Digital Printing from QT – Part 1

Digital printing is not a new technology, but it is a rapidly growing process in our industry. The benefits of digital printing vs. traditional screen printing  are the ability to achieve millions of colors and intricate detail.  With traditional screen printing, the fabric design is separated by color into different “screens”.  Each screen represents one color.  This is a very high-level, basic explanation of our printing process.  See the video below showing the screens as the fabric passes through each one during production – each “cylinder/screen” is a color and adds to the design.

Typically, our mills allow for 18 screens (colors) maximum.  You can see how this can be limiting to a designer, especially knowing that our eyes see millions of colors.  **Don’t get me started on color science, I will never stop talking **  Something to mention here is, as our rich history at QT can attest, our non-digital printing is pretty remarkable.  We’ve surpassed expectations with the achievement of printing photo-realistic designs with the limitation of 16 colors; we are proud of our accomplishments.  Having said this, the allure of digital print technology cannot be ignored.

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Original artwork submitted to printer
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Nuance Panel shown unrolled from production.
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Detail photo of digitally printed fabric.

With digital printing, the design is not separated into separate screens, rather, it is printed as an image line by line.  With special print heads developed specifically for the fabric texture, the printer mixes the “ink” together to create a pass along the fabric resulting in the printed image.  It’s not unlike you printing a photograph on your home computer printer – if you watch it coming out, you see line by line, the image appears… it’s really kind of magical!

Here are some photographs of the printing in action!

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You can see, it’s not your typical home inkjet printer 🙂

The printer uses FRC (Fiber Reactive Dyes) the same as our traditional screen printing process.  This allows for the vivid color and soft hand of our fabric.  The fabric is finished just as with our screen printed fabric.  There is no difference in the longevity of the color or the quality of the fabric, the only difference is the way it is printed and the detail achieved.

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Original Art of “In Love with Fall Again”

The examples above are from our ArtWorks Brand.  I will explain more about that brand and our offering next week!  There are many more beautiful prints to choose from!

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This is “Dolphin Island” by Jeff Wilkie for Quilting Treasures
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Detail of “Dolphin Island” Panel – Such exquisite detail and vivid color.  

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Dolphin Island by Jeff Wilkie is in shops now!  Click here to view on our website.

Next week, I will show you more of the beautiful results of digital printing from Quilting Treasures.  There is so much to share, I decided to split this blog into two parts!

Stay Tuned!


 “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

 ~ Arthur C. Clarke


 

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