18/2011 09:10:49 pm

Spoonflower meets such a demand in the marketplace. Thank you so much! Also, if you ever need any volunteers in the RTP area. Just ask.

2/18/2011 11:32:07 pm

OH MY! I don't own any Spoonflower fabrics, but I visit often to drool over all the lovely eye candy! AND your book??? WOW! This would be an amazing win! Thanks for the chance!!!

Candy Joyce
2/19/2011 05:27:50 am

I'm a big Spoonflower fan and try to tell as many people about it as possible. Would love to win this prize so that I could snap up a couple of the designs that have been lingering in my favourites.

I enter about 1 in every 4 contests and would like to see a knitting/wool/yarn related contest.

Thanks for the chance.

2/19/2011 08:30:13 pm

I'm very glad that I bumped into Spoonflower some time ago...first I was too shy to try my own pattern but right now I'm eagerly waiting for my first swatch samples to come...jupee ;-)...thank you so much for this great oportunity!

2/20/2011 12:28:48 am

I just love so many of the original designs on Spoonflower. It is so inspiring to see so much talent!
It's interesting to find out the meaning of Spoonflower!

Kristin Orth
2/20/2011 12:34:53 am

I love to browse the Spoonflower designs, especially the weekly contests, to see how one theme can become so many different looks! Winning would give me a chance to try guilt-free!

Hope Hyatt
2/20/2011 02:37:14 am

I am greatly inspired by the weekly contests on Spoonflower. I continuously amazed by the results of these contests.

2/20/2011 04:29:56 am

As a regular participant of Spoonflower I have to say it's been a wonderful community and a great way to express my creativity. Great staff to work with, fantastic fellow artists and I get to see my art on fabric! What's not to love?

2/20/2011 05:00:41 am

I've known about Spoonflower for a while now, but today I happened to see some really cute Spoonflower designs on the Fresh Lemon Quilts blog. Then I saw an ad for Spoonflower on facebook and stumbled over here. Thanks for the giveaway!

2/20/2011 08:05:29 am

I love how Spoonflower has made fabric designers out of all of us! I've found a great community on the Spoonflower Flickr pool. And I can't wait each week to see the contest entries. Upcoming contest ideas: Monsters, cherries, something to do with your town or where you live, and tiny prints with 8"x8" previews.

Tina Fry
2/20/2011 09:06:14 am

I love Spoonflower. Opening up the world of fabric design to the wider community is genius. Love to vote and one day expect to contribute. Contest idea: something local = global (in other words something that is uniquely from your part of the world but that we can all relate to).

2/20/2011 10:08:53 am

Spoonflower is such a great website - I am looking forward to printing fabric of my grandchildren so I can make quilts for them and other family members. What fun!

Amy H.
2/20/2011 01:58:19 pm

Excellent interview! I'm about to make my first buy at Spoonflower.

I'd love to see a contest for extra-large scale patterns.

2/20/2011 02:27:24 pm

I just love Spoonflower! All the features are so easy to use and they produce and awesome finished product. Plus everyone there is so helpful!

2/20/2011 06:02:15 pm

Spoonflower is such a great project : a website dedicated to the fabric design lovers :) I used to dream about a place where I could print my own design and Spoonflower made it ! All I want to do now is to make my own plushes with my own fabrics ! So... I think the next Spoonflower contest of the week should be about plush/cushion designed with patterns ! :D

2/20/2011 08:26:47 pm

I discovered Spoonflower a month or so ago, and so far I've created 2 designs for their contest. It's a great way for me to get back to designing patterns, now that I became a stay at home mom. This site gives me the opportunity to do what I love, and connect with people with similar inetrests.
Love it!

2/20/2011 09:45:10 pm

Enjoy Spoonflowers contests and fabrics though are pricy to purchase. Is it possible to have a "monochromatic" contest or ombre contest? Unsure as to the availablity of the technology required for these. Also, the last time I browsed through designs, those available to purchase were intermixed with those requiring contact with designer and unavailable. Is there a way to only see those readily available for purchase after a search for a theme? For example, owl fabric designs that can be put in shopping cart and purchased right then and there. Thanks for the giveaway of your great book and the spoonflower fabric.

2/20/2011 11:04:52 pm

I just found Spoonflower! The interview was very interesting. I love reading about people that develop a passion and stick through the difficult times and land on top! I will be heading in to the "design room" after I get some housework done. I can't wait to get some of my own fabric. Great job!

2/20/2011 11:41:45 pm

I love love Spoonflower and all the fun play and experimentation they've allowed me over the last couple of years!

I'd love to see a small scale calico contest - because that is the kind of fabric I use the most. :)

Beth D.
2/20/2011 11:46:14 pm

I love Spoonflower! My favorite design is by Amel24: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/298745

Hopefully soon I will figure out how to use Illustrator so I can design my own.

2/21/2011 12:23:31 am

I love Spoonflower! It allows so many people to be creative, and push forward in their own businesses.
hmm a contest idea...how about shoes, folk, or weather designs? You guys always come up with good ones, so keep up the good work :)

2/21/2011 12:26:08 am

I love love love Spoonflower! I've got to get my creative little self over to their site and make a swatch for myself...there are so many talented individuals out there, I have an awful time choosing just one!
Oh random number generator, please pick me...I'll make cyber treats.

2/21/2011 12:29:33 am

Ooooh, I adore Spoonflower! I would love to be able to pull a design out of my wee little crafty mind...maybe they could have a contest on a vintage french circus print...THAT would be awesome(sauce)(tm)!

2/21/2011 01:26:51 am

I would suggest giving the designers some small credit when a swatch is sold. I love Spoonflower!

2/21/2011 01:30:52 am

What a fabulous find today, I'm blown away!!! I've printed wrapping paper designs in the past and always wished there was something available for fabric. After reading the interview it looks like I'm a little late to the party but I'm oh so glad to have arrived! Can't wait to get started.

2/21/2011 01:48:33 am

I would *love* to try Spoonflower fabrics--it's difficult to find fabric with tiny patterns and I love the vintage-y and retro designs that many designers have created using the service. Look forward to reading Sew Retro!

2/21/2011 02:44:28 am

I'd just discoverd spoonflower few days ago an the opportunity off creativity is just terrific!

2/21/2011 03:36:50 am

I am so grateful to spoonflower for enabling me to explore fabric design. I have met some great designers and had some lovely conversations with customers interested in my designs.

I love retro designs, especially 1950's so perhaps a Scandinavian 50's pattern contest would be fun.

Jo Burgess
2/21/2011 05:34:49 am

I love Spoonflower a ridiculous amount, i've been a member for about a year and just love the friendly and supportive staff and community, have made some awesome friends there! i have entered lots of contests and you could quite resonably say i was completely addicted haha!
i was going to say i'd like to see octopus as a contest theme, but as stephen has now announced squid as an upcoming theme, i'll go with trees, 70's disco, or body parts!!!

2/21/2011 08:03:56 am

Oh, I just spent an hour going over the site and can't wait to get started printing out some of the designs I have. Love it ♥

2/21/2011 09:11:46 am

Spoonflower is amazing. What a great service for crafters!

I'd like to see some contests where you're limited to a specific color combination (like aqua+red, yellow+gray, etc.)

Nancy Johnston
2/21/2011 09:13:52 am

This has been in the back of my to-do list for ages! Would be fun to design a fabric, but certainly just as great to get someone else's. And the book! I've drooled over it last week at the bookstore.

Thank you for the opportunity.

2/21/2011 10:22:50 am

Spoonflowers is really groovy for offering this and I would LOVE to get my hands on that book...and I would do something with Moose and peace signs...combining both my dude's and my favourite print pieces...now that would be sweet fabric...oh my...giddy thinking about it...hehe...heavensent1@yahoo dotcom

2/21/2011 01:36:55 pm

What a great combination of book and textile prinitng opportunity. I think digital printing using one's own resources of family photographs, scanned objects and handwriting etc is such a marvellous opportunity to produce textile items unique to myself and family.

Can't wait to get started!

Thanks for the opportunity.

2/21/2011 04:23:38 pm

i loved the concept of spoonflower!!!

especially when you have a project in mind, but can't find the perfect fabric to go with it.
so now it is possible.

and the book, i adore retro sewing!

i wish i will win this,

thanks for the opportunity to win this!

2/21/2011 06:53:43 pm

I've been wanting to create my own fabric designs for a long time now, and whilst researching the subject I stumbled across Spoonflower. It was my most exciting discovery last year, I can't wait to get my own fabric printed and make it into pretty dresses!

2/22/2011 01:06:26 am

I LOVE Spoonflower! Thank you for making this dream a reality! I think a garden gnome fabric contest would be awesome!

2/22/2011 01:21:29 am

LOVE, love, love Spoonflower -- I'm so inspired by all of the talent out there and can't wait to create my own designs!

2/22/2011 03:54:21 am

I would like to try Spoonflower fabrics for the first time. I'm fairly new to sewing, so I don't know what designs I would really like yet. Maybe something in my favorite colors - Teal, Blue & Red. Thanks for a chance to win!

2/22/2011 04:45:20 am

I love the inspiration Spoonflower provides to tackle new design challenges.

One idea I've been thinking of (and it might make an interesting contest) is engineered fabric for a skirt - like a bordered fabric that follows the curve of the hem, or in which the design flows around &/or up the panels.


2/22/2011 04:48:26 am

Oh, and how about a teatowel contest sized for the linen-cotton, which is a more tea-towelish fabric?

2/22/2011 06:24:43 am

Between being able to design your own fabric and create your own patterns, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to sewing! I would love to see a design with the flowers from my wedding. That would make such a special print!

2/22/2011 06:37:27 am

Loce spoonflower's fabrics, so many creative & unique designs on there, just wish I was that creative myself!

2/22/2011 06:38:53 am

That should be LOVE - doh!

Gail Goodhand
2/22/2011 01:28:52 pm

I love Spoonflower and would love to see a contest, that is Equine (horse) related subjects, not just western, but all different horse related fabrics.

Sally Roydhouse
2/22/2011 04:56:48 pm

We have nothing like Spoonflower in the UK so it is just a joy that through the magic of the internet I can have my design turned into a piece of fabric thousands of miles away. And given that you can place your designs in the marketplace and potentially earn Spoondollars too, it's even better.
It's also a great place to network and exchange comments & ideas.

Nancy S Greenia
2/22/2011 07:32:45 pm

spoonflower is the greatest! the answer to my dreams.

thank you for inspiring so much creativity

2/22/2011 10:51:21 pm

I just found Spoonflower and instantly fell in love with it. I like to design in fabric, so I'm looking forward to exploring the site further.

Amy P.
2/22/2011 11:08:51 pm

I love this! So many beautiful fabric designs it's hard to choose a favorite.

2/23/2011 12:07:04 am

I really enjoyed reading the interview! I've ordered from Spoonflower several times and always been impressed with the quality of their fabric and printing!

Elly Bahri
2/23/2011 12:31:39 am

What a generous giveaway! My favorite fabric design is the Carrot buffet.

Thank you,


2/23/2011 08:27:22 am

I already posted a comment about my experience with Spoonflower. But I just wanted to add something about the cost. For those of you who think this is expensive. It's not. I've done extensive pricing for the project I'm currently working on, ( custom fabric print for an event) Custom digital printing just about anywhere else is $6/sq ft, and a lot of places only offer a sythetic fabric. Spoonflower works out to less than $2/sq ft,and offers a ranges of AMAZING quality organic fabrics. Nuf said!

Liane S.G.
2/28/2011 11:24:09 am

I love the new Heather Ross prints and am getting ready to place my order! Thanks for the great interview.

10/12/2013 12:04:15 pm

Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.


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