Nancy’s Quilting Classroom: Using EQ7 to Design Quilt Patterns

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.

Purple Haze
Purple Haze
EQ Purple Haze design
EQ Purple Haze design

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.

Spinning Pinwheels
Spinning Pinwheels
Spinning Pinwheels - EQ design
Spinning Pinwheels – EQ design

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.

Black, gray, and yellow EQ design
EQ design with black, gray, and yellow prints
eq-spinning-pinwheel-brights
EQ design with bright prints

 

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.

Rising Star
Rising Star
Rising Star EQ design
Rising Star EQ design

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.

EQ design with pieced border
EQ design with pieced border
RQ design without borders
EQ design without borders

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.

flat_calliope1
Calliope
Calliope EQ design
Calliope EQ design

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.

EQ design with waves
EQ design with waves
EQ design with diagonal squares
EQ design with diagonal squares

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.

Nancy Mahoney, Fons & Porter Guest BloggerHappy Quilting ~
Nancy

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Nancy Mahoney

About Nancy Mahoney

Author, teacher, fabric designer, and award-winning quiltmaker, Nancy Mahoney has enjoyed making quilts for over 30 years, during which time an impressive range of her beautiful quilts have been featured in many books and in over 180 national and international quilt magazines. Nancy enjoys combining traditional blocks and updated techniques to create dazzling quilts. She doesn’t consider herself a specialist in one particular area, although Nancy’s favorite techniques include precision machine piecing, quilt design, and machine appliqué. When she’s not designing and making quilts, Nancy enjoys traveling to guilds and events around the country, sharing her quilts, teaching her piecing and machine appliqué techniques, and visiting gardens. Visit Nancy on her website, www.nancymahoney.com, for more quilting information and fun!

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