Win EQ7!

 

I have partnered with The Electric Quilt Company to offer you a chance to win a copy of EQ7 quilt design software!  I bought EQ7 five years ago and use it on a nearly daily basis.  I would like to offer you the chance to do the same.  The value of this prize is $189 and all you need to do is sew a quilt block to enter.

Here are the rules:
The contest begins March 15, 2017 and ends on April 17, 2017.
To enter, head over to Instagram and follow me @duringquiettime. Share the graphic that you see above by reposting it and using the hashtags #improvpaperpiecing and #eq7improv (no purchase needed to enter).  There, you have entered once!

To enter again, sew any block from my book Improv Paper Piecing:  A Modern Approach to Quilt Design.  You can either sew one of the blocks from the patterns provided or follow an exercise or design prompt to create your own.  Share a picture of your block on IG and again, tag it with #improvpaperpiecing and #eq7improv.  You can sew as many blocks as you like to enter again and again.

A random participant will win EQ7!

EQ7 and Improv Paper Piecing are a great pair.  I used EQ7 to design all the blocks and quilts in the book using my improv design technique.  Once the blocks were designed, I grouped and numbered them and easily created pattern pieces to share with you.  While you can do this using paper and pencil and a light source, it is simply quicker and easier in EQ.  I also played with my layouts, rotating blocks and flipping to their mirror images in order to discover the layouts that spoke to me.  Here’s an example:

This is one of the cover quilts from my book.  It’s called Paper Trail.  I loved using a large selection of prints from my low volume collection, paired with my new color crush, cinnamon.

After I designed the block, I put it into a traditional grid layout. I was underwhelmed.

Using the rotate feature in EQ, I rotated the blocks in the even numbered rows.  I was starting to really like it.

Next, I staggered the second and fourth columns and knew I had found the layout that I liked.

Here’s one more gratuitous shot, just because I took a lot of photos…I might as well use them, right??  If you like this pattern, you can find it in the Object based section of the book.  I mocked it up in lots of color combinations and it looks great, so I can’t wait to see your version!

I think that you will really enjoy using EQ7 while working with the exercises and design prompts in my book.  And if you are lucky, you can win it!  So, grab your copy of Improv Paper Piecing, share the graphic on IG, and sew a block, or two, or three and tag them all #improvpaperpiecing and #eq7improv.  Maybe you will win!  Good luck!

 

 

 

Melon Ice Pattern Variation

I just finished up another sample for my beginning paper piecing class.  I almost didn’t get a picture of it this morning because the wind is gusting so hard, it kept pulling my runner off the barn and blowing it down the hill!

I often use my Melon Ice Quilt (see above) pattern on a smaller scale to teach beginners.  Making the blocks 4 1/2″, rather than over-sized, is easier and perfect for introducing paper piecing.  The fabrics are easy to precut for these shapes and each block is made as a single unit without components that need to be sewn together.

This is the original quilt layout, as exported from EQ7.  I played around with alternate layouts to design a table runner out of the smaller blocks.  While it’s possible to do this on the design wall too, I love being able to rotate the blocks and redefine the number of blocks in the top quickly and easily in EQ in order to come up with lots of ideas!

This is the layout that I have been sharing with my students in my workshops.  As you can see, especially in the EQ7 layout diagram on the right, there are only two full rings of blocks in the center, with partial rings surrounding it.  Rather than using contrasting, alternating solids for the rings, as I did in the original, I used all Anna Maria Horner prints in very similar colors and prints.  The end result is scrappier.  After looking at it a bit, the pattern of rings emerges.

Recently, I played with sample blocks I had been making in class and mocked up a different layout where the blocks created interlocking X shapes instead of rings.  I love this layout too.  There are so many possibilities!  You will notice that I just “colored” my layout with solids. It is possible to upload fabric files to your library or to scan in your actual fabrics too.  I occasionally use this feature but very often, I just color in solids to remind myself of placement and can visualize it from there.

This runner was quilted on the diagonal, echoing the X shapes.  I spaced my lines either 1/4″ or 1/2″ apart to make an irregular grid.  I used a variegated 40 weight lavender/purple thread.  I don’t usually sew with a lot of purple but I really do like it combined with the soft yellows, chartreuse and grey.  One of the things I like about smaller projects is trying new color combinations. It’s not as big of a commitment as a whole quilt!

I am working on one more version of this pattern, this time a pillow cover, with fussy cut diamonds and an alternating X and ring layout. I will be back soon to share it!

If you are interested in the Melon Ice pattern, it’s in my shop.  If you email me with proof of purchase, I am happy to share the 4 1/2″ block pattern with you as well.

Win a Copy of Improv Paper Piecing


I’d like to invite you to visit the EQ blog today where there is a Q&A with me where I talk  about my book, Improv Paper Piecing, and how I use EQ7 in my design. And the best part is that there is a chance to win a copy of the book!  I hope you enjoy the interview and good luck!

Bamboo Table Runner

This weekend, we found ourselves in need of a birthday gift for a close family friend who is really hard to buy for!  A few years ago, I made him a fall colored runner for his table and he has kept it there ever since and really seemed to appreciate it.  So we decided that a new table-runner would be just the thing.  Now he will be able to switch them out for a bit of a change.  We thought he might like a bamboo design because he is a big fan of Asian cuisine and clean modern designs.  I thought bamboo had the potential to be transformed into a simple, modern, appealing design.  I started by designing a paper pieced bamboo block pattern in EQ7.

I played around with some layout possibilities and decided to make four blocks with a bit of a border.  I incorporated the mirror image of the block into the design as well. EQ7 allows you to print your foundation patterns as mirror image or not. I used both; as I often do.  Two of my blocks are mirror images of my original design and two are not. Then I inverted two of the blocks because I like a table runner that you can enjoy from all sides of the table.

While working on designs, sometimes I like to add a second border that is .25 inches wide.  It’s a handy way to mock up your binding in the quilt top design layout.

This is how my layout looked in EQ7.  See how that narrow second border mimics binding?  It can be really helpful in auditioning binding choices when you just aren’t sure. You’ll notice that I made one bamboo stalk a darker green, just for added interest!

This picture shows the quilting nicely. I used a 50 weight beige Aurifil thread and a series of criss-crossing straight lines to suggest the angles of bamboo stalks.  I used blue painters tape and followed it with my walking foot to make those lines. I used about 6 pieces of tape so that I could stitch a number of lines, then adjust the tape and quilt some more.

I really like the minimalist yet recognizable design that was achieved. I hope he likes it!

I will have the block and table runner pattern in my shop soon.

 

EQ Ambassador–Do you EQ?

EQ asked if I would consider being an EQ Ambassador for 2017 and I was happy to agree!  I purchased EQ7 at the beginning of 2012, five years ago now!  Just a few months prior, I had joined a the Cocorico Bee, a paper pieced bee.  I began designing blocks for the bee using paper and pencil and quickly realized that it would be in my best interest to look into a software program where I could make changes to my designs quickly and easily.  I started by using what I had, Photoshop. My first paper pieced block pattern that I released for sale was my iceskate. I drew it by hand and scanned it.  Then I drew over the lines in Photoshop.  Then came the truly difficult and tedious part, breaking apart the sections of the pattern to print separately.

At the end of that design experience, once again, I found myself looking for something different. Perhaps Photoshop could have worked for me but it is a complicated program and, at the time, I knew very little about how to use it.  I know that I lot of designers use Illustrator but it is costly and, again, a complicated program.  So I decided to try EQ7 hoping that it would be easier for me to learn since it was tailor made for quilting.

Within a couple of months, I released by second pattern, this vintage skier, using EQ7 to draft it.

I taught myself how to use EQ7, just referring to the manual and by Googling questions and looking for answers online.  I find the program fairly intuitive.  Tech support at EQ is excellent too and they were able to help with me a few problems that I encountered.  That said, if you have an opportunity to take an EQ class, I would certainly recommend it because it will help you to jump right in without frustration and to learn those little tricks that I have only discovered over time with use.

I continued to work on my paper pieced design skills by challenging myself to create a garden themed quilt with 16 original block designs.  By the end of this project, I felt that I understood the basics of paper pieced design in EQ pretty well.  My design skills had improved and my ability to use the program had also!

I really like using EQ7 for paper pieced block design. It allows me to upload scanned images that I have sketched, photographs, or other inspirational images, and use them as a reference as I overlay my block divisions.

Then I can color the image using solids, as I did here for my spring chicken, or fabrics that are provided by EQ or those that I choose to scan in and add to my Fabric Library.  I export these images to use as the block diagrams for my patterns.  Then I create the pdf foundation pieces by grouping and numbering my pieces and then choosing to print the foundation pattern.

This, right here, makes EQ worth every penny to me.  My sections are broken apart for me (in the groupings that I chose and numbered) and then I have the ability to move them around on the page prior to saving them as a pdf.

I use EQ7 for nearly all of my designs and honestly think that it is a great product.  I have added the EQ7 class that I will be teaching at QuiltCon to my workshop offerings if you are interested.  I would really love to share the step by step instructions with you to help you create your own designs. Of course, I do not use the program for only pictorial paper pieced blocks but also traditionally pieced quilts and paper pieced quilts. In my gallery of completed quilts, you can see lots of examples of my work, nearly all of which were designed in EQ.

Congratulations to Christa Watson, the other EQ Ambassador for 2017!  Have you seen Christa’s new Craftsy class?  If not, check it out here.

I look forward to sharing all my EQ creations with you this year.


 

 

Arboreal Quilt


Arboreal Quilt by Amy Friend

I’m really happy with the way this quilt turned out!  I designed a paper pieced block using my improv paper piecing method.  The inspiration for my block design was the branching of a tree.  When I incorporated the mirror image of the block into the layout and then inverted every other row, I got this great repeating pattern.

Arboreal by Amy Friend

Admittedly, the finished quilt doesn’t scream tree branches, but I love that!  It does have a really cool organic feel to it due to its improvisational design roots.

Arboreal by Amy Friend

I have been wanting to make a quilt that incorporated cinnamon and pink for awhile now.  I love these colors…so adding mustard (another favorite) only made it better!  I colored and recolored the design in EQ7 until I hit upon this combination and it felt right. It certainly feels like fall to me so I am grateful that I was able to photograph it before the leaves were covered with snow.  The solids are a mix of Kona and Bella Solids and the cinnamon is a basic by Cotton + Steel with a tiny scattered dot.

Arboreal Quilting by Amy Friend

The quilting is straight line in 3 shades of Aurifil 50 weight thread. I matched the pink background fabric for the majority of the quilting using #2410 but I also stitched the occasional line in cinnamon and mustard. I love the subtle variation.

If you are intrigued by this design process, I encourage you to order my upcoming book, Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design. I explain my technique and provide a series of exercises to encourage you to design your own blocks. I think you will enjoy it!

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EQ Mini Giveaway!

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I’m here to tell you about a new product called EQ Mini!  I have been a happy EQ7 user for quite a few years now.  It’s a complicated but useful program that has allowed me to create some really intricate paper pieced patterns.  I highly recommend it but it isn’t for everyone. For some, it is more than they need and too much to comprehend all at once.  I know a number of people who have purchased it and put it away because it felt overwhelming.  EQ Mini is a great way to get your feet wet and get accustomed to designing using a software package.  You might find that it is just right for you or you might choose to upgrade later on.

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Let me tell you a little bit about it.  When you download EQ Mini, you being by choosing your quilt layout from the selections shown above.  You can pick a traditional grid layout or turn it on point; you can work with strips that are either horizontal or vertical.  And it’s super easy to adapt these designs in the next step called “adjust layout”.  You can change the number of rows, block size, and sashing width.

In the next step, “edit borders,” you can decide to add a border and adjust its width.  You can also choose to piece the border in a number of different ways.

And finally, in the last screen, “design quilt,” you pick blocks from a block library and place them in the layout.  Then you can choose solid colors and fabric patterns and color in the blocks with a few simple clicks of your mouse.

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Here is a very basic quilt that I designed by choosing a traditional grid layout with no sashing or borders.  Then I selected a Classically Pieced-Diamond in Square block.  I recolored it using solid colors from the fabric library.

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Depending on the tool that you select from the tool bar in the far right, you can change all the blue to another color in one click.  Or, you can change the color of one individual piece, should you want to create a scrappy design.

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Here’s an example of the log cabin block inserted into the “on point” grid and recolored with a variety of grey and peach fabric prints provided in the fabric library.

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I decided to try adding a border and it was a cinch!

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I think that the row quilt layout is a really great feature.  You can quickly create a quilt like this using the “Point A” selection.  I adjusted the number of points in a row, the height of the row and length of the row.  Then I colored the triangles.

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Next, I changed the coloring of the same layout to try a zig zag.  It was so quick and easy.  And it gives you a really good idea of what your options are for your finished quilt.  It also allows you to print estimated fabric yardage for your design (which I have found to be quite accurate in EQ7).

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EQ Mini is a great tool for those who want to create layouts of various styles with blocks that are provided by the software.  If you need more options than that and want to design your own blocks, you will need EQ7.  But now, there is an EQ for everyone!

If you would like a chance to win a copy of EQ Mini, please visit my IG account today.  You can find me @duringquiettime.  Look for the graphic below in my photostream.  Leave a comment for one entry.  Tag friends in additional comments for more entries!  The giveaway will run from the 14th -17th.  On the evening of the 17th, I will draw one lucky winner’s name!

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If you want to learn more about EQ Mini, visit their website here.  If you want to go ahead and jump in, use the code DQTF16 for a 20% discount on the software.

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