Aug. 13, 2009

Chevron Star Rings by Marjorie Rhine

Marjorie Rhine is a pattern editor for American Quilter magazine. The September issue has one of her very lovely and autumnal quilts (designed in EQ6, of course!) called “Chevron Star Rings“.

Marjorie wanted the look of curved pieces without actually having to sew curved seams… a very common problem! She solved the issue, starting with a Double Wedding Ring block as a base and used EQ6 to adapt the block and to get a block exactly the way she wanted. Even looking at the quilt and knowing the seams aren’t curved doesn’t change the effect it has. You would not know there are no curves, great job!

EQ6 design

Marjorie explains how she used EQ6 to get the curved look:

“I started with a traditional double-wedding ring block from Electric Quilt. I did a ‘convert to guides’ then started drawing straight lines over the curved lines until I came up with a block that, when colored and set into a quilt, made a quilt that looked very much like a traditional double-wedding ring. I took care to make sure that the block could actually be pieced. Using this block as a starting point, designed a series of virtual quilts by adding and subtracting lines. I tried to retain the curved-appearing lines in each quilt.

Parts of the quilts are strip pieced, many have foundation pieced sections, while others are rotary cut and pieced using innovative methods. Chevron Star is strip pieced and with innovative elements.”

The Chevron Star pattern is available in the September 2009 issue of American Quilter magazine (page 72).

Finished Quilt

Marjorie says she made her first quilt in 1969 and it has been non-stop since then. She has designed her own quilts from almost the beginning.

“This task became much easier when I discovered Electric Quilt 4.”

In 1999 she started her own pattern business, Quilt Design NW. Her book, Painless Paper Piecing was published in 2007 by All of the quilts in the book were designed using EQ5 or 6. She still actively publishes new quilt patterns as well as being the pattern editor for American Quilter magazine. Marjorie currently lives in Damascus, Oregon with her husband and 2 dogs.

Visit Marjorie’s website:

Aug. 10, 2009

Ahead of the Curve – Cori and Myra

Have you heard of Blue Meadow Designs? Cori Derksen and Myra Harder are long time friends who started a freelance quilt design business together some years ago called Blue Meadow Designs (check out their blog while their new website is under construction). We found one of their quilts in American Patchwork and Quilting October issue called, “Ahead of the Curve”. We discovered it was designed in EQ6 and wanted to share it with you here too.

One really cool thing about Blue Meadow Designs is that they create 99% of their patterns in EQ6! We feel so honored! These women enjoy the freedom of designing both traditional and modern quilts and projects for their clients and customers. Their patterns are beautiful and usually sparkling with charm and color.

So how does EQ help them design better? Cori and Myra walked us through their process of designing in a really fun way! We got to basically hear their thoughts while they played with a design in EQ6; changing colors, blocks, and styles. It’s really neat so take a read:

“Hi EQers!

We absolutely LOVE designing in EQ! In fact, just about every quilt that we have published, printed, or proposed have all been formatted in EQ. Sometimes we start with an idea, and go to our computer to create it into a project. And then there are times, when we brows through our EQ blocks, pick one, and see what we can do with it. This is exactly how we created our latest magazine project – Ahead of the Curve, published in American Patchwork & Quilting.

So here is a glimpse of how our design process can work. We usually have a rambling conversation with ourselves as we try different things, and we keep playing with it until we are happy.

One day we randomly searched through our EQ library and picked 2 blocks. We put them into a very basic, block alternating, layout.

I like this look, it reminded me of the 60’s.

Which block would look better? The one with more piecing behind it, or the one that only had one color as the background? I think I want to try this as a 2 color quilt, so we should use the block with more piecing.

Oh, I like this new look. It’s very classic. But it needs a border to reflect this simple traditional look. And now it looks like a quilt from the 30’s.

Well, what would it look like if we did it scrappy? Lets try some bright and fun fabrics. Now the same block has a whole new personality. The traditional borders would not work with this new look, so why don’t we try basic borders of bold colors. What era are we in now? Maybe the 70’s?

I think the borders made the quilt look a little squished. And how would we quilt those two outer borders? Maybe we should try something different around the outside. What if we gave the quilt incredibly wide white borders? It would be a great place to show off the quilting.

OK, maybe the borders were a little too wide and open. Let’s try a small 1” border around the blocks. Yep, now it’s perfect. It a clean and modern looking quilt, that fits perfectly into 2009.

Now we have a project that we are excited to start. It has a traditional block, but it is done in bold modern colors, and it will also be able to showcase a great quilting pattern.

We will post it on our design board, beside dozens of other project ideas, and wait for a chance to create it.

But now, we can go back to our EQ program, and play around with some more blocks, and see where it leads.”

Some time ago EQ partnered with Cori and Myra to create Town & Country Patchwork; a stand-alone software of foundation-pieceable projects, blocks, and more designed by Cori and Myra. Check out Town & Country Patchwork if you haven’t already.

Aug. 07, 2009

Adventures with Andrea: Nebraska – Last Day

So I visited the vendor mall for a while. I got to this booth that was an absolute color explosion. I think it was the Material Girl shop I loved it. Everything was Westminster, FreeSpirit, and Art Gallery fabrics. I was staring at this quilt they had on their wall thinking “oh my, that’s a lot of piecing and appliqué.” And then I got closer and realized… “no…. that’s just plain squares! I can totally do that!” I asked them about the fabric, and of course they had half-yard cuts that they showed me off the rack. ;)

For those of you who want to try something similar, these Westminster fabrics would work for the plain squares:

Start a horizontal quilt. Set these in the plain squares alternately (ALT). Then set something super-simple in the other alternate blocks (ALT)… like a Log Cabin (with really thick logs), or a 4-X block, or a Diamond in the Square block. Sew it up. Then when it comes time to quilt it, echo-quilt the Westminster fabric on the lines of the fabric design. It ends up looking like you appliquéd it all! It’s so easy it seems like cheating, but hey, that fabric was really inspirational.

So after buying about 6 or 7 different ones…. whoops… what happened to my fiscal self control?… lol… I went off to teach my EQ6 Layouts class.

There were many familiar faces in my class. I was excited that they would all be familiar with my teaching style… and that if they could follow me that well in the previous classes, then today would be great as well.

Our first quilt was a medallion quilt. I taught them about borders: adding borders, inserting borders, deleting borders, etc. I showed them how the “aligned” border styles work great when you want seams to line up. I also showed them how Tile Squares and Tile On-Point does the math for you. We added an Auto Border around the outside and called it done. They were very happy with their quilt #1′s.

For the next layout, we played with Vertical Strip Quilts… an often under-appreciated quilt layout in EQ6. I showed them how it works just like borders. We designed some strips, cloned them in different orders to make the rest of the strips, and then started designing. I had them put a wide border around the quilt and we set the Auto Border Vine with the birds in the border. It’s a cool trick that “whatever Auto Border you try out, the blocks go in your Sketchbook no matter what.” So we used the Erase tool to wipe out the border, but then used the Set Block tool to use the Auto Border blocks in two of our strips. We put stars down the center and then gave them more breathing room by using Serendipity > Frame Blocks to frame up the stars and then we set them again in the quilt. I noticed the class was flying through my lesson plan once again, so I padded the lesson a little bit and taught them how to steal the birdie out of the block and make him into his own Motif and set that on Layer 2 … like a Folk Art quilt.

Quilt #3 was our first attempt at Custom Set. I showed them how long it took to set blocks, set them the right size, use the Graph Pad, and align them like a puzzle.

Thanks to the Nebraska State Quilt Guild for a wonderful weekend. I had a blast visiting your state, meeting your members, shopping & teaching.

Aug. 07, 2009

Adventures with Andrea: Nebraska Day 2 – The Singing Quilter

That night I realized just how large the Nebraska State Quilt Guild really was. I don’t know the total number in attendance, but it had to be between 400 and 600. A guild! A guild with that many people! Wow!

Dinner was nice. I asked who the keynote speaker was that night. Someone said “Cathy Miller… she’s singing tonight… and tomorrow she’s teaching a Reverse Appliqué class.”

Oooh… multi-talented, I thought to myself. Then I thought… oh no… singing. My dad is a professional opera singer/voice teacher. I remember sitting under the grand piano in his office with my coloring book (staying really quiet) when I was little, listening to all the bad singers become good ones. My poker face when it comes to music is non-existent. I hoped that tonight’s concert would be amazing so I could be amazed.

Cathy Miller did not disappoint. She was AWESOME.

Cathy is a Canadian singer/songwriter. She used to be a professional folksinger… but now she’s a ‘quilting folksinger’. Cathy and her husband John travel all over the place singing quilting-related songs for events, guild meetings and shows. She’s known as “The Singing Quilter”. Cathy has released four CDs about quilting.

Some of her songs really tugged on my emotions, others brought me close to tears for other reasons… because I was laughing so hard. (She’s hilarious.)

So the song line up that night included:

3 Songs from her “One Stitch At A Time” CD:
100 Ways to Hide Your Stash (loved it)
One Stitch at a Time
Scrap Bag Polka

2 Songs from her “A Quilter’s Embrace” CD:
Quilter’s Husband’s Lament
A Quilt for Gran

3 Songs from her “A Quilter’s World” CD:
12 Step Plan for Quilters
You Can Quilt That Out (hilarious – quotes from customers of professional longarmers)
Star and Plume***

1 Song from her “In the Heart of a Quilt” CD:
Shop Hopping (hilarious – part of the chorus is “I spent $2000 for the chance to buy a $200 machine.”)

But it was soooo cool when she got to the Star and Plume song! It was a song made up totally of block names and guess where she got them?! Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia & BlockBase.

It’s a song about Sunbonnet Sue, who finds true love after some dicey moments with an intruder,
using 46 quilt block names to tell the story. Cathy stood in front of the quilt while singing and it was like “follow the bouncing ball” as we looked at the blocks and she sung.

She made the quilt with 9″ blocks and told me after the show, “Oh yeah! BlockBase! That’s the only way I was able to get the Drunkard’s Path block at 9 inches.”

Cathy was sweet enough to pose in front of the Star and Plume quilt for me. Please visit her website and check out her quilt gallery, CDs and booking/schedule.

She is definitely a multi-talented lady. Part of the show was also a show & tell of her work. She had a hexagon quilt with teeny tiny hexagons that formed a maze, a portrait quilt, color study quilts, and more.

Aug. 06, 2009

New Contest – Guess Dean's Birthday

Guess company President Dean Neumann’s birthday month and day. The 5 who come closest to the date will win their choice of one of our Quilting Designs CDs. If more than 5 guess the exact date, we’ll draw for 5 winners.

One email guess per person.

Send an email To:
Subject: Dean’s Date Contest
Body: the month and day you are guessing

Entry deadline: August 20, 2009

Aug. 04, 2009

How many stencils have you drawn?

I’m working on Quiltmaker 7 right now and feel like I have been drawing stencils for the last 2 years straight. I thought it would be fun to count how many I’ve traced from the Quiltmaker Quilting Motifs books… in the hopes that seeing the thousands behind me would help me get through the next 300. ;)

What is the Quiltmaker series you ask? Well, it’s this awesome little program that lets you print quilting stencils in any size. Volumes 3-7 even have videos to help you see how to mark your quilt. It ties into EQ6′s Block Library if you have it, so you can set all these beauties on your quilts to see what they look like with the design you’re planning.

How many stencils are there? All of the volumes have different blocks. Here’s a run down of the categories and numbers for each:
Volume 1 – 553 stencils – Abstract, Animals, Celtic & Woven, Charm Tacks, Feathers, Flowers, Food, Hawaiian Look, Holiday, Leaves, Southwestern Look, Stars & Sky, Swirls & Waves.
Volume 2 – 565 stencils – 60s Look, Animals, Butterflies & Bugs, Celtic & Woven, Charm Tacks, Children’s Designs, Fantasy, Feathers, Flowers, Hearts, Leaves, Sky.
Volume 3 – 717 stencils – Abstract Shapes, Animals & Bugs, Charm Tacks, Christmas, Flowers, Food, Holiday, Leaves, Sky & Water.
Volume 4 - 651 stencils – Animals, Celtic & Geometric, Charm Tacks, Feathers, Flowers, Hearts, Leaves, Stars & Sky, Swoops & Swirls.
Volume 5 – 840 stencils – Celtic & Ribbons & Curves, Feathers, Flowers, Geometric, Hearts, Leaves, Stars.
Volume 6 – 576 stencils – Charm Tacks, Feathers, Flowers, Hearts, Leaves, Miscellaneous, Shapely Swirls, Southwestern, Stars & Sky.
Volume 7 – between 480 and 500 stencils – Abstracts, Allover Designs, Critters, Feathers, Flowers, Hearts, Holiday, Leaves, Stars & Sky.

So that’s over 3902 down… 133 done for the next one… and 367 left to go.

Aug. 04, 2009

August ClubEQ Challenge

The new ClubEQ challenge is up and ready for your entries. This one is great because you can design any quilt you like… you just need to pick fun fabrics that work well with rotate or fussy cut. Think border prints & geometrics & focal prints.

Challenge: Rotate and Fussy Cut!
Design a quilt to show off fabrics that you can rotate and fussy cut.
Use add-on tools for the quilt worktable Design Toolbar to rotate the fabric by varying degrees and fussy cut to position fabric motifs in a special arrangement.

Please let us know if you use inches or centimeters to design your quilts this month. It will affect the scaling of the design when we go to put it in the Album. You can add “in” or “cm” to your project name and/or put it in the email to let us know.

Due Date: Monday, August 31, 2009
Send To:

We look forward to seeing your entries!

Visit the ClubEQ page: