Early adopter

If you’ve read much of this blog, you know I’m a big fan of EQ (Electric Quilt). I started with EQ5 around 2005, upgraded to EQ6 in 2007-ish, then EQ7 when it came out in 2010, and yesterday I upgraded to EQ8 on the day it was released.

I’m so excited.

I know that looks kind of… not excited, but trust me, I’m bouncing up and down in my chair and making 12-year-old-girl-at-a-Taylor-Swift-concert noises.

The new E8 is so pretty! I’m just barely getting started with it, but I’m excited to see a few new things, like the Photo Patchwork layout, where you can import a picture and create a mosaic quilt in about 3 steps. How cool is that?  There are over 40 new features in EQ8. The biggest change is the user interface, so it looks completely different from EQ7 and is easier and more intuitive. Check out the new features at the Electric Quilt website.

Any of you who currently use EQ7 will love this change – when you are drawing a block, you can color it, then go back to the drawing tab, remove or add lines, go back to the color tab AND THE COLORS ARE STILL IN THE RIGHT PLACE!!! I can’t overstate how awesome this is. No more recoloring the whole thing every time I change one line on a block. When your block looks like this…


And you remove four lines and go back to the color tab and it looks like this…


… it’s kind of frustrating.






But now in EQ8, that isn’t a problem. I take the lines out in EQ8 and go back to the color tab and I find this:

… and it’s perfect!






If you currently have EQ7 and have any interest in EQ8, now is the time to get it because the upgrade is 25% off, but only until November 6. You can also upgrade from EQ6 and EQ Mini, which will save a chunk of change over buying the full version. If you do not currently have EQ6/EQ7/EQ Mini, you’ll have to wait to buy EQ8 when the full version comes out in November. You can sign up to be notified on the Electric Quilt website. Check out all of the great stuff it can do over at the EQ website! It’s an amazing piece of software, and if you’re at all interested in quilt design, I can’t emphasize enough how useful it is. Here’s just a tiny peek at some of the quilts I’ve designed in EQ7:

In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t work for Electric Quilt, or get any sort of payment or incentive from them for writing this. I just really love the product.


EQ7 Block Design Challenge featuring Moda Fresh Cut by Basic Grey


I was updating my EQ7 fabric files today, and the January fabric is a line from Basic Grey for Moda called Fresh Cut. I think it’s one of the prettiest fabric lines I’ve seen in a long time, and one of the few that would actually tempt me to buy the whole line. Imagine my delight when I realized it was the featured fabric in Electric Quilt’s design challenge! The challenge ends tomorrow, so I didn’t have a lot of time to go out and design a new block. That was not a requirement – I could have colored an existing block – but I figure if it’s a design challenge, I’d like to try to offer an original design. When I looked harder at the fabric line, however, I realized I already have an original block that would work really well with it. The block needed to have several components so it could feature at least four different fabrics (my requirement, not theirs), and I wanted a block that had a single larger space that could highlight one of the larger scale floral fabrics. My original Anxiety block fit the bill perfectly, don’t you think?

Moda Fresh Cut EQ Block Challenge

I love the combination of retro floral prints with more contemporary geometrics, and the sweet, soft but not childish colors make me think Spring – something I really appreciate, since I’m in southern Wisconsin and it’s been snowing for the last 20 hours.

Be sure to pop over to the EQ blog post and check out the links at the bottom to all of the beautiful blocks. Also check out Moda’s Fresh Cut line – click here to see a PDF of all of the fabrics.

Lazarus, anyone?

I am here! I feel good! I want to BLOG!

It’s been a challenging few months for me, for no reason that has any real weight. I mean, my life is pretty good. I have a good home, people who love me, a decent job, good health, a fabric stash to die for, and cats. Despite all of that, I still have bouts of four-year-old-itis, as in “I don’t want to and you can’t make me.” I’ve felt it lifting in the past couple of weeks, and I’ve pottered around in the background of the blog, working myself back into it. I went through the Resources page and cleaned up all of the links, removing those that were broken and unfixable, and adding a few more resources, especially in the fabric designers free patterns section. Parts of it were rather outdated, since I started that page over five years ago and a lot has changed. Still, there’s a lot of good info there, so check it out if you haven’t already.

Another change I made was cleaning up the many pages I have. I removed the main My Quilts heading and moved that and the sub pages under About Me. Those pages will need further editing, but I’ll leave them along for now because I have more interesting things to do.

Interesting thing #1: I’m adding an EQ Projects sub page under the Patterns page for EQ project files. One of the awesome things about Electric Quilt is the ability – even encouragement – to share your files with other EQ7 users. It allows us to play with the coloring of a quilt quickly and easily, or add or remove blocks for a larger or smaller quilt, or change the layout, or change the size of blocks and have the program calculate yardage and rotary cutting instructions in the new sizes. If you’re an EQ user, be sure to check out the page! All of the EQ project files are free for your use, and a few of the projects also have links to instructions that I’ve written. Not all of the project files are linked yet, but they’ll be there in the next day or so.

Interesting thing #2: Kelli just sent me an email through the blog (when I say “just” I mean I was literally in the middle of writing this post!) asking if we had more Test Your Skills Sampler instructions available. I promised her I’d finish it by my birthday on April 23. Are you laughing? Stop it! I really want to finish this, and there’s only a little bit left to do. It’s kind of embarrassing. No, it’s a LOT embarrassing.

Interesting thing #3: I’ve mentioned before that I wrote Block of the Month projects for the Stitch & Bitch group that gets together at our house every month. We were working on a Botanical BOM that, like many other quilty-related things, stopped progressing for a year. Yes, I wrote a YEAR. It’s been a long, dry spell, folks. Anyway, after a few gentle prods from my cousin Sharon I finally sat down this weekend and finished all of the block instructions, as well as notes for finishing the quilt in four different settings. I haven’t written the setting instructions yet, but the rest is all good to go, completely written, PDF’d, finished. All of the blocks are traditional blocks with a plant theme (hence “Botanicals”), and all are in the public domain, so I am going to share the BOM on the blog. It will be a true block of the Month, with instructions posted on the first of every month starting today. Yes, the SECOND of February. What? I’ll include instructions for all four, possibly five, settings chosen by the members of our Stitch & Bitch group, and I’ll post illustrations of those settings on the first post with fabric requirements.

Wow, no photos so far. Kind of sad. So here are some pictures of my cats:

Grumpy Buttercup

Rugen's Tongue

Insert rude Elton John song title here

Surprise! I’m alive!

I’m going to write about something completely unrelated to the Test Your Skills Sampler.  Yes, I’ll get back to it. It will be finished, eventually. I just don’t love it right now, and because I felt guilty about not finishing it I haven’t been writing about anything else, either. Time for that to stop.

Thing 1: Nails

No, this will not morph into a nail polish blog, but I have fallen in love with nail polish and I had to share a recent manicure. I change it once or twice a week, and I always hand paint or draw it myself. I can’t take a decent photo of my own hands to save my life, plus – wow – my hands need some TLC now that I see the extreme close ups. And the designs look kind of smeary, but I promise, if you saw them for real you’d be blown away.

Left 3 Right 3

Thing 2: Mom’s Quilt

Check out these pics of a quilt Mom made for a 50th anniversary gift. The block is commonly known as Bear’s Paw but is also known as the Hand of Friendship. It started out as one thing, then morphed into another when I made a mistake in the calculations. Here’s the original EQ7 illustration:

Martin Quilt EQ7

And here’s the final quilt.

Martin Hand of Friendship Quilt

Mom & Quilt Label

Martin Hand of Friendship Quilt Label

Mom & Martin Hand of Friendship Quilt

Thing 3: Sharon’s Quilt
My cousin Sharon has recently been reinfected by the quilting bug. Here’s a semi-recent finish, shared at a Stitch & Bitch from a few months ago:

Sharon's Spinners

Thing 4: Victoria & Albert
This just popped up on my Pinterest page. Have you seen the Victoria & Albert Museum website? There’s all sorts of stuff, but what caught my eye was this Patchwork Pattern Maker. Upload a photo, adjust a few settings, and it creates a design of squares and half square triangles for you to turn into a quilt! Here’s a photo of some flowers I took years ago with my very first digital camera (it used a floppy disk as “film”):

susan and allium

And digitized, here’s the quilt:

Black Eyed Susan & Allium Patchwork

View it from a distance, and you can definitely see the pattern:

Black Eyed Susan & Allium Patchwork

Side by side:

V&A Patchwork Pattern Maker

Cool stuff, huh?

Electric Quilt Star Power Giveaway Winner is

Click on image to see more information about this software

Congratulations to Gale of Stamps and Stitches! I sent you an email, Gale – please write back with your address and Electric Quilt will send you your new software.

Thank you all for playing!

I had a grand idea to cut the comments into strips and crumple them into balls, which I would then dump on the floor in front of the cats and see which they chose. But Buttercup was asleep, unwilling to be disturbed, and Rugen carefully sniffed each piece of paper then went looking for pets. My mom ended up picking the winner. Oh well – next time maybe I’ll squirt the strips with catnip spray!

Star Power giveaway

Click on image to see more information about this software

This giveaway is for people who already own EQ7. The software will not work without it.

I recently received the Star Power software for EQ7, by Judy Martin. It contains 110 block and 61 quilts, all designed and ready for you to use. One of my favorite things about EQ is the ability to quickly recolor projects, and that’s the easiest way to use this software. For example, this Simple Stars quilt in orange…

Judy Martin’s Simple Stars orange colorway

and aqua…

Judy Martin’s Simple Squares aqua colorway

But there are other ways to use it. The blocks can be used in other quilts, and other blocks can be used in the existing settings. I started with this quilt design, called All in the Family:

Judy Martin’s All in the Family

I replaced all of the star blocks with another block in the EQ7 database called Whirlpool, then recolored it and ended up with this:

Judy Martin’s All in the Family Setting with Whirlpool Blocks

That setting would have taken me forever to create because it isn’t a simple grid, or even straightforward borders. Instead, I spent about 7 minutes replacing blocks and recoloring.

Electric Quilt has always been great about calculating yardage and showing cutting instructions, but this software comes with an added feature: piecing diagrams. The CD has a folder full of PDFs, one for each quilt, that show the overall quilt, piecing diagrams for each block in the quilt, any additional pieces for settings, and finally an illustration of the entire quilt with the location of each block indicated. These are diagrams only, showing the order to assemble the pieces not written instructions, but they’ll be helpful for some of the more complex blocks. In order to use the diagrams, I believe you need to open the PDFs from the CD, not from EQ7. That’s what I did, anyway.

Best of all, they gave me a second copy to give away to a reader. This giveaway is open internationally. The only restriction is that you must already have EQ7, as Star Power cannot operate on its own. It is a collection of files that are opened in EQ7. To enter, please leave a comment below. I don’t usually like the whole “get another entry if you do this, that, or the other thing,” but because the EQ7 ownership restriction will limit the pool of winners, I will give a second entry if you blog about the giveaway OR share it on Facebook and come back and leave a second comment. The giveaway will be open for two weeks. I’ll choose the winner on Wednesday, November 21.

Good luck!

I was given this software by Electric Quilt with no obligation to write about it. I just love their products, and wanted to tell you a little about the giveaway so you knew what you could win!

Comments are closed – congratulations to Gale of Stamps and Stitches!

EQ Organization

I design my quilts in EQ

I’m over on the EQ Blog today, with a post on organizing your EQ files. EQ users, if you have a large collection of projects and no longer know what’s in there, check out this post! I show how to organize your projects into sub folders and create thumbnails so you can see at a glance what the project contains.

Come back tomorrow for a giveaway of Judy Martin’s Star Power from Electric Quilt (requires EQ7)!