When I began designing quilts in the mid-1980s, I used graph paper and colored pencils to create designs. Not only was it a time consuming process, but I had to visualize how the quilt design would look in actual fabric instead of colored pencils.
In 1991, Electric Quilt (EQ) introduced their first software program for designing quilts. I was smitten and have never looked back. Without a doubt, EQ has changed my quilting world. I’ve created hundreds of quilts, all of which have been designed in EQ. I love being able to play with different blocks, settings, borders, and fabric – all at the press of a key. Knowing how my quilt will look before I cut into my fabric saves me a lot of time and money.
Here are a few examples of how EQ helps me design quilt patterns. I used black, gray, and purple tone-on-tone prints to create “Purple Haze” from Easy Quilts, Winter 2016. For this quilt, I used scans of the same fabrics in EQ that I was going to use for the finished quilt. So I knew exactly how my quilt would look.
I created “Spinning Pinwheels” for Quilting Quickly, November/December 2016 using 30’s reproduction fabrics. This time, I knew I wanted to create a very scrappy quilt. So I wasn’t concerned about using the exact same fabrics. Instead I used 30s reproduction fabrics that would give me the same look.
Being able to easily change fabrics and colors allows me to try different color schemes. Before choosing 30s reproduction fabrics, I played with black, gray, and yellow fabrics, as well as bright floral prints. Notice how changing the fabrics or colors gives the design a modern feel.
Using EQ allows me to try different border options. When I designed “Rising Star” for Love of Quilting, July/August 2015, I added a narrow inner border and a wider outer border.
But I could have added a pieced border. Or, I could have skipped the borders altogether. There are so many options for borders. The one I choose depends on the look and feel of the quilt.
Being able to rotate blocks is oh-so-easy and can dramatically change the design. In “Calliope” from Quilting Quickly, January/February 2016 I rotated the blocks to create chains of white squares.
However, I could have easily created a design with waves of white squares. Or, the white squares could have been running diagonally in one direction. The same block is used in all three designs; it’s simply rotated to create a different look.
I’ve only shown a fraction of how EQ makes it easier to design quilts. To see what you can do with EQ7, check out my Beginning EQ7 Webinar. To learn how to design your own quilts, take a look at my online class Design Quilts with EQ7.