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.

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Quilting marathon

This is the most productive – for quilting – weekend I’ve had in ages. Saturday was Stitch & Bitch, though the weather and other commitments meant that there were only three of us here. It worked out well because we did more stitching and less bitching. The other kind is fun, but we’re talking about productivity today.

Mom working on Botanical BOM

Mom finished testing the last of twelve blocks for the Botanicals BOM. Well, she tested the first draft of the pattern. Let’s just say I’m rewriting it. Fortunately, the overachiever is making two quilts, in slightly different colorways, so she can test the rewritten instructions as well. Later today I will post the instructions for the first block.

Mickey was working on her project, a five yard bundle that she picked up either the Quilt Expo in Madison or the International Quilt Fetival in Chicago/Rosemont last year.

Mickey pressing

As for me, I started working on a baby quilt for a co-worker. She knows I’m making it, and since that’s the case I asked her for input on fabric choices. She shared photos of the nursery and bedding they have: soft brown walls, white beadboard and woodwork, and bedding with peach, pink, turquoise, raspberry and orange. I had no idea where I wanted to go with this, so I looked through my EQ files and came across an illustration of a Kaleidoscope quilt I worked out for someone.

Kaleidoscope

I liked it and decided to stop looking and start sewing. I cut a few 60 degree triangles thinking they should work, though I was at least smart enough to only cut about 40 triangles before testing.

Baby Pyramids in progress

(By the way, the color smears on the table are fingernail polish. It works for me.) When I sewed a test block, I found that the triangles would NOT make a Kaleidoscope block. Well, duh. Of course they wouldn’t. Do NOT go thinking you’re smarter than the EQ rotary cutting instructions. Still, I kind of liked the look of the 60 degree triangles so I drew up a new EQ project, this time using the Thousand Pyramids technique.

Baby Pyramids

Bingo! That’s perfect. I used the Kaleidoscope idea of making squares/hexagons that are two alternating fabrics, but the effect is more subtle in the Thousand Pyramid design. It was surprisingly easy to construct – I took photos for a future tutorial, in case anyone’s interested. But here’s where the marathon part came in: I worked on this quilt from about 10:00 am Saturday until 2:30 am Sunday morning, then again Sunday from about 11:00 am until 9:30 pm that night. I finished both the quilt top AND the back, which I’m also quite proud of. I’m home sick today and I may put it on the frame and quilt it if things go well. I may actually finish an entire quilt, concept to binding, in three days.

Because I’m so close to completing it, I’m not sharing a photo of the top and backing just yet. Instead, here’s a little sneak preview. Maybe later today I’ll have the full reveal!

Baby Pyramids sneak peak

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 Blog(-ger)

I mentioned earlier that I had some fun stuff in the works, and this is the first thing I can share:

I’m writing some posts for the new Electric Quilt blog! It’s called “Behind the Mouse,” and my first post went up today. You can see it here: http://doyoueq.com/blog/2012/10/packer-tracker-from-sandi-walton/ I wrote about how EQ7 can be used in conjunction with some of the block books that are so readily available today.

Now, you know I mention EQ7 fairly frequently in my blog, and I wanted to clarify: I am not paid, or even asked, to write about it. I just love the program and share my projects and opinions here. I don’t want to turn into a blog about quilting advertisements. It works for some blogs, and more power to them, but that isn’t me, at least not now. I’d love to make money from my blog, but that would require consistency and I’m a long ways from that! Still, I won’t avoid writing about something commercial if I truly believe in it.

Anyway, with that out there, I’d love it if you checked out my post, and maybe looked around the new Electric Quilt blog and website. They made some substantial changes, and there’s some good stuff for EQ users and non-EQ users alike. And for those EQ users, watch this space… I have a giveaway coming up!

EQ7 Winner is…

…Aunt Marti, who blogs at 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks. Better not start using EQ7 until after you’ve finished all 52, Marti – you might just get sidetracked!

There were so many wonderful stories in the comments – here’s what Aunt Marti had to say:

The quilt I’d like to tell you about was made by my great-grandmother, Mary Gehman Horning. In 1896. That’s right — 1896. Mary lived up in the mountains of Colorado, where my great-grandfather was a coal miner. He was a bit of a “roundheel,” which is code for “he ran around.” She was left to raise her four children on her own for months at a time.
She pieced two quilts from indigo fabrics and muslin, completely by hand and heavily quilted. When my Aunt Frances was moving out of her house, she offered me one of the two quilts, saying her daughters weren’t interested in having them (!) I chose the Double Irish Chain — she wanted to wash it before she gave it to me, as it had a smallish stain on one corner. I shrieked, “No, no, not necessary!” and convinced her not to put it through the washing machine. When I brought the quilt back to Colorado, I had it appraised by a Certified Quilt Appraiser, Bobbie Aug. After talking about the fabric, the design, the stitching and the hand-quilting, she asked me if I had an idea what it might be worth. I answered, “Oh, I think with all the quilting, it should be worth about $400-$500.”
She replied, “I am putting an appraised value on this quilt of $3600. You have a treasure I will never have, a quilt from your own family.”
It was just like on “Antiques Roadshow.” All I could say was “you’re kidding,” and “wow!”
My Aunt Frances wrote up a nice little history of Mrs. Horning and gave me a picture of my Great Grand-Mother sewing. Doubly treasured now that Aunt Frances is gone, also.
And yes, I have the quilt stored in acid-free paper in a special acid-free box!

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Reason #6 I love EQ

Don’t forget to click over here to enter the EQ7 giveaway!

Quilts are just blocks in grids, right?

Not necessarily! They can be, and they’re great that way, but EQ7 also lets you do this:

EQ Setting 1

Or this:

EQ Setting 2

Or these:

EQ Setting 3

EQ Setting 4

EQ Setting 5

All of these settings (and many more) are preloaded in EQ7 for you to drop blocks into and color.

Reason #5 I love EQ

Don’t forget to click over here to enter the EQ7 giveaway!

This reason is kind of a two-fer (that’s short for “two for the price of one”). EQ7 has a lot of pre-loaded “fabrics” and color swatches. A LOT. But it doesn’t stop there. If you’re using solid colors you can create colors that aren’t already shown by adding tints and shades of an existing color or by choosing any two colors and adding 10 colors that blend from one to the next.

EQ Colors

I added all of the tints & shades shown, plus I’m creating a gradation from the blue to the pink.

If you want print fabrics, you can scan your own, import swatches from online, download swatch files from some fabric manufacturers (Moda, for example) and even download EQ files from Connecting Threads.

EQ Fabrics

This is just the tiniest slice of fabrics I’ve downloaded free from EQ.

Best – and easiest – of all, Electric Quilt offers free monthly downloads of fabric collections, and you get to vote on what they’ll offer.

And if you really want to go all out, you can purchase a Stash from Electric Quilt. The latest 2012 Spring/Summer Stash has over 5,800 current fabrics.