Posts Tagged ‘photoshop’


7.4 Home Sewing Front – Spectra Quilt

July 18, 2010

So I started playing around with EQ7 this morning.  I have successfully read through the entire user’s manual (at Jiffy Lube, during lunch breaks, falling asleep). 

I wasn’t at the computer while reading, but I at least have heard of the terms used in the program a little bit at this point.

I thought I had a good handle on how to navigate EQ7, and considering my experience in photoshop, thought that the whole thing would be a piece of cake to navigate.

Well, it’s OK, and I don’t know if it’s just my lack of experience or what, but I have been taking longer than expected to handle the navigation of the program.

You put everything you want to do in your sketchbook before you use it.  And then you have to color everything.  I haven’t even figured out how to color a block and then put it into a quilt that way – all i’ve used on colors is preset color choices and then changing them to colors I want.  But what if I chose to keep some blocks different colors (or the same) than what the presets? 

I did a drawing with freedraw (or some name I don’t remember) and used Serendipity to make it kaleidoscope, but then I couldn’t put my new kaleidoscoped block into another block. 

I suppose if I export the block I may have the control I want, but the program said that it couldn’t do what I wanted to at the time.

And I didn’t notice that the coin quilt block was there, and I was having a hard time with making my spectra quilt until I just imported each spectra as a photo. 


I didn’t know how to make a coin quilt from the start because that option wasn’t a preset (although I have been told there are coin quilt blocks available, I haven’t done that yet).  The way I set up my spectrum quilt to get this picture is:

  • Vertical Strip Quilt
  • 1st Block 4.5 inches
  • 2nd Block 1.5 inches
  • 3rd Block 4.5 inches
  • with a 1.5 inch border

This size may make a nice table runner, my overall size is 19.5 X 34 inches which fits the space I have wonderfully.  I didn’t have a sashing option by doing a vertical strip quilt style, and since this is based on a photograph this was overcome by making the sashing strips the size of my inner ‘blocks’.

I was hoping for some more help in figuring out exactly how wide each spectra would have to be, but I did the math and a little Dimensional Analysis (yes science, math and chemistry practice has come in handy here!) and played around with my quilt size to make the math easier and I have a lovely start on my spectra quilt – USING PHOTOSHOP. 

Sorry folks, but I had to go back to my old standby when I kept trying to zoom in farther and farther on my picture within the completed quilt and couldn’t get the thing to do what I wanted it to do.

 Having 10 years of playtime on photoshop probably made it easier to figure out how to get the program to behave better than a program I’ve had for a month and a half which I haven’t taken computer time to decipher yet.

To get the size of each bias bar accurately (which I am not doing by the way), I had to do the following photoshop steps:

  1. Set a grid up.  The grid is modified in Edit/Preferences/Guides,Grids&Slices.  I set up grids every 4 subdivisions every 4 pixels.  Using dots.
  2. Zoom in on my original picture far enough. 
  3. Pick some crazy colors 
  4. Set up the paintbrush tool to 1.0 pixel in size
  5. Each ‘dotted box’ I put a colored dot just along the side of the picture.
  6. Each 1 dot was green, every 5 dots was red.  Very tedious steps (5&6)
  7. Then I changed to a different color (blue) and every 2 red dots put a dot to the right (every 10 pixels)
  8. New color, every 20 pixels (two blue dots) put a dot (purple)
  9. New color, every 50 pixels (two and a half purple dots) put a dot (yellow).
  10. This made it easy to count the total number of pixels in each row, and gave me a fairly accurate idea of where in each row the colored lines were. 
  11. I had a total of 310 dots, so I made the length of the quilt 31 inches so that each inch would be 10 dots. 
  12. I really should go metric with the calculations from here, but no one sews a metric seam allowance.  If you feel the urge, I know that 2.54 centimeters = 1 inch, so you can do some more dimensional analysis to figure it out if you so choose.
  13. I put all these dots on a new layer in photoshop so I can move the layer around to each of the strips and ‘count’ where the lines are. 
  14. The strips are all about 1/10 or 1/5 of an inch finished, but I don’t have any bias tape makers that go that far, so I’ll have to get out my bias bars and use the thinnest one available. 
  15. I’ll approximate on the color values used for each color and perhaps vary the brightness at this point

This makes me happy that at least I am thinking about this project – AND I am using math – AND I am using dimensional analysis – something for which both chemistry and physics heavily prepared me.

But today, a sewing day, I worked more on my black and white quilt.  Black and white borders complete, sewed onto the quilt (measured heavily because of how I had to strip the setting trapeziods) and started on my ‘handdrawn celtic border corners’.  12 total.  1 down, 11 to go.

This, in no way, is a negative review of EQ7.  I haven’t discovered the possibilities yet on this. 

But it is a reflection that I need to use the things I can do with EQ7 and the things I can do with photoshop and put the talents together while I learn and play with the possibilities (and limitations) of both programs. 

I know people would like a podcast/review on EQ7, and I have to wait to know what is going on before doing so, but when I get to it, I’ll see if I can cook up something. 

It felt very nice to not only be creative today in the computer programs, but also very comfortable to be doing the math that I’ve been avoiding unnecessarily.  Incredible how odd that feels to say, but so very true.


1.6 Podcast 2 Colorful Computer and Camera tools

November 19, 2009

Podcast Feed

My podcast is located on podbean, the show notes are below.

Just by accident I have stumbled upon something that some quilters may find useful.  Great part about it is that many people already own some of these tools, and I guess that you can get downloadable replicas easy enough.  Okay, so what am I talking about?  Computer color filters for your digital pictures of fabrics or quilts.

Okay, so I have made one applique quilt top and my guess is that I can use it for a lot of different experiments.  Or at least this one.  My first experiment started with opening up a picture of my quilt in photoshop.  I wasn’t intending on experimenting, but I did.

Small Warning

In the podcast/show notes below when I mention going to image then hue / saturation.  What I failed to mention is that you actually go to the Image menu then the Adjust drop down menu, then go to hue/saturation.

Here is the original picture below.  Baltimore Style Applique Quilt Top

 Let’s keep this image in mind as we look through some of the photoshop filters.

The first thing I did was to take my picture and go to the photoshop Image menu and choose Hue/Saturation.  There are other ways to do the same thing, but I’m only going to explain the way I did this.  If you want to comment about another program or another way you were able to get the same done, please feel free.

I first hit the colorize button, and then took the saturation of the image all the way down to zero.

black white screen shot

What I was left with was a black and white photo.

black and white

With the color removed from the picture, then all you are left with is the value of the fabrics.  I can tell that my blues are light values (the birds and tuilps), my background is dark value, and the greens and reds have a similar dark medium value to it.

Isn’t this great?!  A value tool that can help you determine true lights, mediums and darks!

A step further can give you a monochromatic quilt by not taking the saturation as far down, and colorizing the quilt to whatever color you want. 

colorized blue

As you can see, you still get the color values.  However, in my opinion, for this quilt, the little strip border piece kinda loses its impact here.

The following picture I was using the same hue/saturation tool, but highlighted different parts.  For example I took the reds and saturated them down, changed the hue of the greens, and modified only the saturation, hue or lightness of the different color groups that were already present in my original quilt.  This should give you a different “feeling” or tone for the whole thing.  Every red will be affected this way, so watch out.

red saturation for modified colors

The resulting picture with muted reds and changed greens.  Not a ton different, but a little bit.

modified colors

For this one I changed the magenta and went way high on the saturation.  Who knew that the black had magenta tones hidden in it?  This is why you be careful when changing the colors.

And finally if I just didn’t like the red flowers as much, what would happen if I made them purple instead?  This one can be complicated depending on how you know how to highlight specific objects in your image editing software.  I used magic wand tool, set the tolerance high so it would get all the tone-on-tone of the same flower, and then clicked inside each flower.  Pressing Shift while clicking in Photoshop will get you more than one flower at a time.  Pressing Alt will ‘unselect’ flowers.  Then I went to the same menu option image hue saturation, and changed the hue of my flowers.  Notice the rectangular selection on the top left and the lasso tool just below it.

magic wand tolerance flowers

Here are my purple flowers!  See the tolerance in the picture above is 84.

purple flowers

For this one, I highlighted the background with the magic wand tool – tolerance 45.  This was a little trickier due to the fact that the flash isn’t centered on the camera and we’re not looking exactly head on to the quilt and the top of the picture is a little darker in shade than the front.  Trying different tolerances and locations to click with the magic wand also makes a difference.  Once I had the background highlighted, I clicked on hue/saturation, clicked on the colorize button and chose a dark teal color.  Also would be a nice quilt!

This can be useful for many different applications. I would see this could be a way to take your pattern and see if different colors work, or a way to see two fabric values to find out what works value wise.  You could also make variations of the same quilt for several different people with different colors and try it out before you start cutting up fabrics.

… but wait … there’s more!

If you don’t have editing software, but you do have a digital camera, there may be a chance you have a “color value evaluator” right in your camera.  I don’t know about cell phone camera options, just my 6 year old camera.

In my camera menu there is a color option.  I can do black and white, sepia, negative art, and solarize.  Same song, second verse here.

camera black and white

I always forget I have these settings on my camera because I never use them.  Sepia is nice and rustic.

camera sepia

Negative art is the next picture.  Mostly is what NOT to do with colors.  Or you could get some interesting combinations this way – I’d find it useful if I was always picking the same types of colors, so instead I could go with a negative result.

camera negative art

Looking at the Quilter’s and Patchworker’s Colour Mixing Bible, you can see the example of how the colorways change what is highlighted on the quilt pattern.

Using my newfound camera black and white skills, this is the same page in black and white.  You can see how each block pieces stand out differently with different color values!

Do you have any other camera / editing tricks you do with your quilts?  What else would you try to change to get some good color results?  Leave me a comment!

Do you want me to research the science behind why your eyes are drawn to contrast?  Let me know.

Some links to the Amazon books referred to in the show (Mimi Dietrich’s pattern is what I used for the applique quilt in all the pictures)

Other podcasts I mentioned

Keep experimenting!