Tuesday, October 27, 2009

EQ to the rescue

"Do you EQ?"
I do...even though I haven't put the little logo on my sidebar yet!
The Electric Quilt Company's EQ6 is a fantastic software program for designing quilts, and especially just playing around. It has everything I could possible need, and more...I have not even tried doing things like tracing a photo to make applique patterns.
Now don't be getting a headache...this post is only about easy things!
I am updating a lot of work for my class at the Campbell Folk School next week, and thought you might like to see how EQ6 rescued me!
I originally started off with the Blockbase program (also from Electric Quilt), which essentially is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns on a CD. I use it quite a bit for research on block names, and it was my original source of pictures for class handouts.
I was working on The Best Friend today. Here's what it looks like in Blockbase:
That's wonderful... if you want those colors, or a grey tone version of them.
WARNING! Anyone who actually knows how to use a computer may find the following confession too painful or confusing to believe! Technophiles should only continue reading at their own risk!

In my original version of the class handout I carefully used my Publisher program to generate little triangles and rectangles to cover up the dark background!
This, of course, is almost impossible to pull off, because you can't get the shapes exactly the same size and the under-layer peeking out gives the whole thing a sort of op-art effect with vibrating lines!

OK, Techies...it's safe to read from here on! (I only warn you 'cause I love ya!)
Now that I am learning to use EQ6, I can actually change all sorts of things...and they look so nice! I can even draw a block diagram and color it in the way I want.
So I made a new Best Friend block:
I have been thinking lately about making a purple and gold quilt, so why not try out some of that combination? I like it!
Although you can use scans of real fabrics in your work, I think it will still look different "in the cloth" after you make it. And we must remember that value is more important than color.
But it's still fun to be able to re-color a block and fool around with ideas quickly.
To print out well on a class handout (i.e.black & white!) it's a good idea to just fill the block parts in with different greys/ black/ white...you know, just the values!
Each time you see a block in here, I have drawn it on EQ6, colored it in, then exported it to my EQ file in My Pictures on the computer, then imported it to this blog. Or to the page for the handout I am working on.
Then I make little text frames to put in the A--B--Cs for each shape so the instructions will refer to the pattern picture.
And that's when I realized I had drawn the pattern wrong!
You astute Pie Readers already can see I have plain squares instead of 4-Patches.
Back to the drawing board....or in this case, the EQ Worktable!
OK, now it looks more like The Best Friend instead of another Bear Paw block.
In the past, quilters didn't tend to have names for blocks until patterns started being published in magazines and newspapers, so I don't know that there is any intended relation between this as a Bear and a Friend.
But then, another very similar block is Duck's Foot in the Mud! So that just goes to show you should have fun with these things and not take the naming too seriously.
Meanwhile, back at the class handout, I am noticing a real problem. There are more values here than in the original (and a bit scarey) diagram I made.
OOPS! I seem to have colored in four large parts that should be the same as the background fabric!
OK, here we go, finally The Best Friend is all right and ready to be seen:

"Don' she pretty?" as Justin Wilson, Cajun Cook, would say...I think so.
A good trick you can learn from this block is to take a square area and turn it into something else...a 4-patch in this case. What if you made a half-square triangle unit in there?
Hmmmm...I could check that out really fast with EQ6!


Anonymous said...

Heads up, the value relationships in the NW and SE four-patch sub-blocks are different from the value relationships in the NE and SW sub-blocks. It's a symmetry thing. Or asymmetry thing, if you prefer.

This is fine if it's what you mean to do, but a goof if it's not what you mean to do. Just sayin'!


Sunnie said...

What sharp eyes you have, Ms. E!
And not only that, the NE four patch is turned around the wrong way. Gosh, I thought that only happened at the sewing machine!
Since all the handouts are done, I can blame the copy machine , but I guess I will have the to 'fess up on the wrong-way 4-patch!