Aug. 25, 2015

Tool Tip Tuesday! – The Spraycan Tool

The Spraycan Tool

The Spraycan tool paints matching patches in a block using fabrics or colors.

The Spraycan tool is only available on Layers 1 and 2.

1. Click  on a fabric in the palette to select it.

2. Click  a patch in the quilt. All similarly colored fabric in that block will color with the new fabric.

CTRL + click colors the same patch of that same color in all matching blocks (Layers 1 or 2).

ALT + click colors the same patch of that color in alternate blocks (Layer 1 only).

• If you’d like a reminder of this and other tools in EQ7, check out the  Display Dynamic Help tool.
• To print this: Click the title (Tool Tip Tuesday! -  The Spraycan Tool) and then print as normal.

Aug. 23, 2015

EQStitch Sunday Stitch # 4

I have the pleasure of teaching a machine embroidery club every month in my home town.  Each month I come up with digitized designs and a corresponding lesson about the design for the students.  They then take the stitch files and create whatever project they wish with the stitch outs.  Show and tell is awesome and I love seeing what they have created with the designs I provided for them.  

There is one thing that makes me cringe when I am watching the students stitch or when they are showing something they have done that was either a free internet design or a purchased design from a website and  they say ‘This design is awful and very poorly digitized!’   But is it always the fault of digitizing or is it some other influencing factor?

The digitizing is only the first step to creating an embroidery design.  Hopefully, the digitizer will always test sew their design before releasing it to the public to make sure it is indeed designed properly.  Things I look for in a quality design are things like enough underlay stitches for good support of the top embroidery stitches, color sorting to have fewer thread changes at the machine, and good pathing techniques to avoid all those jump stitches.  When you test sew your design, you can see if you need to go back and adjust your design a bit.  Sometimes it looks great on the computer screen, but isn’t always great at the machine.

There are numerous other factors that can influence how well a design looks after stitching.  Below is a list of items to consider when stitching an embroidery design.

1.  How clean is your machine?  Lint in the upper thread guide or built up in the lower tension area can cause lots of issues.  Skipped stitches, broken thread, and a loss of thread balance from upper to lower thread can cause a real disappointment in an embroidery design.  Before you begin a project, clean all the thread path areas carefully to remove the offensive lint.

2.  Check your needle for correct size and type.  There is a reason there are so many different types of needles on the market.  No one needle is good for every project.  You need to think about the thread type you are using and the type of fabric you are stitching onto when selecting your needle.  Also, the needle eye type will vary depending on the thread you choose.  Make sure you are using the correct needle to stitch your design flawlessly.

3.  Know your machine settings.  You can adjust the speed that the machine stitches.  It may be necessary to slow the machine down when using specialty threads which could create more drag when going through the needle eye.  Depending on your machine, you can set the trim thread options to trim a shorter jump stitch length.  You may be able to color sort at the machine or even set the machine to stitch all color stops the same color so it keeps stitching.  If you are trying to align patterns, some machines have a camera in them so you can see exactly where the embroidery design will stitch inside the stitch field.

4.  Choose the correct hoop size.  Always choose the smallest possible hoop you own that will accommodate the size of the embroidery design. You will use less stabilizer by choosing a smaller hoop and the design will be stabilized better in a smaller hoop than a larger hoop.  The fabric gets pushed and pulled by the stitches being laid down and the smaller hoop area helps to reduce this problem.

5.  Choose the correct stabilizer products.  There are many stabilizers on the market and they all work differently.  There is no one stabilizer that works for all fabric types.  I always have at least three types on hand–wash away, tear away, and fusible.  There are many more, but I find I use the tear away the most for the type of stitching I do.  Evaluate what your design is and what fabric you are stitching it onto and choose the stabilizer that works best.  NOTE:  Sometimes you need stabilizer on both the top and bottom of the fabric and they can both be different from each other. Research stabilizers and when they are used to understand all the choices you have.  Using the wrong stabilizer can really affect the look of your embroidery design.

6.  Use proper hooping techniques.  So many times I see students trying to save on stabilizer and using it to only stabilize the exact size of the area they are stitching.  This is not a good practice.  Your fabric selection and your stabilizer should be at least one inch larger than your hoop size on all sides.  This allows the hoop to grab both layers and hold them firmly in all directions for maximum stabilization.  Without this proper hooping your design may shift slightly and distort in the hoop creating a poor result.

7.  Use adhesion techniques for maximum fabric stability.  This can be accomplished with a spray adhesive or with a sticky backed stabilizer.  This insures that the fabric is firmly held in place against your stabilizer.  Floating the two layers without adhesion will cause slippage. Use the spray adhesive sparingly and use a good quality adhesive.  Some adhesives are toxic and can gum up your needle badly causing poor stitch quality.

8.  Choose the correct design for the fabric.  Stitching a linear design like red work looks good on a nice quilting cotton fabric but would be totally lost in a deep plush toweling material.  Also, a dense design that requires fairly firm stabilizer to stitch properly would ruin the drape of a slinky material used for clothing.  Consider what your design is and what you want to place it on for the best results.

9.  How are you going to handle the project after it is stitched?  Is this going to be stitched on card stock for a gift card, or be a wall hanging that is never touched or laundered, or is it going to be clothing that will have high wear and need laundering.  Depending on the project, you may want to reconsider the embroidery design you are selecting or want to digitize a design that is better suited to the end use of the project.  Your thread choice will influence the project also.  Some threads run when laundered so choose carefully when stitching the design.

10.  Thread tension issues are due to many factors.  Make sure your thread path is clear of any obstructions.  If it gets caught on something while stitching it will cause thread and needle breakage.  Know when a thread needs to unwind from the side of the spool or over the top of the spool for smooth release.  Often we use a finer thread in the bobbin to reduce bulk when stitching embroidery designs.  You may need to adjust your bobbin tension to accommodate the thread type you are using in the bobbin.  Tension settings for the upper thread can be set easily enough at the machine, but try using a thread net on your spool first before adjusting the upper thread tension.

11.  When you are creating designs to sell or share with others, you want to keep in mind the standard for embroidery designs.  Most designs are digitized for a 50 wt. embroidery thread with a thinner  thread in the bobbin.  They are designed to stitch on stabilized medium weight cotton materials.  If your design is meant to be used in a way different than the standard use, be sure to let your customers know or they will have disappointing results with your digitizing.  The same goes for when you stitch something you did not create yourself.  Make sure you know how the design was meant to be stitched for best results.

These are just a few of the things that can change the quality of the design we have digitized.  Understand each of these influences and make adjustments when necessary.  Happy Stitching!

Aug. 18, 2015

Tool Tip Tuesday! – The Erase Block Tool

  The Erase Block Tool

Use this tool to remove a block from the quilt. Click the block you want to erase.

The Ctrl key on your keyboard + click on a block will erase every block.
The Alt key on your keyboard + click on a block will erase alternate blocks.

However, using Ctrl + click and Alt + click on some layout styles will not work the same as they do on Horizontal/Straight layouts. You may have to repeat the Ctrl + click and Alt + click to achieve the desired goal.

The Erase Block tool is not recommended for Custom Set quilts, Layer 2 or 3 because it will leave a blank block placeholder.

In these cases, use the Adjust tool  to select your block, then press your keyboard Delete key on your keyboard to remove the block.

• If you’d like a reminder of this and other tools in EQ7, check out the  Display Dynamic Help tool.
• To print this: Click the title (Tool Tip Tuesday! -  The Erase Block Tool) and then print as normal.

Aug. 17, 2015

Spring 2016 EQA – Enrollment Opens Tomorrow!

EQ Academy Ohio Location: April 21-23, 2016

Reminder! Enrollment opens Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 11:00am EDT for the Spring 2016 Ohio location only. View class options now >

View class listings for both locations >

Aug. 16, 2015

EQStitch Sunday Stitch #3

I have to design lessons for several different classes I am teaching on the use of EQStitch.  I find myself constantly returning to my favorite tool for my samples.  That tool is the Wreath Maker tool.  It is so easy to create repeated patterns of a design.  They do appear in a circle, but I can move the individual elements outside of the circle line if I wish for a new look.

1.  On the stitch worktable , set up the worktable to be an embroidery table.

2.  Click on the ‘drawing board options’ icon on the properties bar.

In the drawing board box, set the embroidery edge setting to a bean stitch with a shortened stitch length of 1.5.  The shortened stitch length allows the stitches to easily sew around a curve for a smooth stitched look.

Set the embroidery fill setting to be a smooth stitch.  Be sure to click on ‘OK’ in the bottom of the box to set the new properties of your drawing.

TIP:  Always set your stitch properties before you begin drawing so you don’t need to change them on the stitch tab later.  It makes your digitizing process faster.  You can always change your mind and re-set a different stitch property on the  stitch tab later.

3.  Draw any shape you wish on the hoop area by selecting the shape and then click/hold/drag/ release the cursor on the hoop area to place the shape.  With the ‘pick tool’ selected, select the shape you drew and move it to the top of the screen on the vertical horizontal line by clicking on the center crosshair and dragging it to the place you need it.

With the shape still selected, click on the ‘wreathmaker tool’ icon on the properties bar.

In the selection box, set the number of units you want and the spacing you would like to use.  NOTE:  This  is an individual preference and you may have to play with the settings a bit before you get the shape you want to use.  Your settings will be different than mine based on the size and shape of the drawing you created.  Below is an example only.  Be sure to click ‘OK’ to set  your wreathmaker options.


4.  The design will appear on your worktable slightly off center.   Click on the ‘center selected segments’ icon on the properties bar to center the design on the worktable.

5.  Repeat this process using different drawing tools and shapes and resize the amount of area it fills in the wreathmaker properties box.

Add the design drawing to the sketchbook before you go to the stitch tab.  This way, if the program ever crashes or closes unexpectedly, you will not have to redraw the design as it will be in the sketchbook.

6.  Click on the ‘stitch’ tab at the bottom of the screen.

Use the tools on the right side of the screen to change any fill or edge settings you want to at this time.  The edge stitch and fill stitch that are automatically applied are the settings we selected on the drawing board before we began our drawing process.

Click on the ‘set thread’ tool icon on the toolbar and select a color then move the cursor over to the elements drawn and click once to apply that color.  Use multiple colors for a variety of looks to the same design.

Have fun playing with my favorite tool!!  It may become your favorite tool too.!!

Aug. 13, 2015

EQ7 Row-A-Long – Free Projects & lots of prizes including an EQ7!

Marian Pena is hosting a Row-A-Long!

20 great quilt designers are creating quilt rows for mixing and matching! I’ve seen some previews of the rows and they are ADORABLE!

But, not only will the designers provide a pattern for you, but they will also be featuring Electric Quilt tutorials. And, there are TONS of great prizes including an EQ7!

Here is the Row-A-Long schedule along with the season that the designers will be featuring.

September 1
Marlene Oddie at Kissed Quilts – Spring
Lynn Zydon Provencher at Thimblemouse & Spouse – Winter
Dorice Cotten Rice at The Quilting Queen Online - Summer
Janeen van Niekerk at Quilt Art Designs – Fall
Bea Lee at Be A Quilter – Filler Row
Anneka Kornelis at Stof Genoeg – Filler Row

September 8
Lorna McMahon at Sew Fresh Quilts – Fall
Carol Steely at Fun Threads – Spring
Amy Heaton at Country Junk’tion – Summer
Marian Pena at Seams To Be Sew – Winter
Anneka Kornelis at Stof Genoeg – Filler Row

September 15
Reeze Hanson at Morning Glory Designs – Summer
Marian Pena at Seams To Be Sew – Winter
Jennifer Ofenstein at Sew Hooked – Spring
Carol Swift at Just Let Me Quilt – Fall
Anneka Kornelis at Stof Genoeg – Filler Row

September 22
Carla Henton at Creatin’ in the Sticks – Summer
Patti Carey at Patti’s Patchwork – Winter
Nancy Myers at Patchwork Breeze – Spring
Marian Pena at Seams To Be Sew – Fall
Linda Franz  at – Filler Row
Anneka Kornelis at Stof Genoeg – Filler Row

September 29
Amy Warner at Sew Incredibly Crazy – Summer
Darlene at Quilt Shop Gal – Winter
Marian Pena at Seams To Be Sew – Spring
Loreen Bogdan at Miss Loreen’s Schoolhouse Quilts – Fall
Anneka Kornelis at Stof Genoeg – Filler Row
Heidi Kory at the EQ Blog – A Tutorial On Combining Rows

October 6 – Show and Tell Day
Marian Pena at Seams To Be Sew
Dorice Cotten Rice at The Quilting Queen Online
Amy Warner at Sew Incredibly Crazy
Carla Henton at Creatin’ in the Sticks
Carol Swift at Just Let Me Quilt

How about some prizes?
Electric Quilt – an EQ7 to one lucky winner!
Northcott Fabrics – each featured blog will give away a bundle of 6-8 yards of fabric
Fat Quarter Shop – 25.00 gift certificate to each blogger to give away
KLIC-N-KUT- Zing Air basic package
Craftsy – 3 winners will recieve a class of their choice
Sulky – 2 6-packs of their newest 30 wt cotton threads
Hobbs Batting – 5 bats
DreamWorthy Quilts – a pattern of the winner’s choice
Cherry Blossoms Patterns – a 25.00 gift certificate
Aurifil – several designer packs of cotton thread
Connecting Threads – 2 $25.00 gift certificates
Nancy’s Notions – 2 $10.00 gift certificates
Therm O Web – the following  to one lucky recipient: 7 colors of  iCraft® Deco Foil™ Transfer Sheets, 1 can of  iCraft® Deco Foil™ Fusible Spray Adhesive, 1 bottle of  iCraft® Deco Foil™ Liquid Adhesive, 1 pack of  iCraft® Deco Foil™ Hot Melt Adhesive Sheets, 1 pack of  HeatnBond® Ultra 1 yard pack, 1 pack of  HeatnBond® Lite 1 yard pack, and 1 pack of  StitchnSew™ Interfacing 1 yard pack

More great prizes from the Row-A-Long designers!
Lorna McMahon at Sew Fresh Quilts – her Fox and Friends Pattern
Linda Franz  at -  5 $20.00 Inklingo gift certificates
Janeen van Niekerk at Quilt Art Designs – an eBook of the winner’s choice
Marlene Oddie at Kissed Quilts – her latest book “You Can Quilt”
Loreen Bogdan at Miss Loreen’s Schoolhouse Quilts – a  quilt kit for her row patterns
Jennifer Ofenstein at Sew Hooked – BOM Paper Piecing Vintage Pattern

Mark your calendars! And be sure to check back for more information and updates!

Aug. 12, 2015

Creative Spark: Quiltmaker Sept/Oct ’15

EQ7 user Janice Averill has another stunning design in the September/October issue of Quiltmaker! Her beautiful quilt is also the focus of the newest Creative Spark feature on page 39 of the magazine.

Rudeneja, pictured above, is made of a single block repeated and rotated to create the intricate design. Changing the color placement in the patches of the individual block results in very different quilts!

Make sure you check out the companion EQ7 lesson for the article on Quiltmaker’s site: EQ7 Coloring Tools