Page 1

A glimpse into the creative heart of today’s most talented sewing & quilting artists.

Issue 35

Š2016 SCHMETZneedles.com

All rights reserved.

In this Issue: Sewing Star:

The Electric Quilt Company An Incredible Success Story Page 3

Needle Points:

SCHMETZ Chrome Needles Page 12


Electric Quilt Celebrates 25 Years by Electric Quilt Company

Interview by:

Rita Farro


Electric Quilt

Computers are integrated into our lives, just like driving cars. We use, trust, and yes, rely on our computers. Before computers and the internet became a necessity, imagine computers in the late 20th century… 1991. I know that sounds long ago, but only 25 years ago. I had a computer at work, but not at home for business nor personal endeavors. Now imagine a math whiz meeting up with an art curator. Through collaboration and moxie, Dean Neumann and Penny McMorris had a vision that rocks our creative world today … Electric Quilt. Rita Farro interviewed Dean and Penny and asked for user product testimonials. The response was instantaneous and amazing. So many Electric Quilt testimonials, that only a few could be organized and printed. Without a doubt, Electric Quilt created a growing niche with a loyal following. Electric Quilt escorted designers into the 21st century as a staple for quilt designers around the world. Congratulations Dean and Penny for your powerful contributions to our colorful quilt world!


Layout/Design: Paul Ragas

What Inspires YOU to Sew? www.SCHMETZneedles.com

Sew SCHMETZ & Grabbit Too!

There’s an App for That! Rhonda Pierce Spokesperson, SCHMETZneedles.com info@SCHMETZneedles.com


Issue 35

Sewing Star

Issue 35

Sewing Star

Electric Quilt

Penny McMorris & Dean Neumann

The title of this magazine also happens to be our mission. For the last three years, Inspired To SEW has shared the sewing journeys of some of the of most talented, accomplished quilters in the industry. Almost without exception, they use Electric Quilt software to design their quilts. Nancy Mahoney, Issue # 30 said, “I started quilting about 30 years ago and, at that time, I designed all of my quilts using graph paper and colored pencils. Then along came a software program called Electric Quilt. My first introduction to Electric Quilt was EQ3, which was a DOS based program. I was in heaven! No longer did I have to draw blocks on graph paper and color them one patch at a time. I progressed through EQ4 and EQ5, learning each program through trial and error. Nevertheless, I designed lots and lots of quilts along the way.


Around 2006, Electric Quilt asked me to Beta test their newest version of the program, EQ6. During the Beta testing process, I had to test every function and truly learn the program. Once EQ6 was available for purchase, I started teaching other quilters how to use the program. And, I still teach Electric Quilt as I travel around the country and on-line. Electric Quilt has changed my quilting world. I’ve created hundreds of quilts for fabric companies, magazines, and books; all of which have been designed in Electric Quilt. I love being able to play with different blocks, settings, borders, and fabric – all at the press of a key. Knowing how my quilt is going to look, before I cut into my fabric, saves me a lot of time and money. I could never accomplish all I do without EQ.”

Issue 35

Electric Quilt Version 1

The list of EQ artists is like a Who’s Who in the Quilting World: Susan Guzman, Amy Gibson, Angela Pingel, Bea Lea, Beth Ferrier, Anita Grossman Solomon, Kimberly Einmo, Joanna Figueroa, Linda Franz, Kerry Goulder, Christa Watson, Donna Thomas, Ebony Love, Elizabeth Dackson, Gail Kessler, the Hoop Sisters, Pat Bravo . . . . So — we wondered — who’s behind Electric Quilt? This brilliant idea that became an incredible success story. It’s a married couple — Dean Neumann and Penny McMorris of Bowling Green, Ohio. In his pre-EQ life, Dean Neumann was a Professor of Mathematics at Bowling Green State University. His wife, Penny McMorris,

was the corporate art curator for Owens-Corning Corporation, headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. This fabulous job involved visiting New York City galleries, having artwork framed, and hanging it in offices located around the country. She became fascinated with antique quilts in the late 1960s, as they were rediscovered by collectors, and began appearing in magazines. (Think Gloria Vanderbilt, covering a room from floor to ceiling with quilt blocks! SO stunning. ) Penny was a self-taught quilt maker. She taught a few local classes, and thinking it would be fun, she talked her local PBS station (WBGU-TV) into letting her produce and host a television

Issue 35

Penny 1982 on the tv set of her first series, Quilting.

Dean, BGSU 1975

Dean & Penny 1994

series on Quilting showing quilt history as well as the best of then contemporary quilts. These 26 shows aired in 1981-82 in the U.S. and later in England, Australia and Japan. Dean accompanied her on her quilt travels and took a real interest in quilts as well. Envisioning a way they could work together, Dean taught himself computer programming to develop software that would allow quilters to pre-plan their designs. The result was the first Electric Quilt (EQ) program (1992). His software let users draw original blocks (using the keyboard, as software did not use a mouse back then). It let them color their blocks, set them into standard quilt layouts, even flip and rotate to form new designs. Patterns for sewing the blocks together could also be printed.


As Dean worked on EQ, Penny was creating another television series, “The Great American Quilt” (1992). This show proved instrumental in their company’s launch, since Penny featured EQ in a segment on technology in quilting. Her favorite story, “when I “demonstrated” EQ on air, I had not yet even seen the software. Nor had I touched a computer. Dean had been up half the night working on the still-unfinished program. On set, as cameras rolled, I introduced the idea of designing quilts on computer. As the camera focused on the computer screen, Dean (unseen) came on set and worked the keyboard. He made blocks pop into a quilt layout, recolor, flip and reform design after design. When the camera focused back on my face I smiled, and said with the complete confidence of a savvy computer user, ‘Now, wasn’t that easy?’”

Issue 35

Electric Quilt Staff

As that show aired across the country, viewers called wanting the software. Those first users kick-started their business. By happy coincidence, the National Quilting Association (NQA) held its annual meeting in Bowling Green that same summer and they were able to teach EQ classes there. Electric Quilt software was totally Dean’s idea and work. Penny helped build the company when the software began selling. But since neither of them had business experience, it was a challenging undertaking and fun working in partnership. They ran the company out of their basement and bedrooms, answering their home phone almost 24/7. They hired their first employee, Ann Rutter. She is still with them today, as Dean’s right-hand assistant. Lucky hire!

By 1997, the company had grown, and they were up to version 3. The city zoning inspector (one of Dean’s racquetball partners) broke the news that the business could no longer be run from their home. So they moved across town to an office close to Bowling Green State University. This made it easy to hire BGSU students as co-ops — a perfect idea, as many of those young hires are still a major part of EQ. Penny says, “We’ve watched them graduate, marry and have babies. They and other employees are not only family, but key decision makers and company leaders now. Moving the business out of the home, surprisingly, also gave us back some home life. (Any person with a home business knows how they can end up working 24/7.) It was great to ‘go home’, and stop working at 5pm.”

Issue 35

Have fun with EQ Mini

EQ is now in its 7th version: http://electricquilt.com/online-shop/electric-quilt-7/. EQ7 suits both beginning quilters and professional designers. Here is a snapshot of how it works: You choose from a library of quilt blocks and fabrics (or draw original blocks and import scanned fabric). Then you choose a layout style, size it, and set blocks, color them, flip/rotate if desired. The end point is printing patterns (foundations, templates or rotary cutting), calculating yardage and even exporting an image of your finished design for blogs, pattern covers, guild newsletters etc. You can also make quilt labels, photo and t-shirt quilts, bargello, and so much more. Check out the gallery here: http://doyoueq.com/quilt-gallery/.


EQ just released a fun program called EQ Mini — (kind of a “miniversion” of EQ7). It’s perfect for quilt makers just starting to use a computer for their hobby, who want to easily play with pattern and color on-screen and want the basics of EQ7 — without needing to import or draw: http://electricquilt.com/online-shop/eq-mini/. Computers in the early 1990s were thought of as “difficult to use” and for serious business only. So Dean’s challenge from the start was to keep up with technology, plus the growing wish list of quilt makers, while keeping the software easy to use. The first EQ version came before computers worked with a mouse, before

Issue 35

Yes! Design your own quilts!

Windows, before fabric could be scanned and imported; and really before the Internet and email. Now users can download fabric swatches from the Internet, or import their own scans. They can export their block and quilt designs to show on their websites and blog pages. It is so much easier to correspond with software users via email. Penny says, “we used to have to write letters!”

EQ is sold both on the Internet and in stores. Their reputation is that they are intensely interested in supporting their users to help create the designs they see in their heads. Besides the world class on-line support, and EQ Artists teaching in quilt shops all across the country — EQ also offers a hands-on EQ Academy in Perrysburg, Ohio, where they get to see their users face-to-face and have fun. http://electricquilt.com

— written by Rita Farro

Issue 35


Ebony Love https://lovebugstudios.com/ I couldn’t do what I do without EQ. I love working with traditional blocks and unconventional settings. EQ has an extensive library of blocks for just about anything I can visualize. It is easy to redraw blocks when I want to change the seam lines or construction of a block. EQ is an integral part of my design process and I often recommend it to others! EQ Design

Finished Quilt

Service Puppy by Kathy Larson

Donna Thomas www.donnalynnthomasquilter.com EQ is absolutely my starting point for any quilt I design. It is completely essential to my work. My recent book was designed in the middle of the night. I awoke at 2 am with the idea and absolutely HAD to get it put together. I pulled up EQ7 and went to work. Within two hours the design was done. It has been refined in several ways since then and more quilts added based on the theme. If I hadn’t had the ability to use EQ, that quilt might have been lost to more sleep.


EQ Design — Twist-and-Turn by Nancy Hobin

Nancy Hobin This design appears in Twist-and-Turn Bargello Quilts by Eileen Wright. I made an EQ7 Vertical Strip Quilt layout of the design . . . I wanted to see how my color choices would look in the final quilt before forming any strip sets.

Issue 35


Kerry Goulder www.kidgiddy.com For two years I have been designing paper piecing patterns, trying to stretch my designs and maybe even the program. So far there is nothing too big, too small, too simple or too complex the program can’t handle. I use MAC. Without EQ7, there’s no way I would attempt to design the patterns I do. EQ7 makes everything so much easier and quicker. EQ Design

Finished Quilt

Proud Peacock by Evelyn Townsend

Twist-and-Turn — Finished Quilt by Nancy Hobin

Christa Watson www.ChristaQuilts.com I design exclusively in EQ and it’s a natural part of my process. I first think of an idea I want to explore, then with the help of EQ7 come up with dozens of different iterations until I find the one that is just right. Along the way, I’ve created seeds for dozens of other ideas that may become future quilts. Once I have a design, I import fabric swatches so I know exactly what the quilt will look like. This process works well for me because I’m not one of those who can intuitively design a quilt as I go. All my planning and thinking is done ahead of time so that when it’s time to actually make the quilt, I can sit back and enjoy the relaxing process of sewing each stitch.

Issue 35

Needle P oints with Rhonda

Two-color card identifies needle type & size using the SCHMETZ Color Chart.

Why Chrome? • Resists Heat and Wear • Superior Strength • Durability • Improved Performance

Exclusive to Independent Retailers


Issue 35

Compliments of Your Local Retailer


All rights reserved.

©2016 SCHMETZneedles.com

Issue 35

Profile for SCHMETZneedles

Inspired to SEW #35  

Computers are integrated into our lives. Think back to the infance of the personal computer . . . 1991. I know that sounds long ago, but it'...

Inspired to SEW #35  

Computers are integrated into our lives. Think back to the infance of the personal computer . . . 1991. I know that sounds long ago, but it'...