Thanks so much for sharing your insight and approaches on quilt design. I really appreciate it. I think what I will do -- if I can wait -- is ask for EQ for Christmas; I love the idea of practicing designs from magazines or from internet patterns to develop the skill of using the software and also tweeking patterns after getting them designed. In the interim, I will use graph paper and colored pencil and also try the free software/other software out there that's available. You've have greatly helped in making my decision.