Tuesday, June 21, 2011

View your Quilts.....Pondering Pet Perils with Petunia and Peggy

Winners are now noted at the bottom of this post...Our story opens at the Purple Polka Dot Bees quilting retreat, where Peggy and Petunia are creating blocks for their challenge quilts . . .
       “My sister in Australia wanted to see my progress on my Sylvia’s Sampler quilt, so I arranged all thirty-three blocks on the floor and took a picture to post on my blog tomorrow,” Peggy said, while employing her seam ripper to fix a mistake.
       “Really?” said Petunia. “Wasn’t that a lot of work? How do you make sure you keep them all in the right rows?” 
       Peggy snorted, “The work was when I gathered up all the blocks and had to get the cat fur off of them! Maizie's really shedding now that she's had kittens. And the kittens love to 'help' with laying out the blocks!”
       Petunia looked furtively at the box of chocolate cookies strategically placed between them, wondering if she had already ingested some cat fur.
       “Yes," Peggy continued, "It is difficult to keep them in the correct rows and columns when I do that. But I don’t know any other way to do it! I don’t have room in our apartment for a design wall.”
       Petunia nodded, mouth full of cookie. Swallowing, she replied, “And we don’t like to poke extra holes in the walls to hang up a lot of stuff. Even if we did, I don’t have enough open wall space for that.” 
       Peggy glanced at the sewist in the row in front of them, and whispered to Petunia, “Why has Pamela brought her laptop to the retreat? Can’t she take a break from emails for just a day or so?”
       Rising halfway out of her chair, Petunia considered the laptop screen and reported, “She isn’t looking at emails – she is looking at a quilt! But it isn’t complete….it’s only half there!”
       The two friends left their machines and approached Pamela, who was a newer member of the guild.
       “Hi gals!” Pamela cheerfully remarked, “I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation, and I would love to show you what I am looking at. Pull up those two extra chairs, and I’ll fill you in.”
       As the two friends looked on, Pamela made a few “mouse” clicks and was looking at this page . . .

       “This is my Rainbow Jane quilt,” she said, “and I got tired of crawling around on my knees laying all of these blocks on the floor! This is my very own virtual design wall!”
       Peggy and Petunia were thunderstruck. A virtual design wall? Why, this could be the answer to all their design problems . . .
We interrupt our story to announce that there truly is a virtual design wall, and it is available on the web for quilters around the world! But let’s rejoin Peggy, Petunia, and Pamela (don’t you just love alliteration?!) and see what else they are saying.
       Peggy grabbed the box of chocolate cookies and offered it to Pamela, “Please tell us about this – how does it work?”
       Pamela politely declined the cookies (I think she heard about the cat fur) and went on. “This is a web site with interactive software. You can register for it, and they will host up to six of your quilts in progress at a time. It’s reasonably priced – for just about the price of a fat quarter a month, I can see my quilts “grow” as I upload blocks. And the tutorial made it super easy to upload them….why, by the time I had done it twice, I had it down pat!”

       Pamela clicked again, and opened up her personal blog. “Look here, on the sidebar. See that badge?

       "My friends and followers can click on that badge, and it will open my gallery so that they can see my quilts! No more creeping around on my knees to lay out blocks, and no more Charlie-fur on my blocks, either!”
       “Charlie-fur?” Peggy asked.
       “Charlie is my dog, and this time of year he sheds a lot!” Pamela laughed.
       Petunia marveled, “That sure would make it easier to see if I had too many blocks in one area with red, and all the ones with blue were in another corner!”
       “Yes,” said Pamela, “it helps with layout, and another thing: it helps when it comes time to assemble the top, too. I can use this as a template, and grab the correct block for the row I am working on! Look, here is my Farmer's Wife quilt, that has the blocks set on point.”
       Here is what she showed the girls:

       “One more thing,” Pamela revealed. “When I am not sure whether or not to use lattice strips, or what color to use? I just click, choose a color, and audition to my heart’s content. I can try out border colors, too, or see what it looks like with no border at all. I can try again and again, 'til I find just the right color.”

All right, I can’t stand it any more . . . I just have to tell you, the name of the virtual design wall site is “Ole Frog Eyes.”  We have implemented a companion blog to the site, called “Lilypadquilting,” so in Blogland I go by the alias “Snoodles.” My daughter, a web developer of whom I am immensely proud, created OleFrogEyes to meet a need when she overheard me talking, um,  discussing - OK, I admit it I was whining about how to show off the progress I was making on a large quilt. It was a scrappy quilt, and I had concentrated too much of a color on one side. Voila! OleFrogEyes was born!
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

       I had presented our fledgling site to Madame Samm, and she graciously allowed us to demonstrate it to you on Stash Manicure today. Thanks, Madame!
       It is a great advantage to be able to observe the flow of colors and the effects of patterns as you design/construct a quilt. Often you can make adjustments that improve the overall design and feel of the quilt, before it is all stitched together. OleFrogEyes allows you to easily audition block placement, lattice colors, and border colors, with a few clicks of your mouse! No grommets, no hooks, no holes in the walls, no kittens scampering off with blocks, and no need to use a roller to remove pet hair!
       Let’s face it – quilters are becoming more internet and computer savvy every day; after all, you’re reading this blog, right? And I bet you have a camera, and perhaps you blog, yourself!
      Are you working on the same quilt as a guild buddy, or one of your online quilting friends? Demonstrate your progress by adding your blocks to your quilt in your very own gallery – watch as your friend uploads blocks in another gallery in the same site! There are two quilters who are currently utilizing OleFrogEyes to the hilt: Joy Denise and Yvette.
       Here is Joy's Sylvia's Bridal Sampler:

And here is Yvette's Sylvia . . .

       Isn't it fun, seeing the differences in the fabric choices they have made?  If they want to, they can change their lattice and border colors and determine if they really made the “right” choice for their masterpieces!
       I hope you have enjoyed this look at our virtual design wall site, OleFrogEyes. I hope that we have inspired you to consider using this site. Cruise around the gallery (Karen, PalmettoQuilter, Joy Denise and Yvette have blocks uploaded), and imagine how easily your friends could see your quilting progress! It really is reasonably priced at less than three dollars a month, so it won’t break your fabric budget!
       Here’s the part you have been waiting for – the giveaway! Five of Stash Manicure’s readers will be gifted with a free, ten day trial subscription to OleFrogEyes! (But you have to let us know that you want one! LOL)
                             1.  Just leave Madame Samm a comment here.
                             2.  Leave us one on our blog, and let us know that you want to try out this "cool tool."

       Oh, but there is one caveat: if you are going to be moving across country, participating in a week-long kayaking marathon, or leaving for the wilds of Kenya for a ten day series of raging rhinoceros photo shoots, tell us you like our site, but please let us know that you can't use it right away ….we’d love to give another quilter a chance, and see some blocks go up right away, so that everyone can admire them! (Madame Samm mentioned she might let us post again later, so you can try the site after your photo shoot in Kenya!)

Hello to our winners!!! Mary on Lake Pulaski, Irene Onderweeg, Robin of RsIslandCrafts, Helen, RazzleDazzle Quilter, and Denise/deBrat!!!
I have emailed all of you except Denise....please get in touch with me via my blog.....http://lilypadquilting.blogspot.com and give me your addy! If I don't hear from you in three days, I'll give your trial membership to another quilter! Thanks to everyone, and congratulations!



  1. How very cool! I would love to try it!

  2. I would love to try it too...been seeing in on some blogs...

  3. This is awesome! I'd love to try this and maybe spend a little less "quality time" with my seam ripper.

  4. I'd sure like to try this new virtual tool. Sounds great!

  5. Wow! What a great idea!! You and your daughter are quite clever! I would like to try it out.

    Deb from clutteredquilter.blogspot.com

  6. Hi
    What a great idea. Sure beats all that crawling round the floor stuff
    Thanks MadamSamm for hosting this post.
    Taupo New Zealand

  7. Love the idea! Much easier than moving all those bits and pieces around the design wall, having them fall off and scatter about for the cat to play with (and yes, apply fur)! I'd love to try it.

  8. Ahhhh, a very-much-must-have for me =^o
    Already a year !!!!! I am pondering about a designwall, because I only have slanted walls, I live in the attic U C! Floor space is taken up by the stash, neatly boxed in plastic containers, so that is the other challenge! No floor space!
    Comments from a cloudy Amsterdam...
    hugs, Irene

  9. Well, I'm not in need so don't add me to the list, but I think that's the coolest thing ever for those who quilt on a continual basis with big quilts! Wow! I mostly do only doll size, so don't really need anything like that.

  10. Good Morning Snoodles...this is beyond my imagination ...love the idea. for those who need space especially if they are doing millions of blocks...or , less than that but need space...this is the perfect solution. And how many pieces are in the Rainbow Jane? lot's right? and Farmers wife..and the samplers...wow!

  11. Very cool! Perfect for sampler projects!

  12. Oh wow! What a great tool for quilters and perhaps just the thing to jump start this quilter's behind back behind (in front?) of her sewing machine and to get sewing! Thanks for the information and for the chance at the trial. denise/deBRAT in too hot Tampa Bay Florida

  13. I need this right now. I am making a Trip Around the World quilt for someone and I have it laid out on the floor. I don't want to move a piece because I will forget my layout. Not sure if I would know how to use this program but a 10 day trial would be wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway.

  14. So very very cool! This looks like a great program for those that have WIP's. I would like to just start a WIP someday.

    When my son gets going on his Civil War quilt we will for sure use this site. But please don't include me on any giveaway. We have nothing made right now.

  15. Great post! I'm one of those who has 'pin holes' in my wall. What a great idea this is. And loved the 'story'!

  16. Looks like a great program.

  17. Very cool and would like to try it. I do have some blocks waiting to be designed into a quilt. Your daughter sounds like a smart girl!

  18. This is a great idea not only for people who live in small spaces but who do not want to be on the floor anymore. Love the Dear Jane, maybe someday I will tackle that! thanks for sharing such a great tool! Now I am off to Kenya!

  19. Oh, what a really fabulous idea! I'm heading over to have a look!

  20. Love the virtual layout - this would be so handy! I'm trying to decide on the layout for my farmer's wife quilt and this would be a wonderful tool to help with it. Thanks for sharing!

  21. What a great tool! I too have a pet that loves to lay in the middle of my sewing room floor. Makes it very difficult to try to lay out my quilts in progress. Thanks!

  22. What a beautiful idea! While I may not be traveling to Kenya this week, my mind couldn't possibly wrap around the possibility of that much work at the moment so I'm going to sit back and enjoy everyone else's beautiful creations :)

  23. What a great idea! I like that I can get my blocks all set the way I like them and then go from my computer to sew the rows. I'm always so worried when I sew the blocks into rows that I will mess it up (and I usually do lol )

  24. I love my OleFrogEyes membership! I logged on last night to load my G3 block into my Sylvia's Bridal Sampler, and then contemplated colors for G4. It is SEW helpful! Last year, I travelled to another state and I took my Sylvia fabrics with me.... But the already finished blocks stayed safely at home! I logged onto the site and continued picking colors and sewing, miles from home! Thank you for 'whining!' and thank your awesome daughter for providing such a nifty tool!!

  25. this looks like a great tool. I know someone would figure out how to do this one of these days. Great post.

  26. cool tool - fun to try this - thanks for the post

  27. What an interesting idea. I'd love to try it out.

  28. Great idea! With iPads and iPhones and netbooks and laptops and the ease of connecting to the internet, this would make your quilt designs truly portable. Like Joy commented above, you could pick up fabric for your in-progress quilt even if you didn't have your finished quilt blocks with you.
    Hmmm...now if it was also an iPhone app, we could use it even if we didn't have internet access. Of course, the app would have to be able to sync it with our quilt design on the web. Oops, sorry! I was day-dreaming a bit there.

  29. i've love a chance to give it a try to 10 days!

  30. I had not heard of this. I would love to try it; I don't have a good space for a design wall either!



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