By Vicki Tymczyszyn
I have just had the fun–and privilege!– of testing the new Quilt-Pro V. 6 quilt design software by Quilt-Pro Systems. (Note: V.6 is for Windows, but there’s also V.5 for Mac users.)
So, full disclosure here: I have played with and used EQ since it was a baby, back in the days of EQ5, and I have recently purchased the upgrade for EQ8. I’m reasonably adept at computerized quilt design. I’m also an architect, and have logged many hours on AutoCad software.
Because I have used both programs–agreed, I am more familiar with EQ–I’d like to discuss some of the advantages of Quilt-Pro by comparing it to my past experiences.
Both systems have block libraries, but Quilt-Pro has expanded that notion into specific border and quilt libraries, as well. The border libraries are awesome! I think you could find one for almost any quilt you could imagine, and if you couldn’t, you could use one of these as a jumping-off point to design your own. In EQ, you need to create blocks that match your border sizes and then insert them. So, there might be a bit more drawing with EQ.
But let’s get back to the block libraries. Quilt-Pro has included some very basic block units. Let’s look at some that I have saved with my favorites:
By using these basic units, I created four different, yet similar, blocks. I think you can see how the possibilities are endless. (Watch the clock, you might be at your computer playing for a very long while.)
Changing the size of the blocks or units is super-easy, too. Just go back into the Block Wizard and change the size from 4 to 12 or back again, depending on whether you are using these simple blocks as filler or alternate blocks, or as a unit in a larger quilt block.
Once you are satisfied with your block design, start playing with the quilt layout. Again you have plenty of choices, including a random design. (Great for you modern designers out there.)
I know a random design is possible with other quilt design programs, but you will have lots more drawing to do before you can get to that point than you would with Quilt-Pro. If you’re familiar with other drawing programs, such as AutoCad, Adobe Illustrator, etc., you may see some similarities with Quilt-Pro. I am well-versed at doing line drawings with EQ, but with Quilt-Pro, when you draw blocks, I found it is best to use shapes. This way they are already enclosed spaces and you can color them easily. I drew some blocks rather than use the block library to test out the Quilt-Pro drawing capabilities and it didn’t take long to get the shape I needed by manipulating the triangles. Pretty fun!
This design was colored using some of the fabrics already in the fabric gallery. It is organized by pattern, color or manufacturer. There are plenty to choose from, including solids, but I suspect it is easy to add more of your own from downloading of websites or importing a photo.
The quilt above has a simple border, but look what happens when I use one of the borders from their library (see below). This is a setting using alternate blocks, pick your two blocks and bam! Almost done.
In these last three shots, I changed the look of the quilt by changing the quilt layout from 1 block without sashing, then adding sashing, then, adding an alternate block setting. All in a matter of minutes.
I really have just scratched the surface of Quilt-Pro, but I really like what I see. I know enough about the other programs I use to be dangerous and tend to stumble my way around, but this program is pretty intuitive if you know anything about design or drawing programs. Even if you don’t, your learning curve will be very short.
editor’s note: Quilt-Pro Systems also has Block Party, software specifically for the quilter who wants a simpler way to play around with quilt design. Block Party’s companion modules include 13 different Basics blocks, as well as two Designer modules featuring foundation pieced designs by Carol Doak. To learn more about Block Party, check out the October 2017 edition of Generation Q’s free newsletter, Stashed.
Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.
Vicky Tymczyszyn is a prolific and lifelong quilter, teacher, designer and former technical editor of Generation Q Magazine. With the X-ray vision of an architect (she actually is one), Vicki can pretty much look at a block or sewn item and almost always improve its construction method. She was also sewing cosplay before cosplay was cool, having created many complex techie costumes for her now-grown children. Her creative center of operations is Moorpark, California, where she lives with pilot husband Jym, a few dogs and many, many yards of fabric.