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Thread: Quilting Software Versus Hand Drawn Plans?

  1. #1
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    Quilting Software Versus Hand Drawn Plans?

    I am fairly new to quilting - having only completed 4 quilts - 3 I originally designed and 1 from a published pattern - all simple designs no doubt. Since I am new to the world of quilting in so many respects, I was wondering if most preferred designing quilts using the quilting software that is out there or just putting your plans on paper? I have been looking at various software but don't know anyone who uses them or have forgotten to ask the question when I've run into a fellow quilter.

    Would love anyone's input/thoughts on this. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    I'd use software if I had it. But paper and pencil works until I find the money
    Bad Spellers of the World
    U N T I E

  3. #3
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    Thanks. Yes, I'm going to have to save for it if I get enough positives for software.

  4. #4
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    There are some free software available. I use Gimp all the time.
    Here's a great tutorial that miholmes put together for us.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/tutoria...e-t141145.html

  5. #5
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    I use Electric Quilt and I love it. If you want an inexpensive software try Quilt Design Wizard. It's a simplified version of Electric Quilt. However, good old graph paper and colored pencils also works well.

  6. #6
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    There are pros and cons to both systems. Software is expensive, but I like that I can try different colors with the click of a mouse, instead of re-coloring the drawing. The software can also estimate fabric yardage for you.

  7. #7
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    ​I am computer challenged so it will be pencil and paper for me. I admire those who know their way around the computer design systems.

  8. #8
    Member SoSewSue's Avatar
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    I am a beginner quilter and I have had the EQ software programme for about 48 hours now! One thing I wasn't expecting was how much I am learning about quilt construction and block identification. In order to facilitate the learning process I have been reconstructing quilts in the software from magazine pictures or other pictures off the internet. In fact two quilts for which I had been planning on buying the pattern for - once I had truly analysed them for the purposes of putting into the software I realised how simple they really were and knew that I would find them far to boring to make. Now granted, I would have to come across about thirty of those to make up the price of the software.

    My primary reasons for buying the software :
    1/ I have a very hard time finding patterns that I want to make. I find lots that are 'close' but not quite right. The software lets me very easily 'tweak' different elements of the design.

    2/ I am still rubbish at imagining different colour combinations. I have no stash to speak of and if I walk into the quilt shop without some semblance of a plan or intent I become overwhelmed and frozen with indecision. The software lets me try different combos - heck I can even try using actual fabrics currently available on the market.

    Was it worth it ? I suspect that only quilt professionals would be able to fully realize a positive cost-benefit ratio over a short period of time. However is it fun ? You bet. And I really think it will help 'stretch my quilting wings' so to speak. And I look forward to creating truly unique quilts!

  9. #9
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I take the middle road and use non-quilting software to design my quilts (my avatar quilt included). Excel, Publisher, a photo editing program, Paint, programs that are not intended for quilt design, but work very nicely for it nonetheless. Excel can be set up to be the same as graph paper for instance. I see no reason to buy specialized software, but many people swear by it. If, in the future, I can't live without it, I may reconsider.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  10. #10
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i love my EQ since I love to tweak patterns after I get them designed. It's hard to do that with pencil and paper. Changing block sizes is a breeze and, when altering the quilt size, the math is done for me
    Nancy in western NY
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  11. #11
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    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.

  12. #12
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I have the Quilt Design Wizard and it's not too bad, but is limited in what you can do. I do have issues with printing from it. I'm sure it's something in the settings, but I haven't figured it out. The print is so small I can't read it. I'm talking like a size zero font...smaller than the fine print on a prescription bottle. Even with glasses I can't read it. If anyone has suggestions on what to change to enlarge the print, please let me know. By the way, I am very computer savvy, so it's been quite frustrating for me!

  13. #13
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katier825 View Post
    I have the Quilt Design Wizard and it's not too bad, but is limited in what you can do. I do have issues with printing from it. I'm sure it's something in the settings, but I haven't figured it out. The print is so small I can't read it. I'm talking like a size zero font...smaller than the fine print on a prescription bottle. Even with glasses I can't read it. If anyone has suggestions on what to change to enlarge the print, please let me know. By the way, I am very computer savvy, so it's been quite frustrating for me!
    Change the font size on your computer using Control Panel...how exactly depends on which OS you have.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  14. #14
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I have been using EQ for several years and I couldn't do without it. It does have some limitations (or maybe I don't know all the ways of using it) but it's definitely worth the money to me.

  15. #15
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I have EQ 5. I found it frustrating and irritating to use. I know the next versions have been improved so maybe I'll upgrade one of these days. I found it a lot faster and easier to design using graph paper and pencils. The math just isn't that hard to do and I have a calculator that makes it even faster to do.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    I have EQ 5. I found it frustrating and irritating to use. I know the next versions have been improved so maybe I'll upgrade one of these days. I found it a lot faster and easier to design using graph paper and pencils. The math just isn't that hard to do and I have a calculator that makes it even faster to do.
    I'm with you on this. I use design programs on computers all day, but I found EQ hard to learn. It's okay if I'm looking for a traditional block, but for my own quilt designs I'm happier with pencil and paper.

    Janet

  17. #17
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    People can tell you how wonderful or not something is but the only way to know if it is what you want is to try it yourself. EQ7 is the best quilting design program available. I have all the other quilt software and they are good but not better. Other drawing programs are excellent, some are free but not designed for only quilting. No block library, fabric files, quilt lay outs, border layouts, quilting motifs, applique designs, cutting sizes, etc. EQ7 has all this and more. When I first heard about EQ I knew it would be something fun and useful, if I listened to everyone that said it was too expensive, too hard to use, I could do the same thing with graph paper, use Windows Paint program, save my money for more fabric, I would have missed out on a great quilting tool for me. I've had it since it was on floppy disk and used DOS instead of Windows.
    Got fabric?

  18. #18
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    My ultimate goal is to learn all I can from design to finish and from manual to electronic. I am excited about what everyone has shared and look forward to doing it both ways but aim to get software for ease and know-how. Again, everyone's input has been invaluable to me and the viewpoints shared from both sides of the fence are valid and very helpful.

  19. #19
    Super Member crafterrn1's Avatar
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    I am an EQ user since EQ4. I have EQ7 which is a more user friendly program. It gives you many things and options for design. It does not give you instructions on how to sew the half square or quarter square triangles together etc. It is a Design program. I do also have several other quilt design programs. Quilt Pro because I have many of Carol Doaks books and cds. I use them far less than EQ. Yes I am a pattern designer and a teacher. I love EQ and am on it just about everyday! It is a very big program. Even I am still learning what it can do. Check out the site and see what it can do. They also have many add ons you may or maynot need. Only you can be the judge. I love my EQ and would never go back to paper. I do sketch out a few quilts when inspiration hits. But I bring the sketch to the computer and design what I want. I hope you figure out your needs and enjoy EQ when you get it! Luann
    Live Love and Laugh Enough!

  20. #20
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i would guess this would be a personal like/don't like matter- when i first bought my Viking sewing machine we also bought an EQ-5 program *years ago* i think i (tried) to use it once ---even signed up and paid for a class to learn how to use it at the lqs--- went to all 3 of the class sessions--- then i don't think i ever opened it-picked it up again- don't even know if i still have it somewhere- i always know where my pad of graph paper is though-
    the lady who taught the class uses her's a every day---loves it & can not imagine how i even function...
    some people like things like that- others---not so much...i'm one of the 'not so much' folk.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  21. #21
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoSewSue View Post
    Was it worth it ? I suspect that only quilt professionals would be able to fully realize a positive cost-benefit ratio over a short period of time. However is it fun ? You bet.

    Yes, if you look at EQ strictly by the numbers I can see how you'd come to this conclusion. However, the second part of this statement is where you can't assign a cost benefit - how much FUN do you have using this software? Some people may not use it much at all, which makes the software too expensive for them. But for people who really enjoy the design process, the software is worth the price. I know of one quilter (http://virtualquilter.wordpress.com/) who really enjoys it because she can design way more quilts than she could ever make in a lifetime.

  22. #22
    Super Member faykilgore's Avatar
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    Thank you, MRSRAB for starting this thread. I was going to look through the archives for just this information. Thank you QB members for your feedback. I enlarged a block and added a pinwheel where a square had been. I've made 3 sizes of pinwheels so far. At least the "too big" ones can be cut down. EQ sounds like it would have saved me time, fabric & frustration.
    Fay

    "You can't help that. We're all mad here." - The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

  23. #23
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    I'm the odd duck, I suppose, but I use Quilt Pro and have found it quite user friendly in all the versions I have used--4, 5 & 6--the current version. I did start my quilting life with graph paper, rulers, a protractor, colored pencils and a calculator but quickly learned about quilting software and purchased Quilt Pro version 4 off ebay. Much quicker to design when you can change colors and patterns with the click of a mouse. Yes, I can do all the math with a calculator but it's so much easier having a program do it for me.
    Beverly

  24. #24
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    I am looking for a quilt design software that will allow me to scan my fabric and use in doing my layout of my quilt. Will any of the programs mentioned above allow me to do that? Thanks for this great site.

  25. #25
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    Just make sure that your computer is compatible with the software/program you want to acquire.

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