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How does the tactile experience of quilting fit into the high tech world of computer design? Electric Quilt developed a software package that has become my favorite tool for designing quilts. What began as a long process of sketching with graph paper, drafting multiple copies for coloring and then pages of calculations has become an enjoyable online process. Notice that I did not say it was faster, mainly because I get lost in the process and end up creating seven versions of a quilt in the time it used to take me to design just one!
Let me share the top 3 reasons why I love EQ7: coloring, yardage calculations and free motion quilt sketches!
#1 : EQ7 helps you audition colors for your quilt
EQ7 has a great selection of colors, in both fabrics and solids. You can spend many hours coloring your favorite quilt pattern with just the click of the mouse. You can also upload pictures of your own fabric stash!
I start in the block library to find a quilt block, then I select the coloring tool and play until something strikes my fancy. Remember to save everything to the sketchbook as you make changes, so that you can come back to the version you liked best!
#2: EQ7 calculates fabric yardage for your project
I am a former math teacher, so working out all the calculations to figure out how much fabric my next project requires never scares me too much. But, any time you can speed up the process means that much more time for quilting! This is another reason I love EQ7. Once I design a quilt with a certain block size, and set the border size, the computer does the rest of the work.
Using the print preview option, I can see that this quilt will need 2-1/4 yd of green fabric, 5/8 yd pink fabric and 5/8 yd of a light background fabric. Of course, once I set foot in the quilt store, those yardage estimates may increase by 50-100%…stash acquisition is an investment opportunity, right?!?
Related: there are several books about designing quilts with EQ7.
#3: EQ7 helps plan free motion quilting
The final reason I love EQ7 is that I can preview free motion quilting designs before I put the quilt under the needle. I simply print a few copies of the block and sketch my designs on paper first.
EQ7 has an extensive library of blocks and it has an EasyDraw function that allows you to create your own block designs as well. When a single block is printed in grayscale, it becomes the foundation for planning free motion quilting designs. Sometimes, your original quilting plan may become too complex and having another page ready to sketch helps you find a creative solution.
Related: I had to adjust the quilting designs for a Swoon block.
Why I love EQ7
EQ7 quilt design software helps me choose colors, calculate yardage requirements, and plan free motion quilting designs. EQ7 is practically a necessity for anyone who loves to design their own quilts. If you get stuck with color selection or frustrated with the math, let this software help you out. Computers can make our lives easier and the best part is that we have more time to quilt!
What are your favorite tools for the quilt design process?