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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Transparency colors effect in EQ7 - a quick tutorial

Hi again everyone,

two blog posts in two days! - this has to be my record for all times... ha ha!
Oh well, one of these days I will learn how to better plan my blog posts and schedule them, and be consistent and.... you get the picture? Honestly, I have all these things in my head and in my sketchbooks and on bits of paper...I want to share it all (in many ways, not just here) but better organization (of little extra time that I have) still escapes me... As always, if you have any good tips, please share! :)

But back to our topics of the day.
If you read the previous post, I started this little experiment of creating the transparency effect with colors in my EQ7. Playing with primary colors was fairly easy because you know what happens when you mix red and yellow, or blue and red (see previous post HERE)... but if you want to use colors further away from primary, subtle shades, it becomes a bit more tricky to figure out which color exactly will bring the transparency effect.

Well, my trusty EQ7 came to the rescue there and I will show you how!

Let's start from the beginning.
First, to achieve this layout and have an easy way of coloring, - as well as possibly sewing later! -
I started with this layout: 3" blocks (horizontal setting) and 2" wide sashing between them:

The reason I did this, specially having a sashing (where there really isn't any VISIBLE sashing of course) instead of just a grid of same squares, is because I wanted somewhat "offset" overlap, not one with squares overlapping half way.
Here is how this would work:

Basically the sashing is a center of each of your individual squares, and four 3" blocks around it are the corners of that square - hope you can see what I mean above? I colored one square red and the other yellow and above the uncolored square will be the transparent overlap. It will be orange of course:

Now that is easy! And you can have another one - overlap yellow with blue:

So that was the easy color choice I was talking about. Now on to the more subtle colors and how they would "mix":
Here is one of those:

Pink and gray might not be a very difficult one, since of course the overlap will be some "grayed-out" shade of pink, but finding that exact color in the palette of solids that is provided by default in EQ7 might not be that easy... However, you can MAKE your own tints and shades in EQ and also the GRADES too!! GRADES means that you can do a gradation of colors going from one to another color and here is how:

1. Find one of the two colors you are overlapping - here I am showing PINK - and RIGHT CLICK on it with your cursor
2. Drop-down menu will appear and on it, you need to choose "Add Grades", like the photo shows, and click on that.

3. When you click on it, a certain gradation of colors will appear - on the left end of it will be the color you picked, (sorry, somehow a photo made my chosen color look more like orange than the pink I actually choose!), but on the right end of it will be some default color (yellow here) - so you have to change that.


4. Click on the little triangle that is right by the yellow color and a whole palette of colors will appear in a drop-down window (photo)

5. You need to look at them and try to find your OTHER color (in my case it was GRAY, remember?). Granted, this window in not big and sometimes it might be a bit tricky to find that exact color, but even it if is NOT exact but very close, you are likely to have what you want at the end.
6. Click on the color you want and...

VOILA!! The gradation of colors between your two chosen ones will appear!! COOL!!

7. Now you need to click on that "Add to Sketchbook" button you see on the bottom left of that window, to save all these in your palette.

It will show up at the END of your palette of solid colors (so don't panic if you don't see it as you look - you need to scroll all the way to the right and it will be there (photo shows it as last 10 colors in my palette)

8. Now you just need to pick one of the shades to color that "transparency square" - usually it is a color close to the middle between the two that works the best.

Here is my choice:

That was easy, right?
This way you can find that "transparency" color between ANY two colors you want!
But of course there is MORE you can do... :)
Remember when you did that first RIGHT click on the color and menu dropped down, there were more choices there? YES! - you can also do few more things to expand your solid color palette in EQ!

If you click on "Add Shades and Tints" you will get a nice light-to-dark gradation of that chosen color. In the photo below, I right-clicked on the ORANGE color that is right next to the upper left corner of the window and got this nice gradation:

If you click on "Add Tones" you will get a gradation of your chosen color (same orange here) with addition of more and more GRAY to it:

And of course what we did in this tutorial, adding GRADES - here is another example showing two quite different colors, that same orange from above and blue:

What a lovely, amazing set of all new colors!! Don't you agree?? I just LOVE this!!

Oh and if all this is not enough for ya - yes, you can add even more colors by choosing your own! There is one more choice in that menu - "Add Color" - if you click on that, you will get this and be able to make your color:

Slide that cursor up and down, left and right till you get what you like!! FUN!!

OK, so that is how I did ALL of my choices in the quilt above, and I ended up with a nice set of new gradations and colors at the end of my default solids palette, you can see most of them below:

Isn't this neat??
I am sure lots of you knew this already, and of course it is somewhere in that fabulous manual that comes with the program, but for many who are just starting to explore EQ7, or are not too keen on reading the manual -  I hope this is a good, quick tutorial on how to do this.

Of course, using this transparency way of coloring, you can achieve really neat effects in coloring some classic blocks too! Here is just a quick example of a simple star block (made from four Quarter-square triangle units, using a partial seam... I love this simple block - we can talk about this one and how to make it, later too!)

I only did a quick coloring here, with only two transparency combinations, (hey I can play forever, but really need to finish this tutorial and post it! he he), but you can see the possibilities, right? :)

Oh and then the fun of actually picking FABRICS to MAKE all these beauties for real... Solids or prints that read as solids - what would be your preference? Hmmmm...

I hope you enjoyed this little trick that your EQ7 can give you and please let me know if you have any questions or show me what you create - I would love to see!!

Have a fabulous Wednesday,

#EQ7  #EQ7tutorial  #transparency

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summertime hiatus is over...a quick tutorial coming!

Hi everyone,

somehow I got sewing-lazy these few weeks and hence, not much to talk to you about!
Summer is beautiful around here, albeit a bit more chilly than usual and if you ask Mr. Marley, that is just how he likes it!
Here he was one happy boy coming back home with us - us from work, him from a doggy daycare. Yeah he is one loved, spoiled pup... No, I am really not one of those dog lovers who goes overboard, but ever since we lost our darling Rocky, Marley is home alone all day and doesn't move much...and he needs good exercise. So besides walks every day, he goes once a week to romp with his friends all day long and he loves it. I also see that money spent as his health insurance. :)
When you live in area like Buffalo where winters can be long and cold, you cherish your summer. You spend lots of time outdoors. And if you are a nature and photography lover like me - you have your iPhone running out of photo storage in less than 3 months! Crazy woman... But here are few beautiful photos for your inspiration - we went hiking to Little Rock City park in Salamanca NY.

Amazing rocks...

Just beautiful...
Little ghostly, saprophytic plants (plants that don't make chlorophyll like most plants do, (hence, no green color anywhere!), but rather live on other decaying plant material)
Amazing moss:
Or mushrooms:
And then there were some almost alien-looking fungus too:
Oh and some ghostly rocks as well:

Just look at this beautiful, beautiful forest! I have to say, these colors and all is something that always, ALWAYS makes me smile... Not to mention our lovely pups (Marley and grand-puppy Oliver) and of course my handsome youngest son too... (just a little bragging here! )

We had some wonderful time and at the end, this is how the ride home went:
Two snoozing pups on my lap!! Loved every minute of it. :)

Speaking of loving every minute - babysitting!! Our beautiful little granddaughter is growing every day and of course more and more beautiful by the minute! Today is her little "quarter-birthday", she is 3 months old!! I can't even begin to tell you how much I love that little girl and how much I cherish every minute spent with her!

Yes she loved that above-the-stroller toy that we got for her... This smile was when we put it on first - hooray!! 

So see now why I got a bit sewing-lazy?? Not looking for excuses here, but there are certainly some totally cute reasons, don't you think? 

But hey, in reality, there isn't a day at all that I don't do SOMETHING fabric, sewing or design related...really. If nothing else, I would browse internet, Facebook, blogs and other treasures during some quick break or right before falling asleep - a little spark of inspiration can come from just about anywhere, right? 
So during one of those journeys I saw this simple modern beauty created by one of the pioneers of modern quilting, Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle:

This above is just a screen shot of the web page that you can find HERE .
Weeks and Bill have a whole book on this, a good one too - Transparency Quilts: 10 Modern projects.

Isn't it amazing how just by good choice of color you can depict the magic of transparency with fabric? 

But this quilt triggered a whole domino effect for me - I immediately remembered that quite some years ago, I took an excellent class on just this - achieving transparency with good color choices! Class was by Judy Blydon at Vermont Quilt Festival. I still remember enjoying the class, being so excited and inspired by all of it and then....somehow during all these years I seem to forget all that? Isn't that sad?? 
How do we get quietly "lulled" into a repetition, routine, same old, same old...and forget exciting things we learned, tools that we have to create?? I was quite struck by that. 

Decided then and there that I must "dost-off'" all this and dig deeper into my own creative tool-box, into my own creative soul! Really!!

OK, nice promise Marija, noble thoughts...but what is one to do? Well, to begin with, I immediately double-clicked on my EQ7 icon and started "sketching"... I wanted to make my own quick transparency quilt, just to see if I can do it...

What do you think? Good transparency effect? 
Tried in some other colors too:

Have to say that first one, having mostly primary colors, was fairly easy in terms of finding that "transparency" effect color. You know, if blue and yellow square overlap, mix (or transparency effect) should be green. Red and yellow should have orange overlap... right? 
But this second one, having this specific set of purples and greens was not that easy. However, looking around my EQ7 tools I found a fairly easy way - HOORAY!!!

Of course I will share it with you, so a quick tutorial on this little EQ7 gem is coming tonight! I promise! :) 

That should also resume my "Each one, teach one" series of tutorials (long overdue, I know...), although I am thinking to move it maybe to another day? I noticed quite a few blogs having Tuesday as a tutorial day, so maybe to "spread it around the week" a bit? What do you think?

Let me know your thoughts on any of this - learning new things, forgetting what you learned, transparency as an effect in quilting? 

Thanks for spending some time with me, I will be back later tonight!! :)
Have a wonderful Tuesday,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Busy...being happy!! :)

Hi everyone,

yeah...I am almost hesitant to write this, because it sounds like bragging, because you don't want to jinx it, because... oh well, I just want to share and that is it! :)

Yes, this past week I was kinda busy being - HAPPY!!
And I am not bragging, honestly I am not - and I wish you all with my whole heart to be happy as well, always! But you know what - being happy is often a CHOICE. I know, this sounds so very cliche... it's a saying that we all see and hear all the time these days, but it is also so very true. And no, that doesn't mean you should or will be happy ALL the time, definitely not. But it does mean that you need to make an effort to see little beautiful things around you and smile, to enjoy little moments of happiness, to embrace everyday life, your family, friends and to try and do what makes you happy. Again - it all sounds so easy and so common sense, but it is amazing how difficult it is sometimes to focus on that, to LEARN to do it...(well, it took me only about 50 years...ha ha!).
Seriously, it is as we are somehow pre-wired to stress, to see bad things more than good, to take for granted all the good that we have. I wonder why that is....

Anyway - WHY I am so happy?
Well, in my case it's easy - every time I have all my kids (now adults) around me and everyone is good, healthy and happy - I just can't stop smiling.
This past week our daughter and her love were in town and that meant we are all together! Just seeing them all hanging out together, talking, laughing... PURE JOY. I am sure you know what I mean!
When you are a parent, happiness always comes from taking care of your kids, making them happy, doing things for them. But once you are a parent to young adults and they "turn the table" on you - do things to make YOU happy, think what makes YOU happy, do things with YOU in mind...well that is an altogether overwhelming joy and humbling experience!
My kids plotted a complete surprise this past Sunday - a week early (since now we were all together), surprise birthday party for me!! The plot was that young parents needed me that morning "just to watch the baby while they do errands" etc. ... of course I was more than happy to do it!! - and while I was out of the house they decorated, gathered, cooked... And me - I had extra cuddles with my little Juliana!! Can you say - HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY?!
Here was my surprise:

This my friends is what I live for. They truly are the beat of my heart.

From left to right are Steve and Jelena (holding her precious little niece!), youngest son Vuk (who just got his first, full-time job, woo-hoo!!), love of my life, my husband of 30 years and then young parents Lauren and Stefan.
We were missing Vuk's lovely girlfriend Leah who couldn't be with us but here is what I got in a text message from her and her lovely pup Beemer:
Isn't Beems the cutest? And such a good boy to sit still!! :)
So yeah - I am the luckiest one alive, I truly am. :)
As if this was not enough and the most special gift - I actually got gifts too! Not to bore you with those (although I am so excited to go for a full hour of organic facial, mani/pedi with my girls etc.), but here are some that are quilt-related:

My lovely, wonderful daughter-in-law, Lauren researched and found these two beautiful picture books, for Juliana and me to have some special reading times... can you see now how fortunate I am? I am speechless from joy and deeply humbled too. I truly am.
Both of these books have a wonderful story, beautiful illustrations and of course QUILTS as main characters - so highly recommended!!

Speaking of quilts...I did have some great quilty fun this past week too!

Our Guild meeting was Thursday - we had Christmas in July demos and I did one of them. Demos are always so much fun! This time I showed how NOT-scary and easy it is to cut and sew some curves while making that Poinsettia block that I blogged about last time. I hope many more quilters give it a chance - start with Quick Curve Ruler and all the fun patterns from Sew Kind of Wonderful sisters, you will LOVE it!

Since then I had some fun quilting one of those:
 Tried for the first time a thick thread - 12wt #Aurifil - wanted to have some heavier "lines" first:

Some adjustments had to be made - large needle (Jeans 100), a bit larger stitch length (4, instead of normal 2.5), just a bit looser tension and some patience and...
I like this!! A very stately thread presence, don't you think? :) I really like this for STRAIGHT lines and some simple design - I don't think I would do thick thread for some elaborate free-motion quilting... But, it is all an experiment! :)
After this, I switched to my favorite, 50wt #Aurifil and kinda boldly went for a significantly darker shade than fabric:

On to try some pebbles. I am so not good at pebbles yet, but it was - just do it! - kinda day! Ha ha!
What do you think?

My reaction?
Well, first photo (very close!) - UGH.
Second photo (a bit further away) - well, not so bad...
Third photo (yet further away!) - oh, this is OK!

But seriously now - teacher in me says - just keep doing it, practice, practice, practice!! Right? :)
Then for the alternate poinsettia petals I went back to straight line quilting with white 50wt Aurifil and that is where I am now:

What do you think? More quilting in the middle? Straight line or free-motion in the green fabric??
I really like the effect of "echoing" some lines... Or continuing lines from the petals into the background?? Now that is something to try!! IDEAS?? :)

Oh and then yesterday, I took a day off to spend every precious moment with my girl and while she had to still do some work for few hours, I had some fun quilting again! This time it was a fun, little piece I was quilting for a friend who loves to piece and applique but not to machine quilt. Lori did a really beautiful job hand-appliqueing it and I have to say I was a bit nervous...
Looked at it and looked at it and then decided to give that Bunny even more tulips and leaves, few more Easter eggs and some sunshine too! :)
Out comes the palette of beautiful Aurifil colors...

Yeah - I did change thread THAT many times. It was really just a lot of fun!!
Quilted the cute bunny first with chocolate brown:

Than on to the background that was quilted with a beautifully subtle variegated light:

Added some color with yellow, red and green..

And that gorgeous deep purple color was ideal for the border!

All done!!

That was just pure fun!! I hope Lori likes it too.

So lets come back to that thing from the beginning - effort to be happy. I am definitely NOT an expert or anything, but I honestly try to do it as much as I can. Look around you. It's raining in the summer - oh what a bummer...(is that a rhyme?) - reason to be grumpy? NO - just look around you after the rain stops - beautiful raindrop jewels are everywhere!!

Go find them - they will make you smile!! (you only need that smart phone, no fancy cameras or anything...)

If you are up early in the morning, go look at that beautiful morning light and how it dazzles through the morning dew!

Go picking cherries!! whatever comes to your mind that makes you smile! If you just try it, give it a chance, I guarantee it will make you happy! Not forever, not all the time maybe - but ANY time or short time is more than NO time, right?
If you go about collecting those little tiny moments of happiness, you will be the richest person in the Universe. I know I am. :)

Wishing you smiles,

PS - Marley says - SMILE!!