Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tech Sunday - Backing up Your Designs

Today, the Technical Support Representative in me is going to come out.  

This week, I upgraded my Quilt Path on my tablet.  I had been running an old version and waiting to upgrade for some good reasons.  Unfortunately, I could no longer wait, so I worked with Grace to get onto a new version.   I am starting to think I had a visit from the electronics gremlins, because I had one day that everything electronic I touched failed.  Laptop, iPhone, iPad, Cable router, VoIP box, Quilt Path... it was a bad day in my world.   Luckily, rebooting everything seemed to chase away most of the gremlins, and upgrading my Quilt Path took care of the rest.

So, why is this important?  The TSR (Technical Support Representative) at Grace asked me if he needed to transfer my saved designs and Quilts.  I was actually impressed that he thought about this, since I know that most users do not back up the data on a regular basis, and many TSRs do not take this extra step.   He was a little surprised when I told him it was not necessary, I keep backups of my designs on my server and my laptop.    But what if he had not asked, or what if I did not do this and I dropped my tablet and had to replace it?

Some companies will let you re-download the designs you have purchased, if you lost your original.  So that might be an option.  I have only purchased about 50 designs, but honestly I don't think I would remember every design I have ever purchased.  It just makes sense to keep a backup.  Yes, it is a little more work upfront.  But it is a lot less work later if something really bad happens.

I actually do it when I purchase a design and download it to my laptop.  I save the design in a folder that I named "Quilt Path Designs".  Inside that folder I have a sub-folder for every website from which I purchase. I save the newly purchased design to the appropriate folder, instead of letting it save to my Downloads folder.  I then use a network backup device to  automatically back up the "Quilt Path Designs" folder on a weekly basis. To add additional security, I also upload the folder to a internet storage account monthly, like Evernotes, Google Drive, Dropbox or Box.com.  I am sure there are many more.  This is part of my disaster contingency plan so that I can get back up and working as fast as possible if my studio is somehow destroyed.  At this point the greatest danger is of my quilt top closet exploding with such force it knocks my longarm out the french doors.  But it doesn't hurt to have a plan.

Then, when I need a design on my quilt path, I  copy the file I need onto my USB thumb drive from my computer, backup or internet storage location, and import it to Quilt Path. (See Tech Sunday - Importing Files to Quilt Path post for steps on how to do that)

If I have Quilts or Pantos that I have created on Quilt Path, and want to keep for the future, they get saved to my thumb drive and then are brought back to my laptop and saved in my Designs folder, which is also automatically backed up onto my network storage device. That keeps everything together in one place so that I can find it in the future.

Another way I use this folder is to do a quick scan when I am getting ready to purchase a new design to see if it is already in my library.  Knowing myself, I know that I will purchase the same design multiple times if I really like it.  You don't even want to know how many copies I have of the same books from prior to my kindle.  There is probably a 12 step program to help with buying the same book 6 times.  And it wasn't even that good...

If you have not done it yet, please make a backup of your designs.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tech Sunday - Auto Reverse

When I am stitching a design that has a lot of rows, like a soft curvy line that I want stitched 2 inches apart, or really anything that I can put lots of row in one pass before I have to forward my fabric, I like to use the Auto-Reverse option.  

I started by setting up a 40 X 40 inch quilt, using basic mode. 
I took the fit option off and added rows until they were between 2 and 3 inches apart.  Normally when I am doing this on a real quilt I am quilting 1/2 inch to a inch apart.  So many, many rows.  I used the Soft Wave which is a stock pattern in Quilt Path.   

Then I sent it to Quilt Motion.
Tap on the Option button on the top right of the screen.
Put a check in the Sewing Direction Auto-Reverse option and tap OK.

Here is what the first full row of quilting looks like.  
Notice Quilt Path will start quilting on the left and will stop on the right.  Once I have sewn that line, gotten the message that it was done and click that I ready to start the next row.  The next line of quilting comes up. 
Notice that my quilting is now starting on the right side and going to the left.  It will continue changing directions every line down the entire quilt.  This really speeds up the quilting since you are not having to either move the head to the left every line or remember to click the reverse button on the top of the screen.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tech Sunday - Quilt Show

I was hoping to get a post ready before the Quilt show started this week.  That just did not happen.  The good news is that the show has been great!  The bad news is, the post is not going to get written.  I am going to try to get one posted on Monday.  

Congratulations to everyone that entered a quilt in the Vintage View Quilt Show!  The show has been fabulous!  If you are in Raleigh and have not come to the show yet, you should really come by tomorrow.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tech Sunday - Quilt Path - Pantostacker - Basic Mode Nesting part 2

We are continuing our exploration of the Pantostacker Basic Mode nesting options.

Remember this picture from our last post, we are not going to talk about the middle and bottom buttons in the nest options.  The middle button sets the spacing of your patterns to equal spaced and centered.  When I chose this option here is what my quilt from the end of the last post looks like.

Look how great that looks.  I am still trying to find when I would use this option and here is why.  When I send this to Quilt Motion, I am not overly thrilled with the results.  
There is a jump stitch at every pattern repeat.  Then in itself is not that big of a deal, just optimize it and take it out.  But, then we get this. 

And why would I want that, if I can just do it the way I did in the previous post and get this. 
So let's talk about why there is a difference.  The option that we talked about in the previous post is joining the patterns together and then stretching them across the width of the quilt.  The Center option is stretching and then joining them.  So, you get a jarring connection between the pantograph repeats.    I will continue to play with this option, because I want to find a reason for it to be available.

The bottom button has the same basic issue.  It will fit the individual patterns evenly across the quilt with them the ones on the right and left at the edged instead of centered.  Once again, I can use the top button and link the patterns first and then have it do an edge to edge fit and not get jarring joints.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Tech - Pantostacker - Basic Mode - Nest and Fit

This week we are going to start looking at the Pantostacker - Basic Mode.  So far, this is the mode that I use most often.  For this demo I am using a Panto by Dawna Sanders called Hilton.  This is one of my favorite pantos, it creates great movement on quilts!

I put in a quilt that is 42x60, selected Basic Mode and then Selected Hilton.  I then put in 5 Pattern repeats and 6 rows.  I did this so that it would be roughly 10 inches high for each row, because I know that when I stretch the length of the rows, it is going to add to the row height.  I added the repeats to make them close but did not change the shape of the pattern.  Without touching the nesting or fit, this is what it looked like on my screen.

Notice at the bottom of the screen there is an information bar.  It tells me that my pattern is Hilton.gpf, my nest is set to Width, my wrap is set to Horizontal and Vertical and the size of my pattern.  

Over the next couple posts, we will be exploring the nest options.  I want to make sure that we really understand what they do and still make the post short enough that you will stick with me to the end of them.  For this post we are going to concentrate on two buttons.  The top next button and the Length fit button in the pink box on the right.  

Right now the Nest button is set to evenly space the patterns across the width of your quilt.  For this pattern that is not very aesthetically pleasing.  When I tap on the button once it changed to fitting the pattern across the top of the quilt, without any partial patterns.  
My nest is now set to nest-fit. The top circle on the button is selected and there pattern now files most of the quilt top.  For this pattern that leaves large unquilted areas at the ends of both rows.  This still is not the look I am going for.  I want the entire quilt top quilted, from edge to edge and top to bottom.  So let's tap the Nest button again.  
Now we have the rows looking the way I want them too.  Notice that there are now partial repeats, shown in pick at both ends of the row.  The next thing I will do is tap the size button and enlarge the rows until the are the space is removed between the rows.  
Now the rows will not be as noticeable, when quilted, but I still want to take care of the space at the top and bottom of the quilt that is not being quilted.  So deselect the Fit length button.

 I now have pink partial rows on the top and bottom.  Time to tap Quilt by Rows and start quilting.