Today’s guest Blogger, Kate Rafferty, is a Spoonflower print operator and a climbing instructor in Raleigh, NC.
In the rock climbing community, it is common for climbers to drool over lines on certain problems or routes. Climbers spend hours dissecting sequences of movements that invoke beautiful shapes while following the lines of the rock faces. Clothing is definitely an important factor when climbing and a balance between durability and ease within a garment is necessary. A huge bonus of clothing is if you camouflage into the route you are climbing. Well, as luck would have it, Sprout Patterns and Spoonflower have created an outlet to make this idea possible!
On a bouldering trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee, I was inspired by the natural beauty of the rocks and vegetation in the Boulder field. The texture, depth, and color variation of the rocks was unique, inspiring, and grounding. Later, while looking over photos from the day around a campfire, I had an idea to transfer my photographs into prints, and create climbing apparel and gear from them. I wanted to recreate the beauty I felt while climbing and camping in the field to the garments I would wear.
My latest sewing adventure was transforming a photograph I had taken in Grayson Highlands, Virginia, into the Sloan Leggings by Hey June Handmade. After uploading my photo onto the Spoonflower website, I saved my image as a mirrored repeat. I then went onto the Sprout website, choose my pattern and personal print along with a contrasting waistband print by Spoonflower designer Friztin. I especially appreciated the ability to visualize my concept on the 3D rotating image, which helped me decide on a contrasting waistband.
I followed Sprout’s advice to size down, since I was in between sizes. Even though I have a petite body frame, I decided on the “Tall” length because I like having the option to pull the leggings underneath my heels while practicing yoga, but bunched around my ankles for other activities. After cutting out the pattern, I downloaded the pattern instructions from my Sprout account and was able to sew them (mostly by serging), in a few hours!
The following day, I drove out at Moore’s Wall just outside of Winston Salem, North Carolina. I was so impressed with the Sport Lycra fabric I had chosen and the Sloan Leggings design. The high temperature of the day was 32f and I stayed warm throughout the day. The leggings stayed snug on my body, yet were not constricting; I had full flexibility and movement wearing them. My dream had come true, I was able to wear the rocks I was climbing!
Climbing or sewing, one can experience a myriad difficulties. Navigating fabric patterns can be just as difficult as holding onto a rock with just one finger! Sprout Patterns took the guesswork out of pattern sizing and eliminates pattern transfer steps. The hardest step of the process was choosing which photograph to print! Sprout Patterns has provided an outlet for me to transfer beauty I see on a rock wall, into a beautiful garment through 2D pattern design and digital printing.
I remember first looking at rock walls and my uncertainty of how to approach them. With practice, I learned how to read routes and dial in successful sequences. Similarly, with sewing, sometimes one can look at a pattern and be overwhelmed. Sprout Patterns eliminates pattern anxiety by digitally printing patterns directly onto fabric and providing clear sewing instructions. Whether you are new to sewing, or experienced and craving a new project, Sprout Patterns has created an inviting atmosphere that I am excited to see reach new heights!
Kate currently works as a print operator at Spoonflower. A California native, she went to NC State for textiles, but first started climbing when she lived in Joshua Tree, CA. When not printing or climbing, you can find her hanging out with her cat, Fry or volunteering at Duke Adaptive Climbing.