Tag Archives: Electric Quilt

The Key to Happiness

Some people say that the key to happiness is having lower expectations. Yesterday I had incredibly low expectations for myself and managed to beat them, which made me happy. So I guess it’s true!

Beyond going to the gym and doing a small amount of housework (emphasis on “small,”) I also learned a new skill that will help with an upcoming project.

My project will use an airplane in the center block. For a long time I figured to appliqué something, but recently I decided I’d rather piece it for better durability and so there isn’t the stiffness or chemicals of fusible web in the quilt. Hmm, piecing an airplane? That sounds like a job for paper piecing!

I have done paper piecing, and I’ve drawn my own papers for it, but they were quite simple. An airplane is more complex that a border of triangles. A search for available patterns didn’t coming up with the specific airplane I want, and I figured I’d need to draw my own. My next search was for tips on designing your own foundation patterns. Low and behold, I found the video at this link. It shows the steps to use in EQ7 for creating a paper-piecing pattern. (It couldn’t be embedded, so if you want to see it, you need to click the link.)

I have EQ8 software, but was able to “translate” the instructions to the current version. It helps to both slow down the speed of play and stop it regularly, to catch up to directions. I learned how to import an image into the block design worktable, and then use the drawing tool to simplify the image as a pieced block. The video then showed how to prepare the pattern for printing. It was so much easier than I could have imagined!

Here is my block, colored as if it were in fabric.

And here it is with the seam lines drawn in.

The software then separates and numbers the patches for the pattern. It is SO COOL.

Can I manage to keep my expectations or ambitions in check? Maybe not. Here is a list of things I have queued up:
* Finish quilting the rooster collage applique; bind and label it.
* Make the back for my Wind River Beauty project; load it, quilt it, bind and label it.
* Make and attach a label for a neighbor’s baby quilt, now that the baby has been born and has a name.
* Try creating the airplane block as above. If it works, move the rest of the project along.

I always think I can achieve more in any time frame than I really can. That might be optimism, and I haven’t unlearned it after all these years. It can make me feel a little disappointed and stressed when things don’t go as planned. But deliberately setting low expectations for a few days gives me permission to take my time, recapture pleasure, and look forward to the next steps. That’s the key…

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Design Process — EQ7 and Medallion Quilts

It’s way too easy to spend way too much time poking around the internet. We substitute digital life for real life, digital people time for real people time. (Oh my, there are essays I can write on this!) Often we gain big ideas while losing time to implement them. We measure our own abilities and accomplishments against the best things other people can do. Remember, they only post their best stuff! And if they post great stuff all the time, remember that in real life they have lots of problems, too. They may even be horrible people!

… a little off my intended topic …

Yeah, we can waste a lot of time online, but there are some pretty great things out there, too. When’s the last time you said, “I can look that up!”? If you’re like me, you say it, at least to yourself, many times a day.

One of the great resources I use frequently is Electric Quilt 7, the premier design software for quilters. I’ve barely scratched the surface of its functionality. You can design blocks or whole quilts, print patterns for paper piecing, calculate yardage, and more. (It lives on my computer, and is not web-based.)

You know I love medallion quilts, and I design as I go. In other words, I plan one border at a time, rather than trying to envision the whole quilt. Even with that, EQ7 has helped my process. When I was building my own medallion quilt, I got this far and got stuck:

Center through broken dishes. Now what?

Want to see more? Click here.