Tag Archives: 8bit

Peachy Solution

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I had an offer to exhibit my Peach blanket in an art gallery that’s doing an exhibit on 8bit artwork. I would like to participate, but the quilt design they like is not one I have extra laying around. While I have the time to complete the project, I truly need to focus my time on paid gigs, as my financial state is pretty dire. I’ve been trying to think outside the box, and set up a Patreon account, but ultimately – if I don’t sell some quilts immediately, I need to immediately go back to the work force and quilt on the side. I have bleed my bank account dry and have bills piling up.  So back to the main reason I’m blabing about my resources – I’m looking to see if anybody was willing to pay for the Peach quilt now, and receive the blanket in July after the exhibit wraps up. The quilt cost $220 plus shipping and you would receive it in July and my way of saying thank you was I would make two matching pillow shams now to hold over while you wait. You can purchase the quilt here, and in the customer comment section – just mention that its for the exhibit and what kind of icons you would want on your pillow cases. I could do anything as long as its 22×17 pixels in size. I’ve done many pillows already, but I’m very open to anything new!

So go on! BUY this blanket and tell me its for the exhibit and I’ll send you two pillows now and the blanket will arrive in July!

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How to order a quilt! Sailor Moon Edition

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I wanted to show you the process of this quilt design, so that people know what to expect when ordering from 8Bit Healey! Of course the EASIEST way is to go to out Etsy store and buy a pre-made designs! But a lot of people want a custom blanket and good news! I do that! Facebook is the fastest way to get my attention and discuss your dream projects. Through FB, a fan reached out and said she wanted a Sailor Moon blanket. So to get the project rolling, I looked up old video game sprites (I use http://www.spriters-resource.com/ and google image search for ideas). I grabbed sprites that I like and send customers a collage with price options.

Although she kind of liked these, none of them were what she had in mind, so I am always happy to keep digging with the more concise vision of the product. This cool lady wanted to see more Princess Serenity designs, so I went wishing for more inspiration.

I sent these screen grabs just to throw some ideas out there. She got very excited about this image:

I had to crop her smaller from the original because all quilts need to try and limit their design to 50 pixels(ish) or they become massive. This image is a sprite capture from the game Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, captured by sprite ripper Rocket!

So I get to work simplifying it so that it can be sewn into a quilt and get a first draft.

So this is the point where I try to translate it to a pattern, and the client needs to give me feedback on what they like and don’t like. The border was a bit heavy, so we went though a couple drafts of bg color and border colors.

And its ok to tell me its just not right. Sometimes I get stuck with an off design. So we decided no color changes would correct the heavy border. She suggested a different border of sparkles and flowers and I literally googled “sparkle pixels” and found this brush website. Their designs helped inspire this change.

The maybe final draft before production is this:

So tada! Thank you for walking through the design process with me! Hopefully this helps you understand how easy it is to order a quilt with me.

If you have a quilt design in mind, feel free to start the process with me, message me on facebook. I make designs for free and once we’ve agreed on a design, I put it up on Etsy and will begin production once paid the agreed amount! All quilts take about a week to make.

How I make an 8Bit quilt… Finishing a project!

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I wanted to finish up this tutorial and project blog with what I do after I finish a quilt design. So with most of my quilts I finish the back with flannel.  Its for many reasons, but the main one is to keep down the cost of the quilts.  The fleece backing is a quick, soft and warm way to finish the quilt. I put the quilt piece face down and use the flatlock stitch almost all the way around the border and then pull it right side again and hand stitch the remaining hole shut. Here is a great tutorial on how to do an invisible stitch.

For this project I wanted the pillow to be firm and strong, so fleece is too stretchy and no good. I used batting and a back layer of extra fabric I have laying around. I have been working on my confidence on the top stitch of a quilt. I don’t have a lot of experience with freehand stitching the design that holds all the layers together and as for now, stick to straight lines. I did a uniform diagonal top stitch along the lilac background and I’m happy with how it came out.

This project took much longer then I had hoped. I was hoping I could quickly pump out an 8bit pillow in an hour and half so that I could sell it around $20, but as my ambitions grew, so did the time it take to complete.  I listed it on Etsy for $50, which hopefully once I get faster at producing, I can drop it down.

Check out the Etsy Listing!

How I make an 8Bit quilt.. Making it!

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Lets first detour back to how I used to do it back when I first started and didn’t have all the tools I have now.. I used to just use a cardboard square cut to the size I wanted my fabric pieces and I would cut each individual square out one at a time. Quilting Rulers are also easily purchased if you worry about cutting the cardboard the right shape. This method is NOT preferred because it easily takes a month alone to cut the squares and I find it very tedious to sew each square together one by one. I also used to lay the whole quilt out on the floor so I could easily visualize how to sew each piece together. Again, I don’t recommend it, but if you find it hard to compress the design into stacked rows and are making mistakes, this might be best at first.

OK, so back to the key design from the previous blog. I went and bought all the fabric like discussed.

Spent under $5 and part of the cost was extra lilac to finish with quilted piece into a pillow. I ended up buying a yard of lilac in case you were curious.

I use a self healing mat, a large quilting ruler and a rotary tool to cut the fabric into 1.75 inch strips of fabric. I sew the strips together to make a solid piece again. You get an accordion feel, see:

Once I sew the fabric all back together, I cut it in the opposite direction, again in 1.75 strips.

I sew the strips together in different numbers so I have variety for the quilt design. In a large blanket, I might have a pile of squares, two squares (sewn together already), three squares, ect. This allows for quickly sewing the design together instead of doing each block one at a time. I hope this isn’t confusing..

This design isn’t very big or complex so I just have a couple piles. And so I start piling all the squares together following the word document with the plan.

Row one has 16 purple squares. If you chose to cut each square out separately, you’d just stack 16 lilac squares and sew them together in a long strip. I chose to sew all my lilac together in groups of 8, so my pile just had 2 strips of 8 pieces each. Both ways add up t 16 squares.. so it doesn’t matter how you do it. Row 2 has 3 black squares, 10 lilac and another 3 black squares.Because my lilac are in strips of presewn in sets of 8 squares, I use a seam ripper to separate it into the needed set of 3.

I looked down and took a picture of my “helper.”  My pup max is always underfoot and trying to help when I’m crafting.

So I compile the design into rows that I place on large sheets of newsprint paper. It is low cost and I use it as scrap paper to write on or paint on top of. Its helpful in the quilt planning because I can stack pages of paper with quilt square on it and stay organized.

From right to left you can see Row 1, row 2, row 3, ect.. I just slowly lay out each square according to my word document plan of the design.

Now I go pile by pile in order and sew the stacks together in order, and then each strip of rows to the next to start bringing the quilt into being. In the second picture of the collage, you can see that I try to line up the rows to match at color changes, but I don’t stress too much about the rows matching up perfectly. You can see the small imperfections in the bottom picture. I used to try and force the lines to all line up, but I found that cause an unappealing pucker to the cloth and I decided I’d rather it lay flat, then appear rumbled.

An example of the puckers you might get if you try to make all the lines match perfectly square for square. I think it’s easier to try and line up the design with a little room for error, then aim for perfection.

So as I go, I usually compare the WIP to the computer design to make sure I’m not making any mistakes. Here is the finished product. It took me about 2.5 hours to sew it all together. I’m actually going to sew a little bit more lilac around the key to make it bigger and finish it into a pillow. I’ll post it once its all done!

How I make an 8Bit quilt.. Designing it

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So I was talking on my facebook page about how I make my quilts, I thought it might be easiest to try to explain it here. I am self-taught, so I’m far from professional, but I make a strong product I stand behind and have streamlined my strategy to be as effective as possible (for me!).

First I make a design, and to do this I research old video game sprites and screen captures. I love the website: The Spriters Resource. If I need inspiration or a reference, they always have exactly what I’m looking for. I also find looking at bead artist and minecrafters works inspiring when I’m hashing out a new plan. For the example of this blog, lets say I want to make a Super Mario related pillow. I might go to The Spriters Resource and look through the different Mario games they have (stay in the old school systems and handheld games. N64 and newer consul graphics will be too complex. Ideally for a  pillow you’d want an image that is 15 pixels wide (or less). Obviously there is wiggle room, but you don’t want your design to outgrow the size of the pillow. You can always make the squares smaller to get a more complex design, but the smaller the squares the more difficult it becomes to assemble/stitch, so I wouldn’t recommend that for a beginners project. For this pillow I want to do a key icon from the Mario games.

So on the left is my plan and on the right is the sprite from the game. The image was very tiny and I just made it bigger using the image viewer so the pixels are very obvious. Then all you need to do is simplify the colors and start counting squares. A very easy way to plan your design is to just use a grid image in paint and use the fill tool color in the squares. I actual use excel spreadsheets in google documents with conditional formatting – but its kind hard to explain, so if you’d like to know more – leave a comment and I’ll email you that explanation.

So now that I have a design, I need to count each line of the quilt so that I can lay out the squares in proper order to be sewn together. This can be a little time-consuming but it’s not difficult. I have a short hand I follow and each design I create is written out like this so I can easily remake each quilt.

So the top row (Row 1) is all Lilac, so I write out Row 1: L16. (There are 16 squares of lilac)The second row says, Row 2: L3   B10   L3. (This means that on that row I’ll lay out 3 squares of lilac, 10 squares of black and 3 squares of lilac.) .. In this design I abbreviated the colors Lilac as L, Dark Yellow as G (gold), Light Yellow as Y, Black as B.  The short hand can be very confusing if you have multiple shades of the same color, or you have two colors that start with the same letter.  You will need to be creative and smart about the letters you choose so that you don’t get confused or make mistakes. Once you have the image of the design and the written out count of the rows, you are almost done with the planning period. Last tedious counting thing: You need to count all of the squares to know how much of each color you will need. In this one for example: I need 62 black squares, 59 Gold, 23 Yellow, and 144 Lilac.

I went a little more complex than I recommended with a design that is 16×18 pixels. I’m going to make each square 1.75 inches squares so that it stay pillow size. I find an easy way to measure correctly is to think about how big you want the product to be (I’m aiming for 2 feet long or 24 inches). So divide the desired length in inches by the number of squares you have in the design’s row and then add .5 inches (hem allowance).  So for this one:

(24 desired inches for pillow/18 squares per row) + .5 inch hem allowance = How big your squares should be.

The exact math said 1.8, but to make it easier I will make my squares 1.75 inches

To figure out how much fabric to buy, I divide the length of a standard piece of fabric (48 inches) by the length of the quilts squares (1.75 inches). So for this one –

48 inches/1.75 inches = 27.4

SO NOW I KNOW, I can cut at least 27 squares out of the fabric that is 1.75 inches long. So I do  little bit more math for each color. I need 144 Lilac squares.

144 squares (needed)/ 27 (squares per row) = 5.3 

Are you asking what 5.3 means? It means I need 5.3 rows of the fabric to get the right about of cloth. I round-up to 6 and times it by 1.75inches.

6 x 1.75 = 10.5 inches of Lilac cloth.

Again I round-up because asking them to cut that specific seems silly and it’s always good to have extra. So for this quilt I will need to buy

2 inches of yellow fabric,  6 inches of dark yellow fabric,  6 inches of black and 11 inches of lilac

Ok, so I’m off to buy the fabric today and we will regroup with pictures on the next steps, cutting it up!!!! (Please let me know if this is super confusing or you have any questions..)