Contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner: Mary Furber! Thanks to everyone who participated! Toby will be announcing her winner today too so check her blog! Stay tuned for our next giveaway of Riley Blake fabrics beginning Sunday, April 10th!
One of our EQ Artists, Toby Lischko, has just released a new book! We just had to see some of the amazing quilts inside and pick Toby’s brain about designing them in EQ7. Read our interview below to find out about her new book, Kaleidostars! She even provided a giveaway for one lucky winner!
Hi Toby! Congratulations on the release of your new book Kaleidostars! Tell us all about it!
Toby: Well, I love fussy cutting fabric and I have been working with Paula Nadelstern using her new fabric collections that have a lot of symmetrical fabrics in them. My first book St. Louis Stars was about fussy cutting any types of fabrics using a St. Louis Star block. I wanted to focus this book on using only symmetrical fabrics for the star block, which I called Kaleidostar. There are eight different wonderful quilts featuring one, two or three symmetrical fabrics in them. It is published by American Quilters Society. The book gives you detailed instructions on what types of fabrics to look for, how to find designs in the fabrics with mirrors, how to cut perfect repeats every time, and step by step instructions on how to piece the block which has no “y” seams. There are also templates in the back of the book to make yourself out of heavy template material or you can purchase 13” or 17” sets of acrylic templates on my website.
What are your favorite quilts in the book and why?
Toby: I don’t know if I have a favorite quilt in the book, I like them all! But if I had to pick one it would be my Northern Lights quilt (pictured below). I used three different symmetrical prints in that quilt and I just love the way the colors come together. That was the first quilt I designed for the book using Paula’s Patternista collection. My second favorite quilt is Electrifying (pictured below Northern Lights)! I played with different versions of the border and it came together so great. I think the name is definitely fitting the quilt design.
What role did EQ7 play in the creation of this book?
Toby: The biggest features I love about EQ7 are the fabric scale and Fussy Cut features. I can put actual fabric scans, which the fabric company sends me, in my project Sketchbook, place them in the block patches and then manipulate them with the Fussy Cut tool. Because of the scaling feature in EQ7, the fabrics look exactly like they do in the actual quilt. I can then rotate and move the fabric around until it creates the look I need. Because the coordinating fabrics create different looks depending on where you put them in the block, I would change them around until I liked the effect it created. I then tried different border effects until I found one that really complimented the quilt. Without EQ7 I don’t know how I would have been able to do that without a lot of time and trial and error. It is also great for designing the templates that I used in the block. I can send the images to my template maker (Brandy’s) and he can design the acrylic templates that I use.
How did you first find out about EQ quilt design software and why did you try it?
Toby: I started using Electric Quilt in (I think) 2001 when I went to their booth at the AQS show in Paducah, Kentucky. I was a Mac user and Mac just came out with a PC simulator so I was able to download it onto my Mac. (Now they have a Mac version which I love!) I asked the rep to show me how to design a Lone Star quilt, which was what I was working on using graph paper. She demonstrated it in 5 minutes. I went right to my hotel room, loaded the program on my computer and I was designing Lone Star quilts within minutes. I was sold!
How did you learn to use Electric Quilt?
Toby: I taught myself. I am the type of person that just dives in. I did look at the book that came with the program and followed some of the basic lessons, but most of the time my learning came from just playing with it. Sometimes by making mistakes you learn the most on how to use something. If I really got stuck I did use some of the other published EQ books. Some days I spend just creating quilts.
Now that you’ve been using the program for a while, what do you find most beneficial about it?
Toby: I really like how easy it is to use. I don’t think there are any types of blocks that I have not been able to design with it. It is very easy to download fabrics into it. Some of the fabric companies even have the feature on their website to download their collections so you can use them in the program. I also like how I can send the different fabric companies who I work with, actual images of what the quilt will look like when it is finished without even cutting a piece of fabric! Sometimes they like just the “virtual” quilts so they save money on having me make the actual quilts.
What advice would you give to someone who is on the fence about buying EQ7?
Toby: I would tell them that even if they aren’t interested in designing their own quilts, it is a great program to use to play with their own fabrics so they can save time from cutting out pieces to figure out which fabric looks better in different parts of the blocks. I know when I first started quilting, I would cut out all of my strips, make a block and then would be disappointed in how it looked because the fabrics just didn’t look right together. Using EQ7 I can move the fabrics around, play with different borders and see what it would look like before I even cut into my fabric. I do tell students when they take my EQ classes that they do have to play with the program at least 10 minutes a day so they don’t forget what they learned. Then each couple days they can add something new to gain confidence on the program.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me, Toby. Where can people find more information about you and your book?
Toby: They can see my book on my website (gatewayquiltsnstuff.com) along with lots of symmetrical fabrics to use in it. They can also follow my blog, join my Facebook page, or sign up for my newsletter. I am also available for lectures and teaching engagements at your local quilt shop or quilt guild. I love to travel and teach to inspire other quilters to expand and hone their quilting skills. It feels great when a student says to me after a workshop “I didn’t know I could do that!” My motto is: “Quilting should be fun, not hard”.
Win a copy of Toby’s new book Kaleidostars by
telling us what you’d use it for. Comment below!
Contest closes at 9am ET Thursday, April 7th.
DOUBLE GIVEAWAY: After you enter here, jump over to Toby’s blog and enter to win a fat quarter bundle of Paula Nadelstern’s newest fabric collection Chromazone!
See the rest of the quilts from the book on Toby’s blog!
Wish her a Happy Birthday while you’re there.