Archive for August, 2009

In our last episode, I was tearing my hair out trying to draw a scalloped border for the unnamed quilt. This exercise really illustrates how math-challenged I am, because this is obviously a math test.

I dug around in my bookcase and came up with Patti Anderson’s EQ5 Drawing book. Guess what? It has a chapter on scalloped borders. And I had flagged it with a sticky note, no less! Sheesh!

I knew I could count on Patti to come up with a solution, and this is a very good reason not to trash/give away those older books when you upgrade to a new version. The new books are not necessarily a re-hash of the stuff that’s in the old ones.

So I began by following Patti’s instructions to a “T” except for changing the size of my block. Hers was sized for a 12″ quilt center and my center is 54″. This took a little effort and required me to get out my proportion wheel leftover from my desktop publishing days. Because of the miter, you can’t just make your block the same length as the quilt center. For Patti, the 12″ center required a 16″ block. My center required a 72″ block. The extended length also required a little compromise because the largest graph paper grid is 48 and 72 would have been real nice. So I basically had to do without the graph paper.

Patti offered 2 types of blocks. One is drawn the full length of one side. The other is drawn to divide the length into 2 blocks, the one with the miter and one with straight sides which connect the two miter blocks together. As she says, the second method is more versatile and after all the futzing I’ve been doing, I’d have to agree. But the second method introduces more scallops than I want, so I stuck with the first.

I had lots of trial and error, even with Patti’s exact recipe. I was using 72″ long and 6″ wide. I was able to get two versions where the miters almost lined up, but not quite.
scallop screenprint 1 copyscallop screenprint 2 copy

So I went back to the book and made a test of Patti’s 12″ quilt, just to see if I could at least recreate that. If not, then I should hang up my EQ badge, right?

patti's scallop border

These corner arcs are exactly what I was trying to achieve before! (Even though I double- and triple-checked the measurements, there is the one miter in the upper left corner that doesn’t match. All I can figure is it’s a display problem. I rebooted Windows just to see if that changed anything and it didn’t.)

Ok, so now I know that I should be able to make those miters line up. I went back to my proportion wheel and determined that Patti’s 12″ center is 400% of her 3″ border width. (Yes I know, that’s just basic math.) With that in mind, I dialed in my 54″ center and checked to see what size border I should be using at 400%. 13.5? Well, doesn’t that seem a little excessive? When I resized my border to 13.5, the miters were way off. So apparently, that’s not the right math principle to use (I told you this is a test.) I then reduced my border width an inch at a time until I got to 7″. And then went up and down with the arrow keys between 6″ and 7″. This is about as close as I can get and it’s obviously not perfect, but at least it gives me an idea of what the unnamed quilt should look like. And I like it!

robin's scallop border



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EQ6 frustration

I should emphasize here that my frustration is with myself, in the fact that I have ZERO artistic vision and can’t seem to draw something in EQ6 that I can see with my own eyes. Heaven help me if I ever thought I could draw something original.

Here’s my problem:

The unnamed quilt definitely needs a border. Sure, I can put a regular square border on it, but how boring is that?
unnamed quilt with boring border

During one episode of The Quilt Show, Alex Anderson showed a small quilt she’d made with a scalloped border and I thought, that’s it! That’s what this quilt needs. Problem is, I’ve never made one before. I’m sure I can probably do it, it doesn’t seem that hard. But I wanted to put one on the virtual version in EQ6 to make sure it will look right before I cut any border fabric.

So I went on a quest to find an example of a scallop so that I could draw one from scratch. My apologies to whatever website this image came from, but it’s exactly what I had in mind. Well, the middle one is, anyway. A wavy border like this should be easier to bind than the traditional one with the deep scallops.

I checked with the Electric Quilt people and their recommendation was to steal the scallops from a ready-made design:
scallops on table runner

So I did that and it looks very nice, but I don’t like these corners. I like the ones on the wavy border better. I didn’t have much success modifying those corners to my liking.
my first scalloped border

That’s when my frustration began. I could deconstruct the wavy border in my mind but when I tried to draw the blocks, I ran into problems. I know that I need a corner block. I know that I need a center block with a valley on each side and a hill in the middle. I know that I need one more block that connects to the corner block on one side and the center block on the other, but darned if I can get the correct arc where it connects to the corner. If I were Patti Anderson, I’d instinctively know what kind of grid to start with and I’d have this thing done in 2 seconds. But I don’t have her eye or brain and I’m probably making this harder than I should. That’s usually how I work. This is my first attempt. The quilt top is 54″ x 54″ and I made these border blocks 6″ just like they are above, but to my eye it’s too narrow and out of proportion.
my second scalloped border

My EQ instructor, Darlene, suggested I modify some pre-made vine blocks from the EQ6 library. That was much easier than the blocks I drew from scratch, but it still doesn’t solve my problem. This is better, though. Funny thing, I had to size these border blocks to 9″ and it still looks too narrow to me. I don’t understand why the 6″ blocks and 9″ blocks almost look alike here.
wavy border 1
corner blockwavy block
So what do I need to do to turn this center block into a connector block? (The reason the arcs are drawn to funny points on the ruler is that I didn’t change their original position when I resized to 9 inches.) I also need to turn these into real motifs so that I don’t have block outlines.

UPDATE: go to the next installment of this highly engrossing saga


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Some people are so creative

I love it when I stumble across something clever that someone has thought of and this is one of those. I think we’ve all been here:


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I love technology!

You may remember that I got an iPhone 3GS in June. John and the kids have had iPhones for a long while (John since the first version) but I’d been dragging my feet, waiting until it had features that I really wanted. I was dismayed to learn that the one feature I bought it for doesn’t exist yet (they say it’ll be in version 3.1 of the OS) and that is voice dialing with bluetooth. I use a bluetooth headset while driving because I want to be hands-free even though it’s not mandated by law here yet. The phone does have voice dialing, just not through the headset.

Today I heard a great tip on “Daily Photo Tips with Chris Marquardt” (podcast) and that is to download the user guide for your camera and keep it on your phone so that you have it handy when you’re out in the field. I think this is a great idea because I need my guides handy so I keep one in my purse (for the G10) and one in my camera bag (300D) and both take up valuable real estate. Now the tip Chris gave was to email the guide to your gmail account and just leave it in the inbox. I didn’t try it that way because I don’t know how you can read PDFs on the phone without a PDF reader. So I went to the App Store and found a 99ยข (on sale for a very short time, $4.99 regular price) app with a 4star rating and lots of reviews. It’s called GoodReader. It reads the PDF (and some other file types) after you’ve transferred it to your phone using another app called iPhone Explorer. This app works with both Mac OSX and Windows and is free. You install it on your computer, plug in your iPhone with the USB cable, drag the files to the app’s window and they’re uploaded to your phone. GoodReader has a search function, which will make it easy to find things in the user guides.

Another thing I’ve been wanting to do is to set up my Library Thing account with my books. If you don’t know about Library Thing, it’s one of a couple of online book databases that I’m aware of. The other one is Delicious Library 2. Library Thing is free, but has a paid upgrade. Delicious Library is not free, but at $40, isn’t terribly expensive. I’m going to start with Library Thing and see how I like it. Delicious Library has some iPhone and Mac features that are appealing (like scanning your book’s barcode with the built-in iSight camera). With Library Thing, you have to use a scanner called a CueCat (I have 2 of them but haven’t tried either of them yet), or just type in the ISBN code or do an author or title search of Amazon or Library of Congress to bring up your book and then you save it to your catalog.

I am notorious for buying duplicates of books and magazines so having my catalog available on my phone (I have to access it with Safari on the web) is a big deal for me. I have catalogued books I own that I’ve read, books on my wishlist, books I own but haven’t read yet and books I’ve read but don’t own (like library books or loans from friends). And speaking of the real library, wouldn’t you think that the librarian could look up your library card number and get a list of the books you’ve checked out? Henrico County library tells me they can’t do that. So I never know where I left off with Sue Grafton’s “alphabet” mysteries I’ve checked out and read. I think I’m up to S but I’m not sure. I’ll take my computer to the library and get them logged in and while I’m at it, check out and read the next one.

I have a LOT of quilting books that need to be catalogued too. I may try out the CueCat scanner for those.

I love it! How has technology improved your life? Leave a comment.


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In front of the piano store…


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Making progress

I finished sewing the last two rows together on the unnamed quilt this morning. I have decided this definitely needs borders, but don’t know exactly what they will be like. Quilting Adventures was down to their last 3 fat quarters of the red fabric and didn’t want to order another bolt, so I found the extra yardage I needed at In The Niche an online vendor based in Owensville, Missouri. They were very nice to work with. I submitted my online order on Friday, specified Priority Mail since it cost hardly more than regular mail and included a note to contact me if they didn’t have at least the 2.5 yards I needed. She emailed that they did have it and it was in the mail. I had my fabric on Monday. Wow, what service!


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