From Photo Art to Quilt Design

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This past week I started work on a new quilt. I hadn’t actually planned to make a quilt, but sometimes one thing leads to another and then to something else and before you know it you’re hooked and an idea just won’t let go. The creative process is often mysterious that way.

So this is the quilt I started working on.

From Photo Art to Quilt

If the design looks familiar, this is why! This is a photo art design I made in Photoshop, then printed out on fabric and used it as the flap on this clutch purse. I guess it was the checkerboard pattern that started me thinking that the design could possibly be translated into a pieced and appliqued quilt.

Bella Clutch Purse Pattern

However I haven’t made a pieced quilt in years so I was struggling a little to get the quilt blocks into a design that I liked and I was getting pretty sick of ripping them out and resewing them and I was almost ready to set things aside when I remembered that I had a copy of the Electric Quilt software stashed away somewhere.

If you’ve never used EQ software for designing quilts, then I’m here to tell you that it makes designing pieced, and even applique, quilts an absolute breeze. In the early years before I became an art quilter and lost my affection for 1/4″ seams, I used to love making pieced quilts.

This is one of my earlier quilts called “Blushing Bluebells”. I designed this quilt specifically for using gradated hand dyed fabrics and it’s still one of my favorite quilts.

Designing in EQ7

This is another called “In The Heat of the Night” which uses the same 6″ block throughout, craftily manipulated using different fabrics and rotations.

Designing in EQ7

So having reacquainted myself with the EQ software which I hadn’t looked at in years, I stopped by the Electric Quilt website to see what was included in the latest version, and oh my goodness, I have been out of the loop for quite a while because the latest version which is EQ7, includes so many new features – particularly for editing, working with, and manipulating images to use in your quilts. It includes lots of filters and effects, including symmetry tools …

Designing in EQ7

… kaleidoscope tools …

Designing in EQ7

… and lots of different effects, some of which can be found in Photoshop, but some new ones also. And of course you can print your photo designs straight from the program onto fabric which makes it super easy.

Designing in EQ7

I now own EQ7 and there’s lots of new stuff to learn so I’ll be sharing more over the next few weeks. However I’m back on track with my quilt blocks with much less stress.

Designing in EQ7

If you’re interested in finding out more about EQ7 you can check back here next week when I’ll be sharing some of the challenges I experienced when designing the applique pieces for my quilt, although I will mention now that EQ support was phenomenal in resolving my peculiar problem and after several emails back and forth, the problem was resolved within a matter of hours. It’s hard if not impossible to find support like that these days, so thank you Penny from Electric Quilt for such great customer service.

In the meantime if you want to check out the EQ software for yourself, you can find the Electric Quilt website here.