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

Tablet Budget Buying Tips – Part 4

Buying a new or refurbished tablet when you have a strict budget can be challenging.  I decided to write about this topic after receiving many requests for help in buying a tablet on a budget, for use in quilting and creative arts.

This post is Part 4 in my Tablet Series.  To start at Part 1, please click here.  Part 2 is here, and click here to see Post 3.  If you are curious as to what you can do with a tablet, please see this post.

Wacom Bamboo or Intuos Option

This option uses/adds on to your existing computer desktop, laptop, notebook or ultrabook that you already own.  If you are currently happy with your computer system, either Mac or PC, then this would be a low cost alternative for you.

Wacom makes several entry level tablet peripherals which are inexpensive choices for occasional tablet users.  These are tablet devices which are either wireless or plug into your USB port on your existing computer and allow you to draw off to one side while looking at the screen.

Drawing in this manner takes lots of practice to do, and can be frustrating if you are used to drawing on a piece of paper.  However, if you are determined, you can master this way of drawing.

Wacom Bamboo

Bamboo USB

Bamboo USB

For only $49 US or 49.90 Euros, you can buy the Bamboo tablet which plugs into your computer by way of USB port.  For $79.00 US or 69.90 Euros, you can purchase the Bamboo wireless model.  I do recommend the wireless model, if it is in your budget, mostly because it is easier to draw while being untethered.

The largest benefit to the Bamboo is the low entry price into tablet drawing.  You may also use it with either a Mac or PC computer system, too.

Bamboo Wireless

Bamboo Wireless

The biggest downside relates to drawing  off to one side while looking at the computer screen, as well as the size of this

tablet, which is small.  When a tablet screen is small, you have to pick up the stylist pen tip and readjust.  You also need a drawing program to use a tablet, but this is true with all tablets.

If you own a Bamboo now, and find that there seems to be a disconnect between what you draw and the lines on the screen, then you will need to re-calibrate your device, also called “mapping”.  Wacom has  helpful how-to support here.

Wacom Intuos

intouslineWacom also makes their Intuos line of tablets, which come in 4 different sizes.  Prices start at $79 US or 69.90 Euros for the smallest Intuos up to  $499 US or  470.90 Euros for the largest size Intuos Tablet.

Pros:  Low, starting price for their smallest tablet, may be used with either a Mac or PC computer system.

The same downside as the Bamboo line applies here.  Drawing “blind” off to the side is not natural if you are used to pen and paper drawing.   I happen to own an XL sized Intuos tablet, an earlier version model that I used once.  Why?  It was a gift from my dear husband, who didn’t know about the “drawing off to one side” aspect- and my particular feelings about it.    However, if your budget is small, and you don’t mind drawing while looking at the screen, then I would recommend the largest size Intuos you can buy with your budget.

There are several Wacom competitors, however, I do not recommend any of them.

Buying Refubished or Discontinued Tablet PC

The other choice available to budget minded tablet buyers are to do your research, and then buy a slightly used, or discontinued Tablet PC.  My favorite place to buy them is on eBay, however, do your research and double check that the seller is legitimate and has a high rating.  I also know of quilters who purchased a used tablet from a local computer store that refurbished models, then sold them with a warranty.  Once again, check to see this store will be around if you have any issues.  Same with shopping on Craigslist.

fujitsuoutletAnother tip for budget tablet buyers are  that computer tablet manufactures often sell refurbished or discontinued models on their eBay page.  Say you buy a tablet, then return it for any reason.  They repair it, then the company may resell on eBay.   Here is a link to the Fujitsu eBay Outlet page.

I decided to run an experiment.  My particular model of Tablet PC Convertible is only about 3 years old, however, I know it is a great machine.  I paid $2000 US when I bought mine new, fully loaded.  I recently found a similar set up on eBay recently for only $500-600 US.    It pays to do the research and buy a slightly older model to get more value per dollar (or currency of your country) .

I hope this post and information contained here will help you to stay on budget.  I love drawing and creating with my Tablet PC convertible, and draw at least once a day, if not more.  I would love to see what YOU create with your tablet, too.

Regards, Carla

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

Tablet Info for Quilters- Part 2

Carla Note- This is a multi-part series for anyone interested in purchasing a tablet for creative use.  The series starts with Part 1, please click here to read first.

Buying a new tablet can be very overwhelming due to all the technical decisions you must make.  Quilters (and other creative people) don’t want to think about technical specs and details, they just want to buy the right product for them and create.

In this second post of the Tablet Buying Info for Quilters Series, let’s discuss some of the other considerations you must think about in order to narrow down your tablet choice.  In Part 1,  you have a general idea as to what Operating System (OS) will fit your needs, so let’s move on to other decisions:

What is Your Budget?

Your budget will be one of the most important factors when buying a new tablet.  You can spend anywhere from a entry level Wacom Bamboo (plug-in) tablet  for $49 US to a $4000 US Panasonic Toughbook H2 Pro.   Defining your budget will help you to narrow down your tablet purchase choices.

Note for tablet buyers who are on a tight budget, I will be writing a future post just for you.  🙂

 

How Do You Plan to Use the Tablet? 

How you intend to use the tablet will also factor into the mix.  If all you need is a tablet to read books, play games, videos, answer emails, and do simple drawings, then you should look at either iPad or Android Tablets.  If you are draw and design everyday, then you would begin your search at Tablet PCs- either Convertibles, Hybrids or Slate models.  How often you plan to use the tablet will also influence your decision, no matter if you are a professional artist or a hobbyist.

What Size Tablet Do I Need?

There are a wide variety of tablet sizes being sold.  Too small a screen makes drawing uncomfortable or challenging, as you have to lift your pen and readjust. A small screen  may not be compatible with over age 40 eyes, too.  The opposite is true, too.  If you draw sitting down with a tablet on your lap, as I do, then a XL Wacom Cintiq 24HD, which is actually sized at 30.3″ x  18.2″ x 2.5″ and weighs 63.8 pounds, would not be the tablet for you!  For metric blog readers, that translates

Example of Google Logo art created on Wacom  Cintiq Tablet

Example of Google Logo art created on Wacom Cintiq Tablet

into 769 x 463 x 64 mm and weighing in at 28.6 kg!  The size and weight of this XL Cintiq makes it a wonderful desk tablet and it comes with an adjustable tilt stand.

Before you fall too in love with this high end Wacom, I must mention the pricey $2599 US price tag.  I once saw a television interview with several Google Artists, and noticed they were using this largest Cintiq combined with a Mac.  I am a bit off point, but the key message is to determine what size tablet you want and could live with to further define the right tablet for you.

What Software Will You Be Using With Your Tablet?

Example of Digital Quilt drawn in Photoshop Elements

Example of Digital Quilt drawn in Photoshop Elements

I touched lightly on this in Part 1, but if your desire is to design and create using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (PSE), Adobe Illustrator,  Art & Stitch (which is a digitizing program for machine quilters and embroidery artists), or any other large design program, then you would want a compatible tablet OS.

Some design programs (like Art & Stitch, for example) will only work with Windows OS (specifically Vista, 7 and 8, 8.1), while Photoshop, PSE, and Illustrator are available for both the Mac and Windows OS.   If you plan to buy and work with Art & Stitch, then that would obviously rule out a MacBook with a Wacom tablet plug-in option.  You would need to go for a Tablet PC option.  Consider carefully the programs you plan to design with and then choose your OS accordingly.

What Tablet Options Are Available in Your Country?

clipartglobeI happen to live in the US, where it is rather easy to buy every brand of tablet online. This may not be the case in other countries around the world, so become familiar with reputable online retailers and their tablet offerings in your own locale.  This may limit your selection of tablets available to you.

If you happen to live near a big box electronic store, be careful!  Retail stores which carry a wide variety of tablet options are rare, and will certainly sell you whatever they have on hand. It is important to do your homework, know what YOUR needs are, and don’t be pressured by sales people.

Still More Tablet Considerations…

For fear of overwhelming you, I have decided to continue this list of things you must consider when buying a tablet into Post 3.  It is a lot to think about, and I want to encourage any quilter interested in purchasing a tablet to grab a piece of paper and write down both the question or topic and your answers.  This will help you to narrow down what tablets you research.  It is very easy to start surfing the net, then become confused and overwhelmed by the amount of information available.

Click here for Part 3 of the Series.

Please let me know if I have confused you on any post so I may clarify  the topic for you.  As always, I love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a comment.  Regards, Carla

 

Tablet Info For Quilters, Part 1

This first post in a series is written for quilters who want to use a tablet to draw with, design quilts, applique, and whole cloths, digitize in Art&Stitch, or perhaps just like the things I create with tablets and want to learn how to do it, too.   If you are new to tablets, or curious about the things you can create with them, please read this post.

Tablet Info series by Carla Barrett

Tablet Info series by Carla Barrett

I first covered “Buying a Tablet PC” in a previous post about 2 years ago, but it is now rather outdated.  The tablet market continues to evolve at a rapid rate, so it is time to write a new series of posts about Tablets.

Let’s start with the first decision a quilter should make- what operating system will best meet their creative and design needs?

Introduction to Tablets- Operating Systems

Many quilters do not realize that there are many types of devices being marketed as a “tablet” in 2014.  It is important to understand that not all tablets will allow you to use your favorite illustration, photo editing, and digitizing programs either.  This brings us to the reason why- the operating system of the device, called  OS, for short.  In order to choose the right tablet for you, you need to understand the differences between Tablet OS.

ipad1iOS- Apple iPad’s proprietary Operating System-  Apple introduced the first iPad in April, 2010, featuring their OS, aptly titled iOS, which ran applications, called  “Apps” for short.   While I love all my apps, and own about 30 drawing apps, the largest downside is that for more serious artists and designers, an App is a very poor substitution when compared to a comprehensive program like Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel, etc.  There are some serious limitations to what an app can do.

A question I often receive is “Can I use my iPad or iPhone to draw on quilt photos like you do?”  The answer is yes, but it is very cumbersome, and you need to be a bit tech savvy and know your App.   I can even share how in a later post, if I receive enough interest comments asking  how this is done. 🙂

I tend to do more complex drawing and design work, which is too challenging for an application.  This brings us to the next device that competes very successfully in the iPad tablet and iPhone market- the Android OS tablet.

Android-Tablet-vs-iPad1Android Operating System-  Android open source OS was developed to compete against the iPhone (and later iPad), and many legal dollars have been spent on the question of whether there has been copyright violations by Google, who purchased Android in 2005.  As with the Apple iOS, Android also uses small Applications, called “Apps.”  Just like with the iPad, there are significant limitations in using apps compared to comprehensive programs like Photoshop.  There are just no comparisons for more serious digital artists, which leads us to the type of tablet I use:

convertibletabletpcPC Tablets–  PC Tablets are a generic term for a larger tablet computer with pen enabled display that runs Microsoft Windows 7 or 8  (or 8.1) operating systems.   I own a sub-category of the PC Tablet, called a “Convertible” or “Tablet PC Convertible,” which looks like the image on the left.   It has a Wacom enabled screen, which allows me to design with a stylist pen right on the screen using any number of large, powerful, comprehensive programs.  The screen swivels, as shown in the picture and can also  click into “notepad mode” if I want.

The convertible is also a laptop (or ultrabook), and used as such when I am not drawing digitally.   As for my OS, I do prefer using Window 7 over Windows 8 OS, and I guess I am not alone, since Windows 8.1 has added back some Windows 7 features including the familiar desktop, working with a mouse and keyboard, and more.  I will freely state that I do not like Windows 8, but plan to try 8.1 out.

I have purchased 3 tablet pc convertibles over the last 10 years- a Toshiba Portege, an HP Tmt2, and now my 2 year old Fujitsu T901.  All models listed have been discontinued, and convertibles are becoming harder and harder to find.  Luckily, you can easily purchase refurbished models on eBay and similar websites for a fraction of the price sold new.  Digital artists love convertible tablets, and will continue to buy them as long as they are sold in this changing technology market- which they still are.barrettANM324project1

To give you an example of what my tablet PC convertible can do, on the right is a digital drawing completed in Adobe Illustrator for a class I took last year.  (Homework was to render your TV remote as digital art)   If you are a serious 2-D artist,  draw frequently, and have the budget, a convertible PC Tablet like the Fujitsu T902 or the newer T904 would be my current #1 top pick.

The next sub-category under PC Tablet is the “Slate” or “Tablet PC Slate.”   These are lighter, slimmed down computing devices that do not have a standard keyboard.  PC cintiqcompslateSlates that  have detachable keyboards are called “Hybrids.”  Some models of slates may also feature a virtual keyboard.  They are convenient,  portable, fun to use, and you can find slates that run Windows 7, 8 and 8.1.  The downside is often the price, and the base price often does not include memory upgrades, added keyboards, extra stylist pens, or external hard drive storage; all three which I recommend.

hybridpctabletI also recommend that if you plan on buying a PC tablet slate, be sure to get a hybrid with an attachable keyboard, largest memory storage available, with also an external hard drive for extra file storage.  Windows 7 or 8.1 would be my personal preference, too.

What is the difference between the Tablet PC Convertible and the  Tablet PC Hybrid?     The hybrid has a detachable keyboard while the convertible’s keyboard remains attached.

Why is Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 your operating system of choice for your Tablet PC?  A comprehensive operating system like Windows 7,8 or 8.1 allow the end user to install and work with large design and editing software like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Art&Stitch, Core lDraw,or whatever software you work with.  Many quilting artists also work with video editing software, which also need Windows OS.

Wacom Cintiq 24 HD

Wacom Cintiq 24 HD

Why haven’t you listed Apple’s MacBook OS?  The only way to get  tablet functionality with a MacBook is to also use a plug in tablet peripheral  (like  Wacom) with your computer.   If someone owns Apple products exclusively, then I suggest a Wacom Cintiq tablet plug-in for them,  the size will be based on their budget.

What About the Wacom Type Tablets?  Wacom  is a company which makes a wide array of tablet related products.  From their penabled active digitizer, which many brands of tablets being sold use, to tablet plug-in peripheral devices (ie. Cintiq, Intuos, Bamboo, etc) sold under the Wacom brand, to their Inkling digital pen which captures your pen strokes to upload to other programs.  Recently, they introduced their own Windows 8 slate tablet, too, called the Cintiq Companion.

I will address plug-in peripheral tablet devices in a future series post.

OS in a Nutshell-  First step in choosing a tablet is to consider which OS you want.  Do you love and own Apple products and a drawing app on an iPad is all you need?  Or, do the programs you need to use run now on Microsoft Windows 7 and you want a ultrabook tablet PC with lots of memory?   Each quilter will have different needs based on how they plan to use the tablet.

Which brings me to my next post in this series- What other considerations are important when buying a tablet?  I will attempt to make the confusing world of tablets and tablet specs seem a bit clearer.  Please click here to go to Part 2.

Regards, Carla

 

10 Ways to Create With a Tablet (for Quilters)

10waystabletMy “Digital Quilts” have created lots of interest lately, so I thought I would share 10 ways to create with a Tablet.  This technique is not just for Quilters, it is also perfect for Zen Doodlers, Embroidery artists, and anyone who likes to create.

For the examples shown in this post, you will need a Tablet capable of running Photoshop Elements (PSE), or similar program.  This means that the tablet you use can be a Wacom plug-in type of tablet, a Tablet PC, or a Tablet Slate.  If you have an iPad or Android tablet that uses “Apps,” then watch for a future post dedicated to creating with this type of tablet.  My tablet also has a stylist pen, which I highly recommend.

10 Ways to Create With a Tablet:

1planawcquilt1. Plan out a Whole-cloth Digital Quilt.   This is very rewarding and creative task to do with your tablet and only takes a fraction of time required to make a fabric quilt.  For example, I made the design shown above in about 15 minutes.  It just makes sense to save time planning your design out digitally rather than draw it out on paper or fabric.

Tablets, along with Photoshop Elements, are the perfect tools to draw, copy & paste design in quilt sections in order to make the entire quilt.   Did I mention that creating digital quilts this way is fun, too?

2wholeclothcolor2. Create a Colored Whole-cloth Digital Quilt.

Using a photo editing program like Photoshop Elements, you can quickly color the  whole-cloth quilt.  Best to work out your quilt color combinations digitally rather than start coloring or painting the fabric, only to discover you dislike your color scheme.

Above is an example of what I colored digital quilt looks like.  Here is another colored digital quilt from a recent blog post:

Tablet Quilt by Carla Barrett

Tablet Quilt by Carla Barrett

 

3.  Experiment with Quilt Color Hues/Saturation.  Experimentation with Hues/Tones is very easy to do with a Tablet and takes hardly no time at all to do using a software program like PSE.  Here are 3 different colorways for the quilt shown under #2:

3hues

?'4. Design Your Quilt- Both Pieced and Applique Quilts.

You can also use your tablet to visually design your quilt top.  This method works for both pieced quilts and applique ones.  For instance, after my trip to the South Pacific, I designed this applique quilt with an island flair (shown on the left).

 

 

Below is a collaborative quilt design created with my friend, Lori.  We call it “Hairy Leg Quilt,” because I quilted hair in each block.  This example shows you how the design concept completed with my tablet, and the photo of the finished quilt block.

 

4designyourquilt

 

5. Plan Your Machine Quilting Design.  I have been drawing on quilt photos over the last decade with my tablet in order to plan out what I want to quilt before starting the quilt.

5quiltingdesignThe digital quilting plan becomes my visual road map for the overall design.  This is most helpful since stand-up quilters only work on small sections of the quilt during the quilting process.  It is easy to forget what you quilted at the top of the quilt when you get to the bottom border.

6panto6. Make a Pantograph or Edge-to-Edge design. 

In quilting, we call an edge-to-edge design which is similar across the quilt sandwich a “pantograph” design.   Here is a sample pantograph design drawn with my Tablet:

 

7tracedesign7. Trace a Design to use as a Motif.
A Tablet is also useful for tracing a copyright free image from a clip art book, or from the web.  This is especially useful for quilting themed quilts.  You can also take a picture of any object, or fabric and trace that design, too.  In my example, I took a stock retro image for an Astro themed quilt, traced it, then edited to make it more continuous for quilting.

8practicedrawing

 

8. Practice Drawing Freehand Quilting Designs.  Practice makes perfect, if we take the time to learn and draw new designs.

If you can draw it, you can quilt it, is one of my philosophies.

I use my Tablet to practice new motifs and quilting fills before freehand quilting them out.  Once again, the tablet wins hands down for convenience.

 

9. Create Zen Doodle Designs.  Many fiber artists are combining zen doodling with fabric to create interesting and cool art quilts.  This is another task where the Tablet wins out over paper.  If you slip and make an oops, you simply click the “undo” button and re-draw.  It is also a great way to use all your fabric quilting fill designs, too.  Here are 2 examples- a heart and a birdy head:9zendoodle

colorinspiration

b981c636164529fe75c19fdc540dbd4a10.  Easily Chose Color Palettes For Quilts and Other Projects.

I found this photo of Rarotonga, Cook Island online, and loved the colors.

So I created this custom palette (see below) using my tablet and PSE.  In PSE, you sample color using the eyedropper tool.  This is very easy to do.

colorpalette

 

Next step is to audition it on a quilt or whole cloth quilt design.  You want to experiment ahead of time to ensure you like the colors before putting time and energy into the quilt.

Below is what the quilt might look like using this palette.  If I wanted to change a color, then it is easy to do.

10example copy

 

These are my favorite 10 ways I use my Tablet PC and PSE together in my work.

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into a few of the wonderful things you can do with modern tablet technology combined with quilting.   Part of the photos and ideas are from my Tablet Design Class for Quilters.  Please note that if you live in Australia, I will be teaching this class in person at the AU Machine Quilting Festival in October, 2014.

Author of this post is Carla Barrett, a fiber, quilt and digital artist from Northern California.  Carla owns at least 6 or 7 types of tablets, and is considering her next tablet purchase. 🙂