Monday, September 22, 2014

Software, Online, Old Fashion - Design Your Own!

Why not design your own quilt top? You can do it!

I’ve shared several block designs over the past couple of weeks, and the easy way to create them! Maybe you are a tad like me and have several favorite block designs, and not so favorite others. How do you mix and match, creating your own design rather than follow a quilt top pattern?

I haven’t yet figured out the Electric Quilt (EQ-7) software program, even with all the video tutorials I’ve downloaded from its site or YouTube! It’s a bit complicated. There is certainly a learning curve that requires some quiet time and focused concentration ~ neither of which I have right now. Hopefully by National Sewing Month 2015, I will have mastered all the whistles and bells available and can share then!

Who knew? I decided to do a with the phrase “design your own quilt” and found several sites of interest!

If you don’t have the EQ7 software, but you do have unlimited bandwidth (which I don’t), maybe Quiltivate is the site for you! They say it’s a FREE online design process that “When you're finished, you'll receive a custom quilt plan. Your plan includes detailed fabric calculations and full-size images so you can get straight to the sewing!” That sounds pretty darn cool!

I discovered another free online designer, My Web Quilter, but again, it’s going to take the bandwidth I don’t have. I did register so when I’m in Dallas ~ where bandwidth is not an issue ~ I’m ready to play! 

For now, I’ll do it the old fashioned way!

I gather my supplies:
  • #2 pencil
  • assortment of colored pencils
  • straight edge
  • sheet(s) of ¼” squares graph paper
  • clear scotch tape
  • paper scissors
  • big pink eraser

This is a great project for me to do while watching television! Yes, I can multi-task!

Using the graph paper, I design quilt tops two different ways…

Using the whole sheet(s): 
Sometimes it takes tape, like scotch tape, when I have to tape the 8.5” x 11” pages together to make it large enough when each square of the paper represents 1 inch. Keep in mind, at this writing, the minimum size of a Quilt of Valor is 55” x 65” (recommended size is 60” x 80” and maximum size is 72” x 90”) – so one sheet at 1” per square won’t be large enough! I personally create QOV’s around 60” x 70” ~ a nice couch or recliner lounging quilt size.

NOTE: Using a 1” square scale is great when working with 9” blocks!
Sometimes I designate the squares of the graph paper to be 2” per square, if I know all the blocks I’m going to use will be finished with an even number, like a 12” block.

Using pieces of a puzzle: 
What if I wanted to mix 12” and 9” finished blocks? What do I need to do? What do I need to add here & there to make it work out? This is when I have to take a bit more time, but it’s worth the extra effort to “see” the whole picture before making the first cut!
NOTE: Using this method, I always use 1 square equals 1” !!! 
I’ll draw out the block I like in the correct size, color it in, then repeat the process scattered about the graph paper, not worrying about placement at this time! This process may take a couple sheets of graph paper.
 Once I’ve created all the blocks I want to incorporate within the quilt top, I will take paper scissors and cut out the individual blocks. It’s then time to take a new piece of graph paper and draw the quilt’s outside diameter. I then start placing the pieces around until I like what I see.
 The spaces between different sized blocks (for example, putting a 9” up against a 12”) are prefect places to add sashing (a narrow strip of fabric) around the smaller blocks. Using the graph “paper doll” method, you’ll know exactly the size you’ll need!

Whether you use a software program, the online sites, or the old fashion way, I hope you’ll try designing your own quilt top!

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