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Photo Memory Quilts

Memory quilts are a wonderful way to express pride in your family's history, commemorate a special occasion, or honor a special person.  The process of transferring photos to fabric is much easier and more reliable today than ever before.  

First, you will need a scanner or digital camera to transfer your photos into your computer.  After scanning or uploading your photos, you can open up the image files in a photo editing program to resize, make corrections to color, balance, and contrast, and add special effects.  I like to increase the color saturation of images to make the colors much more vivid when printed onto fabric.   

Choose a printer that is optimized for printing photographs.  Don't go out and buy a new printer until you've tried your own!  You may be surprised at the quality of printed images from your own printer.  

After you have edited and resized your photos, you are ready to print.  I suggest printing at least one photo out on regular inkjet paper (or photo paper) to make sure that the image is the correct size and the colors are correct.  If you are satisfied, you can load up the printer with fabric sheets.  

You have two choices as far as fabric sheets go.  You can purchase inkjet printer fabric sheets ready to print, or you can make your own.  The second option is a more cost effective method, but it will require some time and energy to prepare the fabric sheets for the printing process.  

If you plan to make your own printable fabric, you will need the following:  Bubble Jet Set 2000, Bubble Jet Set Rinse, white or ivory fabric (muslin or pimatex), plastic flat pan, freezer paper cut into 8-1/2" x 11" sheets, iron, ironing board, rubber gloves, rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat.

Should you make your own printable fabric?  If you are making one small project and not really planning to do anymore, I'd recommend using the ready made inkjet printer fabric sheets.  If you are planning a large project, or if you think this is something that you'll be doing a lot of, you should definitely try making your own printable fabric.  The ready-made sheets retail for about $12 for a package of three sheets. You can make your own for about 75 cents per sheet.  

If you are ready to explore the possibilities of printing on fabric, then it is time to pay a visit the site of Caryl Bryer Fallert.   She is an award winning quilt artist who makes beautiful fabric with her computer.  On her website, you can see her stunning quilt, "Stars of Africa". All of the fabric for this quilt was made using photos that she took during a teaching tour of South Africa.  She also offers a very informative and detailed Q & A page about Bubble Jet Set 2000.  

There is no doubt that quilting is a creative activity.  Transferring photos to fabric takes that creativity to a new and exciting level.  The possibilities of this technique are limited only by the scope of our imaginations!  

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