Digital Designing Process

Hello, I thought I would give you a sneak peek into how I come up with designs that I plan to turn into machine quilting designs on my Tablet PC.

I open Photoshop Elements and create a new document.  I just start sketching freehand style and erase any designs that seem not to work.  I do not worry about the lines if they are wobbly at this point, since I know I will redraw and edit lines later on in this digital format.

If I am designing a small wholecloth design, often I will just draw a section of the quilt, then copy, paste and flip to make a square shape.  I love to work digitally.

carlamotif1Here is my quick sketch design, with color added just for fun:

 

Now it is time to redraw and edit the design.  I know that the center is rather boring, so will adjust that.  I will also edit some other lines, too.   Sometimes, I will redraw a design multiple times, until it flows for me.

 

 

cbelegascrolltropHere is what my first edit looks like.  Again, I added color just for fun:

At this point, I can edit further, or pull out individual elements that could make nice simpler designs all on their own.  These designs can later become part of a larger set of designs.

 

Breaking down the larger design into smaller designs also allows me to play with the idea of creating matching borders, sashings, corners, etc.  Here is an example of a smaller design from the larger quilt design: scroll border panto

Anyhow, this gives you a general idea for how I work.  I plan to redraw these designs and fine tune the stitch path for commercial application.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment.  Happy Quilting!  Carla

Designing Quilts- Jill’s Applique Quilt

Jill Applique quilt "Before"

Jill Applique quilt “Before”

Thought I would begin a new series on designing quilts for machine quilters, so let’s start with a lovely applique quilt by my friend, Jill.  Jill Rixman, the owner/teacher of the applique pattern business called Artfully Applique, is truly a master applique artist.  She needed a quilt to showcase patterns for sell in her booth at quilt shows, so she brought her quilt to me.

When I first started quilting over 10 years ago, Jill came to me with the first quilt that I quilted for her.  That quilt still hangs in her booth, receives many compliments for her and apparently, sells many patterns.  As a machine quilter, the  first topic to consider is the purpose of the quilt- which in this instance is to sell Jill’s applique patterns.

In keeping with my 2014 goal of drawing (and then digitizing) custom designs for every quilt I work on, I first needed to divide up the quilt into distinct design spaces.  For Jill’s quilt, this was simple.  You have 2 sizes of applique blocks, the inner circle and the negative space between the circle and block.  Then you have the  background fabric space, which will be further divided for interest and to draw the eye inward towards the center.

Let’s start with the center block, which is the focal point of this quilt. Here is my design choice for the center block outside of the circle:

carlablock2jilljillframe2 copy

Since this is my main design, all the other designs in the quilt will relate to this design to ensure quilting design cohesion.

Jill has chosen my circular fill for the inside of each circle and around the applique.  I gave Jill several fill options and this is the one she prefers.  Let’s move onto the small applique block design now.

For the smaller blocks, I wanted to design something similar, yet able to fit inside the smaller dimensions.  This is what I eventually came up with:

carlablock1jillNotice that both designs frame the applique circles.  By choosing to quilt frame designs in the block, this showcases the importance of the applique work.  I will also pick a thread color that will blend into the lighter spaces.  This is because I do not want the quilting to compete with the applique work, instead, I want the quilting to complement.

Obviously, I will also stitch in the ditch the blocks.

Let’s talk about the proposed background design.   To draw the eye inward towards the center, I will add some linear ray lines with freeform fill.  This will provide some nice texture in the background.  Plus I can also add small motifs into the freeform quilting, including butterflies, flowers, leaves etc. along the quilt’s theme.  Once again, I will pick thread that matches the background fabric, I want to provide interest and texture, not compete with the block applique and piecing.

carlablock1My frame designs are actually rather clean and simple.  The reason for this relates to the owner’s quilting design preference.  Jill does not like too much quilting, so I wanted to respect this.

Here are a few sketch designs which did not make the cut, including my favorite one on the left  I think Jill would like this design if I removed the cross-hatching fill in detail.

carlaframe1The next design was discarded as looking as too “alien” like in the corners.  LOL!  Don’t believe me?  Look below:

alienquiltdesign

This gives you an idea for how I design for a quilt- and my thought process as I get ready to quilt it.  I have Jill’s quilt loaded, and will start it after Thanksgiving.

Let me know if you have any questions.  Just leave me a comment and I will write back.

Happy Quilting!  Carla

 

 

Around the World Blog Hop- My Turn!

I was invited to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop by two amazing fiber, art quilt and digital artists, The Pixeladies, also known individually as Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki.   Years ago, I was asked to do the quilting on one of their art quilt projects, and through this collaboration, we became friends.  Recently, I visited their studio and got to see all their stunning works in progress.  If you are unfamiliar with their incredible work, and art quilts created with fabric text, click now to visit their gallery page.

The format for the Around the World Blog Hop is a series of questions that I answer, so here we go:

What are you working on right now?  I tend to work on multiple projects at the same time.  On any given day, you will find me machine quilting in my studio, then working on my Tablet PC laptop drawing and designing, and finally, working on a freeform beading or crochet project.  So, in that spirit, here is what I am working on currently:

Quilting by Carla Barrett

Quilting by Carla Barrett

Machine Quilting- I recently borrowed back the above quilt (previously quilted a few months ago, titled Bold Beauty),  to share with students in Australia. The picture above shows you the back of the quilt. This quilt has won many awards in Montana for the owner, Teddie Egeline, including Best of Show and Judges Choice at the Montana State Fair.  Anyway, while in AU, I noticed a couple of places that need fixing, specifically, color repair of some white marking pen oops previously discussed in a post here.

whitemarkI realized that to be more archival, I should have heat set the repair.  So now I will go back over the lines with several shades of Inktense pigment pencils and once dry, heat set them.  After this repair, I plan to work on 2 quilts- one by applique artist Jill Rixman, and also one by my friend, Doug Hodder.

 

freeforminprogFreeform Beading and Freeform Crochet- Currently, I have two different projects in progress, though both are freeform.

The first one is a freeform beaded purse, so I am working on the freeform peyote embellishment.  I have just started to bead a 18mm Swarovski crystal, which will be a focal point element of this project.  My color palette is magenta, purple and blue.

My current freeform crochet project is a bit different from my usual freeform crochet work.  I like the combination of my random freeform combined with some more traditional freeform scrumbles, so I decided to take a Craftsy Freeform Crochet class with the talented Myra Wood to learn her process.  Below is a picture of my class homework so far.  These are “scrumbles” in progress as I learn her technique.

Scrumbles in Progress

Scrumbles in Progress

How does your work differ from others of its genre?  With regards to my machine quilting work, I plan out my quilting lines using a Tablet PC laptop in Photoshop Elements.  This allows me ease of editing and planning, communicating effectively with collaborators, as well as provide me with a road map to follow during the quilting process.  I also will design a special motif, border or fill to use on each quilt using a digitizing software called Art & Stitch.  I also will use my tablet to draw a quilting cartoon from time to time, too.  See more what you can do with a Tablet in this post here.

10waystabletHow does your creative process work?    As mentioned earlier, I use my Tablet PC to sketch out machine quilting designs (like the example above).  I also use my Tablet PC to create custom quilting designs that I can then stitch out on a quilt.  My process is as follows:

Copyright 2014 Carla Barrett

Copyright 2014 Carla Barrett

First, I draw with my stylist on my Tablet PC monitor in Photoshop Elements.  Once I like the design, I will import my design into Adobe Illustrator and  Art&Stitch digitizing software, converting the artwork from a raster drawing to vector artwork.

On the left is a custom design drawn for Teddie Egeline’s quilt, Bold Beauty.  This is a screenshot taken of the finished vector art.

In Art&Stitch, I finish editing the art, adding stitches and saving it in a computerized quilting format that my system can read- which for my Intelliquilter is “.iqp.”   The design is next imported to my machine and then I further manipulate the design to fit my border.  Here is a screenshot from my Intelliquilter tablet showing you how I used this design to create an interesting custom border:

iqpdesign

I love to leave spaces for freemotion quilting because I love the look of freehand work.  The curlycues in the image above will be filled with my freehand feathers.  Once quilted out and the freehand work added, the finished design and border looks like this:

carladesignboldbeauty

I also used my Scroll-Heart Design in other areas on the quilt, too:

scrollhearttri

If you have any questions about my process, I would be happy to answer them.  Just leave your question in a comment, below.  If you would like to know more about buying a Tablet, I do have a 4 part series on purchasing a Tablet for artwork here.  If you would like to know more about working and creating with Art & Stitch software, please see this post.

Before I close, I would like to nominate a very talented machine quilting artist for this Around the World Blog Hop:

Judi Madsen, quilting artist, author, teacher and designer.  During my teaching trip to AU earlier this month, I met Judi a couple of times as my class was ending and hers was due to begin.  Her freehand machine quilting work is young, vibrant, and has a modern vibe.  Be sure to visit  Green Fairy Quilts blog to see Judi’s stunning work.

Take care, Carla

More Designs at Digitech Designs Available!

Good news- Digitech Designs just released several new patterns of mine.  Even better- if you buy it in the first days after release, then the designs are 50% off for a limited time!  It comes as a set, or you may buy the design (in paper or computer format) individually:

Carla Barrett Design available at Digitech Designs

Carla Barrett Design available at Digitech Designs

Pattern by Carla Barrett (available at Digitech Designs)

Pattern by Carla Barrett (available at Digitech Designs)

Pattern by Carla Barrett (available at Digitech Designs)

Pattern by Carla Barrett (available at Digitech Designs)

Pattern by Carla Barrett and available at Digitech Designs

Pattern by Carla Barrett and available at Digitech Designs

Here is the collection as a set:

Designs by Carla Barrett, available at Digitech Designs

Designs by Carla Barrett, available at Digitech Designs

All the designs were digitized by the amazing Jessica Schick, owner of Digitech Designs.  Jessica is the best digitizer in the industry, in my opinion.   To locate these designs on sale, for paper patterns, click HERE.  For computerized stitching, click HERE.

Right now, I am busy working on new designs to send Jessica, plus more modern designs for all those modern quilts being pieced.  What designs would you like to see me do to be sold in the future?

Enjoy your week!  Hugs, Carla

 

Creating With Art & Stitch

Creating With ANSMany of you know that I love to draw quilting  motifs using Art & Stitch digitizing software for quilters and embroidery artists.  I happen to love this software created by Theo and Loes van der Heijden, who live in the Netherlands.

Learning this software was actually easy to do, especially if you take a class from Theo and Loes, and watch their helpful online videos.  They also have helpful workbooks to aid in learning their program, too.  This year, I decided to challenge myself by designing an original quilting motif for each quilt I do.

For current ANS users, my unique process is to design by drawing with my Tablet PC in Photoshop Elements (PSE), save as a jpg, then import into ANS as a background image to retrace and digitize.  Sometimes, I will also just start with a blank page in ANS, and create a design using the software. How I approach it depends on how complicated the design is.

Let me illustrate my creative process:  I want to draw a feather design similar to the first image, so I break it down to the half of one feather to start, since this will be a mirror design.  The design looks complex, but in reality all I needed to digitize in ANS is half the feather and pumpkin seed shapes, then copy and paste, flip and rotate to get my final design:

ansbarrett1 copy

Obviously, there are more steps to do  like planning how to connect, starts and stops, stitches per inch, etc., but this gives you a basic idea for how I design with this program.  Here are some additional designs drawn in ANS, with the quilt I drew them for.  Btw, some of these designs are available at Digitech Designs, or will be in the future.

Quilt of Honor for Bobbie Jarrett:  Note in the following image that this block has 4 different motifs that were not that difficult to create in ANS:

Quilting Design by Carla Barrett

Quilting Design by Carla Barrett

Here is my corner motif for this quilt.  Notice that I wanted a “freehand quilting” look, so often, I will only digitize the spine, then come back and freehand quilt them in.barrettcornerqoh

 

tropicalfeather copyDenise’s Baby Quilt-  My friend, Denise, had a baby quilt that I finished for her, so I designed this heart motif for this quilt:

DenisequiltmotifBelow is what this design looks like quilted up.  I used it in all the border corners and block corners on Denise’s baby girl quilt.

 

Lyn Baker’s Modern Quilt-

While quilting Lyn’s quilt, I knew it was time to create some modern designs, including these two modern designs,  shown below, now available at Digitech:

 

modern texture by Carla Barrett

modern texture by Carla Barrett

Design by Carla Barrett; available at Digitech Patterns.

Design by Carla Barrett; available at Digitech Patterns.

sprocketquilted Here is what the Sprocket design looks like on Lyn’s quilt- see the red sashing space on the left.

This would also make a wonderful edge-to-edge (e2e) design for the right quilt, too.

 

scrollheartexampleTeddie’s Quilt-  The last heirloom custom quilt I finished had many digitized patterns created in ANS.  Here are some examples:

This design was my main motif for key locations.  I also added double spine feathers coming off both sides, as shown in the bottom corner of the photo, below.teddie2

 

Here are just a few more designs I have created recently using this wonderful software:

suessfeatherwreatflower

 

 

This design is part of a larger wholecloth quilt I will be quilting up next.  this is the center section of the quilt.

barrettheartfleurmotif2Below is yet another heart design with some pretty scroll work vines:

 

By now, you get the idea of how powerful this program is for machine quilters who have a computerized system for stitching out what you create.  However, ANS also has an embroidery design feature, too, for all your embroidery artists reading this post.

Once you have drawn a design you like, you apply the quilting stitches (or embroidery stitches), then save it as the original ANS file.  I save it again as an .iqp file extension, since that is the format that my Intelliquilter understands.   This software allows you to save your files in most every major extension.

Hope you have enjoyed this post into how I like to create using ANS program.  Btw, I do not work for this company, nor have received any compensation for writing about the software. I just think that Theo and Loes have an excellent product and I am glad I bought it to use with my tablet PC.  Happy Quilting!  Carla

Another Modern Quilting Design Release!

I was searching over at Digitech Patterns today, and I noticed this one design looked really familiar.  Then I saw my name on it, the the gears fell into place!  I drew this one when I quilted that modern quilt for Lynn B.  I had actually forgotten about it.  LOL  It is called Modern Texture and it is found here.

modern texture by Carla Barrett

modern texture by Carla Barrett

It is a pantograph design, so it is quilted large.   Smart quilters will notice that it is currently 50% off, which is something that Digitech does with new designs.  If you like it, buy it now as who know when the special sale is over.  🙂

Watch soon for a new quilt reveal.  I have been quilting like mad to finish a quilt for Teddie, who lives in Montana.  This one came out really nice!  I am finishing up with all the SID right now.  Stay tuned!

Tablet Info For Quilters- Part 3

Carla Note- This is Part 3 of a Tablet Buying and Information series for quilters and creative people.  To begin at Post 1, please click here

tabletdecisionsToday, we.will continue with more factors to consider when purchasing a Tablet for creative application.  Part 1 covered the Operating System (OS), and Part 2 covered such areas as budget, use, size,  and the software you plan to use with the tablet.

Today, I plan to help you wade through some of Technical Specs- such as your Processor, Memory, Storage, Battery, and digitizer/screen needs.  I will explaining some of the details so you understand what to look for when comparing one tablet to another.

What Processor Will Meet Your Needs?

inteli7Without complicating this topic, know that the majority of Tablet PC  options have Intel inside, to re-use their old motto.  Look for Intel Core i3, i5 and i7.   i7 will be the most expensive and i3 will cost less.   All will be appropriate to meet your processor needs and have excellent performance.   I do want to mention that a family member works for Intel, but aside from this, Intel’s processors are the best choice when purchasing a Tablet PC.

Some Tablet PC’s have Intel’s Atom processors, however, the Tablet PC with Atom processors typically have 2 GB of system memory, which imho, is not enough to handle the heavy workload of large programs.  This is important to know if you plan to use larger sized programs like Photoshop.  More about this topic below.

In the Android Tablet field, the two main competitors are ARM and Intel.  Both will meet your needs.    Apple’s processor used in their iPad models are done internally, they have high quality processors.

What are Your Memory Needs?

I will simplify memory into 2 areas- system memory and storage:

System memory-  The quick definition of system memory is this is your local, high speed, temporary memory the CPU uses like a scratch pad.  Often referred to as RAM (random access memory).

What system memory should you look for in a tablet PC?  I recommend 8 Gigabyte (GB) or higher.   If all you can afford is 4GB,  know you may have some slowing and performance issues, especially with larger programs.  4 GB will certainly work, however, If it is in your budget, go for 8GB or larger.

Storage–  Most Tablet PCs have a Solid-state Drive (SSD)  for their memory storage capacity.  The reason for this is that SSD’s are less prone to physical shock, and quieter than traditional hard disk drives. The SSD  will boot your system, store your programs and your personal files.    When shopping for a tablet, look for the SSD tech spec, it typically will be between 64 GB and 1 Terabyte (T).

External Hard Disc Drive (HDD) for added storage

External Hard Disc Drive (HDD) for added storage

If you are looking at a Tablet PC, I recommend 256 GB or higher, if it is in your budget.  If not, another option is to add external storage by purchasing an external hard disc drive (HDD), these days you can pick up 2T of HDD for $120 US or less.  By the way, external SSD are very pricey for a lot less GB storage.  I recommend an external HDD  to also back up your Tablet PC, too.

For an Android or iPad tablet, storage is still very important.  If buying an iPad or Android tablet, purchase the largest memory your budget will allow.  Nothing is more frustrating then to run out of storage capacity on your iPad, which happened to me.

How Important is Battery Life to You? 

The expected battery life of a tablet is certainly important, especially if you plan to work and travel with your tablet.  No one wants to be in the middle of a special project and lose power, or be watching a movie, only to run out of battery power.

You will see a wide variety of battery performance in the tablet market.  If a long battery life is important to you, then be sure to look at battery performance during your comparison.  This applies for all types of tablets sold.

Does Your Tablet Need to Have any special Input/outputs?

USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0

USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0

You will want to consider if you need to have any special slots, ports or other input/output on your Tablet.  Most of us use the USB 2.0 port and thumb drive to move files around, hook up peripheral devices, and other basic tasks.  Many Tablet Slates, including the Surface Pro 2, do not come with this port.  Instead, they only have USB 3.0, however,  the good news is that USB 3.0 are backwards compatible, which means you can still use your older USB 2.0 with them.

VGA slot used for older model projectors

VGA slot used for older model projectors

I was helping out a quilting teacher to choose a new tablet, and I knew she needed a VGA slot on her tablet so she could hook up her projector for classroom applications.  This did limit her selection a bit, but in the end we were able to locate a Tablet PC Convertible that met her needs.  So remember to consider what slots or ports you cannot live without, and then look at the technical sheet of any tablet you are considering.

Another tip on this subject.  If the Tablet of your dreams does not have the slot or port you need, try searching to see if an adapter or docking station is available.

Will You Be Using The Tablet Inside or Outside?

Anti-glare screen protector

Anti-glare screen protector

Your display screen may or may not have special anti-glare properties, so if this is important to you, look for a tablet with this feature, otherwise, know you can purchase a Screen display protector with anti-glare features and add it after your purchase.

Pen/Finger Input Preferences?

Behind or in front of the display will be your active digitizer.  I won’t go into the details for how this technology works, but know that your active digitizer will require the use of a special pen to interact with the display and draw.

The two main digitizers available are manufactured by Wacom and N- Trig.  Wacom is used by the majority of Tablet companies, and would be my first choice.  Some Wacom digitizers have touchscreen capability, too.

N-Trig is a newer, smaller company, and in comparison tests, they do not rate as high as Wacom.

Touchscreen

Touchscreen

In addition to the active digitizer, many Tablet PCs and all the Android and iPads also have touchscreen capability, also called a passive digitizer.   Touchscreen in tablets started when the iPad was released, and now you will find it in ultrabooks, monitors and other computing applications.  What is Touchscreen?  It is where you use your fingertouch to control what you see on your display.

If you have never seen a touchscreen tablet or computer, my advice would be to visit a computer retailer in person to try it out.  You may love it or feel you can live without it.  This feature is personal preference.  Once again,  Wacom and N-Trg are the two largest companies manufacturing touchscreens, and I recommend Wacom.

What type of pen do you prefer?

Tablets are pen enabled devices, and most come with a stylist pen or offer it as an add-on purchase.   What is important to know is that in tablets sold,  Wacom digitizer pens do not work on N-Trig digitizers and vice versa.   Also, if you own a Wacom plug in device (such as Bamboo, Graphire, Intuos or [most] Cintiq), their specialized pens will not work with Tablet PC Wacom digitizers.

However, since 2002, any pen made for a Wacom Tablet PC digitizer will work on another Wacom Tablet PC digitizer.  This is helpful if you happen to own several Tablet PC with Wacom digitizer and often misplace your pen, like I often do.  I use both a HP and Toshiba pen on my Fujitsu with no problem.

Bamboo Feel Carbon

Bamboo Feel Carbon

I do recommend pens for tablet drawing, so my advice is to buy a Tablet PC with Wacom digitizer, and also order at least 2 pens.  More, if you misplace them like me.  🙂  Every tablet PC manufacturer will have their own pen for their brand, plus Wacom makes 2 compatible pens- a Bamboo Feel  ($39 US) and the Bamboo Feel Carbon (79.95 US).  Both links have a helpful list of compatible Tablet PCs.

Adonit Jot Touch 4 for iPads

Adonit Jot Touch 4 for iPads

I also recommend pens for drawing with both Android and iPad tablets.  Right now, the best pen for drawing with your iPad is the Adonit Jot Touch 4, priced at $89 US.   In the Android market, some tablets ship with pens and some don’t.  For this reason, I recommend purchasing a pen if your tablet doesn’t come with one.  Just ensure that the pen is compatible with your Android tablet before you purchase.

By Now…

… you should know what features you desire in a Tablet.  You are bound to have questions, so if you do, please leave me a comment.  I want you to shop around and make an informed decision as to what is the right Tablet for you.

To help you buy a Tablets if you are on a tight budget, the next post in this series will provide you with several options for budget tablet buying.

Take care, Carla