Tula Update

After finishing the first 100 Tula blocks, I tried out various layouts using EQ8. There are, of course, multiple layout options in the book, but I wanted MANY options. Also, I wanted a queen sized quilt for the bed in our new house, which will be finished some time.

I searched the internet and found a number of ideas.  Here are the options I drew in EQ8, obviously with EQ’s standard blocks instead of my Tula blocks.  It’s so easy to audition various layouts with EQ that I just played for a while.

And here is a start on the layout I selected.

I love this layout, but it’s turning out to be a bear to piece!

I decided to assemble the quilt top in 4 quadrants then join them to avoid those loooong rows that would have to be assembled if I did the whole thing a row at a time.

Here’s a start on the first quadrant, shown on the makeshift design wall:

It will be done some time, maybe before the house is done and maybe not!  A race, perhaps?

A New Toy!

Photo courtesy of Electric Quilt

I’m a fan of Electric Quilt (EQ) software, having used it for many years. It allows me to design my own blocks and quilts, try out layouts and color combinations, and print yardage requirements. And star blocks of all sorts are just about my favorites, so when I saw recently that EQ has a new add-on featuring star quilts, I was sold!

The “Star Power” add-on is based on an out-of-print book by Judy Martin. I’m not sure how I missed this book, but I do not own it. (Are you hearing another excuse to buy the add-on?) The add-on includes all the blocks AND quilt designs from the book. Once the add-on is part of your own EQ you can edit the blocks and quilt designs or make your own quilt designs using Judy’s blocks.

The add-on includes many beautiful star blocks.  (In fairness, the basic EQ program has a lot of star blocks as well.)  I gravitated immediately to Judy’s collection of “simple stars” because I’ve never made stars like this!  Here’s an example, exported from EQ (with a few color changes by me, of course).

Block by Judy Martin, modified in EQ8 by me

And once I’d seen those blocks, I integrated them with a chain block that came standard with my EQ8 software, changed colors a few times, added some borders, and generally fooled around with it until I had this:

Quilt design in EQ8 by me; star blocks designed by Judy Martin; chain block is part of EQ8 block library

The add-on includes a number of stunning designs by Judy, most of them more dramatic than my simple design. Here’s an example:

Example courtesy of Electric Quilt

I’m looking forward to making more star designs in EQ8 and then some quilts from those designs! 

Do you use EQ?  Other design software?  I’d be interested to know.

Please note:  This post is NOT sponsored by EQ; I choose products to review for this blog based solely on my own opinion.

 

Avoiding Half Square Triangles

Half square triangles are an important design element in many quilts. The split value and diagonal line allow a variety of dynamic designs.

This is a Half Square Triangle (HST)

One of my quilt groups has been discussing HSTs because some of us love them and some have limited tolerance for them. It matters because we regularly do block exchanges.

One member recently sent a picture of a beautiful depression block quilt, and that got the discussion going again. A depression block quilt is made entirely of HSTs!

This is a typical block from a Depression Quilt

 

This is a traditional Depression Block Quilt made entirely with HSTs

Not being much of a rule-follower, I got to speculating about how we might make this quilt using strips instead of HSTs. (Yes, I get that the original idea was to use up small scraps, but what if you just wanted the overall effect without all those HSTs?) My friend Mary B encouraged me to develop this idea, so here we go.

I did a number of experiments with Electric Quilt 8 (EQ8), which produced all the illustrations for this post.  I learned that the most important element in the success of this quilt is contrast between the values (rather than the colors) of the fabrics. (All the illustrations use Fossil Fern fabrics from the EQ8 fabric library.)

I first tried drawing a block that used strips of lights and darks in place of the rows of triangles. This would simplify construction significantly.

Here’s the block:

Depression block effect without the HSTs

And here’s the quilt:

Then I tried a traditional Courthouse Steps block set on point to mimic the depression block effect.

Here’s the block:

And here’s the quilt:

Finally, I changed up the color arrangement in the traditional Courthouse Steps block to provide more variation.

Here’s the block:

And the quilt:

So! I’m not sure my variations are a good substitute for the traditional Depression Block quilt, but it was fun and I do like the quilts. What do you think, Mary B? 

Where Did You Wear It?

A couple of years ago I made a quilt based on the little triangle codes found on plants at my local nursery.  It sank without a trace when I entered it in a show.

But the idea stayed with me, and earlier this year, when I wanted to make a quilt with social significance, I decided on a QR code.

Since my “day job” involves a lot of treating conditions that condoms might have prevented, I wanted to make a quilt to promote condom use. It’s what we like to call “safer sex”. Now don’t get all huffy on me; sex is a fact of life.

When I went looking for a condom-related QR code, I found this one developed by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands.

Where Did You Wear It campaign

The folks at Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands were gracious enough to allow me to use their QR code

Back in 2012 they put this QR code on all their condoms in a campaign called “Where Did You Wear It?”. Those who scan the code are taken to a website where they can put a pin in a map to show their geographic location–where they wore the condom!

The site also gives some important facts about condom use. The point of their campaign, and my point in making this quilt for show, is to normalize, encourage, and promote the use of condoms when needed.

It turns out QR codes are robust little devils, so I was able to re-color it and develop a lively quilt design with the use of my trusty Electric Quilt program:

Where Did You Wear It campaign

Quilt Design from the “Where Did You Wear It?” QR code

Making this was quite a challenge!  At each step I kept scanning it to be sure it took me to the “Where Did You Wear It?” site.  (You can download any of several QR code scanners to your smart phone or iPad. I used QMark.)

Asheville Quilt Show

The QR Code quilt, ready for its first show. It will the in the Asheville Quilt Show soon!

When I discussed the project with my wonderful son-in-law, he helped me turn my blog address into a QR code, too!  That’s this blog address you see in the TINY QR code making up one block toward the bottom right of the quilt. Scanning it brings you to this post.

Please help me to encourage condom use when appropriate by sharing this post.