I have always had a love for creating, but my real love developed after I purchased the Quiltery.
It’s during our daily routine of helping customers pick out fabrics for projects that the urge to create patterns developed. In the beginning, I looked at patterns and thought of what I would change or what I would do differently. I would envision what they would look like in different colours, scaled down or scaled up in size, or even changing the order of things. This lead to the urge to create my own patterns from scratch! I started investigating software that could help me with my ideas. I'm kind of a “techie” and I knew I would probably be able to find something that would do most of the hard work for me.
I discovered EQ8 from Martha, the previous owner of the shop. Martha had been using a previous version of this software for years and had been working on a block of the month for the shop that I found amazing, so I ventured out on the quilt design software mission. I wanted to be able to create not only pieced projects but also appliqué, and some day, embroidery projects. I wanted to be able to create projects that were unique to the area we live in, representative of our cultures and our values.
There are a couple of services that we provide in the shop that encouraged me to go in this direction. For example, a customer came in wanting to make a Carpenter Star pattern. Regardless of what method is used to make the half-square triangles, placing them in a certain sequence is what makes it a Carpenter Star. FYI the Carpenter Star is by far my favorite and that’s why it hangs on the side of the covered bridge on our logo. I was able to use the EQ8 software to show the customer what her star would look like. We chose the fabrics, imported pictures of them into the software, and voila! We had an image of what the quilt would actually look like with her chosen fabrics and requested size!
Though the EQ8 software does not give you the sewing instructions, it does provide you with a visual of what your quilt will look like, a fabric requirements list, cutting sizes for each piece, and templates for applique pieces. Switching colors and swapping squares is quick and easy. For example, if a customer comes in asking for help making an Irish Chain in greens and beiges, I am able to take the Irish Chain I have already created and show them what it looks like in their color scheme, making adjustments to the number and size of borders. When a customer wants to see a specific layout with and without sashing, we can input the information and help them make an informed choice. And when they have a vision of what they want but need some help creating it, we are there. The customer leaves with a colored copy of the quilt top, fabric requirements and cutting instructions.
EQ8 comes loaded with a library of pieced and applique blocks that have been around for years, from simple Nine Patches, to Churn Dash and Baskets. It allows you quickly to work up a Dresden Plate or maybe a Disappearing Nine Patch. It also allows you to use the block design feature to create your own blocks, applique, pieced or a mixture of both. EQ8 helps you to plan projects down to the last detail, allowing you to create projects of any size with any number of blocks and borders of any size. Blocks can be placed on point, can include sashing and/or even corner stones,
I personally enjoy appliqué and using this software has allowed me to create tons of designs using anything from free colouring book pages that I can import and use as a guideline, to being able to use predesigned blocks in an arrangement of my choosing.
I unfortunately do not have the skill to draw my own drawings to turn into applique. Thank goodness for stock adobe and subscriptions of the sort as my stick figures always end up with their heads not quite over top of their bodies!!
I have recently discovered that there is a whole community of people who love to use EQ8 to design their projects! There is an excellent facebook group that is filled with great advice for beginners and experts alike, a wealth of resources to refer to, and a sympathetic ear when you have worked hours upon hours on a project only to discover you forgot to save it, or made a critical mistake that will require you to start over. There are also easy-to-use books that are available from EQ8. The first one is “EQ8 for Beginners”.
Though the software is available to download online directly from the EQ8 website, make sure that you purchase it directly from your local shop. Shops can offer you a fair price and you get to support your local vendors. If you have a project you want us to help you bring to life, come see us and we will use EQ8 to help make it a reality!
Helping you make memories, one stitch at a time