Sunday, August 16, 2009

EQ6 Classes, Books, and Software

In September I will be teaching EQ6 classes at the Utah Quilt Guild's annual Quilt Festival in Layton, Utah. All the classes are full (with waiting lists).

If you wanted to take the class but didn't get in, be sure to sign up for my email newsletter. I am planning to teach the classes here in St. George at Quilted Works in January or February.

Or, if you have a group and want to schedule your own class, contact me and we'll see what we can work out.

I use EQ6 quilt design software for all my patterns and designs. I love being able to play "what-if" as I design a quilt, changing the size of blocks, sashing, borders, fabrics, etc. until I get just the quilt that I want to make.

It's great to be able to import my own fabrics and really get an idea of what a quilt will look like before I cut a single piece of fabric.

Being able to print a block in any size is another really useful feature of EQ. I use EQ to figure out cutting layouts, produce instructional drawings and even to make pattern pieces for my various patterns. It is amazing software!

If you are interested in EQ6 software or any of the companion books, please contact me. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is shown below. Please note that I offer special discounted prices on all EQ products. (Because of EQ6 rules, I can't advertise the prices on my website or in a blog, so you need to email me for more info. It will be worth your while!)

Here are the books and software that I recommend:


EQ6 Software
MSRP: $149.95 (Email me for special prices)

Quiltmaker Quilting Designs software
MSRP: $24.95 each (Volumes 1 through 6 available now)
Stand-alone software with lots and lots of great quilting designs, including many continuous line designs. Play with them when designing your quilt and then print them in any size.


EQ6 Simplified
MSRP: $21.95
Fran Gonzalez provides step-by-step instructions for eight fun projects. It's like taking classes right in your home!

EQ6 Pieced Drawing
MSRP: $21.95
Patti Andersen gives lots of great lessons to teach you to design unique blocks for any quilting need.

EQ6 Appliqué Drawing
MSRP: $21.95
This book by Angie Padilla teaches you how to draw and edit appliqué patches to create spectacular blocks.

EQ6 Block Book
MSRP: $19.95
An illustrated guide to the 4300 blocks in the EQ6 libraries. Not a necessary item, but I find it much easier to page through a book to find a block than to work through all the libraries on screen.

EQ5 Quilt Design
MSRP: $19.95
This wonderful book by Barb Vlack is out of print, but I have a few copies left. It is probably my favorite EQ book and every lesson in it can be translated into EQ6. This book taught me to really take advantage of the power of Electric Quilt.

The Electric Quilt Company offers lots and lots of wonderful products, from software and books to printable fabric sheets and software by lots of talented designers.

Again, I offer special prices on all EQ products. So, if there is something you'd like, please email me.

Happy EQ-ing,


Saturday, August 15, 2009

New patterns at

The kids in my neighborhood went back to school today. Goodness, they must feel that the summer flew by! Between trips to Alaska, Montana, and California, I think my summer went as fast.

In July I enjoyed demonstrating Texture Magic at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach.

We had several new Texture Magic patterns to share:

Café Vienna is made with fabrics from the Vienna line from Timeless Treasures.

We texturized the nutmeg fabric in the background of the star blocks to add an eye-catching accent to these rich, bold quilts.

Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts machine quilted Café Vienna. She did a marvelous job!

I especially enjoyed designing and making Little Charmers. The engaging little block and matching blankie are made using a charm pack and Texture Magic. One package will make more than one set.

Babies will love the textured blocks on front and the soft, plush back. Colorful, playing, textured ribbons and trims around the edge will give baby something to grab, chew, and explore.

I have to confess that I'd never worked with a charm pack before. I liked it! In one little pack I had over 40 different fabrics, all precut into 5" squares. That really made things go fast.

I separated the fabrics into lights, mediums, and darks. Then I texturized some of the squares using Texture Magic, cut a few into various shapes, and quickly assembled the block and the blankie.

Little Charmers will stimulate babies with textures, colors, patterns, and sounds. (There's a jingle bell inside the block.) Wouldn't this set make a great shower gift?

We introduced another new quilt and pattern at Long Beach. Wild Game Chase was made by Heather Purcell (aka Mother Superior) using her great collection of animal print fabrics.

What's fun about this quilt is that the sashing does the work. Flying Geese blocks in the sashing surround plain blocks. How easy is that?

Judi Madsen also quilted Wild Game Chase. You can see pictures of the process on her blog. Great job, Judi!

One last "new" pattern has been available for a while but I just got it on the website. Sweet Little Buttercup is a simple quilt to make. It uses three different 6" blocks and features time-saving techniques for cutting and piecing.

We're busy working on other new patterns to have ready for Market and Festival in Houston in October. Watch for more info soon!

Until then, happy stitching,


Friday, July 3, 2009

Summer R and R

Every so often we catch a high tide, jump in the boat, and head into Sitka for water, fuel, groceries and supplies.

One of my favorite spots to visit when we get to town is Sitka's busy public library, the Kettleson Memorial Library.

My hat is off to this library! First, they provide free internet access (and a number of public computers) to lots of visitors. When there are three cruise ships in town, the place is packed.

But, even better, they have the very best collection of books on quilting and needle arts that I have ever seen in a library. One entire stack of shelves is devoted to quilt and needlework books!

I understand that the local quilt guild, Oceanwave Quilters, makes a monetary donation each year for the library to purchase quilt books. Thank you, Oceanwave Quilters and Kettleson Memorial Library.

Because a number of these books are no longer available, it is wonderful that there is a place where all this information is stored. I appreciate the fact that this library is hanging on to this tremendous reference. Though I know space is always a consideration, I often feel it is a shame when people donate books to a library and those books get put in the monthly book sale.

I have added a lot of books to my personal library after checking them out at the Kettleson library. It was there that I found Ruth B. McDowell's full collection of books (which I now own) and where I initially discovered Jane Sassaman's The Quilted Garden: Design and Make Nature Inspired Quilts.

I love this quilt of Jane's (shown with her permission):

She said she was inspired by seed pods. It says "Starfish and Sea Urchins" to me!

Gwen Martson's Liberated Quiltmaking and Liberated String Quilts have given me many hours of intent studying. I love her free-form, funky style! (I'd love to have Liberated Quiltmaking in my personal library. Does anyone have a copy they'd part with?)

Each time we go to town, I come home with a pile of books to devour. Here are some of the treasures I've found (and purchased!) this summer:

  • The Art of Fabric Collage: An Easy Introduction to Creative Sewing
    by Rosemary Eichorn
    I can't wait to get home to my sewing machine to try some of Rosemary's techniques. This is a beautiful book full of great inspiration!

  • Encyclopedia of Designs for Quilting
    by Phyllis D. Miller
    This is a terrific, comprehensive reference of traditional designs for quilting and how to draft them. It's out-of-print, but used copies are available. It sold for about $30 originally; I paid $40 for one last year and feel it's worth every penny.

  • The Embroiderer's Workbook (Color Craft Workbooks)
    by Jan Messent
    This little book is full of exercises for embroiderers and has some good info about color and design which would be applicable to any artist. I especially enjoyed the chapter on "destructing fabric." Here's an interesting article about the author, too.

    I like this quote from the book: "Exercises for their own sake are as necessary to embroiderers as to writers, artists, and musicians. Imagine a writer who never learnt any grammer, an artist who never practiced figure-drawing, or a musician who never practiced any scales. Emphasis has been placed on the need to keep a notebook or file of exercises as a reference for the future."

    That sounds like great advice for quilters, too!

  • Stitching Free: Easy Machine Pictures
    by Shirley Nilsson
    Shirley has a very good chapter on the elements of design including a great little chart to use for assessing whether a quilt has balance, rhythm, contrast, unity, proportion and scale, and mood in its use of color, line, form, area, and texture. As Shirley says, one doesn't have to reach the top in each. She says, "Just one 'ah-hah' is a victory!"

  • Show Me How to Create Quilting Designs: 70 Ready-To-Use
    by Kathy Sandbach
    Kathy has some great ideas for free-motion quilting. I love the designs for vegetables, fruits, and flowers. I practiced drawing some and actually think I could quilt them. Yay!

  • Living With Quilts: Fifty Great American Quilts
    by Phyllis George
    Former Miss America Phyllis George is a quilt lover and this beautiful book is full of inspiration with quilts both old and new. It is a feast for the eyes!

  • Scraps of Time: Quilting With Treasured Fabrics (That Patchwork Place)
    by Ann Frischkorn and Amy Sandrin
    If you'd like to make a memory quilt with grandma's calico dresses, Dad's silk ties, or your collection of prom and bridesmaid's dresses, you will love this book written by talented twin sisters.

  • Optical Illusions for Quilters
    by Karen Combs
    Unravel the mysteries of creating space, depth, motion, and perspective in your quilts with lots of examples and lessons in this book. It looks like this book is out of print, but check your library -- it's a good one. And, if anyone has a copy of this book that they'd like to sell (or trade for patterns), please let me know.

  • The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook
    by Maggy Howarth
    After hauling all that rock, this book was of special interest to me. AMAZING designs for floors and trails using pebbles. I was surprised to learn that if you make a pebble mosaic, you must insert the pebble in the ground vertically. That would take a LOT more rocks! This might be one of those books for just looking at. . . not actually doing!

    Reading and relaxing, rejuvenating and recharging -- that's what real summer R 'n' R means to me.

    I hope you're having a relaxing and rejuvenating summer, too!

  • Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    Show & Tell

    I love the internet. Being able to connect with quilters all over the world to share ideas and thoughts is such a thrill for me. It's always fun to know that someone has read my blog or to see what someone has made using one of my patterns.

    Here are some of the recent emails that I've received:

    Sallie Townsend-Hughes in Florida writes:

    I am sending you pictures of a quilt I made using your pattern I've Been Framed. I am calling my version I've Been Framed in Red and it has been juried into the Knoxville AQS show for 2009.

    I loved working with your design and you should know that I also found your instructions excellent.

    The quilt was quilted on a Gammell by a very talented friend of mine,Natalie Carlton.

    I love the red mixed with the neutrals. Being juried into an AQS show is a great accomplishment and real honor. Congratulations, Sallie and Natalie!

    Sallie used the quick strip-piecing method to make her I've Been Framed quilt. Here is a version that I made with fussy-cut centers for each block. I used a terrific "Sitka" fabric, making a great Southeast Alaska quilt.

    Abby's Reflection, the wonderful little quilt shop here in Sitka, has kits which include the pattern and all the fabrics (except backing) to make this quilt. Please contact Jill at 907-747-3510 or go to her website to order a kit. Wouldn't that make a great Christmas gift for an outdoorsman in your life?

    Cynthia Marrs wrote:

    I got my first two [Texture Magic Totes] done, (except for the beads/balls). These are addictive. Such great gifts. and I have so much fabric. These give me a chance to use some of it. . .

    Love your patterns. I love my over the door wall hanging [made from the Hanging Organizer pattern]. I told you I was making one for my sister. I quilted the back part and did it all in lavender/purple. She'll love it.

    Great job on all of those projects, Cynthia. Isn't that Texture Magic fun to play with? You've got one lucky sister! She is going to love having such a great streamlined place to store all her "stuff".

    Brenda Miller of Among Brenda's Quilts had a great suggestion after seeing my recent blog, Mother Nature is a Quilter:

    Thank you for your update and for suggesting a visit to your blog. I very much enjoyed your postings. Mother Nature is a Quilter could certainly be a great slide show course on the principals of design. Well done!

    I think that is a great idea! I've been invited to present a lecture and teach a class to the Greater Quilt Guilds of Houston in June 2010. I've been working on a lot of other ideas, but perhaps this will fit in somewhere, too.

    Nedra suggested making that blog post into a book which Jan (the photographer)and I had already been considering. So, who knows where this will go. . . thanks for your input and encouragement.

    Nedra has been a busy girl. She came to an Annie's Play Day in May and worked on this cute laptop bag:

    Nedra says:
    I have always been a little intimidated about putting in zippers and making them look good. Annie taught me a technique that was so easy, and look at the results. Those instructions alone made the class worth it.

    A lot of my patterns include zippers and inserting them really is as easy as pie. Watch for an upcoming blog post with pictures showing each step.

    Nedra blogged about her experience making the bag. Here's her earlier blog with pictures of some of the other projects we played with that day. Oh, it makes me want to get home to my sewing machine!

    Nedra is celebrating her one year "Blogiversary" this week and is having a great giveaway. This is Nedra's 307th post! She's had over 38,000 visits that have included 61,000+ page reviews. Congratulations, Nedra -- that is something to crow about! Be sure to stop by her blog and leave a comment. You might win something wonderful!

    I hope you have a great day. I'm off to bake some muffins for breakfast.


    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    Mother Nature is a Quilter

    There is much that Mother Nature can teach us about quilting and the elements of design — line, shape, form, composition, contrast, and color.

    For instance, Mother Nature knows that lines draw the eye in direction in which they travel, pointing the way to an important area of the design. . .

    and that a diagonal line can be a very strong, eye-catching element in any design.

    She knows that straight lines give a sense of structure and formality. . .

    while curving, flowing lines give life and movement to an image.

    Straight horizontal lines are restful. . .

    while vertical straight lines suggest power or strength.

    Curved lines can give a graceful or serene feel.

    One can outline an area to emphasize it and root it firmly in the design.

    Mother Nature knows that shapes provoke a response in a viewer.

    Straight edges, squares, rectangles, and lines appear formal, hard, and direct.

    Curves, circles, and undulating edges are softer, more organic, and natural.

    Images need a sense of light and shadow to give a 3-D effect.

    The importance of contrast is another lesson that Mother Nature shares. She shows us that the effect of contast can exist in many different forms:


    Rough with smooth

    Shiny with mat


    Light with dark

    Warm with cool


    Contrast can also be created by setting one object against a group. . .

    or by using curved lines against straight ones.

    Mother Nature helps us study the importance of composition, the arrangement of objects in a design and their relationship with each other and the space they occupy.

    She might move an object to one side for more interest.

    We learn that leaving slightly more space between the subject and the bottom of an image helps prevent the illusion that the subject is sliding down the background.

    Or that an object might fill an area better if placed at an angle.

    Mother Nature doesn't forget the importance of color and color relationships.

    Green is Mother Nature's neutral. . .

    . . . though she also likes black and white.

    She knows that contrasting colors work well together. . .

    . . . that contrasting colors stand out in a pastel, pale, or neutral scheme. . .

    . . . that lack of contrast makes things blend. . .

    and that delicate colors can get lost or overpowered when surrounded by dark or bright colors.

    Mother Nature knows her techniques:


    She works with alternate materials. Is it a whale or a bird?

    A butterfly?


    She quilts lines and curves. . .

    veins. . .

    feathers and pebbles.

    She loves to stipple.


    Look at those french knots!

    Crazy Quilting

    She embellishes with beads. . .

    and bugles. . .

    ribbons. . .

    braids. . .

    and trims. . .

    ruffles. . .

    lace. . .

    and fringe.

    She even plays with threads. . .

    and Texture Magic!

    Yes, Mother Nature is a MASTER quilter!

    Special thanks to my friend, Jan Mitchell, for all the wonderful photos used on this blog.

    © Janis R. Mitchell and Annette L. Unrein — June 2009. All rights reserved.