Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tech Sunday - Making Designs Easier

I have been working on designing a bunch of different rows that I can use together in Pantostacker's Advance Mode to create unique pantographs.   As I was designing a row of pearls, that I then wanted to link together, and have quilt completely across the quilt, I realized that I am not thinking like a quilter when I design in Quilt Path.

When I am freehand quilting, my goal is to make from one side of the quilt to the other without starting and stopping, if at all possible.  I will backtrack, echo or travel to get from one design to the next.

Think about a string of peals.  Circles that are touching would seem to be a natural continuous line.  But they are not.  There are many different ways that we can make them continuous, like backtracking part of a circle to get to the next one or doing all the tops of the circles and then doing the bottoms on the way back across the quilts  A circle stops and starts on the same point.  And we really need to stop on the other side to do the next circle.

As I starting designing a string of circles today, I started by doing two 50 sided polygons.  I realized my mistake immediately.  I need them to join, so I switched to arcs.   And I did the top of the arcs for my short sample and then did the bottoms.  This worked right up until the point I took it into Pantostacker and tried to join two of them together.   It just was not pretty.  

I stopped and really thought about how I would quilt this design which caused a light bulb moment.  My whole idea is centered around a modern quilt that I need to quilt.  If I am going modern anyway, why do I feel like I need to have a string of circles.  I could add a travel line to the center and not only make my life easier, but it would also go with the modern feel.  Staying with the two arc circle, this time I made the single circle and then added a Spline from the where the first circle started to where I wanted to start the second circle.
I learned something today.  I need to think like a quilter when I am working in PatternCAD.  

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Quilt Path Camp Schedule

April 14-16 
APQS Raleigh Showroom, Raleigh NC
Only 1 seat is left in this class!

May 5-8
Quilting on the Square, Holton, Kansas

June 24-26
APQS West, St George, Utah

July 29-31
APQS Raleigh Showroom, Raleigh NC

Quilt Path Camp is taught using Quilt Path.  You can still attend if you are using Quilt Motion on a different brand of machine.   The important part is for you to be on a version that looks like what I am teaching with.  I have 3.05.05 on my laptop that I use when I am teaching.  If you have a version prior to 3.05.05, you will want to consider updating your version to the current software.  Or you may not be able to do the classwork on your computer or tablet.   Versions that are newer then 3.05.05 will work fine.   Quilt Path users would contact Grace for help updating; Quilt Path includes free updates.  Other brands that are using Quilt Motion, would want to contact either their machine manufacturer, dealer or Grace for information on updating and the cost associated with updating. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tech Sunday - Optimization

Starting with a simple design.  In this case I use a Mirrored Poly and drew 3 arcs on the mirrors, then used the handles to curve the arcs.  

Once I applied mirrors, I got the following results.

Because I did 3 line, I know that I should be able to quilt the continually but quilting all three lines and then moving to the next circle.  If I had done and even number of lines, I would need to quilt one line moving around the wreath and then quilt the second line around the wreath.  Odd numbers let you move forward, even number take you back to where you started.   I started out changing the directions of just one line segment.  If you put your mouse (or old you stylus) directly over one of the lines, but not over the yellow line number dot, the entire line will be highlighted yellow. 

If you click on the line while it is highlight it will reverse just that one line segment.  Notice that it did remove one of the jump stitches.   If I was to click on each of the line segments it would actually get rid of all of the jump stitches, in this case. 
Notice on the bottom left that I have Show Line Numbers checked and that I am working with line 1.

I click on the second line segment to reverse it and then took the screen shot above to show you that the line number will change to 3.    When you are working on designs that you need to change the order of the quilting.  If I wanted the node that is currently marked as 7 to quilt 3rd, I would simply click on the yellow number 7.    There are times when I am working on designs that have over a hundred segments.  I play with the order and get small amounts of the design quilting in a logical order then click OK to on the optimize screen to save my work.  Then go back in to work on another segment. 

Are there other ways to accomplish this?  Yes there are.   Notice the Reverse All and Auto Reverse buttons.  They will both accomplish the same thing in just one click.  The Reverse all will reverse the direction of every line for the entire motif.  Auto Reverse will optimize the pattern to reverse it from the way it started. 

All three of them will give you the results that are shown above.  Then you would get rid of the jump stitches like we discussed in Basic Optimization. 

The last thing we need to talk about is the Animation Speed. 
5= Fast

This post first appeared on

For a printable version of this post, click here.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tech Sunday - Ending Quilting at the Bottom of a Quilt

Trying to hit the bottom of a quilt perfectly is something that we all struggle with.   If my pattern is a little over, I try not to stress over it.  But what if I made a mistake and the pattern is going to quilt six inches into the batting.  Or worse, you are afraid you are going to stitch onto your leaders.     There is a way that you can get the quilting to stop at the bottom of the quilt without distorting the pattern.   

Normally by the time you realize that you have a problem you have forwarded the quilt to where the bottom of the quilt is in the quilt-able  area of your frame and you will have already marked the quilt to align the next row.   So, you can see the bottom edge of the quilt.  Now you are going to reset your safe area.   

Tap on the tool box, then on the Set Safe Area button.   The move the machine to the top left where you would normally mark the safe area and tap the button.  When you move to mark the bottom right, you want to put your hopping foot so that it is just off  the bottom right of the quilt.  It can be as far right as you want it to be, the important part is to set the bottom line at the bottom of the quilt.   

Once you do this, use the alignment mark to set the row.  The background of the quilting area will stay pink.  In this case, that is okay.  You really are telling the software that the pattern won't fit in the area.  If you think about it from Quilt Path's point of view, you are saying I have a smaller space available to you.   

You can optimize the jump-stitches, if you have any on the sides.  The ones on the bottom that are causes by us chopping off the pattern will not optimize out.  Here is why, what you are actually telling Quilt Path is that you are quilting part of the pattern on this pass, but you want it to quilt the rest of the pattern on the next pass.   Logically you would not want the program to quilt a straight line across where the patterns join to draw attention to the fact that you told it to quilt the pass in two parts.  In our case, we are going to just stop quilting once it finishes the partial pattern, but Quilt Path does not know that.  

There is one more thing that I do before I tell it to quilt this row.  I go into Settings and take the check off of the Pause at Trim Lines button.  

This will cause Quilt Path to automatically move to the next sewing line without you having to tell it to.  

For a printable version of this post, click here.  

This post first appeared on

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tech Sunday will begin again this week!

Now that I can see things settling down on my end, I have decided to start doing Tech Sunday post again!  The next post is schedule to go live at 7AM on March 7th.  

Do you have anything you would like me to cover on Tech Sunday? If so, post a comment and I will get it on the list.

Some thing new that will be coming this year...  I have asked some other APQS gurus to guest blog.  If you are interested in doing a guest blog, please contact me!  I would love to have as many people help as are willing to do so.