Sep. 01, 2015

Tool Tip Tuesday! – The Set Thread Tool

The Set Thread Tool

The Set Thread tool allows you to add thread to blocks, motifs, stencils and your entire quilt. This feature makes your finished quilts and blocks look more realistic.

Using the Set Thread Tool
1. Click on a thread in the palette to select it.
2. Choose from any of the thread properties to make the thread more realistic.

3. Click on the stencil, motif, or block to color the patch.

4. Click Add to Sketchbook to save the new block coloring in the Sketchbook.

Please note:

  • If you choose to modify your thread using the thread properties, be sure to put a check in the white box to select the property first. If you change the thread style or weight without checking the white box, the property will not be implemented.
  • To color the same patch in all the blocks of your quilt at once, hold the keyboard Ctrl key while clicking with the Set Thread tool. To color the same patch in alternating blocks of your quilt at once, hold the keyboard Alt key while clicking with the Set Thread tool.
  • The Set Thread tool is available on all layers.

Using the Set Thread Flyout Tools
You can use either the Graph Pad or the toolbar to access these tools.

Graph Pad
The Set Thread options will display on the Graph Pad when you have the Set Thread tool selected.

(Be sure the Graph Pad is turned on by clicking VIEW on the top menu and making sure there is a check mark next to Graph Pad. These tools will display on the Graph Pad on any layer of the Quilt worktable.)

The Set Thread tool that you see on your Quilt toolbar (right side of the worktable) has a small black triangle next to the thread image. This indicates that the tool is a flyout, which means there are more options available for this tool.

To view these tools on the toolbar:
1. Click and hold the Set Thread tool that is currently visible on the toolbar.

2. The flyout will appear showing all the available tools.
3. Release the mouse and move it to the tool you want to use. Click the tool.
4. The flyout will disappear and the new tool will be selected and ready for use.

Using the Brush Thread Tool- The Brush Thread tool sets thread one patch at a time.

Using the Spray Thread  Tool- The Spray Thread tool sets thread in all identical patches in a block at once.

Using the Swap Thread Tool- The Swap Thread tool sets thread in all patches on the quilt at once.

• 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 Set Thread Tool) and then print as normal.

Sep. 01, 2015

Marian Pena’s EQ7 Row-A-Long: The First Day!

Marian Pena is hosting a Row-A-Long!

20 great quilt designers are creating quilt rows and, 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!  (See a list of all the prizes here.)

Today is the first day!  (See the whole schedule here.)



Here’s who is posting today!

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

Here are the prizes that start today!

Northcott Fabrics: 6-8 yards of fabric in 1 yard lengths
Fat Quarter Shop
:  $25.00 gift certificate from each blog
You Can Quilt Book
: from Kissed Quilts
InkLingo: $20.00 gift certificate from Be A Quilter
DreamWorthy Quilts
: 1 Pattern of Your Choice at ThimbleMouse
: Kit Indelible Large Spools by Katarina Rocella – 40 wt / 12, 1094 yd spools at The Quilting Queen Online
Quilt Art
: 1 pattern of your choice
: 1 class of your choice – 3 chances to win
Nancy’s Notions
: $10.00 of gift certificate – 2 chances to win

Please visit the designer’s blogs to enter!

Visit Marian’s site for more details and to see the rules and guidelines.

And don’t forget, later this month we’ll be giving away an EQ7!

Aug. 31, 2015

Big Cat, Little Cats by Susan Hilsenbeck

This weekend a new submission popped into our Quilt Gallery that I had to share here on the blog too. Susan Hilsenbeck is a frequent contributor to our gallery. She shared her Big Cat, Little Cats quilt with us and it’s pretty amazing!

The blocks are from Janeen van Niekerk’s Silhouette Cats collection and Susan combined them in this interesting study of scale. Click over to Susan’s blog to see how she combined these intricate paper pieced blocks.

Have you submitted a design to our Quilt Gallery yet? We’d love to see your EQ designs in fabric! Just use the entry form on the side bar to add your quilt to this inspiring gallery!

Aug. 30, 2015

EQStitch Sunday Stitch #5

What are ‘add-on’s’ and what will they do for us?  An add-on is an additional feature that when added to a program it will expand it’s capabilities.  This is what we have with EQStitch because it was added on to the EQ7 program.  EQStitch can not stand alone and operate.  It must be added to EQ7 to work.  There are also add-on products that can be added to the EQ7 quilt design software.  The big advantage of having an add-on program is that you can use items from the core program in the new add-on program without having to purchase new features.  We can use the blocks and images from EQ7 as the basis of a new stitched design in EQStitch.  This is a great feature for me because I can not draw.  I am really good at tracing something that is all ready there or  editing something that is all ready provided.  But, ask me to create something from scratch, especially using freehand drawing methods, and I am stopped cold.  I am not an artist!  I am a sewer who likes to create artistic items with the aid of my computer software programs and the computerized embroidery machine.  Is this true for you also?

At this time there are 4 add-on EQStitch design packs available.  I have digitized each of them to follow a theme.  You can find them at the EQ website.  These are more than just the designs.  The entire project file is a part of the package.  Because you have the project file they were created with, you will be able to edit them any way you wish.  You can resize, take apart, recolor, merge with other designs, or whatever you wish when you have the project file along with the designs ready to stitch.

I am challenging myself to create at least two new add-on stitch file packages each year for you.  I do have a few ideas about what I would like to consider producing, but I would always prefer to hear from the users what they want to have.  There is no sense in me producing things that have a very limited amount of people wanting to use them.  So, I am asking for your help.  Please respond to this blog and let me know what you would like to see next.  The sky is the limit in what we can do with our EQStitch program.  Inspiration is what I need.

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.