Designing Starlight on Water with EQ7 Serendipity, part 1

Designing Starlight on Water started with a Design Seeds photo and palette on July 12.

I immediately thought that the white boat was a striking part of the photo, and I knew that it should play a role in the quilt design.  I also thought that the ripples in the water added a subtle texture to the photograph.  My first block was a very simplified EQ7 applique drawing of those inspirations: Starlight 2 I couldn’t stop there, because the drawing didn’t express the calm I felt from the photo.  I started playing with the block in EQ7’s Block>Serendipity>Kaleidoscope. Starlight a The above screenshot shows EQ7’s  ‘Create Kaleidoscope from Block’ dialogue box.  I have 3 different boat blocks on the left, because I tweaked the original block a bit before I was ready to play with Kaleidoscope.  On the right are 4 different triangle subsections of the selected block. The selected subsection, marked by a turquoise box and multiplied by 8, makes up the center block.  By selecting different subsections, I can get 8 different blocks.

When I find a block I like I click the ‘Add to Sketchbook’ button in the dialogue box.  Sometimes the kaleidoscope is really beautiful, sometimes I like the shapes, and sometimes I choose not to add it to my Sketchbook.  Here are the blocks I chose for Starlight on Water:

I further edited the colors in the blocks once I started putting them into the quilt.  Creating the center star used another Serendipity function which I will show you tomorrow.  The blocks will be constructed using fusible raw edge applique. Have a quilty day!

Welcome New Quilt Blog Hoppers!

Thank you so much, Beth from Plum and June for organizing the hop.  I have had so much fun exploring everyone’s blogs and learning their blogging and quilting tips.  I love quilting and have been quilting for roughly 26 years, with time off for children and travel.  I turned ‘pro’ two years ago when I purchased ‘Sven’, my beautiful teal Statler Stitcher.  I love to longarm quilt and will happily quilt all day and into the night for my clients.  In addition to longarm quilting, I appraise quilts professionally.  I also love to design quilts, and thanks to Quilt design a day (Qdad) I have been turning out 2 quilt designs every day and I have just earned my 60 day badge.

60 day badge

I use EQ7 to design and my first tutorial was about designing with EQ7.  Here are some of my designs from the month of June:

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My quilting tip is to learn something new everyday, it can be something small or something large.  Each new technique you learn will help you in the future, often in unpredictable ways.  Learning about quilt history will expose you to beautiful quilts and give you ideas to incorporate into the quilts you are sewing today.  Every mistake I make, teaches me something new or teaches me to pay attention to something I learned before.  Learning keeps me interested even when I am doing tedious work.   I decided that this year will be the ‘year of the binding’.  I am working hard at improving my bindings and you will see tutorials on bindings throughout the year. In between designing and learning I actually find time to make my own quilts.  This year my big ‘finish’ was Pie in the sky, by Kim Diehl. 051514Pie in the sky 5 I’m still working on my Improv Log Cabin which I started in April during a class by the delightful Jacquie Gering. 050614Elli log cabin 3 050614Elli log cabin 2_2 I started blogging by reading as many blogs as I could.  I figured out what I liked and what I liked more.  I’m still a work in progress.  My blogging tip is to write posts ahead of time and schedule them.  I started blogging by just jumping in and writing with the lofty goal of writing two posts per week.  Then life intervened (doesn’t it always?, lol.)  I’m still working at having blogs prepared in advance. There are always new and upcoming blogs.  This year, the New Quilt Blog Hop has four dates, June  4th, June 11th, July 9th and July 16th.  On each of those dates there are two groups of bloggers, with each blogger linking to the other group.  Have fun, explore, and learn something new by visiting them, here are some of the bloggers participating today:

Sharon @ Fabrics and Flowers

 Serena @ Sew Giving

 Carmit @ Quilting Rainbows

 Jehn @ Jehnny And The Boys

 Jenny @ Jack’s Room

 Deborah @ Sunshine Through The Rain

 Jennifer @ A Quarter Inch From The Edge

 Jane @ Where Jane Creates

 Carla @ Granny Maud’s Girl


Have a quilty day!

Using EQ7’s Serendipity to Design Original Blocks, part 2

Today I would like to show you some more quilts which I designed with the help of EQ7’s Block>Serendipity>Shrink and Flip.  You can find part 1 of the tutorial here.   In the galleries found below the first image is always the original block and the following blocks are the combinations from Shrink and Flip,  used in the quilt design and numbered to reflect the set of flags in the Shrink and Flip dialog box.

I took the “Palm” block in EQ7 and rearranged it for the following quilt design.

Barbed Wire
Barbed Wire

I find that by mixing and remixing the combinations in the Shrink and Flip dialog box I discover new blocks and fun new ways to arrange blocks.    Many times the combinations are unexpected and beautiful.  I hope you discover something new when you play with Shrink and Flip.


For the following quilt, I recolored some of the patches in each block once it was set into the quilt and I also darkened the background.

Cool Treats
Cool Treats

Finally here is the Orange Slice design which I showed you in part 1 of the tutorial:

Orange Slices
Orange Slices

Spend some time to play around with this neat feature!




Using EQ7’s Serendipity to Make Original Block Designs, part 1

I have been using EQ7 to design original blocks for many of my quilt designs for Quilt Design a Day (Qdad).  Each of us has committed to designing a quilt a day.  I joined originally for fun, but now I am very serious about continuing.  The discipline of designing every day has improved my designs and increased my creativity.  It has also made me a much better EQ7 user.  We get our inspiration from the two photos and their color palettes on Design Seeds.  I then convert the palettes to Kona Cottons using PaletteBuilder.  You can see my tutorial on Creating Custom Palettes on my Tutorials page.

I use EQ7’s Serendipity function (Block>Serendipity) to design many of my quilts.  I usually I start with a some kind of representation inspired by the Design Seeds photo and palette.  For example, this week we had an orange slice as the inspiration photo and palette.


I started by drawing a block, in Easy Draw,  which was a very literal translation of the inspiration photo:Slice

Next I decided to see what would happen if I used EQ7  Serendipity to change the block.  I went to Block>Serendipity> Shrink and Flip.  EQ7 then shrinks the hi-lighted block (on the left) and combines it with three copies of itself.


 The flags below the main picture determine the direction the 4 shrunk blocks will take.  I look at each block and decide if I want to keep it.  When I want to keep a block, I press the Add to Sketchbook button.  Look at the quilt below and notice that I placed the Design 3 blocks in the center, Design 1 blocks in the inner pieced border, and Design 4 blocks around the perimeter.  All of the blocks have the same components arranged differently.

The same thing can be accomplished with graph paper, crayons (or colored pencils/markers, etc).  Draw the original block, make copies, either by hand or photocopied, color them, cut them apart and rearrange.  I would take a photo of your design when you are done.  One tool which you might find useful is the Dritz design mirror.  It is a two mirror set which you can set by your design to see what it would look like multiplied.  It is thrilling!!!

Have a quilty day!!

Tutorial: Creating Custom Palettes in EQ7

I really enjoy designing quilts using Design Seeds daily photographs and EQ7 design software.  I use the following method to translate the photos from ‘computer colors’ into actual fabrics, and then make them part of my EQ7 sketchbook.  First I go to the Design Seeds website, I right-click on the photo and left-click on Save image as, then save the image to my computer.  (Please be sure that you use Design Seeds’ images within her use requirements, found here).

Design Seeds

Once the image is saved, I go to Anne Sullivan’s website, Play-crafts PaletteBuilder (which is free!) and ‘translate’ the Design Seeds palette into Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman, by clicking on the ‘Load Image’ button and selecting the file which I just saved.  (I can also load my own photos, or a scan of a piece of fabric if I want to know which Kona cottons will match the colors of the photo or fabric.)


Please notice that the palette on the bottom of the picture (Palette Builder’s palette) does not match Design Seeds palette which is to the right of the picture.  On the far right is a list of Kona Cottons which match PaletteBuilder’s palette.  If I like the PaletteBuilder’s palette then I am ready to open EQ7 and start my sketchbook.  If, however, I want to use Design Seed’s palette then I move the little white color sampling circles on the image around (left click and drag) until I find that the PaletteBuilder’s palette matches the Design Seeds palette.  Here is what the screen looked like when I finished:

pbp 2

I moved most of the color sampling circles onto Design Seed’s palette—it’s a little trick to finding the matching colors quickly.  If the colors in the two palettes match, I leave their circles alone.  Some of the Kona colors do not match the palettes exactly, I will explain how I handle that in EQ7 next.

Before I started doing Quilt design a day I downloaded a free ‘Solids by Manufacturer’ library from Feeddog on  I’m linking you to his tutorial on how to download and use the library here.  It is easy to follow and very useful so I assume that you already have his solids library.

The very first thing I do in EQ7 is to open a new project, select the sketchbook, then select the Fabrics tab.  I like to have only the fabrics in the palette in my sketchbook, so I am not distracted; I press the clear tab and delete all of the unused fabrics.  Now I am ready to add the palette fabrics to my EQ7 sketchbook.

eq7  1

I select Libraries>Fabric Library>Search>Notecard.  In the Search Fabric Notecard dialog box I check only the Search Name field, because PaletteBuilder has given me the name of the Kona Cotton.  I also change the number in the Find at most ## items from 50 (which is the default) to 400.  This prevents the search results from maxing out before it finds the fabric I want.  Notice that I have also entered the name of the Kona I am looking for, in this case—violet.  I press the Search button.

eq7 1

The following image shows the search results.  There are a lot of violet fabrics in my libraries.  To distinguish one from another in EQ7 I can rest my mouse over each swatch and it tells me the name of the fabric and the manufacturer.  I select Kona–Violet and Add to Sketchbook.

eq7 2

I search and add to Sketchbook for each fabric in the palette.

Kona continues to add new fabrics to their line so sometimes I can’t find the exact fabric in the downloaded library and I need to go to the Robert Kaufman>Kona website to import the fabric into My Library.  In addition, sometimes the color of the fabric swatch on screen does not look the same as the color in the downloaded palette, at that point artistry takes over and I select a fabric by ‘hand and eye’ which looks to me to be as close as possible to the palette color and fits into the palette as a whole.  Sometimes I even will select solids from other manufacturers in order to get a good match.  A note of precaution: before I go to purchase ‘real’ fabric I make sure that the fabrics suggested on my computer screen look as good as the fabrics in the ‘real world.’

I hope that you find this tutorial useful.  Have a quilty day!!


Finding Inspiration

It has been easy for me to find inspiration in the daily photos for Quilt Design a Day from Design-Seeds.  I follow the suggested palette and I find myself looking up blocks in EQ7 which the photos or colors suggest, then I manipulate them using Block>Serendipity until I see patterns which I find pleasing.  At the same time I am quilting for my longarm business and studying for my Appraisal business (not to mention hauling teenagers here, there, and everywhere 🙂 ).  I love it when the three aspects of my business work together to inspire me.  For example, last night as I was reading Georgia Quilts by Anita Zaleski Weinrub, I saw a block which was astounding and just a bit dangerous-looking:  Circular Saw.  The original quilt was pieced by hand in the 19th century, but could be adapted to foundation piecing methods.  No matter which way the block is pieced, it is an intricate block and makes a striking quilt.


The following quilt edge was inspired by several antique quilts from Texas and Tennessee.  I combined it with a block which I designed, and am calling Rotary.  The original design inspiration was a vintage rotary phone.  The edge also reminds me of tapestry edge finishes or the picot edge on lace.  I wonder if that is where those quilters found their inspiration.


A “search light” sequence in a movie inspired the block design to this quilt.  After I drafted the block I rotated and flipped it in an on-point layout to get the quilt design.  I like the resulting optical illusion.  This is not a color palette which I would have chosen on my own, but it was the suggested Design Seeds palette.  I am thrilled with the 70s ‘vibe’ in this quilt.   I found that the new color palette influenced my block design decisions.


Here is another ‘groovy’ quilt which I designed with the EQ7 function: Block>Serendipity>Kaleidoscope.  I think this would definitely be an applique quilt.  Fusible raw-edge applique would make it an easy quilt to sew and it would be a fun quilt in a child’s bedroom.


Inspiration is all around us.  Where are you finding inspiration today?

Finish a long 2014, Goal check up


Here is the summary of what I’ve achieved since the first of the year.  I have made a lot of progress on Crimson and Tweed, the Quilts of Valor and Pie in the Sky.  I will be concentrating on binding in March.

1.  Pie in the Sky (pattern by Kim Diehl)

Pie in the Sky, EQ7 mock up, pattern by Kim Diehl
Pie in the Sky, EQ7 mock up, pattern by Kim Diehl

The quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and the label on it and write a blog post.

2.  Flower Strip quilt–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

3. Winding Ways–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

4.  1930’s reproduction quilt–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.

5.  Quilt the 4 9 Quilts of Valor tops which I have received, mail them and write blog posts.

6.  Finish Imperial Blooms, pattern by Sue Spargo (

7.  Finish Crimson Tweed, pattern by Sue Spargo.  I am applique-ing the borders, but will take off time to bind other quilts.

8. Riley Blake Modern Quilt Guild Challenge.  Here is part of my mock-up in EQ7:

Riley Blake Challenge

The fabrics have arrived and I am so excited to start sewing on this wall quilt.  I am so thankful for the fabric which Riley Blake ( provided to all of the members of the Modern Quilt Guild ( ).  Of course, I couldn’t resist adding some additional Riley Blake to my design.  I have quilted it and need to bind it and put on a label.  I’m so sorry it wasn’t in time for the MQG challenge.

9. Mission Triangles, this is a quilt I have made with the help of our Mission Stitchers group at Onalaska UMC from donated flannel triangles.  It will be soft and warm.  Here is the EQ7 mockup:

Mission Triangles
Oh my, will the flannel ever end?  I have sewn and trimmed half of the squares.  My buddy in this project fell on the ice and broke her wrist.  I can hardly wait to finish the quilt top(s).

10.  Log Cabin quilt–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.


11.  Various mug rugs, place mats, and table runners–the quilting is done, I need to sew the binding and label on.


Linking up with:

Red and White Challenge

I am so excited about SewCalGal‘s Red and White Design Challenge–a red and white quilt has always been on my quilter’s “bucket” list.  I was inspired by pictures of mosaic floors and tile work to design these quilts in EQ7. My ‘Rising Star Medallion’ quilt measures  64 1/2″ x 64 1/2″ and requires 5 3/8 yards red and 4 1/8 yards white fabric for the quilt top, 7 1/2 yards fabric for the backing, and 1/2 yard red for the binding.  (Whew! that seems like a lot of fabric, EQ7 frequently over estimates the amount of fabric needed.  However, I’d much rather overestimate yardage than not have enough, I just add the excess to my stash!).  To calculate the fabric needed for backing and binding, I used the calculators found on The Quilter’s Paradise,

The  ‘Rising Star Medallion’ quilt features the following blocks from Barbara Brackman’s Blockbase:   “The Rising Sun”, Finley #3445, the first border uses the block: “Sonnies Playhouse,” Kansas City Star 1935 #N023, and the third border uses: “Lover’s Knot,” Old Chelsea Station Needlecraft Service/Laura Wheeler #3010.

Red and White Challenge 1

I designed several quilts with these blocks.  Some are more challenging than others to piece, and some have a more modern aesthetic, such as the following which uses the Lover’s Knot block:

Red and White Challenge 2

The ‘Lover’s Knot’ quilt is 36″ x 36″, and requires the following fabrics:  3 yards medium red, 1/4 yard dark red, and 1 1/2 yard white (backing and binding included).

Lastly, I designed ‘Sonnies Knot’ quilt as a bed quilt, it is 82 1/2″ x 99 1/2″, and requires the following fabrics:  6 3/8 yards medium red, 1 yard dark red (plus 1/2 yard for the binding), and 6 3/4 yards white.  The backing will require 8 1/4 yards (I’m considering red minky for the backing to make it super snugglie).

Red and White Challenge 3

I really appreciate SewCalGal‘s hosting of the Red and White Challenge, and EQ7 and Island Batik.  Batiks are wonderful fabrics to work with when doing precision piecing because their higher thread counts will stand up to the shorter stitch length used in foundation piecing, they are easily pressed, and their bias edges don’t stretch as much as quilting cottons.  I am planning several tutorials on precision piecing as the Red and White Challenge progresses to the construction phase.  Please look at SewCalGal’s blog for all of the red and white designs.

I’m linking up with SewCalGalDesign Wall Monday, Sew Cute Tuesday, Anything Goes Mondays, Show and Tell Tuesday, and Freemotion by the River.  I follow all of these blogs.


Have a quilty day!